[Ontbirds] Ottawa/ Gatineau-recent sightings to April 2, 2015

Gregory Zbitnew k_zbitnew2 at bell.net
Thu Apr 2 18:24:20 EDT 2015

Ottawa Field Naturalists' Club
Ottawa/Gatineau (National Capital Region) E. Ontario, W. Quebec
Compiler and transcriber: Greg Zbitnew at k_zbitnew2 at bell.net or sightings at ofnc.ca

Recent sightings to April 2, 2015

Winter’s death grip on Ottawa has only eased slightly this week. A major steady thaw has so far eluded us. While on the 2nd we had our warmest day since November, this was preceded by snow and freezing rain, and the weekend is forecast to freeze again. Although most of the early migrants have arrived, they are still not here in any numbers. There are indications that a big push is very close, but it is not quite here. 

Still, there is more bare ground and more open water than last week. As a result, there have been a few new birds arriving. SNOW GEESE arrived in small numbers in the Winchester/ Chesterville area on the 2nd. There were 4 SANDHILL CRANES south of Smith Road and west of Milton on April 1st, GADWALL at Black Rapids on the 30th, and EASTERN MEADOWLARK near Casselman on the 29th. 3 TRUMPETER SWANS were seen again on the Mississippi River in Carleton Place on 30th March-April 1st, west of Hwy 7.

On the 2nd, there was a major movement of 15,000 CANADA GEESE west of Deschenes headed southeast. In this number were 3 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE, 4 CACKING GEESE and 1 SNOW GOOSE. The same observer also saw a PINE GROSBEAK. Aside from this, waterfowl numbers are in short supply. There is still no major pooling of water east of Ottawa and consequently no concentrations of waterfowl. On Wednesday on Milton Road and Frank Kenney, there were only a few CANADA GEESE; fields are still over 50% snow covered and there was little open or running water. There have been no reports at all from the Bourget area. With slow melting and a very dry March (1/3 of normal) it is a big question as to what kind of waterfowl show we will have in April. 

On the rivers, which are still frozen except for the fast flowing parts, the numbers of common early migrants is increasing, but there are not large numbers of anything. A BARROW’S GOLDENEYE is at Black Rapids, but this species will soon be moving on. 

The early DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT was seen from Bate Island up to at least the 30th. 

Greenland Road is still the best spot for birds of prey. On the 29th and 31st, there was GOLDEN EAGLE. RED-SHOULDERED HAWK is also regular there. NORTHERN GOSHAWK was seen on the 29th on 6th line. 

There have been a few reports of KILLDEER and AMERICAN WOODCOCK. One of these WOODCOCK (a picture was in last week’s report) was seen from about the 16th to 26th in a small woodlot near the Nepean Sportsplex. It was associating with JUNCOS and squirrels; this unusual behavior may have been because its normal habitat was frozen. 

We are not done with our northern woodpeckers yet. On the 2nd, the AMERICAN THREE-TOED WOODPECKER was seen again on Chemin Grimes in Aylmer. The absence of reports of the northern woodpeckers recently may have much to do with the fact that they are no longer being searched for. 

There was a single CEDAR WAXWING on March Valley Road on the 29th, among the BOHEMIANS. 

2 PINE SISKIN were at Dow’s lake on the 1st , and a PURPLE FINCH sighting in Britannia on the 29th was one of very few this year. There are still a few HOARY REDPOLL about with the COMMON REDPOLL. There was one in Richmond and one seen on Greenland Road. 

The OFNC's Birds Committee no longer reports owl sightings on the Internet. We will continue to encourage the reporting of owls to sightings at ofnc.ca for the purpose of maintaining local records. 

Thanks to everyone who contributed bird observations.

Good birding. 		 	   		  

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