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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Winter Birding Program 2013


Always An Adventure's Winter Birding Program ~ 2013 

Snowy Owl ~ Photo courtesy Tony Beck
Snowy Owl ~ Photo courtesy Tony Beck


WINTER 2013 BIRDING FIELD TRIPS
Relaxed, Fun, Exciting and Educational Excursions in the Greater Ottawa Area ~ From Beginner to Expert - Great For All Levels
Winter/Spring Birding Packages:
1) Get the entire Package for only $300 HST included
This includes ALL half-day excursions, full-day excursions and the overnight trip.
2) Only have time on Weekends? For only $200 HST included, get all half-day and full-day excursions that occur on weekends (Saturdays and Sundays)
3) Only have time during Weekdays? For only $200 HST included, get all half-day and full-day excursions that occur during weekdays (Monday to Friday). 


Cedar Waxwing

Single excursions (HST included):
$40.oo per person, per half-day excursion (starts at 8am, and ends around 12:30pm)
$70.00 per person, per FULL-day excursion (starts at 6am, and ends around 5pm)
$170.00 per person, per overnight excursion (accommodation, transportation, park fees and food NOT included)

Packages (HST included):
$200: Weekday Package containing 8 half-day excursions and 2 FULL-day excursions
$200: Weekend Package containing 8 half-day excursions and 2 FULL-day excursions
$300: FULL package containing 16 half-day excursions, 4 FULL-day excursions, and 1 OVERNIGHT trip (Algonquin Park)

HURRY, Space Is Limited!!!
SPECIAL LIMITED-TIME OFFERS
Offers Expire January 15
Registered Members Can Expect More!


Bohemian Waxwing ~ Photo courtesy Tony Beck
Great Grey Owl  ~ Photo courtesy Tony Beck


FULL Program in The Ottawa Area

1 - Tuesday Jan 8: Hawks, Snowy Owls & Open Country Birds - Ottawa East
2 - Thursday Jan 10: Winter Water Birds - Ottawa Center and West
3 - Saturday Jan 12: FULL Day to Amherst Island - Kingston
4 - Saturday Jan 19: Sarsaparilla Trail & other Greenbelt Trails
5 - Sunday Jan 20: The Gatineau Escarpment & The Steel Line
6 - Tuesday Jan 22: Sarsaparilla Trail & other Greenbelt Trails
7 - Saturday Jan 26: Winter Water Birds - Ottawa Center and West
8 - Sunday Jan 27: Raptor Search - Ottawa East
9 - Tuesday Jan 29: FULL Day to Amherst Island - Kingston - CANCELLED
10 - Tuesday Feb 5: Raptor Search - Ottawa East
11 - Saturday Feb 9: Greenbelt Trails - Ottawa West
12 - Sunday Feb 10: Dewberry Trail, Mer Bleue & Wall Road - Ottawa East
13 - Tuesday Feb 12: The Gatineau Escarpment & The Steel Line
14 - Sunday Feb 17: Winter Specialties - Ottawa West
15 - Thursday Feb 21: Raptors & Open Country - Ottawa East
16 - Saturday Feb 23: FULL Day to Amherst Island - Kingston
17 - Thursday March 14: FULL Day to Amherst Island - Kingston - Waiting List ONLY!
18 - Saturday March 16: Larose Forest & Open Fields - Ottawa East
19 - Tuesday March 19: The First Spring Arrivals - Ottawa West
20 - Thursday March 21: The First Spring Arrivals - Ottawa East
21 - Sat/Sun March 23-24 OVERNIGHT EXCURSION to Algonquin Park


Northern Hawk Owl ~ Photo courtesy Tony Beck
Hoary Redpoll ~ Photo courtesy Tony Beck

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1) Tuesday Jan 8: Hawks, Snowy Owls & Open Country Birds - Ottawa East - $40 per person
Time: 8:00am, meet at  The Park & Ride Lot, northeast corner, on Trim Road (Orleans), south of intersection with Hwy. 17

The open agricultural fields east of Ottawa are often our most productive areas for raptors, especially in winter. Red-tailed Hawks regularly occur here all year round. Some winters, this is the most reliable area for Snowy Owl. The vast open expanses offer ideal hunting grounds for these arctic breeders. With luck, we may see other interesting animals like Coyote, Red Fox, Gray Partridge, Rough-legged Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Short-eared Owl or Lapland Longspur. If time permits, we'll check woodland edges and suburban areas for interesting over-wintering songbirds.

