In March, over a span of 7 days, birders have surveyed for raptors from Greenland Rd., roughly 800 meters west of Thomas Dolan. Constance Creek is in the valley below, sandwiched between two ridges: Carp Ridge to the SW and Dunrobin Ridge (Greenland Road) to the NE. As far as hawkwatching in Ottawa goes, this is the place to be. Results so far:
Black Vulture: 0
Turkey Vulture: 36
Bald Eagle: 19
Northern Harrier: 3
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 1
Cooper’s Hawk: 7
Northern Goshawk: 3
Red-shouldered Hawk: 5
Broad-winged Hawk: 0
Red-tailed Hawk: 10
Rough-legged Hawk: 8
Golden Eagle: 9
American Kestrel: 1
Peregrine Falcon: 0
Unknown Accipiter: 1
Unknown Buteo: 0
Unknown Falcon: 0
Unknown Eagle: 0
Unknown Raptor: 2
Some notes regarding the tally so far:
Golden Eagle: for those keen on viewing this species, Greenland Road has turned out to be a surprise hotspot! We have tallied 9 birds so far this season and just today we set our high count: 4 birds. This is by far our highlight and provides a nice draw to the site.
Given that some of the raptor species observed from the site are well within their breeding range, we have found it difficult to confidently discern migrants from local breeders; I personally have found that this rings especially true for Turkey Vulture, Red-shouldered Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Northern Harrier and Bald Eagle. In any case, distant raptors provide visitors with identification challenges and opportunities for developing a specific birding skill set. I highly recommend visiting this site on days when southerlies are in the forecast. It seems that the bulk of our raptor observations occur between 11:30 AM – 3:30 PM; with the estimated bulk of our eagle observations averaging between 1:00 – 3:30 PM.
There is an eBird hotspot for the site, located here: http://ebird.org/ebird/canada/hotspot/L2697365 We also have a Facebook group: “Ottawa-Gatineau Hawkwatchers.”
Figure 1: A kettle of eagles (1 Golden and 4 Bald) late in the day on 17 March 2016. Credit: Richard Waters.
Figure 2: A composite of a low-flying Golden Eagle as it surveyed the valley below! 22 March 2016. Credit: Tom Devesceri.
Figure 3: Golden Eagle number 2 of the day at 1320 h on 22 March 2016. Credit: Tom Devesceri. Figure 4: Golden Eagle number 4 of the day on 22 March 2016. Our last eagle of the day. Last seen at 1445 h. Same bird as seen in Figure 2. Credit: Tom Devesceri.
Figure 5: A Merlin makes a pass just N of Greenland Rd. 22 March 2016. Credit: Tom Devesceri.
Figure 6: A Red-shouldered in a glide (over a ridge): long wings and tail; hunched shoulders; bowed hands. Viewing conditions were at times very poor (lighting and distance) and identifications had to be made solely by GISS. Lucky for us, this long-distance subject continued to near us and then rode thermals in a patch of excellent lighting….see: Figure 7…
Figure 7: Adult Red-shouldered Hawk. A truly dapper bird. 22 March 2016. Credit: Tom Devesceri.
Figure 8: Bird ‘A’….my trouble bird of the day. Bird ‘B’ is a light, long and lean Cooper’s. Backlit and at a distance. A large, heavy Accipiter….but not a gos’….a big female Coop. I was caught off guard by its heavy build and its slow, exaggerated quasi-display flap. It looked and ‘felt’ like a gos in the field! 22 March 2016. Credit: Tom Devesceri.
Thanks for dropping by. Good birding 🙂