Sunday, February 5, 2012

February 4, 2012 Eastern Ontario birding: Ste.Rose-Cornwall-Amherst Island

Had a great day birding various areas in eastern Ontario. The first stop was near Ste. Rose where we observed 3 Snowy owls, 2 being very tame. Also in the area was a flock of 70+ Horned Lark feeding along the roadside. The biggest surprise was the concentration of gulls at the Lafleche Rd landfill.  The gulls were loafing in a field on the north side of the road. There were 2,450+ gulls, 1500 Herring , 900 Great Black-backed, 38 Glaucous, 26 Iceland and 1 adult Lesser Black-backed Gull. This is now the best landfill site for gulls in eastern Ontario. Historically, The Trail Road Landfill Site, formerly Nepean Dump was the best area for gull watching. Our next stop was along the St.Lawrence at Cornwall where few birds were seen and the river was wide open. Along the Long Sault Parkway at Moulinette Island, a Barred Owl was observed sunning itself at noon..  
 Along Hwy 401, 2 Northern Shrike and 8 Red-tailed Hawks were counted.
The final stop of the day was at Amherst Island where I was amazed at the lack of snow and no ice on the lake. It looked more like a spring day in early April. In the Owl Woods there was 1 Northern Saw-whet Owl and 1 Long-eared Owl. Many of the trails are ice covered and very slippery.  On the KFN property, 1 Snowy Owl was sitting on the most eastern Osprey platform while another was observed along South Shore Road. With calm conditions on Lake Ontario and excellent visibility we counted 7 Common Loon and 3 Horned Grebe which are rare during the winter months. Few hawks were noted as we drove the island roads and counted 1 Northern Harrier, 1 Red-tailed Hawk, and our fifth owl species of the day, Short-eared Owl. 

Directions: Lafleche Rd landfill is located at the dead end of Lafleche Road. From the 417 take road 138 south, turning right on Lafleche road which is the first road south of the 417. The dump is at the end of the dead end road, however, the gulls are best seen loafing in the snow covered field north of the the road. Do not enter the landfill site.

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 contact information or how to become a member, please visit ."

A very tame Snowy owl.

Horned Larks are on the move. 

Gull  loafing in a nearby field  at the Lefleche Landfill Site.

The Barred Owl is easily recognized by its dark eyes and streaked breast. 

The Barred Owl frequents backyard feeder in search of  rodents.

 One of the few Northern Saw-whet Owls wintering on Amherst island. 

With no snow cover it felt like a late March day. 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi there. Great pictures of the Barred Owl. You most certainly have good luck when it comes to sightings! I live in Toronto, and this past Sunday, my wife, Jean, and I came upon a Barred Owl in Rouge National Park, near Markham, Ontario. This was the second time in six weeks that we have come upon, and filmed, an owl out in the wilds. The first was a Saw-Whet Owl. Prior to these two sightings, we had never seen an owl in its natural habitat. Needless to say, it has been an exciting six weeks. Our pictures and video of the Barred Owl sighting are posted on our blog at:

Our pictures and video of the Saw-Whet Owl sighting are at: