Ken Hooles, Daily Observer

Ken Hooles


A Barred Owl perched on a tree root in the wild.

BIRDWATCH: Hitting the road for the annual 'Owl Prowl'

This year’s Pembroke Area Field Naturalists’ Owl Prowl was held on Saturday, March 24. Despite somewhat cool temperatures, more than 50 people attended the event, forming a car convoy of 11 vehicles. As in previous years, the event was broken up into two segments. The first part consisted of a visit to the Eganville area to observe a resident Great

Paul Reeves Photography/Getty images: Male Red-bellied Woodpecker perched on a rotting fence post. Ken Hooles has recently received reports of Red-bellied Woodpeckers in the area.

Birdwatch: Red-bellied Woodpeckers spotted in the area

Back on Jan. 21, Gerald Rollins of the Cobden area informed me that he has had two Red-bellied Woodpeckers at his bird feeder since April 2017. A few days later, Rob Cunningham and I were very pleased to observe both of the woodpeckers, thanks to Gerald’s kind invitation.

Getty images A woodcock walking in the snow. There is a good chance that this bird, the American Woodcock will be heard or seen on this weekend's Owl Prowl Two.

BIRDWATCH: Owling Night being held at Shaw Woods Saturday night

The Pembroke Area Field Naturalists has just announced its second event for 2017. This is the club's popular 'Owling Night' (Owl Prowl Two) to be held on Saturday, April 1, at 6:30 p.m. This outing is excellent for locating Barred Owls, the occasional Great Horned Owl and little Saw Whet Owls.

Getty images The Pembroke and Area Field Naturalists are planning two separate events under the Owl Prowl name, the first one on March 4 in search of the Snowy Owl (seen here) and the second on April 1.

BIRDWATCH: Details about upcoming Owl Prowls and Seedy Sunday this weekend

One of the first and most popular excursions in the spring that is held by the Pembroke Area Field Naturalists is the Owl Prowl. Similar to last year, the club has decided to host two distinct Owl Prowls: one to search for Snowy Owls, hawks and possible spring birds in the Snake River area.

The Grey Jay has been named Canada's official bird.

BIRDWATCH: Learning more about Canada's official bird, the Grey Jay

This year is Canada’s 150th birthday, and it is only appropriate that after all these years, Canada would adopt an official bird. For many, the choosing of the Grey Jay was a surprise, but in retrospect, it is an ideal choice. This bird is mainly located in Canada, is quite tame and like most Canadians, is hardy enough to survive our cold winters.

The three most common bird species encountered on the Pembroke and Area Field Naturalists' official Christmas Bird Count held on Dec. 17 were the American Crow, left, the Black-Capped Chickadee, centre, and the European Starling.

BIRDWATCH: The results from the Pembroke and Area Field Naturalists' 24th Official Christmas Bird Count are in

The Pembroke Area Field Naturalists’ 24th official Christmas Bird Count was held on Dec. 17. Unlike last year’s warmer weather and slight snow, this year’s count was marred by low temperatures and heavy snow, affecting visibility. In addition, the Ottawa River was open only in certain patches, and several of the northern migrants had not returned i

Getty images Thick-billed Murre, seen here Wellfleet Harbor, Massachusetts - is an alcid which looks much like a penguin, however retains flight. The bird was recently spotted on Muskrat Lake.

BIRDWATCH: More information on the Thick-Billed Murre

Last November, I reported on three rare birds that were found in the Muskrat Lake and Lake Dore areas. The most interesting of the three was the Thick-billed Murre. This was only the second record of this seabird in Renfrew County; the first was recorded by naturalists associated with the Museum of Nature back in 1915-20.

Doug Fraser of Pembroke snapped this photo of a Greater Yellowlegs in flight taken at a lake near Barry’s Bay.

BIRDWATCH: Where have all the rare birds gone?

It has been a dismal bird migration this fall in Eastern Ontario in terms of rare bird sightings. Last year, Eastern Ontario experienced a plethora of rare birds that included such rarities as a Little Egret, a Yellow- crowned Night Heron, a variety of Jaegers, a Pink-footed Goose, and a Bullock’s Oriole. This fall, there has not been one rare bird

Least Sandpiper

BIRDWATCH: On the prowl for sandpipers

One of the more common migrant shorebirds that pass through our area, both in the spring and the fall, is the Least Sandpiper. It is one of many peeps seen on our beaches and mudflats during migration.

Getty images A Least Bittern, seen here in the Viera wetlands near Florida, was recently spotted in the area by Ken and Pat Hooles.

BIRDWATCH: Rare Least Bittern spotted in the area by columnist himself

The third rare bird for this year and for this spring was located by Pat and myself. On the evening of May 28, we spotted a Least Bittern sitting among some weeds in the swamp near the bridge on Stafford Third Line. Last year, an unconfirmed pair was sighted by Wendall Mclaughlin in a pond on his property off Beachburg Road.

On May 12 columnist Ken Hooles snapped this photo of a Dickcissel at the feeder of Brian and Judy Mohns of Black Bay.

Rare bird makes only second appearance In the Upper Ottawa Valley in 38 years

During spring migration, you just never know what bird may appear at your bird feeder. On Thursday, May 12, a rare mid-western bird called a Dickcissel arrived at the feeder of Brian and Judy Mohns of Black Bay. This bird stayed just one night but long enough for Rob Cunningham and me to confirm the bird sighting and photograph it for our county re

Area resident John Meadows captured this photo earlier in the spring of a pintail duck sitting on ice on the Ottawa River.

Petawawa Terrace walk coming up on Saturday

The next Pembroke and Area Field Naturalists' event is the Petawawa Terrace (old Fish Hatchery) Annual Walk that will take place Saturday, May 14, at 8 a.m. This outing is good for both children and adults. For the children, there are Canada Geese, sometimes with young fledglings. The outing is also excellent for observing many of our spring songbi

While travelling in Panama, Ken Hooles captured this photograph of a Great Kissadee.

BIRDWATCH: Adventures in Panama - part 2

In this column we continue our adventure in Panama moving from the Gamboa Region, the rainforest area, to the Panama Canal where we took a boat excursion down the canal through the Miafora Locks to Lake Gatun.


BIRDWATCH: Record number of Owling Night participants

The second Pembroke Area Field Naturalists' Owling Night Excursion held on Saturday, March 25, was very successful. Although somewhat marred by cold winds and temperatures, a record number of 40 people participated in the event.