Recent Trip Reports

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.

May 13 2018 (Sunday) Murphys Point Provincial Park, Lanark

Leader: Mark Read.

Five members enjoyed a pleasant morning at Murphys Point Provincial Park seeing a number of target species including Golden-winged Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Cape May Warbler, Yellow-throated Vireo, Indigo Bunting, Scarlet Tanager and Great Crested Flycatcher.

We also had some great looks at some typically shy species including Ovenbird, Brown Thrasher and Wood Thrush. We heard but didn't see Red-shouldered Hawk and Red-bellied Woodpecker. In total we saw 62 species. Checklists can be viewed:

here, here, here, and here

May 5 2018 (Saturday) Toronto Islands

Leader: Gavin Platt.

Today's OFO outing to the Toronto Islands was attended by 26 birders. The majority of these 26 persisted throughout the day (although our numbers thinned a bit after word got out about the Chat at Colonel Sam Smith Park) and were treated to a collective total of 96 species (95 + crow sp.). The undoubted highlight was the young male Summer Tanager on Algonquin Island, spotted by Eric Baldo. Other good birds included a Clay-coloured Sparrow (found earlier in the day by Ruth Danella) and a cooperative Sora.

April 29 2018 (Sunday) Rondeau Provincial Park

Leader: Donald Pye.

14 People joined me at 8 AM. A few people joined in through out the Day. It was cool and cloudy but by noon the Sun was out. Collectively we were able to find 78 Birds.

One warbler, a Northern Watertrush, was heard. A Snowy Owl was seen in a tree over the road South side of the campground. On our second try we found the White-winged Dove. At Blenheim Sewage Lagoon we had 3 shorebirds . Some of the group saw the Wilson's Phalarope which was there part of the day.

April 29 2018 (Sunday) Prince Edward County South Shore Important Bird Area

Leader: Mike Burrell.

6 OFO members joined me for the annual late April trip to explore the Prince Edward County South Shore IBA.

The weather forecast was very grim, calling for temps just above zero and rain for most of the morning. We arrived in snow changing to rain, but that miraculously cleared to just cold and cloudy conditions by the time we got going. We had a number of highlights including 3 Black Vultures just north of Point Petre (see eBird checklist for photos) and at least 32 Little Gulls at Kaiser Crossroad. In total we had 97 species for the day.

For full lists from each location, see eBird checklists:

Kaiser Crossroad

Babylon Road

Prince Edward Point

Point Petre

Black Vultures

April 29 2018 (Sunday) Durham Lakeshore

Leader: Geoff Carpentier.

Fifteen OFOers met me at Lynde Shores with the temperature hovering at 1 degree C this morning. It soon warmed up and we enjoyed a great day travelling between Cranberry Marsh, the foot of Hall?s Road, Whitby Harbour and Thickson's Woods. A total of 81 species was found. Highlights included:

Eurasian Wigeon, Little Gull (2) with about 3000 Bonaparte?s Gulls, Great Egret, Peregrine Falcon, 6 species of swallow, Pine Warbler, Red-necked and Horned Grebes, 3 Iceland Gulls, and Common & Caspian Terns. Thanks to all who braved the chilly start and helped us all find these great birds.

All data was entered in eBird.

April 28 2018 (Saturday) Peterborough Area

Leader: Dave Milsom.

The group of 7 enjoyed a cool and often rainy day birding the Peterborough and Northumberland counties this Saturday. A total of 86 species including some real rarities.

Initially we "dipped" on yesterday's Long-billed Dowitcher but did find 30 Greater and 10 Lesser Yellowlegs on Bensfort Road, Peterborough.

At Briar Hill were Common Mergansers, Ring-necked Ducks, many Tree Swallows, and Eastern Meadowlarks. Many Canada Geese were viewed on Keene Road and 2nd Concession north of Bailieboro, along with Green-winged Teal, Northen Pintail, Black Ducks and American Wigeon. Also seen nearby were 2 Winter Wrens, Purple Finch, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Rusty Blackbird and Caspian Tern.

At Garden Hill we found 2 Solitary and 2 Spotted sandpipers, Pine Warbler, Ruffed Grouse, Brown Creeper, Rough-winged Swallows and Belted Kingfisher. In the pond to the south was a Common Loon.

On Kellogg Road near Welcome, we were scoping a leucistic Canada Goose when a flock containing a juvenile Blue Goose and a Cackling Goose flew overhead. Great views were obtained of Vesper Sparrows too.

On Choate Road near Port Hope, Matthew Tobey spotted a possible Solitaire as we drove south. We immediately scanned the field and found a Townsend's Solitaire perched on top of a small fruiting bush. Photos were taken.

