Recent Trip Reports

June 16 2018 (Saturday) Bruce Peninsula (2-day trip)

Leader: Alfred Raab, Cindy Cartwright.

On a partly cloudy, partly sunny weekend 12 birders explored the Bruce Peninsula from Hepworth to the northern part of the Peninsula over the 2 days.

We visited the following areas: Saturday: Sable Beach, Sable Falls, Boat Lake, Malcolm Bluff, Crooked Toe Road, Sky Lake, Isaak Lake

Sunday: Tobermory Airport area, Crane Lake Road, Lindsay Rd 40, Dyers Bay Rd.

Heavy fog prevented us from going to the north end of the Peninsula, also the Singing Sands area was closed. We saw a total of 115 species. Many birds were heard only such as Sora, Virginia Rail and Blue-winged Warbler. We had good looks at American Bittern, Ospreys on nest, Bald Eagle, lots of Sandhill Cranes, Piping Plover on nest, Wilson Snipe, many Black Terns, Black and Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Marsh Wrens, many Golden-winged Warblers, Eastern Towhee, Clay-colored Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, lots of Bobolinks, Eastern Meadowlark, Brewer's Blackbirds. It was an excellent birding day, but we could not find a Sedge Wren, Bank Swallow and Upland Sandpiper.

Thanks to all participants for a very enjoyable day. Special thanks to Mary Ramotar for identifying the flowers.

June 9 2018 (Saturday) Happy Valley, King Township

Leader: John Schmelefske.

18 birders spent the day exploring the Happy Valley Reserve and the Palgrave Conservation area on Saturday June 9. With the help of fine weather and low winds we were able for see a total of 61 species. Here are a few highlights.

The day began rather slowly, but picked up as time passed. In the Happy Valley area we were rewarded with great views of scarlet tanager, eastern towhee and chestnut-sided warbler. Hood warbler was more elusive, but a fine male black-throated green warbler put on quite a show.

Outside the reserve, we had eastern bluebirds, meadowlark, bobolink and virginia rail. We also had a great look at a cedar waxwing building a nest.

Perhaps the highlight of the day was the very cooperative grasshopper sparrow near Palgrave. A real crowd pleaser!

Palgrave reserve gave us pine and mourning warbler and the lovely call of white-throated sparrows. A short drive down the road produced alder flycatcher and northern waterthrush.

All in all a wonderful day of birding with great companionship!

June 3 2018 (Sunday) Presqu'ile Provincial Park

Leader: Dave Milsom.

14 birders attended yesterday's OFO fieldtrip to Presqu'ile Provincial Park, Cobourg and Port Hope.

A total of 87 species were recorded including a Cattle Egret with cattle on Huff Road just outside the park. Also, Indigo Bunting, Yellow-rumped and Yellow warblers, American Redstart, Orchard Oriole, Eastern Wood Pewee, Willow, Least and Great Crested flycatchers, Great Egret, Black-crowned Night Heron, Red-breasted Mergansers, Osprey, Marsh Wrens, and Northern Harrier.

Shorebirds were almost invisible at the park except for Killdeer and Spotted Sandpiper. Migrants of any type were almost non-existant but for Northern Parula near the lighthouse.

On Trenear Road we found Grasshopper Sparrows, Eastern Meadowlarks and American Kestrel before the heavy rain began.

Afternoon stops in the pouring rain resulted in Lesser Black-backed Gull and Bonaparte's gulls at Cobourg harbour, and another Lesser Black-backed Gull, Common Loon plus Semipalmated Sandpiper at Port Hope harbour.

June 2 2018 (Saturday) Lanark County

Leader: Ken Allison.

Seven keen birders attended Saturday's OFO field trip to the Pakenham area.

A total of 69 species were recorded including Broad-winged and Red-Shouldered Hawks, Barred Owl, Black-billed Cuckoo, Merlin, Alder Flycatcher, Blue-headed Vireo, singing Golden-crowned Kinglet and 12 species of warbler. Three Magnolia Warblers was something of a highlight. Over the 4 years this outing has been going this was the highest number of species we have had. Much of the area is heavily-forested, so many species remained "heard only".

