Owl logo The Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club

Birding in Ottawa


OFNC home page
Coming events
Birding
Publications
Fletcher Wildlife Garden
Conservation
Awards
Macoun Club for young naturalists
FalconWatch
Committees and Board
Join the OFNC/make a donation
Links
Search
Contact us

Get help identifying a bird
Report a bird sighting

Can't find Milton Road? Not sure where the Sarsaparilla Trail is?
Check the Birds Committee's location guide, complete with species to watch for and directions for getting to the best birding spots in the Ottawa region.

Code of conduct
Due to increasing and widespread concerns regarding disturbance of wildlife and property, the OFNC's Birds Committee no longer reports owl sightings on the Internet. We will continue to encourage the reporting of owls to sightings@ofnc.ca for the purpose of maintaining local records. Please refer to the OFNC Code of Conduct.

Please note: The copyright for all photos on this web site belongs to the photographer. The OFNC reserves the right to use these photos in other parts of the web site. To contribute photos or report bird sightings, please email sightings@ofnc.ca

Please also note: The OFNC's Birds Committee no longer reports owl sightings on the Internet. We will continue to encourage the reporting of owls to sightings@ofnc.ca for the purpose of maintaining local records.

ACCESS TO THE SHIRLEY’S BAY CAUSEWAY. The OFNC has a signed agreement with DND and PWGS that gives OFNC members limited access to this important birding area. You must call the Range Control Office (613-991-5740) before entering DND property, and you will be informed how far down the causeway you may go. For your safety, please respect their instructions, as the shooting patterns vary from day to day.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 8 December 2016

by Gregory Zbitnew


Brown Creeper photographed by Nina Stavlund at Jack Pine Trail on December 2.


The bird of the week was a GREAT CORMORANT, seen by a small group from Britannia Pier on the 3rd, but not relocated. The PACIFIC LOON at Muskrat Lake near Cobden was still there on the 6th.

With the arrival of December, many birders were out to start their “winter list” (December-February), and there was quite a bit of searching this week. Weather the first few 4 days of the month was particularly favourable due to the mild conditions, absence of snow cover and a lot of open water. Snow arrived again on the 5th, but temperatures were mostly above seasonal for the remainder of the week. Quite a few lingering birds were present, and so far this month, 95 species have been seen in the region.

WATERBIRDS were in good supply this week. A few GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE were present still at Lake Madawaska, as well as at the Moodie Drive ponds. A few CACKLING and SNOW GEESE are also around with still 1000s of CANADA GEESE taking advantage of the largely bare fields.

20 species of DUCKS were present, the Ottawa River being the best spot. Among the scarcer were BLACK and SURF SCOTER (Ottawa River), numbers of NORTHERN PINTAIL and GREEN-WINGED TEAL (Giroux Road), NORTHERN SHOVELER (Dow’s Lake and Britannia), AMERICAN WIGEON (Britannia), WOOD DUCK (Rideau River), and GADWALL (Plaisance). 2 BARROW’S GOLDENEYE (male and female) have been present on the Rideau River north of Hurdman. Numbers of both RED-THROATED and COMMON LOON were seen along the Ottawa River as late as the 5th. Both HORNED and /RED-NECKED GREBE were also around.

Also taking advantage of the open water were a few DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT and BELTED KINGFISHER, again along the Ottawa River. An AMERICAN COOT at Plaisance on the 4th completes the list of lingering birds reliant on open water.

GULLS are back in the news. A THAYER’S GULL was at Beltown Park on the 7th with 100s of others, mostly HERRING GULLS, including a few of the coveted WHITE-WINGED GULLS (GLAUCOUS and ICELAND).

A NORTHERN FLICKER was at Bruce Pit on the 2nd, while a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER remains in Gatineau. 4 EASTERN BLUEBIRD were in the Luskville area on the 4th, and YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS were near Dow’s Lake and at a feeder in Gatineau.

A LAPLAND LONGSPUR was near the Trail Road Landfill and on Shaw Road this week. Among the lingering SPARROWS, FOX SPARROWS in Nepean and Richmond were notable, but the most unusual was a CHIPPING SPARROW, seen daily at a feeder in Carleton Place.

Lingering BLACKBIRDS were RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Petrie Island), BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD (Trail Road) and COMMON GRACKLE (at a feeder in Kanata).

Finally, the FINCH supply is quite poor this winter. PINE SISKIN was in Gatineau, as was COMMON REDPOLL. Up to 40 EVENING GROSBEAKS (fairly reliable) are frequenting a few spots near the western edge of Larose Forest, with a few COMMON REDPOLLS (not reliable) as well.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 1 December 2016

by Gregory Zbitnew


Bohemian Waxwings photographed by Tony Beck at Eardley Masham Road in Gatineau Park.


Although well outside the region, a THICK-BILLED MURRE was found on Muskrat Lake near Cobden on the 25-28th. This ALCID is provincially rare and sent many Ottawa and even Southern Ontario birders winging their way north to chase it. Rather astoundingly (or not) another rare bird, a PACIFIC LOON, was found on the same lake on the 27th and was still present on the 30th.

Weather improved this week, with good birding conditions on the weekend and temperatures mild enough to melt all of last week’s snow. Rivers remain open, but there is some icing on the edges and most small ponds are frozen.

Given the excitement west of Ottawa, it is worth mentioning that Muskrat Lake had some other interesting birds like RED-THROATED LOON, and that Lac Doré, near Renfrew, is often excellent in the fall and hosted an EARED GREBE on the 26th to at least the 30th. Other than the excitement west of Ottawa, the bird population this week was quite similar to last week. That is, there was a reasonable number and variety of WATERBIRDS, but PASSERINES were mostly at their winter populations with a small number of the hardier SPARROWS and fruit-eating birds.


Tufted Titmouse photographed by Joanne Ewart at her feeder in Perth.


19 species and reasonable numbers of DUCKS were in the region this week as rivers and larger ponds were open. There were also plenty of the usual GEESE with 10 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE still on Lake Madawaska near Arnprior as late as the 27th. The most interesting sighting on the water was on the 25th where there was a fallout of RED-THROATED LOONS on the Ottawa River. One observer counted 226. 1 or 2 lingered in the area for a few days afterwards.

A GOLDEN EAGLE was on Smith Road on the 26th along with 71 SANDHILL CRANES. 30 were there on the 1st. A somewhat late BELTED KINGFISHER was near Lincoln Fields on the 27th. A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER has been coming to a feeder in Gatineau since the 26th.

There have been a number of sightings of both BOHEMIAN and CEDAR WAXWING. A CAROLINA WREN was in Gatineau on the 29th. 4 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS at Eardley on the 27th were late, as was a YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER at Shirley’s bay on the 26th //and another at Dow’s Lake on the 1st.

