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Quinte Area Bird Report PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Spraque   
Aug 29, 2016 at 03:00 AM

 Green Heron. Photo by Derek DafoeGreen Heron. Photo by Derek DafoeTHE QUINTE AREA BIRD REPORT


with sightings from the Bay of Quinte region, and beyond



Please e-mail your sightings directly to   Terry Sprague

This is where you can tell us what you have been seeing around the Quinte area and in your backyard. Sightings are posted daily, so we encourage you to report your bird sightings, anecdotes, and other wildlife discoveries for everyone to enjoy. To report your sightings, just click my name above.  

Northern Flicker. Photo by Janyce MannMonday, August 29: This NORTHERN FLICKER and SPOTTED SANDPIPER  were at the Demorestville Conservation Area today. Continuing drought conditions are creating mud flats in the once deep holding pond at the dam, ideal conditions for any passing shorebirds. However, not so good for the turtles and frogs which are quickly running out of habitat. Other species present were GREAT BLUE HERON, AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES, DOWNY WOODPECKER and MOURNING DOVE. Photos by Janyce Mann of Crofton. The North Foxboro Marsh produced 32 species  today, some nice birds among them including a dozen WOOD DUCKS, 3 GREEN HERONS, 5 COMMON GALLINULES, a SOLITARY SANDPIPER, 2 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, 2 YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS, 3 GRAY CATBIRDS and 2 SCARLET TANAGERS. Two TENNESSEE WARBLERS  were among a few of the birds seen by one Kingston birder yesterday at Prince Edward Point. Eight warbler species included things like 2 MAGNOLIAS, an AMERICAN REDSTART, 1 BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER and a COMMON Spotted Sandpiper. Photo by Janyce MannYELLOWTHROAT. The birder reported that the Point almost empty of migrants  and nothing was found in the Point Traverse Woods, unlike May when those same woods are alive with the sounds of up to 20 species of warblers. North of Verona, some good birds seen there included the resident BROAD-WINGED HAWKS  again, PILEATED WOODPECKER, BLUE-HEADED VIREO, BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER and a BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER.  In the past, we have had a few observations from the Lynde Shores Conservation Area at Whitby to dress up our Bird Report. Thirty-nine species found there at daybreak this morning included 5 STILT SANDPIPERS, feeding in  a creek, said to be a high number for this location. Bothe species of yellowlegs were also present along with 2 BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS, 7 GRAY CATBIRDS and a MARSH WREN.  On a shared use trail along the Old Madoc Road, just north of Belleville, a BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO was seen today.

Sunday, August 28: This is the season of the year for us to keep our eyes peeled in the evenings toward the heavens. The migration of COMMON NIGHTHAWKS is underway, and has been for about two weeks. Last night, 63 COMMON NIGHTHAWKS were counted as they passed over the Belleville area, moving east from 6:45 p.m. to 7:10 p.m. ahead of the approaching weather front. On Friday, there was an estimated 45 nighthawks moving west over the Black Bear Ridge Golf Course, north of Belleville. It doesn’t take long to recognize the nasal “peeent” call notes as the nighthawks wander aimlessly across the sky in the evenings in search of insects. It was a good day for several birders today on Amherst Island, at the east end of the island in the Martin Edwards Reserve where a STILT SANDPIPER  was found along with 9 other shorebird species. Among them were 15 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, 20 LEAST SANDPIPERS, 10 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS, and a BAIRD’S SANDPIPER, just to name a few of the more noteworthy sightings. This reserve is always a good spot for shorebirds, but also does very well with other species too, and a few of the 28 species of birds seen included 25 GREEN-WINGED TEAL, 3 NORTHERN SHOVELERS, A BALD EAGLE, and 2 GREAT BLUE HERONS. Back at the H.R. Frink Centre, two BAIRD’S SANDPIPERS were spotted last evening before dark. Another BAIRD’S SANDPIPER was among seven shorebird species seen this afternoon at Presqu’ile Park’s Owen Point. Twenty-two LEAST SANDPIPERS were counted, and other species present today were SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, KILLDEER, SANDERLING, SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, and SPOTTED SANDPIPER. A patrolling MERLIN was also seen along with a nice collection of warblers – NASHVILLE WARBLER, AMERICAN REDSTART, MAGNOLIA WARBLER, CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER and WILSON'S WARBLER. South Bay in Prince Edward County topped the list of birds seen in the Bay of Quinte region today, with 41 species. A MERLIN was seen here too – lots of them around these days, it seems. Six species of warblers including BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER, WILSON’S WARBLER, CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, YELLOW WARBLER, BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER and AMERICAN REDSTART. Three RED-EYED VIREOS made it on the day's list as well as a GRAY CATBIRD, EASTERN KINGBIRD, GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, 5 EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES, a BROWN CREEPER and a YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER. Nearby, a YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO was banded at the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory yesterday. A GREATER YELLOWLEGS and a NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH were highlights at Carrying Place yesterday at 12 O'clock Point, and 15 CASPIAN TERNS. Speaking of which ( a smooth segway!), a Napanee birder watched a CASPIAN TERN this morning at the Belleville waterfront as it was diving for a fish.  As it flew off with a small perch in its beak, it tossed its catch ahead of itself, grabbed it again in mid-flight, re-positioning the fish for swallowing. Still not satisfied with the fish’s position, the tern grabbed it once again and re-positioned it again for swallowing – all while flying away.

Saturday, August 27: It was around 1997, or so, when I heard a COMMON RAVEN at Vanderwater Conservation Area, east of Thomasburg. I remember jumping up and down with excitement since its raucous call was quite unexpected that far south of its normal range. Today, of course, birders in the Bay of Quinte region can count the day lost when they DON’T hear a raven, and the species has been actively nesting in Prince Edward County for several years now. However, we still tend to think of them as a species that is more apt to be encountered far from the bustling crowds of urban areas. At first light this morning though, there was one in a Napanee backyard, feeling quite at home. The H.R. Frink Centre at Plainfield continues to hum with birds and watchers of birds. This morning a BAIRD’S SANDPIPER was among the species present, along with 8 LEAST SANDPIPERS, 3 PECTORAL SANDPIPERS PECTORAL, 10 KILLDEER and 2 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS. A WILSON’S SNIPE  was among 4 present as well.  Other birds taking advantage of the ideal conditions were 2 SWAMP SPARROWS, 1 COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, 3 BELTED KINGFISHERS, 2 GREAT BLUE HERON, 1 GREEN HERON and 4 BLUE-WINGED TEAL. Lots of birding happening in Prince Edward County. Starting on the west side of the County, one birder walking Snider Road from Victoria Road early this morning tallied 18 species, among them singles of GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, RED-EYED VIREO, HOUSE WREN, FIELD SPARROW, SONG SPARROW, EASTERN TOWHEE and 2 GRAY CATBIRDS. Strolling along for a little over an hour along the private Sprague/Monkman Trail on Big Island, I was able to manage 24 species along the 2.3 km stretch. The fields were alive with hawks with 2 NORTHERN HARRIERS remaining in view for much of the hour and 20 minutes, while 4 MERLINS coursed to and fro over the meadows, occasionally landing as a family group in several different trees, then continuing their forays back and forth. A PILEATED WOODPECKER was heard calling from a nearby woods, and 6 EASTERN MEADOWLARKS startled me as they all took off as a concentrated group part way along the trail. Of particular interest was a lone vocalizing PURPLE MARTIN that kept circling over one field repeatedly like some mechanical toy; it circles above this same field daily while no other martins are anywhere to be seen. A birder at Prince Edward Point easily beat my total with 30 species this morning with some of the highlights being BALD EAGLE, LEAST FLYCATCHER, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, MAGNOLIA WARBLER, GRAY CATBIRD, and a GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER. Two RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES  were also found as this species continues it southward migration. A report that arrived too late for inclusion in last evening's Report involved 19 species seen on my old stompin’ grounds, at Main Duck Island, located 19 km off Prince Edward Point not far from the US border. Nothing too startling seen here, with a few extracted from the checklist being 15 BARN SWALLOWS, a COMMON RAVEN, 1 WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH, 1 EASTERN KINGBIRD, a NORTHERN FLICKER, with the best sighting for this remote island being an AMERICAN WOODCOCK. Back on the mainland, Babylon Road this morning provided looks at a dozen BARN SWALLOWS, and 2 EASTERN TOWHEES. We always hope that the location of a rare bird, like the BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING DUCK from Texas that showed up at a farm pond south of Milford at this time six years ago, might possibly produce something else. But, alas, only 4 MOURNING DOVES, 2 AMERICAN CROWS, and an EASTERN PHOEBE today. Likely some cattle nearby, but no whistling duck. Along Brewer’s Road, near the location of our annual CHUCK-WILL’S WIDOW that appears every spring, 3 EASTERN WHIP-POOR-WILLS  were heard last night as darkness fell. And, interestingly, at press time, no reports from Presqu’ile Park.

Friday, August 26: The low water conditions at the H.R. Frink Centre, north of Belleville, continue to be exploited by shorebirds that are travelling through right now.  LEAST SANDPIPER and a PECTORAL SANDPIPER were two of five species present in the wetland along the boardwalk. Others were SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, KILLDEER, and SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER. The conditions have also attracted WOOD DUCK, BLUE-WINGED TEAL, GREAT BLUE HERON and BELTED KINGFISHER. Another birder there earlier in the day found pretty much the same species, but also added PIED-BILLED GREBE and a STILT SANDPIPER. In Belleville, SPOTTED SANDPIPER, OSPREY, CASPIAN TERN and GREAT BLUE HERON were in the Moira River at Memorial Park. Twenty-five species were seen along the shared use trail off Old Madoc Road, with 4 YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS, 3 EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES, 3 GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHERS, and an EASTERN KINGBIRD being noteworthy species. Also sharing the checklist were four species of warbler – CHESTNUT-SIDED, AMERICAN REDSTART, BLACK-AND-WHITE and OVENBIRD. The number of STILT SANDPIPERS at Presqu’ile Park has now doubled, to two as of yesterday. Joining them were eight other species, among them 16 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, 12 SANDERLINGS, 5 BAIRD’S SANDPIPERS, 22 LEAST SANDPIPERS, 30 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS, and singles of LESSER YELLOWLEGS, SPOTTED SANDPIPER, and PECTORAL SANDPIPER. There were five STILT SANDPIPERS at the Martin Edwards Nature Reserve at the east end of Amherst Island, with 9 other shorebird species making up the total. Among them were 30 KILLDEER. Just north of Verona, the BROAD-WINGED HAWK was seen again today. There was also a good movement of warblers, with little unidentifiable bullets darting back and forth all over the place. But, a pair of keen eyes did manage to identify AMERICAN REDSTART, NASHVILLE WARBLER and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT. Other species of note was a VEERY and 5 RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, the latter species a reminder that we should keep our eyes and ears peeled for this tiny nuthatch species as they begin to migrate through right now.  BAY-BREASTED WARBLER was one of eight warbler species noted at Prince Edward Point yesterday, but primarily only singles of each. A VEERY was noted here too, along with BLUE-HEADED, PHILADELPHIA and RED-EYED VIREOS. A BROAD-WINGED HAWK was seen, 2 MERLINS, 2 BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS,  and an EASTERN TOWHEE. Best bird today at the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory was an OLIVE SIDED FLYCATCHER, only 3 caught in the fall since the beginning of the Observatory! There was a trickle of warblers today -  BLACK-THROATED BLUE, CANADA, MAGNOLIA, AMERICAN RESTART, as well as LEAST AND YELLOW-BELLIED AND TRAILL’S FLYCATCHERS.  Throughout the Bay of Quinte region, the shorebirds are peeking right now with a blend of adults and juveniles, and the confusing fall warblers are now upon us. Definitely time to brush up on those critical field marks as there sometimes isn’t a whole lot to identify members of the warbler family at this season of the year. The Presqu’ile Park Weekly Bird Report by Fred Helleiner has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be found by CLICKING HERE.

Thursday, August 25: Conditions at the Hamilton Wetland, west of Demorestville, have not improved, despite the recent rainfalls. The inch or so of rain has been far from sufficient to ease the drought conditions at this wetland resulting in declining populations of birds that normally frequent there in large numbers. Although 115 CANADA GEESE last evening didn’t seem to mind the muddy conditions, other species’ dislike with the deteriorating conditions showed up in their numbers. Only one GREATER YELLOWLEGS, a single GREAT BLUE HERON, and a handful of GREAT EGRETS – only 7. Last year around this date there were 80 ! At the Demorestville Conservation Area, a single GREAT BLUE HERON and a GREAT EGRET were about all the dry creek bed and muddy shallows of the holding basin at the dam itself could attract. The poor birding in the Bay of Quinte Area must have affected birders’ enthusiasm for birding as few sightings came in today, even from the Amherst Island and Kingston areas. However, outside the Quinte area, birding success was a tad better with reasonable totals obtained wherever birders chose to go. At the popular Port Perry Nonquon Lagoons, 47 species were noted by one observer, nine of them shorebird species. But, the big catch of the day there was a well marked CONNECTICUT WARBLER, with bolder markings than what one would expect to see at this season of the year. However, even outside the general Bay of Quinte reporting area, the number of birders out and about today was way down from most days, likely frightened off by the showers this morning followed by muggy temperatures this afternoon. Better luck tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 24: Once again, the H.R. Frink Centre begins our wrap-up of birds seen today. Although seven shorebird species were noted – SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, KILLDEER, LEAST SANDPIPER, PECTORAL SANDPIPER, SOLITARY SANDPIPER and WILSON’S SNIPE – two new species of passerines were seen today which haven’t been observed yet during this season’s migration at the conservation area. A BLUE-HEADED VIREO with dull, but distinctive features, was seen. It is not known if the bird was a juvenile or a migrant. The bird was seen cavorting with three “rough-looking” GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS, also a species we haven’t heard from in a while. The kinglets may have bred here, but still and all, forerunners of true migrants to follow. The old standbys were present again – 3 WOOD DUCKS, 2 GREAT BLUE HERONS, 2 VIRGINIA RAILS as well as a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK. At Belleville’s Memorial Park, off Station Street, a GREAT BLUE HERON was seen here as well. Also putting in an appearance was a SPOTTED SANDPIPER, 30 RING-BILLED GULLS, and a CASPIAN TERN. On Elmwood Drive on the east side of Belleville, a GRAY CATBIRD  was seen late this morning. A resident at Presqu’ile Park had a great day yesterday at noon along the Jobes’ Woods Trail, emerging with a list of 15 species, but containing some impressive additions including a YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO, 2 PILEATED WOODPECKERS, 3 EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES, a LEAST FLYCATCHER,  7 RED-EYED VIREOS, and six warbler species – OVENBIRD, 8 BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLERS, 3 MAGNOLIA WARBLERS, and two each of BLACKBURNIAN, CHESTNUT-SIDED and BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLERS. At the lighthouse, a traditionally good spot for migrants, added were YELLOW WARBLER and AMERICAN REDSTART to the cumulative list of warblers. A SCARLET TANAGER  was also seen there. Ten birders from the Bay of Quinte region journeyed to the Park yesterday and spent their time from the Park Store to the Beach where the makeup of species shifted toward the shorebird family. There were good numbers of SANDERLINGS, LEAST SANDPIPERS and SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS – about 40 of each species. Seven SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, 4 BAIRD’S SANDPIPERS, and a single PECTORAL SANDPIPER were also present on the beach. GRAY CATBIRD, GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, NORTHERN FLICKER and a MERLIN were also checked off by the group of birders. Although a few birders might be out this evening, there was no activity in Prince Edward County today, although a WHIP-POOR-WILL survey last night along Babylon Road yielded one flying along the road and another calling to the west of the road. Another two were recorded east of Helmer Road, and another was closer to Whattam Road. A few birds at Strathcona, northeast of Napanee – 7 WOOD DUCKS, a BELTED KINGFISHER and 7 CEDAR WAXWINGS. And, north of Verona, a few minutes before 6:00 a.m. this morning, only three species noted, but all good ones – BROWN THRASHER, GREAT HORNED OWL and a VEERY.

Tuesday, August 23:  The splendid variety of birds to be had these days at the H.R. Frink Centre is drawing birders now on an almost daily basis. At 6:00 a.m. this morning, 23 species were present, and among them were 7 species of shorebirds taking advantage of the mud flats brought on by the low water conditions.  Two PECTORAL SANDPIPERS  were there this morning, joining the WILSON’S SNIPE, SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, KILLDEERS, LEAST SANDPIPERS, SOLITARY SANDPIPERS and SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER. Also present, the dependables, namely the VIRGINIA RAIL, BELTED KINGFISHER, GREEN HERON and GREAT BLUE HERONS. The eight  SWAMP SPARROWS  were also a good find in terms of numbers. Wherever you go these days, any nook and cranny is apt to produce something. Sixteen species were hanging out behind the Belleville Walmart Store along the Moira River, including an AMERICAN BLACK DUCK, SPOTTED SANDPIPER, GRAY CATBIRD and 2 EASTERN KINGBIRDS. No location should be overlooked. A birder checked out the Amherstview Sewage Lagoons this morning and was rewarded for his efforts with a list of 38 species. Only two species of shorebirds were present here, but there was a nice collection of waterfowl – 9 species to be exact, among them 3 GADWALL, 5 BLUE-WINGED TEAL, 8 NORTHERN SHOVELERS, 2 WOOD DUCKS, 40 MALLARDS, 6 CANADA GEESE, and singles of AMERICAN BLACK DUCK, GREEN-WINGED TEAL and REDHEAD. As might be expected, present too were GREAT BLUE HERON, BONAPARTE’S GULLS (75), COMMON YELLOWTHROATS and RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS. However, also seen in the area were  BALTIMORE ORIOLE, 2 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, 18 CEDAR WAXWINGS, 4 CLIFF SWALLOWS, 8 BARN SWALLOWS, a BANK SWALLOW, 4 EASTERN KINGBIRDS, 2 NORTHERN FLICKERS and 5 CHIMNEY SWIFTS. Other areas though may be disappointing. The Hamilton Wetland, west of Demorestville, normally a daily hotspot, is deteriorating due to dropping water levels. While there is still water in the back part, out of sight from the road, the front part is little more than blackened waste with the slough gradually loosing its appeal to birds. In fact, yesterday, a family of MUTE SWANS  was marching across the dry pasture field, presumably in search of more hospitable abodes. They may have found it as only 2 MUTE SWANS  were there last night among the paltry nine species present, including 80 CANADA GEESE, 30 MALLARDS, 4 GREAT BLUE HERONS, 2 GREAT EGRETS, 1 RED-TAILED HAWK, 2 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, 5 AMERICAN CROWS, and 2 BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES. Wilton Creek in the Napanee area continues to offer but a slow trickle and nothing exciting, or even mundane, was showing itself today. Further along, the Big Creek Bridge somehow managed to coax three species into view – BELTED KINGFISHER, GREAT BLUE HERON and a passing AMERICAN GOLDFINCH. North of Verona, some meagre entertainment was provided by a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK playing with some BLUE JAYS in hopes of an eventual meal. A juvenile BROAD-WINGED HAWK was still hanging around the area where it has been for several days. But, the list of 27 species did produce a few interesting finds like 2 PILEATED WOODPECKERS, AMERICAN KESTREL 2 EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES, a GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, 3 RED-EYED VIREOS, 2 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS, and a BROWN CREEPER – a species we haven’t heard from in awhile. Further afield, a location I have mentioned in the past with regard to shorebirds – the Port Perry Nonquon Sewage Lagoons – is obviously a good spot to go if you are seeking birds. Eleven species of shorebirds were found there today, among them a STILT SANDPIPER, a SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER and 3 PECTORAL SANDPIPERS. Presqu’ile Park though still has a bit of an edge when it comes to shorebirds. According to Jean Iron, in a post on the OntBirds listserv, there were over 100 shorebirds there yesterday comprising 12 species just at Owen Point alone! In checklist order were BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, SEMIPLAMTAED PLOVER, KILLDEER, LESSER YELLOWLEGS, RUDDY TURNSTONE, SANDERLING, SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, LEAST SANDPIPER, WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER, BAIRD’S SANDPIPER, PECTORAL SANDPIPER and STILT SANDPIPER.  Most birds were brand-new juveniles hatched 1-2 months ago. They were up close and easily studied. This is peak time to see migrating shorebirds from northern Canada. And, if you don’t mind doing a little driving, there has been a COMMON RINGED PLOVER at the Tommy Thompson Park (Leslie Street Spit) in Toronto which was still there as of 3:00 p.m. this afternoon. First appearance ever of this bird in Ontario, all the way from Arctic Eurasia.

Monday, August 22: Although blessed rain has started to fall this past week, it has not translated yet into much success at creek beds traditionally productive at this time of the year for shorebirds. Wilton Creek at the Gray Wetland Project in the Napanee area once again has a nice flow, but no shorebirds yet, according to one birder who paid it a visit last night, although 2 GREAT BLUE HERONS, a DOWNY WOODPECKER and a TURKEY VULTURE  did happen by. So, birders need to “go West, young man” - in this case, to a trail on the Old Madoc Road, just north of Belleville a little bit, where 36 bird species were seen at 8:00 a.m. this morning Three YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS  were seen, but the highlight was a male GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER. Other warblers seen – let’s face it, it’s the fall warbler season now – were 2 BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLERS, BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER, 1 OVENBIRD, 2 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, and a CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER. Other birds of note were ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, BALTIMORE ORIOLE, 3 RED-EYED VIREOS, 2 WARBLING VIREOS, 3 EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES, 4 WOOD DUCKS, 3 GREEN HERONS and a PILEATED WOODPECKER. Anyone suffering from shorebird withdrawal at local creeks, were certainly well rewarded at Presqu’ile Park yesterday when a nice mix of shorebirds arrived on the beaches after the morning rain, among them, a BAIRD’S SANDPIPER. Nine warbler species - 4 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, 2 CANADA WARBLERS, 4 MAGNOLIA WARBLERS, 3 AMERICAN REDSTARTS, 1 CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, and a BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER  being a few of the more noteworthy species.  Other species present were 4 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, 2 STILT SANDPIPERS, 4 SANDERLINGS and a PECTORAL SANDPIPER. It was indeed a good day for this Belleville area birder, netting 65 species. Of course, he did devote almost 8 hours to the effort! A PIED-BILLED GREBE  was seen at Calf Pasture Point, a BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON flying west, and a hatch year BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO at the lighthouse. Other good additions to the impressive checklist included 25 CASPIAN TERNS, a MERLIN, one each of GRAY CATBIRD and MARSH WREN, 20 WOOD DUCKS, 6 BLUE-WINGED TEAL, 4 GREEN-WINGED TEAL....the list just kept going. In the Consecon area today, a blend of dull and confusing plumages, resulting in birding at this time of year birding being quite challenging with virtually no song to assist with identification  There were ten species of warbler in the Consecon area including AMERICAN REDSTART, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, BLACKBURNIAN, WILSON’S, CANADA, YELLOW, CAPE MAY, NASHVILLE, ,CHESTNUT-SIDED, and MAGNOLIA WARBLERS. Vireos included RED-EYED, WARBLING and PHILADELPHIA. Flycatchers were represented by EASTERN KINGBIRD, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, GREAT CRESTED, LEAST and “TRAILL’S” FLYCATCHERS. Other birds of interest were ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO, BALTIMORE ORIOLE, RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD and WHITE-BREASTED and RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH. Although a rare summer breeder in Prince Edward County, the latter species does nest here, especially at Sandbanks Park. Individuals showing up now are likely fall migrants. There was one in our yard this morning. Miscellaneous sightings today included a NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH at South Bay, 2 GREAT BLUE HERONS at the Demorestville Conservation Area, and a FIELD SPARROW and 3 CEDAR WAXWINGS along Black Road.  Birds everywhere!

Sunday, August 21: A few good species today at the H.R. Frink Centre, north of Belleville. In the shorebird family, 7 species, no less – 2 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, 3 KILLDEER, 4 LEAST SANDPIPERS, 1 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, 1 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, 1 SOLITARY SANDPIPER and a WILSON’S SNIPE. Other good birds seen there were VIRGINIA RAIL, BELTED KINGFISHER, 2 GREAT BLUE HERONS and 3 WOOD DUCKS. To complete an unusually short Report this evening, a GREEN HERON was seen on Friday at the Murray Marsh near Campbellford.  And at Campsite #1 on the east side of Frontenac Park at Buck Lake, a BARRED OWL was heard.

Saturday, August 20: On Big Island today, a early morning walk along the 2.3 km Sprague/Monkman Trail around a 50-acre block of hay fields at 6:40 a.m. yielded a respectable 22 species. A family of 5 MERLINS  was the highlight, zipping back and forth across the fields and periodically landing in trees. A SHARP-SHINNED HAWK also passed over at one point. Other birds of interest were 4 EASTERN KINGBIRDS, 1 COMMON RAVEN, 1 EASTERN TOWHEE, 3 EASTERN MEADOWLARKS and a single BOBOLINK. Yesterday, at Presqu’ile Park’s Owen Point, a Wellington area birder found 23 species, of which 9 species were shorebirds. Best find was the WILLET which has been around for a day or two, BAIRD’S SANDPIPER, STILT SANDPIPER, BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER and both GREATER and LESSER YELLOWLEGS. Also noted were NORTHERN PINTAIL, GREEN HERON and GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER. Beaver Meadow Conservation Area, at East Lake, offered its usual complement of good species this morning including RUFFED GROUSE, 2 GREAT BLUE HERONS, a GREEN HERON, the resident two BELTED KINGFISHERS, a TRAILL’S FLYCATCHER, and a flock of some 250 RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS. Of particular interest was a CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER and a SCARLET TANAGER. At Sandbanks Park, two areas were explored for birds by a Belleville birder. At the old Lakeshore Lodge site, 125 RING-BILLED GULLS  were there, as well as 2 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, and a couple CASPIAN TERNS. Over in the Dunes Beach Day Use Area along West Lake Road, another 25 RING-BILLED GULLS  were present as well as a COMMON RAVEN. In a Black Road backyard today west of Demorestville, a ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK and 3 BALTIMORE ORIOLES were noted. North of Verona today, YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, 4 BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLERS, 10 HOUSE WRENS and a VEERY were highlights there.

Friday, August 19: While eyes these days are mostly on the start of the fall migration, there are some species who are just getting down to the business of nesting. AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES  can be seen gathering the down from a thistle which it uses in the construction of its nest. Another reason for the late date is the food they feed their young – partially digested seeds regurgitated from the adult bird in a viscid porridge. Bon appetit! For the AMERICAN ROBIN though they do nest on schedule as we all know, most always raising a second brood, and even a third brood.  At Sandbanks Provincial Park today, a few good birds, including a RED-TAILED HAWK and a single BONAPARTE’S GULL in the Outlet River East Lake area of the park. In the area of Lakeshore Lodge in the park, 2 SOLITARY SANDPIPERS  were present today, along with 4 BALTIMORE ORIOLES, 2 GRAY CATBIRDS, a GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, 5 EASTERN KINGBIRDS, and a NORTHERN HARRIER. Four BARN SWALLOWS were also seen there, and another dozen were spotted along Black Road, west of Demorestville. Always a good sighting anytime, as this species appears to be in serious decline to numbers experienced only a few decades ago. Carrying Place in the County near Trenton got some attention today. A highlight was a an immature BALD EAGLE. Nearby, in the Dead Creek Marsh area, an ALDER FLYCATCHER  was vocalizing enough to be identified. A second BALD EAGLE – this time, an adult – turned up at Tremur Lake, along Wooler Road and Telephone Road. Forty MALLARDS and a solitary CEDAR WAXWING  were also seen. At the Black Bear Ridge Golf Course, north of Belleville, the adult RED-HEADED WOODPECKER  was present again today.The birder didn’t have to wait long for the woodpecker as it appeared almost immediately. A moderately large migrating flock of 200 COMMON GRACKLES flew over the golf course. At the North Foxboro Marsh, present today at daybreak were 9 WOOD DUCKS, 4 GREAT BLUE HERONS, 2 GREEN HERONS, a COMMON GALLINULE, 5 KILLDEER, 1 SPOTTED SANDPIPER, and BELTED KINGFISHER. Fifty TREE SWALLOWS  were also seen along with one each of EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, GRAY CATBIRD and GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER. Twenty-six species in just an hour. Not bad birding for 60 minutes. Last evening, a PIED-BILLED GREBE and a NORTHERN SHOVELER  were nice surprises at the Brighton Constructed Wetlands. Down at Prince Edward Point today, bird banding efforts at the Bird Observatory netted a large female COOPER’S HAWK. Also banded were 9 warbler species including 2 CANADA WARBLERS, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER, YELLOW WARBLER, NASHVILLE WARBLER. Also banded were a NORTHERN FLICKER and GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER. A few BOBOLINKS as well, and a variety of other species including SONG SPARROWS, LEAST FLYCATCHER, TRAILL’S FLYCATCHER, SWAINSON’S THRUSH and a VEERY. The Presqu’ile Park Weekly Bird Report by Fred Helleiner has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be found by CLICKING HERE.

