[Ontbirds] Ottawa/ Gatineau-recent sightings to November 16, 2017

Gregory Zbitnew gkzbitnew at gmail.com
Thu Nov 16 17:31:46 EST 2017

Ottawa Field Naturalists' Club
Ottawa/Gatineau (50 Km radius from Parliament Hill) E. Ontario, W. Quebec
Compiler:  Gregory Zbitnew at sightings at ofnc.ca

November 16, 2017

It was yet another excellent week in the region! There were 2 major
highlights, although neither was seen by many.  On the 12th, a NORTHERN
GANNET flew by Constance Bay headed east and was seen by a few people
before it rather unfortunately disappeared just east of Andrew Haydon Park.
Also on the 12th, an (immature) YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD showed up at the
Trail Road landfill and was seen again on the 13th. It may well still be
around. However, it was hard to pick out as it had been travelling with up
to 100 COWBIRDS, which themselves were sometimes mixed with nearly 1000
EUROPEAN STARLINGS. The whole group was quite active and often either out
of sight in the landfill or out of sight in a ravine. In addition, the
BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER was, amazingly, still near the Filtration Plant
in Britannia as late as the 16th.

The wonderful fall had a brutal end on the 10th, with temperatures well
below seasonal and some light snow. It improved a bit later in the week,
but all small bodies of still water are frozen. Mud Lake at Britannia was
mostly frozen as of the 12th. Creeks are still running and the rivers only
have a bit of ice on the edges. Consequently, most areas have been cleared
of PASSERINES, and while there are still quite a few WATERBIRDS around,
they are starting to disappear and concentrate.  You can expect the feeders
to become more active, and the remaining birds would tend to concentrate in
sheltered microclimates.

There have been a number of enquiries about SNOW GEESE in Eastern Ontario.
Unfortunately, the huge numbers we often see in the fall have not been
reported yet. On the 9th, there were about 20,000 near the Laflèche
Landfill east of Casselman, but that is a fraction of what we have seen in
previous years. There is an unconfirmed report of more there in the last
few days, but in any case no significant numbers have been seen any closer
to the city.

Among the other GEESE, there was a ROSS’S GOOSE at the Moodie Drive ponds
on the 10-12th and on Akins road on the 13th.   A  GREATER WHITE-FRONTED
GOOSE was in Kanata on the 12th    and the Moodie Drive ponds on the 14th.

The variety and numbers of DUCKS has dropped in the last week, but it is
still respectable.  On the 14th, there were about 400 birds of 14 species
of DUCK at Shirley’s bay, the best spot of course.  By far the most common
one there was COMMON GOLDENEYE.  In the region, 22 species of DUCK were
seen this week.  There was a PIED-BILLED GREBE at Shirley’s Bay on the 14th
and at CARLETON PLACE on the 13th, and both locations also had some
AMERICAN COOTS.  Both species of LOONS and the common GREBES are still
present in reasonable numbers.

There was a late BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON on Cope Drive on the 14th.

SHOREBIRDS have virtually disappeared. There was a SANDERLING at Constance
Bay on the 12th, 2 AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVERS at Embrun on the 15th, a
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER at the Moodie Drive ponds on the 13th, and 7 DUNLIN at
Andrew Haydon Park on the 14th.

There have been a few scattered sightings of GOLDEN EAGLE on favourable

There were 7 BONAPARTE’S GULLS at Embrun on the 15th, and a number of
sightings of LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS, but otherwise the GULL supply was
quite ordinary.

Pretty much all of the summer/ migrant PASSERINES have cleared out, and the
woods and fields these days are quite quiet.  There were, however, quite a
few lingerers, some of them decidedly unusual. The most unusual were
SWAINSON’S THRUSH at Britannia on the 11th and a NASHVILLE WARBLER, also at
Britannia on the 11-16th.

Other notable late sightings include:

1.      SAVANNAH SPARROW at Dick Bell Park on the 14th.

2.      EASTERN PHOEBE at Constance bay on the 12th

3.      BROWN THRASHER on the 11th-16th, and RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET until the
16th, both at Britannia.

4.      WINTER WREN at Britannia on the 12th.

5.      6 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS near Hammond on the 12th.

6.      20 COMMON GRACKLES on Milton Road on the 14th

7.      FOX SPARROW in Carleton Place on the 12th and one in Stony Swamp on
the 15th.

8.      2 sightings of YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, one at Britannia and the
other in Beltown Park.

There were 2 LAPLAND LONGSPURS among the 100s of SNOW BUNTINGS on Brownlee
Road on the 14th.

Finally, we are still waiting for the WINTER FINCHES.  While there were RED
and WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS at Pine Grove trail on the 12th, these were
flyovers, not present on the 11th or the 15th.  2 COMMON REDPOLLS were on
Trail Road on the 13th.

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. We encourage everyone
to report their bird sightings on eBird for the benefit of the entire
birding community.

Good birding.

*Reminder regarding access to the Shirley’s Bay Causeway:*

DND has amended our access procedure. You must call Range Control (613-

991-5740) for permission, state that you are an OFNC member and give your
name. DND will be provided with a list of OFNC members who HAVE
SPECIFICALLY REQUESTED access. DND will check, so make sure that your
membership is up to date and that you have requested to be on the access
list.  Finally, you must call again when you have left the area.

DND would also like to be informed if you see anyone on the property who
should not be there, such as boats in the bay or people fishing on the
causeway. They are trespassing and DND will deal with the situation.

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