Saturday, April 27, 2013

April 27, 2013 Violet-green Swallow update.

Hi Everyone
Unfortunately no reports of the swallow so far today. There were lots of people looking and the swallow numbers and mix has change since the VGSW was discovered on April 25th  There were 100's of swallows scattered along the Ottawa River from Remic Rapids to Shirley's Bay. Hard to know if it is still in the area or has moved on. I found out late yesterday that the Violet-green Swallow was observed from the Quebec side of Deschenes Rapids at around 9:30a.m. for approximately 40 minutes yesterday. So after left Mud Lake it move across the river for a while. Lots of area to search.
Good luck,

Friday, April 26, 2013

April 26, 2013 Ottawa Violet-green Swallow update

Hi Everyone
The Violet-green Swallow was present this morning at 8:30a.m. feeding over Mud Lake off Cassels Road. The swallows left the area and moved over to the Ottawa River feeding off Britannia Point at Deschenes Rapids. It was observed briefly twice and hasn't been located since around 10:00a.m. The swallows have dispersed for the time being but can appear back feeding anytime. It maybe best to check early tomorrow morning before the swallows disperse as the temperature warms up.

Good luck,

Directions: From 417 exit at Pinecrest and travel north to Carling Ave. Go east on Carling to Richmond Rd. turn left and next left on Poulin St. Follow north to Britannia Rd. turn right and follow to Cassels Rd.. Turn right and drive to Britannia Point. If you have any questions call.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

April 25, 2013 First record of Violet-Green Swallow for Ottawa!

Hi Everyone
A surprise discovery by Jake Walker this morning was a Violet-green Swallow feeding in a flock of mainly Tree Swallows at the Britannia Filtration Plant near Mud Lake/Britannia Conservation area. The swallows fed low for a while and great views were obtained recording all the important field marks. As the morning warmed up it slowly began to cover feed higher and over a larger area. Fortunately at one point it even perched in a close-by deciduous tree for a minute. No time was wasted and a number of good photos were taken. This represents the first record for the Ottawa-Gatineau district and only the second documented record for Ontario. The first was found on October 28 and 29, 1992 at Thunder Cape, Thunder Bay District. As the morning warmed up all swallows left the filtration plant field and were feeding off Britannia Point over Deschenes Rapids on the Ottawa River. The Violet-green Swallow was relocated around 11:15a.m. after a bit of searching as it feed in a mixed group of 200+ swallows. It was last reported around 1:00p.m. and at that point the swallows were higher up and more difficult to identify. Hopefully it will reappear later this afternoon or towards dusk. If not seen I'd recommend checking tomorrow morning early. The Violet-green Swallows normal range is in western North America. In Canada it reaches to eastern Saskatchewan and is a vagrant in Manitoba and east to the Atlantic coast. There are only a handful of records in the north-east United States. 

Good birding,

First record of Violet-green Swallow for the Ottawa-Gatineau Districts. 

April 21, 2013 Amherst Island birding

Hi Ontbirders
Spent the day birding Amherst Island. Overall a beautiful sunny day with lots of bird activity. The Owl Woods had a nice variety of land birds including 12 Eastern Towhee, 3 Brown Thrasher, 2 Hermit Thrush, 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker, 3 Pine Warbler, and 3 Ring-necked Pheasant were heard. A Sandhill Crane was spotted flying over the woods calling and an adult Little Gull was seen off the South Shore Road along with 750+ Bonaparte's Gull. On the KFN property a late lingering immature Snowy Owl was observed along with an early adult Black Tern. 
Good birding,

Directions: Amherst Island: Located 18 km. west of Kingston. Exit off Hwy. 401 at exit 593 (County Rd. 4, Camden East) and drive south to the very end (Millhaven). Turn right on Hwy. 33 and drive 100 meters until you see the sign for the Amherst Island ferry. The ferry (20 minute trip) leaves the mainland on the half hour and leaves the island on the hour. Cost is $9.00 Canadian round trip. There are no gas stations on the island. There are restrooms on the ferry, and at the island ferry dock. The East End K.F.N. property is at the easternmost part of the island on the east side of the Lower Forty Foot Road. To reach the Owl Woods, turn left (east) at the four-way stop sign by the general store and drive 3.4 km along Front Rd. to the (seasonal) Marshall Forty-Foot Rd. Marshall Forty-Foot Rd. is across the road from house #2320. Drive along Marshall Rd. to the mid-way point, where there is an "S" in the road (1.2 km, look for the K.F.N. kiosk which had owl observing ethics). Park in the gravel lane or off the road edge.

Because of liability issues, visitors to the Kingston Field Naturalists' property at the east end of Amherst Island MUST be accompanied by a KFN member. For KFN contact information or how to become a member, please visit ."

A late lingering Snowy Owl on Amherst Island

An adult Bonaparte's Gull harasses the Snowy Owl. 

The Spotted Sandpiper is a regular spring migrant and breeder on Amherst Island. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

April 2, 2013 Redpoll frenzy continues at Hilda Road Feeders.

 The redpoll feeding frenzy continues at the Hilda Road feeders. This afternoon I observed over 400 redpolls including 4 Southern Hoary Redpoll, 1 Hornemann's Hoary Redpoll, 1 Greater Common Redpoll along with 100's of Southern Common Redpolls. These are my latest dates for both Hornemann's Hoary and Greater Common along with one of my few April records and highest day total. Hard to predict how long these redpolls will frequent the feeders but I sure the cold weather is keeping them in the area.  

Southern Hoary Redpoll

The Southern Common Redpoll is having one of its best seasons in years with high numbers still present in eastern Ontario.

There is some variation in the breast colour in redpolls. This individual had a more orange coloured breast.

Southern Common Redpoll.