Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Birding Amherst Island and Presqu'ile Provincial Park August 23 and 24, 2009

Spent the past two days birding Amherst Island and Prequ'ile Provincial Park. On August 23rd Ben and I arrived on Amherst Island at 10:50 a.m. and headed for the East Point (K.F.N. property). There was lots of activity overhead with 100's of swallows feeding over the point and we flushed a few flocks of Bobolinks from the grass. The water levels were high in the two ponds and there was little shorebird habitat to be found. Highlights included 7 Great Egret and 1 Baird's Sandpiper. On Lake Ontario we observed a breeding plumaged Red-throated Loon. This is a very rare summer visitor. The last summer record I recorded was in the early 90's also off Amherst Island. Perhaps the odd loon summers? We also counted 56 Common Loons, all in breeding plumage. Our next stop after leaving the island was the Amherstview Sewage Lagoon. There was little shorebird habitat but lots of waterfowl. Highlights included 1 Bufflehead, a family of Lesser Scaup, 3 Hooded Merganser, lots of Mallards, Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal. We also had 130+ Bonaparte's Gull, mostly moulting adults but 20+ juveniles. Late afternoon we spent at Presqu'ile birding Owen Point, Marsh Boardwalk and the beaches. With high water levels along Lake Ontario there was little mudflat area but the shorebirds were in close and easy to observe. Overall we counted 300+ shorebirds (mostly juveniles) mainly off the lookouts along Owen Beach Trail. Highlights included 3 Baird's Sandpiper, 4 Sanderling (one banded), 150+ Semipalmated Sandpiper, and 100+ Least Sandpiper. We also saw an Olive-sided Flycatcher at Owen Point and 300+ Caspain Terns resting on the gravel bar. The next morning there were only 100+ shorebirds remaining and a pair of Trumpeter Swans off Owen Point.

Juvenile Lesser Yellowlegs.

Preening juvenile Semipalmated Sandpiper.

Mixed flock of Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers

A juvenile Semipalmated Sandpiper.

Juvenile Least Sandpiper.

Trumpeter Swan off Owen Point.

Caspian Tern resting on a gravel bar.

Directions: Amherst Island: Located 18 km. west of Kingston. Exit off Hwy. 401 at exit 593 (County Rd. 4, Camden East) and drive south to the very end (Millhaven). Turn right on Hwy. 33 and drive 100 metres until you see the sign for the Amherst Island ferry. The ferry (20 minute trip) leaves the mainland on the half hour and leaves the island on the hour. Cost is $8.00 Canadian round trip. There are no gas stations on the island. There are restrooms on the ferry, and at the island ferry dock. The East End K.F.N. property is at the easternmost part of the island on the east side of the Lower Forty Foot Road.

Because of liability issues, visitors to the Kingston Field Naturalists'
property at the east end of Amherst Island MUST be accompanied by a KFN
member. For KFN contact
information or how to become a member, please visit ."

Directions: To reach Presqu'ile Provincial Park, follow the signs from Brighton.
Locations within the Park are shown on a map at the back of a tabloid
that is available at the Park gate. Access to the offshore islands is
restricted at this time of year to prevent disturbance to the colonial
nesting birds there.

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