At Port Hope Harbour 5 swallow species were viewed. We also added 2 Red-throated Loons, Common Goldeneye, Long-tailed Ducks, Horned Grebes and several cormorants.

When we returned north to Peterborough Airport, we found a pair of recently fledged Great Horned Owls, Merlin, Virginia Rail and Wilson's Snipe.

Many thanks once again to my co-leader, Matt Tobey, for his excellent spotting and identification skills, and his general good nature.

April 22 2018 (Sunday) Minesing Swamp

Leader: Mark Cranford.

I had the privilege of leading about 20 OFO members on our annual trip to the Minesing Swamp. We basically followed Dave Milsom's self-guiding tour of the wetland available from the Ontario Field Ornithologists website here.

We focused on three main sites MacKinnon Road just east of Angus off Hwy 90, the north end of Baldwick Lane and Ronald Road west of the village of Minesing (County 28 and Hwy 26). With the mild temperatures, flooding is ongoing and water levels could still be increasing. It was the highest levels for spring flooding I have seen. Over the course of the day we saw 64 species. Trip lists can be found on ebird. Waterfowl numbers were down but diversity was normal. Both numbers and diversity were low for songbirds but a couple of us did have a single Yellow-rumped Warbler. The real surprise was the active migration of raptors. In addition to reasonable numbers of Turkey Vulture, Red-tailed Hawk , Northern Harrier and the acciptors (Sharp-shinned and Cooper), we had Red-shouldered, Broad-winged, Red-shouldered, and Bald Eagle.

April 22 2018 (Sunday) Nesting Ravens and Raptors in Ottawa (until 2:00 p.m.)

Leader: Langis Sirois.

Nice day, nice people, nice observations! The Ontario Field Ornithologists could not have chosen a better day for its Ravens and raptors nestings sites excursion of to-day and make its 7 participants happy.

We started the day at Shirley's Bay where we observed a Bald Eagle sitting high on its weel-known nest (far in the distance on the National Defense grounds), incubating or covering young; and we took note of the 2 occupied Osprey nests in the area,

We checked 12 Raven possible nesting sites in Kanata, South of Kanata, Barhaven and Nepean and documented 9 actives sites including 7 nests with young, one with 6 young.

Our last stop was at the Revenue Canada Data Centre on Heron Rd, where the skills and persistancy of Peter, Barbara and Bill permitted us to finally see the female Peregrine Falcon on her new nesting site on the East side of the building and the male make a fly around.

Although nesting birds were our priority, we also noted about 30 other species, including a couple Ruddy Ducks during a mid-day stop at a Moodie Dr. pond.

April 21 2018 (Saturday) Algonquin Provincial Park

Leader: Ron Tozer.

About 40 OFO members and friends enjoyed a beautiful sunny day of early spring birding in Algonquin Park yesterday. The temperature reached 14 degrees by late afternoon, warmth not experienced here since late October. The final species count was low at 38, but good for this spring. Only one species (Northern Harrier) was a first-of-spring sighting for the Park, reflecting migration that is at least two weeks later than normal and largely stalled. But that should change soon.

A male Spruce Grouse a little north of the register box, and two Gray Jays near the kettle bog were highlights at Spruce Bog Boardwalk. A Black-backed Woodpecker photographed on a utility pole at km 53 on Highway 60 soon before we arrived (the first time!) could not be found again after two visits unfortunately. A few raptors were moving including a kettle of three Bald Eagles and several Red-tailed Hawks. Merlin was distantly heard at Spruce Bog Boardwalk and the East Gate but not seen. There were great views of finches from the Visitor Centre viewing deck including Evening Grosbeak, Purple Finch, Red Crossbill, White-winged Crossbill, Pine Siskin and American Goldfinch.

Thanks to the participants for a wonderful day. The assistance of Sharon Hockley, Justin Peter, Dawn Sherman, Kelly Stronks and Rick Stronks with logistics and finding birds was really appreciated by everyone.

Laughing Gull
Photo: Barry Cherriere

Whimbrel
Photo: Jean Iron

American Golden-Plover
Photo: Frank and Sandra Horvath

Baltimore Oriole
Photo: Brandon Holden

Snow Bunting
Basic female
Photo: Jean Iron

Tree Swallow
Photo: Sandra and Frank Horvath

Philadelphia Vireo
Photo: Sandra and Frank Horvath

Purple Martin
Female
Photo: Daniel Cadieux

Surf Scoter
Female in front
Photo: Sandra and Frank Horvath

Northern Cardinal
Photo: Mark Peck