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2) Thursday Jan 10: Winter Water Birds - Ottawa Center and West - $40 per person
Time 8:00am, meet at Coliseum Theater Parking Lot, northeast corner, 3090 Carling Ave., east of Bayshore.

Every winter, regardless of temperature, our local rivers remain open where waters run fast. Tolerant of extreme cold, many hardy ducks enjoy our rivers simply because they’ve adapted to finding food in these extremes. They wouldn’t survive otherwise. Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser, Mallard and Black Ducks should be highly visible. Mixed among them will be some uncommon waterfowl like Barrow’s Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, or maybe something more unusual. There may be some overwintering “white-winged” gulls on the ice edge, like Glaucous, Iceland or Thayer’s. The open waters are also patrolled by hunters like Peregrine Falcon, Bald Eagle or Cooper’s Hawk. With luck, we might see a Gyrfalcon, one of the most sought-after birds of prey.

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3) Saturday Jan 12: FULL Day to Amherst Island - Kingston - $70 per person
Time 6:00am, meet at  Coliseum Theater Parking Lot, northeast corner, 3090 Carling Ave., east of Bayshore.

Most years Amherst Island is a haven for overwintering raptors. Northern Harriers, American Kestrels, Red-tailed and Rough-legged Hawks can be common, while Snowy Owl, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owl and Saw-whet Owl are usually present, sometimes in good numbers. With luck we may even find a Boreal Owl or Great Gray Owl. These birds of prey are attracted to the abundant Meadow Vole population and the vast open spaces, ideally suited to their hunting techniques. If conditions are good, we’ll stay on the island until dusk, when many raptors are most active. If time permits, other areas along the St. Lawrence River, especially near Kingston, should provide us with good views of interesting waterfowl, raptors, or maybe even something rare.

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4) Saturday Jan 19: Sarsaparilla Trail & other Greenbelt Trails - $40 per person
Time 8:00am, meet at Coliseum Theater Parking Lot, northeast corner, 3090 Carling Ave., east of Bayshore.

Ottawa’s Greenbelt is blessed with a rich network of woodland trails, many providing shelter and food for a rich variety of wildlife. The Sarsaparilla Trail, dominated by coniferous forest, provides a habitat well suited to northern birds. Nearby, the Rideau Trail should entertain us with its natural beauty. We will also check out areas impacted by recent forest fires. Some winter birds are well adapted at finding food in the fire damage. We’ll search for various woodpeckers and finches, including Black-backed Woodpecker, and with luck, American Three-toed Woodpecker.

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5) Sunday Jan 20: The Gatineau Escarpment & The Steel Line - $40 per person
Time 8:00am, meet at the parking lot of the Information Kiosk, corner of Rue Gamelin and Promenade de la Gatineau.

The rugged beauty of the Gatineau Escarpment offers us the opportunity to see many interesting birds. At the edge of the Canadian Shield, northern finches, woodpeckers and raptors recognize habitats similar to their northern breeding grounds. Typically, they’re found here more easily than in Ottawa’s lowlands. We’ll look for raptors using the updrafts created by the escarpment. Throughout winter Bald Eagles are found regularly, and occasionally, we see Golden Eagles. We’ll spend the morning exploring the many backroads networked through the hills and lowlands, including the famed Steele Line. Other possibilities include: Pine Grosbeak, Evening Grosbeak, White-winged Crossbill, Red Crossbill, Northern Hawk Owl, Great Gray Owl, Northern Goshawk... the possibilities are endless.