A rather large number of ICTERID species were reported this week, considering the late date. A RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD at La Pêche on the 29th was only a bit late, but EASTERN MEADOWLARK in Luskville on the 27th, RUSTY BLACKBIRD near Almonte on the 28th, COMMON GRACKLE in Gatineau on the 29th and BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD at Trail Road on the 1st were definitely late.

7 LAPLAND LONGSPUR were on Steele Line on the 27thand 1 was at Trail Road as late as the 1st. A FOX SPARROW is still coming to a feeder in Richmond as of the 30th and Nepean as of the 1st.

A PINE GROSBEAK in Constance Bay on the 24th was the only notable FINCH sighting.



Snow Buntings and a single Brown-headed Cowbird (female) photographed by Tony Beck at Trail Road.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 24 November 2016

by Gregory Zbitnew

The (female) SUMMER TANAGER was re-found at the Bruce Pit on the 18th and was last seen on the 19th. There was a report of an unidentified JAEGER flying west, just east of the Deschênes rapids on the 22nd but it was not relocated.

Weather was above seasonal until the 19th, but winter arrived quite suddenly on the 20th with heavy snow and temperatures below freezing for the rest of the week, with even more snow on the 24th. While it was not cold enough to freeze the rivers, ponds are freezing up and most lingering passerines have likely perished or have been driven to feeders or more sheltered areas. The poor weather conditions also reduced birding activity this week.

There are still a reasonable variety of WATERBIRDS around, with the best variety and numbers along the Ottawa River. 20 species of DUCKS were seen in the region as a whole this week. On the 19th there were over 300 birds of 10 species of DUCKS at Shirley’s Bay, mostly LESSER SCAUP. A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was in a pond on Cope Drive on the 22nd. A ROSS’S GOOSE was in the Woodlawn area on the 19th.

The same pond on Cope Drive also had a very late BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON on the 23rd, and there are still a few GREAT BLUE HERONS around.

A few late/ uncommon WOODPECKERS were around: a NORTHERN FLICKER at Pine Grove on the 19th and a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER coming to a feeder in the Fallowfield area.

73 SANDHILL CRANES were near Smith and Milton in Navan on the 22nd. The CAROLINA WREN is still in the Carlington area as of the 18th and there was another in Gatineau on the 22nd. 2 lingerers seen on the 18th will have a tough time in this weather: a BROWN THRASHER in Kanata, and a RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET in Britannia.

On the 19th a YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER was at Shirley’s bay and also on Kerwin Road.

This is time when SPARROWS start showing up at feeders or milder microclimates near the rivers. Of the less common ones, FOX SPARROW has been seen regularly at feeders in Richmond, Nepean, and Gatineau as late as the 24th. A WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW was along the Ottawa River near Parkdale on the 23rd, and a SAVANNAH SPARROW was at Andrew Haydon Park on the 23rd. Single LAPLAND LONGSPURS were near Pakenham on the 22nd and on Brownlee Road on the 22nd as well.

Finally, even the hardier BLACKBIRDS are becoming scarce. There were 3 COMMON GRACKLES at a feeder in Gatineau on the 22nd. Modest numbers of RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS are still around but they will become scarce very soon.



Cooper's Hawk photographed by Janice Stewart in Orleans.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 17 November 2016

by Gregory Zbitnew


Northern Shoveler photographed by Louis Brodeur at Britannia.


The bird of the week was a SUMMER TANAGER seen at the Bruce Pit on the 14th, but unfortunately not relocated. There were a number of interesting lingering and rarer birds but none of this caliber.

Generally above seasonal temperatures prevailed and with little precipitation the birds lingered and were easier to find. Water was still wide open and there was still a reasonable variety, around similar to last week.

WATERBIRDS were, as last week, in good supply and variety. Over 300 birds of 9 species of DUCKS were at Plaisance on the 13th, AMERICAN WIGEON being the most plentiful. AMERICAN COOT was there as well. About 300 birds of 19 species were at Shirley’s Bay on the 15th, COMMON GOLDENEYE being the most common. GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE were in a number of spots, most recently at Constance Bay on the 16th. There were still 4 near Arnprior as late as the 13th, and 1 near Embrun on the 12th. 2 ROSS’S GEESE were in Winchester on the 16th. Slightly farther afield, at the Laflèche Landfill, there are regular sightings of GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE, AND there were 3 ROSS’S GEESE on the 13th, with a rare Dark Morph of this species on the 12th.

A RED-THROATED LOON was at Dick Bell on the 13th, and a continuing late BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON was at Andrew Haydon and Britannia on the 11th.

While there are not huge numbers of GULLS, a THAYER’S GULL at Dick Bell Park on the 13th and BONAPARTE’S GULL at Britannia on the 15th were of interest.

Some SHOREBIRDS are still around. There was a PURPLE SANDPIPER at Britannia Pier on the 15th, GREATER and LESSER YELLOWLEGS at Constance Bay on the 14th, and WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER at Chrysler on the 14th.


Sandhill Cranes photographed by Paul Page on Milton Road.


A GOLDEN EAGLE was at Lac McGregor on the 13th, and a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER was in Chelsea on the 15th. Numbers of SANDHILL CRANES are regular on Milton Road and the area.

A CAROLINA WREN is continuing in Carlington as of the 15th. 6 EASTERN BLUEBIRD in Richmond on the 13th were late.

There were a surprising 3 species of WARBLER seen this week. They were a YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER at la ferme Moore in Gatineau on the 16th, the continuing COMMON YELLOWTHROAT at Britannia Pier on the 15th, and a very late NORTHERN PARULA at Plaisance on the 13th.

Of the SPARROWS, only notable were a number of sightings of FOX SPARROW: Carleton Place, Lac Leamy and Richmond.

Finally, of the FINCHES, 30+ EVENING GROSBREAKS were seen at their usual spot on the western edge of Larose Forest.



Sandhill Cranes photographed by Tony Beck on the Milton Road in east Ottawa.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 10 November 2016

by Gregory Zbitnew


Purple Sandpiper photographed by Bruce DiLabio at Britannia Pier.


There have been a few more sightings of the PINK-FOOTED GOOSE among the 1000s of SNOW GEESE near the Laflèche landfill east of Casselman, most recently on the 7th. A most unusual lingerer was a likely YELLOW WARBLER at Breckenridge on the 4th.

Generally there was little change to the bird population this week. There was minimal precipitation and temperatures generally above seasonal. The regular winter birds were fairly widespread, water was open, and a few interesting lingerers were about.

