Recent Trip Reports

December 4 2021 (Saturday) Peterborough Car Birding

Leader: Dave Milsom.

Despite several heavy snow squalls off the local bodies of water, our OFO group enjoyed a productive day of birding in the Peterborough area on Sat., Dec. 4th. 13 birders found 40 species over the day which ended about 3 pm at Peterborough airport. From the 8 am meeting at the zoo, the group headed north along the Otonabee River, where our first interesting sighting was a family of River Otters catching fish through an iced-covered bay of the river. At Lakefield lagoons a few ducks were seen plus a group of Common Redpolls associating with American Goldfinch. Joanne spotted a pair of Snow Buntings flying over at Buckley Lake. A welcome stop at Tims was followed by a close study of a Snow Goose resting with Canadas at Auburn Reach Park on the river just south of the zoo.At nearby Little Lake were many Herring and Ring-billed gulls as well as two Glaucous and a Great Black-backed gull. Cathy spotted a Peregrine Falcon roosting on a window ledge of the downtown Quaker Oats Building. Despite losing some of the group at lunchtime, we proceeded along Scriven Road in the afternoon, finding Red-bellied woodpeckers, 2 Eastern Bluebirds, a male Northern Harrier, American Kestrel and Red-tailed Hawk. At Pengelly Landing we had great scope views of several rafts of ducks on Rice Lake including 200 Redhead and a lone male Canvasback, Ring-necked ducks, Hooded and Common Mergansers, many Greater Scaup and 4 Trumpeter Swans. Many thanks to co-leaders Cathy Douglas and Brian Wales, and our keen group of birders.

Species observed:

  • 1 Snow Goose
  • 568 Canada Goose
  • 4 Trumpeter Swan
  • 134 Mallard
  • 1 American Black Duck
  • 1 Canvasback
  • 250 Redhead
  • 8 Ring-necked Duck
  • 120 Greater Scaup
  • 71 Bufflehead
  • 56 Common Goldeneye
  • 76 Hooded Merganser
  • 300 Common Merganser
  • 64 Rock Pigeon
  • 15 Mourning Dove
  • 3 Bonaparte's Gull
  • 69 Ring-billed Gull
  • 153 Herring Gull
  • 3 Glaucous Gull
  • 3 Great Black-backed Gull
  • 1 Northern Harrier
  • 3 Red-tailed Hawk
  • 2 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 3 Downy Woodpecker
  • 2 Hairy Woodpecker
  • 1 American Kestrel
  • 1 Peregrine Falcon
  • 11 Blue Jay
  • 30 American Crow
  • 2 Common Raven
  • 42 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 5 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 190 European Starling
  • 2 Eastern Bluebird
  • 47 American Robin
  • 2 House Finch
  • 6 Common Redpoll
  • 55 American Goldfinch
  • 2 Snow Bunting
  • 6 Dark-eyed Junco

For details, see the eBird trip report:

November 20 2021 (Saturday) Nortumberland Car Birding

Leader: Dave Milsom.

On a sunny Saturday, 9 OFO birders braved the strong south-west winds to enjoy an outing along the Lake Ontario shoreline from Port Hope to Wicklow Beach and points inbetween. At Port Hope harbour we found several ducks offshore as well as many fishermen on the pier. Next stop was Sculthorpe Marsh where we recorded Redhead, White-winged Scoter, Greater Scaup, Hooded and Red-breasted Merganser, Bufflehead, Mute Swan, White-throated Sparrow and Golden-crowned Kinglet among others. After a Tims stop, we proceeded to Cobourg harbour where new finds for the day were American Wigeon, Black Duck, Long-tailed Duck, and Great Black-backed Gull. We stopped for lunch at Wicklow Beach where a cooperative Red-breasted Merganser flew in and perched on the rocks for a rest: many photos were taken. Our final stop at Chub Point produced all 3 scoters which were seen with some difficulty in the scopes as they fed in the heavy surf offshore: 1 male Surf, 2 White-winged and 8 Black scoters. Our daily total was 34 species. Many thanks to co-leaders Cathy Douglas and Brian Wales.

November 7 2021 (Sunday) Waterfowl trip east of Ottawa

Leader: Tony Beck, Nina Stavlund.

