Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Ottawa to Amherst Island

A Varied Thrush was found by Giovanni Pari in Ottawa on Sunday and was seen several times throughout the day by various birders as it came to a feeder. Andrew Keaveney and I immediately made plans to see it as it would be a great bird for a big year. While more will probably show up, this west coast thrush is never guaranteed! Unfortunately it wasn't seen the next day but we decided to go down anyways. Varied Thrushes will often stay at a feeder for days or even weeks.

We left Monday evening after my first day of classes, arriving at our destination for the night at around 1:00 AM. The next morning we showed up at the spot and immediately met Nicholas von Maltzahn, also standing vigil at the feeders. Unfortunately it wasn't seen for the several hours we were there. Nick showed us some spots around the Larose forest before he had to take off. After not getting any Evening Grosbeaks at the feeders where they are supposed to be, we lucked out and heard two Red Crossbills calling. I managed to take very distant photos of one!

Red Crossbill - Larose Forest

We then tried for Gray Partridge in an area southeast of here, but after driving the fields for an hour or so we didn't have any luck. At this point we were getting kind of desperate as we headed over to Kanata to try for them there. We arrived around 3:00 PM, but lucked out as the first spot we looked contained 4 partridge - 3 females and 1 male. This was only the second sighting that I have had of this species, the other being in Brantford last winter.

Gray Partridges - Kanata

Gray Partridges - Kanata

With about an hour of light left we drove down to Bate's Island to try for Barrow's Goldeneye. In the fading light Andrew picked out a textbook example of a female Barrow's Godeneye! I found an adult Glaucous Gull nearby and I ended the day with 82 species for the year.

Today we took the Amherst Island ferry to try for some owls and other wintering raptors. Driving along the roads we saw several raptors, including Snowy Owls, Rough-legged Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, Northern Harriers and American Kestrels.

distant Snowy Owl - Amherst Island

A walk around Owl Woods was next on the agenda. A flock of 4 Common Redpolls greated us near on the walk in.

Common Redpolls - Amherst Island

Thar be owls in them woods....

owl pellet - Amherst Island

There's one!

Northern Saw-whet Owl - Amherst Island

We couldn't turn anything else up in the woods and continuing on. Before grabbing our ferry we drove farther west on the island. We were very surprised to see an adult Goshawk perching at eye level in a nearby tree! I managed one shot through the window as it flew away.

Northern Goshawk - Amherst Island

A couple of more photos from the day:

House Finch - Amherst Island

American Robin - Amherst Island


Fred said...

Damn fine birding.

Russell Cannings said...

Slaty-back in S.S-M! Assuming that's good.

Paul Riss said...

There's a spot that's fairly reliable just off the 35/115 hwy 20 minutes from the 401 for evening grosbeak. message me if you want directions.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Paul, I'll let you know, depending on if I get Evening Grosbeak up north in the next week or two.