Thursday, August 18: A bit of a mystery with a nest full of OSPREYS at Conway, along Highway 33, east of Adolphustown. Three juveniles on Monday were perched in a nest atop a hydro pole that has been there for two years. On Wednesday, the OSPREYS  were gone, and so was the nest with only a few sticks on the ground. It is not known if Tuesday night’s high winds destroyed the nest (if so, where is the nest beyond a few sticks on the ground?), or did the birds leave on their own accord, with Hydro One coming along later to remove the nest in the interest of safety? We’re working on it. And, an update on the Presqu’ile Park PIPING PLOVER fledglings, representing the first successful nesting of this rare species in the Park in 100 years. Senior Natural Heritage Education Leader for the Park, David Bree says, “We are pleased to announce that our three PIPING PLOVER chicks have successfully fledged and left our beach for a winter stay in the south - Florida maybe. They left on Tuesday, their 7-week hatch day, We waited a few days because we wanted to make sure they were truly gone. A big THANK YOU to all staff and volunteers that helped keep an eye on these bird and those that came out to see them and support the project. It takes a Village to raise a Plover. It is a great success story for Presqu’ile Park and the community.  Over the next few days  the barriers on the beach will be removed and the Park will go back to more normal beach maintenance. At the Hamilton Wetland last evening, west of Demorestville, water levels have really dropped, but still enough for birds to swim around in. Last evening, 50 GREAT EGRETS  were present, as well as at least 6 GREAT BLUE HERONS, MUTE SWANS, LESSER YELLOWLEGS, MALLARDS, WOOD DUCKS and CANADA GEESE. Today, at the Wellington Rotary Beach, 17 species were present, including 3 NORTHERN FLICKERS, an EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, GRAY CATBIRD, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, 3 CEDAR WAXWINGS, 3 YELLOW WARBLERS, and 2 BALTIMORE ORIOLES. At another sandy location today – North Beach Provincial Park – the same count of bird species but including a BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER, LEAST FLYCATCHER, BELTED KINGFISHER and 3 each of CASPIAN TERN and COMMON TERN. More sandy birds along Lakeshore Lodge Road at Sandbanks Provincial Park with the sighting of SANDHILL CRANE, CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, RED-EYED VIREO, 12 EASTERN KINGBIRDS, GREAT BLUE HERON and a BROAD-WINGED HAWK. Birds are still happening at the Brighton Constructed Wetland where a mere 10 minutes there produced more than a dozen species, among them 15 each of  WOOD DUCKS and MALLARDS, singles of HOODED MERGANSER and GREEN WINGED TEAL, SPOTTED SANDPIPER and 2 AMERICAN REDSTARTS. At Collin’s Lake, near Inverary, a BARRED OWL was heard calling late last night, and early this morning before light, an EASTERN SCREECH-OWL was calling from somewhere along County Road 15, across the marsh from Big Island. Even Bon Echo Provincial Park was able to offer a few sightings, namely 2 PEREGRINE FALCONS, part of a continuing population along the Mazinaw Escarpment. Also of interest – BELTED KINGFISHER, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, 4 RED-EYED VIREOS, 4 BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLERS and a RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH.

Wednesday, August 17:  A  4-week trial BOBOLINK banding project has been set up this fall at the Miller Family Nature Reserve under the auspices of the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory. Right off the bat, a dozen BOBOLINKS  were banded here a couple days ago, proving that birds are also migrating along the entire South Shore Important Bird Area, and not just at Prince Edward Point. Readers are reminded that the Miller Family Nature Reserve is restricted property, so it is not open to the public without permission. Also present in that area over the last few days have been YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHERS. The South Shore attracts not only birdlife, but other critters as well. One observer also spent some time along the Lighthall Road berm and where there are flowering plants (below the outflow) and it was loaded with GIANT SWALLOWTAIL BUTTERFLIES as well as good numbers of MONARCHS, VICEROYS and GREAT SPANGLED FRITILLARIES. While early mornings are traditionally the best for birding, my wife and I bombed out early this morning at the Wilton Creek, south of Morven, finding nothing in what’s left of the creek after this summer’s drought. However, a half hour spent by another observer a couple hours later produced a WOOD DUCK, a GREAT BLUE HERON, and three TURKEY VULTURES.  Much better luck was had along the Napanee River Trail between Springside Park and Conservation Park, where we found 14 species, among them 2 DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS, 22 CANADA GEESE, 54 MALLARDS, 2 BELTED KINGFISHERS, 11 RING-BILLED GULLS and WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH, just to name a few of the highlights. A visitor to Sandbanks Provincial Park found 22 species this morning in the Dunes Day Use Area at West Lake. Among them were 3 BALTIMORE ORIOLES, 2 RED-EYED VIREOS, an EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, and 3 EASTERN KINGBIRDS. Very early this morning at Presqu’ile Park’s Owen Point, an impressive 36 species were tallied by a birder, including 5 GREAT EGRETS and a GREEN HERON. The shorebird family was represented by 9 species, a sign that the migration of these long distance migrants is starting to build. There were 60 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS. In lesser numbers, but no less important, were 5 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, 2 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, 3 KILLDEER, 3 SANDERLINGS, 3 Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. Photo by Sydney SmithLEAST SANDPIPERS, a SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, a SPOTTED SANDPIPER, and 3 LESSER YELLOWLEGS. Conspicuous by their absence were this year’s crop of PIPING PLOVERS, but they were likely around somewhere. A bit later this morning, another birder found the continuing WILLET as well as a STILT SANDPIPER and 4 BAIRD’S SANDPIPERS. The LEAST SANDPIPERS had increased from the earlier 3 to 45! As I experienced this morning at Wilton Creek, populations and species make-up can change from hour to hour. At Belleville’s Memorial park, off Station Street, at least 3 BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS  were present today. And at the Marshlands Conservation Area today, in Kingston, highlights among the 17 species found were 2 NORTHERN FLICKERS, 3 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, a BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, and a RED-EYED VIREO, all believed to be local birds rather than fall migrants. In the Verona area, 2 BROAD-WINGED HAWKS, a SOLITARY SANDPIPER, PILEATED WOODPECKER, EASTERN BLUEBIRD, and 3 BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLERS  were all nice finds. Late yesterday afternoon, at Beaver Meadow Conservation Area, south of Picton, AMERICAN KESTREL (2), GREAT BLUE HERONS (10), 2 GREEN HERONS and BELTED KINGFISHER were highlights.

Tuesday, August 16: An absolutely wonderful, and much needed, rainfall today, commencing at about 4:30 a.m. this morning and continuing through the day, giving us close to an inch and a half of rain, with possibly more expected overnight. As a result, not much birding today at all, until about later this afternoon when the rain let up. Six GREATER YELLOWLEGS  were seen flying over the weed beds in the marsh at the Lighthall Road Wetland along the Prince Edward County South Shore IBA yesterday. Five GRAY CATBIRDS, 2 BROWN THRASHERS, an EASTERN TOWHEE and a MERLIN were also seen. Now that ALDER and  WILLOW FLYCATCHERS are indistinguishable since they have all but stopped singing, the majority encountered these days until spring rolls around again, are being called by their former name  before the two species were given individual species status some years ago (TRAILL’S FLYCATCHER). A TRAILL’S FLYCATCHER  was also among the species seen at the Lighthall Wetland. A few other sightings that came in too late for inclusion in last evening’s Report – HOODED MERGANSER, 2 OSPREYS and CASPIAN TERN at Belleville’s Memorial Park, off Station Street. At the adjacent Lion’s Park, 10 RING-BILLED GULLS there. The juvenile RED-HEADED WOODPECKER showed up again yesterday – in fact, two of them – at the Black Bear Ridge Golf Course north of Belleville. Another – this time a full adult – was seen yesterday along Hoover Road, southwest of Spring Brook, where 6 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS  were also seen. Also yesterday, a LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE was among 23 species seen at the Napanee Alvar in the Nugent Road area north of Camden East. Also seen, RED-TAILED HAWK, AMERICAN KESTREL, 9 EASTERN KINGBIRDS, 2 RED-EYED VIREOS, 70 BARN SWALLOWS and five CEDAR WAXWINGS. On Amherst Island, birds of note present there were BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, 1 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER, SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, 40 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, and 50 TREE SWALLOWS, all seen at the Martin Edwards Reserve at the east end of the island. Five EASTERN KINGBIRDS  showed up today along Huyck’s Point Road, and at Wellington Beach, a NORTHERN FLICKER  was seen and 60 RING-BILLED GULLS  were present. Interesting development with a couple GRAY FOXES that turned up earlier this year just north of Belleville. These are not melanistic colour variants of our more familiar RED FOX, but rather, a distinct species, rare to this part of Ontario.  The foxes showed up in May, and today, a kit showed up with an adult. The entire story and photos about the Thurlow GRAY FOXES, and the significance of their appearance, can be found on my website by CLICKING HERE. Another interesting story to share, together with a caution. Two residents of County Road 1 (Schoharie Rd) were kayaking the shoreline of Consecon Lake, and came across fishing line, caught very high in a tree, running along over the lake before disappearing into the water, and re-emerging more than 10 cottage properties to the west, over a boat shelter; back into the water, and ending high in a  tree. Over two hours were spent by the kayaking duo gathering up what they could,  and tying it off to the trees where it was beyond reach. The theory is that an OSPREY grabbed a hooked fish and flew with it to its nest, which is near where they first observed the line. All we can do is speculate, of course, but it does emphasize the dangers of carelessly discarded monofilament fishing line. We came across an alarming amount of discarded line, some of it in large tangles at almost every lock we kayaked through on our own kayaking trip from Kingston to Ottawa several years ago.

Monday, August 15: On the Trans Canada Trail, east from Twiddy Road, near Ivanhoe, a juvenile RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH was one of many species seen. However, the big attraction along this section of trail, the large pond, is all but dried up now, but it did contain 5 TRUMPETER SWANS – two adults and three juveniles. The swans are regular breeders here. One AMERICAN WIGEON, an uncommon summer resident in the area, was seen in light, and 20 WOOD DUCKS and 20 MALLARDS were also seen at the pond. A few other interesting species here and along the trail included 8 GREEN HERONS, one RED-TAILED HAWK, a YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, 1 WILSON’S SNIPE, 2 BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLERS, 1 MAGNOLIA WARBLER, and a SCARLET TANAGER, just to name a few of the highlights from the 36 species seen. Sadly, we no longer see the lengthy and detailed weekly migration summaries from the Prince Edward Point that the head bander would compile weekly, despite repeated requests from readers. This is sad as so much passes over the Point in the fall and we never get to vicariously enjoy the sightings, although observation totals do appear eventually on the PEPtBO website. Fortunately, a handful of volunteers thoughtfully keep this blog informed weekly of the highlights of their visits. Today, although it was slow, some interesting birds at Prince Edward Point. BOBOLINKS are slowly beginning to migrate so a few are caught each day. In the regular nets, they have had ORCHARD ORIOLE, SCARLET TANAGER, CANADA WARBLER, BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER, NASHVILLE WARBLER, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, YELLOW WARBLER, BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLERS, GRAY CATBIRD, and a BROWN THRASHER that was caught in 2007 as a second year bird, making it almost 10 years old!!!  While on the topic of the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory, their 15th ANNUAL FALL DINNER AND SILENT AUCTION will be taking place this year on Saturday, October 29th, at the Waring House Banquet Hall, commencing at 6:00 p.m. Be sure to attend this dinner as we celebrate the work of PEPtBO.  Our guest speaker will be Jean Iron ( Past President of the Ontario Field Ornithologists, Assistant Author of OFO News, Quest Nature Tours Leader) with an exciting presentation. Poster can be viewed on my website by CLICKING HERE. Reports of COMMON NIGHTHAWKS have been trickling in as this species is just now commencing its southward migration. From now until next month, numbers of these nocturnal aerial hunters in small groups will be seen as they move southward, hawking for insects as they fly. Two were seen last night at the end of Station Road in Belleville, and another evening hunter, the CHIMNEY SWIFT, numbered 45 last evening at the corner of Bridge Street West and Ocatavia Street, in Belleville. One intrepid Kingston birder paid a visit to Snake Island today between Kingston and Simcoe Island and found 10 species there on this tiny piece of land occupied mainly by DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS – 400 today! The island did prove attractive though to a half dozen shorebird species – 2 RUDDY TURNSTONES, 6 LEAST SANDPIPERS, 2 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS, 2 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, and singles of BAIRD’S SANDPIPER and SANDERLING. Not satisfied with one cormorant island, he travelled to another, at nearby Brothers Island where a few more DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS were present – 1,000. Two BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS  were there, a NORTHERN HARRIER, 4 SONG SPARROWS, but only two shorebird species – 3 LEAST SANDPIPERS  and a single SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER. On Salmon Island, out from Kingston Airport, only a single SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER represented the shorebirds, and only a mere 200 DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS  were here. I have said it before – birders go where the birds are. We don’t apologize!  Other interesting sightings today included 2 GREAT HORNED OWLS on Airport Parkway on the east ide of Belleville. The two birds were clearly silhouetted on a pole beside a house and hooting infrequently, answered by another individual some 300 metres in the distance. The owl continued to hoot for an hour.

Sunday, August 14: Some nice finds this morning at the H.R. Frink Centre by a Belleville area birder who rounded up 24 species. A SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER was one of those good species that found its way on the checklist, along with three other shorebird species – 4 KILLDEER, 3 LEAST SANDPIPERS, and 2 SOLITARY SANDPIPERS. Other good birds seen there today were 8 WOOD DUCKS, 2 GREAT BLUE HERONS, a GREEN HERON, 3 BELTED KINGFISHERS, 1 EASTERN KINGBIRD, 12 BARN SWALLOWS, and one each of MARSH WREN, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, and NORTHERN CARDINAL. On down the highway at the Black Bear Ridge Golf Course, a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER (juvenile) – a good sighting on any day – was seen being chased by a juvenile RED-HEADED WOODPECKER! Twenty BARN SWALLOWS  were seen here and 6 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS, with other good sightings being 4 BALTIMORE ORIOLES, 3 CEDAR WAXWINGS, 1 EASTERN KINGBIRD, 5 CHIPPING SPARROWS and an EASTERN MEADOWLARK. In Prince Edward County, west of 23 Sprague Road on Big Island, 2 EASTERN MEADOWLARKS  were seen there early this morning, and 2 BOBOLINKS also still remained on this 50-acre spread of grassland, comprising a half dozen hay fields of Brome Grass. Harvesting of these fields has always been delayed until well into July every year to protect the nesting BOBOLINKS and EASTERN MEADOWLARKS resulting in an impressive population of both species that has built up over the years. This morning two juvenile MERLINS were present again, this time, perched almost side by side in a dead elm. A maintained private trail circles the fields allowing the area to be monitored each season. Moving up to Presqu’ile Park, 3 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER  were present, as well as 8 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS and the three PIPING PLOVER chicks. Staff member David Bree says Chick #238 has been limping badly for two days with a bad left leg. Looking a bit better today. West of Presqu’ile Park, 45 minutes spent at the A.K.Sculthorpe Memorial Woodland Marsh at Port Hope resulted in 23 species being seen at noon today, among them, WARBLING VIREO, EASTERN KINGBIRD, 5 CASPIAN TERNS and a single WOOD DUCK. In the other direction, at the Amherstview Sewage Lagoons, 40 BONAPARTE’S GULLS were present this morning at 7:45 a.m. Post breeding adult BONAPARTE’S are arriving now and their numbers will build throughout this month, gradually dwindling in numbers as we approach winter. North of Kingston, near Verona, a RED-SHOULDERED HAWK was heard calling again as were 7 BOBOLINKS that passed over the area. Also heard there this morning at 5:00 a.m. was a BARRED OWL. At Milhaven Creel along the K & P Trail, GREAT BLUE HERON and GREEN HERON. On County Road 4/Talbot Street, Picton, there was a RED-TAILED HAWK and yesterday’s GREAT BLUE HERON was in the same tree at Demorestville Creek at County Road 5.

Saturday, August 13: A few good sightings today, followed by welcomed rains to perk things up a bit, especially those who have been waiting for something other than dust. A BELTED KINGFISHER was seen at Beaver Meadow this morning, along with another one. A juvenile GREEN HERON was present as were 5 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, a RUFFED GROUSE, and 4 GREAT BLUE HERONS. Two more GREAT BLUE HERONS  were noted flying over Demorestville Creek. And, a juvenile BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON  was seen mid-morning today in Westbrook, near Kingston. This evening, an EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE was heard singing like it was the spring of the year, off Coltman Road near 401, north of Telephone Road. A BALD EAGLE  was seen again along Adolphus Reach from the Adolphustown side. Along County Road 2, north of Wellington, 4 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS put in an appearance, as did 2 GRAY CATBIRDS, 3 CEDAR WAXWINGS and a YELLOW WARBLER. There was a COMMON YELLOWTHROAT along Airport Parkway today, and the two MERLINS  were seen again across from 23 Sprague Road on Big Island. A MERLIN was also seen today at Darlington Provincial Park by a birder there who managed 28 species in the two hours that he was out. A few of the more noteworthy sightings were a PIPING PLOVER at the west end of the beach, a LEAST SANDPIPER, 2 COMMON TERNS, 25 CASPIAN TERNS, and an INDIGO BUNTING. Four GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHERS  were a good find in Oshawa, at the Pumphouse Marsh, right up there with three LESSER YELLOWLEGS and 2 GREEN HERONS. Also up that way, Whitby Harbour had some nice shorebirds including 16 KILLDEER, 12 LEAST SANDPIPERS, 9 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS, 3 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS and 7 LESSER YELLOWLEGS. Other than that, not a heck of a lot of birding anywhere in the Bay of Quinte region, and not a whole lot outside the Quinte area either. With the fall migration, of course, comes the fall bird banding program at Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory at the southeastern tip of Prince Edward County. Banding got underway yesterday and will continue each morning from dawn until noon, right through until October 31, culminating with the popular NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL banding program. David Okines returns as our Station Manager and Bander-in-charge.  Gill Holmes who was with us in the spring will be back again for the fall migration after spending a summer in the Arctic.  We are also looking forward to welcoming Jacques Turner-Moss in October. If you get a chance this fall, come on down and get up close and personal with some of the fall migrants.

Friday, August 12: Even getting an early start on the day didn’t help much this morning. I took my LED headlamp for a walk at 4:00 a.m. this morning to hear what might be vocalizing. Not much, as the temperature was 26 degrees with a humidex reading of 35 degrees, even that early in the morning! SONG SPARROW, EASTERN TOWHEE, PURPLE MARTIN, MERLIN and an EASTERN MEADOWLARK that I flushed from the trail was all the 2.3 km trail would produce for  me in that experiment. The heat continues with no let up, and backyard bird baths are enjoying heavy patronage.A Napanee birder reminds us to keep our bird baths clean and filled, and while I am on the subject, Connie Crowe at The Bird House Nature Store in Wooler can help you out selecting a bird bath if you need an extra to handle the clientele. It was a bird bath that attracted a couple species to a Wellington backyard – a SONG SPARROW, and an AMERICAN GOLDFINCH. The latter species is just now getting down to the business of nesting, typically waiting for the thistle down to ripen which it uses to line its nest, and also the thistle seeds which they feed their young in a regurgitated viscid porridge. Bon appetit. The hot and sultry temperatures likely affected the bird list for one observer at 8:00 a.m. along Snider Road in Ameliasbrugh this morning, his efforts in the morning heat yielding only 10 species, with a vocal GRAY CATBIRD (likely in agony rather than a sing for happy) and a GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER. Also noted was a single ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW, in among a group of 4 BARN SWALLOWS. Last night, at 9:00 p.m., an  EASTERN WHIP-POOR-WILL was calling along Babylon Road in the South Bay area. There was some birding after all at Presqu’ile Park yesterday,  although the totals arrived far too late for inclusion in last evening’s Report. The 18 species seen around the Lighthouse included a BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER and an EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE. Twenty SANDERLINGS and 7 GREATER YELLOWLEGS were present on the beach, and at Calf Pasture, a single COMMON TERN, PILEATED WOODPECKERS and GRAY CATBIRD were highlights there. At the Campground Marsh along the lakeshore, 4 EASTERN KINGBIRDS, a GREEN-WINGED TEAL, 1 GREAT EGRET, and 5 CASPIAN TERNS  were all good sightings. Over at Owen Point, a WILLET was seen at 7:00 a.m. in the morning. LEAST SANDPIPERS and 20 SANDERLINGS  were also present on the beach. Elsewhere in the Park, 5 RUFFED GROUSE (recently fledged young) were seen. North of Kingston, 3 SANDHILL CRANES were observed along Fourth Lake Road, roughly between Third and Fourth Depot Lakes. North of Verona, much the same conditions as in the Bay of Quinte region as the drought continues. Many forest plants are now wilting or shrivelled, and trees are losing leaves in drier areas. Ponds are mostly empty and one birder took the time to move numerous frogs and tadpoles to more permanent water bodies nearby. Eyes are similarly watching a pond at the Demorestville Conservation Area where a reservoir there at the dam has only a few week’s water left with numerous frogs and turtles occupying what little water is left. It’s a bad situation all over. A birder in Trenton birded the Consecon area this morning looking for what is around and whether there are any passerine migrants yet. The scorched countryside, he noted,  is definitely keeping bird numbers down. There are already post breeding groups of AMERICAN ROBINS, EUROPEAN STARLINGS, CEDAR WAXWINGS and AMERICAN CROWS. Partridge Hollow Road had a nice gathering of swallows with over 40 BARN SWALLOWS and 13 PURPLE MARTINS with both including young. Family groups seen included GRAY CATBIRD, HOUSE WREN, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, NORTHERN CARDINAL and SONG SPARROW.  This year’s young seen were INDIGO BUNTING, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, AMERICAN REDSTART, BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD, and YELLOW-BELIED SAPSUCKER, all birds that breed here.

Thursday, August 11: At least one unusual sighting today and one “common” one, both photographed by Helmer Nielsen of Odessa. At Lemoine Point Conservation Area, a juvenile COMMON YELLOWTHROAT was seen toward the north end of the conservation area – common enough. Quite unexpected was a COW down by the water just off the north parking lot. The bovine appeared quite content with its new pasture and there was no clue as from where it had wandered. There was no update as to whether or not cow moo-ved on, or if it simply re-t(r)eated. Another very hot day in the Bay of Quinte area, and if you didn’t get out at daybreak this morning, then you probably didn’t get out at all. The dwindling water at the Hamilton “Wetland” doesn’t seem to be dissuading bird life at all. Seventeen species were there two nights ago, among them, some significant species and/or numbers. The GREAT EGRET population is growing in leaps and bounds with 31 present. The GREAT EGRETS undertake a post breeding dispersal in the late summer with individuals moving about considerably before they finally fly south in the late fall. While most birds are Ontario egrets, there may very well be individuals from as far away as New York State who join the throngs that gradually build until fully 100 egrets may be present, before their numbers start to fall as birds finally decide to leave for the south. It’s quite a sight. There was a significant colony at Indian Island in the Bay of Quinte across from Trenton for several years, but efforts to cull/dissuade the cormorant population seems to have affected the egrets’ interest in the island. Another was starting to form at the Harmony Road Wetland, north of Belleville, but the future of that site is uncertain as Hydro One early this year breached a beaver dam, effectively draining the wetland. At the Hamilton Wetland, everything remains in place to continue attracting this post breeding dispersal. Also present were 5 GREAT BLUE HERONS, 2 SANDHILL CRANES, 12 KILLDEER, 20 LEAST SANDPIPERS, and 8 LESSER YELLOWLEGS.  Today along the Parrott Riverfront Trail in Belleville, from the Lott Dam off Station Street, south for a short distance, the dozen or so species seen there included 3 species of waterfowl – CANADA GOOSE, MALLARD and COMMON MERGANSER.  In the same area at the city’s Memorial Park, 19 species seen there included a BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON, 3 HOODED MERGANSERS, and 2 EASTERN KINGBIRDS. No birding interest at Presqu’ile Park today, but at Amherst Island, good species seen there included UPLAND SANDPIPER, 4 EASTERN KINGBIRDS, 6 CEDAR WAXWINGS, and EASTERN MEADOWLARK and an EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE. A RED-SHOULDERED HAWK was a highlight today just north of Verona where the two dozen species also included a SOLITARY SANDPIPER  flying over, 2 GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHERS, a FIELD SPARROW, and 4 BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLERS. Birders in each case were out with checklists, many by 6:00 a.m. Watch for COMMON NIGHTHAWKS. Four were heard and seen over the railway tracks in Belleville last evening. At Mountain View, a RED-TAILED HAWK and 2 EASTERN KINGBIRDS  were seen, and in Belleville, 4 CHIMNEY SWIFTS  were seen and heard twittering above Sidney Street. Fred Helleiner’s Presqu’ile Provincial Park Weekly Bird Report has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be found by CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, August 10: Along the Lighthall Road Wetland, south of Army Reserve Road, along the South Shore Important Bird Area in Prince Edward County, getting underway by 6:45 a.m. paid off for several birders who chalked up a list of 45 species yesterday. Three VIRGINIA RAILS, a SOLITARY SANDPIPER, 3 LEAST SANDPIPERS, 4 GREATER and 2 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, MERLIN, ALDER FLYCATCHER, 5 MARSH WRENS, and a  NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH  were highlights. RED-TAILED HAWK, NORTHERN HARRIER, 8 BLUE-WINGED TEAL and 2 GREEN HERONS were also noted. At least 4 GREEN HERONS were in the Slab Creek Wetland along the Millennium Trail at Hillier when I visited the site early this morning. Two GREAT BLUE HERONS took off upon our arrival, but 4 PILEATED WOODPECKERS coursed to and fro over the wetland during the 30 minutes we were there, periodically landing on dead trees, then moving on to other trees. On Bakker Road, in the Pleasant Bay area, a NORTHERN HARRIER  was seen, and nearby Cold Creek Road produced a RED-TAILED HAWK.  On  Station Road, out towards County Road 1, a SANDHILL CRANE flew overhead, and a another GREAT BLUE HERON was seen at Melville along Consecon Creek, although what it was finding to eat was a mystery as the creek bed was surely dry. Five COMMON NIGHTHAWKS  were seen flying over the community of Sulphide, near Tweed, putting on quite the display with their figure 8 loops. Two INDIGO BUNTINGS along Belleville’s Airport Parkway, were offset by a flock of fully 450 RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS that were ushered into flight from a cornfield by a NORTHERN HARRIER. At Belleville’s Victoria Park early this morning, 20 species seen there comprised this single BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON , 3 EASTERN KINGBIRDS, 2 BELTED KINGFISHERS, a CASPIAN TERN, GREAT BLUE HERON, 5 RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS, 8 COMMON MERGANSERS and  12 MALLARDS. At Verona today, a BARRED OWL was heard calling at 5:00 a.m. I will close off this evening’s Report with some sad news. Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory co-founder Eric Machell  passed away a few days ago. In past years during the Baillie Birdathon, Eric Machell and his team, the Laphroaig Vultures, and my birding team, enjoyed some friendly rivalry as we each tried to see who would get the highest total of bird species in a 24-hour period. Although we were close sometimes with our final totals, Eric and his teammates were unbeatable. In 1995, when Brian Joyce sent out a call for an experienced, licensed bander who would be willing to work with him in setting up a banding station at a very remote location in Prince Edward County, Eric responded from southwestern Ontario. From 1995 to 2000 he spent six or seven weeks every spring at Prince Edward Point setting up and running the station (sometimes single-handedly), training volunteers, collecting and recording data – all in very primitive and less-than-ideal circumstances. Eric was on the Board of Directors (as President, Vice-president and Past President) for many years.

Tuesday, August 09: Here in Prince Edward County (often affectionately referred to simply as “The County”), many of us will be joining hands this evening and doing a rain dance to see if the predicted showers and thunderstorms for tonight and into the weekend, actually translate into reality. Level Three drought. Worst since 1941. Three hours were spent at Presqu’ile Park by a Brighton birder early this morning with his day beginning at 6:15 a.m. resulting in 55 species being tallied. Three fledged young MERLIN were seen at Calf Pasture, and also seen in the area was a YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER. As a reminder that the warbler migration is about to take off, six other warbler species were also seen – 1 adult female BLACK-AND-WHITE, a moulting adult NASHVILLE, a MAGNOLIA in fresh juvenile plumage, 3 YELLOWS, and one each of AMERICAN REDSTART and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT. Lots of juveniles around right now and among them at the Park was a juvenile EASTERN TOWHEE with a fully streaked breast and short tail. Juvenile sparrows are not easy at the best of times, but this birder managed to sort out a few, coming up with 7 CHIPPING, 3 FIELD, 3 SWAMP and 25 SONG SPARROWS. Also seen, two BROWN CREEPERS and, in his own words, one “still singing a half-assed song”. A BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER was also seen and these delicate looking, but tough little birds will sometimes be seen into November. A few flycatchers – 1 LEAST, 7 EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE ( 4 together likely a family group), 2 EASTERN PHOEBES, 1 GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER and 7 EASTERN KINGBIRDS. Those denizens of the forest, the RED-EYED VIREO, was represented by 20, likely all of them singing monotonously from the canopy. Eight NORTHERN CARDINALS, 20 AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES, 30 CEDAR WAXWINGS, 20 AMERICAN ROBINS, and 25 BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES were also good finds, at least, in terms of numbers. And, I know of at least one Belleville reader who will be pleased to know that the MUTE SWANS are starting to gather, with 115 being present on Presqu’ile Bay (inside joke). Back on the Waterfront Trail at the Rideau Acres Campground, north of Kingston, the BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON was present again today, and two were seen today in Belleville at Victoria Park. No significant birding in either Prince Edward County or the Kingston area, so wandering a bit west to the Nonquon Sewage Lagoon at Port Perry where at least one RED-NECKED PHALAROPE has been present since yesterday in the southeast corner of the lagoon, where other species seen today included 9 other species of shorebirds. Other noteworthy sightings today included a single MERLIN west of Sprague Road on Big Island, a YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER this morning at the Demorestville Conservation Area,  and RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER and a YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER at South Bay.

Monday, August 08: Presqu’ile Park’s PIPING PLOVER  chicks are doing well without the adult male that has been gone for over a week. I am always amazed with the shorebird migration which dictates that the adults leave the breeding grounds first to commence their southward fall migration, leaving the chicks to find their own way some weeks later, on their own, with no parental guidance. Yet, they seem to find the way just fine. So, we are all wishing these little guys well as they contemplate their own migration in a few days or weeks. The last couple of days the chicks have spent more time in the Owen Point area, sometimes flying off toward Gull Island, but returning to the main beach before sunset. A group of nine birders early this morning found 29 species at the H.R. Frink Centre, nine kilometres north of Belleville off Highway 37. Surprisingly, it was a cool morning with some birders wearing jackets that were soon shed as the morning wore on and temperatures quickly increased. Highlights were 2 VIRGINIA RAILS  with chicks, 3 BELTED KINGFISHERS, 2 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, 1 SOLITARY SANDPIPER, 2 LEAST SANDPIPERS, a GREATER YELLOWLEGS and 4 WILSON’S SNIPE out feeding in full sun for great views with spotting scopes (one full grown young being fed by a parent, with one photographed on a handrail behind the group. Also seen, 8 WOOD DUCKS, 2 GREAT BLUE HERONS, 20 KILLDEER, 12+ SWAMP SPARROWS, 6 MARSH WRENS and a NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH.  Also, four NORTHERN WATER SNAKES and lots of turtles seen in this popular wetland, that continues to produce despite the drought and lower water levels. At Belleville’s Memorial Park off Station Street, a few species, enjoying the pools of water in the Moira River that seems determined to dry up completely this year – MALLARDS, DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS, OSPREY, KILLDEERS, HERRING GULL and RING-BILLED GULLS. In Prince Edward County, Jericho Road produced EASTERN KINGBIRD, EASTERN MEADOWLARK, and 8 BARN SWALLOWS. A praiseworthy 54 species were tallied at Presqu’ile Park almost before light (best time, of course) with noteworthy species being a TRUMPETER SWAN, 3 GADWALL, and an AMERICAN BLACK DUCK. Out in the area of Gull Island, 4 GREEN-WINGED TEAL and a half dozen REDHEADS. One welcome sight, reminding us that cooler weather is in the offing, was a LONG-TAILED DUCK, a species we don’t usually start seeing in these parts until October. A second year BALD EAGLE  was seen and about 140 CASPIAN TERNS. Ten shorebird species were present with more recent arrivals being SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS, 26 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS, and a single BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER. A few highs in terms of numbers were 20 YELLOW WARBLERS, 25 SONG SPARROWS, 20 AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES, 20 RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS, 15 CEDAR WAXWINGS, 45 MALLARDS and 16 COMMON TERNS. Of course, 2500 DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS, 1500 RING-BILLED GULLS and 350 HERRING GULLS are also worth noting. Along the Parkway leading to the Park, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS, BROWN THRASHERS and RED-EYED VIREOS  were seen and/or heard. Except for a returning BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON at the Rideau Acres Campground north of Kingston, there was no birding today down that way or in Prince Edward County.