_________________________________________

6) Tuesday Jan 22: Sarsaparilla Trail & other Greenbelt Trails - $40 per person
Time 8:00am, meet at Coliseum Theater Parking Lot, northeast corner, 3090 Carling Ave., east of Bayshore.

Ottawa’s Greenbelt is blessed with a rich network of woodland trails, many providing shelter and food for a rich variety of wildlife. The Sarsaparilla Trail, dominated by coniferous forest, provides a habitat well suited to northern birds. Nearby, the Rideau Trail should entertain us with its natural beauty. We will also check out areas impacted by recent forest fires. Some winter birds are well adapted at finding food in the fire damage. We’ll search for various woodpeckers and finches, including Black-backed Woodpecker, and with luck, American Three-toed Woodpecker.

_________________________________________

7) Saturday Jan 26: Winter Water Birds - Ottawa Center and West - $40 per person
 Time 8:00am, meet at Coliseum Theater Parking Lot, northeast corner, 3090 Carling Ave., east of Bayshore.

Every winter, regardless of temperature, our local rivers remain open where waters run fast. Tolerant of extreme cold, many hardy ducks enjoy our rivers simply because they’ve adapted to finding food in these extremes. They wouldn’t survive otherwise. Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser, Mallard and Black Ducks should be highly visible. Mixed among them will be some uncommon waterfowl like Barrow’s Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, or maybe something more unusual. There may be some overwintering “white-winged” gulls on the ice edge, like Glaucous, Iceland or Thayer’s. The open waters are also patrolled by hunters like Peregrine Falcon, Bald Eagle or Cooper’s Hawk. With luck, we might see a Gyrfalcon, one of the most sought-after birds of prey.

_________________________________________

8) Sunday Jan 27: Raptor Search - Ottawa East - $40 per person
Time 8:00am, meet at The Park & Ride Lot, northeast corner, on Trim Road (Orleans), south of intersection with Hwy. 17.

This trip highlights birds of prey found east of the city. As winter progresses, some raptors form fairly predictable routines. Meanwhile, others might still be arriving from the north, or wandering around in search of productive feeding grounds. We’ll mainly check open country - the most consistent place to see over-wintering raptors. However, based on current reports from local birding networks, we’ll concentrate our efforts in locations where they’re being seen. Some of our targets include Snowy Owl, Northern Goshawk, Northern Shrike, Rough-legged Hawk or any of the northern specialties.

_________________________________________

9) CANCELLED - Tuesday Jan 29: FULL Day to Amherst Island - Kingston - $70 per person
Time 6:00am, meet at  Coliseum Theater Parking Lot, northeast corner, 3090 Carling Ave., east of Bayshore.

Most years Amherst Island is a haven for overwintering raptors. Northern Harriers, American Kestrels, Red-tailed and Rough-legged Hawks can be common, while Snowy Owl, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owl and Saw-whet Owl are usually present, sometimes in good numbers. With luck we may even find a Boreal Owl or Great Gray Owl. These birds of prey are attracted to the abundant Meadow Vole population and the vast open spaces, ideally suited to their hunting techniques. If conditions are good, we’ll stay on the island until dusk, when many raptors are most active. If time permits, other areas along the St. Lawrence River, especially near Kingston, should provide us with good views of interesting waterfowl, raptors, or maybe even something rare.

_________________________________________

10) Tuesday Feb 5: Raptor Search - Ottawa East - $40 per person
Time 8:00am, meet at The Park & Ride Lot, northeast corner, on Trim Road (Orleans), south of intersection with Hwy. 17.

This trip highlights birds of prey found east of the city. As winter progresses, some raptors form fairly predictable routines. Meanwhile, others might still be arriving from the north, or wandering around in search of productive feeding grounds. We’ll mainly check open country - the most consistent place to see over-wintering raptors. However, based on current reports from local birding networks, we’ll concentrate our efforts in locations where they’re being seen. Some of our targets include Snowy Owl, Northern Goshawk, Northern Shrike, Rough-legged Hawk or any of the northern specialties.

