Tuesday, October 5, 2010

October 2-5, 2010 Local birding in the Ottawa area

After a great week of Saskatchewan birding I arrived back home around noon on Saturday. Quite a change in the scenery and bird life. After settling in at home I noticed that there was a lot of activity in the back ravine particularly, Black-capped Chickadees and Blue Jays. I searched around but couldn't find anything unusual. The following day the same behavior was evident, so that afternoon my son, Ben and I search the area, but again nothing. I mentioned to Ben that we should go out a dusk and have a listen. So at 7:00p.m. we ventured out to the ravine and found our culprit, a gray morph Eastern Screech-Owl. The owl was out hunting and occasionally would give a call, usually a whinny but sometimes a trill. We observed it for a few minutes as it flew from perch to perch then disappeared into the night. Unfortunately two of its main roosting sites have fallen over and it's very difficult to find it during the daylight. I've noticed a good movement of White-crowned and White-throated Sparrows in the area and still lots of Yellow-rumped Warblers moving through the ravine. Today on my birding course field trip we were treated to a nice flock of 52 Redheads at Shirley's Bay along with 250+ Lesser Scaup, and 1 male White-winged Scoter. It's amazing how quickly the water level has risen along the Ottawa River, virtually covering the extensive mudflats we are so accustomed to in September. This is likely due to the combination of rain in the latter part of September and the opening of dams along the river. Our last stop of the morning was at Mud Lake/Britannia conservation area where we had a number of Yellow-rumped warblers, 4 Palm Warbler and 1 Black-throated Green Warbler, 3 Blue-headed Vireo and both kinglets. It was very interesting to hear a few species in full song including Hermit Thrush, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal and a Blue-headed Vireo. This vocalization is likely due to similar light conditions that mimic spring time.

A gray morph Eastern Screech-Owl in the back ravine.

Another view of the Eastern Screech-Owl.

The White-crowned Sparrow in a regular fall migrant throughout eastern Ontario.

High water levels are now along the Ottawa River.

The Eastern Phoebe is a common summer breeder in eastern Ontario and during the fall migration is known to eat Wild Grape berry if insects are available.

A young female Wood Duck at Mud Lake.

The Blue-headed Vireo was one of the very vocal birds today. Singing as if it was spring time!

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