Sunday, August 07:  A BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO, a MERLIN and 20 BARN SWALLOWS  were just some of the highlights from a list of 36 species seen at South Bay today. Late last evening, at the Hamilton Wetland, west of Demorestville, 21 species of birds were present with a SEMIPALMATED PLOVER  being a newcomer. Forty shorebirds were present in the wetland, but were too far away to be identified. However, singles of LESSER and GREATER YELLOWLEGS did make it on the list. Once again, the SANDHILL CRANE  could be heard, but was not seen. The MALLARD population continues to build and last night there were 350 in the open waters of the swamp with 6 WOOD DUCKS and a single BLUE-WINGED TEAL present, along with a MERLIN, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, 2 EASTERN KINGBIRDS and about 300 COMMON GRACKLES  arriving to roost. Two INDIGO BUNTINGS and a VESPER SPARROW  were good sightings today along Airport Road on the east side of Belleville, as well as a BOBOLINK, giving its customary ‘pink’ call-notes. Although the usual population encountered in the grassy meadows beside our house that are usually here right now, have failed to return for a finale as they have in other years (80+ on August 17, 2013), there is still time for an encore, as migrant BOBOLINKS continue to pass through our area until at least mid-September. The North Foxboro Marsh today yielded some good birds including one each of COMMON GALLINULE, LESSER YELLOWLEGS, BLACK TERN, BELTED KINGFISHER, AMERICAN KESTREL, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, NORTHERN FLICKER, GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, and SWAMP SPARROW. Four GREAT BLUE HERONS and 8 WOOD DUCKS also made their presence known. CHIMNEY SWIFTS, an EASTERN KINGBIRD, 2 HOUSE FINCHES and a FIELD SPARROW  were seen opposite the Foxboro School while in the village of Foxboro, 2 CEDAR WAXWINGS  were seen. CEDAR WAXWINGS seem to be on the move right now as they are turning up everywhere in small numbers. Last evening, a couple YELLOW WARBLERS were spotted at 12 O’Clock Point in Carrying Place where a dozen CASPIAN TERNS, 1 WOOD DUCK, and an estimated 400 DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS were also seen. Five GREAT EGRETS and a GREAT BLUE HERON were seen on Dead Creek Road, also in Carrying Place. On the multiuse trail off Old Madoc Road, just north of Belleville, 6 WOOD DUCKS, 3 GREEN HERONS, 2 VIRGINIA RAILS and a YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER were highlights there. Some birding today in Northumberland County with Presqu’ile Park’s Owen Point producing 14 species including 50 MALLARDS, 3,000 DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS, and 60 CASPIAN TERNS. The shorebird migration is starting to pick up now with 7 species present today – 3 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, 4 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, 4 KILLDEER,  2 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, 2 SANDERLINGS, 8 LEAST SANDPIPERS, and 12 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS. Between Petherick’s Cornrs and Campbellford today, a GREEN HERON was seen as well as 200 “seagulls”. Do real birders even use that out-dated term anymore? At Gore’s Landing along Rice Lake, 38 species were checked off with a single BOBOLINK flying over, CHIMNEY SWIFT and RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER being highlights. More great sightings from the Rideau Lake Campground, just north of Kingston off Highway 15. The single BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON in yesterday’s report, was upgraded today to three, all lined up on stumps in the water. Nearby on Washburn Road, south of Brewer’s Mills, singles of  RED-EYED VIREO and WARBLING VIREO, BALTIMORE ORIOLE, EASTERN-WOOD-PEWEE and PILEATED WOODPECKER  were all noteworthy finds. At Collin’s Lake, south of Inverary, a MERLIN and 2 ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS  were nice finds there.  And that’s it for today. Tune in again tomorrow.

Saturday, August 06: An adult BALD EAGLE was seen today at Adolphustown. BALD EAGLES are regulars along this portion of the Bay of Quinte during winter, often as many as a half dozen, but it is always neat to see an adult during the summer months. Until this summer, BALD EAGLES had not nested in Prince Edward County since the late 1940s, due to the effects of DDT. This year, a pair did, and we have photographs, but we are keeping its location confidential, for now, to ensure their protection. Another adult Bald Eagle, perhaps the same one, was seen flying west over the little shoreline marsh on the east side of Cape Vesey Falls.   I was the only one foolish enough to be out birding today in Prince Edward County, although very early before the day heated up. My route was the private “Sprague/Monkman Trail” around the 20 acres of hay fields west of our home on Big Island, coming up with a respectable 27 species, plus one other taxa. That “taxa” being a DOWNY/WOODPECKER identified only as a “GBB” (Gone Before Binoculars). The highlight was an UPLAND SANDPIPER that took off from a distant hay field, and passed directly overhead, calling loudly. Other good species seen/heard were NORTHERN HARRIER, OSPREY, and BELTED KINGFISHER from the adjacent Big Island Marsh. Species more typical of the grassland habitat were 1 EASTERN TOWHEE, 2 SAVANNAH SPARROWS, 2 FIELD SPARROWS, a family of CHIPPING SPARROWS which have become regulars most mornings, and an EASTERN MEADOWLARK. No BOBOLINKS, although a few should still be around, but not this morning. Last evening, at the Hamilton Wetland, west of Demorestville, 15 species were noted, among them 3 WOOD DUCKS, 46 MALLARDS, 5 GREAT BLUE HERONS, 19 GREAT EGRETS, the resident SANDHILL CRANE, 6 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, and a LEAST SANDPIPER. This wetland seems to be one of few locations in the area that still has water! Birding was a little sparse in Hastings County, although Foxboro managed a NORTHERN FLICKER, GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, a CEDAR WAXWING, NORTHERN CARDINAL and a BALTIMORE ORIOLE. Much more activity at Presqu’ile Park as the shorebird migration gets underway with 5 recently arrived BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS  which joined up with singles of KILLDEER, LEAST SANDPIPER, and LESSER YELLOWLEGS. Other interesting species among the 37 seen were 3 GADWALL, and a female NORTHERN PINTAIL in with some 45 MALLARDS on Gull Island. Other species seen were a moulting adult male COOPER’S HAWK in the “Fingers” area of the park near the entrance, 2,000 RING-BILLED GULLS, 3 BONAPARTE’S GULLS (1 adult, 2 juveniles), a BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER (also in the Fingers), PURPLE FINCH and GRAY CATBIRD. Six COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, 12 SONG SPARROWS, and a BROWN THRASHER along the Presqu’ile Parkway, and a YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER on George Street, in Brighton. In the Rideau Acres Campground, off Highway 15, just north of Kingston, 32 species were noted, among them 2 PIED-BILLED GREBES, 1 GREEN HERON, 1 BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON, a COMMON TERN, 1 MARSH WREN, 2 AMERICAN REDSTARTS, 8 YELLOW WARBLERS, 1 PINE WARBLER, and 2 BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLERS. Sounds like a great spot to bird – 32 species in just two hours. However, less time was required to chalk up a list of 35 species in only an hour and half, north of Kingston, near Verona. Highlights there were 4 BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLERS, 4 BROWN THRASHERS, EASTERN BLUEBIRD, a WOOD THRUSH,  and a BROWN CREEPER. Who said there were no birds around in summer?

Friday, August 05: It’s all about water, or lack of it, as the Bay of Quinte area enters a Level Three drought condition, as of yesterday. A backyard west of Demorestville had 2 BALTIMORE ORIOLES and 4 ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS.  At 6:30 a.m. this morning, I literally bumped into a family of BROWN THRASHERS who scolded me soundly as I made my way around the private Sprague/Monkman Trail on Big Island. Several families of CHIPPING SPARROWS  were on the trail, along with SONG SPARROW, SAVANNAH SPARROW, 3 EASTERN TOWHEES and 2 EASTERN MEADOWLARKS. Then, the heat came. At Bain Park today in Trenton, a few birds of interest encountered there were singles of GREAT BLUE HERON, GREAT EGRET and 2 OSPREY. A nice list along the bayshore near the Trenton Canadian Tire Store where 18 species were tallied this morning, including another GREAT BLUE HERON, 2 GREEN HERONS, SPOTTED SANDPIPER, 2 CASPIAN TERNS, a NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, BELTED KINGFISHER, and a CEDAR WAXWING. The Harmony Road Wetland, north of Belleville, also had a GREAT BLUE HERON, as well as an EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, 2 ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS, a GRAY CATBIRD and 4 SWAMP SPARROWS. North just a bit, at the H.R. Frink Centre where 3 VIRGINIA RAILS – 2 juveniles and an adult – continue to be regulars. A SOLITARY SANDPIPER and a LEAST SANDPIPER  were also present, as well as 2 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, a GRAY CATBIRD, 4 MARSH WRENS, and 10 BARN Eastern Meadowlark. Photo by Janyce MannSWALLOWS. The 25 species were achieved due in no small part to the fact this observer was there at 5:30 a.m. – the only really good time to bird these days. Pointless to go much beyond 9:00 a.m. A CHIMNEY SWIFT and a BELTED KINGFISHER  were at Belleville’s Memorial Park, off Station Street, early this morning, and 2 more CHIMNEY SWIFTS were seen at Foxboro, as well as a couple HOUSE WRENS and a GRAY CATBIRD. Lots of birding this morning, too, up in the Brighton area. The Brighton Constructed Wetlands beside C.R. 64, yielded 20 species including 7 WOOD DUCKS, PIED-BILLED GREBE, GREEN HERON, GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, 2 BELTED KINGFISHERS and 2 YELLOW WARBLERS. At the dock in the fishing community of Gosport, 4 CASPIAN TERNS  were seen, and along the Presqu’ile Parkway, 5 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, 2 NORTHERN CATBIRDS and a GRAY CATBIRD made their presence known. And just west of there, along Huff Road and Highway 2, a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK was seen. On the Napanee Limestone Plain IBA, some great birds of interested seen there by a Kingston birder included a LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE, 2 RED-EYED VIREOS, one each of RED-TAILED HAWK and NORTHERN HARRIER, 2 AMERICAN KESTRELS, 3 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS, 6 EASTERN MEADOWLARKS (photo by Janyce Mann of Crofton) and 5 EASTERN KINGBIRDS. Can’t complain about that 2 hour bird tour that involved only three kilometres. An amazing day considering the temperatures. But, very important to get out at the crack of dawn while birds are still vocal and moving about. Gets pretty darn quiet by noon. The Presqu’ile Bird Report has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be found by clicking HERE.

Thursday, August 04: An AMERICAN WOODCOCK at Adolphustown stayed out in the open long enough to be photographed today. In Picton, 26 CHIMNEY SWIFTS  were counted last evening entering the chimney at the Armoury on Main Street. A GREAT EGRET and a GREAT BLUE HERON were seen in the marshy pond near the foot of 2nd Dug Hill Road in Trenton at noon. NORTHERN FLICKER, MERLIN, AMERICAN KESTREL, INDIGO BUNTING, 6 SAVANNAH SPARROWS and an EASTERN KINGBIRD  were species of note along Airport Parkway on the east side of Belleville today. A BALTIMORE ORIOLE at Foxboro. No reported visits at Presqu’ile Park today, but Camden Lake, north of Camden East certainly had an impressive list of birds yesterday. Just 26 species, but among them, some high numbers such as 30 CASPIAN TERNS, 40 RING-BILLED GULLS, 15 BLACK TERNS, and 12 passing shorebirds, believed to be LEAST SANDPIPERS. Other good finds were GREEN HERON, BALD EAGLE, LESSER YELLOWLEGS, 2 PIED-BILLED GREBES, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, 5 GRAY CATBIRDS, 4 EASTERN KINGBIRDS and 3 RED-EYED VIREOS.  Eight species of shorebirds on Amherst Island, including 10 KILLDEER, 3 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, 3 GREATER and 8 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, 5 LEAST SAND[PIPERS, and 2 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS, just to list a few of the highlights.  Slow day today, and quite understandably, due to the oppressive temperatures. Today, if you didn’t get your behinder in gear by 6:00 a.m., you probably didn’t have the stamina to go out at all.

Wednesday, August 03: On Camden Lake today, 10 juvenile BLACK TERNS are still occupying the area with about 20 adult birds feeding the young ones.  Today at Beaver Meadow Wildlife Management Area, south of Picton, a group of a dozen GREAT BLUE HERONS had collected in the wetland, likely to reconnect with days when a colony of 20+ pairs used to nest here in the 1980s. Also seen at Beaver Meadow this morning were SHARP-SHINNED HAWK, SWAMP SPARROW, 2 BELTED KINGFISHERS, WOOD DUCKS, GREEN HERON and TREE and BARN SWALLOWS. A Luck’s Crossroad backyard, near Picton, seems to be the only apparent local location for birds to obtain water as, in the words of the homeowners, “it’s like Grand Central Station”. Early this morning, they were visited by 2 EASTERN KINGBIRDS, 2 GRAY CATBIRDS, a BROWN THRASHER, a female NORTHERN CARDINAL, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, COMMON GRACKLE, BLUE JAYS, AMERICAN ROBINS, AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES, CHIPPING SPARROWS , RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS, and HOUSE WRENS. Two BALD EAGLES this morning at Prince Edward Point, and in Belleville’s Memorial Park, two SPOTTED SANDPIPERS  were present. An INDIGO BUNTING  was seen along Airport Parkway on the east side of Belleville. At Cressy, a juvenile BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO collided with a window at a home there, and although it appeared that the bird had come through the ordeal in good shape during the first 10 minutes or so, the cuckoo succumbed to its internal injuries after 30 minutes. The Snider Road dog walker was out again this morning checking off birds as they came to his attention during the 45 minutes that he was out with his dog, just off the west end of Victoria Road in Ameliasburgh. . An ALDER FLYCATCHER  was still slinging, the only way that this species and the similar Willow Flycatcher, can be identified, so similar are their plumages, and song is a rare thing with these birds in August. Fifteen BARN SWALLOWS, part of a group that has been building over the last few weeks, were seen, as were FIELD SPARROW, GRAY CATBIRD, YELLOW WARBLER, EASTERN KINGBIRD, and a couple CHIPPING SPARROWS. Four COMMON YELLOWTHROATS along the Presqu’ile Parkway contained a very agitated female with food, suggesting a nest or recently fledged young.  Just north of Verona early this morning, a birder there found an even 30 species of birds, among them BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER, GRAY CATBIRD, EASTERN BLUEBIRD, 8 HOUSE WRENS, AMERICAN KESTREL, 3 EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES and a PILEATED WOODPECKER.

Tuesday, August 02: As the severe drought continues, local waterways are providing very little in the way of shorebirds, or bird species of any kind. At the Gray’s Project Wetland on Wilton Creek near Napanee, even the Swamp Milkweedalong the bank of the creek seems to be leaning over toward the dry creek bed in an effort to will some moisture to its roots telepathically. At 7:00 p.m. last evening, only a GREAT BLUE HERON, SPOTTED SANDPIPER, 8 KILLDEER, 1 BELTED KINGFISHER and an immature RED-TAILED HAWK were present, as well as a family of WILD TURKEYS that refused to get off the road. Some creeks are a little better off though. A Facebook photo a few nights ago showed a GREAT BLUE HERON that had successfully “fished” Consecon Creek, pulling out a 10-inch MUDPUPPY! No birding in Prince Edward County today, but lots of activity in Hastings County where lots of good stuff was seen. The H.R. Frink Centre, near Plainfield, added to its laurels as a prolific birding area by contributing no fewer than 37 species to one birder’s list at 6:30 a.m. this morning. Topping the list were 6 VIRGINIA RAILS – including 3 juveniles feeding with adults. The shorebird season is starting there with 6 species seen – 1 SPOTTED SANDPIPER, 4 SOLITARY SANDPIPERS, 1 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, 3 LEAST SANDPIPERS, a WILSON’S SNIPE and 6 KILLDEER. Other birds of note were 2 BELTED KINGFISHERS, 6 NORTHERN FLICKERS, 3 MARSH WRENS, 12 SWAMP SPARROWS, 3 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, and a GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, just to name a few of the highlights. On Airport Parkway, east of Belleville, today, an INDIGO BUNTING and a BALTIMORE ORIOLE  were highlights there, and near Hybla, in the Maynooth area, a good day there with 9 warbler species tallied including both BLACK-THROATED BLUE and BLACK-THROATED GREEN, and a CANADA WARBLER. LEAST FLYCATCHER and EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE also made it on the list of 33 species. Back down in the Belleville area, the multiuse trail south of Old Madoc Road produced 19 species, among them, 8 WOOD DUCKS, 2 GREEN HERONS, a VIRGINIA RAIL, and a couple RED-EYED VIREOS. Just south of there, at Foxboro, 4 CHIMNEY SWIFTS, 2 HOUSE WRENS, and a BALTIMORE ORIOLE  were noteworthy. A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW  continues to vocalize opposite the Foxboro School where 2 FIELD SPARROWS  were also present very early this morning. Nothing happening at Presqu’ile Park today, and nothing came in from Frontenac County either. At Amherst Island yesterday, two GREATER YELLOWLEGS were seen at the Martin Edwards Reserve at the east end of the island, and a very vocal GREATER YELLOWLEGS  passed over 23 Sprague Road early this morning. At Puzzle Lake Provincial Park, nothing too unusual in the list of 20 species there, although the 5 COMMON LOONS were noteworthy. Weather for tomorrow? Sunny and hot!

Monday, August 01: The GREAT EGRETS (26 counted last evening) are starting to gather at the Hamilton Wetland, west of Demorestville,  as their post breeding dispersal period gets under way.There have been about 100 egrets roosting here in past years before they finally migrate south in late October. It’s a spectacular experience, to see them arriving in ones and twos, and settling in the trees. Other birds present there last evening were HOODED MERGANSERS, CEDAR WAXWING, 4 GREAT BLUE HERONS (3 of them juveniles), MUTE SWANS 2 adults and 4 cygnets), MALLARDS and a CASPIAN TERN. Elsewhere in Prince Edward County, an INDIGO BUNTING, 4 CEDAR WAXWINGS, 3 CASPIAN TERNS, and 4 WOOD DUCKS  were seen at South Bay. In Belleville, the PALM WARBLER that turned up yesterday in a Dunnett Blvd backyard was not seen today, but was a replaced by a NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH. Yard lists can be interesting. Inappropriate birds showing up in seemingly inappropriate locations. Five LEAST SANDPIPERS, 2 SOLITARY SANDPIPERS, and a YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO were present at the H.R. Frink Centre two days ago. The same day, a GREEN HERON was looking for refreshments at the Madoc Tim Horton’s. While the majority of birds have finished with household duties for the season, AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES are just beginning to respond to the harvest of thistle seeds as well as utilizing the down for the lining of their nests. Six males were seen yesterday in a Sow Thistle patch just outside the entrance to Presqu’ile Park. Ten COMMON GALLINULES  were counted at the nearby Brighton Constructed Wetland, where other birds of interest were the same number of  WOOD DUCKS and CEDAR WAXWINGS, and three MARSH WRENS. Outside of the general reporting area, Whitby’s Cranberry Marsh is picking up the tempo now for shorebirds with 9 species present today – among them 2 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, a SOLITARY SANDPIPER, 40 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, 30 LEAST SANDPIPERS, 2 PECTORAL SANDPIPERS, and 2 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS. Now, we’re movin’! Also present there was a BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON. Another BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (a juvenile) was seen on the Kiwanis Bayshore Trail in Belleville today. Also doing well today with shorebirds was the Bright’s Grove Sewage Lagoon, near Sarnia where 10 species were seen including 15 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, 20 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, 25 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, 2 SANDERLINGS, 35 LEAST SANDPIPERS, and 4 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS. Numbers are building! It’s an amazing migrations which takes shorebird species from their Arctic breeding grounds, south to South America every fall. The adults leave the breeding grounds, and the juveniles somehow find their own way a few weeks later. Those juveniles should start showing up soon, if they haven’t already in some key locations.

Sunday, July 31: I guess it takes all kinds. A news items in today’s Kingston Whig-Standard carries a few comments from Amherstview who speaks disparagingly about the DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS that have colonized the Brother Islands in Lake Ontario, one of her arguments being that “they are ugly things”. The article purports to support the supposed destructiveness of cormorants with a comment from the OFAH that has promoted culls in places such as Presqu'ile Provincial Park, a practice that is not supported by those who believe it is the carrying capacity (presence of food and availability of nest sites) that determines how many birds in a colony will occupy a given space – not a reduction in numbers by culls. To add a little humour to the article, the author refers to them as Double-BREASTED Cormorants! This article can only be topped by the complaints of a Moira River resident in Belleville who wants “someone” to do something about the geese on her lawn. Facebook messages, non of the 30+ comments supporting her drivel, claimed that she mowed her well watered grass to the river’s edge! In Prince Edward County today, birding was a bit slim as folks wisely stayed off the roads during this holiday weekend. However, two really good birds showed up at South Bay today – a RED-NECKED GREBE  and an INDIGO BUNTING. Just east of Sydenham, at the Moll’s Wetland, the dozen species checked off there included 4 GREEN HERONS, a GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER and a HOODED MERGANSER. Along 401 today, at the Shannonville Road exit, a RED-TAILED HAWK was seen. At Wollaston Lake in the Coe Hill area today, some nice species seen were WOOD THRUSH, 4 COMMON LOONS, a NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, and a BROAD-WINGED HAWK. North of Verona today, 36 species this morning by one birder who was out at the crack of dawn. Some of the highlights were GREEN HERON, AMERICAN KESTREL, 9 RED-EYED VIREOS, 2 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS, one each of BROWN THRASHER and GRAY CATBIRD in the Mimid family, 2 OVENBIRDS, and a ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK. A nice addition to a Belleville backyard today – both in terms of species and date of sighting – was a PALM WARBLER. The individual that appeared on Dunnett Blvd on the west side of the city, was made more exceptional by the early date it was observed. This species which nests in the far north, normally doesn’t migrate through the Bay of Quinte region until at least mid-September. First noticed by the homeowner was the bird's wagging tail as it perched on a low branch beside the patio. He described the bird as a largish dull brown warbler with a fairly long tail. It had a dark eyeline with a pale, not yellow, supercilium. The crown was brown without any rufous. Throat was whitish. The breast was less white than the throat with blurry brown streaks extending along the flanks. The undertail coverts were not visible, but there was a hint of yellow at the base of the whitish belly. The unusual visitor foraged briefly on the patio where it constantly wagged its tail, bobbed its head and walked rather than hopped. In his detailed description which he submitted to eBird, he added that there was no hint of wing bars, and had strong facial markings. The scarcity of yellow, overall brownish colour on upper side excluded the possibility of a  Prairie Warbler. Behaviour, facial markings and position and faintness of yellow excluded a Cape May Warbler and Yellow-rumped Warbler. The bird was very much like an American Pipit in locomotion, he says. The fact it was first seen in a tree in a small urban yard makes that species seem even more unusual. Good sighting. Well done!

Saturday, July 30: At a wetland south of Crookston Road in the Ivanhoe area, seen at mid-morning were PILEATED WOODPECKER, 1 SCARLET TANAGER, 3 each of EASTERN KINGBIRD, and SWAMP SPARROW, and a RED-EYED VIREO. Close by, on the Trans Canada Trail east from Twiddy Road there is a small wetland where a pair of TRUMPETER SWANS have nested for several years. Today, there were five swans there, comprising 2 adults and 3 juveniles. Also along this 2.5 km stretch of the Trans Canada, were 23 other species, highlights being WOOD DUCK, 3 GREAT BLUE HERON, 2 BELTED KINGFISHER, a couple EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES, 2 RED-EYED VIREOS, 2 FIELD SPARROWS, 3 SWAMP SPARROWS, and an EASTERN TOWHEE. A return visit to the Black Bear Ridge Golf Course where a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was seen last Sunday, revealed that the brightly coloured bird was still there – in fact, on the same tree. Except for preening, it tends to be a quiet and rather motionless adult, and not easily seen unless the bird is in flight. Also present from last week were the two EASTERN BLUEBIRDS. Seven VIRGINIA RAILS  were present this morning at 7:00 a.m. at the H.R. Frink Centre marsh boardwalk – 2 adults, 1 immature and 5 “fur balls”. A few shorebirds had arrived – 3 SOLITARY SANDPIPERS, and 5 LEAST SANDPIPERS, to join the KILLDEER and SPOTTED SANDPIPERS already present. A dozen SWAMP SPARROWS  were in the cattails as well as a MARSH WREN. Eight WOOD DUCKS were also seen from the boardwalk as were 3 MALLARDS and a single HOODED MERGANSER. A YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER  was present this morning along Airport Parkway on the east side of Belleville, and an UPLAND SANDPIPER  called as it passed over the grassland meadows west of Sprague Road at 6:30 a.m. this morning. Another UPLAND SANDPIPER was noted at South Bay this morning, along with a few other nice sightings including 2 BALD EAGLES, 2 BELTED KINGFISHERS, a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW, a GRAY CATBIRD, 1 WARBLING VIREO, 6 CASPIAN TERNS, and a NORTHERN FLICKER. No reported activity today at Presqu’ile Park, and if the park was as busy today as Sandbanks, it is little wonder that birders laid low. Elsewhere though, beyond the touristy areas, birders were active, mostly to catch the shorebirds as the migration of adults increases in tempo. At Ottawa’s Richmond Sewage Lagoons, 51 KILLDEER  were present as were 2 SOLITARY SANDPIPERS, 1 GREATER YELLOWLEGS and 9 LESSER YELLOWLEGS. Three LEAST SANDPIPERS  were at at Andrew Haydon Park in the City, and a couple more were at the Moodie Drive Quarry. Sewage Lagoons are fun places to visit and birders tend to go where the birds go. Twenty KILLDEER,  a SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, 4 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, and 5 GREATER and 11 LESSER YELLOWLEGS were at the Almonte Sewage Lagoons in Lanark County. At the Cole Lake Marshes north of Godfrey no shorebirds were noted, but a few other interesting species among the 37 tallied included ALDER FLYCATCHER and EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, YELLOW-THROATED VIREO, PILEATED WOODPECKER, GRAY CATBIRD and 3 warbler species – 8 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, a couple CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLERS and a single AMERICAN REDSTART. A few good backyard birds on Black Road west of Demorestville today including 3 BALTIMORE ORIOLES and 3 ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS. The birds were there today – you just had to escape the maddening crowds.

Friday, July 29: A BELTED KINGFISHER was torpedoing along near Kingston the other day and was caught in action by Odessa photographer Helmer Nielsen. Lots of BELTED KINGFISHERS around these days for some reason with individuals reported today and yesterday at Beaver Meadow, Big Island, H.R. Frink Centre, Napanee and one heard early this morning at the Hamilton Wetland west of Demorestville. Two were seen yesterday at South Bay where other species of interest were CASPIAN TERN, NORTHERN HARRIER and MERLIN. At the North Foxboro Marsh, two BELTED KINGFISHERS  were seen there too this morning, along with 2 WOOD DUCKS, GREAT BLUE HERON, 2 GREEN HERONS, NORTHERN HARRIER, COMMON GALLINULE, BLACK TERN, AMERICAN KESTREL and EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE. More interest again today at Presqu’ile Park where 61 species were checked off very early this morning. Noteworthy finds were two half-grown WILD TURKEYS that flew across Paxton Drive, probably constituting the first breeding evidence for the introduced species in the Park. A new arrival – 2 SANDERLINGS – were noted, along with a SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER and, of course, the legendary PIPING PLOVERS. Sixty CASPIAN TERNS were counted and among them were 11 young which eases the earlier fear that nesting was a failure this season. Six juvenile  COMMON TERNS  were also seen. Three MERLINS in Calf Pasture were likely birds that nested locally . Other good sightings made this morning in the Park included 15 YELLOW WARBLERS (all at Owen Point), 5 EASTERN KINGBIRDS, and a PILEATED WOODPECKER. At the Brighton Constructed Wetland, the 23 species seen there included some 35 WOOD DUCKS, some of them barely able to fly, and other wetland species seen with young were 30 MALLARDS, 7 MUTE SWANS, and 25 COMMON GALLINULES. A very faded and worn female NORTHERN SHOVELER was also present. RED-TAILED HAWK, 2 MARSH WRENS, and 2 NORTHERN FLICKERS  were other birds of interest. On Desmond Road near Camden East, 4 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS  were seen early this morning, and in Wellington, a NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD made a brief visit to a backyard. As we wait in anticipation for the fall shorebird migration to reach its peak, observations at the Nonquon Lagoons at Port Perry give rise for some optimism with 9 species present today, newer arrivals being SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS.  Some good numbers of others, too, including 65 LESSER YELLOWLEGS. Interesting sighting in Napanee. A resident there watched as a male NORTHERN CARDINAL picked off a large Phyllophaga JUNE BUG  species from off the side of a tree, land on the ground and commence to devour it, while a cardinal chick emerged from the bushes and wanted its fair share. The female then showed up and proceeded to consume what was left of the insect. Despite the continuing heat, 86 birders were out today in Ontario doing their thing. Good to see this kind of enthusiasm among the birding community.   Here is the Presqu'ile Park Bird Report for this week.