We start at the 5-span stone bridge in Pakenham, then drive to Conc. 9 in Pakenham. We stop at a few spots along the road and then walk into the Pakenham Mountain area for most of the morning. One of our best stops in a large pasture was a disappointment this year as a large pasture area has been plowed, so we had no Bobolinks this year.

Migrants seemed to have all gone through. All birds seemed to be settled on territory.

The weather was sunny; it was cool for much of the morning which kept the biting insects at bay.

May 27 2018 (Sunday) Carden Alvar

Leader: Jean Iron.

OFO's 27th annual field trip to the Carden Alvar was on Sunday, 27 May 2018. Our group of 42 tallied 84 species and one rare hybrid warbler by walking Wylie Road in the morning and visiting other birding sites in the afternoon. We saw many of the target birds including superb views of Loggerhead Shrike, Golden-winged Warbler, Blue-winged Warbler, Lawrence's Warbler (rare Blue-winged x Golden-winged hybrid), Grasshopper Sparrow and Clay-colored Sparrow. We also found American Bittern, Upland Sandpiper, Wilson's Snipe, Virginia Rail, Sora, Alder Flycatcher, Willow Flycatcher, Sedge Wren, Marsh Wren, Eastern Meadowlark, Bobolink, Brown Thrasher, Eastern Towhee, Eastern Bluebird, Field Sparrow. We saw and heard several Black-billed Cuckoos probably attracted to the outbreak of Eastern Tent Caterpillars. Water Snakes put on a good show in the Sedge Wren Marsh on Wylie Road and at Prospect Road Marsh, and we saw a Porcupine in a tree. Prairie Smoke, Carden Alvar's signature wildflower, carpeted the alvar meadows. A large portion of the alvar is now protected by Carden Alvar Provincial Park (includes Cameron and Windmill Ranches) and other protected properties owned by The Nature Conservancy of Canada and The Couchiching Conservancy.

May 27 2018 (Sunday) Skunk's Misery, Blenheim & Ridgetown Lagoons

Leader: Gavin Platt.

On Sunday, May 27, 5 birders joined the OFO trip to Skunk's Misery (located in southwestern Middlesex County). I think the weather on the day was a little too nice and as a result, bird song was already diminished by the time we hit the forest. We still managed to get great looks at Hooded Warbler and Acadian Flycatcher, but could not locate any Cerulean Warblers this year. Another highlight was at least 5 Pileated Woodpeckers (all but 1 heard only), no doubt benefiting from all the dead elm and ash trees!

May 26 2018 (Saturday) Tiny Marsh

Leader: Kevin Shackleton.

8 to 10 people joined me on a modified Tiny Marsh field trip. We had 50 species from the Visitor Centre and along Trillium and Beaver Trails before making a stop on the Tiny-Flos Townline W of the marsh for a few grassland birds before heading to 3rd Concession of Tiny. We walked 1 Km listening for warblers and other passerines and were rewarded with a good look at a Canada Warbler and a pair of Scarlet Tanagers. We discussed whether to follow the promised itinerary for Piping Plovers at Wasaga Beach, but the group were keen to hike so we headed to the Matchedash Bay area and did the Cowan and Tiffault Trails. We had a beautiful male Golden-winged Warbler at Cowan and some of the group saw a male Brewster's Warbler along the wooded side of Tiffault. Several people had life birds and a Black-billed Cuckoo and Green Heron were produced on demand by yours truly, the intrepid leader.Thanks to all who attended and chipped in birds to the day's total of 84 species including 15 warbler species.Email me privately for the eBird checklists.

May 26 2018 (Saturday) Leslie Street Spit, Toronto

Leader: John Carley.

Today 11 OFO members joined Garth Riley, Nancy McPherson, Bob Cumming, and me for the annual OFO walk at Toronto's Leslie Street Spit, parts of which are known as Tommy Thompson Park.

With temperatures starting at 20 degrees celsius and rising to 26, with generally cloudy skies, we tallied 75 species while we walked 10 km.