_________________________________________

11) Saturday Feb 9: Greenbelt Trails - Ottawa West - $40 per person
Time 8:00am, meet at Coliseum Theater Parking Lot, northeast corner, 3090 Carling Ave., east of Bayshore.

Ottawa’s Greenbelt is blessed with a rich network of woodland trails, many providing shelter and food for a rich variety of wildlife. We’ll start at one of the trail networks in the west end, likely near the Ottawa River. We hope to see flocks of over-wintering songbirds feeding in scrub or along woodland edges. Possibilities include Bohemian Waxwing, Pine Grosbeak, Common Redpoll, Hoary Redpoll, and Evening Grosbeak. In the forests, we’ll look for woodpeckers, chickadees, and raptors. If we’re really lucky, we’ll witness a flock of chickadees mobbing a small owl.  If time permits, we’ll check nearby habitats for Snowy Owl and other interesting over-wintering birds.

_________________________________________

12) Sunday Feb 10: Dewberry Trail, Mer Bleue & Wall Road - Ottawa East - $40 per person
Time 8:00, meet at The Park & Ride Lot, northeast corner, on Trim Road (Orleans), south of intersection with Hwy. 17.

Ottawa’s east end is blessed with much natural habitat, including the unique Mer Bleue Bog. Some years, interesting northern birds over-winter here. Perhaps a Northern Hawk Owl, Northern Goshawk, Barred Owl or a flock of Pine Grosbeaks will give us a show. Hopefully, the fields surrounding the city will produce birds like Snowy Owl, Northern Shrike, Gray Partridge and Snow Bunting.  We’ll check feeding stations and trails for winter finches, woodpeckers and sparrows. If time permits, we’ll head further east in search of winter raptors like Rough-legged Hawk and Snowy Owl.

_________________________________________

13) Tuesday Feb 12: The Gatineau Escarpment & The Steel Line - $40 per person
Time 8:00am, meet at the parking lot of the Information Kiosk, corner of Rue Gamelin and Promenade de la Gatineau.

The rugged beauty of the Gatineau Escarpment offers us the opportunity to see many interesting birds. At the edge of the Canadian Shield, northern finches, woodpeckers and raptors recognize habitats similar to their northern breeding grounds. Typically, they’re found here more easily than in Ottawa’s lowlands. We’ll look for raptors using the updrafts created by the escarpment. Throughout winter Bald Eagles are found regularly, and occasionally, we see Golden Eagles. We’ll spend the morning exploring the many backroads networked through the hills and lowlands, including the famed Steele Line. Other possibilities include: Pine Grosbeak, Evening Grosbeak, White-winged Crossbill, Red Crossbill, Northern Hawk Owl, Great Gray Owl, Northern Goshawk... the possibilities are endless.

_________________________________________

14) Sunday Feb 17: Winter Specialties - Ottawa West - $40 per person
Time 8:00am, meet at Coliseum Theater Parking Lot, northeast corner, 3090 Carling Ave., east of Bayshore.

Ottawa’s Winter, and all the over-wintering birds that visit from the north, are what set our region apart from the rest of the avian world. Each year, Ottawa attracts birds like White-winged Crossbill, Evening Grosbeak, Hoary Redpoll, Black-backed Woodpecker, Pine Grosbeak, Bohemian Waxwing or Snowy Owl. Birders from across the globe have come here to see these gems since they can be elusive elsewhere on the continent. Following up on reports from local birding networks, we’ll search Ottawa’s west end for these special birds. Other northern possibilities include Gyrfalcon, Gray Jay, Boreal Chickadee, Northern Hawk Owl, Great Gray Owl or Boreal Owl. If any of these are around, we’ll make special effort to find them.

