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Monday, March 28, 2011

Sunday Excursion 27th March 2011

Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus) 

15 enthusiastic birders and photographers gathered together on this clear, yet brisk morning in Gatineau Park. Our goal was to look for lingering winter-birds in the hills of Quebec.
Yet again the day started out perfectly with 2000+ Bohemian Waxwings having a feast on the remaining berries in the trees, occasionally coming to the ground to eat snow. Their soft trill had a soothing quality.


We car-pooled for a long ride along the base of the Gatineau escarpment.
We cut through the park north from the village of Eardley.
Along the way  we observed about 20 Turkey Vultures, a few Red-tailed and Rough-legged Hawks, 4 Bald Eagles, 2 American Kestrels, and 2 Merlins.

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)

To end a great birding day, and make it complete, we had an Eastern Screech-Owl, which I now can proudly add to my lifelist.

  1. Canada Goose        
  2. Mallard
  3. Wild Turkey
  4. Red-tailed Hawk
  5. Rough-legged Hawk
  6. Ring-billed Gull
  7. Rock Pigeon
  8. Blue Jay
  9. American Crow
  10. Common Raven
  11. Black-capped Chickadee
  12. American Robin
  13. European Starling
  14. American Tree Sparrow
  15. Song Sparrow
  16. Northern Cardinal
  17. Red-winged Blackbird
  18. Common Grackle
  19. American Goldfinch
  20. Common Redpoll
  21. House Sparrow
  22. Bohemian Waxwing
  23. Merlin
  24. Turkey Vulture
  25. Hairy Woodpecker
  26. Downy Woodpecker
  27. Red-breasted Nuthatch
  28. Bald Eagle
  29. Snowbunting
  30. American Kestrel
  31. Common Goldeneye
  32. Eastern Screech-Owl
Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo Jamaicensis)

Excursion organized by Tony Beck - Always An Adventure

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Excursion Thursday 24th March 2011 - Ottawa

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

What a most perfect day!
The excursion started with a young Moose staring at us from the edge of the woods while driving to our destination.
It was a fresh and crisp day, with sunshine and blue skies.
It started out very well, already with 17 species on the day-list before 8:00am.
After some hiking, driving, stopping and scanning, we went searching for geese again.
Our goal was to repeat the great experience of last Sunday's excursion. 

Thousands of Canada Geese

Today we had a single Snow Goose together with thousands of Canada Geese. 
After a tractor flushed about 20,000 of them, we spotted a Leucistic Canada Goose in with the flock.
We ended up with 29 different species by the end of the morning:
  1. Canada Goose        
  2. American Black Duck
  3. Mallard
  4. Wild Turkey
  5. Red-tailed Hawk
  6. Rough-legged Hawk
  7. Killdeer
  8. Ring-billed Gull
  9. Rock Pigeon
  10. Mourning Dove
  11. Blue Jay
  12. American Crow
  13. Common Raven
  14. Black-capped Chickadee
  15. White-breasted Nuthatch
  16. American Robin
  17. European Starling
  18. American Tree Sparrow
  19. Song Sparrow
  20. Northern Cardinal
  21. Red-winged Blackbird
  22. Common Grackle
  23. American Goldfinch
  24. Common Redpoll
  25. House Sparrow
  26. Northern Pintail
  27. Horned Lark
  28. Snow Goose
  29. Pileated Woodpecker
American Black Duck (Anas rubripes)

Although I can not get enough of the massive numbers of Canada Geese these days, I haven't forgotten the more common birds like Northern Cardinal and American Black Duck.

Thanks to Tony, I can also add American Woodcock to my life-list.
Last Wednesday evening we saw and heard its full display. 

Rough-legged hawk
Rough-legged Hawk / Rough-legged Buzzard (Buteo lagopus)

Excursion organized by Tony Beck - Always An Adventure

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Goose overdose...?

Snow Geese

Am I on the brink of a birding overdose?
Nope, not at all!! On the contrary!!

After witnessing over 100,000 - Yes! One Hundred Thousand - Snow & Canada Geese last weekend, I am more hooked on spring migration then ever before!
It was an unbelievable sight! I was in total awe...

Scenery with Canada Geese

Nothing can compare to the experience of seeing such an abundance of life.
In addition to the goose overdose, I had Ross's Goose as a lifer, and a really nice long look at an adult  Peregrine Falcon from our balcony at the 23rd floor, which was a new bird added to my "balcony list".