Migrating Waterfowl and Open Country Birds East of Ottawa ? OFO Field Trip Nov 7/2021 Perfect late-fall weather accompanied 22 birders as we ventured into the open country of Eastern Ontario. Although plagued with a few slow periods, by the end of the day, we tallied 36 species and some memorable highlights. From the meeting spot, we started with a Song Sparrow and an exercise in gull identification. From here, our 9-vehicle caravan headed south to Navan where we found 14 Sandhill cranes, 1 Merlin and 1 Northern Harrier. We then headed eastward to St. Isidore for a comfort stop. From there, we drove the backroads through the agricultural fields where we found more Northern Harriers, 3 light morph Rough-legged Hawks and a Peregrine Falcon. We could also see huge flocks of Snow Geese far off in the distance. Although several traditional staging areas were completely absent of Snow Geese, we finally tracked down a few thousand near Moose Creek. Here we watched at least 2 (possibly 3) juvenile Ross?s Geese swirl downward into the lagoons and out-of-site. From here we continued west to the Embrun Lagoons where we found 11,000 Snow Geese and 1500 Canadas. The flocks included 2 Greater White-fronted Geese, 1 adult Ross?s Goose and a small assortment of ducks. The main highlight of the entire day occured when all the waterfowl exploding into the air as an adult Bald Eagle flew over the flocks. The experience was nothing short of sensational, and a spectacular end to a wonderful day. A special thank-you goes out to all our sharp-eyed participants. Our list wouldn?t have been as complete if it weren?t for their keen eyes and ears.
16289 Snow Goose (mostly Greater) 3 Ross's Goose 2 Greater White-fronted Goose 3585 Canada Goose 4 Northern Shoveler 111 Mallard 2 American Black Duck 1 Northern Pintail 3 Green-winged Teal 2 Ring-necked Duck 49 Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 14 Sandhill Crane 6 Ring-billed Gull 8 Herring Gull 1 Great Blue Heron 6 Northern Harrier 1 Cooper's Hawk 2 Bald Eagle 4 Red-tailed Hawk 3 Rough-legged Hawk 1 Merlin 1 Peregrine Falcon 41 American Crow 4 Common Raven 1 Black-capped Chickadee 1 Horned Lark 8 European Starling 15 House Sparrow 42 American Pipit 1 American Goldfinch 6 Snow Bunting 9 Dark-eyed Junco 3 Song Sparrow 4 Red-winged Blackbird 2 Northern Cardinal Tony Beck - Nov 7/2021 Tony Beck & Nina Stavlund

October 31 2021 (Sunday) Cobourg to Presqu'ile

Leader: Dave Milsom.

OFO Fieldtrip Report : Sunday, October 31 : a keen group of 20 birders spent the day between Cobourg and Presqu'ile Provincial Park. A total of 58 species were recorded. At Cobourg harbour, best finds were 4 Greater Yellowlegs, Merlin and Gadwall. Hundreds of Red-breasted Mergansers flew east past the harbour. At Chubb Point, highlights included 2 Carolina Wrens, Long-tailed Ducks, White-winged Scoters, Red-necked and Horned Grebes, and Common Loons. Presqu'ile produced Black Scoters, Snow Buntings, American Pipits, Great Black-backed Gulls, Bonaparte's Gulls, Eastern Bluebirds, Rough-legged Hawk, Northern Harrier, Bald Eagle, and several sparrows including Chipping at Bill Gilmour's feeders. At our final stop at Brighton sewage lagoons we found Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, Wood Ducks, Gadwall among others. It was a great group and we had a very enjoyable day. Many thanks to co-leaders Cathy Douglas and Brian Wales.

October 24 2021 (Sunday) Hawk Cliff

Leader: Dave Brown.

