Sunday, January 11, 2009

Amherst Island Birding

Birded Amherst Island Saturday, January 10th and today, Sunday January 11th. Conditions were excellent and we were still able to drive to the Owl Woods from the South Shore Road.

Early morning in the Owl Woods after a fresh snow fall.

Both days were very successful in "The Owl Woods" with:
  • 3 Boreal Owls Saturday, 2 today;
The second bird we saw in the Owl Woods was a Boreal
Owl who was all fluffed up after a cold night on the island.

You could easily walk by any of the small owls, they
blend in very well and usually try to be well camouflaged.

  • 4 Northern Saw-whet Owls Saturday, 5 today;
All fluffed up to keep warm.

Even though well concealed this Northern
Saw-whet Owl knew we were there.
  • 9 Long-eared Owls Saturday, 14 today; and,
Normally very wary this individual
wasn't concerned about our presence.

  • 2 Short-eared Owls Saturday, 8 today.
The group of us waiting for the Short-eared Owls to fly over.

Short-eared Owl overhead

Another Short-eared Owl overhead

We also had 9 Snowy Owls scattered around the island.

Snowy Owls were hard to miss on the island today. We ended with 9!

Snowy Owl: Ready to go!

Hawk numbers were good with 34 rough-legged and 28 Red-tailed Hawk, 6 Northern Harrier and 2 Bald Eagles.

Along the south west edge of the island we watched
two Bald Eagles feeding on a deer carcass in a field.

Other interesting observations included 100+ White-winged Crossbills, 1 Hermit Thrush, and a Northern Flicker.

It was an unusual sight: 100+ White-winged Crossbills
feeding in a few scattered spruce trees in the open farm
land. One flock was feeding on grit right on the road!

Female White-winged Crossbill on a fence post.

Feeding frenzy on the road! White-winged Crossbills.

The first bird to greet us this morning in the Owl
Woods was this late-lingering Hermit Thrush.

Water bird numbers were limited due to ice conditions around the island. We made a brief stop at the warm water lagoon at the Dupont Plant/Elevator Bay and observed 22 American Coot, 42 Gadwall, 2 American Wigeon, 4 Ring-necked Duck, 1 Lesser Scaup and 7 Hooded merganser along with 100's of Mallards and American Black Ducks.

Water birds at our final stop at
DuPont Bay/Elevator Bay west of Kingston

Good birding,

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. To reach the Owl Woods, turn left (east) at the four-way stop sign by the general store and drive 3.4 km along Front Rd. to the (seasonal) Marshall Forty-Foot Rd. Marshall Forty-Foot Rd. is across the road from house #2320. Drive along Marshall Rd. to the mid-way point, where there is an "S" in the road (1.2 km, look for the K.F.N. kiosk which had owl observing ethics). Park in the gravel lane or off the road edge. 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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post and lovely photos. Thanks for sharing.