Saturday we had a day-list of 32 species, and on Sunday we had 34.
The total list for the weekend was 41:
  1. American Black Duck
  2. Canada Goose
  3. Mallard
  4. Green-winged Teal
  5. Bufflehead
  6. Common Merganser
  7. Wild Turkey
  8. Turkey Vulture
  9. Red-tailed Hawk
  10. Rough-legged Hawk
  11. Killdeer
  12. Ring-billed Gull
  13. Herring Gull
  14. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  15. Rock Pigeon
  16. Mourning Dove
  17. Hairy Woodpecker
  18. Blue Jay
  19. American Crow
  20. Common Raven
  21. Black-capped Chickadee
  22. White-breasted Nuthatch
  23. American Robin
  24. European Starling
  25. American Tree Sparrow
  26. Song Sparrow
  27. Northern Cardinal
  28. Red-winged Blackbird
  29. Common Grackle
  30. American Goldfinch
  31. Common Redpoll
  32. House Sparrow
  33. Hooded Merganser
  34. American Wigeon
  35. Ring-necked Duck
  36. Cackling Goose
  37. Northern Pintail
  38. Northern Harrier
  39. American Goldfinch
  40. Horned Lark
  41. Snow Goose
Common Redpoll (carduelis flammea) 

Last Tuesday's birding excursion we had 36 species as follows:
  1. Canada Goose        
  2. American Black Duck
  3. Mallard
  4. Green-winged Teal
  5. Wild Turkey
  6. Turkey Vulture
  7. Red-tailed Hawk
  8. Killdeer
  9. Ring-billed Gull
  10. Herring Gull
  11. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  12. Great Black-backed Gull
  13. Rock Pigeon
  14. Mourning Dove
  15. Hairy Woodpecker
  16. Blue Jay
  17. American Crow
  18. Black-capped Chickadee
  19. White-breasted Nuthatch
  20. American Robin
  21. European Starling
  22. American Tree Sparrow
  23. Song Sparrow
  24. Northern Cardinal
  25. Red-winged Blackbird
  26. Common Grackle
  27. Common Redpoll
  28. Hoary Redpoll
  29. Northern Pintail
  30. Horned Lark
  31. Dark-eyed Junco
  32. Common Goldeneye
  33. Downy Woodpecker
  34. Pileated Woodpecker
  35. Greater White-fronted Goose
  36. Bald Eagle 
The Greater White-fronted Geese was the highlight of the day together with the Bald Eagle.

All excursions organized by: Tony Beck - Always An Adventure

Common Redpoll (carduelis flammea) chaos at the Hilda Road Feeder, Ottawa - Canada

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Birding Excursion - Ottawa, Canada, 17th March 2011

Hoary Redpoll or Arctic Redpoll (Carduelis hornemanni)

The taste of spring becomes sweeter each day.
Birders and photographers met at Britannia, where Red-winged Blackbirds, Northern Cardinals and a single Song Sparrow entertained us with their beautiful song.
We were surrounded by spring-like activity with some birds carrying nest material, others claiming their territory and others in courtship.
The best birds of the morning were a Killdeer flying over head, Hooded Mergansers on the river and a pair of Northern Pintail near the marina.
We moved on for a little drive to March Valley Road. Here we found Pileated Woodpeckers, Green-winged Teal, Red-tailed and Rough-legged Hawks.
As the day progressed, the fog lifted and we had beautiful blue skies with warm comfortable temperatures.
There’s not many winter-birds left, but luckily Tony spotted a Northern Shrike.
We went to the Hilda Road feeder again to see if we could relocate the Leucistic Common Redpoll from Tuesday’s excursion, but we could not. Although there was still a lot of redpolls we could only find two Hoary Redpolls.
Never the less, it was a super day, which also included Turkey Vulture and Bufflehead, amongst other things.

  1. American Crow
  2. Northern Cardinal
  3. Wild Turkey
  4. Canada Goose
  5. Rock Pigeons
  6. Ring-billed Gull
  7. European Starling
  8. Red-winged Blackbird
  9. Red-tailed Hawk
  10. Common Grackle
  11. Blue Jay
  12. Mourning Dove
  13. American Robin
  14. Common Merganser
  15. Rough-legged Hawk
  16. Common Raven
  17. House Sparrow
  18. Buffledhead
  19. Common Goldeneye
  20. Herring Gull
  21. Black-capped Chickadee
  22. White-breasted Nuthatch
  23. House Finch
  24. American Tree Sparrow
  25. Dark-eyed Junco
  26. Mallard
  27. Hairy Woodpecker
  28. Hooded Merganser
  29. Great Black-backed Gull
  30. Downy Woodpecker
  31. American Black Duck
  32. American Goldfinch
  33. Turkey Vulture
  34. Common Redpoll
  35. Killdeer
  36. Song Sparrow
  37. Northern Pintail
  38. Hoary Redpoll
  39. Pileated Woodpecker
  40. Northern Shrike
  41. Green-winged Teal
Male Common Redpoll (Carduelis flammea)

Excursion organized by Tony Beck - Always An Adventure

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bird Walk @ Jack Pine Trail, Ottawa, March 15th.