There are still lots of WATERBIRDS around, mostly on the Ottawa River as usual, with LESSER SCAUP and COMMON GOLDENEYE being the most abundant. On the 5th at Shirley’s Bay there were over 1000 DIVING DUCKS of 10 species and 200 PUDDLE DUCKS of 8 species. All three SCOTERS and LONG-TAILED DUCK were included in the mix from time to time.

Just at the edge of the 50K circle, on the Madawaska Head Pond near Arnprior, an unusually large number (up to 12) of GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE were present on the 8-10th. A singleton of this species was at Andrew Haydon Park on the 9th.

A sign of winter is the arrival this week of BARROW’S GOLDENEYE along the Ottawa River. There were 5 around, an unusually high number for the season. One was in Russell on the 6th. A somewhat late PIED-BILLED GREBE was at Shirley’s Bay on the 5th, as was a RED-THROATED LOON on the 8th.


Red-breasted Nuthatch photographed by Sami Zeitouni.


A late BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON continued at Andrew Haydon park until the 4th.

SHOREBIRDS are disappearing quickly; only about 5 species were seen this week. A PURPLE SANDPIPER was at Britannia Pier on the 4th. Some late ones were a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER at the Moodie Drive Quarry as late as the 8th, a LESSER YELLOWLEGS at Constance Bay on the 9th, and a SPOTTED SANDPIPER at Britannia on the 5th.

Among the raptors, there was a GOLDEN EAGLE on Kerwin road on the 4th and one at Shirley’s bay on the 7th. A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER was in Russell on the 6th.

Among the SONGBIRDS, mostly it was the lingering birds that were of interest:

  • A COMMON YELLOWTHROAT continued at Britannia Pier as late until the 7th., and one was also at Breckenridge on the 4th.
  • A ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK continued in Gatineau at least until the 7th.
  • 2 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS were at Shirleys Bay on the 5th.
  • A CAROLINA WREN was in Gatineau on the 8th.
  • SWAMP SPARROW was on Kerwin Road on the 5th.
  • There were at least 4 sightings of FOX SPARROW at various places, all at feeders.
  • WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW and RUSTY BLACKBIRD were at the Hilda Road feeders on the 8th.
  • A CHIPPING SPARROW was at Parc Brébeuf on the 6th.

Finally, there were a few scattered sightings of EVENING GROSBEAK and a single sighting of RED CROSSBILL on Kerwin Road on the 4th.



Black Scoter photographed by Connie Denyes at Andrew Haydon Park.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 3 November 2016

by Gregory Zbitnew

The best bird of the week was seen just outside the region, a PINK-FOOTED GOOSE at the Laflèche landfill east of Casselman on the 31st in a flock of about 60,000 SNOW GEESE. GREATER WHITE-FRONTED and ROSS’S GOOSE was also seen in the flock. Last week’s HUMMINGBIRD in Constance Bay appears to be a lingering RUBY-THROATED, and was unfortunately last seen on the 29th. The first PURPLE SANDPIPER of the year was seen at Britannia Pier (and across the Ottawa River) on the 30th. A TUFTED TITMOUSE in Winchester on the 1st was notable among the SONGBIRDS.

It was quite a cool week early but near to above normal temperatures later, with some precipitation but no weather that was extreme enough to have much effect on bird movement. Generally the variety of birds was as expected: plenty of WATERBIRDS, few SONGBIRDS, but as there was no major freezing and no sustained snow cover, most lingering birds were able to survive.

WATERBIRDS were in reasonable supply mostly along the Ottawa River, with Shirley’as Bay and Plaisance again being the best spots, but there were no massive concentrations anywhere. All three SCOTERS, LONG-TAILED DUCK and RED-THROATED LOON were among the less common seen.

Up to 3 BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS (late) were at Andrew Haydon Park as late as the 2nd.

SHOREBIRDS, as expected, were limited to small numbers of a few species. 18 DUNLIN were at Embrun on the 31st . Late WILSON’S SNIPE and LESSER YELLOWLEGS on the 1st at Shirley’s Bay and LESSER YELLOWLEGS at Constance Bay were notable but not exceptional.

A GOLDEN EAGLE was near Luskville on the 30th and a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER was at Beryl Gaffney park on the 2nd.

Late EASTERN BLUEBIRD were at multiple locations: Chemin River west of Quyon on the 31st, the Gatineau Airport on the 29th and on Berry Side Road on the 1st. There is a continuing CAROLINA WREN in Carlington as late as the 1st.

WARBLERS have nearly disappeared. There have been scattered sightings of YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER as recently as the 3rd. A COMMON YELLOWTHROAT at Britannia Pier as late as the 2nd is late, as is one on the 3rd in Stoney Swamp.

Very small numbers of SONG and WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS remain here and there. Somewhat late were SWAMP SPARROW at Andrew Haydon on the 30th, WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW AT Shirley’s Bay on the 2nd, and FOX SPARROW at Deschênes on the 1st and Richmond on the 2nd. A late ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK was near Munster on the 29th.

Finally, there have been a few interesting FINCH SIGHTINGS. Up to 8 EVENING GROSBEAKS were in Larose Forest (west) on the 31st - 3rd, Constance Bay on the 1st and Wakefield on the 3rd. RED CROSSBILL was on Greenland Road on the 30th and 5 WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL were at Andrew Haydon on the 30th.





Snow Geese photographed at Lafleche by Tony Beck.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 27 October 2016

by Gregory Zbitnew


Evening Grosbeak, photographed in Pakenham by Ray Holland


The bird of the week was a possible BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD at Constance Bay on the 24th to the 27th. Mostly it was the expected birds that were seen with a few interesting lingerers.

Weather turned sharply cooler this week, with below seasonal temperatures and even a bit of snow. The weekend was mostly rainy and very windy, which considerably hampered birding activity.

WATERBIRDS are still around in considerably numbers. Shirley’s Bay and Plaisance continue to be the best places in the region. Plaisance had about 300 PUDDLE DUCKS of 6 species, with AMERICAN WIGEON and NORTHERN SHOVELER being the most common. Shirley’s bay had close to 1000 LESSER SCAUP and over 100 GREEN-WINGED TEAL. Less common were all three SCOTERS, LONG-TAILED DUCK, RED-THROATED LOON (sometimes) and AMERICAN COOT (sometimes). There are still a few sightings of BLUE-WINGED TEAL here and there.

A special note that, although just outside the area, up to 60,000 SNOW GEESE have been seen east of Casselman.

An AMERICAN BITTERN at Plaisance on the 24th was late, as were A BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON at Britannia on the 25th. GREAT EGRETS were at Shirley’s bay until the 23rd.

SHOREBIRDS were in their usual places like Almonte and Shirley’s bay but only about 6 species, all expected, were seen this week. SANDHILL CRANES are still around in numbers in the Navan/ Frank Kenny area.

