Birding in Ottawa/Gatineau - Prior and after the "Waxwings Edition"

Two days ago, it was snowing pretty hard here in Ottawa, and although we had arranged with the course instructor to go out birding on Saturday, we feared it might be cancelled the following day due to the poor weather conditions. However, the weather wasn't that bad yesterday, except that it was windy and very cold at times.

First, we drove to Gatineau Park on the other side of Ottawa River. This is my first time entering Quebec!

Map of the park.

The first bird that we saw were Red Crossbills (Loxia curvirostra) feeding on the salt and pebbles on the snowy road. When we got closer, they flew to the tree next to the road. Lifer!

Got some strange photos of the crossbills in mid-air.

Then the instructor spotted a Golden Eagle!

Beside the GOEA, we also spotted a couple of Bald Eagles and Ravens (one with red meat in its beak) in the area, so we guessed there was a dead animal (probably a deer) nearby, and possible attracting mammals such as coyotes or wolves. So we hanged around for quite a while hoping to see or hear the signs of other animals.

Somewhere across the field/lake(?) was a dead animal.

Snowy Road

While walking around, we saw more RECR. The one in the middle is a juvenile due to the yellowish back.

Due to the backlighting and poor light conditions, these were the best shots of a male on the tree.



Rare Blue Sky
Sky cleared and then grayed as we walked down the road.

Snowy Road
After a while, we gave up and decided to drive/walk back down the road.

Then we spotted a pair of Pine Siskins (Spinus pinus), another lifer for me!


Got a few strange mid-air shots.

The Gatineau Escarpment.

We stopped at an nice little cafe called Moca Loca Cafe Co. for lunch. I felt out of place when seeing a menu in French.

After lunch, we caught a glimpse of a Northern Shrike flying towards some trees.

Then while driving back to Ottawa, we saw a Pileated Woodpecker on the side of the road eating some grapes(?).

Stopping at Bates Island to find some waterfowls. It was extremely windy and cold when we were there. I still feel cold just thinking about it.

Common Goldeneyes.

Parliament in the distance
Parliament buildings in the distance.

After not seeing too many birds, we went to a little village called Britannia where a warbler was seen before.

Male American Black Duck and Mallard.

Looking for anything.

Hiking through the snow.

Seeing a few American Robins among the waxwings.

Snowy Owl versus Crows

Snowy Owl juvenile under attack
Towards the end of the birding trip, we went to a yacht club to look for birds. At first, we couldn't find anything but then I spotted a few crows hanging out on the docks and looking closely, I realized there was a Snowy Owl among them! Shortly after the above photo, the Snowy Owl took off.

In the end, I think this was the list of birds we saw:

- Bald Eagle
- Golden Eagle
- Red Crossbill
- Pine Siskin
- Ravens
- Crow
- Blue Jay
- Northern Shrike
- Pileated Woodpecker
- Bufflehead
- Barrow's Goldeneye
- Common Goldeneye
- Mallard
- American Black Duck
- Mourning Dove
- Black-capped Chickadee
- Northern Cardinal
- White-breasted Nuthatch
- American Robin
- Cedar Waxing
- Bohemian Waxwing
- Snow Owl
- American Goldfinch
- Common Merganser

Great way to end a birding trip and relax from staring through the microscope for the past five days.

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