Birding Program

2024 BIRDWATCHING EXCURSIONS

Relaxed, Fun, Exciting & Educational Excursions in the Greater Ottawa Area ~ From Beginner to Expert – Great For All Levels

We offer anything from an hour to full days and overnights. Normal half-day birding: $75.00 – Extended morning: $95.00 – Full day birding: $135.00 HST included.

A morning outing normally lasts between 4-6 hours, extended morning 7-9 hrs and a full day birding is 9-12+ hrs depending on bird activity.

Want a private outing? Contact us with your wishes and targets and we will create a customised outing for you.

January & February Birding Program

1. Friday Jan 26: Beginner Birdwatching - Ottawa West

2. Sunday Jan 28: Waterfowl & Other Overwintering Species - Ottawa Centre

3. Wednesday Jan 31: Raptors & Winter Specialties - Ottawa West

4. Sunday Feb 4: Sarsaparilla Trail & other Greenbelt Habitats – Ottawa West

5. Wednesday Feb 7: Winter Water Birds - Ottawa West

6. Saturday Feb 10: Chasing Rarities & Early Winter Birding - Ottawa West

7. Sunday Feb 11: Eagles & Finches – Gatineau Escarpment

8. Tuesday Feb 13: Eagles & Finches (part 2) – Eardley Escarpment

9. Wednesday Feb 14: Dewberry Trail, Mer Bleue & Open Fields - Ottawa East

10. Wednesday Feb 21: Kemptville, Winchester & Ottawa South

11. Saturday Feb 24: FULL DAY to Amherst Island

12. Tuesday Feb 27: Open Fields - Gray Partridge, Raptors & Early Spring Arrivals – Ottawa East

13. Wednesday Feb 28: Coniferous Woodland Trails – Ottawa West

14. Sat/Sun March 9-10: OVERNIGHT to Algonquin Park

17. Stay tuned for March local birding excursions to be posted...

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Friday Jan 26: Beginner Birdwatching – Ottawa West

Time: 8 am to noon – Meet at Coliseum Theatre (Cineplex Cinema) – 3090 Carling Ave: https://maps.app.goo.gl/mGrETi6d4YYk2P2W9 – $75.00 per person HST incl.

New to birding? Are you overwhelmed by all the sights and sounds of nature? Want to learn a simple approach to bird identification? Among the many ways of enjoying nature, Birding and Bird Photography are among the fastest growing outdoor recreational activities in the world. A close connection with nature provides endless personal rewards, some of them profound and life-changing. However, you can maximize your pleasure by being more efficient and effective in the field. During this half-day excursion surrounded by nature, we will discuss the following: • How to correctly use optical equipment • Using identification tools like field guides and cell phone apps • How to approach wildlife in an ethical and sensitive manner. • How to “observe” birds with the intention of determining its species name. Time permitting, we can also discuss setting up a backyard bird feeding station, bird photography and birding around the world. Registration is to [email protected]

Sunday Jan 28: Waterfowl & Other Overwintering Species – Ottawa Centre

Time: 8 am to noonish – meet along Cassels Street, right beside Mud Lake – https://goo.gl/maps/FXHua5MQkLVBi2AX7 – $75.00 per person HST incl.

Even during the coldest winter, Ottawa is home to some of the hardiest northern birds. Fast moving water on our rivers remain open for the season. This habitat attracts species adapted to cold temperatures and finding various food below the water surface. Birds like Common Goldeneye. Common Merganser and Mallards thrive throughout winter as long as they’re able to find adequate food and shelter. Some might be frantically feeding in the rapids while others might be loafing in the shallows. Meanwhile, our region usually attracts a few rare species like Barrow’s Goldeneye or Harlequin Duck. Often, we’ll find Wood Duck or Hooded Merganser mixed in with the duck flocks. Other possibilities include Glaucous Gull, Iceland Gull, Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon or something exceptionally rare. Registration is to [email protected]

Wednesday Jan 31: Raptors & Winter Specialties – Ottawa West

Time: 8 am to noon – Meet at Coliseum Theatre (Cineplex Cinema) – 3090 Carling Ave: https://maps.app.goo.gl/mGrETi6d4YYk2P2W9 – $75.00 per person HST incl.