It was a good week for HAWKS when the howling winds and rain let up. GOLDEN EAGLES were seen a number of times in the Dunrobin area, and a NORTHERN GOSHAWK was at Shirley’s Bay on the 25th. ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS are becoming more regular. A late OSPREY was at Pinhey’s Point on the 23rd.

12 GRAY PARTIDGE wee seen in Goulbourn on the 23rd. This flock is hard to find but likely will be around all winter.

A HOUSE WREN at Shirley’s bay on the 23rd was quite late. Interesting but not exceptional were CAROLINA WRENS in Carlington and Alta Vista. Likewise, 6 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS in Richmond were a bit late but not exceptional. YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS are still around but in small numbers.

SNOW BUNTING numbers are building up. PINE SISKIN were in Gatineau on the 26th, 12 WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS were at Britannia on the 23rd, while EVENING GROSBEAK were seen in Pakenham (a flock of 13) and 1 in Constance Bay on the 26th.



Golden Eagle, photographed by Michael Tate in the Dunrobin area.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 20 October 2016

by Gregory Zbitnew

A few rarities made the week interesting. The best bird was a LECONTE’S SPARROW seen in Constance Bay on the 18th. Also quite good were EURASIAN WIGEON at Shirley’s Bay on the 15th, and LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER there on the 14th.

Mostly the week was characterized by the decline of SONGBIRDS and the rise of WATERBIRDS. Weather was a mixed bag with a few very warm days and some days with unsettled weather where there was more activity. And, while we don’t want to say this too loudly, a few winter birds have settled in.

WATERBIRDS were fairly conspicuous in the usual spots along the Ottawa River. All 3 species of SCOTER were seen between Britannia and Shirley’s Bay, and there were other sightings of SCOTER from Russell to Breckenridge. Hunting on the Moodie Drive ponds has caused most WATERFOWL there to vacate. The Shirley’s bay DUCK flock was over 1000 birds on the 15th, mostly LESSER SCAUP, AMERICAN WIGEON and GREEN-WINGED TEAL, but with fewer DIVING DUCKS more recently. 23 LONG-TAILED DUCKS and a RED-THROATED LOON were at Shirley’s Bay on the 19th, but sightings of these species are less regular. A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was at Almonte on the 14-15th.

SHOREBIRDS have mostly been unremarkable. Shirley’s bay, Giroux Road, Almonte, and Embrun have had a few but they are if the expected variety.

Numbers of SANDHILL CRANES are regular in their usual spots in the Navan/ Frank Kenny area, and a flock has been in Blakeney.

There was a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER at La Pêche on the 17th, and the resident ones in Pakenham are fairly regular. A BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER was seen at the Old Quarry Trail on the 16th, but not since. Likely it will remain in the area, possibly for the winter.

There have been a couple of sightings of NORTHERN SHRIKE, most recently on Berry Side Road on the 20th. This is one of the unfortunate signs of winter.

A few lingering birds were notable:

  • A RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD was coming to a feeder in Russell on the 15th.
  • A BARN SWALLOW was at Andrew Haydon Park on the 15th.
  • A late report in more ways than one: a dead YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO was in Kanata North on the 8th.
  • A ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK was in Luskville on the 14th.

The only WARBLER seen this week was YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, another sign of the season. A few migrants SONGBIRDS are still around, such as both KINGLETS and HERMIT THRUSH.

AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS are becoming fairly regular. Other SPARROW numbers have peaked, but SONG, WHITE-THROATED, WHITE-CROWNED, and FOX SPARROW (see photo below) are still reasonably common. 3 LAPLAND LONGSPUR at Shirley’s Bay on the 19th were the first of the fall.

Finally, another sign of the season, the first COMMON REDPOLL of the season was at Carleton University on the 17th.



Fox Sparrow photographed by Connie Denyes at Mer Bleue.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 13 October 2016

by Gregory Zbitnew

The birding week had no rarities, but there were a few lingering birds to spice up the days a bit. Summer-like weather gave way to seasonal temperatures and the first frost of the season. The week was mostly characterized by an increasing variety of WATERBIRDS, and the virtual disappearance of WARBLERS.

WATERBIRDS increased more in variety than numbers, with Shirley’s Bay and Plaisance being the best areas. 2 EURASIAN WIGEON were at Plaisance along with good numbers of PUDDLE DUCKS. Shirley’s Bay had small numbers of both WHITE-WINGED and SURF SCOTERS, RED-THROATED LOON, RED-NECKED and HORNED GREBE along with the usual crowd. Up to 50 BRANT were along the Ottawa River west of Britannia the 10-11th, and GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE put in a few isolated showings in Russell, Andrew Haydon Park, and the Moodie Drive Ponds, but were not reliable anywhere.

The HUDSONIAN GODWIT at Shirley’s Bay was there until the 8th, and the SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER was still there on the 12th, but otherwise SHOREBIRDS were in short supply everywhere.

A GOLDEN EAGLE on Greenland Road on the 13th was the first of the season. SANDHILL CRANES are being seen in numbers at their usual spots in the Navan/ Frank Kenny area, and a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER in Carp on the 8th was the first recent sighting. GRAY PARTRIDGE were seen in Goulbourn most recently on the 10th.

A TREE SWALLOW at Embrun on the 9th was quite late, as were 2 ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS in Gatineau Park on the 10th, but a RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD at the Experimental Farm on the 10th was by far the most unusual lingerer.

Although 8 species of WARBLER were seen this week, now virtually all have disappeared except for the still fairly common YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER.

A CAROLINA WREN was in Carlington on the 10th, and NELSON’S SPARROW was last seen on the 10th. Among the other SPARROWS, WHITE-CROWNED and FOX SPARROW are in reasonable numbers, while there have been huge numbers of DARK-EYED JUNCO almost everywhere.

Finally, an EVENING GROSBEAK was in Almonte on the 8th, and there have been a few scattered sightings of PINE SISKIN.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 6 October 2016

by Gregory Zbitnew


Least Sandpiper photographed at Andrew Haydon Park by Keith Wickens, who writes, "Miniscule young Least Sandpiper, tiny even compared with the adults that came through in August. Would easily fit into a small Tim Horton's cup with room to spare."


The most sought-after bird of the week was a HUDSONIAN GODWIT (photo below), quite gettable at Shirley’s Bay October 4-6. By contrast, a ROSS’S goose flying over Baseline Road on the 5th was not refound. Also quite good this week was a EURASIAN WIGEON at Parc Nationale Plaisance (Baie Noire) as late as the 6th. A number of other birds found this week were much rarer, but they were only rare for the season and thus garnered less attention.

