Smith's Falls Hawk Owl, Lewis' W., Cobourg Dunlin & Sparrow Heaven (aka Cranberry)

Marcel Gahbauer marcel.gahbauer at
Wed Jan 30 21:57:37 EST 2002

Today I managed to turn the four drive from Ottawa to Toronto into a seven
hour journey, but the birding along the way definitely warranted the

The first highlight of the day was a Northern Hawk Owl along Roger Stevens
Road, ~17 km northeast of Smith's Falls.  It was perched on top of a tree
right beside the road, perfect for observing from the shoulder of the road.
A great start to the day!

The Lewis' Woodpecker was as cooperative for me as it seems to have been for
most others who have made the trip to see it.  First on the yellow suet bag
as often reported, then it flew right to the telephone/hydro pole beside
where I had parked - not often that rarities are this considerate!  While I
watched, 8 vocal Pine Grosbeaks flew in to the trees behind me.

Moving on to Cobourg Harbour, I quickly spotted a plump sandpiper in exactly
the same spot where I had seen the Purple Sandpiper four weeks ago.  To my
surprise, this time the bird turned out to be a Dunlin, presumably the same
one present through much of December, but I haven't seen reports of it
recently.  I walked along the shore for a bit, but could not find the
Purple.  In the harbour itself, the only bird of note was a single Coot.

Finally, I made a stop at Cranberry Marsh in the late afternoon.  Not only
did I miss the previously reported Crossbills, but I saw none of the birds
Craig came across earlier today.  However, I was delighted with the sparrow
activity at the northwest lookout.  At the very least, there must have been
8 Song & 15 American Tree Sparrows, plus a single Swamp Sparrow and 1-2
White-throated Sparrows, all actively feeding on the boardwalk.  Anyone who
thinks all sparrows are dull, brown, and nearly identical should take in
this sight!

Also of note at Cranberry was the remarkably large roost of Mourning Doves
settling in for the night - the whir of whings was incessant while I was
there.  I counted approximately 165 as the flocks of 15-20 flew past me, but
I suspect there were actually many more than that, as some had already
arrived before I did.

Good birding,

Marcel Gahbauer
Ottawa ON
marcel.gahbauer at

Hawk Owl --- The owl was ~100 metres east of address #4256 on Roger Stevens
Rd, on the north side in a tree right beside a small creek passing under the
road through a culvert.  Roger Stevens (also labeled as Cty Rd 4) can be
accessed from Hwy 15 in Smith's Falls, or if coming from Ottawa, from exit
#49 on Hwy 416.

Lewis' Woodpecker --- I bumbled into the site from the northeast along a
series of sideroads ... if you haven't gone yet, better to follow Don
Shanahan's directions posted in previous messages (I'd copy them, but don't
have access to them here)

Cobourg Harbour --- The Dunlin was at the foot of D'Arcy, east of the
harbour; exit Hwy 401 at exit 474 (Hwy 45), head south almost to the
harbour, turn left (on Queen, I think), and proceed a couple of blocks to
D'Arcy; turn right again and head down to the lake.

Cranberry Marsh --- From the east, exit Hwy 401 at Brock (exit 410), head
south, then west on Victoria to Halls Road and turn south to the parking
area; from the west, exit Hwy 401 at Harwood (exit 403), go south to Bayly,
then east to Halls.

"Marcel Gahbauer" <marcel.gahbauer at>

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