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15) Thursday Feb 21: Raptors & Open Country - Ottawa East - $40 per person
Time 8:00am, meet The Park & Ride Lot, northeast corner, on Trim Road (Orleans), south of intersection with Hwy. 17.

Today we’ll explore the backroads and fields east of Ottawa. In recent years, this area has been our best bet for over-wintering Snowy Owl. We’ll focus most of our efforts to find this beautiful creature. Our search will have us driving the country roads where they traditionally spend the winter - great hunting grounds for voles and other small animals. We’ll also pay attention to the forest edges. Sometimes hawks and owls use the forest cover to hide from prey. By late February, the fields will also reveal the return of the first spring migrants - Horned Larks. We’ll check through flocks of Snow Buntings and Horned Larks carefully with the hopes of finding other open-country songbirds like Lapland Longspur.

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16) Saturday Feb 23: FULL Day to Amherst Island - Kingston - $70 per person
Time 6:00am, meet at  Coliseum Theater Parking Lot, northeast corner, 3090 Carling Ave., east of Bayshore. 

Most years Amherst Island is a haven for overwintering raptors. Northern Harriers, American Kestrels, Red-tailed and Rough-legged Hawks can be common, while Snowy Owl, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owl and Saw-whet Owl are usually present, sometimes in good numbers. With luck we may even find a Boreal Owl or Great Gray Owl. These birds of prey are attracted to the abundant Meadow Vole population and the vast open spaces, ideally suited to their hunting techniques. If conditions are good, we’ll stay on the island until dusk, when many raptors are most active. If time permits, other areas along the St. Lawrence River, especially near Kingston, should provide us with good views of interesting waterfowl, raptors, or maybe even something rare.

_______________________________________

17) Thursday March 14 - FULL Day to Amherst Island - Kingston - $70 per person
Time 6:00am, meet at  Coliseum Theater Parking Lot, northeast corner, 3090 Carling Ave., east of Bayshore. Waiting List ONLY! - We do not take more participants at this point.

Most years Amherst Island is a haven for overwintering raptors. Northern Harriers, American Kestrels, Red-tailed and Rough-legged Hawks can be common, while Snowy Owl, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owl and Saw-whet Owl are usually present, sometimes in good numbers. With luck we may even find a Boreal Owl or Great Gray Owl. These birds of prey are attracted to the abundant Meadow Vole population and the vast open spaces, ideally suited to their hunting techniques. If conditions are good, we’ll stay on the island until dusk, when many raptors are most active. If time permits, other areas along the St. Lawrence River, especially near Kingston, should provide us with good views of interesting waterfowl, raptors, or maybe even something rare.

_________________________________________

18) Saturday March 16: Larose Forest & Open Fields - Ottawa East - $40 per person
Time 8:00am, meet at  The Park & Ride Lot, northeast corner, on Trim Road (Orleans), south of intersection with Hwy. 17.

The Larose Forest is a mixed tract of natural habitats and coniferous plantation. Much of it is mature. This vast woodland often harbours many interesting species. We’ll start by checking a few local fields for Snowy Owl before we drive through the forest. In the woods we hope to see good numbers of northern finches, woodpeckers, and early spring migrants. With luck we may find Northern Goshawk, Red Crossbill or Ruffed Grouse. If time permits, we’ll check the fields around the village of Casselman where we should find Snowy Owls and Rough-legged Hawks.  

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19) Tuesday March 19: The First Spring Arrivals - Ottawa West - $40 per person
Time 8:00am, meet at Coliseum Theater Parking Lot, northeast corner, 3090 Carling Ave., east of Bayshore.

The first signs of spring are in the air. And, there is no better place than along Ottawa’s river courses to witness the transition. Male Red-winged Blackbirds will be belting out the familiar “Konk-a-ree” as they establish their territories in local wetlands. American Robins might be inspired to sing a few phrases of their sweet spring melodies. For certain, we’ll see adult Ring-billed Gulls in their immaculate breeding plumage, paired off with their mates. Although birds will be on the move, there will still be plenty of winter birds around. We’ll attempt to get close views of finches, waxwings, woodpeckers, raptors, white-winged gulls and waterfowl. This is the beginning of our favourite time of year.