Highlights were the Whimbrels: a flock of 50 flew by, a single was in Cell 2, and three others were found on the east shore. Other cell 2 and east beach shorebirds included Black-bellied Plovers, Dunlin, Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers.

The Wet Woods produced 12 species of warblers as well as 4 empids - we only missed Acadian. A Yellow-billed Cuckoo was seen by all, a black-billed was recorded by less than the whole group.

Interestingly, no raptors were recorded, and sparrows were few.

7 species of Butterflies were noted, including one Monarch, and 2 Silvery Blues.

May 26 2018 (Saturday) Opinicon Road, Napanee Plain & Amherst Island

Leader: Chris Heffernan.

A big thank-you to everyone that joined us on yesterday's field trip. It was a great time with some fantastic highlights.

Our group of 16 spent close to 10 hours viewing a total of 114 species.

Highlights included:

Opinicon Area - Great views of both Yellow-billed and Black-billed Cuckoo, Golden-winged Warbler, 4 singing Cerulean Warblers 2 that offered amazing views, an unexpected adult Golden Eagle,and an adult Northern Goshawk. Warbler counts were low but it was a great day for viewing raptors.

Napanee Plain - Delivered great views of the Grasshopper sparrow and Loggerhead Shrike

Amherst - Great day for shorebirds, well over 650 birds with Dunlin making up around 500 of those, Wilson's Phalarope, Ruddy Turnstone and the day ended on a high note with 15 Whimbrels and 64 White-winged Scoters scene on teh ferry ride back.

Thank you again to everyone who came out. Looking forward to it again next year.

May 21 2018 (Monday) Ottawa (until Noon)

Leader: Bernie Ladouceur.

This year we applied an expansionist interpretation to the definition of the Lac Deschenes IBA, starting in the Carp Hills, which run parallel to the IBA about 2.5 km to the southwest. This outcrop of the Canadian Shield is approximately 10 km long and 4 km wide and is an excellent area for a variety of breeding birds (including Common Nighthawk, and an abundance of Whip-poor-will and American Woodcock, if you care to visit this area in the dark). Our main target on this day was Golden-winged Warbler; and we failed. None have been reported in the Carp Hills this year in what has been the last stronghold of the species in the Ottawa Field-Naturalists? Club study area (which is the area within a 50 km radius of the Peace Tower). The decline the last few years has been steady despite the ideal conditions: that is, a lack of Blue-winged Warblers and vegetation that achieved climax growth long ago at a level ideal for these warblers. We were successful in getting great views of two other target species: Black-billed Cuckoo and Eastern Towhee. We had 50 species here in all.

Next we drove back into the IBA along the same road (the Thomas Dolan Parkway) and made a stop at Constance Creek. Highlights here included an excellent view of a Broad-winged Hawk and a Sora that called once.

Notice of an Olive-sided Flycatcher in south Kanata brought us out of the IBA again but there was no joy; so it was back to the IBA at Shirley?s Bay. Lac Desch?nes (a widening of the Ottawa River) was almost empty, except for lots of boaters. The leader did catch a glimpse of 2 Long-tailed Ducks; and everyone was afforded an excellent, albeit distant, view of an adult Bald Eagle at a nest.

We finished at the Britannia Conservation Area (Mud Lake). Here we had an excellent view of a Pine Warbler; most of us had a good view of a Scarlet Tanager; and there was still enough song at this late hour to keep our ears tickled.

In all, our group of 15 birders found about 90 species.

Thanks to the group for a fun morning/early afternoon; and especially to Bob Cermak for providing transportation and assisting me with this field trip.

Great Black-backed Gull
Photo: Don Wigle

Black Tern
Photo: Barry Cherriere

Black Vulture
Photo: Allen Woodliffe

Eastern Meadowlark
Photo: Jean Iron

Baird's Sandpiper
Photo: Brandon Holden

Great Black-backed Gull
1st Basic
Photo: Brandon Holden

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Photo: Frank and Sandra Horvath

Kentucky Warbler
Photo: Barry Cherriere

Photo: Francine Ouellette

Photo: Mark Peck