Thursday, July 28: Birds, to the best of our knowledge, don’t have the benefit of underarm deodorants, as we do when the temperatures climb and the air is sticky.  In Foxboro today, 4 CHIMNEY SWIFTS and a GRAY CATBIRD, joined 17 other species in the village with 2 BARN SWALLOWS, a CEDAR WAXWING, 1 BALTIMORE ORIOLE and a HOUSE WREN being other species of note. No birding today in Prince Edward County, but there were a few sightings that were made at Presqu’ile Park this morning. Along the Presqu’i[le Parkway leading toward the Park, 24 species were noted by a Brighton resident, among them a MARSH WREN, 2 COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, BALTIMORE ORIOLE, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, 15 SONG SPARROWS and 12 SWAMP SPARROWS, the latter two not a bad total given that they were all present within a one kilometre stretch of road. In the Park itself, a much higher total – 39 species – were checked off early in the morning. In the almost two hours spent there, an out-of-normal-season TUNDRA SWAN showed up on the offshore islands. Its identity was no problem as there were the much larger MUTE SWAN and TRUMPETER SWAN beside it for comparison.  The adult PIPING PLOVER was present too, along with the three flying young, looking more and more every day like plovers! Family groups of PILEATED WOODPECKERS and GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHERS  were encountered in and around the beach roads and parking areas. Typical for this time of the year, a BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO sang from nearby. Around 75 CASPIAN TERNS  were observed flying around, but oddly, no juveniles among them. Breeding failure? Eleven GREAT EGRETS were seen on nests on High Bluff Island, and with them, was a BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON. Other good sightings that made the morning checklist complete included 2 GADWALL, 7 EASTERN KINGBIRDS, 1 WARBLING VIREO, a BROWN THRASHER, an AMERICAN REDSTART (still singing), 15 SONG SPARROWS and an INDIGO BUNTING. At Whitby’s Cranberry Marsh, a PEREGRINE FALCON was spotted early this morning, and on Huff Road near Brighton, 35 BARN SWALLOWS were foraging over a pasture with 25 of them sunning themselves on a barn roof. Encouraging total for a species in decline. One early birder on the north side of Verona this morning was rewarded with 34 species during  a little more than an hour of birding, with 11 RED-EYED VIREOS singing as they like to do during the muggy days of July. Five EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES weren’t terribly silent either, and neither was a singing FIELD SPARROW. Also making their way on this person’s morning list were 1 BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER, 5 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, an OVENBIRD, 2 BROWN THRASHERS, 1 YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, 4 NORTHERN FLICKERS, 2 AMERICAN KESTRELS, and a RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH. Then, he went to work in Kingston!

Wednesday, July 27: Those who like to bird in July these days, know very well, in order to achieve success, it is mandatory to be in the field by sunup, or the day is soon lost to unbearable heat. This is precisely what Kenzo Dozono of Belleville does who visits the H.R. Frink Centre’s marsh boardwalk, 9 km north of Belleville, on a daily basis, arriving just as the sun is rising above the cattails. A LEAST BITTERN, for example, is almost a regular now. This morning, as Kenzo was setting up his camera equipment to photograph a family of VIRGINIA RAILS, the LEAST BITTERN appeared again an arm’s length away. An early start to the day also benefited another Belleville birder today at the Potter Creek Conservation Area where a nest of SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS kept his attention for a few minutes, four birds being present – two adults and two juveniles, obviously a family group. Potter Creek produced its usual GREEN HERON. Also seen were 3 NORTHERN FLICKERS, an EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, 1 EASTERN PHOEBE, 4 RED-EYED VIREOS,  and well over a dozen BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES. Three WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS, 5 SONG SPARROWS and 4 EASTERN TOWHEES  represented the sparrow family. Some good species, too, during the same time period this morning at Belleville’s Memorial Park off Station Street. Seen there was a WOOD DUCK, HOODED MERGANSER, 6 COMMON MERGANSERS, GREAT BLUE HERON, 2 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, 3 CHIMNEY SWIFTS, a BELTED KINGFISHER, and a NORTHERN CARDINAL among the 16 species present there. CHIMNEY SWIFT today as well at Foxboro – 4 of them, along with 2 GRAY CATBIRDS and a BALTIMORE ORIOLE. No reports from Presqu’ile Park or Prince Edward County today, but there were signs of a shorebird migration underway at Whitby’s Cranberry Marsh with 8 species of shorebirds noted – KILLDEER, SPOTTED SANDPIPER, SOLITARY SANDPIPER, LEAST SANDPIPER, PECTORAL SANDPIPER, SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, and both LESSER and GREATER YELLOWLEGS. An MNRF Wildlife Biologist walking part of the Catatarqui Trail in the Sydenham area today (11 km) found 32 species, among the more noteworthy species being a BARRED OWL, perched in a tree being harassed by BLUE JAYS. Other noteworthy species were 8 RED-EYED VIREOS, a NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH casually walking on the trail, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, YELLOW WARBLER, and PINE WARBLER.  Other sightings today included 11 WOOD DUCKS at Strathcona near Napanee, and a NORTHERN HARRIER along South Big Island Road. 

Tuesday, July 26: We clebrate a PIPING PLOVER birthday today. The Presqu’ile Park plover chicks, as of today, are now four weeks old. Yesterday, a Trenton resident who is a volunteer guardian of the brood at the park was certain they had left for good when the adult bird and all three chicks flew out over Lake Ontario and east to the beach at the foot of Courtice Road over a kilometre away at 2:05 p.m. However, by 4:30 p.m. the first of the juveniles had returned and then by 9:00 p.m. all four of the PIPING PLOVERS had returned to the beach just west of the nest area. Meanwhile, at Darlington Provincial Park (Durham), the successful nest up there, involving one male, 2 females and 7 juveniles were seen yesterday running up and down the beach. One of the juveniles took flight along the shore to get away from a large passing group of folks, while the three others ran into the vegetation. Also, yesterday, two West Lake residents visited Buce Bay on Devil Lake in the Frontenac Park area, seeing PILEATED WOODPECKERS, COMMON LOONS, TURKEY VULTURES and COMMON RAVENS. Drought conditions were encountered there too, as here, with ponds and wetlands drying up. A thirsty  WHITE-TAILED DEER with ribs showing was snacking on aquatic vegetation. So, it has been a tough summer on all species. Which brings us to today. Five of us spent two hours early this morning in the South Shore Important Bird Area along Charwell Point Road, from Army Reserve Road to Lake Ontario, coming up with 31 species. Not a bad total for late July, with a light lake breeze keeping the morning rather cool and pleasant, and no annoying insects. A  distant SANDHILL CRANE  called a couple of times when I first arrived, as well as two BLACK-BILLED CUCKOOS. Numerous birds were taking advantage of the previous day’s all too brief rain and visiting the numerous puddles along the quasi road that leads to the lake. The majority were sparrows and it was quite impossible to count, never mind identify, all of them as they flitted back and forth. However, we did note that 10 of them were SONG SPARROWS. Ten FIELD SPARROWS  were singing and we also found CHIPPING SPARROW, SWAMP SPARROW and WHITE-THROATED SPARROW. A strange form on an overhanging limb at the lake was examined from every angle, appearing very much like an injured owl or hawk with a drooping wing. When I spoke to it, the bird unfolded itself and evolved into a DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT all knotted up into a ball as it welcomed the early morning. Other interesting finds were CASPIAN TERN, 2 GREAT BLUE HERONS, SHARP-SHINNED HAWK, PILEATED WOODPECKER, HOUSE WREN, CEDAR WAXWING, 6 EASTERN TOWHEE, GRAY CATBIRD, 4 each of EASTERN KINGBIRD and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, 2 AMERICAN REDSTARTS and WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH. The Marsh Boardwalk at Presqu’ile Park today produced 26 species for one birder at daybreak with the more significant finds being a PIED-BILLED GREBE, 2 AMERICAN WOODCOCK, 1 MERLIN, 4 MARSH WRENS, and 1 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER. Has the warbler migration begun already?

Monday, July 25: Something very unusual happened in the Bay of Quinte area today – the sky began to leak water. Not much, mind you – only 8 mm. During a Botulism Type E survey along the shoreline from Point Petre to Sandbanks Park several dead and dying animals were found – two dead DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS, 5 adult RING-BILLED GULLS, 1 COMMON TERN and a RED-THROATED LOON. Also found were 1 each of AMERICAN EEL, FRESHWATER DRUM and BROWN BULLHEAD. Those still alive, but on their way out, included a DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT, 2 RING-BILLED GULLS and one HERRING GULL.   From this little survey, and the summer weather so far, and the predicted August weather,  it is forecasted that the die-off of fish and birds from now until freeze-up will be quite severe.  On a brighter note, a 150-200 lb. BLACK BEAR was spotted lumbering along the south end of Kings Road near Point Petre.  A encouraging sighting of 40 BANK SWALLOWS at Presqu’ile Park today, a species we don’t get to see in large numbers much anymore. Ten GREAT EGRETS, and AMERICAN BITTERN, GREAT BLUE HERON, and a family group of 4 BROWN CREEPERS  were also good sightings. Of course, the family of PIPING PLOVERS, and I will be including an update on those and great photo of the young in tomorrow evening’s Report. And that’s it for today. This evening’s Report is a little later than usual due to our ISP, Kingston on Line, being, well – Kingston Off Line for part of the evening. These things happen.

Sunday, July 24: Birds are where you find them. And, if it’s at a golf course, then so be it. Today we go golfing, at the Black Bear Ridge Golf Course, off Highway 37, north of Belleville (permission needs to be sought if leaving the main driveway). This morning, an EASTERN BLUEBIRD and RED-HEADED WOODPECKER were both seen there. The RED-HEADED WOODPECKER  spent five minutes on a dead tree, then moved to another tree where it spent a few minutes probing the webbed nest of a fall webworm. And a female EASTERN BLUEBIRD was photographed carrying food to an occupied nest box, where the male bird was also about.  Other interesting species seen there included 2 GREEN HERONS, a NORTHERN FLICKER, 1 EASTERN PHOEBE, a SONG SPARROW and an AMERICAN GOLDFINCH doing what goldfinches do best – extracting seeds from a thistle. A more routine location to find birds today was once again at the nearby H.R. Frink Centre where 35 species were tallied in just a couple of hours. The VIRGINIA RAIL  was there again like yesterday – this time eight of them! Two SOLITARY SANDPIPERS, now passing through on their southward migration, were a reminder to keep watch for the southern movement of this family which is just now picking up some tempo. Also present in this family were 8 KILLDEER, 3 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, 2 WILSON’S SNIPE, and 3 LESSER YELLOWLEGS (in flight). Other good birds were BELTED KINGFISHER, WILLOW FLYCATCHER, 2 each of GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER and GRAY CATBIRD, as well as a couple of ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS, 12 SWAMP SPARROWS, 1 COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, and 3 NORTHERN FLICKERS. Another BELTED KINGFISHER and 2 more GRAY CATBIRDS  were seen at Foxboro. A rather successful morning, I would say. At Potter’s Creek Conservation Area (formerly Quinte Conservation Area) in Quinte West, a GREEN HERON was seen there along with 2 WARBLING VIREOS, a RED-EYED VIREO, and a COMMON TERN. At Point Petre today, a BONAPARTE’S GULL, still in breeding plumage, was seen and a BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO was heard calling.  At an address on upper Victoria Road in Ameliasburgh, a BROWN THRASHER showed up on a backyard deck, and other interesting species around that house were RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER, 7 ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS, and four PURPLE FINCHES. No reports have come in from Presqu’ile Park since Friday, but at Oshawa’s Second Marsh, there were several species of note seen there today including a NORTHERN SHOVELER, AMERICAN BITTERN, 2 SOLITARY SANDPIPERS, some LESSER YELLOWLEGS and 34 CASPIAN TERNS. In the other direction, up in Ottawa, at the Britannia Conservation Area, a RED-NECKED GREBE  continues to be seen there as well as 3 BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS that turned up today. Another hint that southward bound shorebirds are on their way with the sighting of 70 LESSER YELLOWLEGS,  and a STILT SANDPIPER being present today at the Nonquon Sewage Lagoons in Port Perry. Watch for their arrival at a bog or shoreline near you. A SEMIPALMATED PLOVER  was seen today at Shirley’s Bay in Ottawa. A fantastic day of birding with over 120 locations across Ontario being birded today by almost as many birders. Birding is starting to get popular!

Saturday, July 23: Must have been the heat at 11:00 a.m. today for one observer at Beaver Meadow Wildlife Management Area south of Picton who managed only 15 species. The two RED-TAILED HAWKS, seen last Monday, were still around, and a nice total of 7 GREAT BLUE HERONS made an appearance, along with 3 AMERICAN REDSTARTS and as many RED-EYED VIREOS. COMMON GALLINULE, 4 BLACK TERNS, a RUFFED GROUSE and a BELTED KINGFISHER  were also seen. Early mornings always work best and a visit by the same birder to the Hubb’s Creek Marsh west of Wellington off Danforth Road resulted in handsome dividends with 33 species  checked off in just over two hours at 7:20 a.m. An occupied nest of CEDAR WAXWINGS (they seem to nest late) was noted as were 3 SANDHILL CRANES (2 adults and 1 juvenile). Also seen 5 WOOD DUCKS, 3 GREAT BLUE HERONS, a GREEN HERON, 7 MARSH WRENS, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE and a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER. The wood edged Millennium Trail leading to the marsh from Danforth Road is about a half kilometre in length which likely contributed to the high list of species including YELLOW WARBLER, SAVANNAH SPARROW, 6 SONG SPARROWS, a BALTIMORE ORIOLE, and 2 ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS. A juvenile SWAMP SPARROW yesterday morning surprised Belleville resident and martial arts instructor Kenzo Dozono when it inexplicably landed on his hand while he was waiting for a reluctant VIRGINIA RAIL to appear. No bird in the hand early this morning though for another Belleville birder but his visit to the Frink Centre did result in a few species of note – RUFFED GROUSE, 4 GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHERS, a BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER and two COMMON YELLOWTHROATS. An EASTERN PHOBE  was at Harry Smith Conservation Area in Ameliasburgh yesterday, and on Black Road in the Demorestville area, a MOURNING DOVE met its Waterloo when caught by a patrolling MERLIN. A GRAY CATBIRD in the area apparently went unnoticed by the MERLIN who struggled with the dove for awhile, then flew off with it in its talons.

Friday, July 22: Mild today. Despite the humidity and temperatures, a few birders were out but confined their birding to the morning hours before the heat built up. One birder out walking his dog on Snider Road off Victoria Road in Ameliasburgh noted 26 species in his hour of walking. And much of everything seen was actually singing! Bet they weren’t though by afternoon. Heard singing were ALDER FLYCATCHER, GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, BLUE JAY, AMERICAN CROW, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, 4 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, CHIPPING, SAVANNAH and SONG SPARROWS singing, EASTERN CARDINAL, NORTHERN CARDINAL, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS and AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES – all of them vocalizing. Not so vocal were 3 each of YELLOW WARBLER and CEDAR WAXWING, GRAY CATBIRD, HOUSE WREN (not singing? That’s odd), and 8 EASTERN KINGBIRDS. Just proves if you get out early in the morning, birds will be singing. I was on our 3.4 km trail west of our house by 5:30 a.m. and rounded up at least 20 SAVANNAH SPARROWS (young and adults), a dozen or more BOBOLINKS, 6 EASTERN MEADOWLARKS, 2 FIELD SPARROWS, 2 EASTERN TOWHEES, 1 WHITE-THROATED SPARROW, 3 SONG SPARROWS, and my colony of a dozen or so PURPLE MARTINS circling and feeding above me. It’s still a good time of the year provided you grab your binoculars and make the trek early enough, because it sure gets silent by afternoon these days. On Potter Road beside Fish Lake east of Demorestville last evening, 10 CASPIAN TERNS  were seen along with the same number of WILD TURKEYS and RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS. Also last evening, 15 species were present at the Hamilton Wetland west of the village. Among those present there were 15 GREAT EGRETS, 4 GREAT BLUE HERONS (3 young still in the nest), 1 GREEN HERON, 2 SANDHILL CRANES, BELTED KINGFISHER, and three species of shorebirds – 22 KILLDEER, 12 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, and 3 LEAST SANDPIPERS.  And those large roving flocks of birds we see gliding over the open fields these days and collecting in trees, could very well be EUROPEAN STARLINGS as the adults and their fledged young begin congregating. Around 600 were present today in one noisy flock in Belleville. A three-kilometre kayak paddle on West Lake at the Kleinsteuber Boat Launch off C.R. 12, resulted in 14 species being seen at 10:00 a.m. including a LEAST BITTERN that flew out of the cattails as the kayakers paddled by. Also seen from the cockpit of the kayaks were 2 WOOD DUCKS, 1 GREAT BLUE HERON, 2 OSPREYS, 2 VIRGINIA RAILS, 2 CASPIAN TERNS,  and 2 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS. A dozen BLACK TERNS flew all around the kayaks and another treat was at least 20 MARSH WRENS that called from every reed bed they passed. At the H.R. Frink Centre this morning, birds seen included GREAT BLUE HERON, RED-TAILED HAWK, VIRGINIA RAIL, SPOTTED SANDPIPER, 2 NORTHERN FLICKERS, 2 EASTERN KINGBIRDS, 1 MARSH WREN, 4 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, and 15 SWAMP SPARROWS. An early morning visit to Presqu’ile Park this morning yielded 33 species. Among the highlights were GREAT BLUE HERON, 8 GREAT EGRETS, 6 CASPIAN TERNS, 3 PILEATED WOODPECKERS, 7 RED-EYED VIREOS, and 2 WINTER WRENS. And, of course, the family of PIPING PLOVERS. At Baptiste Lake near Bancroft, one birder out at high noon found only 14 species, but among them were COOPER’S HAWK, 6 RED-EYED VIREOS, and a couple AMERICAN REDSTARTS.

Thursday, July 21: The male adult PIPING PLOVER and three chicks seemed to be doing well today at Presqu’ile Park. One chick did a bit more foraging and then it actually went on about a 40 foot flight about a foot off the ground!  A fantastic sight to see! A nice total of 23 species were seen at an address along County Road 2, north of Wilson Road early this morning, among the more notable species being 2 WILD TURKEYS, NORTHERN HARRIER, RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, RED-EYED VIREO, 6 ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS, and 2 INDIGO BUNTINGS. At the Hamilton Wetland, west of Demorestville, the post breeding dispersal of GREAT EGRETS is a little slow this summer in gaining momentum compared to past year with only 4 seen last night. However, shorebird numbers are building, at least with respect to KILLDEER and LESSER YELLOWLEGS, with 30 of the former being counted and 10 of the latter. Three juvenile GREAT BLUE HERONS  were still in their single nest. Does one nest constitute a “colony”. Guess the colony has to start somewhere, with this being the first year in which they have nested at Hamilton Wetland. Other birds seen last night at the wetland were 4 WOOD DUCKS, a BELTED KINGFISHER, and an encouraging group of 50 TREE SWALLOWS. Some encouraging numbers of CHIMNEY SWIFTS during the Picton swift watch conducted by members of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists last night. Tallies were taken at several locations in town between 8:20 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. by six members at five chimneys, finding a total of 36 birds, with 25 of those birds entering the chimney at the Armoury on Main Street. Yesterday's birds seemed to be spending time to the east (over Picton Harbour) and to the south (over Delhi Park and Marsh Creek, flying low over the trees at the north edge of Delhi Park (south of the Armoury), perhaps eating dragonflies as several were noted. At the abandoned North Marysburgh School at Lake on the Mountain, three birds were seen entering the chimney there. A NORTHERN FLICKER in Wellington appeared quite dead as it lay on its side with ts beak open, but it was actually just cooling off. Just like dogs, wild birds will open their bills and pant to help dissipate heat on a hot day. As they get hotter, their panting may increase in speed or they may open their bills even further for greater cooling. When a cool breeze provides some relief from the heat, birds may puff out their feathers or flutter their wings to let the circulating air reach their hot skin. They may also hold their wings away from their bodies to lower their body temperature like this flicker is doing. This heat is hard on everything although birds have learned to cope with it quite well. Lack of water is a different issue. Keep those bird baths full of water. Our four bird baths need to be cleaned and refilled twice a day. Miscellaneous sightings from around the area today include a GREAT EGRET at Bain Park in Trenton, EASTERN WHIP-POOR-WILLS at Point Petre, and two COMMON LOONS at Northport. Fred Helleiner’s Presqu’ile Park Weekly Bird Report has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be found by CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, July 20: There is no accounting for taste. Two residents on Luck’s Crossroad near Picton says they have four birdbaths and little water fountain, all of which are very popular in their backyard. However, A young BALTIMORE ORIOLE near Picton spent considerable time and effort trying to bathe in the ant moat that protects a hummingbird feeder. Not very successful. Since spring, a CAROLINA WREN has been singing and spending much of its time in a backyard in the Barry Heights area of Trenton. Last evening, a motorist driving past the Hamilton Wetland, west of Demorestville, was thrilled to see an adult BALD EAGLE at the wetland. While I try to keep the evening bird report sightings more or less confined to the area between Port Hope and Kingston and no farther north than Highway 7, it is always interesting to track the sightings made in locations outside that area to see what might be moving about. For example, at the Nonquon Sewage Lagoons at Port Perry, there was some indication today that the fall shorebird migration is starting to increase in tempo with the sighting of 10 shorebird species there. In addition to the LEAST SANDPIPERS, LESSER YELLOWLEGS, etc. that I have been reporting in recent days, new species that should be making their way to the Bay of Quinte region shortly, and were seen at Port Perry today – GREATER YELLOWLEGS, STILT SANDPIPER, SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, and SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER. In Ottawa, a few of the same species, so they’re on their way. Time to get the spotting scopes poised. While we are discussing more distant locations, on the Beachwoods Trail at Charleston Lake Provincial Park today, a few good birds making themselves known this morning including 3 WOOD THRUSHES, 2 PILEATED WOODPECKERS, and four RED-EYED VIREOS.

Tuesday, July 19: Still good things happening at the Brighton Constructed Wetland where today, 21 species were tallied by one Brighton birder. WOOD DUCKS  seemed to outnumber everything else with 40 being counted, many of them fully grown juveniles. Likewise with the 40 MALLARDS present, and mixed in with them were singles of GADWALL and GREEN-WINGED TEAL, along with 5 CANADA GEESE and 7 MUTE SWANS.  Also high in number, but mainly due to young being about, were COMMON GALLINULES – 25 in number – comprising several broods of medium to small sized young. Other good species present were VIRGINIA RAIL, 1 NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, 2 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, and 2 YELLOW WARBLERS. On up the road at Presqu’ile Provincial Park, the adult male PIPING PLOVER and 3 large young were doing short flights today one to three metres, occasionally venturing out to the water’s edge. Only a single LEAST SANDPIPER  was seen, a bit shy of the numbers that should be here by now as the southward fall migration of shorebirds gets well under way. An INDIGO BUNTING  was singing its somewhat goldfinch-like songs behind Beach 2-3. Thirty CASPIAN and 4 COMMON TERNS  were present at the beach along with the arrival of the first fall BONAPARTE’S GULLS. A group of MALLARDS had 5 AMERICAN WIGEON mixed in, and an estimated 5,000 RING-BILLED GULLS  were also present. Along the Parkway going toward the Park, GREAT BLUE HERON, WARBLING VIREO, BALTIMORE ORIOLE and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT were also seen. Another good spot to be today was the H.R. Frink Centre, north of Belleville, where 35 species were ticked off on the checklist shortly after daybreak. Among them were 3 VIRGINIA RAILS, 6 WOOD DUCKS, 2 GREAT BLUE HERONS, 2 ALDER FLYCATCHERS, a PILEATED WOODPECKER, 2 EASTERN KINGBIRDS, 1 BROWN THRASHER, 4 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, and 10 SWAMP SPARROWS, many of them young birds. Four CHIMNEY SWIFTS were a few of the 16 species tallied in Foxboro today along with RED-EYED VIREO, HOUSE WREN, GRAY CATBIRD and 4 CEDAR WAXWINGS. There was a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW  singing at the Foxboro School. 

Monday, July 18: “He whistled and he sang till the green woods rang. And he won the heart of a lady.” A HOUSE WREN in the Foxboro area, according to a resident there, had been singing incessantly for three months, and this week, finally convinced a female to start nest building. Pretty good day for a dozen of us today at Beaver Meadow Conservation Area, south of Picton. Despite the oppressive heat and higher than wanted winds, we managed a list of 32 species. The sighting of a LEAST BITTERN was the high point. The songs of MARSH WRENS – five of them – filtered in from the wetland, and other wetland birds seen and heard included RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD, AMERICAN BITTERN GREAT BLUE HERON, GREEN HERON (2), BELTED KINGFISHER (3), two COMMON GALLINULES, 4 CANADA GEESE, 13 MUTE SWANS, 3 WOOD DUCKS, 25 MALLARDS, 3 BLACK TERNS, and 2 SWAMP SPARROWS. In the adjacent woodlands, 5 RED-EYED VIREOS, 3 EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES (actively singing), 3 NORTHERN FLICKERS, and singles of BLUE JAY, AMERICAN ROW, 6 BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES, and NORTHERN CARDINAL. Other birds seen in this 220-acre property were 2 RED-TAILED HAWKS, 2 TURKEY VULTURES, 1 KILLDEER, 6 MOURNING DOVES, 1 SONG SPARROW, 3 TREE SWALLOWS, 2 BARN SWALLOWS, and 2 AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES. We failed in our attempts to lure in either a VIRGINIA RAIL or a SORA. Also seen were fresh holes from a PILEATED WOODPECKER although the bird was not seen, and strangest of all, half of a barnyard chicken on one of the trails, perhaps dragged there by a fox. Neither was entered on the day’s list! Of course, Breakfast at Baileys was another high point – the 2nd breakfast for me! At Memorial Park along the Moira River in Belleville today, 3 HOODED MERGANSERS, 35 RING-BILLED GULLS, and one each of CASPIAN TERN and BELTED KINGFISHER. Other sightings of interest to come into were a juvenile NORTHERN HARRIER at Marmora, CHIMNEY SWIFT and GRAY CATBIRD  at Foxboro, CLAY-COLORED SPARROW yesterday in the area of the Foxboro Public School, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK and RED-EYED VIREO at Potter’s Creek Conservation Area in Quinte West.

Sunday, July 17: We open the Quinte Area Bird Report this evening with a visit to the H.R. Frink Centre, 9 km north of Belleville where a birder there had a good day, chalking up 39 species of birds. Topping the list was a LEAST BITTERN that was seen twice as it flew low over the cattails. Eleven VIRGINIA RAILS  were also seen – 5 adults and 6 adult-sized juveniles. The shorebird migration not much in evidence there yet either with only a passing Yellowlegs overhead, likely a LESSER. Other good birds were 8 WOOD DUCKS, 1 BLUE-WINGED TEAL, 6 HOODED MERGANSERS, 1 WILD TURKEY, 2 each of BELTED KINGFISHER and YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, a WILLOW FLYCATCHER, GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, 2 EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES, 3 MARSH WRENS, a WOOD THRUSH. The sparrow family was represented by 5 CHIPPING, 1 FIELD, 10 SONG, 12 SWAMP SPARROWS, and an EASTERN TOWHEE. Along Airport Parkway on the east side of Belleville, a BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO along with a single VESPER SPARROW and an INDIGO BUNTING. Near Gosport today, across from Presqu’ile Park, an impressive 60 species tallied there included some interesting finds – TRUMPETER SWAN, COMMON LOON, 6 PIED-BILLED GREBE, 3 GREEN HERONS, AMERICAN WOODCOCK, and 2 RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS. A loud, drawn out cackling song revealed itself as a YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO, the southern edition of our more familiar BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO which seems to be getting more commonly seen now every year. The old July standby, the RED-EYED VIREO which sings nonstop through the hot, sultry days of July was represented by 20 individuals. Also seen were 2 WOOD THRUSHES, 3 VEERYS, a BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER, 8 MARSH WRENS, 25 SWAMP SPARROWS, 10 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, 4 ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS and an INDIGO BUNTING. The 36 BOBOLINKS included an agitated female which suggested a late nesting, as well as a party of 28 near the midpoint of a field. This group contained some moulting males, a few adult "female" and many juv/female types. While some could be migrants, this may represent the local breeding population pre migration. On upper Victoria Road in Ameliasburgh today, seen were 3 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, a FIELD SPARROW, 1 BROWN THRASHER, 2 GRAY CATBIRDS, a RED-EYED VIREO and 6 EASTERN KINGBIRDS. Nearby, a PILEATED WOODPECKER, 2 NORTHERN FLICKERS, and 4 AMERICAN KESTRELS were noted on Snider Road. West of Belleville today, 22 species were tallied at the Potter’s Creek Conservation Area (formerly Quinte C.A.), among them a CASPIAN TERN, 2 BELTED KINGFISHERS, RED-EYED VIREO, and two each of  HOUSE WREN, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK and CEDAR WAXWING. Miscellaneous sightings across the reading area today included a juvenile GREEN HERON at Beaver Meadow Conservation Area at East Lake, BELTED KINGFISHER at the Henry Leavens Conservation Area in Bloomfield, AMERICAN KESTREL just east of the Hamilton Wetland near Demorestville, and a cluster of 8 COMMON LOONS on Picton Bay along Glenora Road.  I think the claim that few birds are ever seen in July is nothing but a myth.  Another COMMON LOON was heard calling off Robinson Cove at Big Island today, and seen were several WILD TURKEYS at the boat launch, GRAY CATBIRD, CANADA GEESE, DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT and OSPREY.

Saturday, July 16: Interestingly, not much birding in the Bay of Quinte and surrounding areas today. In lieu of local reports, we have this story that comes from Peter Sporring of Belleville, who tells of a pair of COMMON RAVENS that nested on their cabin property this spring, just off Crookston Road, south of Madoc. For the last five years, he and his wife, Pam, have had a pair of ravens nesting in a 50-foot Red Pine about a hundred feet south of their cabin. However, they never seemed to be there when the chicks fledged. This spring, their timing was perfect, arriving one day to their cabin just as the three fledglings left the nest. During the first two days, the fledged ravens spent their entire time on the ground, walking and hopping all through the surrounding pines and right up to the cabin doors and windows. They didn't seem to be the least concerned when Peter approached them as close as eight feet to talk to them and take a few photos. The first two nights they roosted on a fallen Red Pine that had hung up at a 45 degree angle, just walking up it like three little mountain climbers. Day three was flight instruction from the parents and to much commotion just launched themselves from their perch and that was it. For several days, they kept up their antics, even occasionally dive bombing the cabin!  The accompanying photo by Peter Sporring is of one of the young ravens, seemingly contemplating how to entertain itself next. Not much happening today at Wilton Creek at Morven. Certainly no shorebirds except for 10 KILLDEER. Present though were 2 BELTED KINGFISHERS, EASTERN PHOEBE, HOUSE WREN, and a CHIPPING SPARROW.