Mostly pleasant and well above seasonal temperatures with only one day of rain were the weather features of the week. These were likely factors in the numbers of late/ lingering birds which supplemented the reasonable variety of expected species in the region.

WATERBIRD numbers are building up quite noticeably. Skeins of Canada Geese are now criss-crossing the city, with small numbers of SNOW GEESE here and there. Shirley’s Bay and Plaisance are now the best areas to see DUCKS but the mix is quite different in each place. Rafts of mostly LESSER SCAUP (250 on the 5th) are building up at Shirley’s Bay west of the causeway; 100+ GREEN-WINGED TEAL led the PUDDLE DUCK pack. Plaisance had up to 500 RING-NECKED DUCKS, 400+ AMERICAN WIGEON, and 60 PIED-BILLED GREBE with lesser numbers of other species. Good or possibly bad news is the first sightings of some of the later DUCKS: There were 12 BLACK SCOTER on the 3rd near Andrew Haydon Park, and a SURF SCOTER east of Shirley’s Bay on the 6th.

Shirley’s Bay has good SHOREBIRD habitat, but a variable numbers of species. There were 11 species there on the 1st, but 8 on the 5th. There were some birds at Giroux, and 4 RED-NECKED PHALAROPES at Embrun on the 5th. Small numbers of common species can be found at Almonte.

Possibly 2 flocks of GRAY PARTRIDGE are in the Goulbourn area, one off Robert Grant and another near Terry Fox and Fernbank (both last seen on the 3rd). The first of the season BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER was near Chelsea on the 30th, but was not relocated.

17 species of WARBLER have been seen this week, a very good tally. Although 3-5 species is typical for most trips, earlier in the month a few trips have produced 7-8 species, but singles of everything other than YELLOW-RUMPED is the norm.

SPARROWS continue to be abundant, with WHITE-THROATED and SONG SPARROW being the most abundant. CLAY-COLOURED (extremely late) and VESPER SPARROW (late) near the Trail Road Landfill on the 2nd were some notable lingerers.

Finally, there were quite a few other late sightings.

  • An extremely late BLACK TERN at Britannia the 2-3rd and again on the 6th, and at Plaisance on the 3rd;
  • COMMON TERN in the Britannia area on the 2nd-3rd.
  • An extremely late WHIP-POOR-WILL heard on Thomas Dolan on the 4th.
  • A TREE SWALLOW at Embrun on the 5th.
  • A GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER at Petrie Island on the 2nd;
  • Both PHILADELPHIA VIREO and NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH at Deschênes on the 6th.
  • Both SCARLET TANAGER and WOOD THRUSH on the 1st at the Mill of Kintail conservation area.


Hudsonian Godwit (left) and Short-billed Dowitcher (right) photographed at Shirley's Bay by Giovanni Pari.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 29 September 2016

by Gregory Zbitnew


Northern Parula, photographed by Eric Leger at Mud Lake.


The best bird of the week was a BLUE-WINGED WARBLER, seen briefly in a back yard in Nepean. Other good birds were a EURASIAN WIGEON at Plaisance as late as the 27th, and a LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER at Shirley’s Bay on the 23rd.

There was a big shift in the weather this week. It was much cooler, although temperatures are still near seasonal. The biggest change was persistent northerly winds which brought a flux of new birds, most notably SPARROWS, into the area, while at the same time pushing out quite a few other PASSERINES, most notably WARBLERS. Many birds have now likely disappeared for the season.

There was a real change to the WATERBIRD population this week. The first major concentrations of DIVING DUCKS were seen at Plaisance. On the 27th, there were 450 RING-NECKED DUCKS, 3 REDHEAD and a few other DIVING DUCKS. There were 450 PUDDLE DUCKS of 9 species, mostly AMERICAN WIGEON.


Peregrine Falcon, photographed by Eric Leger at Mud Lake.


Among the thousands of CANADA GEESE, there were up to 8 SNOW GEESE at the Moodie Drive ponds this week, with a GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE there on the 25th, possibly the same one reported near Britannia earlier. Up to 6 CACKLING GEESE were also at the ponds this week.

SHOREBIRDS have not been special except for the rarity. There were 40 birds of 6 species at Embrun. Shirley’s Bay ranges from similar to poor, depending partly on whether the PEREGRINE FALCON is strafing the area (photo above). 2 BAIRD’S SANDPIPER were at Constance Bay on the 24th. 5 AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER were in Kinburn this week, and one has also been seen regularly at the Giroux Road ponds (photo below).



American Golden-plover with killdeer, photographed by Keith Wickens at Giroux Road.

A few late/ uncommon species were seen this week:

  • 2 EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE at Plaisance on the 27th
  • 150 TREE SWALLOWS at Russell on the 27th
  • 7 GRAY PARTRIDGE in Goulbourn on the 25th
  • NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH ON Greenbelt Trail 10 on the 23rd
  • 2 INDIGO BUNTING at Kinburn on the 25th
  • 2 EASTERN TOWHEE at Stoney Swamp on the 24th
  • RED CROSSBILL at Shirley’s Bay on the 24th

There were 21 species of WARBLER seen this week, but variety has declined to about 5 species per trip, with the vast majority being YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER.

Lastly, SPARROWS, particularly WHITE-THROATED SPARROW, have become abundant. The first FOX SPARROWS were seen in a few places, and notable were up to 3 very late CLAY-COLOURED SPARROWS seen as late as the 27th in a rich area just west of Kanata. Rather unfortunately, it appears that whole area will be developed before long.

Thanks to everyone who contributed bird observations. We encourage everyone to report their bird sightings on eBird for the benefit of the entire birding community.

Good birding.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 22 September 2016

by Gregory Zbitnew


Blue Jay, photographed by Eric Leger near Richelieu Park and Beechwood Cemetery in Vanier.


The bird of the week was a WHITE-FACED/GLOSSY IBIS, first seen at Andrew Haydon on the 14th, then at Shirley’s Bay from the 15th-18th. Unfortunately, being a juvenile, the plumage did not allow separation of species.

Other than this, it was a fairly quiet week. There was another solid week of warm weather, with PASSERINE variety generally declining until it perked up after the all-day rain on the 17th, but has seen declined a bit. Summer birds continue to decline, with a smaller influx of fall migrants.

As last week, there was a good variety of PUDDLE DUCKS, but not so much of the others. A REDHEAD at Shirley’s bay on the 21st was of interest.

