Wednesday, May 25, 2011

May 25, 2011 Birding Amherst Island

Hi Everyone
Ben and I spent a good part of today birding Amherst Island. Overall,a good selection of birds including 3 groups of Brant totaling 212 along the south shore, 2 male Blue-winged Warblers in the Owl Woods, and a small selection of shorebirds including 3 Red Knot, 4 Ruddy Turnstone and 5 Short-billed Dowitcher at the east point on the KFN property. Other birds of note included 3 Upland Sandpiper, 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker, 3 Willow Flycatcher and 1 late Rough-legged Hawk.
Good Birding, Bruce and Ben

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 $9.00 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 contactinformation or how to become a member, please visit ."

A pair of Northern Rough-winged Swallows follow the Amherst Island ferry.

A male Northern Harrier over the Owl Woods.

A young Great Horned Owl ready to leave the nest on Amherst Island.

Canada Geese with young.

A male Blue-winged warbler was a surprise.

A small group of Brant grazing at the east point of Amherst Island.

The Wilson's Phalarope is a regular breeder on Amherst.

On our return home we made a quick stop at Opinicon Road and observed a banded male Cerulean Warbler.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May 16, 2011 Cool wet morning at Pelee

Rain persisted today with north winds and there was some movement overnight. We arrived at the tip early and observed a small number of land birds, mainly warblers and flycatchers flying in off the lake and landing on the trees near the tip. Some individuals were just clear of the waves as they made there way to land. During an hour we observed 9 species of warblers including Blackburnian, Blackpoll, Canada, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, and Bay-breasted and numerous Least and 1 Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. Unfortunately due to the cool temperatures few insects were around and treetop species were forced to forage at eye or ground level in search of food. I picked up a dead Red-eyed Vireo near the Tram stop which had starved to death. With this cool wet weather there will be a shortage of food for these insect eaters and likely more dead birds. One of the unfortunate aspects of bird migration.

Rough waters off the tip at Pelee.

Despite the cool wet weather, birders began gathering at the tip early.

A group of Barn Swallows tried to keep warm with 6 or 7 birds in one nest.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

May 15, 2011 Pelee birding in the rain.

If your going anywhere in the rain birding, rain can be an issue. It took me almost 40 years realize proper rain wear is worth it! The birding was great today despite the rain with most birds low in the vegetation in search of insects. We managed to find 23 species of warblers and had great views of most of them. Also both cuckoos and a Common nighthawk roosting on a tree limb at the point tram stop.

A Black-billed Cuckoo was new for many.

Ron Pittaway and I near the tip at Pelee.

The rain starting early in the morning and continued all day long but the birding was great!

May 14, 2011 Kentucky Warbler excitement @ Pelee!

Another day, another rare warbler, that's birding Pelee during peak spring migration. Today a male Kentucky Warbler was discovered near the tip Tram stop. The bird was singing and very cooperative for a while giving many birders there "lifer" Kentucky Warbler. The bird was sometimes secretive and this skulker had many birders patients almost broken before sitting up in the clear and singing its churry, churry, churry musical notes somewhat similar to a Carolina Wren.

First view of the Kentucky Warbler.

As it walk around on the ground and fallen trees is occasionally gave us great short views.

Finally it was in open and sang a few times before disappearing into the vegetation again.

Friday, May 13, 2011

May 13, 2011 Lucky Friday the 13th @Pelee

Another amazing day at Pelee. It started very slow after yesterday's fallout/reverse migration. We arrived at the VC at 5:50a.m. and got the 6:00a.m. tram to the point. Overall very quiet and after a couple of hours I decided to head north in the park. we covered the Blue Heron Trail and seasonal path and finally at sanctuary. The birding started out well but a sudden thunderstorm dampen the birding. Fortunately one of my clients had an umbrella and we were able to keep somewhat dry, 4 of us under one umbrella. Once the rain stopped I headed back to Blue heron and got the van then returned to pick up everyone and made a stop at Pelee wings. This is around noon now and while waiting outside Alan Wormington drove by and stopped to tell about a Bell's Vireo at the tram stop at the point. I phoned fellow birder Bob Cermac who was watching the vireo and ask him to stay with it until I could get out. It had been found early in the morning but unfortunately we didn't hear about it. Next stop the VC parking lot. No tram so I told my clients to wait and I jogged the 2.5 km to the tram stop and meet up with the group watching the bird. I was able to get good views and finally a couple of photos. The tram arrived and everyone got to see it well. Later in the afternoon we saw the female Prairie Warbler near Dunes and were very lucky to see the Kirtland's Warbler later after supper at Pioneer thanks to Sam Barone. My 3rd this May at Pelee. Other birds of note included Prothonotary and Prairie Warbler. A long and exciting day in the park!