Friday, July 15:  Now that the nesting season is over for many of the local birds, populations are beginning to increase these days due to the abundance of fledglings now joining the adults. This morning’s walk along the Sprague/Monkman Trail west of our house on Big Island revealed an astounding number of SAVANNAH SPARROWS – at least 20-30 – many of which were young of the year. Not to be outdone were juvenile BOBOLINKS  out for a spin over the now harvested hay fields. The hay harvest was delayed until July 10th to allow the ground nesting birds time to fledge. Also, this morning for the second ay, a WILD TURKEY with about a half dozen young toddling along behind crossed the path. The young looked far too small to be able to fly but they soon showed me as they gained altitude with no apparent difficulty and disappeared into a field of Red Cedars. It’s a good time of the year. Fledglings were also the order of the day at Presqu’ile Park where the stars of the show, the PIPING PLOVERS – an adult male with three chicks - were once again seen. The previously noted limping chick looks much better and all three ventured today to the water’s edge. Two LEAST SANDPIPERS, 6 KILLDEER and  a SPOTTED SANDPIPER  were also present today. Other good birds present today at the Park were WHITE-THROATED SPARROW, GRAY CATBIRD, 4 COMMON TERNS, and 7 GREAT EGRETS. Along the parkway going toward the Park, BELTED KINGFISHER, WARBLING VIREO, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, and 2 SWAMP SPARROWS  were birds of note. Other  miscellaneous sightings today included RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD  along Airport Parkway near Belleville, a COMMON MERGANSER on Howe’s Lake in Verona, 6 ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS in a Black Road backyard near Demorestville, an UPLAND SANDPIPER along Babylon Road near Prince Edward Point, a  LESSER SCAUP at Whitby’s  Cranberry Marsh, and a VIRGINIA RAIL north of Odessa. Slow day. 

Thursday, July 14: The shorebirds – they are a-comin’, albeit slowly. Whitby’s Cranberry Marsh today had six species – WILSON’S SNIPE, KILLDEER, 10 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, 8 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, 3 LEAST SANDPIPERS, and hanging out with the snipe was a SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER. The shorebird migration hasn’t really picked up any steam just yet, but perhaps it’s because I am over anxious. Although there have been isolated reports of GREATER YELLOWLEGS (1 at Demorestville’s Hamilton Wetland recently), BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER and SOLITARY SANDPIPER (Presqu’ile last week), we are still waiting for SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS, SANDERLING, WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER, PECTORAL and BAIRD’S SANDPIPER, all of which should have shown up by now. Juveniles of LESSER YELLOWLEGS, SOLITARY SANDPIPER, and LEAST SANDPIPERS are due to start showing up in another week or two, so brush up on their plumages as they will be arriving soon to join the adults on their favourite beaches. Birders visiting Walmart in Belleville are more apt to be seen at the back of the store checking out the Moira River than in the store itself. Seen today at that location were 150 RING-BILLED GULLS, a GREAT BLUE HERON, 4 KILLDEER and an EASTERN PHOEBE. However the attraction of birding is always the thrill of the unexpected and this location was no exception today. A passing PEREGRINE FALCON took note of all the RING-BILLED GULLS, subsequently swooping down into an explosion of gulls. The PEREGRINE FALCON was last seen heading in the general direction of Presqu’ile Provincial Park. Speaking of which (this is known as a segway!), Fred Helleiner’s Presqu’ile Park Bird Report for this week has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be found by CLICKING HERE. On a sad note, around 1:00 p.m. today,  someone driving east towards Prinyers Cove in Prince Edward County, ran over a very large SNAPPING TURTLE in the middle of County Road 7 at Cressy. So unnecessary. By the size of the turtle and the damage done we can only assume it was a truck. It was pretty well flattened. We can also safely assume, since SNAPPING TURTLES rarely dart into traffic, that this was deliberate action on the part of the driver.

Wednesday, July 13: An OSPREY, sighted recently near the Lennox Generating Station, has a length of monofilament fishing line trailing from its beak which underscores the importance of disposing of this threat properly in a garbage receptacle. Birds that live on or near the water regularly ingest this material, or become hopelessly entangled in it when they encounter it in the water.  Thirteen species this morning at Belleville’s Memorial Park with 6 HOODED MERGANSERS, GREAT BLUE HERON, BELTED KINGFISHER and  3 OSPREYS being the more noteworthy. I spent an hour birding at Prince Edward Point this morning with few species except for EASTERN TOWHEE, BELTED KINGFISHER, YELLOW WARBLER, NORTHERN FLICKER, HOUSE WREN and FIELD SPARROW which constituted the more memorable sightings. At Sandbanks, large flocks of TURKEY VULTURES  were seen flying over. At Glenora, a GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER  showed up in a backyard, and on Big Island, west of Sprague Road, both ALDER and WILLOW FLYCATCHERS were singing. Brave little souls in this heat. Only five species of shorebirds today at the Oshawa Second Marsh – LEAST SANDPIPERS, LESSER YELLOWLEGS, SOLITARY and SPOTTED SANDPIPERS and, of course, KILLDEERS. More are on their way though as we creep into mid-July. An hour spent by a Kingston birder at the Moscow Marsh at 8:00 a.m. this morning may have produced only 16 species, but all of them were good finds – GREAT BLUE HERON, 3 BLACK TERNS, EASTERN KINGBIRD, WARBLING VIREO, 2 MARSH WRENS, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT and CEDAR WAXWING, just to name a handful of those observed. The best sighting was a LEAST BITTERN as the birder first entered the marsh.

Tuesday, July 12: Some pretty darn fast birding at Presqu’ile Park today. An eBird entry today states that a party of three did as many miles in 2 minutes, coming up with a total of 51 species! Not bad work in this heat. Obviously a typo, probably corrected to two hours rather than two minutes with visits to Owen Point, Jobes’ Woods Trail and the lighthouse area. Fifty CASPIAN TERNS  were tallied, 8 COMMON TERNS, 3 WILLOW FLYCATCHERS, an estimated 30 RED-EYED VIREOS (one of few species that can tolerate this heat and continue to vocalize), 6 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, 10 YELLOW WARBLERS, and an INDIGO BUNTING. Of course, also on the list was the now famous family of PIPING PLOVERS – two adults and three young. An update from Sunday’s report that one of the chicks had an injured leg that was giving it problems. One of the volunteers with the Piping Plover Guardian Program said that the chick now is using both legs, and while it still has a hobble, it was keeping up with the speed of the other two chicks and seems to be feeding fine. Another party, spending close to five hours in the park early this morning found 50 species, among them 4 REDHEADS, 4 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, and a real surprise – a male LONG-TAILED DUCK in heavy body moult near Owen Point. Funny – it didn’t feel like winter today. Four BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS (1 adult with 3 barely fledged young) were seen, as was a BROAD-WINGED HAWK, 11 WILLOW FLYCATCHERS, 12 RED-EYED VIREOS, a WINTER WREN and 6,000 RING-BILLED GULLS. West of Port Hope today seemed like a good spot to bird if you were seeking KILLDEER – there were 59 of them! Also seen was an adult HORNED LARK feeding a juvenile in the furrows of an agricultural field. SAVANNAH SPARROW, EASTERN KINGBIRD, WILLOW FLYCATCHER, and BLUE JAY were also seen – one of each.  Among the dozen species seen today along the Moira River south of 401 to Highway 2, in Belleville, were 130 CANADA GEESE, 25 MALLARDS, 7 HOODED MERGANSERS, 1 GREAT BLUE HERON, 4 OSPREY, a RED-TAILED HAWK, 11 KILLDEER, 7 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, 170 RING-BILLED GULLS, 1 HERRING GULL, 4 CHIMNEY SWIFTS, and 2 BELTED KINGFISHERS. Bird baths and water gardens are popular spots today in backyards as birds desperately seek out any water sources. One West Lake resident had some fun with a garden hose misting some flowers at the back where the birds are routinely feed. A dozen BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES suddenly showed up for a free shower, and they  loved it according to the resident.  Not to be outdone, a RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH and a CHIPPING SPARROW joined in !  They were pretty well soaked when done.  No birding today in Prince Edward County, although a rather unusual sighting was reported today. On the outskirts of Picton, a BOHEMIAN WAXWING  was sighted, not something we are accustomed to seeing in these parts in mid-summer. Shorebirds continue to turn up, signalling the start of the fall shorebird migration for the adults. At Oshawa Second Marsh today, present were 1 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, 19 KILLDEER, 1 SOLITARY SANDPIPER, 2 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, 9 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, and 25 LEAST SANDPIPERS

Monday, July 11: It was a "VEERY" successful bird outing this morning along a section of the Trail of Two Lakes, at Ivanhoe. In fact, at one point it was almost as if the VEERY was having a convention of sorts as the species almost surrounded us with both call notes and song. Twelve of them in total. Present also along the trail was a WOOD THRUSH. The trail follows a section of Rawdon Creek which provided a nice variety of wetland birds for the half dozen or so Quinte Birders, including VIRGINIA RAIL, WOOD DUCKS, MARSH WREN and 15 SWAMP SPARROW. The 37 species we found during our 2-hour walk also included 2 GRAY CATBIRDS, 1 BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO, PILEATED WOODPECKER, 2 NORTHERN FLICKERS,  2 YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS, 2 BELTED KINGFISHERS, and one RED-TAILED HAWK. Lots of flycatchers on this walk – 4 ALDER FLYCATCHERS, 2 EASTERN PHOEBES, and 9 EASTERN KINGBIRDS. One of the more prolific areas for July birds than what I have visited in quite a few years. However, the morning wasn’t just about birds. A GREEN FROG that spent several minutes staring us down confirmed his identify with his diagnostic banjo stroke, several EBONY JEWELWING DAMSELFLIES  accompanied us along, but the high point was a young BLACK BEAR that nonchalantly crossed the trail in front of us. The sighting was made as we were chomping down chocolate chip cookies and I was consuming a peanut butter sandwich!  At the Tweed Sewage Lagoons today, a Belleville area birder found 13 WOOD DUCKS, 2 AMERICAN WIGEON, 50 MALLARDS, and 14 HOODED MERGANSERS (4 adults + 10 young). Also seen, two TURKEY VULTURES,  a WARBLING VIREO and 5 BARN SWALLOWS.  In the Napanee Limestone Plain area, four locations in this area had 11 LOGGERHEAD SHRIKES. Thirty minutes spent on Potter Settlement Road, north of Tweed, by a Belleville area birder resulted in two BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLERS being seen.  Other good birds discovered along this road were OVENBIRD, RED-EYED VIREO, 3 YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS, 2 PINE WARBLERS and a BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER. Other species of interest in the area to be reported today include a GREAT HORNED OWL, seen yesterday. Also yesterday, a LEAST BITTERN was photographed in a pond along Haig Road in Belleville. Our attention now should shift towards shorebirds as the migration of adults gets underway this month. A few like LESSER and 2 OR 3 GREATER YELLOWLEGS, SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER and SOLITARY SANDPIPER have already shown up. To give you an idea of what might be on its way, here are some totals from St. Isadore near Ottawa where 14 species were noted yesterday at the lagoon and other key locations in that area – an early RED-NECKED PHALAROPE, 19 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS, 170 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, 450 LEAST SANDPIPERS. Polish those binoculars!

Sunday, July 10: ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, YELLOW WARBLER, GRAY CATBIRD, WARBLING VIREOS and NORTHERN FLICKERS  were just a few of the birds of note seen mid-morning at the Presqu’ile Park lighthouse area, while the Marsh Boardwalk produced a dozen MARSH WRENS, 8 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, and BELTED KINGFISHER as its highlights. On Presqu’ile Beach, the highlight there, of course, was the family of PIPING PLOVERS – the first nesting of this rare species in a century. Two adults and three chicks. Sadly,one of the young is clearly still suffering a leg injury after banding a few days ago. It is holding the leg with the metal band up and it appears to be dangling from below the ankle. It is hopping and feeding and otherwise looks fine but it never once put the injured leg to ground. No other fall migrating shorebirds noted today except for a few KILLDEER and SPOTTED SANDPIPERS. Other good Presqu’ile sightings today included 1 PURPLE FINCH, 3 BALTIMORE ORIOLES, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, a WILLOW FLYCATCHER,  35 CASPIAN TERNS and 5,000 RING-BILLED GULLS. Along the Parkway at the causeway, a NORTHERN HARRIER making attempts at blackbirds. Otherwise, birding was a bit thin today, so I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their positive comments about this daily blog. In an era of eBird, it is quite remarkable that it has received over 17,000 hits since January of this year. I have always believed that the blog filled a need – a need for something light and informal about the great birding opportunities that we have in our region. Without revealing too many trade secrets, many of the sightings each night are taken from eBird entries, then re-worked into a sort of story form to make them more readable than the running lists that appear on eBird. A good share of the sightings, too, come from readers who submit their sightings which I always welcome. Many of the photos I run each night are current photos that support the some of the sightings mentioned, while others are from a directory of over 3,200 bird photos that I have on file.The Bird Report started as a Weekly Bird Report some 15 years ago, then merged into a Daily Report only about five years ago. The Quinte Area Bird Report has certainly gained in popularity in those years, but not as much as eBird, which across Canada has been nothing short of phenomenal, particularly over the past few years as a critical mass of eBirders have joined in. This is true nowhere more than in Ontario where the first eleven years saw about 250,000 eBird checklist submissions followed by another 750,000 since the start of 2013.

Saturday, July 09: We found mud today......and puddles, huge ones, along Card Road leading to the Camden Lake Provincial Wildlife Area, west of Moscow. Interesting day with spectacular, towering cumulonimbus clouds, and green grass everywhere.  At Camden Lake, heard and seen were COMMON LOON, BLACK TERNS, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT and SWAMP SPARROW. At Tamworth, what was presumed to be young NORTHERN FLICKERS being fed were heard, although we couldn’t spot them in the thick foliage. A CHIMNEY SWIFT was also seen circling above the River Bakery. A COMMON GALLINULE  was seen in small wetland south of Tamworth along County Road 4. At least two AMERICAN KESTRELS were seen along our route. For more of a business trip than a birding trip, we did okay, returning to the crisp brown of Prince Edward County by 3:00 p.m. This afternoon, an adult BALD EAGLE was seen gliding down the south shore of South Bay. On Doxsee Road today (west of Demorestville), GREAT BLUE HERON, EASTERN KINGBIRD, GRASSHOPPER SPARROW, BOBOLINK and 3 EASTERN KINGBIRDS. At Bellrock, near Yarker, 8 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, 1 EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE and an AMERICAN REDSTART were tallied by one birder today, while along Airport Parkway on the east side of Belleville, VESPER SPARROW, 2 INDIGO BUNTINGS, and both ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK and BALTIMORE ORIOLE  feeding young. Thirty-two species were tallied along the Napanee Limestone Plain IBA, among the more noteworthy species being 2 AMERICAN KESTREL, 4 LOGGERHEAD SHRIKES, 1 WARBLING VIREO, 3 RED-EYED VIREOS, 1 GRASSHOPPER SPARROW, 2 CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS, and 2 WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS being counted there. A dog walker along Snider Road in Ameliasburgh checked off 27 species on his morning walk at 6:30 a.m., noting 1 ALDER FLYCATCHER, 9 EASTERN KINGBIRDS, BROWN THRASHER and 3 FIELD SPARROWS. On Hinch Road at Rattie Road, North of Napanee, yesterday, two LOGGERHEAD SHRIKES were seen, while other birds seen included WILSON’S SNIPE and EASTERN MEADOWLARKS. An astounding 11 LOGGERHEAD SHRIKES were counted today in the same general area at four locations. All were known breeding sites.The AMERICAN AVOCET was still present at the Oshawa Second Marsh today. Early this morning on the Sprague/Monkman Trail along Sprague Road, Big Island, it was a sparrow morning with SAVANNAH, GRASSHOPPER, VESPER, CLAY-COLORED, CHIPPING, SONG and WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS vocalizing. And, finally, Big Island was in the direct line of a band of rain clouds coming down from the Huntsville area this evening. Five millimetres isn’t a lot, but it’s more than we have had since May. The petrichor (the rich, earthy smell) from rain is so intoxicating.  The smell is derived from an oil exuded by certain plants during dry periods, whereupon it is absorbed by clay-based soils and rocks. During rain, the oil is released into the air along with another compound, something called geosmin, a metabolic by-product of certain Actinobacteria, which is emitted by wet soil, producing the distinctive scent. A bit of trivia for you tonight !  

Friday, July 08: Eight hours of birding on Amherst Island today, commencing at 7:00 a.m. yielded 73 species for one Belleville area birder. A few exceptional sightings on the list, among them seven shorebird species,  four of which are known to breed on the island – WILSON’S PHALAROPE, SPOTTED SANDPIPER, KILLDEER and WILSON’S SNIPE. The remaining three species represented fall migrants – SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, and both GREATER and LESSER YELLOWLEGS. The 250 TREE SWALLOWS and 35 BARN SWALLOWS  were impressive numbers given how both species have declined dramatically in numbers in the last decade. A NORTHERN PARULA was more than likely a very early south bound migrant, although there are some scattered summer sightings in and around the Kingston and Bay of Quinte areas. Likewise with the single COMMON GOLDENEYE  that was also seen there today. A GRASSHOPPER SPARROW, 2 CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS, 2 ORCHARD ORIOLES, 12 EASTERN KINGBIRDS, a WILLOW FLYCATCHER, 1 LEAST FLYCATCHER, a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER and 2 COMMON LOONS also made it on the long list of sightings. Five shorebird species were noted at Wilton Creek at Morven, east of Napanee – 25 KILLDEER, 6 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, a SOLITARY SANDPIPER, 6 LESSER YELLOWLEGS and a WILSON’S SNIPE. So, it would seem that the shorebird migration appears to be on once again after a brief respite from the spring migration, this time, heading south. BELTED KINGFISHER, HOUSE WREN, YELLOW WARBLER, and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT were all seen along the Presqu’ile Parkway at Brighton. Both a YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER and a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER were reported at feeders along Victoria Road toward the west side of Prince Edward County. Four ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS  appeared in a Black Road backyard, west of Demorestville. Ten GREAT EGRETS were counted on High Bluff Island at Presqu’ile Park, while 20 showed up today at the Hamilton Wetland west of Demorestville.

Thursday, July 07: About a dozen members of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists braved the heat this morning and toured the 2.3 km Sprague/Monkman Trail west of Sprague Road on Big Island (private trail). Efforts are underway to protect and enhance some 50 acres of grassland habitat to benefit a number of grassland birds that nest here. Hay harvest with the exception of two fields (one shown here) is being delayed until July 10th as the birds are earlier nesting this year due to the sever drought. Birds cooperating for us this morning were BOBOLINK, EASTERN MEADOWLARK, SAVANNAH SPARROWS, GRASSHOPPER SPARROW, FIELD SPARROW, WHITE-THROATED SPARROW, SONG SPARROW, VESPER SPARROW and CLAY-COLORED SPARROW. Also seen and heard were EASTERN TOWHEE, TURKEY VULTURE, RED-TAILED HAWK. HOUSE WREN, YELLOW WARBLER. From the Big Island Marsh, SWAMP SPARROWS and COMMON YELLOWTHROATS  were heard calling.  During the absolute hottest time of the day, one birder managed to get a list of 26 species at the Camden Lake Provincial Wildlife Area north of Camden East yesterday. Among the species seen were 9 COMMON LOONS, 2 PIED-BILLED GREBES, 1 BALD EAGLE, 16 BLACK TERNS, 2 WILLOW FLYCATCHERS (heard), 3 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, BELTED KINGFISHER and 2 GREAT BLUE HERONS.  Eight BLACK TERNS  were at the Moscow Marsh. A NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD yesterday was tracked down at the corner of Nugent Road and County Road 27 when a birder followed the song of a CAROLINA WREN which mockingbirds seem to like imitating.  While being observed the bird also imitated an EASTERN PHOEBE, AMERICAN CROW and a BLUE JAY. Two AMERICAN KESTRELS and 3 LOGGERHEAD SHRIKES  were also seen in the area. In the Depot Lakes area several SEDGE WRENS were clearly heard singing, a species we don’t always get to see from year to year. Along Second Depot Lake Road the following species were tallied yesterday: 15 BOBOLINKS, 1 MERLIN, 1 BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO, 2 each of RED-TAILED and COOPER’S HAWK and five NORTHERN HARRIERS, 2 GRAY CATBIRDS and a BROWN THRASHER, just to name a few of the noteworthy sightings. It always warms the heart when you see farmers cooperating when it comes to nesting birds in hay fields, as evidenced with the efforts on Big Island with delaying the cutting of the hay to benefit nesting BOBOLINKS and EASTERN MEADOWLARKS. On Second Depot Lake Road, the farmer there had left a few spots uncut in his hay field to benefit a family of young  WILD TURKEYS and a NORTHERN HARRIER NEST containing three young.  In the Ottawa area, migrating shorebirds seen today were SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, LEAST SANDPIPERS and LESSER YELLOWLEGS, so the southward shorebird migration is underway. A SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER was seen three days ago at Presqu’ile Park. Other species of interest today were a BALD EAGLE north of Callaghan’s Rapids, 2 WARBLING VIREOS and a HOUSE WREN on Airport Parkway east of Belleville, and a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER  at Frontenac Park. Fred Helleiner’s Presqu’ile Park Bird Report for this past week has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be found by CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, July 06:  Despite the oppressive heat today that started by 8:00 a.m., one Brighton birder managed to beat much of the heat by birding the park early in the day. Forty-seven species were tallied, among them 3,000 RING-BILLED GULLS on the beach, mainly juveniles. The two adult PIPING PLOVERS and their three fledglings are doing well and today the adults were seen chasing off approaching KILLDEERS. SINGING incessantly as they always do during the heat of July, were 10 RED-EYED VIREOS. The HOODED WARBLER was once again present on the Jobes’ Woods Trail, about 100 metres west of the meadow and near the pine blow down and buckthorn area. Also noted today at the Park were PURPLE FINCH, SCARLET TANAGER, 2 WINTER WRENS, and a YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER. Some good stuff at Belleville’s Memorial Park – actually 29 species in total. Among the species that made themselves known were BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON, 2 WOOD DUCKS, VIRGINIA RAIL, YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, 5 MARSH WRENS, 2 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS and an AMERICAN REDSTART. At Highway 2 and Herchimer Avenue, noted were 3 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS and a NORTHERN CARDINAL, and another NORTHERN CARDINAL was seen along Casey Road east of Corbyville.  Lynde Shores Conservation Area at Whitby was the place to be today, but certainly before the heat came on. At 6:00 a.m. this morning, 48 species were present. Among some of the more noteworthy finds were 60 WOOD DUCKS, 1 BLUE-WINGED TEAL, 1 GREEN-WINGED TEAL, a single LESSER SCAUP, 3 BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS, 6 VIRGINIA RAILS, a SORA, 8 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, 1 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER (told you they were coming soon ! ), and a WILSON’S SNIPE.

Tuesday, July 05: It’s not every day one gets to see a WHITE-WINGED SCOTER in local waters during July. In fact this is the second only July record for the County, the other, a female, seen on July 22nd in 2014. We have a couple June records in Prince Edward County and, of course, numerous records for August as that is when this species typically begins to reappear on migration from its northern breeding grounds. A male was seen today at the False Ducks (Swetman Island) yesterday. The bird was seen on the north shore of the island. Also present on the island was a BALD EAGLE. At the north Foxboro Marsh today, 22 species found there included a LEAST BITTERN that flew right over the observer's head, 5 WOOD DUCKS, 2 GREEN HERONS, a COMMON GALLINULE, 2 BLACK TERNS and one each of GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, MARSH WREN, GRAY CATBIRD, and YELLOW WARBLER. Opposite the Foxboro School, a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was heard calling.  Forty-five species were checked off bright and early this morning at the Sheffield Conservation Area, south of Kaladar. A male PRAIRIE WARBLER was the highlight although the species is known to breed in the area. A high concentration of FIELD SPARROWS – 12 of them – were all along the north shore of the lakes. Other birds seen were 5 SCARLET TANAGERS, 12 EASTERN TOWHEES, PINE WARBLER, 4 CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLERS, AMERICAN REDSTART, 10 BROWN THRASHERS, 2 GRAY CATBIRDS, 17 RED-EYED VIREOS, 2 YELLOW-THROATED VIREOS, 1 YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, 2 COMMON LOONS and a WOOD DUCK. Who says you can’t find any birds in July? A birding group, meeting at the Hamilton Wetland at 6:00 p.m. this evening, along County Road 14, west of Demorestville, resulted in a number of interesting species. Six GREAT EGRETS  were getting ready to settle in for the night, and also present along the edge of the pasture was a couple of SANDHILL CRANES who remained loafing in the same spot despite 20 of us peering at them through spotting scopes, cameras and binoculars, only a few metres away.  MALLARDS, WOOD DUCKS and GREEN-WINGED TEAL were present as well as a plethora of KILLDEERS and 15 – 20 GREATER and LESSER YELLOWLEGS. An AMERICAN BITTERN, GREAT BLUE HERONS, SWAMP SPARROWS, MARSH WREN, EASTERN MEADOWLARK, NORTHERN CARDINAL, EASTERN KINGBIRD, and AMERICAN GOLDFINCH were other species either seen or heard. An adult breeding plumaged AMERICAN AVOCET was at the Oshawa Second Marsh yesterday and was present again this morning at 9:30 a.m. It was flushed by an unidentified by raptor and flew down toward the southwest corner where it was relocated 15 minutes later at 9:45 a.m.. The bird can be seen from the opening at the SW corner of the marsh near the pumphouse or from the platform with a scope. Other miscellaneous sightings around the Quinte area included a VIRGINIA RAIL at Airport Creek Marsh in Tyendinaga, and a NORTHERN HARRIER at Big Island. And, the Amherst Island WORM-EATING WARBLER was seen again today at 3:30 p.m.

Monday, July 04: Bird of the day today was a WORM-EATING WARBLER on Amherst Island. I generally don’t post specific directions to rare birds in this Bird Report, but if anyone is serious about trying for this warbler, feel free to e-mail me and I will gladly send the directions to you on an individual basis. Other birds of interest seen today on Amherst Island (69 species – wow!), included 2 BLACK-BILLED CUCKOOS, 1 WILLOW FLYCATCHER, 10 HOUSE WRENS (includes young), 2 VEERY, 1 WOOD THRUSH, 20 CEDAR WAXWINGS, 2 BROWN THRASHER, 1 OVENBIRD, 5 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, 1 CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, 1 GRASSHOPPER SPARROW, 1 INDIGO BUNTING, and 12 YELLOW WARBLERS. A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL continues at the El Dorado Pier in Port Hope. East of there, at Cobourg Harbour, birds of interest there today were a GADWALL, 25 CASPIAN TERNS, 6 COMMON TERNS, and 3 BELTED KINGFISHERS. Don’t often hear of sightings from Depot Lakes Conservation Area, northwest of Verona. Today along the south side of 2nd Depot Lake, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, 2 PINE WARBLERS, CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, 3 VEERY and a GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER  were among the 22 species sighted. Two YELLOW-THROATED VIREOS were seen just south of the conservation area. Eleven GREAT EGRETS and a GREEN-WINGED TEAL  were present last evening at the Hamilton Wetland, west of Demorestville, along County Road 14.  As predicted in last evening’s report, the first of southward bound shorebirds have started to appear. The first reported SOLITARY SANDPIPER showed up today at Wilton Creek, near Morven, along with 4 LESSER YELLOWLEGS. Seven SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, likely local breeders, were also seen on the creek, and 35 KILLDEER. Also seen, BELTED KINGFISHER, 20 BARN SWALLOWS, and a SAVANNAH SPARROW.

Sunday, July 03: Birder/photographer Bonnie Bailey of Camden East says, “I am probably the only crazy person who goes kayaking in Moscow Marsh.” I don’t know – given that two LEAST BITTERNS turned up during her paddle along with 20 other species, I would be inclined to respond that crazy was the person who didn’t join her today! Her impressive list from the cockpit of her kayak included 3 GREAT BLUE HERONS, 6 COMMON GALLINULES, a PIED-BILLED GREBE, 6 BLACK TERNS, an incredible 22 MARSH WRENS (a known breeding area for this species), 12 SWAMP SPARROWS, a WOOD DUCK, 8 EASTERN KINGBIRDS, 3 GRAY CATBIRDS, a BROWN THRASHER and 4 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, just to name a few of the highlights. The RED-EYED VIREO is one species that reminds us that birds are still about during the hot, sultry days of July with its non-stop interrogations. At Presqu’ile Park today, 12 were noted by one birder who also found 3 WINTER WRENS and a GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHERS. Fewer RED-EYED VIREOS, only 5, along Jobes’ Woods Trail, but still a good number in as much as the trail is only a kilometre or so in length. EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE was also heard calling there. The appearance of three LESSER YELLOWLEGS at Whitby’s Cranberry Marsh today is a succinct reminder that the fall migration – at least, for shorebirds – is underway. SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS, SOLITARY SANDPIPERS and GREATER YELLOWLEGS (reported earlier) will be arriving soon, followed by BLACK-BELLIED and SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, WHITE-RUMPED and PECTORAL SANDPIPERS, and a host of others by mid-July. These will be the adults; the juveniles of these species arrive primarily in August and September. Cranberry Marsh, Whitby,  is certainly THE place to go these days as 40+ WOOD DUCKS  were present along with several BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS, MARSH WRENS, AMERICAN COOT and 4 VIRGINIA RAILS. On the east side of Belleville, Atkins Road produced a few good sightings including 5 INDIGO BUNTINGS, a NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW and 5 VESPER SPARROWS. The five VESPER SPARROWS  were encouraging given that one was singing yesterday west of Sprague Road on Big Island, and which was still singing enthusiastically this morning.  Miscellaneous sightings today included a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK south of Carrying Place, a BALD EAGLE  at South Bay, NORTHERN HARRIER on Doxsee Road (another near Cherry Valley yesterday), YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER  at Sandbanks Provincial Park, a GREEN HERON on Varty Lake, and 2 ORCHARD ORIOLES at Kingston’s Lemoine Point Conservation Area. And, finally – this little oddity. An albino CHICKORY growing on the shore of Muscote Bay at Big Island. We think of albinism as occurring only in birds and mammals, but it is fairly common in plants too. A radio announcer from a Belleville radio station once showed me an albino VIPER’S BUGLOSS that he had found at Harry Smith Conservation Area in Ameliasburgh, and I have found albinos in this common species since. In plants, albinism is characterized by partial or complete loss of chlorophyll pigments and incomplete differentiation of chloroplast membranes. Always learning new things in Nature!