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20) Thursday March 21: The First Spring Arrivals - Ottawa East - $40 per person
Time 8:00am, meet at The Park & Ride Lot, northeast corner, on Trim Road (Orleans), south of intersection with Hwy. 17.

By mid March we can expect longer days and the beginnings of a spring thaw. These conditions typically cause flooding in low-lying fields east of Ottawa. It also triggers many waterfowl, gulls and other species to push northward. If conditions are ideal, we usually get a flurry of ducks, geese, blackbirds, and others arriving, sometimes in big numbers. Robins and Red-winged Blackbirds will be busy establishing territories. And, the backroads through the open fields will have a sprinkling of Horned Larks picking at gravel or food along roadsides. We’ll explore agricultural areas for raptors, Snow Buntings, Lapland Longspur, or anything unusual. If weather conditions bring warm temperatures, we might see a few early arrivals like Tree Swallow, Eastern Bluebird, Eastern Meadowlark, Eastern Phoebe or Sandhill Crane. This is the beginning of our favourite time of year.

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21) Sat/Sun March 23-24 OVERNIGHT EXCURSION to Algonquin Park - $170 per person
Time: 6:00am, meet at the Coliseum Theatre Parking Lot, east side, 3090 Carling Ave., east of Bayshore.  Limited number of participants. Note reg due date!
Obligatory registration deadline by Feb. 10 to: Tonysalwaysanadventure@Gmail.com                                                                            

Algonquin Park is famous for its extensive northern forest habitats. Its large stands of spruce and pine often attract a variety of finches and raptors. It also harbours several northern residents that are considered rare in the Ottawa area. Here we look for Gray Jays, Boreal Chickadees, Spruce Grouse, Evening Grosbeak and Black-backed Woodpecker. A mixture of large lakes, boggy wetlands, boreal and hardwood forests, this is Ontario’s most accessible northern wilderness. From our starting point in Ottawa, we head straight for the park, spending a few hours exploring the east side before we have lunch somewhere in the park. In late afternoon, we check into our hotel (Whitney, Ont.) just outside the East Gate. We will have an early dinner, then go back into the park for dusk. If conditions are good, we will stay and listen for owls and maybe even wolves. The following morning, we go into the park immediately after breakfast. We will spend the entire day there, hiking some of the leisurely trails, leaving around 3:00pm. We can expect to be back home around 6:00pm.

 _________________________________________


White-winged Crossbill ~ Photo courtesy Tony Beck
White-winged Crossbill ~ Photo courtesy Tony Beck


Please Pay By Cash Or Cheque Only

Field Trip Guidelines

* Poor weather conditions often produce the most interesting birds. Therefore, trips will proceed rain or shine. Listen to weather forecasts and dress accordingly. Only the most severe weather conditions will postpone trips.
Our winter can be extremely cold. So, bundle up in layers.
* Transportation will be by personal vehicle and car pool. Passengers are encouraged to contribute to fuel costs. Please let us know if you need transportation
* Some hiking should be expected in areas with active trail networks. Comfortable footwear is recommended.
* Participants should bring their own binoculars and refreshments. Please let us  know if you need binoculars. If necessary, high quality optics can be loaned.
* For overnight excursions, participants will provide their own meals (in some cases, we may eat at restaurants).
* The trip itinerary is subject to change depending on weather patterns, current local bird activity or any unforeseen factors.

This Christmas, give the gift of Nature
Gift Certificates Available  



Contact us: TonysAlwaysAnAdventure@Gmail.com

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for the Winter Birding Program 2013 schedule. Love all the photos. Hope to join you in 2013.
    Helena G.

    ReplyDelete