18 species of SHOREBIRD were seen regionally this week. The following is a summary:

  • Shirley;s Bay had up to 9 species earlier in the week, but only 3 on the 21st.
  • Embrun had good variety. There were about 60 birds of 11 species there on the 18th, including BAIRD’S and WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS, DUNLIN, SANDERLING and SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER. There were fewer birds but 12 species here on the 16th including STILT SANDPIPER and AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER.
  • Giroux had limited variety but it included 2 AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER on the 18th.
  • Almonte had modest to small numbers of common species.
  • Moodie Drive Ponds had a small number including AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER.
  • A storm water pond in Emerald Meadows had habitat and small numbers of common species.
  • Petrie Island had small numbers of common species.
  • Russell had small number of common species.


Clay-colored Sparrow, photographed by Jon Ruddy at Goulbourn fields.


Amid the general decline, a few fall birds have becoming more common: AMERICAN PIPIT, LINCOLN’S and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW, DARK-EYED JUNCO, RUSTY BLACKBIRD, and a single sighting of GREY-CHEEKED THRUSH at Britannia on the 21st.

A few late sightings were noted:

  • RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD near Larose Forest on the 21st.
  • RED-SHOULDERED HAWK at Larose Forest on the 15th.
  • A SORA at Andrew Haydon Park on the 21st.
  • 150 TREE SWALLOWS at Russell on the 17th.

22 species of WARBLER were seen this week, including a late MOURNING WARBLER at Shirley’s bay on the 18th. However, variety per trip has dropped a bit: 10 species is more typical now.

Finally, 4 RED CROSSBILL were heard in the Alta Vista area on the 18th.

Thanks to everyone who contributed bird observations. We encourage everyone to report their bird sightings on eBird for the benefit of the entire birding community.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 15 September 2016

by Gregory Zbitnew


Rusty Blackbird photographed at Shirley's Bay by Tony Beck.


It was a very dull birding weekly with no real highlights.

Fall was in the air with some weather systems passing through and really blustery weather on Sunday and Wednesday, although it remained mild to warm. Unfortunately, these conditions did not result in any enhancements to the birding scene. The week was characterized mostly by more summer birds leaving and not much replacing them.

There was, again, nothing really notable in the way of WATERBIRDS, just a slight increase in numbers and variety.

There was a bit of HAWK migration this week: a few sightings of BROAD-WINGED and RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, but nothing dramatic.

SHOREBIRDS, once again, are mediocre in most places. There were very small numbers of mostly common ones at Almonte, Parc Brêbeuf (3 BAIRD’S SANDPIPER on the 8th), Chrysler, Embrun and Petrie Island. Shirley’s Bay remains the only decent spot, with up to 70 birds of up to 11 species, including SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER (most of the week), STILT SANDPIPER, and AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER (14-15th).

Aerial insectivores are disappearing rapidly, but there were 2 BARN SWALLOWS at Almonte on the 10th, 6 TREE SWALLOWS at Embrun on the 11th, and ALDER FLYCATCHER in Larose Forest on the 10th and Britannia on the 13th. 2 sightings of WHIPPOORWILL may be the last of the season: Munster on the 10th and Larose Forest on the 13th.

Some of the fall passerines have arrived:

  • RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET at South March Conservation Forest on the 13th;
  • WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW at Britannia on the 15th;
  • AMERICAN PIPITS in a few places; and
  • GRAY-CHEEEKED THRUSH in a few places (but no major THRUSH movement yet).

24 species of WARBLER were seen this week, and 10-15 species per trip in the better areas, when gale-force winds were not howling, was the norm. 15 species at Shirley’s Bay on the 11th must have been hunkered down in calm area. Most recently, Britannia was quite active on the morning of the 15th, but nothing unexpected was seen.

2 latish INDIGO BUNTING at Fletcher on the 9th were interesting, as was a latish BALTIMORE ORIOLE at Brtiannia on the 15th. Even more so were late CLAY-COLOURED SPARROWS, one on Trail 10 near Shirley’s Bay on the 12th, and multiple others at a newly discovered “Sparrow Field” west of Kanata. This latter spot has many other SPARROWS including VESPER.

Finally, there was a RED CROSSBILL on Greenbelt trail 10 on the 12th.

ACCESS TO THE SHIRLEY’S BAY CAUSEWAY. The OFNC has a signed agreement with DND and PWGS that gives OFNC members limited access to this important birding area. You must call the Range Control Office (613-991-5740) before entering DND property, and you will be informed how far down the causeway you may go. For your safety, please respect their instructions, as the shooting patterns vary from day to day.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 8 September 2016

by Gregory Zbitnew


Red-necked Phalarope photographed by Ken Ball at Shirley's Bay.


The highlight of the week was a CONNECTICUT WARBLER found at Britannia on the 3rd. Unfortunately, and predictably, this elusive bird was not relocated.

Weather was again mostly above seasonal temperatures with limited rain. A wind shift may have contributed to an excellent variety and number of birds, especially WARBLERS, on the 3rd, but this seemed to drop steadily through the week with persistent southerly winds.

Again this week, WATERBIRDS and SHOREBIRDS were in limited supply, the latter despite a reasonable amount of habitat. Some types of birds, most notably SWALLOWS, are rapidly and quietly disappearing.

There is a reasonable variety of mostly PUDDLE DUCKS in places like Shirley’s Bay, the Moodie Drive ponds, and the inland lagoons, but nothing that unusual. There have been a few sightings of early SNOW GEESE, but that is it.

SHOREBIRDS were in reasonable numbers only at Shirley’s Bay, where there were 70 birds of 11 species on the 7th, including STILT SANDPIPER, SANDERLING and SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER. Other notable sightings:

  • The first AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER of the season was in Carp on the 5th.
  • A RED-NECKED PHALAROPE was at Embrun on the 5th.
  • RUDDY TURNSTONE was at parc Brébeuf on the 5th.
  • BAIRD’S and WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER were at Embrun on the 6th.

Altogether there were 20 species of SHOREBIRD in the region this week.

SWALLOWS are rapidly disappearing. The last was a BARN SWALLOW in the west end on the 3rd. The latest sighting of OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was in Britannia on the 4th, and there were regular sightings of YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER.

All 5 VIREOS were seen, notably YELLOW-THROATED VIREO in Larose Forest and near the Champlain Street Marsh in Orleans.

25 species of WARBLER were seen this week. The best day was the 3rd, when nearly 20 species were seen in Britannia, but numbers and variety dwindled through the rest of the week.

A few other notable sightings:

  • 5 AMERICAN PIPIT on Upper Dwyer Hill Road on the 5th.
  • BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO in Britannia on the 1st.
  • INDIGO BUNTING in Russell on the 3rd.
  • EASTERN TOWHEE in Richmond on the 3rd.

Finally, there was a bit of FINCH activity. RED CROSSBILL were heard in Larose Forest on the 5th and on Greenbelt Trail 10 on the 6th.

An EVENING GROSBEAK was in Constance Bay on the 3rd, and there were 2 sightings of PINE SISKIN.