Saturday, July 02: As of 7:30 am this morning, a continuing Hooded Warbler was singing loudly just after Post 5 on the Jobes Woods Trail in Presqu'ile Provincial Park.  The observer was able to 'pish' it in closer and see it for a brief moment. Birds seen today along the Trail of Two Lakes, south of Ivanhoe, included VIRGINIA RAIL, BELTED KINGFISHER, ALDER FLYCATCHER, MARSH WREN, VEERY, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT and GRAY CATBIRD. Near there, in the area of McCumber Road and Slab Street, 31 species were tallied, among them WOOD DUCK, COMMON LOON, 3 VEERY, OVENBIRD, 6 COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, 10 SWAMP SPARROWS, SCARLET TANAGER, and ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK. Among the 34 species of birds at Cobourg Harbour today, was the long standing (sometimes flying!) ARCTIC TERN, along with a few other good birds including an estimated 200 MALLARDS, 50 RING-BILLED GULLS, 24 CASPIAN TERNS, 4 COMMON TERNS, 2 BELTED KINGFISHERS, 2 DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS, a RED-BREASTED MERGANSER, 1 OSPREY, 2 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, 2 KILLDEER and hunting over the water were 4 NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS, 2 TREE SWALLOWS, 12 BANK SWALLOWS, and four BARN SWALLOWS. It was a happening place today, no doubt about that. Some interesting birds along the Sprague/Monkman Trail west of our house on Big Island. BOBOLINKS today were very active with about 20 birds seen flocking together. EASTERN MEADOWLARKS and SAVANNAH SPARROWS are common, and today, a GRASSHOPPER SPARROW and a VESPER SPARROW  were singing enthusiastically, as well as WHITE-THROATED SPARROW and both ALDER and WILLOW FLYCATCHERs. The VESPER SPRROW was a very common breeding bird on our farm in the 1960s, but none has shown up since the farm was sold in 1976 and much of it allowed to return to nature. However, the half dozen fields that have been cut for hay in past years where the trail passes through, seems like suitable habitat VESPER SPARROWS and it was a real treat to see that this species may be returning. This is the same field in which an endangered HENSLOW’S SPARROW showed up in 1976 and which attracted over 50 birders. I maintain the 2.5 km trail for the new owner in exchange for my use of it and we are currently working together to enhance these fields for grassland birds. Miscellaneous sightings today included three ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS  in a backyard along Black Road, west of Demorestville, and 3 BALTIMORE ORIOLES seen feasting on grape jelly at the same location.

Friday, July 01: Starting locally, the Hamilton Wetland, west of Demorestville, was hopping at 6:00 a.m. with not only birds singing, but also AMERICAN BULLFROGS. At least 20 GREAT EGRETS were present, as were AMERICAN BITTERN, a family of PIED-BILLED GREBES, a family of GREAT BLUE HERONS, and a few WOOD DUCKS. West of there, at Presqu’ile Provincial Park, early this afternoon, a birder at Presqu’ile Park’s Calf Pasture found YELLOW WARBLER, GREAT BLUE HERON, BELTED KINGFISHER and CASPIAN TERN. Over in the beach area of the Park, the 2 PIPING PLOVERS and their 3 chicks were still running about. Thirty-nine species of birds were tallied at South Bay, a good total for this time of year. Among them were GREEN HERON, 2 BALD EAGLES (1 immature and 1 adult), 3 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, a PIED-BILLED GREBE, BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO, 5 WARBLING VIREOS, 2 RED-EYED VIREOS, and 2 BALTIMORE ORIOLES. This morning at the Menzel Centennial Provincial Nature Reserve, 32 species were tallied by one Belleville birder. Among the noteworthy finds were 3 YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS 4 RED-EYED VIREOS, 3 VEERY, 1 WOOD THRUSH,  9 EASTERN TOWHEES, 1 PURPLE FINCH and 7 warbler species – OVENBIRD, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, 6 BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLERS, 2 NASHVILLE WARBLERS, 9 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, 1 CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER and 2 BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLERS. Along Naphan Road northwest of the Menzel Reserve, 6 YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS  were noted as well as a couple GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHERS, 2 WINTER WRENS, 5 VEERYS and 2 WOOD THRUSHES. Warblers numbered 6 species – OVENBIRD, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT and BLACK-AND-WHITE, NASHVILLE, and BLACK-THROATED GREEN. From the Belleville Lions Club last evening, a RED-TAILED HAWK could be seen through a spotting scope perched atop the Belleville water tower. At the park itself beside the Moira River, 5 CHIMNEY SWIFTS and a single WOOD DUCK were present. Other miscellaneous sightings around the area yesterday included three each of PURPLE FINCH and ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK on Victoria Road in Ameliasburgh, and a GREEN HERON at Belleville’s Memorial Park. Birding on Horseback – Birders riding their horses today along the Cataraqui Trail from Newburgh through Camden East and on toward Yarker found an INDIGO BUNTING perched on the branch of a dead tree which was still there when they returned some time later. Also seen along the trail were AMERICAN REDSTARTS, BROWN THRASHERS, YELLOW WARBLERS, HOUSE WRENS, EASTERN MEADOWLARKS, one EASTERN TOWHEE and TREE SWALLOWS  nesting in nest boxes that have been placed along the trail. Birding from a Fishing Boat. An angler on Varty Lake did a private bird count during his time on the water, coming up with 6 BELTED KINGFISHERS, 6 COMMON LOONS and 2 GREEN HERONS.  And something a little different. A resident of Bloomfield, when she refilled her bird bath, noticed floating in the dirty water a number of drowned ants, likely shed from a bird after indulging in that time honoured sport among birds known as “anting”. And, also in Bloomfield, one recent morning, a lawn was literally hopping with tiny AMERICAN TOADS, described as “seething” after a brief shower, but totally devoid of toadlife the previous night. At Presqu’ile Park tomorrow, Peter Solmes, a local troubadour, is doing a CD release at the park Amphitheatre.  From 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  The CD is untitled “Songs of Presqu’ile 2”, so it’s understandable why the park is excited about this event. Peter and friends will be down at the amphitheatre playing music, which is the same time that the Friends will be having their weekly BBQ there so the whole package makes for quite an event. And, speaking of Presqu’ile, Fred Helleiner’s weekly Presqu’ile Bird Report has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be found by CLICKING HERE. Nice photo of a HOODED WARBLER on it this week which two Picton area birders found there this past week.

Thursday, June 30: A rare visitor, an ARCTIC TERN, was present once again today at Cobourg Harbour. With it were 300 RING-BILLED GULLS, 2 HERRING GULLS, 5 COMMON TERNS and no fewer than 53 CASPIAN TERNS. And west of there, a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL continues to be present at the Eldorado Pier in Port Hope where it was joined today by 44 CASPIAN TERNS, a dozen COMMON TERNS, 1 GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL, a BELTED KINGFISHER and a couple SPOTTED SANDPIPERS. A RED-SHOULDERED HAWK was seen today at Murphy’s Point Provincial Park, near Perth where other species of note were YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, YELLOW-THROATED VIREO, 4 RED-EYED VIREOS, OVENBIRD, 3 PINE WARBLERS, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER and 2 SCARLET TANAGERS. A Glenora Road kayaker yesterday paddled from her home to Picton, and back again, and almost bumped into an adult BALD EAGLE, barely 20 feet from her as she rounded a bend along the shoreline. Lots of ducks, mainly MALLARDS, COMMON MERGANSERS, and 2 COMMON LOONS wailing to make the bucolic paddle complete.  Also noted were 2 BELTED KINGFISHERS and several juvenile SPOTTED SANDPIPERS. A nice list of 27 species present at Beaver Meadow Conservation Area this morning at 8:30 a.m. This prolific wetland south of Picton near East Lake seldom disappoints, and today was no exception. Present were 11 COMMON GALLINULES (2 adults with 6 young), 1 GREEN HERON, a WILSON’S SNIPE, 3 BLACK TERNS, 3 MARSH WRENS, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, 2 BELTED KINGFISHERS, and 2 GREAT BLUE HERONS. Present in the adjacent deciduous woods on the property was a splendid variety of woodland birds including a RED-EYED VIREO, SCARLET TANAGER, GRAY CATBIRD, WOOD THRUSH, 2 WARBLING VIREOS, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, HAIRY WOODPECKER, and NORTHERN FLICKER. Purchased in 1970, this 220-acre wetland was the first piece of property obtained by the Prince Edward Region Conservation Authority. I had the pleasure of being involved with PERCA when the property was purchased, and one of the first projects I remember being a part of was the erection of over 30 nesting boxes for wood ducks. A variety of fruit and seed bearing trees was also planted to improve cover and food for small birds and mammals. Some of these trees and shrubs were black walnut, silver maple, white cedar, caragana, highbush cranberry, multiflora rose and pin cherry. The results of these efforts can be seen as one drives into either of the parking lots. The area around the parking lot was a hay field in the 1970s, as I recall – now look at it! Old Milford Road, south of the dump, produced a good list too for the same birder. Among the noteworthy species seen and heard along this relatively short stretch of road were GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, EASTERN KINGBIRD, WOOD THRUSH, BROWN THRASHER, SAVANNAH and FIELD SPARROWS, 2 HOUSE WRENS, and NORTHERN FLICKER.

Wednesday, June 29: Excitement at Presqu’ile Park right now after the successful arrival of three baby PIPING PLOVERS on the beach.  Some good stuff seen early yesterday morning on the Cheese Factory Trail off Moneymore Road, east of Chisholm’s Mills with an impressive list of 49 species. Among the 9 species of warblers seen and heard were GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER, 8 OVENBIRDS and a NASHVILLE WARBLER. Other good sightings made in the more than three hours spent by the birding group were 3 COMMON LOONS, RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, 2 BROAD-WINGED HAWKS, YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, 11 RED-EYED VIREOS, VEERY, 4 WOOD THRUSH, 2 INDIGO BUNTINGS, 3 SCARLET TANAGERS, and 3 RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES. An outstanding three hours, I would say. A half hour in the community of Strathcona near Napanee, yielded one birder some noteworthy species including 8 WOOD DUCKS, a BELTED KINGFISHER, 12 YELLOW WARBLERS and 3 EASTERN KINGBIRDS. Thirty-two CASPIAN TERNS  paid no mind to the commotion at Cobourg Harbour as the area becomes increasing busy with beach goers and boat traffic. Also unaffected was the rare ARCTIC TERN that reappeared this afternoon on the east pier. Farther west, at Port Hope’s Eldorado Pier, a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was the high point today, along with SPOTTED SANDPIPER and HOODED MERGANSER. A pair of PEREGRINE FALCONS at the Princess Towers had quite a time today, what with the the building manager wielding a broom, and one other person on the roof, and finally, an MNRF Conservation Officer on site to investigate the obvious disturbance to the nesting falcons. In Prince Edward County, a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER  continues to be a regular along County Road 2, north of Wilson Road (north of Wellington) where it has been a regular since last winter. An INDIGO BUNTING at a Picton area feeder, and ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS appearing at numerous feeders in the County, all make interesting additions to the regular summer clientele.

Tuesday, June 28: Opposite Foxboro School today, a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW sang from a fence line. And, in the North Foxboro Marsh, 28 species made an appearance, among them 2 LEAST BITTERNS, a WOOD DUCK and HOODED MERGANSER, GREEN HERON, YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, 3 MARSH WRENS, a VEERY, and 3 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS. Last evening at the H.R. Frink Centre, 15 BLUE-WINGED TEAL flew in at sunset to join the 20 species already present. There, too, were four VIRGINIA RAILS, a WOOD DUCK, RED-EYED VIREO, a MARSH WREN, 2 WOOD THRUSHES, and lots of SWAMP SPARROWS – 10 of them. Things are looking up for the nesting Presqu'ile PIPING PLOVERS as one fledgling was out and about today. A big surprise was a HOODED WARBLER along the Jobes Woods Trail in the park. And, today at about 11:00 a.m., an ARCTIC TERN was found at Cobourg Harbour on the east breakwater, perched near a COMMON TERN. It is believed to be the same individual that was seen on the 23rd, and reported in the Quinte Area Bird Report.  

Monday, June 27: Birding these days is best done in the morning well before the sun cranks up the thermostat. It has been so hot that even a MALLARD took advantage of a neglected backyard swimming pool in Wellington yesterday. It is believed the female appeared a few days ago from perhaps the Millennium Trail on her way with her half dozen ducklings, and decided the swimming pool en route to Lake Ontario just looked too darn inviting on a hot day to pass up. The ducklings somehow managed to clamber out as they were gone this morning. The family never returned to the pool today, so local residents are imagining them in a much better natural setting munching away on a proper diet and reunited with Father MALLARD. At Roslin this morning, a birder there found 22 species including a breeding pair of GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHERS, EASTERN MEADOWLARK, BALTIMORE ORIOLE, GRAY CATBIRD, BROWN THRASHER, and 2 breeding pairs of HOUSE WRENS. Also, early this morning, downtown Kingston’s Princess Towers still had the pair of PEREGRINE FALCONS, perched on the building antenna. Ten CHIMNEY SWIFTS  were also counted. Three CHIMNEY SWIFTS were noted at Foxboro where RED-EYED VIREO, GRAY CATBIRD and HOUSE WREN  were also seen. Two SANDHILL CRANES flew over Black Road, west of Demorestville, last evening, and on Roblin Road yesterday, north of Napanee, an UPLAND SANDPIPER was seen. At a little conservation area west of Kingsford, along the Salmon River, birds noted there yesterday afternoon were OSPREY, MERLIN, 2 each of WARBLING and RED-EYED VIREO, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT and INDIGO BUNTING. And a male INDIGO BUNTING has been coming to a feeder on Westview Drive, in Brighton, for over three weeks now. A LEAST BITTERN was enticed to respond to a recorded call of its song on Sawguin Creek in the Huff’s Island area last evening. The Call CD containing the songs of several secretive wetland birds, is used by volunteers and contractors every year at this time as a means of tracking these focal species for the Marsh Monitoring Program.  One birder today braved the heat and conducted her usual shrike survey on Hinch Road, just north of Newburgh. The LOGGERHEAD SHRIKES there had already fledged apparently and none was noted today. The trip wasn’t all for naught though as a WILSON’S SNIPE was found, a whole family of BROWN THRASHERS, a pair of HOUSE WRENS and an EASTERN TOWHEE, along with all the usual species.

Sunday, June 26: It was really far too hot today to do any birding, but I did anyway. I led about a dozen on a two-hour walk in search of birds as part of the Annual Prince Edward County Field Naturalists Bioblitz which took place this year at Little Bluff Conservation Area. Despite the heat which kept building minute by minute, we managed to locate 32 species of birds, among them RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, BELTED KINGFISHER, OSPREY, EASTERN TOWHEE (several), FIELD SPARROW, WHITE-THROATED SPARROW, NORTHERN CARDINAL, COMMON LOON and CASPIAN TERN. An uncommon RED-BELLIED SNAKE was found on the roadway early this morning, one of several species of snakes, dragonflies, butterflies, frogs and mammals that were documented as part of this event. Following the event, I drove on down to Prince Edward Point, and it was even hotter down there. A walk along the trail at Point Traverse scared up only YELLOW WARBLER, EASTERN TOWHEE, FIELD SPARROW, BARN SWALLOW and RED-EYED VIREO. A Glenora Road resident was awakened this morning by the unmistakable bugling of a pair of SANDHILL CRANES  which hung around on their shore for about 10 minutes. A canoeist today didn't waste time on too many paddle strokes while paddling Big Salmon Lake at Frontenac Park for three hours, coming up with a sizable list of 31 species, all seen right from the canoe. Among them were YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, and six warbler species – BLACK-AND-WHITE, OVENBIRD, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, AMERICAN REDSTART, PINE WARBLER, and YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER. At the Harmony Road Wetland (Dryland!) three days ago, species seen there included 8 GREAT BLUE HERON (nest with young), COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, NORTHERN FLICKER and AMERICAN BITTERN. East of there, at the Brennan Road Marsh, 3 VEERY, 1 WOOD THRUSH, GRAY CATBIRD and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT  were checked off. Camden Lake, north of Camden East, has had some great birding in recent days. Up to 14 COMMON LOONS have been seen, and 21 BLACK TERNS from a colony located in the lake. Also present in this 1,500-acre property have been YELLOW-THROATED VIREO, ALDER and LEAST FLYCATCHERS, and BOBOLINKS. An exceptional list of 53 species seen by a birder today at Puzzle Lake Provincial Park north of Tamworth. That this person started recording species at 5:30 a.m. might explain the success. Walking the Jeep track from Norway Lake Road into Puzzle Lake until Deer Flies drove him out, some of the species seen included 1 TRUMPETER SWAN, 1 YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO, 1 YELLOW-THROATED VIREO, 8 OVENBIRDS,1 GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER, a BREWSTER`S WARBLER (hybrid), 2 SCARLET TANAGERS, 1 INDIGO BUNTING.....the list goes on. Back in the Twiddy Road area, north of Ivanhoe, where a party of us birded a week ago, 500 metres south of Wood Road, a BLUE-WINGED WARBLER  was seen as well as a continuing BREWSTER`S WARBLER (hybrid) and a LAWRENCE`S WARBLER (hybrid). The first 2016 eBird sighting for Hastings County of a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was also made in the same area.     

Saturday, June 25: It’s called multitasking. Walking for 2 km to get some exercise, taking the dog for a walk, and doing some birding along the way. That’s what one Victoria Road birder did this morning at 7:00 a.m., binoculars in one hand, dog leash in the other. The end result was 34 species, which is an impressive list, even without a dog. The walk was along Snider Road near the west side of Prince Edward County, and among the more noteworthy species were WILSON’S SNIPE, ALDER FLYCATCHER, 3 EASTERN KINGBIRDS, RED-EYED VIREO, WOOD THRUSH, GRAY CATBIRD, BROWN THRASHER, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, INDIGO BUNTING and 2 EASTERN TOWHEES. All in 45 minutes. Not bad, although the day likely slowed down considerably once the sun turned up the heat. Consequently, no other birding today in either Prince Edward County or Presqu’ile Park. That certainly doesn’t mean there aren’t birds to be seen as we get even closer to the hot, sultry days of July. Backyards can be very prolific area in which to bird if one just sits and let the birds come to you. Such is the case in a backyard along Fry Road, north of Picton which is bordered by an extensive wooded area of large and small trees, saplings and other vegetation. Two birders who sat in their backyard last night, watched as a CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT  waited in line to belly up to the bar. Also taking turns were BROWN THRASHER, BALTIMORE ORIOLE, AMERICAN REDSTART, WOOD THRUSH, AMERICAN ROBINS, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS, and COMMON GRACKLES. Just plant it, and/or leave it wild, and they will come.

Friday, June 24: On Highway 33, just south of Carrying Place, birds of interest seen there today included EASTERN KINGBIRD, SAVANNAH SPARROW, an AMERICAN KESTREL, and 1 GRASSHOPPER SPARROW. Along the Millennium Trail in Prince Edward County where it crosses Palmer Burris Road, south of Consecon Lake, present there today were COOPER’S HAWK, BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO, LEAST FLYCATCHER, 2 GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHERS, one each of VEERY and WOOD THRUSH, GRAY CATBIRD, BROWN THRASHER, MOURNING WARBLER, EASTERN TOWHEE and INDIGO BUNTING. Some good stuff there along a section of trail that has always been productive. Also in Prince Edward County, a NORTHERN HARRIER  was seen at the Sawguin Creek bridge at Fenwood Gardens,  and a nice group of 5 EASTERN MEADOWLARKS were seen on Black Road, near Demorestville. Present this afternoon at the Hamilton Wetland, west of Demorestville, were 2 GREAT BLUE HERONS (with 2 fledglings in the nest), 2 GREAT EGRETS and a half dozen KILLDEER. An adult GREATER YELLOWLEGS at Presqu’ile Park today begs the question – was it coming or going? Spring migrants can occur at the Park in early June, and fall migrants can begin as early as early July. The bird in the Owen Point area of the Park was accompanied by other species including, of course, the nesting PIPING PLOVERS,  as well as 4 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, a dozen CASPIAN TERNS, WILLOW FLYCATCHER, BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, 8 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, and 3 BALTIMORE ORIOLES.  South of Warkworth today, 2 YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS showed up, a WOOD THRUSH, and 4 warbler species – 3 OVENBIRDS, 2 BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLERS, 2 MOURNING WARBLERS and a PINE WARBLER. On the Hastings Heritage Trail near Springbrook, good birds checked off there yesterday included GRAY CATBIRD, 3 VEERYS, an AMERICAN KESTREL and 1 YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER.  A VIRGINIA RAIL has been present at  marsh along Wooler Road, just south of the village, since May and was heard again this past week. Yesterday, the Brighton Constructed Wetland produced a couple dozen species, noteworthy ones being GADWALL, NORTHERN SHOVELER, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, COMMON GALLINULE, MARSH WREN and GRAY CATBIRD.  An adult ARCTIC TERN among other terns on the east pier of Cobourg Harbour was found late yesterday afternoon It was with a few COMMON TERNS with a backdrop of several CASPIAN TERNS on the concrete about half way out on the barricaded part of the east pier, near a yellow bollard. Present today at the site were 12 COMMON TERNS, 5 CASPIAN TERNS, 2 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, and BELTED KINGFISHER. The Presqu’ile Provincial Park Weekly Bird Report by Fred Helleiner has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be found by CLICKING HERE. And, good news – the escaped GREEN-CHEEKED CONURE reported in last evening’s Bird Report, has returned to its home in Tweed.

Thursday, June 23: Just a small Report this evening. No birding at all today in Prince Edward County or Presqu’ile Park, so we have to wander afield a bit tonight for any birding news. Early this morning at the H.R. Frink Centre, 31 species were checked off by one Belleville birder. Among the highlights were 3 each of WOOD DUCK, GREAT BLUE HERON and EASTERN KINGBIRD. Also seen at 7:00 a.m., were 2 VIRGINIA RAILS, BELTED KINGFISHER, NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW, 2 MARSH WRENS, RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, WOOD THRUSH, OVENBIRD and 2 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS. A RED-TAILED HAWK was seen flying over the 401 yesterday, carrying a two-foot long snake in its talons. The pair of PEREGRINE FALCONS attempting to nest at the Princess Towers in Kingston, are apparently having some problems with construction workers. One Kingston birder reports that he heard calls of this species and saw 2 birds fly and and perch over workers on the roof of the building. This activity is clearly keeping the birds off a nest and will cause another nest failure. These people have been warned by the MNRF about this but it continues. Charges need to be made, he comments. Thirty species of birds were tallied today along the Silver Queen Mine Trail at Murphy’s Point Provincial Park, near Perth, among them a couple GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLERS. Other species of interest included CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, INDIGO BUNTING and OVENBIRD. At Belleville’s Memorial Park, off Station Street, birds along the Moira River today included BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON and the long standing (swimming) COMMON GOLDENEYE. And finally – have  you seen this bird? The person’s name is  Chadwick and he has recently lost his pet bird, Angel. She is a GREEN-CHEEKED CONURE (Green-cheeked Parakeet),  has blue wings and red tail feathers, If anyone comes across this lost bird, they can call Chadwick at 613-213-4327. She disappeared in the Tweed area and was last seen heading heading southwest with the wind. 

Wednesday, June 22: We start the Report this evening with a good news story. It isn’t uncommon for KILLDEERS  to select the flat gravel/tar roofs of schools on which to nest. They have done it several times in Prince Edward County. However, that first step off of the roof is a big one, and the fledglings don’t usually survive the fall. A custodian working on the roof of the Sophiasburgh Central School near Big Island, came across this nest yesterday containing eggs that were beginning to hatch; today, he scooped them up and released them in the school yard where the adult immediately found them, and off they disappeared on terra firma. Between Harmony Road and Blessington Road, just off Highway 37 today, one GRASSHOPPER SPARROW and 3 VESPER SPARROWS were found. The latter species seems to be hard to come by anymore. At one of my favourite parks along the Rideau Canal, near Perth, Murphy’s Point Provincial Park, a few interesting species were noted today. A nest containing two juvenile NORTHERN GOSHAWKS was seen – obviously the parents weren't as aggressive as the Goodrich-Loomis Conservation Area pair that “de-hatted” one birder there earlier this month. Other species seen at Murphy’s Point were 2 YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS, YELLOW-THROATED VIREO, and six warbler species – OVENBIRD, BLACK-AND-WHITE, BLACKBURNIAN, PINE, BLACK-THROATED GREEN, and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT. Another birder there found YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO and SCARLET TANAGER. At the Princess Towers in Kingston today, 5 CHIMNEY SWIFTS and 3 PINE SISKINS were seen. Two Demoresville area birders out for a night tour last night, located 2 EASTERN WHIP-POOR-WILLS calling along Potter Road, east of the village. And to finish off this evening’s Report, a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was one of two singing on Helmer Road in the South Bay area a few days ago.  Summer is here and the garbage and litter have started. Presqu’ile Provincial Park is appealing to the public to “Let’s Spruce Up the Shoreline”. The westerly winds and currents have left the shoreline with much more than the sand which is building up the beach. Garbage by the bag full. The Friends of Presqu’ile  are asking all Park lovers to pitch in and help keep their beaches free of man-made garbage. When visiting, why not pick up garbage bags and disposable gloves which will be freely available at the gate house. If you prefer to use a pick up stick then there a few for loan. Go and enjoy a walk anywhere on Beach 1 and 2, and pick up man-made waste at the same time, its great exercise. When exiting the Beach, drop off the garbage bag with disposable gloves either in the bins which are at the back of the beach near the entrance/exits or leave the bag next to it, if full.  Then, give yourself a pat on the back, feel good about yourself, and the Friends thank you for helping make the Park a better place to visit.

Tuesday, June 21: Today, the birding attention seemed to be in the Springbrook, Ivanhoe, Marmora and Marlbank area with several individuals and groups of birders out and about today, likely in celebration of last night’s rain. Prince Edward County, as usual, received nary a drop. One group of birders combed the Trans Canada Trail north of Ivanhoe from Twiddy Road west for three kilometres early this morning where the wooded trail breaks into an open meadow and where a GRASSHOPPER SPARROW was one of the highlights. Collectively, we found 52 species, starting right off the bat with a GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER. The six kilometre trek also produced SCARLET TANAGER, a WILSON’S SNIPE, GREEN HERON, 2 YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS, 2 VEERYS, 1 WOOD THRUSH, PILEATED WOODPECKER, ALDER FLYCATCHER, 3 BROWN THRASHERS, 5 EASTERN TOWHEES and a PURPLE FINCH. In addition to the GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER, six other warbler species made their presence known through sight and sound – OVENBIRD, BLACK-AND-WHITE, MAGNOLIA, YELLOW, CHESTNUT-SIDED and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT. Several FIELD SPARROWS, EASTERN TOWHEES and an UPLAND SANDPIPER, which is a regular, all tuned up at the grassland area.  EASTERN BLUEBIRD and WHITE-THROATED SPARROW  were found on nearby Bronson Road. North of Springbrook Road, another birder today found a MERLIN, and on Springbrook Road near Bronson Rapids Road, another GRASSHOPPER SPARROW  was seen. Another GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER was found by a birder working the Marlbank Road early this morning, and at the end of Marlbank Road, at the #41 highway, WILSON’S SNIPE, AMERICAN KESTREL, ALDER FLYCATCHER, and GRAY CATBIRD  were among 17 species recorded there. In the Marlbank area, good birds seen there this morning were YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, PILEATED WOODPECKER, VEERY, WOOD THRUSH and SCARLET TANAGER. On St. Mark’s Road, south of Bonarlaw, birds seen there at 7:00 a.m. included YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, BLUE-HEADED VIREO, EASTERN BLUEBIRD, VEERY, WOOD THRUSH, BREWSTER’S WARBLER (hybrid), a GOLDEN-WINGED/BLUE-WINGED WARBLER, AMERICAN REDSTART, CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, INDIGO BUNTING, and BOBOLINK. Forty-eight species in two hours. Birding in the fast lane! Another birder along River Road in the Cannifton area, managed 16 species from his bicycle today, coming up with GREAT BLUE HERON, WARBLING and RED-EYED VIREOS, HOUSE WRENS and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT for his efforts. A SPOTTED SANDPIPER was at the Corbyville Dam as were 2 NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS, and 2 BANK SWALLOWS. Down in Prince Edward County, breeding bird surveys along the South Shore Important Bird Area on the weekend resulted in an impressive total of 48 WHIP-POOR-WILLS being checked off. Two kayakers/birders kayaked the large marsh between Lighthall Road and Charwell Point Road, easily locating 3 LEAST BITTERNS calling with two of them being seen along the south shore. There was a high density of MARSH WRENS. Also, 2 AMERICAN BITTERN, 1 COMMON GALLINULE, WOOD DUCKS, MALLARDS, BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO, WILLOW FLYCATCHER, and nesting TREE SWALLOWS. One GREAT BLUE HERON was seen perching on the only remaining nest in the bare trees (well over 200 pairs nested here historically), but no evidence that even this nest was being used. OSPREY and NORTHERN HARRIER were also seen.

