Return to Sarsaparilla Trail

The day after my trip to Algonquin with Deb I headed out to some of Ottawa’s west end birding sites. Not too much was happening at the Moodie Drive quarry pond; I saw only a few Canada Geese, a Pied-billed Grebe, a couple of cormorants and a Great Blue Heron. A Red-winged Blackbird was also calling nearby. The Richmond Lagoons were slightly more productive with several mallards and Green-winged Teals, seven American Wigeon, a few Yellow-rumped Warblers, and two Eastern Phoebes. Even though the mudflats here were ideal for shorebirds, I didn’t see any around.

My last stop of the day was Sarsaparilla Trail where I found this cute young squirrel in the woods. He looked small, and I am sure that he is little more than a baby.

Eastern Grey Squirrel

There wasn’t much to be seen on the large beaver pond. In fact, the only waterbirds I observed were a pair of Great Blue Herons, a couple of mallards and a couple of Canada Geese. I had more luck in the woods where I found both Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Dark-eyed Juncos, a couple of White-breasted Nuthatches, and several Yellow-rumped Warblers. A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was a bit of a surprise, since I thought they all would have departed by now.

My best bird observation, however, was not a rare bird or one that I wouldn’t have expected to find at Sarsaparilla Trail. Instead, it was an American Robin, perhaps the best-known bird in North America. More precisely, it was of a flock of them bathing in the puddles in the parking lot. I counted 15 robins in the parking lot area, five or six of which were bathing. I didn’t get any great photos of this activity because I didn’t want to get too close; however, I did get a few worth sharing.

Bath time!

It’s always fun to watching a group of birds frolicking in a puddle; and seeing so many robins bathing helps to renew my appreciation of this common, often overlooked species. More so, in fact, because once winter arrives they will become more difficult to find.

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