Good weather, good company, not so great birds. That very much summarizes yesterday's field trip to Parc National d'Oka. A total of 20 birders showed up on a morning which started sunny and breezy before clouds moved in. But unlike many previous years for this trip the rain held off until we were well finished. Temperatures hovered around a pleasant 10°C for much of the morning.
Overall bird numbers, both with regard to species and number of individuals, were disappointing with a few exceptions. We started our trip with a quick walk near the Rivière des Serpents in back of the Centre d'Acceuil Camping where many were pleased to see their first American Tree Sparrows of the fall season. We then proceeded in convoy to the beach area which due to high water levels was quite restricted in extent. A group of 200+ scaup far off shore definitely contained both greater and lesser but distance, backlighting and choppy conditions made getting exact numbers of each species difficult. (That's our excuse). Consensus seemed to be that the majority might have been Greater Scaup. A half dozen White-winged Scoters were feeding with the group.
With the cloud layer building we decided to head for the Sentier de la Grande Baie so as not to be caught by rain before we could enjoy this usually productive area. Unfortunately water levels there were also very high (it does connect directly to the Ottawa River) and this seems to have rendered the habitat less attractive than normal. For those familiar with the trail the floating boardwalk was actually floating for its entire length and the water was several feet deep. A large group of mainly resting Ring-necked Ducks and a few American Wigeon and Gadwall were all that were present on the water. A distant group of 5 Eastern Bluebirds were seen passing through and identified mostly by call.
A few participants went back to the sewage/evaporation ponds located along Chemin des Collines and added a few species to our list including Green-winged Teal, American Black Duck and Common Raven (and a much larger group of Gadwall)
Our complete list of 34 species can be found below.
Thanks to all who came out for a fun if not entirely productive morning. - Wayne Grubert
Species List: Canada Goose - 500+ (many seen in the distance), Wood Duck - 2, Gadwall - 70, American Wigeon - 7, American Black Duck - 3, Mallard - 5, Green-winged Teal - 6, Ring-necked Duck - 300+, Greater Scaup/Lesser Scaup - 200+ (Definitely contained both species), White-winged Scoter - 6, Ring-billed Gull - 100+, Great Black-backed Gull - 2, Downy Woodpecker - 2, Hairy Woodpecker - 3, Northern Flicker - 1, Blue Jay - 5, American Crow - 50, Common Raven - 2, Black-capped Chickadee - 6, White-breasted Nuthatch - 2, Winter Wren - 2 (heard only, Golden-crowned Kinglet - 1, Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 3, Eastern Bluebird- 5, American Robin - 100+, European Starling - 20, America Tree Sparrow - 3, Dark-eyed Junco - 6, Northern Cardinal - 1, Red-winged Blackbird - 100+, Rusty Blackbird - ˜6 (heard only), Common Grackle - 100+, American Goldfinch - 2 (heard only)
500+ (beaucoup, vu dans la distance), Canard branchu - 2, Canard chipeau - 70, Canard d'Amérique - 7, Canard noir - 3, Canard colvert - 5, Sarcelle d'hiver - 6, fuligule à collier - plus de 300, Fuligule milouinan / Petit Fuligule - 200+ (les deux espèces), Macreuse brune - 6, Goéland à bec cerclé - 100+, Goéland marin - 2, Pic mineur - 2, Pic chevelu - 3, Pic flamboyant - 1, Geai bleu - 5, Corneille d'Amérique - 50, Grand Corbeau - 2, Mésange à tête noire - 6, Sittelle à poitrine blanche - 2, Troglodyte mignon - 2 (entendu seulement), Roitelet à couronne dorée - 1, Roitelet à couronne rubis - 3, Merlebleu de l'Est Bluebird- 5, Merle d'Amérique - 100+, Étourneau sansonnet - 20, Bruant hudsonien - 3, Junco ardoisé - 6, Cardinal rouge - 1, Carouge à épaulettes - 100+, Quiscale rouilleux - 6 (entendu seulement), Quiscale bronzé - 100+, Chardonneret jaune - 2 (entendu seulement)