Monday, June 20: At Callaghan’s Rapids Conservation Area, south of Marmora, 39 species were checked off in two hours. Among the birds seen were 3 WOOD DUCKS, 7 HOODED MERGANSERS, 4 COMMON LOONS, a BROAD-WINGED HAWK, YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER,  VEERY, WOOD THRUSH, 2 OVENBIRDS, 5 NORTHERN WATERTHRUSHES, and ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS. Five hundred metres south of Wood Road in the Madoc area, 17 species seen there included RED-TAILED HAWK, OVENBIRD, GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER, a BREWSTER’S WARBLER (hybrid), a LAWRENCE’S WARBLER (hybrid), FIELD SPARROW, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK and EASTERN TOWHEE. A few sightings today from the Hay Bay area who we don’t hear from very often. A contractor for the Enhanced Marsh Monitoring Program last evening found COMMON MOORHENS and AMERICAN BITTERNS in the North Hay Bay Marsh on her monitoring route. Also, with the now higher water temperature,  lots of AMERICAN BULLFROGS and GREEN FROGS calling. It was that kind of night. Two anglers who did some exploring that way yesterday before the heat got turned up, found a COMMON LOON, not far from Glenora, and CASPIAN TERNS and COMMON TERNS at Perch Cove (Hay Bay). Of course, the terns were spurred on through the efforts of the anglers who parted with some bait fish. They weren’t long finding the offerings and it always ended up in a dog fight. Their aerial manoeuvres impressed the two anglers. Another two birders strolling the Millennium Trail at the Hubb’s Creek Marsh, off Danforth Road, west of Wellington, found 20 species, once the heat let up. Among those found were COMMON GALLINULE, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, EASTERN KINGBIRD, both HOUSE and MARSH WRENS, GRAY CATBIRD, and CEDAR WAXWING. Four BANK SWALLOWS were seen today at Star Corners near Harrowsmith where there is a gravel pit. Interesting sighting at Perth today when a suspected ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK passed over, showing the general profile, dark wing tips, and prominent dark patches on underwings. Average last date for this Holarctic species that is common enough during the winter months, is May 9th. A significant sighting for sure. At Puzzle Lake Provincial Park, 38 species seen there included a sub-adult BALD EAGLE, LEAST FLYCATCHER, BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, OVENBIRD, VEERY, and RED-EYED VIREO. Meanwhile, over at the H.R. Frink Centre, near Plainfield, a LEAST BITTERN, skulking through the cattails, was only one of over 30 species seen, among them a nice handful of 20 WOOD DUCKS. Also seen were AMERICAN BITTERN, VIRGINIA RAIL, WILSON’S SNIPE, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, 3 MARSH WRENS, 1 VEERY, 3 WOOD THRUSHES, OVENBIRD and BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER.

Sunday, June 19: Lots of BLACK TERNS on Camden Lake this summer, says a local resident, who travels there often. Really mild today, but there was still some action here and about. In addition to the thriving tern colony, Camden Lake also has more than a dozen COMMON LOONS  this year and that was just on the north side of the lake. Throughout the region, fledglings are being seen everywhere these days. On Nugent Road in the Camden East area, the chicks of UPLAND SANDPIPERS  were seen yesterday. On Friday and Saturday’s KFN BioBlitz at the Menzel Centennial Provincial Nature Reserve, 18 km north of Deseronto, word arrived by e-mail today that 70 bird species were tallied. They included WOOD DUCK, RUFFED GROUSE, NORTHERN HARRIER and a BROAD-WINGED HAWK flying over. Also, HERRING GULL, BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO, a COMMON NIGHTHAWK doing its aerial and booming display, 5 species of woodpeckers, 5 flycatcher species, both WHITE-BREASTED and RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES, WOOD THRUSH and VEERY, a few PURPLE FINCHES, and 12 species of warblers. Today, east of Lake on the Mountain, a YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO was heard calling, and a BOBOLINK was seen, both species uncommon in that particular area.  Although GREAT EGRETS  have nested at Presqu’ile Park for several years, and we see them often in Prince Edward County, there is no known nesting colony of these white egrets anywhere in the County as yet. However, at the Hamilton Wetland along County Road 14, west of Demorestville, one of about 10 egrets present there today was seen to fly up in a tree beside the nest of a GREAT BLUE HERON with a stick in its beak and made an attempt to place the stick somewhere in the tree. A precursor for next year perhaps? Four COMMON LOONS  were on Fish Lake today, and other species in the area included RED-TAILED HAWK, CASPIAN TERN, GRAY CATBIRD and BROWN THRASHER. At Kingston’s Lake Ontario Park along Front Road, birds of interest seen there were GREAT BLUE HERON, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, CASPIAN TERN and AMERICAN REDSTART. Back in “the County”, South Bay today produced COMMON LOON, AMERICAN REDSTART, BROWN THRASHER, MARSH WREN, RED-EYED and WARBLING VIREOS, GREAT BLUE HERON and PIED-BILLED GREBE. In Belleville, along Airport Parkway, five  AMERICAN KESTREL fledglings, were venturing out of their nest cavity from an eave. The parent birds are apparently very busy catching small items to satisfy their needs. David Bree, Senior Natural Heritage Leader at Presqu’ile Park, says this weekend has been very busy on the beach and illustrates that volunteers are needed out there, primarily just to inform people of the presence and significance of the nesting PIPING PLOVERS. This rare plover species has not nested at Presqu’ile Park for 100 years!   As such efforts will be made to arrange a shift next weekend, well in advance of the Canada Day weekend and the impending hatching of the baby plovers. Volunteers can attend one of two orientation meetings next Thursday June 23rd at 3:00 p.m., or the repeat at 7:00 p.m.  These will be at the Lighthouse Interpretive Centre at Presqu’ile. Stop at the gate coming in and mention you are going to the meeting and get a volunteer pass (if you don’t have a season pass) and directions to the Centre.  If you are coming in for the 7:00 pm, there will be no one at the gate, so come on up.  At this meeting, David will give a background on the PIPING PLOVERS, their lives and times and historical and current breeding situations.  He will outline what is expected of you as volunteers.  They are are looking at shifts of 9:00 am to noon, noon to 3:00 pm, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  First priority is to get the next weekend and potential egg hatching dates of June 27-29th filled and the long weekend covered but David hopes to have a good chunk of July filled in by the end of the evening. Please email David if you are planning on coming and the time you are coming so they can make sure to have enough chairs set out.  David can be reached at:   or phone  613 475-4324 ext 225.

Saturday, June 18: Be patient, and the birds will come to you is the advice of one pair of birders at West Lake who were enjoying their morning tea on their deck, and managed to snap a photo of two CEDAR WAXWINGS as they landed on the lawn in front of them. BALTIMORE ORIOLES, RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS and ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS are also coming to feeders there. It’s a good time of the year to be on your deck. The Hamilton Wetlands, west of Demorestville, along County Road 14, is starting to pick up these days. Today, near noon, there were 11 species visible from the roadside fence. Along with CANADA GEESE, 2 WOOD DUCKS and 8 MALLARDS, there 4 GREAT BLUE HERONS (2 on their nest), and 14 GREAT EGRETS. Five KILLDEER were also noted among a miscellany of other species, including AMERICAN KESTREL.  CASPIAN TERNS, NORTHERN FLICKER, WARBLING VIREOS and HOUSE WREN were all noted along the Parkway leading to Presqu’ile Park, but a nice list of 54 species was to be had in the Park itself. Of course, the star performers were the PIPING PLOVERS. One bird on its nest, and its mate was clearly agitated by people at the rope and camped out on beach in front of exclosure. To add to the stress of the nesting birds, 2 dogs were running loose just south of exclosure. The male called continuously for 30 minutes and actually "charged" several groups of kids playing beside rope. The park has now opened the beach 2 parking lot so many people are entering the beach right beside exclosure. Two BLACKBURNIAN WARBLERS in the Norway Spruce plantation west of the Jobes Trail parking lot was a highlight, as were a couple AMERICAN REDSTARTS, 4 GRAY CATBIRDS, a BROWN THRASHER, and 2 MARSH WRENS. In Kingston, at the Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area, north of the city off Division Street, a Belleville birder found 52 species this morning with a few highlights being 3 WOOD DUCKS, a HOODED MERGANSER, 2 GREAT EGRETS, a GREEN HERON, 1 COMMON GALLINULE, 1 WOOD THRUSH, 2 INDIGO BUNTINGS, and 4 warbler species – OVENBIRD, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (6), YELLOW and PINE WARBLERS (2 of each). In Prince Edward County, at South Bay, not a bad day there either with the usual species expected at this time of the year present, a few of the more noteworthy being CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, WOOD THRUSH and ORCHARD ORIOLE. In response to the drought in Prince Edward County and elsewhere, the water level at Beaver Meadow is way down right now, 4 to 6 inches below the top of the weir. However, two canoeists managed to get through and were rewarded for their efforts with 3 MARSH WRENS, 2 COMMON GALLINULES, 1 GREEN WINGED TEAL, 1 GREAT BLUE HERON, approximately 20 BLACK TERNS, 2 GREEN HERONS, numerous RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS, 1 AMERICAN BULLFROG and 1 GREEN FROG.  And, finally – a LEAST BITTERN  was found this morning on Blessington Creek, on the east side of Belleville.

Friday, June 17: A birder out walking his dog today along a 2 kilometre stretch of Snider Road, off Victoria Road near the west side of Prince Edward County, managed to chalk up a list of 32 species in less than an hour, with a dog in tow. One AMERICAN KESTREL was experiencing a difficult time concentrating on the ground beneath him as 2 BARN SWALLOWS repeatedly dive-bombed him on his perch. Some good sightings on the walk included BOBOLINK, 6 SONG SPARROWS, FIELD SPARROW, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, 2 CEDAR WAXWINGS, 2 GRAY CATBIRDS, both an ALDER FLYCATCHER and EASTERN WOOD PEWEE heard calling,  and a GREAT BLUE HERON. Elsewhere in “The County”, it seems the Hilltop Road star performer, the CHUCK-WILL’S-WIDOW,  is still present. It was heard calling at 11:00 p.m. last night near the corner of Brewer’s Road and Hilltop Road. As well, a conservative count of 5 EASTERN WHIP-POOR-WILLS had joined in the chorus, said the Kingston birder who added today that he had dropped in “on a hunch”, and heard the southern visitor calling almost immediately. The Kingston BioBlitz began its first day at the Menzel Centennial Provincial Nature Reserve this afternoon at 3:00 p.m. I had the pleasure of leading the first interpretive hike, focussing on the background of this 2,000-acre property, purchased in 1996 in memory of Ovi Menzel, who died very early in life from cancer. Since then, her husband, Dieter, has donated more funds which resulted in a 400-metre boardwalk over the mixed flooded swamp and through a shrub fen, as well as an information kiosk, numbered interpretive posts, and a large quantity of interpretive brochures about the 4.2 kilometer trail which has been named The Ovi Trail. Today, on the trail, there was a VEERY, uttering both its slurred call-note as well as a beautiful rendition of its liquid and breezy flute-like song. Several EASTERN TOWHEES were singing in the dry uplands, and the fast paced robin-like phrases of a ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK could also be heard, along with FIELD SPARROW, ALDER FLYCATCHER and YELLOW WARBLER. As of last evening, at least one PIPING PLOVER chick has hatched at the first nest at Darlington Provincial Park. This represents the first PIPING PLOVER chick born on the Canadian shore of Lake Ontario since 1934 !! And Presqu’ile Park’s PIPING PLOVERS are likely not far behind. One kayaker, out for a leisurely paddle near the mouth of the Murray Canal at 12 O’Clock Point at Carrying Place today, was repeatedly attacked and swooped upon by a very aggressive MUTE SWAN. This species can be extremely aggressive during the nesting season, especially when there are cygnets in the area, so kayakers and birders in that area should be wary. And, let’s not forget the aggressive NORTHERN GOSHAWK at the Goodrich-Loomis Conservation Area north of Brighton, that removed the hat of a birder there, and injuring him. It’s almost as though some species have simply grown tired of us gawking at them through binoculars!

Thursday, June 16: Some additional species have turned up at the Menzel Centennial Provincial Nature Reserve, all of them likely keen on getting included in the BioBlitz, being conducted tomorrow by the Kingston Field Naturalists. Added to the list of hopefuls for tomorrow were 3 RUFFED GROUSE, 3 COMMON NIGHTHAWKS (displaying above the registration table!),  AMERICAN KESTREL, BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER, BALTIMORE ORIOLE and PURPLE FINCH. Along River Road at Cannifton today, some birds seen there were 2 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, 3 EASTERN PHOEBES, a NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW, 2 HOUSE WRENS, 3 YELLOW WARBLERS and a SAVANNAH SPARROW among the 20 species documented. CHIMNEY SWIFT numbers are apparently down this year at some of their previously favourite roosts in Picton; however, 4 were counted last evening at 7:45 p.m. as they entered the chimney at the Picton Armoury. Five BOBOLINKS were detected at Jackson’s Falls, east of Milford, and it looks like it is a good breeding year west of Sprague Road on Big Island where at least 20 were counted along the Sprague/Monkman Trail. About 50 acres of hay fields here are being managed by property owner and well known artist, Kent Monkman, as we work together to increase the number of breeding BOBOLINKS and EASTERN MEADOWLARKS and other grassland species.  Even well manicured public park areas can produce some interesting species as shown at Zwick’s Park at Belleville where 15 minutes spent there produced 17 species, among them, BLACK TERN, LEAST FLYCATCHER, WARBLING VIREO, 2 NORTHERN CARDINALS and a SAVANNAH SPARROW. A GREAT EGRET was seen today at Collin’s Creek in Kingston, and a GREAT BLUE HERON nesting colony was seen along the Slide Lake Trail not far from Campsite 1 at Frontenac Park, along Buck Lake. And, we haven’t even yet officially entered the summer season and already there is at least one sign of autumn. A “murmuration” of 750 EUROPEAN STARLINGS flew over Belleville’s Industrial Park this morning. At Presqu’ile Park today, a good list of 44 species contained a few worthy of note: PIED-BILLED GREBE, COMMON GALLINULE, AMERICAN REDSTART, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, 6 HOUSE WRENS, GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, 8 COMMON TERNS, 25 CASPIAN TERNS, and a GREAT BLUE HERON. Speaking of Presqu’ile Park, the Presqu’ile Provincial Park birding summary for the past week by Fred Helleiner has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be found by CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, June 15: It’s the time of the year when adult birds are particularly wary of anything that passes by them. This morning on my walk around the Sprague/Monkman Trail on Big Island, my presence was challenged by three CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS who decided I was far too close to wherever they were nesting. I was surprised over just how aggressive these little sparrows can be. Today, at the Menzel Centennial Provincial Nature Reserve, north of Deseronto, one birder likely scouting for resident birds in preparation for this weekend’s BioBlitz there,  found 26 species. A BALD EAGLE was a good find, as were RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, ALDER FLYCATCHER, VEERY, WOOD THRUSH, OVENBIRDS, and SCARLET TANAGER.  A backyard, north of Wellington, produced 6 ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS  today. A late COMMON GOLDENEYE  continues to be seen on the Moira River at Belleville where it has been for several weeks now. A respectable 32 species turned up at the Potter Creek Conservation Area (formerly Quinte Conservation Area), among them EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, 4 GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHERS, 5 HOUSE WRENS, 5 NORTHERN CARDINALS, and the same number of EASTERN TOWHEES. Five warbler species were noted – 2 OVENBIRDS, 1 BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, 1 AMERICAN REDSTART and 4 YELLOW WARBLERS. More than twice that number were checked off at Presqu’ile Park though today where a single TRUMPETER SWAN was noted, long with 42 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, 3 PIED-BILLED GREBES, 2 BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS, 1 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, 3 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS and, of course, the resident 3 PIPING PLOVERS. Other good sightings at the park were CLAY-COLORED SPARROW, a MOURNING WARBLER, 1 INDIGO BUNTING and 3 WILLOW FLYCATCHERS. Some high numbers were 7,000 RING-BILLED GULLS, 45 HERRING GULLS, 40 CASPIAN TERNS, and 3,000 DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS. Along the Parkway leading toward the Park, 4 male WOOD DUCKS were seen, as well as a PIED-BILLED GREBE, 2 PILEATED WOODPECKERS, a BROWN THRASHER, 5 SWAMP SPARROWS, and 4 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS. Haven’t heard from Invista in Kingston in awhile. Included in the 33 species seen there, were 2 WOOD DUCKS, 1 REDHEAD, 10 WARBLING VIREOS, 20 YELLOW WARLERS, 4 GRAY CATBIRDS, and a couple COMMON YELLOWTHROATS. At Wilson Island, west of Glen Ross today, a highlight there was the sighting of 2 YELLOW-THROATED VIREOS (2 birds singing from different locations), CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, GREAT BLUE HERON and 2 ALDER FLYCATCHERS.

Tuesday, June 14: Just under an hour’s worth of birding for one birder at the H.R. Frink Centre managed to locate 28 species near noon today. A very nice assortment of warbler species including one CANADA WARBLER, 3 OVENBIRDS, a NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, 2 each of BLACK-AND-WHITE, BLACK-THROATED GREEN and YELLOW WARBLERS, and a CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER. Other good finds were ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, 2 WOOD THRUSHES, 1 WINTER WREN, 2 RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES, an EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, one GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, and 2 each of WARBLING and RED-EYED VIREOS.  Always some nice species present in this popular 341-acre conservation area, 9 km north of Belleville. To read more about the Frink Centre and its trail system on my website, CLICK HERE. Only three warbler species were found at Belleville’s Potter Creek Conservation Area early this afternoon – YELLOW WARBLER, AMERICAN REDSTART and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT – but the 45 minutes spent here by one birder did result in a total of 28 species being seen, among them 4 NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS, HOUSE WREN, NORTHERN CARDINAL, and EASTERN KINGBIRD. At the Thurlow Wildlife Management Area along the Moira River, birds of note seen there this morning included a YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, BROWN CREEPER, 3 VEERYS, and 2 WOOD THRUSHES. Three YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOOS and 4 GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLERS were highlights today at Murphy’s Point Provincial Park, near Perth. The Napanee Limestone Plain IBA produced an UPLAND SANDPIPER  today, along with BROWN THRASHER and WILSON’S SNIPE.  There were no sightings today from either Prince Edward County or Presqu’ile Park, although not far away, a RED-TAILED HAWK was seen early this morning at the junction of Marysville Road and 401. And, something a little bit different for one motorist travelling Highway 37 from Tweed last night. She rounded a bend in the highway and came across a BLACK BEAR crossing the highway.

Monda, June 13: It wasn’t an overly productive day for two of us today at the Marshlands Conservation Area in Kingston, but we enjoyed the 29 species that we did see, topping the list with a cooperative VIRGINIA RAIL which called from the marsh at the boardwalk, finally coming into full view.  Warbler-wise, we saw and heard four species – 2 CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLERS, 4 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, 5 YELLOW WARBLERS, and AMERICAN REDSTART. Walking all the way to Polson Park, we also found 2 GRAY CATBIRDS, 1 HOUSE WREN, 3 WARBLING VIREOS, 2 RED-EYED VIREOS, one each of GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER and EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, 2 NORTHERN FLICKERS and SWAMP SPARROW. In the pine grove, 2 RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES  were heard calling. Success was a bit more profound for one birder at Oshawa’s Second Marsh/McLaughlin Bay where a half hour spent there produced four shorebird species – a MARBLED GODWIT, 1 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER, a SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, and a flock of 40 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS. The long standing (perching) ACADIAN FLYCATCHER continues at the west end of the first boardwalk at Corbett Creek Marsh in Oshawa, and also in Whitby at Coronation Road, a PINE SISKIN was observed. At Kingston’s Princess Towers, neither of the two PEREGRINE FALCONS turned up today, but 7 CHIMNEY SWIFTS  were observed. And, to flesh out this evening’s Report, a few additional Kingston and area sightings from Mark Read’s Kingston Area Bird Report, received today: At Sheffield Conservation Area, near Kaladar, PRAIRIE WARBLERS are being regularly seen. A SNOW GOOSE was seen in flight with CANADA GEESE at Sydenham on 30th May. ORCHARD ORIOLES continue to be reported at Lemoine Point Conservation Area. A female NORTHERN GOSHAWK was seen at Frontenac Provincial Park on June 8th. LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE, plus other alvar specialties such as UPLAND SANDPIPER and CLAY-COLORED SPARROW are still being reported from the Napanee Limestone Plain IBA. Five GREAT EGRETS were seen at a pond just south of Yarker on June 11th and, WILSON'S PHALAROPE are, as usual, present at Martin Edwards Reserve, on Amherst Island.Closer to home, one family in Bloomfield got quite a treat when a family of EASTERN SCREECH-OWLS took flight from their backyard nesting site on the weekend. Two fledglings could be seen roosting with their parents in some nearby trees.

Sunday, June 12: A GREAT BLUE HERON was seen enjoying a very successful day of fishing in the Napanee River near the falls.  Other species present on the Napanee River were CANADA GEESE, a family of MALLARDS, 2 MAP TURTLES, 2 PAINTED TURTLES and a resident MINK. A half hour spent at Presqu’ile Park’s Owen Point yielded a few good species this afternoon for two birders, including RUDDY TURNSTONE, SPOTTED SANDPIPER, CASPIAN TERNS, HOUSE WREN, and YELLOW WARBLER. On Nugent Road, on the Napanee Limestone Plain,  an hour there produced 4 UPLAND SANDPIPERS, 2 LOGGERHEAD SHRIKES, and a couple BROWN THRASHERS, just to name three of the 11 species seen. PILEATED WOODPECKER, 4 WARBLING VIREOS, 3 YELLOW WARBLERS, 6 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, and a whopping 8 OVENBIRDS highlighted the list of one birder visiting the Goodrich-Loomis Conservation Area, north of Brighton today. Only 13 species were noted by one birder at Charleston Lake Provincial Park, north of Gananoque today, but nonetheless included some notables including RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, BARRED OWL, YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, AMERICAN REDSTART, BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER and two RED-EYED VIREOS. A COMMON GALLINULE  was putting on a bit of a display today at the Brighton Constructed Wetland, off County Road 64, where other waterfowl species and their broods were abundant, despite the winds. Other miscellaneous species seen yesterday and today included a YELLOW-THROATED VIREO at Lyndhurst, 2 BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS at Whitby’s Cranberry Marsh, a continuing ACADIAN FLYCATCHER at Corbett Creek Marsh in Whitby, and a continuing and very vocal CLAY-COLORED SPARROW west of Sprague Road on Big Island. Now that we are creeping close to mid-June, the hub of activity at Prince Edward Point seems to be a distant memory now with nothing being reported for several days. I will have to do something about that.

Saturday, June 11: It was a good day for a half dozen birders at the Menzel Centennial Provincial Nature Reserve, 18 km north of Deseronto today. The rains cleared away nicely for us to begin our 2.4 km trek along the Ovi Nature Trail toward Mud Lake at 8:30 a.m. where 42 species (+1 other taxa) were chalked up. We were aiming for 50 species, but were pleased with all those species that did cross in front of our binoculars. Six NORTHERN WATERTHRUSHES sang for much of the route once we reached the flooded swamp and fen. The highlight was the sighting of 2 BREWSTER’S WARBLERS, and other warbler species noted were NASHVILLE, YELLOW, MAGNOLIA, YELLOW-RUMPED, BLACK-THROATED GREEN, CHESTNUT-SIDED, BLACK-AND-WHITE, and 3 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS.    The big find was a vocal CANADA WARBLER which eventually allowed us to get a quick look at him. The sparrow family was represented by 6 species – SONG, SWAMP, 6 WHITE-THROATED, FIELD, CHIPPING, and 6 EASTERN TOWHEES. Other good finds during our three hours in the field were 2 ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS, a RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, 3 VEERYS, 1 WOOD THRUSH, 3 GRAY CATBIRDS, a COMMON LOON on Mud Lake, TURKEY VULTURE and a NORTHERN HARRIER, and two each of EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, ALDER and GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHERS. A pair of YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS darted back and forth several times from a White Birch snag at the lake. The 2,000-acre property was set aside in 1995 and protects one of the largest fen wetlands in southern Ontario. Twelve years later, Dieter Menzel who provided much of the funding for the original purchase, donated funds once again to build a 400-metre raised boardwalk across the flooded swamp and shrub fen on the exisiting laneway. The property is maintained by Sharbot Lake Provincial Park. One birder found 25 species at Thickson’s Woods, at Whitby, home of the now departed YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER. A CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER and 4 AMERICAN REDSTARTS were among the species found there including a couple HOUSE WRENS. Along Ridge Road, south of Picton, at the asparagus farm, birds seen there, among others, included WILD TURKEY, 2 RUFFED GROUSE, BELTED KINGFISHER, NORTHERN FLICKER, 4 EASTERN KINGBIRDS, 9 BANK SWALLOWS, a WINTER WREN, 2 VEERY, 6 WOOD THRUSH, 5 OVENBIRDS, 3 NORTHERN WATERTHRUSHES, YELLOW WARBLERS, and 4 NASHVILLE WARBLERS. Not a bad day at all. The Brighton Constructed Wetlands continue to produce good sightings. Today, more than a dozen species were present, including 4 WOOD DUCKS  with young, 7 COMMON GALLINULES, YELLOW WARBLER, SWAMP SPARROW and a BARN SWALLOW. The nearby Harbour Street Parkette produced a few birds, among them WARBLING VIREO, 2 MARSH WRENS, a SWAMP SPARROW and 2 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS. The lingering BUFFLEHEAD continues to hang out at the Brighton Constructed Wetland.

Friday, June 10: A pair of RED-TAILED HAWKS were found this week nesting along C.R. 18, near Sandbanks Park. Meanwhile, Kingston’s PEREGRINE FALCON seems to be following me around. Earlier, this month, I had heard it on three different visits to Hotel Dieu Hospital; today, it was in the area of Kingston General Hospital, before it disappeared north toward Union Street. According to another observer, two were seen today on Queen’s Campus. At the Menzel Nature Reserve on Roblin Road, north of Deseronto, where I hope to be tomorrow, weather permitting, close to 30 species await the arrival of a naturalists club group tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m. Seen there today were AMERICAN WOODCOCK, YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, ALDER FLYCATCHER, VEERY, 2 OVENBIRDS, 2 NORTHERN WATERTHRUSHES,  and 4 WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS. Great spot to bird as well as botanize with PITCHER PLANTS,  GRASS PINK, COTTONGRASS, DWARF BIRCH and ROYAL FERN which can be found growing near and in the rare shrub fen. The much celebrated YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER at Whitby’s Thickson’s Woods appears to have moved on, but birders there today did find GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, an immature male AMERICAN REDSTART, 2 YELLOW WARBLERS, and an ORCHARD ORIOLE.  Nearby, at the Lynde Shores Conservation Area, a remarkable 15 WILLOW FLYCATCHERS were heard singing. Among the 41 species seen there was a TRUMPETER SWAN, 5 BOBOLINKS, 15 YELLOW WARBLERS, a COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, 20 CEDAR WAXWINGS, and a CHIMNEY SWIFT.  On the Napanee River today, at Colbrook, an hour’s worth of birding there produced some good sightings such as EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, 2 EASTERN KINGBIRDS, COMMON LOON, and a nest of EASTERN PHOEBES. Closer to home, a BROAD-WINGED HAWK was a highlight in the North Foxboro Marsh for one birder where other birds of note were a GREEN HERON, YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, ALDER FLYCATCHER, LEAST FLYCATCHER, BROWN THRASHER and one OVENBIRD. In Wellington today, a TURKEY VULTURE  was seen soaring over and being chased by an unidentified average-sized bird. Just before they disappeared behind the trees, the bird landed on the vulture's back!  Sounds like an EASTERN KINGBIRD behaviour!  Along a 2 km trail that I have west of our house, I stood in amazement this morning as one each of WHITE-THROATED SPARROW, SONG SPARROW, CHIPPING SPARROW, GRASSHOPPER SPARROW and a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW, all appeared in my binocular’s field of view all at once! Truly a memorable experience which almost caused me to weep openly!  The Quinte Field Naturalists reminds everyone to carry a small shovel in the trunk of your car during this month and into July. It is the safest and the easiest way to coax slow moving SNAPPING TURTLES off the road. Always make sure though that you move them in the direction they were originally heading, or they will simply turn around and strike off again in the direction of the road or highway! 

Thursday, June 09: Interestingly, there were two of us at the Murray Marsh today, at almost the identical hour, without either of us aware that the other was present. One person checking out the west side came across 26 species, among them RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER, VEERY, VESPER SPARROW, 3 SAVANNAH SPARROWS, RED-EYED VIREO, GRAY CATBIRD, and 3 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS. This person was hoping for both ALDER FLYCATCHER and VIRGINIA RAIL, but came up empty. On the other hand, at the opposite end of the huge property near Wooler (Monaghan Road), we did find both species on a short walk on the roadway leading in from that side and also came up with 3 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS  ourselves. Also heard were several SWAMP SPARROWS, a MARSH WREN, PILEATED WOODPECKER, and a persistent WILLOW FLYCATCHER. In an agricultural field on Gazley Road, just south of there, there was a TURKEY VULTURE ripping apart a carcass of an unidentified body. Earlier, along Platt Road, north of Trenton, we stopped for a few minutes at a small wetland and chalked up several species including SWAMP SPARROW, both WILLOW and ALDER FLYCATCHERS calling, SONG SPARROW, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, TREE SWALLOW, PILEATED WOODPECKER, YELLOW WARBLER, and a distant EASTERN TOWHEE. Along Wiley Road, between Frankford and Wooler, an AMERICAN KESTREL was scouting the area for prey from a utility wire, and at Stockdale, another was seen. Of course, all roads in that area lead to The Birdhouse Nature Store in Wooler, and after a visit there with the owner, we continued on our way home with nothing further of interest seen until we reached Rednersville where an immature BALD EAGLE passed over us. A windy walk for one birder along the Trans Canada Trail through the Springbrook grassland, west of Twiddy Road, produced 2 UPLAND SANDPIPERS, a WILSON’S SNIPE, 1 EASTERN BLUEBIRD, 5 GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS, 10 FIELD SPARROWS, BOBOLINK, and 4 SAVANNAH SPARROWS – everything a birder would hope to find in a productive grassland. Also seen along the trail were 2 GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLERS and one BLUE-WINGED WARBLER. It’s a really good spot for birding. In Foxboro today, 24 species were present including a WOOD DUCK, 4 HOODED MERGANSERS, 3 VIRGINIA RAILS, GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, VEERY, WOOD THRUSH, and a ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK. Three AMERICAN KESTRELS along Black Road today was a nice find, as was a continuing COMMON GOLDENEYE still hanging around at the Lott Dam in Belleville. Not often we see bird reports from Charleston Lake, north of Gananoque, but today, a few species worth noting, were seen. A pair of BARRED OWLS  were reported to be “caterwauling” to each other in the Park. Also seen, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, PILEATED WOODPECKER, RED-EYED VIREO, WOOD THRUSH, VEERY, OVENBIRD (4), COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (6), BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLERS (4), among the dozen or so species noted there today. And, in Prince Edward County, 2 GREEN HERONS have been visiting a backyard along Fry Road, north of Picton. On Fish Lake, 4 COMMON LOONS  were calling this morning, and one was heard in the distance at Big Island, on Muscote Bay, also this morning. The Presqu’ile Park Weekly Bird Report by Fred Helleiner has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be found by CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, June 08: Could have been the wind; could even have been the temperatures. What ever the reason, hardly a soul was out today in the Bay of Quinte region. So, for tonight’s Report, we’ll just go with what we’ve got. Yesterday morning, at 9:30 a.m., two birders driving on a side road near Marmora, clearly heard a HOODED WARBLER  singing which came right to them when a Hooded Warbler song was played. They returned to the same spot three times today, but the warbler was gone, and was presumed to have moved on with the weather front that moved through the area today. The species does turn up several times annually at Prince Edward Point in the spring, with a couple June records at Sandbanks Park. As a nesting species, it tends to be more common in the Carolinian region of Ontario. At the Loyalist Golf Club, north of Bath, 27 species of birds were checked off there, among them, a RUDDY DUCK. Others were SCARLET TANAGER, EASTERN TOWHEE, GRAY CATBIRD, both WARBLING and RED-EYED VIREOS and 5 EASTERN KINGBIRDS. One birder at the H.R. Frink Centre admitted that he was not entirely focussed on birds during his walk along some of the forested trails, looking instead for other facets of nature, but did come up with a YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, 3 EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES, 5 OVENBIRDS, 1 LEAST FLYCATCHER, a NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH  and 2 BROWN CREEPERS. Sounds pretty attentive to me!