Hawk Cliff Field Trip - October 24, 2021 Dave Brown writes : I was pleased to host the OFO outing to the Hawk Cliff Hawk Watch today though it was limited to 20 participants due to Covid procedures. There were a few other visitors to the site today as well to join in the fun. The raptor flight was VERY SLOW getting started today with just 13 birds in the first 3 hours and ZERO birds in hour 2. With it being the OFO outing today I was worried we were never going to see the raptors get going. However, about mid-morning we started to see TVs and some buteos moving just to our north and then I spotted a very low young Golden Eagle that crossed through north of the ravine. In the interest of ensuring the OFO folks had birds to look at I had the entire group hop in their cars and head a few hundred metres up the road to what we call the "B&B" location. As soon as we exited the cars we spotted some nice kettles of TVs and buteos right out in front of us above the field on the east side of Fairview Rd. The flight continued to improve and the birds went a bit north again so everyone hopped in their cars once more and drove north and east a little bit till we ended about 100m north of Roberts Line which put us just north of the main flight line and again we got some great Golden Eagles along with lots of Redtails and Red-shouldered Hawks. For the last hour we then went back around the half km back to the B&B location and finished there as the rain started. The total raptors for the day was 1,494 with lots of TVs(1,291) along with good numbers of Redtails(103) and Red-shoulders(36). Our final tally of Golden Eagles was 11 with 8 of them either juvenile / immature looking birds (with white that varied from extensive to almost non-existent) and 3 of them that appeared to be either sub-adult / adult looking birds. Luckily, everyone in the OFO group got to see at least two or three Golden Eagles fairly well and for a few of the folks there today it was a species they'd never seen before. Other birders in the group had also never had a Red-shouldered Hawk before either so there were some pretty happy birders! While the raptor movement early was slow there were passerines everywhere in the shrubs right behind where we were sitting at the "Sharpie Alley" spot. A couple of nice surprises for the day were a young Chestnut-sided Warbler which was photographed and an adult female Black-throated Blue Warbler. There were lots of other non-raptors as well with White-throated Sparrows, American Robins, American Goldfinch, American Crows, Carolina Wrens, Black-capped Chickadees, Red-breasted and White-breasted Nuthatches, many huge flocks of Common Grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds, European Starlings, Purple Finches, Eastern Bluebirds, a single Double-crested Cormorant, Blue Jays, N. Flickers, Downy, Hairy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Hermit Thrushes, Eastern Phoebe, Mourning Doves, N. Cardinals, Eastern Towhee, Gray Catbird, Cedar Waxwings, Chipping Sparrow and Canada Geese. A nice highlight for the end of the day was a flight of 10 Sandhill Cranes that came low at us from the west then circled up and headed NW before turning east again and passing over us once more but easily twice the height they were on the first pass. We had great views of this flock both times. All in all not a bad day at the hawk watch and a big thanks to the OFO group and other visitors for making the day a lot of fun. Reported by Dave Brown

October 23 2021 (Saturday) Fall Bruce Peninsula Trips

Leader: Martin Parker.

Field Trip Report - Fall Birding on the Bruce, October 23-24, 2021 The annual OFO Fall Birding the Bruce Peninsula trip led by Martin & Kathy Parker, and new OFO Director Kiah Jasper provided many highlights for the participants. The highlights on Saturday, October 23 included multiple Rough-legged Hawks in the Ferndale Flats, Red-necked Grebes & White-winged Scoters off Dyer?s Bay, arriving Snow Buntings at various locations on the Georgian Bay shoreline, late departing Osprey at Sky Lake which was being mobbed by a Bald Eagle, and many American Coots. Small flocks of White-winged Crossbills and Common Redpolls were encountered at a number of locations. On Sunday the participants encountered ten Rough-legged Hawks at various locations, a field with about 250 American Pipits, some of which posed on fence posts (when flying their bellies sparkled bright in the sunlight), Tundra Swans at Stokes Bay, multiple Northern Harriers and Bald Eagles, Greater Yellowlegs at Oliphant and close views of White-winged Scoters and a Red-necked Grebe and 2 Horned Grebes in the mouth of the Sauble River. The total species list for the weekend was 80 species. Checklists are being posted on eBird. There was rain while driving between locations and when the group stopped the sun shone through the clouds. Martin Parker

October 17 2021 (Sunday) Durham Waterfront Walk

Leader: Geoff Carpentier.

Geoff Carpentier led an OFO trip on Sunday. Here is his report :Thirteen OFO birders joined me as we explored parts of the Durham waterfront on Sunday October 17th. Areas focused on were Thickson's Point, Carruther's Marsh and Cranberry Marsh. The trip was rescheduled after heavy rains were forecast for the 16th and it was a good move so it seems as Sunday was gorgeous. The flight of hawks with many land birds made for an enjoyable outing. 58 species were recorded by the group (list attached) including 3 species of warblers, one shorebird, 8 raptors and a Red-throated Loon. Several of the group continued on to Toronto after the walk to see the amazing Purple Gallinule!

Red-eyed Vireo
Photo: Frank and Sandra Horvath

Ross's Goose
Photo: Jean Iron

White-throated Sparrow
Photo: Richard Dubiel

Blackburnian Warbler
Photo: Brandon Holden

Northern Harrier
Photo: Don Wigle

Wilson's Warbler
Photo: Brandon Holden

Mourning Warbler
Photo: Tom Thomas