Sunrise at the tip of Point Pelee.

A female Prairie Warbler at Dunes was a nice sighting thanks to Jean Iron. .

A male Prothonotary Warbler along Woodland Trail.

The bird of the day and likely of the month was a Bell's Vireo near the tram stop point near the tip. This vagrant is casual in Canada and there are only a handful of documented records for Ontario. This was new for a few 100 birders who were lucky to see it as it fed in Red Cedars and was very obliging.

The normal range of the Bell's Vireo is south central United States north to just south of the western Great Lakes.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

May 12, 2011 Good morning at Pelee with lots of birds and birders.

There were lots of birds and birders at the tip this morning. One of the best days so far with a good variety of warblers and a small reverse migrations with numbers of Baltimore Oriole, Indigo Bunting, and blackbirds flying off the point.

Birders sometimes out numbered the birds.

Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Redstart and Nashville Warblers kept everyone on their toes!

Birders from all over North America and the world flock to Point Pelee every spring to witness the north bound migration and hope to add a few rarities to their list.

The Yellow warbler is a common migrant and breeder in the park.

Bob Cermak and Tom Hanrahan of Ottawa exchanging info. on this active morning

An earlier migrant, the Palm Warbler was still around in good numbers.

Always hard to find this Orange-crowned Warbler spent most of its time feeding in the open.

A Grasshopper Sparrow along West Beach was a nice find.

The Gray-cheeked Thrush in Tilden's Woods.

Chestnut-sided Warblers were everywhere today.

The Black & White Warbler is easy to recognize by its nuthatch like shape and behavior.

The most common bird today seen flying off the tip was the Baltimore Oriole.

May 11, 2011 Pelee #2 Dickcissel!

Let Ottawa at 6:00am ans started south for Pelee. We made a few stops enroute including Chaffeys Lock where we had 3 Cerulean Warbler, 1 Yellow-throated Vireo along with a number of common species. Our next stop was Presqu'ile where we did a brief check at Beach #1 and observed 100+ Brant flying over Owen point and a Great Egret. Again a quick run through the GTA and arrived at Rondeau 2:45a.m. birding a couple of areas, didn't see the Yellow-throated Warbler and had a late Am. Tree sparrow at the VC feeder. Next stop Blenheim Sewage Lagoon before hearing about a Dickcissel opposite Pelee Wings. Arriving around 5:30pm the male Dickcissel was feeding below the feeders in plain view. A great start to the tour!

Rare Bird Alert Dickcissel!

Lots of excitement opposite Pelee Wings.

The Dickcissel spent enough time below the feeder that over 100+ birders got to enjoy this rare visitor.

A male Dickcissel caused lots of excitement opposite Pelee wings.

The unmistakable Dickcissel is a rare spring visitor to southern Ontario.

A male House Sparrow feeding with the male Dickcissel.

May 9, 2011 Heading home.

Birded Pelee for a couple of hours getting Golden-winged Warbler and few other new migrants before starting our 850km drive home via Chaffey's Lock. Got through the Toronto region without a hitch and arrived at Opinicon/ Chaffey's Road around 3:00p.m. and were rewarded with a couple of singing Cerulean Warblers and great views of an adult Broad-winged Hawk perched beside the road at Skycroft.

Adult Broad-winged Hawk taking off.

Broad-winged Hawk in flight

Soaring overhead.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

May 8, 2011 Great day at Pelee! Kirtland's, Yellow-throated, Kentucky, Hooded, Prothonotary and more!

Lots of activity today in the park. Warbler watching was great with numerous rarities.

Yellow-throated Warbler

Yellow-throated Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler

Blue-winged Warbler

American Toad

Canada Warbler

Canada Warbler

Young Great Horned Owl at nest site.

Hooded Warbler

Hooded Warbler

The second Kirtland's Warbler for the week!

This individual was observed along West Beach Trail just south of the parking lot.

A Red-eyed Vireo feeding on the ground.

Red-eyed Vireo