Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Birds easily seen and others hiding as weather cools

MVFN Nature Notebook

As the fall migration continues, some birds are still easily seen, while others still require careful observation and patience to catch sight of and to identify.

Observations of ducks, geese and other birds continues in the area and at sites such as the new MVFN Mike McPhail Bird Viewing Shelter just outside the town of Almonte, ON. Local birders are recording and submitting sightings of species and numbers to E-bird and other sites and agencies.

These beautiful mallards, female and male birds, were in the Mississippi River, at a site easily seen from the Mississippi Riverwalk Trail in Almonte, and photographed by Michel Gauthier.

Female (L) and male mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) in the Mississippi River at Almonte. photo Michel Gauthier

A Lincoln’s Sparrow noticed in a thicket; Michel Gauthier: “. . .  on the 1st of October, along the fence at the bird viewing shelter. It shows how birds can easily become invisible.”

Lincoln’s Sparrow (Melospiza linolnii) hides near the MVFN Mike McPhail Bird Viewing Shelter, Mississippi Mills, ON photo M. Gauthier

Later in October even flocks of small birds, such as these Redpolls (Acanthis flammea), can be easily overlooked in leafy trees, but become obvious and easier to examine more closely as they settle in large groups on bare branches alongside the open field behind the MVFNs Mike McPhail Bird Viewing Shelter near Almonte, ON.

Redpolls, Mike McPhail Bird Viewing Shelter, Almonte ON photo P. Donaldson, October 23, 2018

Redpolls, October 23, 2018,  Mike McPhail Bird Viewing Shelter, Almonte ON photo P. Donaldson

Sometimes a spotting scope or camera zoom helps when trying to identify birds, such as this Long-tailed Duck and a Lesser Scaup seen at the Almonte Lagoons and photographed from the Mike McPhail Bird Viewing Shelter. Michel Gauthier: “The long-tailed duck is a rare sighting at the lagoon, although plentiful on the Ottawa River. This one is a stray. It hangs around with the 20 or so lesser scaups that are currently at the lagoon.”

Long-distance view of water birds at Almonte Lagoons,  Long-tailed duck (L) and Lesser Scaup (R), October 23, 2018, photo P. Donaldson from the MVFN Mike McPhail Bird Viewing Shelter