This trip highlights birds of prey found west of the city. As winter progresses, some raptors form fairly predictable routines. Meanwhile, others might still be arriving from afar, or simply wandering around in search of productive feeding grounds. We’ll mainly check open country and forest edges – the most consistent places to see over-wintering raptors. However, based on reports from local birding networks, we’ll concentrate our efforts in locations where they’re currently being seen. Some of our targets include Snowy Owl, Bald Eagle, Rough-legged Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Merlin, American Kestrel, Northern Shrike, Gray Partridge, Lapland Longspur or any of the northern specialties unique to Eastern Ontario in winter. With luck, we might encounter a Golden Eagle, Northern Goshawk, Gyrfalcon or a distant traveler from afar. Registration is to [email protected]

Sunday Feb 4: Sarsaparilla Trail & other Greenbelt Habitats – Ottawa West

Time: 8 am to noon – Meet at Coliseum Theatre (Cineplex Cinema) – 3090 Carling Ave: https://maps.app.goo.gl/mGrETi6d4YYk2P2W9 – $75.00 per person HST incl.

Ottawa’s Greenbelt is blessed with a rich network of woodland trails. Our area’s natural habitats provide shelter and food for much wildlife. Dominated by coniferous forest, the Sarsaparilla Trail, is well suited to many northern birds and year-round local residents. Besides the birds, these trails can entertain us with their natural beauty, especially after a gentle winter snowfall. There should be local residents like Red-breasted Nuthatch, Pileated Woodpecker, and many friendly chickadees. We’ll also search for finches, including crossbills, redpolls, and Pine Siskin. If the woods are quiet, we’ll venture out to the open fields looking for raptors like Snowy Owl and Rough-legged Hawk or Bald Eagle. Registration is to [email protected]

Wednesday Feb 7: Winter Water Birds – Ottawa West

Time: 8 am to noon – Meet at Coliseum Theatre (Cineplex Cinema) – 3090 Carling Ave: https://maps.app.goo.gl/mGrETi6d4YYk2P2W9 – $75.00 per person HST incl.

Every winter, regardless of temperature, our local rivers remain open where waters run fast. Tolerant of extreme cold, many hardy waterfowl enjoy our rivers simply because they’ve adapted to finding food in the frigid waters. They wouldn’t survive otherwise. Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser, Mallard, and even a few Black Ducks should be visible. There might be a few uncommon species mixed among them like Hooded Merganser, Bufflehead, Lesser Scaup, Northern Pintail, Barrow’s Goldeneye, or Harlequin Duck. We’ll also scan the ice edges for overwintering gulls like Lesser Black-backed, Glaucous, Iceland, and Thayer’s. The open waters are also patrolled by hunters like Peregrine Falcon, Bald Eagle, or Cooper’s Hawk. With extreme luck, we might catch a glimpse of a Gyrfalcon, one of the most sought-after birds of prey. Registration is to [email protected]

Saturday Feb 10: Chasing Rarities & Early Winter Birding – Ottawa West

Time: 8 am to noon – Meet at Coliseum Theatre (Cineplex Cinema) – 3090 Carling Ave: https://maps.app.goo.gl/mGrETi6d4YYk2P2W9 – $75.00 per person HST incl.

Today will be open to searching for Ottawa’s over-wintering rarities. Most winters, interesting and unusual species come into the Ottawa area, some coming from far away. This year, we have a male Western Tanager making McCarthy Woods its home. There are also reports of one or two female Harlequin Ducks along the Ottawa River. There are even a few seasonally rare species as well including Eastern Towhee and Wood Thrush. If time permits, we’ll head south of Ottawa looking for raptors and Lapland Longspur. Whatever excitement is being reported, we will go “twitching” for a few of Ottawa’s “Celebrity Birds”. Registration is to [email protected]

Sunday Feb 11: Eagles & Finches – Gatineau Escarpment

Time: 8 am to 12:30 pm – Meet at The Information Kiosk (Gatineau Park Welcome Area), Promenade de la Gatineau (Gatineau Parkway), North of Tache Blvd. https://goo.gl/maps/Mwx238Wx8CS8jz7P6 – $75.00 per person HST incl.

