[Ontbirds] OFO trip: 27 May 2012 Ottawa (6:30 - 13:15)

Ladouceur, Bernie Bernie.Ladouceur at cra-arc.gc.ca
Mon May 28 11:05:54 EDT 2012

There were 10 participants for what turned out to be a very pleasant half day birding in Ottawa's west end.
The Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre parking lot was the initial gathering place. While we were gathering, a pair of American Crows was giving chase to a Common Raven and both a Common Loon and a Great Blue Heron flew over.
The first stop was along the Thomas A. Dolan Parkway at Constance Creek.  We spent half an hour looking for marsh birds. In particular we were hoping to hear or see a Least Bittern found the week before. One participant was lucky enough to have it fly through the view of his scope - no luck for the rest of us. But we observed a pair of nesting Ospreys, several Common Gallinules, a few Virginia Rails, one Black-crowned Night Heron, a Hooded Merganser, a couple of Wilson's snipe, and a pair of Common Terns. Several woodland species could be heard in the distance including Veery and a drumming Pileated woodpecker.
We headed southwest along the Thomas A. Dolan Parkway. A stop at another wetland immediately yielded three Green Herons and a persistently calling Virginia Rail. We then turned northeast onto Stonecrest Road and stopped where the small woodlot to our right ends. Here we had an aurally cooperative but visually uncooperative Golden-winged Warbler (at least it sounded like one!). Back to the Thomas A. Dolan Parkway we drove up onto the Carp Ridge, hoping for Eastern Towhee. It was unusually quiet; no towhee, but there were a few birds to keep us entertained.
At our rest stop at Woodlawn, we saw about 300 Brant heading north. From there we headed southwest on Kinburn Side Road and then turned northeast onto Torbolton Ridge Road and drove toward an area where we have had Sedge Wrens in the past (about 200m northeast of the railway tracks). About 400 meters before (southeast of) the railway tracks we encountered an interesting song: a series of four trills that had the quality of a Clay-colored Sparrow.  We could only locate what appeared to be a pair of Chipping Sparrows, but one had less intense red on the cap and an ill-defined stripe through the crown (another visit is required!). Beyond the railway tracks, we had no luck with the wren (it hasn't been observed this year), but there were two American Bitterns, a Wilson's Snipe, Alder Flycatchers, Nashville Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, and a calling Red-shouldered Hawk.
Then it was off to Constance Bay to search for Red-headed Woodpecker. En route we had two Northern Harriers and two American Kestrels (seen by the lead car only - apparently, kestrels have an aversion to one particular individual in our group). No luck with the woodpecker, so we headed to the Ottawa River. Two stops at Constance Bay yielded three Common Loons and four Common Terns. Shirley's Bay had more Common Terns, a dozen Black-bellied Plovers, and the Bald Eagle nest. Finally, Britannia had a couple of more Common Terns (alas, no Arctic Terns), a few dozen Bonaparte's Gulls, and a Great Egret.
All in all, a very enjoyable trip with about 85 species observed. My thanks to Bob Cermak for assisting me with this trip.
Bernie Ladouceur

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