Wednesday, December 9, 2009

December 8 & 9, 2009 Birding Amherst Island and Presqu'ile Provincial Park

Spent yesterday birding both Amherst Island and Presqu'ile Provincial Park. In the "Owl Woods" on Amherst Island I observed 1 Barred Owl and didn't find anything else in the woods. At the east end of the island, K.F.N. property, there were 3 Snowy Owls, two visible from the road and 1 at the gravel bar. Along North Shore road, east of Stella there was a small concentration of raptors including 11 Short-eared Owl, 4 Rough-legged Hawk, 3 Red-tailed Hawk, 2 Northern Harrier and 4 American Kestrel. There was also a small concentration along 2nd Con.Rd. with 6 Red-tailed Hawk,Rough-legged Hawk, 4 Northern Harrier and 5 American Kestrel.
At Presqu'ile Pr. Pk. I checked Gull Island and Sebastopol Point before dark. At Sebastopol Point there were 3 Purple Sandpiper, 2 Dunlin and 1 Sanderling.
Today, I did a quick run into the park during the snow storm and saw the Rose-breasted Grosbeak that has been present at the parking lot feeder opposite the Group Camp Ground entrance for the past couple of weeks. At first it was on the ground hopping around and then flew up into a nearby cedar tree. It has an injured wing but can managed short flights.
Good birding, Bruce

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. Please note that the smaller ferry is still in use.

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 contactinformation 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. Visitors to Gull Island not using a boat should be prepared to wade through ankle-deep water that sometimes has waves that reach the shins. With hip waders one can walk to Sebastopol Island from Gull Island, but wading to High Bluff Island is not possible. It should also be noted that, because duck hunting is given priority on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Gull
Island, High Bluff Island, Owen Point, and part of the calf pasture are not available for bird-watching on those days until December 20. Birders are encouraged to record their observations on the bird sightings board provided near the campground office by The Friends of Presqu'ile Park and to fill out a rare bird report for species not listed there.

The Black-capped Chickadee is the greeter of the "Owl Woods".

A Barred Owl sits quietly in the "Owl Woods".

The Barred Owl is easily recognized by its dark eyes.

There has been a small movement of Barred Owls south this fall with a concentration of 6 at Presqu'ile Provincial Park.

Amherst and Wolfe Island near Kingston, Ontario are well known for wintering Snowy Owls.

A Purple Sandpiper with Dunlin on Sebastopol Point at Presqu'ile Provincial Park.

The Purple Sandpiper is typically a late migrant in Ontario usually arriving early November to early December.

Presqu'ile Provincial Park on Lake Ontario is one of the most reliable locations to view Purple Sandpipers during the late fall.

A few Horned Larks were observed on Gull Island.

Due to an injured wing, this late lingering male Rose-breasted Grosbeak normally would be south at this time of year.

Now with snow on the ground in Eastern Ontario, make sure your feeders are stocked full of sunflower seed, finch seed or niger seed. Also suet is great for attracting woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches and more. Anything is possible!

Small numbers of American Robins do overwinter in Eastern Ontario feeding on a variety of berries.

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