The rugged beauty of the Gatineau Escarpment provides us with the opportunity to see many interesting birds. At the edge of the Canadian Shield, northern finches, woodpeckers, and raptors recognize habitats similar to their northern breeding grounds. With luck, we might find some overwintering finches like redpolls, crossbills, Pine Siskin, Pine Grosbeak, or Evening Grosbeak. Typically, they’re found here more easily than in Ottawa’s lowlands. We’ll also look for raptors using the updrafts created by the escarpment. Throughout fall and winter, Bald Eagles are found regularly while Golden Eagles require a bit of persistence and luck. We occasionally find Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, American Kestrel, American Goshawk, or Northern Shrike. If we’re really lucky, we’ll encounter an owl of some sort. To maximize our chances of finding our target species, we’ll spend the morning exploring the many backroads networked through the hills and lowlands hugging the escarpment. Contact us for more info and registration at [email protected]

Tuesday Feb 13: Eagles & Finches (part 2) – Eardley Escarpment

Time: 8 am to 1 pm – Meet at The Information Kiosk (Gatineau Park Welcome Area), Promenade de la Gatineau (Gatineau Parkway), North of Tache Blvd. https://goo.gl/maps/Mwx238Wx8CS8jz7P6 – $75.00 per person HST incl.

By popular demand, we’re visiting the Hills of Quebec again this week. The rugged beauty of the Gatineau Escarpment provides us with the opportunity to see many interesting birds. At the edge of the Canadian Shield, northern finches, woodpeckers, and raptors recognize habitats similar to their northern breeding grounds. With luck, we might find some overwintering finches like redpolls, crossbills, Pine Siskin, Pine Grosbeak, or Evening Grosbeak. Typically, they’re found here more easily than in Ottawa’s lowlands. We’ll also look for raptors using the updrafts created by the escarpment. Throughout fall and winter, Bald Eagles are found regularly while Golden Eagles require a bit of persistence and luck. We occasionally find Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, American Kestrel, American Goshawk, or Northern Shrike. If we’re really lucky, we’ll encounter an owl of some sort. To maximize our chances of finding our target species, we’ll spend the morning exploring the many backroads networked through the hills and lowlands hugging the escarpment. Contact us for more info and registration at [email protected]

Wednesday Feb 14: Dewberry Trail, Mer Bleue & Open Fields – Ottawa East

Time: 8 am to 12:30 pm – Meet at the OC Transpo Millennium Park-n-Ride off Trim Road, just south of Innes: https://goo.gl/maps/RszUKpkcyXFrDAdH6 – $75.00 per person HST incl.

Take your partner out for a Valentine’s Day Birding Excursion. We’ll start by checking local fields for raptors, Snow Buntings, and Horned Larks. If we’re lucky, we might find Lapland Longspur or Gray Partridge. We’ll work our way to the Mer Bleue area for a short hike along part of the Dewberry Trail. Some years, interesting northern species over-winter here. This is currently an active area for American Tree Sparrow, Barred Owl, and Northern Shrike. Although scarce this winter, we might encounter American Goshawk, Common Redpoll, Pine Grosbeak, or Evening Grosbeak. After our hike, we’ll head back to open fields, this time around the Casselman area. These open farm fields should produce Bald Eagle and Rough-legged Hawk. This is a traditional area of Snowy Owl. However, since they’ve been scarce this winter, we’ll need some luck to find one. At the very least, we might enjoy watching courtship displays of species like Common Raven or Red-tailed Hawk – a fitting way to spend Valentine’s Day. Contact us for questions and registration to [email protected]

Wednesday Feb 21: Kemptville, Winchester & Ottawa South

Time: 8 am to 12:30 pm – Meet at the Hwy 416 & Bankfield Park-n-Ride – https://goo.gl/maps/2cPiYGvtgGP7TVRn9 – $75.00 per person HST incl.

