The more, the mer­rier

Gulls ar­rive to join Ot­tawa area’s late-fall lin­ger­ing birds,

Ottawa Citizen - - SPORTS - EL­IZ­A­BETH LE GEYT Send bird­ing re­ports and spec­ify lo­ca­tion to 613-821-9880 or email The Wild Bird Care Cen­tre for or­phaned and in­jured birds is at 613-828-2849.

There were so many mes­sages of con­grat­u­la­tion for my re­cent Or­der of On­tario award among the bird re­ports that I am be­gin­ning the col­umn with a very warm, heart­felt “thank you” to ev­ery­one for send­ing them. Your kind­ness was much ap­pre­ci­ated.

Now for the bird news. The large numbers of lin­ger­ing geese, ducks and other wa­ter­fowl have been joined by ar­riv­ing gulls. Bruce Di Labio went to the Trail Road Land­fill Fa­cil­ity on Nov. 10. He spent five hours ob­serv­ing and iden­ti­fy­ing the gulls there. This is a favourite stop­ping place for them with plenty of food. He found 11 lesser

black-backed gulls and the first white-winged ones of the sea­son, two Ice­land, one Thayer’s and a glau­cous. There were hundreds of her­ring gulls and 651 greater black-backed ones. Thou­sands of Canada geese and some snow geese were in neigh­bour­ing fields. Ear­lier he had been over to Na­van and ob­served the 103 sand­hill

cranes along the Smith Road near Mil­ton Road.

On Nov. 12, Di Labio found a male hy­brid Bar­row’s/ com­mon

gold­en­eye at Shirley’s Bay. On Nov. 15, be­tween Bri­tan­nia Bay and Shirley’s Bay on the Ot­tawa River, he ob­served five red-necked and seven horned grebes as well as six com­mon loons. Geese seen in An­drew Hay­don Park in­cluded cack­ling, 27 Brant and 5,000+ Canada.

Snow buntings are be­ing re­ported now and he saw 30+ on Trail Road with 14 horned larks.

Calvin Han­son, bird­ing along the St. Lawrence River, found four pairs of com­mon and two pairs of hood

ed mer­gansers, many mal­lards and black ducks and a large flock of gold­en­eye. These ducks were also called “whistlers” be­cause of the whistling sound made by their wings when they take off. In Corn­wall, he saw and pho­tographed a male car­di­nal with a seed in its bill and a chick­adee. A great blue

heron was ob­served fly­ing along a nearby creek.

Adele Martin also re­ported one of these herons. She com­mented that it ap­peared to be hav­ing a “bad hair day.” Frank Martin’s pic­ture of it shows a di­shev­elled un­tidy bird caught in the strong wind.

Sandy Sharkey re­ported a field white with snow geese at Cas­sel­man.

Debbie Hen­des­bee was bird­ing along the Jock River where she found some of the lin­ger­ing wa­ter­fowl. There were four com­mon and two male hooded mer­gansers with eight fe­males and young birds as well as hundreds of Canada geese.

On Nov. 7 and 8, Janet Caloleo had an ex­cel­lent view of a pere

grine fal­con from her of­fice in down­town Ot­tawa. It was perched on the rooftop of Tower A in Place Vanier. It stayed there from 9 till 11 a.m. on the 7th; on the 8th, it came fly­ing back to the same place and re­mained un­til 3:30 p.m. This pro­longed stay en­abled Lucy Wong to get some great pic­tures.

Hazel Ully­att in West End Ot­tawa no­ticed a mer­lin guard­ing a squir­rel that it had just caught, on the ground. She saw it carry it up to a fence and from there it flew away into the neigh­bour­hood.

Christina Lewis in her re­port tells of an un­ex­pect­edly large flock of 581

ring-necked ducks at Mud Lake in Bri­tan­nia. There have been two re­ports of gray par­tridges in fields near Rich­mond. Wild tur­keys have been seen in sev­eral lo­ca­tions. Five Amer­i­can coots were seen at Baie Noire on the 13th and, sur­pris­ingly, one turned up at Mud Lake on the 14th. A flock of 600 snow buntings was seen at the St. Al­bert sewage la­goon on Nov. 13.

The Wis­con­sin whoop­ing cranes are hav­ing a very dif­fi­cult mi­gra­tion to Florida, as they did last year. This last week was a nofly one with strong winds and oc­ca­sional rain that kept the birds and the ul­tra­lights grounded. These pro­longed de­lays are hard on both the birds and their lead­ers. Hope­fully, this week will be bet­ter and progress will be made.

Gil­lan Shields and her 11-year-old son Car­los Bar­bery had a visit from a Carolina wren in Wy­ch­wood in Aylmer. It was a great start to Bird Stud­ies Canada Project Feeder Watch in which they are tak­ing part for the sec­ond year.

Car­los Bar­bery has been fas­ci­nated by birds since he was five years old. When he could read, he read the National Guide to Amer­i­can Birds over and over un­til he had mem­o­rized the de­tails of all the birds. He has taken part in many of the bird counts and is al­ready an ex- cel­lent young birder. Re­cently he was ap­pointed pres­i­dent of the Ma­coun Club Ju­niors. Birds are his life and he ob­vi­ously has a great fu­ture in or­nithol­ogy.

Ju­dith Gustafs­son has pic­tures of a red-tailed hawk she has been watch­ing at two lo­ca­tions in Low, Que. She ob­served a north­ern shrike perched on a tall weed and saw six hooded mer­gansers on a small lake.

Yo­gad­hish Das no­ticed a male pileated wood­pecker work­ing on a tree in South March High­lands Con­ser­va­tion for­est in Kanata. The red line down its face is clearly vis­i­ble. Fe­males do not have this red line.

Gary Fair­head was out last week look­ing for birds to pho­to­graph. He found a red-tailed hawk in Na­van. At An­drew Hay­don Park, there were lesser scaup, a great blue heron and a her­ring gull, and on Petrie Is­land, 41 com­mon mer­gansers. Hooded mer­gansers and a long-tailed duck were ob­served on the Ot­tawa River. At his feed­ers and round his home he saw a male pileated wood­pecker and many reg­u­lar win­ter vis­i­tors, even a robin.

So there is plenty to see still and the real win­ter weather is slow to ar­rive. En­joy it while it lasts. Good bird­ing while you wait for the win­ter sports in the snow. VIEW more great pho­tos online on our World of Birds min­isite at OT­TAWAC­I­T­I­ZEN.COM/CITY


A great blue heron hav­ing a ‘bad hair day’ in An­drew Hay­don Park.


This red-tailed hawk was spot­ted in Na­van.


A mer­lin guards a squir­rel it has just killed in Ot­tawa.


A re­splen­dent male car­di­nal pho­tographed in Corn­wall.


Male pileated wood­pecker, show­ing red line on face.

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