Note re access to the Shirley’s Bay causeway: The OFNC has a signed agreement with DND and PWGS that gives OFNC members limited access to this important birding area. You must call the Range Control Office (613-991-5740) before entering DND property, and you will be informed how far down the causeway you may go. For your safety, please respect their instructions, as the shooting patterns vary from day to day.



Semipalmated Plover (left) and Sanderling photographed by Adolf Kendall at Andrew Haydon Park.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 1 September 2016

by Gregory Zbitnew


Black-bellied Plover photographed by Adolph Kendall at Shirley's Bay.


The only highlight was a fairly modest one, a BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER at Britannia on the 30th. There were 2 sightings of ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER (early) at Britannia and 1 in Richmond.

Weather was again mostly above seasonal temperatures with limited rain. This was not conducive to any major movement of birds. WATERBIRDS and SHOREBIRDS were in limited supply, the latter despite a reasonable amount of habitat. There was a good variety of PASSERINES, with some excellent and mediocre days.

WATERBIRDS again were not notable for the most part. A SNOW GOOSE west of the Rockcliffe airport was early, or perhaps a sign of the increasing numbers of this species. 2 REDHEAD at the Moodie Drive ponds on the 28th and LESSER SCAUP at Shirley’s Bay on the 28th-1st were a little more than ordinary.

There were no real concentrations of SHOREBIRDS anywhere. The best spots are Shirley’s Bay (up to about 40 birds), Embrun (up to about 55 birds) and the Richmond Conservation areas (up to 50 birds). Notable this week were:

  • Shirley’s Bay: BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER was there until the 26th, STILT
  • SANDPIPER most of the week, BAIRD’S SANDPIPER until the 29th, and RED-NECKED PHALAROPE on the 31st-1st.
  • Embrun: BAIRD’S and STILT SANDPIPER on the 27th.
  • Richmond: STILT SANDPIPER on the 28th.
  • 4Andrew Haydon Park: RED-NECKED PHALAROPE on the 30th, and HUDSONIAN GODWIT on
  • the 1st.
  • Blakeney: WHIMBREL on the 28th.

Among the PASSERINES, this will likely be the last week before significant declines in many species such as FLYCATCHERS. A single sighting of OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was in Britannia on the 25th, but by contrast there have been a number of sightings of YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER in various places this week.

24 species of WARBLER were seen this week. There was an exceptional single-observer sighting of 20 species in Britannia on the 27th, including the first-of-the season BLACKPOLL WARBLER. More generally there is good variety but not large numbers. The better areas are seeing 10-15 species of WARBLER in a single visit.

Finally, a CAROLINA WREN was in Carlington on the 28th.

Note re: Access to the Shirley’s Bay causeway. The OFNC has a signed agreement with DND and PWGS that gives OFNC members limited access to this important birding area. You must call the Range Control Office (613-991-5740) before entering DND property, and you will be informed how far down the causeway you can go. Please respect their instructions for your safety, as the shooting patterns vary from day to day.



Baird's and Least Sandpiper, photographed by Adolph Kendall at Shirley's Bay.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 25 August 2016

by Gregory Zbitnew


Black-billed Cuckoo photographed by Richard Waters at Britannia.


The highlight of the week was a BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER at Shirley’s Bay on the 24-25th. This species is less than annual in Ottawa. A BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER at Shirley’s bay 22nd was a much lesser highlight.

Weather was mostly above seasonal temperatures with a significant rain on the 21st. Migrant PASSERINES were in good variety but not huge numbers. SHOREBIRD variety was good at times, notably on the 21st and 24th, but the numbers are a small fraction of what they were before the rains last week. Habitat on the Ottawa River is reasonable between the rains.

Waterbirds were not notable at all this week. LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was regular at the Deschênes Rapids.

Again this week, 19 species of SHOREBIRDS were seen in the region. Shirley’s bay had 10 species including the rarity and both BAIRD’S and STILT SANDPIPER. Other spots on the river have virtually no shorebirds. A few spots, mostly east of Ottawa, had a small fallout in the rain on the 21st, but everywhere numbers are low. Some recent sightings include:

  • Almonte Lagoons: 7 birds of 2 species on the 24th.
  • Richmond CA: 30 birds of 6 species on the 21st, including A SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER.
  • Casselman: 12 BIRDS OF 7 species on the 21st including RED-NECKED PHALAROPE.
  • Embrun: 78 of 8 species on the 21st including STILT and BAIRD’S SANDPIPER; 30 birds of 5 species on the 22nd.


Solitary Sandpiper photographed by Sami Zeitouini at the Richmond conservation area.


Southward migration was very evident this week. There were several sightings of YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER THIS WEEK, and 2 of OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER (Larose forest and South March Highlands). On the 22nd -23rd there were several sightings of PHILADELPHIA VIREO, and 2 of YELLOW-THROATED VIREO (Richmond CA and Shirley’s Bay).

There have been some noticeable concentrations of SWALLOWS-over 600 TREE SWALLOWS at Embrun on the 21st, for example.

The RED-HEADED WOODPECKER is still in Torbolton Forest as of the 20th.

The first of the migrant SWAINSON’S THRUSH were seen on August 22 and Gatineau and heard flying overhead the same night.

Overall, most species of PASSERINES are at or above their summer levels, although a few like YELLOW WARBLER seem to be moving out. In a week or two at the most we can expect some major movement out of the region. 23 species of WARBLER were seen in the region, including a GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER at Shirley’s bay on the 25th. 10-15 species of WARBLER are now being seen per trip, the largest being 15 at Britannia on the 21st.

Finally, a PINE SISKIN WAS at a feeder in Ottawa on the 24th.



Great Egret, photographed by Eric Leger at Andrew Haydon Park.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 18 August 2016

by Gregory Zbitnew


Short-billed Dowitcher, photographed by Adolph Kendall at Andrew Haydon Park. Larger view


Finally, we had a highlight this week. A juvenile male YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD was at the Almonte sewage lagoons on the 13-14th.

There was also finally a change of weather, which brought a few birds in with it. A major day-long rain on the 13th with brisk winds from different directions was undoubtedly a factor in the small shorebird fallout and the arrival of a greater variety of migrant songbirds. There was another deluge on the 16th (but no fallout). Temperatures were seasonal between the rains.

WATERBIRDS were not particularly notable this week, but that is not surprising given the time of year. A SNOW GOOSE at Britannia on the 17th was very unusual, while a LESSER SCAUP at Shirley’s Bay on the 18th was less so.

SHOREBIRDS were the highlight this week aside from the rarity noted above. Overall, 19 species of SHOREBIRD were in the region this week. While the rain was badly needed, it did eliminate shorebird habitat along the river. However, there are still modest numbers at the inland ponds and lagoons.