Situated between the Gatineau and Adirondack ranges, Eastern Ontario is a fairly flat lowland mostly covered in farm fields, isolated woodlots, and wetland habitats. Most winters, these environments provide refuge for many overwintering species including northern birds like Snowy Owl, Snow Bunting, and various finches. By the end of February, if weather conditions are favourable, warm systems from the south bring with it the first of the eager spring migrants. We should be seeing new arrivals like Horned Lark, or with luck, blackbirds, thrushes, sparrows, and the first Northern Harriers returning to their breeding grounds. We’ll check flocks for uncommon birds like Lapland Longspur. The open fields and forest edges provide excellent hunting opportunities for various raptors like Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Merlin, American Kestrel, or Eastern Screech Owl. We may even see bonded pairs of Common Ravens, Red-tailed Hawks, or American Kestrels engaged in courtship. Registration is to [email protected]

Saturday Feb 24: Amherst Island – FULL DAY

Time: 5:45 am to 7-8 pm – Meet at the Hwy 416 & Bankfield Park-n-Ride – https://goo.gl/maps/2cPiYGvtgGP7TVRn9 – $135.00 per person HST incl.

This trip will be ideal for photographers as well as birders. Most winters Amherst Island is a haven for overwintering raptors. Bald Eagles, Northern Harriers, American Kestrels, Red-tailed and Rough-legged Hawks can be common. Snowy and Short-eared Owls are usually present in the open fields of the island. All these different birds of prey visit here in winter to take advantage of the abundant Meadow Vole population. The open spaces sprinkled with small, sheltered woodlots make this area ideal for predators that hunt for small mammals & birds. The surrounding waters also attract good numbers of waterfowl like Redhead and Long-tailed Duck. With luck, we might find 3 species of swan. There are usually other birds of interest as well, including Northern Shrike, Ring-necked Pheasant, Red-bellied Woodpecker or any number of unusual species. If necessary, we will split the group into two where one group hikes into the famous “Owl Woods” while the rest continue along backroads looking for open-country raptors. To maximize photo opportunities, we’ll focus on cooperative wildlife and scenery while avoiding anything at a distance (too far for the camera). Option: Sleep over in Kingston and meet us at the ferry dock in the morning. Registration is to [email protected]

Tuesday Feb 27: Open Fields – Gray Partridge, Raptors & Early Spring Arrivals – Ottawa East

Time: 8 am to 12:30 pm – Meet at the OC Transpo Millennium Park-n-Ride off Trim Road, just south of Innes: https://goo.gl/maps/RszUKpkcyXFrDAdH6 – $75.00 per person HST incl.

We’ll start by checking local fields for raptors, Snow Buntings, and Horned Larks. If we’re lucky, we might find Lapland Longspur. When we get to the fields south of Navan, we’ll spend some time looking for Gray Partridge. We’ll eventually work our way out to the Casselman area where we hope to find raptors, gulls, and more songbirds. These open farm fields should produce Bald Eagle and Rough-legged Hawk. This is a traditional area of Snowy Owl. However, since they’ve been scarce this winter, we’ll need some luck to find them. There’s a chance for Golden Eagle or American Goshawk. At the very least, we might enjoy watching courtship displays of species like Common Raven or Red-tailed Hawk. At the end of February, the first spring migrants should be arriving. The backroads will have several small flocks of Horned Larks. Some will already be paired off. If weather is suitable for migration, we might even see the first geese returning. Contact us for questions and registration to [email protected]

Wednesday Feb 28: Coniferous Woodland Trails – Ottawa West

Time: 8 am to noon – Meet at Coliseum Theatre (Cineplex Cinema) – 3090 Carling Ave: https://maps.app.goo.gl/mGrETi6d4YYk2P2W9 – $75.00 per person HST incl.