Tony Beck hand-feeding the Black-capped Chickadee

What an amazing day!
Bright sunshine with blue skies, and spring migration all around us, hiking along the Jack Pine Trail today revealed many species, like  Black-capped Chickadees, Blue Jays, Hairy and Downy Woodpecker, just to mention a few.
Canada Geese were frequently flying over head, and Redwinged Blackbirds were busy claiming their new found territory.
After completing the trail and getting our fill of hand-feeding the smaller birds, we went to the Burnside Pit.
There we saw about 600 Canada Geese, and a good mix of about 800 Ring-billed, Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls resting on the ice.
Tony spotted 3 Glaucous Gulls and a Cackling Goose.
A couple of Red-tailed Hawks were perched looking at all the incoming traffic of Gulls and Geese.
To end the excursion we went to the Hilda Feeder at Shirley’s Bay.
There we saw a wonderful mix of Common Redpoll, American Tree Sparrow and Red-winged Blackbirds.
In all this chaotic activity at the feeder, Tony spotted 3 Hoary Redpolls and a Leucistic Common Redpoll for us all to photograph.

Spring migration is all around us!

Day list 15th March 2011:
  1. Northern Cardinal
  2. American Crow
  3. Canada Goose
  4. Rock Pigeon
  5. Ring-billed Gull
  6. European Starling
  7. Redwinged Blackbird
  8. Redtailed Hawk
  9. Blue Jay
  10. Mourning Dove
  11. American Robin
  12. Common Raven
  13. House Sparrow
  14. Herring Gull
  15. Black-capped Chickadee
  16. White-breasted Nuthatch
  17. American Tree Sparrow
  18. Dark-eyed Junco
  19. Mallard
  20. Hairy Woodpecker
  21. Great Black-backed Gull
  22. Downy Woodpecker
  23. Common Redpoll / Leucistic
  24. Hoary Redpoll
  25. Palliated Woodpecker
  26. Red-breasted Nuthatch
  27. Brown Creeper
  28. Glaucous Gull
  29. Cackling Goose
Leucistic Common Redpoll - Photo courtesy of Bill Bowman

Excursion Organized by Tony Beck - Always An Adventure

Monday, March 14, 2011

Birding Excursion to the Kingston area, Ontario, Canada 12-13 March 2011

Long-tailed Duck or Oldsquaw (Clangula hyemalis)

A small enthusiastic group of birders and photographers defied the cold and humid weather, and went to the Kingston area for a weekend excursion.
Although the number of owls were low, the group experienced a tremendous surge of waterfowl migrating along the shores of Lake Ontario.
Among the many species of diving ducks, there were about 3000 Long-tailed Ducks and about 4000 Greater Scaup.
Canada Goose, Herring and Ring-billed Gulls were everywhere, and Redwinged Blackbirds were singing from every treetop.
The best birds of the trip were 10 White-winged Scooter, a singing Carolina Wren and a soaring Turkey Vulture.
We had 40 species on the first day and 47 the second day.
The total amount of species for the trip was 53 (from Saturday morning until late afternoon Sunday).

Trip list as follows:

  1. American Crow
  2. Northern Cardinal
  3. Wild Turkey
  4. Canada Goose
  5. Rock Pigeons
  6. Ring-billed Gull
  7. European Starling
  8. Redwinged Blackbird
  9. Redtailed Hawk
  10. Common Grackle
  11. Blue Jay
  12. Mourning Dove
  13. American Robin
  14. Mute Swan
  15. Common Merganser
  16. Long-tailed Duck
  17. Redbreasted Merganser
  18. Rough-legged Hawk
  19. Common Raven
  20. House Sparrow
  21. Buffledhead
  22. Greater Scaup
  23. Redhead
  24. Common Goldeneye
  25. Horned Lark
  26. Herring Gull
  27. Golden-crowned Kinglet
  28. Black-capped Chickadee
  29. White-breasted Nuthatch
  30. House Finch
  31. American Tree Sparrow
  32. Dark-eyed Junco
  33. Ring-necked Pheasant
  34. White-winged Scooter
  35. Mallard
  36. American Kestrel
  37. Lesser Scaup
  38. Hairy Woodpecker
  39. Northern Harrier
  40. Sharp-shinned Hawk
  41. Carolina Wren
  42. Hooded Merganser
  43. Great Horned Owl
  44. Great Black-backed Gull
  45. Downey Woodpecker
  46. Snowbunting
  47. Long-eared Owl
  48. American Black Duck
  49. American Goldfinch
  50. Gadvall
  51. American Coot
  52. Turkey Vulture
  53. Common Redpoll
Excursion was organized by Tony Beck - Always An Adventure