Early Spring Migration Birding

Bald Eagle flies overhead, dispersing the Mallards I was watching.

Bald Eagle flies overhead, dispersing the Mallards I was watching.

Early yesterday afternoon I spent some time birding my favourite spot in Ottawa, Mud Lake.  It was beautiful and sunny out, and I hoped the conditions would be favorable to see some early spring migrants to Ottawa (e.g. Red-winged Blackbirds) or some late wintering birds before they left for their summer ranges (e.g. Bohemian Waxwings). Unfortunately I saw neither of these species.  The most prominent migrant on display were the gulls, primarily Ring-billed and Herring Gulls.  The large flock of 50 or so individuals was in stark contrast to the single gull I saw at Mud Lake on the 1st of this month. There was also a pair of White-throated Sparrows happily foraging in the snow-free patches that have recently opened up. As I stood on the ridge overlooking the Ottawa River the local Mallard flock haphazardly took flight. Their panic had me on alert for a predator, and I got very lucky. An adult Bald Eagle was steadily making its way towards where I stood on the ridge.  As it passed overhead I managed to snap a couple shots. I estimate that this is about the fourth or fifth time I have seen Bald Eagles at Mud Lake. It is definitely the spot where I am most likely to see this stately species.  Overall it was another great birding day.

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