Red-necked Grebe, photographed by Sai Wai Ip at Andrew Haydon Park.


A WHIMBREL was flying near Ottawa Beach on the 12th. On the 12-14th, up to 3 SHORT-BILLED DOWTICHERS were at Andrew Haydon Park. At Ottawa Beach on the 13th, RUDDY TURNSTONE, SANDERLING, and BAIRD’S SANDPIPER touched down briefly, but only one SANDERLING stuck around until the 14th. A BAIRD’S SANDPIPER was also at Parc Brébeuf on the 17th. 2 RED-NECKED PHALAROPES were at Almonte on the 14th and at Shirley’s Bay on the 17th. Some recent sightings:

  • Shirley’s Bay to Ottawa Beach: Virtually no SHOREBIRDS from the 14th-18th
  • Petrie Island: Virtually no SHOREBIRDS on the 15-18th
  • Almonte: 65 birds of 8 species on the 14th; 42 BIRDS of 6 species on the 15th
  • Winchester: Little habitat or birds this week
  • Embrun: 64 birds of 10 species on the 15th (a BAIRD’S SANDPIPER was seen this day as well) 17th
  • Richmond CA: 70 birds of 8 species on the 14th


American Kestral at Winchester, photographed by Sami Zeitouni.


GULL numbers and variety are building up a bit. The place to see them is Deschênes in the evening (mostly RING-BILLED), or the Moodie Drive Ponds (1000 birds there on the 16th, mostly HERRING). A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was at Deschênes on the 17th and 2 were at the Moodie Drive Ponds on the 16th.

COMMON NIGHTHAWKS are on the move. Groups of up to about 40 were seen a few evenings this week. A YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER at the Richmond CA on the 14th was the first fall sighting and another was at Lac Taylor in Gatineau Park on the 17th.

SONGBIRDS were really on the move this week. A YELLOW-THROATED VIREO was at Shirley’s bay on the 17th and at Britannia on the 14th. A PHILADELPHIA VIREO was also at Britannia on the 14th.

22 species of WARBLER were seen this week, although numbers are still rather low and only 5-10 species are typically seen in an outing in the better areas. 11 species of WARBLER were at Britannia on the 15th, including the first of the fall WILSON’S WARBLER. A GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER at Shirley’s Bay on the 15th was an unusual sighting outside of the breeding grounds and season.

Finally, there was an EVENING GROSBEAK at Lac Taylor in Gatineau Park on the 17th.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 11 August 2016

by Gregory Zbitnew


Gray Catbird, photographed at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden by Sami Zeitouni


While there have been no rarities, there have been a few birds worth chasing. A YELLOW-THROATED VIREO was at Shirley’s bay and Britannia on the 7th and 2 of this scarce species were at Britannia on the 9th. A WHIMBREL was flying over the Stony Swamp area on the 6th, and a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER at Embrun 8-9th is still a bit early for this species.

Persistent heat (with the hottest day of the year) and dryness this week have made birding a challenge, and perhaps a challenge for the birds themselves. Migration is on the upswing, although it is slow as the weather provided no incentive for them to stop and or linger. Ottawa River water levels continue to drop, causing the shorebird habitat at Shirley’s bay to expand but also to become more distant for viewing.


Black-and-white Warbler, photographed at Shirley's Bay by Sami Zeitouni


There was little out of the ordinary among the waterbirds. A GREATER SCAUP at the Masson filtration plant was out-of-season. The summering RED-NECKED GREBE persists at Britannia as of the 11th.

The low water levels have resulted in considerable habitat along the Ottawa River although it is presumed that most SHOREBIRDS are just flying over in spite of this. An example of this is 200 SEMI-PALMATED SANDPIPERS flying down the Ottawa River near Wendover. Shirley’s Bay has the greatest number, but the variety is still only moderate at all locations. 13 species have been seen in the region this week. Some sightings include:

  • Shirley’s Bay: 220 bird of 8 species on the 9th.
  • Petrie Island: 78 birds of 6 species on the 8th (best spot for WILSON’S SNIPE)
  • Richmond CA: 80 birds of 9 species on the 6th incuding BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER
  • Almonte: 64 birds of 6 species on the 7th
  • Embrun: 72 birds of 9 species on the 9th
  • Giroux Road Ponds: 1 KILLDEER on the 6th.
  • Masson Filtration Plant: 4 birds of 2 species on the 5th.


Chestnut-sided Warbler, photographed at Shirley's Bay by Sami Zeitouni


There is little else of note among the SONGBIRDS. Many of the residents are becoming a bit more conspicuous as they are no longer involved in nesting and the young are active too. We are still waiting for the bigger mixed flocks of WARBLERS. There were 10 species at Shirley’s Bay on the 8th but that was atypical. CAPE MAY, TENNESSEE and BAY-BREASTED WARBLERS are some of the more interesting early arrivals.

Finally, a few odds and ends:

  • 30 COMMON NIGHTHAWK at Almonte on the 7th.
  • 16 HORNED LARK at Giroux Road on the 6th.
  • CAROLINA WREN at the Richmond CA on the 7th.
  • RED CROSSBILL at Shirley’s Bay on the 7th.

Ottawa and area bird sightings to 4 August 2016

by Gregory Zbitnew

While there have been no rarities, there has been some action on the birding front. Specifically, some SHOREBIRD action. Some unsettled weather would help here, but it has continued to be warm to hot and dry. There has also been more noticeable post-breeding dispersal, mostly with SONGBIRDS.

One oddity among the waterbirds, an apparently healthy SNOW GOOSE was in downtown Ottawa at least on the 30th.

Among the new arrivals for the fall, at Shirley’s bay there were 2 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS on the 30th, and a BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER on the 1-4th. There were 14 species of SHOREBIRD seen this week. Some recent sightings include:

  • Shirley’s bay: 220 birds of 10 species on the 4th.
  • Petrie Island: 64 birds of 8 species on the 3rd.
  • Almonte: 80 birds of 5 species on the 31st.
  • Embrun: 76 birds of 7 species on the 31st.

A few more interesting sightings included:

  • 3 SANDHILL CRANES east of Almonte on the 30th.
  • UPLAND SANDPIPER on Dwyer Hill Road on the 31st.
  • RED-NECKED PHALAROPE at Shirley’s bay as late as the 29th.
  • 10 GRAY PARTRIDGE on Giroux Road on the 31st. This is the first sighting of this species for some months.

Finally, 20 species of WARBLER were seen in the region this week, a good variety but nothing really special.


Earlier sightings available on request ofnc@ofnc.ca

Top of Page

© Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club
This page was revised on 8 December 2016
Contact the OFNC