Recent Trip Reports

September 10 2017 (Sunday) Presqu'ile Provincial Park

Leader: Ian Shanahan.

About 30 people enjoyed a brilliant fall day birding Presqu'ile Park. As Ian Shanahan was under the weather I filled in as leader with assistance from Ron Tozer and Bill Gilmour, as well as lots of spotting help from the entire group. In some ways it was a quieter day than we have been experiencing over the past week with no big flocks or concentrations, but we still managed 84 species between 8 a.m. and 130 p.m. We started at the Lighthouse which was dead, but got better as we birded along Paxton Drive, then we made a stop at Calf Pasture area and then on the Beach birding between Beach 1 and 3. We concluded just outside the park gate at 240 Presqu?ile Parkway (the former mini putt golf course) for some hawk watching and lunch.

We had some close up shorebird flocks that included 2 adult White-rumped Sandpipers mixed in with the Semis, Leasts, Semi Plovers, Sanderlings, patches of warblers totalling 15 species including an early Orange-crowned spotted by one lucky observer as well as Wilson's, Cape May, Bay-breasted, Pine, Black-throated Blue and Green, Parula, etc. Ducks were not well represented but did include a female Pintail with Canada Geese and a tight flock of 20 White-winged Scoters far out in Popham Bay.

With mild north winds we managed a bit of a hawk flight passing over the gate area which included Bald Eagle, Harrier, Sharp-shinned and Cooper's, Red-tailed, American Kestrel and a Peregrine. Other notable finds included a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, several Philadelphia and a Blue-headed Vireo, a Raven, about 30 Horned Grebe far out in Popham Bay, and four flycatchers including Yellow-bellied.

September 10 2017 (Sunday) Ottawa (all day to 5 pm)

Leader: Jeff Skevington.

Given the high water conditions, we decided to focus on passerines today at the expense of a big list. About 20 of us spent the entire morning at Mud Lake in Ottawa. Five of us went on this afternoon to Sheila McKee Park (along the Ottawa River west of the city). We ended up seeing 18 species of warblers and a total of 67 species. We had some nice non-bird highlights this afternoon with multiple Red-backed and Blue-spotted Salamanders and a nice variety of insects, including my personal highlight, Eastern Hornet Fly (Spilomyia longicornis) - a spectacular yellowjacket mimic that I don't see very often.

My favourite birds were a moulting Scarlet Tanager wearing almost every colour of the rainbow, a Canada Warbler, a couple Orange-crowned Warblers and 6 Philadelphia Vireos.

Thanks to the keen eyes of everyone who came out as well as to the folks who were not on the outing but helped by letting us know what they were seeing!

September 9 2017 (Saturday) Colonel Sam Smith Park and Western Lake Ontario

Leader: Garth Riley.

The 24 participants focused on Colonel Samuel Smith Park on Lake Ontario for 4 hours of birding, as I had another commitment in the afternoon. The cumulative total for the group was 63 species plus two other taxa. The birding was relatively slow at first as the winds were from the northeast and there were few birds on the lake. Things picked up around 10 AM as the temperature rose and we had an excellent mixed group of birds in the bowl area at the northeast part of the park. We tallied 16 species of warbler and had a very obliging Common Nighthawk which flushed and flew in a tight circle then promptly landed on a branch, allowing excellent views. A few members of the group spotted an early adult White-crowned Sparrow and a Gray-cheeked Thrush. The complete checklist is available here

September 7 2017 (Thursday) Moosonee (5-day trip)

Leader: Martin Parker, Kathy Parker.

The initial OFO Moosonee outing with 16 participants, from September 7th to 11th, was a success with a total of 74 species of birds. On the day at Ship Sands Island the participants had close views of 8 LeConte's Sparrows, and 3 Nelson's Sparrows. There were a variety of shorebirds, flocks of Snow Geese, with lots of blue morphs, Yellow Warbler, and lots of Northern Harriers. Other highlights include 8 Wood Ducks on the Moosonee Sewage lagoon, (seen on multiple days), long look at a Philadelphia Vireo as it was tenderizing a caterpillar, flock of 10 Boreal Chickadees in Moosonee, Northern Shovelers on both Moosonee and Moose Factory lagoon, Blue-winged Teal on Moose Factory Lagoon, and flock of 90+ Sandhill Cranes from the train. Daily checklists submitted to e-Bird.

September 2 2017 (Saturday) Toronto Islands

Leader: Gavin Platt.

24 participants enjoyed a good day's birding on Toronto Islands on Saturday. Migrants were fairly widespread and we ended up with a collective total of 76 species. Nothing particularly rare was found, but we had a good mix of species including 18 warblers. Close views of fall-plumaged Bay-breasted and Blackpoll low down in the same tree provided a good opportunity for study. A large number of Cape May Warblers was also nice to see.

Sedge Wren
Photo: Jean Iron

Tricolored Heron
Photo: Barry Cherriere

Mourning Dove
Photo: Carol Horner

Canada Warbler
Photo: Tom Thomas

Kentucky Warbler
Photo: Frank and Sandra Horvath