Tuesday, October 4, 2011

October 4, 2011More Birding along the Ottawa River.

The birding along the Ottawa River continues to be exciting. This morning at 6:30am. I arrived at Shirley's Bay to do a count of Great Egrets. Arriving pre-dawn I could see 15 Great Egrets roosting on the mudflats just west of the causeway. In the low light I could also see approximately 200+ shorebirds but no godwits. Lots of waterfowl were still roosting along with the egrets. By 6:47am the first egrets lifted into the air and heading to the back bay at Shirley's Bay. This coincided with 100's of Ring-billed Gulls coming off the river and settling in just west of the causeway. By 7:00am the egrets had all flown to the back bay and then suddenly the 31 Hudsonian Godwit appeared. They settled in to feeding on the mudflat as they did yesterday.
There were still lots of shorebirds but no Red Phalarope. Jeff Skevington did a count of the numbers and here are his totals: 31 Hudsonian Godwits, 2 Long-billed Dowitcher, 92 White-rumped Sandpipers, 1 Baird's Sandpiper, 60 Pectoral Sandpipers, 10 Dunlin, 10 Semipalmated Sandpipers, 5 Black-bellied Plover, 7 Semipalmated Plover, 1 Killdeer, 20 Lesser Yellowlegs, and 1 Greater Yellowlegs. A great morning for shore-birding!

At Andrew Haydon Park despite ample habitat very few shorebirds. In its prime, back in the 70's this area was excellent for shorebird watching. Not sure if the lack of birds is due to silt build up.
There were a number of gulls loafing including a 1st winter Lesser Black-backed Gull. The first record for the Ottawa district and Ontario was found just east of Ottawa Beach back in November 1971! The Britannia Conservation Area/Mud Lake still had a good variety of warblers including Northern Parula, Blackpoll, Nashville, Tennessee, Black-throated Green, and lots of Yellow-rumped Warbler.

I was surprised that the Hudsonian Godwits were still at Shirley's Bay the following morning.
All the flock I've recorded in the Ottawa district never lingered.

A first winter Lesser Black-backed Gull (left), Ring-billed Gull (center), Herring Gull (right) at Andrew Haydon Park (Ottawa Beach)

Lesser Black-backed Gull in flight.

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