By the end of February, we often see the first signs of spring migration. This transitional time has many overwintering birds behaving somewhat predictably while some birds become eager to return to their breeding grounds. We’ll start by checking one local hiking trail for wildlife activity. Perhaps we’ll find some sparrows or blackbirds singing in suitable habitats. Late February might even reveal some late finches arriving in the lowlands looking for berries or seeds. Besides the ever-present Black-capped Chickadees and nuthatches, we may see a Ruffed Grouse cross the trail. After a short hike, we’ll visit the open fields around the village of Richmond with the hopes of finding some raptors or gulls. If any unusual species are being reported from around here, we’ll make efforts to locate them. Registration is to [email protected]

Sat/Sun March 9-10: OVERNIGHT EXCURSION to Algonquin Park

Time: 6 am – Meet at Coliseum Theatre (Cineplex Cinema) – 3090 Carling Ave: https://maps.app.goo.gl/mGrETi6d4YYk2P2W9 – $260.00 per person HST incl.

Algonquin Park is famous for its extensive northern forest habitats. Its large stands of spruce and pine often attract a variety of finches and raptors. It also harbors several northern residents that are considered rare on the rest of the continent. While in the park, we’ll look for Spruce Grouse, Ruffed Grouse, Gray Jays, Red Crossbill, Pine Grosbeak, Pine Siskin, Evening Grosbeak and Black-backed Woodpecker. With luck, we might encounter Boreal Chickadee, White-winged Crossbill, Great Gray Owl, Northern Hawk Owl, Golden Eagle, or American Goshawk. Besides the birds, we might come across some unusual mammals including North American Beaver, Moose, American Marten, Fisher, or Eastern (Red) Wolf. A mixture of frozen lakes, bogs, boreal and hardwood forests, this is Ontario’s most accessible northern wilderness. From our starting point in Ottawa, we head straight for the park, spending a few hours exploring the east side before we have lunch somewhere in the park. In late afternoon, we check into our accommodations (note: you have to book your own accommodation in Whitney) just outside the East Gate. We will have a relatively early dinner. If conditions warrant, we’ll head back into the park for dusk where we’ll listen for owls and maybe even wolves. The following morning, we go into the park immediately after breakfast. We will spend the entire day there, hiking some of the leisurely trails through northern forests. Depending on wildlife activity, we plan to leave around 3:00 or 4:00pm. We should be back in Ottawa before 8:00pm on March 10th. Registration is to [email protected]

March birding program to be launced soon -Stay tuned…

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Field Trip Guidelines & Useful Info:

  • Poor weather conditions often produce the most interesting birds & wildlife. Therefore, trips will proceed rain or shine. Listen to weather forecasts and dress accordingly. Only the most severe weather conditions will postpone trips.
  • Note that customers of Always an Adventure Inc. are responsible for making their own arrangements for accommodation, transportation and payments for such arrangements is at their own expense.
  • Transportation will be by personal vehicle (make sure the gas tank is full). Some carpooling might be possible. Contact us if you need a ride
  • Some hiking should be expected in areas with active trail networks. Comfortable footwear is recommended.
  • Participants should bring their own binoculars and refreshments. Please let us know if you need binoculars. High-quality VORTEX optics can be loaned.
  • All transportation cost, ferry cost, park fees, food, accommodation and refreshments are not included in the price.
  • During times of hot weather, insect repellent and water comes in handy.
  • The trip itinerary is subject to change depending on weather patterns, current local bird activity, scouting results or any unforeseen factors.
  • Please register by email
  • Payment is by e-Transfer and should be paid within 48hrs of the outing/session. Also accepted are PayPal, cheques & cash. Contact us for more info.
  • Always An Adventure Inc. expects all participants to follow local Covid guidelines to all times
  • Always An Adventure Inc. is not to be held liable for any unforeseen circumstances that might arise during outings.
  • All participants of Always An Adventure Inc. must sign a Release of Liability Form.
  • Always An Adventure Inc. is using eBird and participants will receive the day-list per e:mail at the end of the excursion.

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