Tuesday, June 07: A GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, dropped into a Cressy area backyard today, seemingly interested in sharing a vacant apartment in a martin house with the PURPLE MARTINS. Along the Pleasant Bay baymouth bar (Hillier Beach), a few species were present in today’s winds – SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, SWAMP SPARROW, COMMON TERN, 15 CASPIAN TERNS, 21 RING-BILLED GULLS, a lone MALLARD, and roosting in a tree at the outlet area from Pleasant Bay to Lake Ontario, were 40 DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS. A small land mass along that stretch of beach at Pleasant Bay known as Alexander Island, contained an AMERICAN BITTERN in the grassy field, doing its best to assume the typical bittern pose, apparently unaware that he was much taller than the grass! The field also had BOBOLINKS, SAVANNAH and  FIELD SPARROW, EASTERN KINGBIRD, while the bushy and treed borders produced YELLOW WARBLER, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, WARBLING and RED-EYED VIREO, BALTIMORE ORIOLES, WILLOW FLYCATCHER and GRAY CATBIRD – 19 species in total for this rather remote section of beach at Pleasant Bay. Five WOOD DUCKS  were also seen, and a BROWN THRASHER and a HOUSE WREN were both singing at the entrance to the trail along North Beach Road. Two BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER showed up on Presqu’ile Beach today, also a SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER and, of course, the resident PIPING PLOVERS. Other species of interest seen were GADWALL, WILLOW FLYCATCHER, 3,000 RING-BILLED GULLS, and 3 warbler species – YELLOW WARBLER, AMERICAN REDSTART and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT. Two hours spent on the trail at Sheffield Conservation Area near Kaladar did, indeed, produce 3 PRAIRIE WARBLERS on Monday (contrary to yesterday’s report), three heard on the north side of the trail, at a well known site. Not bad results, given the winds yesterday and today. Belleville area resident, Peter Fuller of Fuller’s Native and Rare Plants, will be co-hosting a Know your Plants Workshop at the H.R. Frink Centre on June 9th and 12th. Assisting will be Quinte Conservation forester, David Smallwood of Marlbank.  Peter will be discussing native perennial plants and will explain understory plantings, invasive plants and habitat area. Both speakers will lead a leisurely tour along some of the conservation area’s trails. To see the poster describing the event with details and registration, CLICK HERE.

Monday, June 06: It was WOOD DUCK day  in the Bay of Quinte region today. At Peat’s Point, near Massassauga Point Conservation Area, 18 fledged WOOD DUCKS  are now occupying the cove there. More WOOD DUCKS today at the Brighton Constructed Wetland where 3 females were escorting some 25 young'uns through the open areas of the marsh. The male BUFFLEHEAD and male REDHEAD  were still present as well as 25 COMMON GALLINULES, 2 AMERICAN COOTS, a female  NORTHERN SHOVELER, a half dozen SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS, RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER, 1 MERLIN, and five MARSH WRENS constituting some of the more noteworthy species seen among the 40 species present. Even more WOOD DUCKS – 31 in total – at the Big Island Marsh, mostly males singly or in groups of 4-6. There were also 2 AMERICAN WIGEON present, 2 COMMON GALLINULES, a WILSON’S SNIPE, AMERICAN KESTREL, 2 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS and 3 MARSH WRENS among the 26 species tallied late this afternoon. Wellington Harbour may not have the concentration of waterfowl that it is known for in winter and early spring, but it does “harbour” other species. Seen today were 8 BONAPARTE’S GULLS, 1 EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, 3 WARBLING VIREOS, and singles of HOUSE WREN, BALTIMORE ORIOLE and NORTHERN FLICKER, just to mention a handful of the 20 species recorded. A half dozen PIED-BILLED GREBES  were present in the Hamilton Wetland, west of Demorestville, where other good birds present yesterday included 3 GREAT BLUE HERONS, GREAT EGRET, NORTHERN FLICKER, and an old boy’s club of some 40 male MALLARDS. At the Grays Project Wetland south of Napanee, present yesterday were  6 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, 11 MALLARDS (2 with families), 2 EASTERN KINGBIRDS scrapping over territory, 4 KILLDEERS, and 2 GREAT BLUE HERONS. At Sheffield Conservation Area, 11 km south of Kaladar, today, a few highlights there included SCARLET TANAGER, VEERY (2), RED-EYED VIREO (5), EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE (1), GREAT BLUE HERON (1), COMMON LOON (1), and 5 warbler species, among them CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT and BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER. Sadly, no PRAIRIE WARBLER which is usually present and presumed breeding here. The celebrated YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER was present again today at Thickson’s Woods, at Whitby. The following news about the Ostrander Point appeal in Prince Edward County is being circulated with great joy and enthusiasm: The Tribunal in the Ostrander Point ERT hearing has found that “the remedies proposed by Ostrander [Gilead] and the Director are not appropriate in the unique circumstances of this case.  The Tribunal finds that the appropriate remedy under s.145.2.1 (4) is to revoke the Director’s decision to issue the REA [Renewable energy Approval]”. (underlining mine) The Tribunal decision says that no matter how important renewable energy is to our future it does not automatically override the public interest in protecting against other environmental harm such as the habitat of species at risk. This was the basis of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists’  appeal. This decision not only protects the Blanding’s turtle but also the staging area for millions of migrating birds and bats and the Monarch butterflies. The Tribunal decision reminds the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change of its Statement of Environmental Values that “As our understanding of the way the natural world works and how our actions affect it is often incomplete, [government] staff should exercise caution and special concern for natural values in the face of such uncertainty.” Read more by CLICKING HERE.

Sunday, June 05: A singing male YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER continued to perform beautifully for birders today at Whitby’s Thickson’s Woods, despite 25 mm of rain. Dozens of avid birders came to see and hear the rare warbler, and all were favoured by good luck. Although usually singing from heights of 70-80 feet most of the time, it did drop down to 20 feet for one party of birders. Also seen at this location was a late TENNESSEE WARBLER  which called briefly from the waterfront trail southeast of the woods. An ACADIAN FLYCATCHER, rare for these parts was also present today. In Madoc Township, a WHITE PELICAN was seen twice this past week on a pond. Closer to the Bay of Quinte region, a total of 42 species was the take for the day at Prince Edward Point for one birder. Among the more noteworthy on the list were BALD EAGLE, a pair of BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS, a female WILSON’S WARBLER, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, and a couple of GRAY CATBIRDS. Only half as many species were found on Babylon Road, but the list there did include COMMON RAVEN, AMERICAN KESTREL, 2 WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS and a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW. A short distance on nearby Helmer Road in the South Shore Important Bird Area down in the South Bay area, yielded a pair of  nesting CEDAR WAXWINGS, OVENBIRD, FIELD SPARROW, and WHITE-THROATED SPARROW. At Presqu’ile Park today, a wing-tagged TRUMPETER SWAN was present at Gull Island. The star performers, the three PIPING PLOVERS  were present again with a pair in the exclosure, and another single bird on the beach. A first summer GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL was seen, and an ALDER FLYCATCHER  was singing in the rain in the panne south of the Beach 2 access road. In addition to an adult male ORCHARD ORIOLE at Salt point, other species present among the impressive list of 57 species seen, were 20 CASPIAN TERNS, 2 COMMON TERNS, 2 HOUSE WRENS, 6 MARSH WRENS, an INDIGO BUNTING, and two AMERICAN REDSTARTS. Other sightings today  included a GREAT EGRET that flew over Black Road, west of Demorestville, and an  EASTERN TOWHEE that popped in at a backyard at Odessa.  

Saturday, June 04: School custodian Eric Caley of West Lake, arrived at the Prince Edward Collegiate Institute, in Picton, yesterday morning at 6:15 a.m. just in time to stop an attempted break-in by a RACCOON. So fixated was this animal on getting in and heading to the cafeteria for bacon and eggs, the custodian was forced to use a shovel to lift him away from the key hole so he could unlock the door and commence his day’s work. On the Limestone Plain IBA along Nugent Road today, a couple dozen species made it on one birder’s list with some of the more notable sightings being RED-EYED VIREO, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (2), HOUSE WREN, GREEN HERON and UPLAND SANDPIPER. In a little over three hours, a Belleville birder walking the Trans Canada Trail east from Twiddy Road came up with 44 species, among them some species of interest. Three INDIGO BUNTINGS  were seen along the route, as well as the same number of SCARLET TANAGERS, EASTERN TOWHEES, BROWN THRASHERS, GRAY CATBIRDS, and VEERYS. Other species of note were GREEN HERON, VIRGINIA RAIL, six GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHERS, PILEATED WOODPECKER, and two EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES. WARBLING and RED-EYED VIREOS were also heard as well as WOOD THRUSH and 4 OVENBIRDS. Down at South Bay in Prince Edward County, noteworthy birds seen there today included AMERICAN BITTERN, COMMON TERN, AMERICAN REDSTART and INDIGO BUNTING. Some nice stuff from the Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area along Division Street, north of Kingston today with 37 species noted, among them 3 MARSH WRENS, 2 NORTHERN WATERTHRUSHES, 8 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, AMERICAN REDSTART, and both WARBLING and RED-EYED VIREOS. At Thickson’s Woods, Whitby, a YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER  was the highlight today. The bird was still present as of 2:00 p.m. this afternoon, and was reported to be singing fairly often, but required some patience before it could be spotted. The uncommon bird was singing from high in a White Pine, but sometimes moved north into the woods and would stop singing for periods of time. Other birds of interest present today at this Whitby location were BLACKPOLL WARBLER, NORTHERN FLICKER and WARBLING VIREO. Another yellow-throated bird was seen today – this time, a YELLOW-THROATED VIREO – not far north of Verona, presumed to be on migration as the species  is not commonly seen there, although it does breed north of there. No birds reported today from either Presqu’ile Park or Prince Edward Point.

Friday, June 03: Often, it is not absolutely necessary to drive into Presqu’ile Park proper to enjoy an hour’s worth of birding. One Brighton resident spent his time this morning checking out the habitat along the Presqu’ile Parkway, just prior to the main entrance, coming up with a respectable 28 species. Among the more noteworthy sightings were singles of CASPIAN TERN, RED-EYED VIREO, HOUSE WREN, EASTERN KINGBIRD, SWAMP SPARROW and BALTIMORE ORIOLE. Other good finds along this stretch of road were 10 SONG SPARROWS, 65 RING-BILLED GULLS, 2 WILLOW FLYCATCHERS, 3 WARBLING VIREOS, 3 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS and 4 YELLOW WARBLERS. This person’s luck continued on in the Park where a tardy LONG-TAILED DUCK was found, along with all three merganser species, and 3 REDHEADS  still hanging around. Also holding their own were the three PIPING PLOVERS on the beach where Ontario Parks staff put up larger exclosure (about 10'x10' with mesh roof) around the nest today. It took 7 people over 15 minutes to complete but incubating bird returned immediately after group left nest area. Other shorebird species seen today at the park were SANDERLING (1).  SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS (34), and a WILSON'S SNIPE performing its nuptials over over the pannes.   Among a chorus of calling MINK FROGS, one birder walking a 6 kilometre stretch of California Road, east of Tamworth racked up a list of 48 species for his time, some of the more interesting finds being 5 WOOD DUCKS, an AMERICAN BITTERN, 6 GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHERS, 16 RED-EYED VIREOS, 5 VEERYS, a HERMIT THRUSH, 2 WOOD THRUSHES, an INDIGO BUNTING, 2 SCARLET TANAGERS, and 10 warbler species, among them a GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER and 19 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS. Down at South Bay in Prince Edward County, a GREEN HERON, GRAY CATBIRD, AMERICAN REDSTART, and BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO were just a few of 36 species noted there. The BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO was vocalizing again this morning along the Sprague/Monkman Trail west of Sprague Road on Big Island, as was a WHIP-POOR-WILL early this morning, both ALDER and WILLOW FLYCATCHERS, CLAY-COLORED SPARROW and WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS and, of course, a plethora of EASTERN MEADOWLARKS and BOBOLIKS and the occasional SAVANNAH SPARROW. Two hours spent along the Trail of Two Lakes at West Huntington, off Highway 62, resulted in 41 species of birds being seen, including 9 WOOD DUCKS (female with 8 young), RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, VIRGINIA RAIL, 2 ALDER FLYCATCHERS, a PILEATED WOODPECKER, 5 VEERYS, 3 NORTHERN WATERTHRUSHES, 3 NASHVILLE WARBLERS, and 6 each of COMMON YELLOWTHROAT and YELLOW WARBLERS. Some species noted today in central Foxboro were 3 CHIMNEY SWIFTS, HOUSE WREN, GRAY CATBIRD and AMERICAN REDSTART. Some good birding today despite the season being the tail end of the migration.

Thursday, June 02: Not very often this happens. There was virtually no one out birding at all in the Bay of Quinte and Kingston regions, at least, as far as any entries on eBird are concerned. And, no sightings e-mailed either. So, I will sit back this evening and read a good book instead!  The Presqu’ile Park Weekly Bird Wrap-up by Fred Helleiner has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be found by CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, June 01: A BUFFLEHEAD and a REDHEAD  continue to delight birders with their presence at the Brighton Constructed Wetland. Both are a bit tardy this spring in leaving for their usual nesting grounds – the boreal forests for the BUFFLEHEAD, and the Prairies for the REDHEAD. However, there are several summer records  for both species, and even a couple nesting records for both species for both the Kingston and Presqu’ile Park areas. Significant sightings though just the same. Other species present in the Brighton wetland today were CANADA GEESE with goslings, COMMON GALLINULE, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD, MUTE SWAN and WOOD DUCK. At the Presqu’ile Provincial Park lighthouse today, a few of the species seen there were 2 EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES, LEAST FLYCATCHER,  NASHVILLE WARBLER and CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER. One birding spot we have never heard from has been Rock Dunder. This spectacular property is a remarkable formation of beautiful pink granite that towers some 250 feet above the Rideau Canal at the village of Morton, just south of Jones Falls. A couple really nice trails, one of which takes the visitor to the summit, offering a sweeping vista of Morton Bay and the Rideau Canal in one direction, high enough that it is even possible to see the Thousand Islands Skydeck tower in the distance in another direction. Seen there this morning were BROAD-WINGED HAWK, GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, HERMIT THRUSH, 2 SCARLET TANAGERS, and five warbler species – OVENBIRD, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, as well as PINE, BLACKBURNIAN, and NASHVILLE WARBLERS. The nesting PIPING PLOVER at Darlington Provincial Park continues to attract more than the usual number of birders, and among the birds of note seen there today were 2 each of MARSH WREN and WOOD THRUSH, MERLIN and one each of ALDER and WILLOW FLYCATCHERS. On the trail west of our house on Big Island today, both ALDER and WILLOW FLYCATCHERS  were singing within metres of each other, providing an excellent opportunity to compare and compare their songs, for the birds themselves are barely distinguishable from each other, and only their songs offer a clue as to their identity. Once again BOBOLINKS and EASTERN MEADOWLARKS  are nesting in good numbers in the hay fields there which are harvested much later in the season to protect the two species. Backyards on Big Island and along Black Road, west of Demorestville, both had singing GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHERS today. At a wetland east of Stirling today, 25 species of birds were noted with GREEN HERON, RED-TAILED HAWK, ALDER FLYCATCHER, BANK SWALLOW, and GRAY CATBIRD being among the more significant. At Twiddy Road, 500 metres of Wood Road, northwest of Ivanoe, LAWRENCE’S, BREWSTER’S and BLUE-WINGED WARBLER males continue to vocalize and be seen on territory there. Interestingly, a female GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER appears to have chosen the BREWSTER’S WARBLER , probably because of his GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER song.

Last Updated ( Aug 29, 2016 at 06:10 PM )
Prince Edward County Field Naturalists PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Spraque   
Aug 28, 2016 at 06:00 AM


The Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, founded in 1997, is an affiliate of Ontario Nature. It provides an educational forum dedicated to the study, promotion, appreciation and conservation of the flora and fauna within Prince Edward County.

S A V E    O S T R A N D E R   P O I N T  ! ! !


  • Encourage the enjoyment of nature;
  • Promote public interest in the appreciation and study of nature; and
  • Advance the conservation and preservation of Prince Edward County’s natural resources, habitat and environment.

At monthly meetings, guest speakers introduce a variety of nature related topics that are of interest to club members. All members are encouraged to participate at meetings by sharing their experiences and observations.Regularly scheduled field trips in the vicinity offer members the opportunity to experience various habitats.

(Link to our monthly newsletter at bottom of page)

New! Fabulous Fall Fungi workshops. Scroll to bottom of page for details


President..............................................................................Myrna Wood
Vice-President.......................................................................Sandra Dowds
Membership Secretary .......................................................... Agneta Sand
Treasurer..............................................................................Sheena Kennedy
Newsletter Editor....................................................................Sandra Dowds
Member At Large: ................................................................  Sheila Kuja
Member At Large: ................................................................  Allan Kuja
Member At Large: ................................................................  Sue Banks
Member At Large: ................................................................  Gerry Jenkison
Member At Large: ................................................................  Elizabeth Cowan


Membership in PECFN is open to all.

Single: $15.00
Family: $30.00

Student: $5.00

Corporation: $50.00

Contact: Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, P.O. Box 477, Bloomfield, Ontario K0K 1G0
Photo: Guided hike at the Alderville Black Oak Savanna on September 26, 2015. Photo by Agneta Sand



  • founders and co-sponsors of the annual Prince Edward County Birding Festival
  • initiated the Prince Edward Point Important Bird Area (now South Shore IBA)
  • comments on environmental issues to local, provincial and fedearl governments
  • lobbying against the use of Dombind on Prince Edward County roads
  • involved with other organizations in starting the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory 
  • participates on committees and panels on conservation oriented issues in Prince Edward County
  • regular field trips and indoor meetings to heighten awareness of natural history in Prince Edward County
  • contributed $3,000 toward the purchase of the Miller Family Nature Reserve
  • awarded the 2012 Conservation Nature Award from Ontario Nature
  • made presentation to the consultants writing the Official Plan Review draft that the Review specifically protect the South Shore as a Core area of conservation, also recommending stronger protection for woodlands and wetlands. 
  • organizes and holds an annual Bioblitz of the South Shore Important Bird Area
  • displays at Picton and Milford Fairs
  • spearheaded the Save Ostrander Point effort

Photo: PECFN members  look over a large area of Big Bluestem at the Alderville Black Oak Savanna on September 26, 2015. Photo by Agneta Sand

* * PECFN Celebrates Award Nomination * *

Kingston Field Naturalists and Quinte Field Naturalists have nominated PECFN for the W.E. Saunders Natural History Award from Ontario Nature. The nomination describes PECFN’s commitment to preserving the PEC South Shore IBA in the following terms: “Appealing against the Ostrander Point approval is a David versus Goliath task! The difficulty is immense, but the significance is enormous. – If wind turbines cannot be stopped at Ostrander Point in the heart of an IBA, they are unlikely to be stopped on environmental grounds anywhere in Ontario."

“The leadership qualities demonstrated by the PECFN are amazing. In the face of a giant, this dedicated group analyzes the issues and formulates well organized plans to move forward, always communicating well, and recruiting many skilled people to support its cause. PECFN’s campaign has educated many people about the value of caring for our natural environment. They are truly environmental heroes!”

We are humbled by this over the top description of our efforts to Save Ostrander Point and thank KFN and QFN for their support of the cause.


Click the link below to see the 2015 PECFN Bioblitz results:



Meetings are held at the Bloomfield Town Hall on the last Tuesday of the month (September through May, except December) starting at 7:00 p.m. Everyone welcome. 


Our Next Meeting ! !

Speaker: To be announced

Topic:  To be announced

Date: Tuesday, September  27, 2016

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Location: Bloomfield Town Hall


Looking ahead to upcoming Meetings

The 2016-2017 schedule will be available at a later date.


PECFN has regular outings to investigate areas of natural and scientific interest such as conservation areas, the Millennium Trail as well as to lakeshores and woodlands.


Date: Outing Report to come
 Point Traverse Memories
by Terry Sprague
Birding friends are amazed when I tell them there once was a roadway that entered the Point Traverse Woods from the corner and followed the main walking path of today to the cliff side on the north side of the peninsula overlooking Prince Edward Bay. From there, it headed east along the steep cliff side and followed the east edge of the sharp drop-off, circling around and coming back out at its origin. Moreover, I drove this roadway with my car back in the 1960s! The gnarled wild apple tree is still there, as are two or three remaining mature trees along the edge of the cliff, and rough-winged swallows still cavort along the edge of the cliff as they did in the1960s. I have fond memories of the Point Traverse Woods, for it is here where I found my first Kentucky warbler, and three  years ago, that old apple tree contained 12 Baltimore orioles, all males, on a bright, sunshiny day in May. I remember this same area producing the entire family of Mimids - a brown thrasher, a gray catbird and a northern mockingbird - all singing and in view at the same time. My first worm-eating warbler was found here, as well as my second only sedge wren. Every spring is filled with recollections of this spot - two springs ago when Tennessee warblers were singing with such energy, the leaves where they perched shook, and one day last spring when I stood in one spot and tallied an incredible 18 species of warblers without moving from the trunk of a tree upon which I leaned in absolute exhaustion. It is a wonderful place, seemingly at the end of the earth, certainly at the end of the county, and as many have discovered - a long way from a Tim Horton’s ! Special places like this are needed, places that are quiet, removed from the mainstream of traffic - both human and automobile. Above all, it is a place where the cell phone seldom finds a signal strong enough to ring!


"Wind turbines don’t run on wind, they run on subsidies." - Professor Ross McKitrick

The Prince Edward County Field Naturalists are passionate about nature. It is our club policy to support renewable energy. However, we believe, along with Nature Canada, Ontario Nature and the Suzuki Foundation that wind turbine developments should never be sited in areas where they will cause significant harm to migrating birds, bats and butterflies or destroy the habitat of endangered species.Through the Save Ostrander Point campaign we are opposing the construction of industrial wind turbine development at Ostrander Point, in the Prince Edward County South Shore Important Bird Area. Ostrander Point is in a major migratory pathway and is the home of the endangered Blanding’s Turtle and several other species at risk.

Ostrander Point – will it still be a hotspot? Article submitted to Trail and Landscape by Paul Catling, Sheila McKay-Kuja, Brenda Kostiuk, and Allen Kuja: Some of the great ecologists of our time have said that the battle to protect Canadian biodiversity will be won or lost on the land between the protected sites. This was because there are not enough of them and they are not connected. Some hoped that we could start with the protected areas and add to that base with increased protective attitudes on the part of landowners led by exemplary protection of natural resources by governments. Ostrander Point is a key location in this concept of connectivity being a link between Prince Edward Point and Point Petre. The former is second only to the world-renowned Point Pelee National Park in its numbers and diversity of birds. Read more........

For more information and updates on our efforts, click on the link below:

S A V E    O S T R A N D E R   P O I N T  ! ! !



To view, click the link below


 January 2016 Newsletter

March 2016 Newsletter


January 2015 Newsletter

March 2015 Newsletter

May 2015 Newsletter



February 2014 Newsletter

April 2014 Newsletter

September 2014 Newsletter

November 2014 Newsletter


January 2013 Newsletter

April 2013 Newsletter

September 2013 Newsletter

November 2013 Newsletter


January 2012 Newsletter

March 2012 Newsletter

September 2012 Newsletter

November 2012 Newsletter

CORRECTION: On page 2 of the above September, 2014 newsletter, the bottom 2 shorebirds on the left are Greater Yellowlegs, and on the right, a Black-bellied Plover. The PECFN newsletter apologizes for the misprint.


PECFN is always involved in many projects around Prince Edward County. As these projects unfold, news of them will be carried here:

The Rotary Club of Wellington is upgrading 8 km of the Millennium Trail through Wellington for the use of residents and tourists, particularly cyclists, because it is too rough to ride a bike on it. That leaves 41 km more to be done from Carrying Place to Picton. PECFN may be interested in serving on this committee to ensure that habitat preservation and the interests of naturalists are addressed. Read more.........





Now in its 7th year!
Queen’s University Biological Station
Sept. 13-16, Sept. 20-23, Sept. 25-30, Oct. 04-7
CLICK HERE  to see poster with details
* * * * * * * * * * 




Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre

Last Updated ( Aug 28, 2016 at 01:51 PM )
Quinte Conservation (updated Aug. 25) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Spraque   
Aug 25, 2016 at 08:52 PM
Facebook  Twitter  YouTube
August 2016| Issue 21
Deerock Lake Conservation Area
A great place for a family fishing trip  

Looking for a place to take the family fishing?  Try Deerock Lake Conservation Area.  This small piece of property contains a boat launch and provides public water access to Deerock Lake, a popular destination for anglers. Permits/passes may be obtained from the attendant on duty (in season-from mid-June to Labour Day). This area also provides access to the Elzevir Peatlands Conservation Reserve, which has some opportunities for camping.
Step Into Nature: Go on a Bug Hunt

Step into nature by going on a fun and educational bug hunt.  Make a tally sheet for bugs (and other creatures) you think you might find on your walk at a local conservation area.  Let the children keep track of how many of each bug they find.
Go Green: Have Your Family Say "No" to Bottled Water

Ontario has some of the country's strongest treatment, testing, operator training and public reporting standards for its municipal drinking water. And, on top of that, it has a program to protect municipal drinking water sources from contamination and depletion. All great reasons to enjoy municipal drinking water and to say "no thanks" to bottled water.

Here are a few more good reasons to say "no" to bottled water: 
  • It takes more than 3 liters of water to make each plastic water bottle!
  • Only one in 5 plastic water bottles ever makes it to a recycling bin - the rest end up in our landfills or as litter, and
  • Bottled water is delivered by truck! Tap water is delivered by gravity!

So let's think twice before using bottled water. We can easily reduce or eliminate our use of bottled water by carrying a refillable personal container. So, do yourself and the environment a favour, just say NO to bottled water.  

Craft - Migration Friendly Window Decorations

As we get closer to bird migration season you can get ready by creating some migration friendly window decorations.  While you are making the decorations, chat with the children in your life about bird migration and the adventures (and dangers) that birds face on their long journey south.

Click here for craft instructions   

Species of the Month: Blanding's Turtle

The Blanding's Turtle can be easily identified by its yellow throat and jaw. It has a smooth, domed shell that many people say looks like a military helmet.

This medium-sized turtle likes to live in shallow wetland areas with ample vegetation. The Blanding's Turtle may walk up to 7 km in a season to look for a mate or nesting site. This makes it especially vulnerable to being killed on the road.

Blanding's Turtles eat many types of small fish and tadpoles. They also like several invertebrates such as insects and crayfish. They eat very little plant matter.

The Blanding's Turtle is Threatened in Ontario. Threats to this species include being killed on roadways, habitat destruction and collection for the pet trade.

Under Ontario's Endangered Species Act 2007, the Blanding's Turtle is protected from any actions that may cause further harm to the species. It is also protected under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.

In This Issue
Wildwood Academy
A fun, all weather playgroup

Family Space and Quinte Conservation have teamed up to provide an exciting outdoor play-based learning program at Potter's Creek Conservation Area in Belleville.  Activities are geared toward toddlers and pre-schoolers.The program runs every Friday from 9:30 am - 11:30 am.

Click here to find out more about Wildwood Academy
Stay Connected with Quinte Conservation
Quinte Conservation has a wide variety of e-newsletters that cover topics such as camping, source water protection, flood information and more.  Click the link below for a complete list of newsletters we offer. 
Contact Us
Quinte Conservation
RR # 2, 2061 Old Highway 2
Belleville, ON
K8N 4Z2

Phone: (613) 968-3434 or (613) 354-3312
Presqu'ile Provincial Park Bird Report PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Spraque   
Aug 25, 2016 at 03:00 AM

Fred Helleiner. Photo by R. CollinsFred Helleiner. Photo by R. CollinsPresqu'ile Provincial Park Bird Report

Presqu'ile Provincial Park

courtesy of Fred Helleiner


August 19 - August 25

Not only has the fall bird migration at Presqu'ile Provincial Park got into full swing, but the variety now includes a good many passerines to complement the shorebirds that have held sway in recent weeks and
continue to provide excellent viewing opportunities.
For the second consecutive week, a BRANT was on the beach, this time yesterday evening.  The TRUMPETER SWAN that has been among the other swans around Sebastopol Point for several weeks was still there this morning, as was a GREATER SCAUP among the REDHEADS.  A single BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO was at the lighthouse on Sunday and a YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO was in Jobes' woods on Tuesday.  Yesterday evening a CHIMNEY SWIFT flew over.  The observer who found a SORA yesterday probably got to see the bird, since most vocalization has ceased for the season.  At least some of the COMMON GALLINULES that were hatched in the woodpile marsh this summer are still there but fully grown.
Ruddy Turnstone. Photo by John VieiraFifteen species of shorebirds and a hundred or more individuals have put in an appearance in the past week at Owen Point, where they feed within metres of the viewing area in habitat (algae flats) that is more natural than in sewage lagoons.  Some of the highlights include RUDDY TURNSTONE (photo by John Vieira of Oakville), STILT SANDPIPER (one or two almost every day), BAIRD'S SANDPIPER (several almost every day), WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER, PECTORAL SANDPIPER, SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, GREATER YELLOWLEGS.  A GREEN HERON pretending to be a shorebird has also been among them or nearby on most days. GREAT EGRETS frequently fly past there.  An adult BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON flew over the marsh at dusk on Sunday.
A YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER was at the calf pasture.  A MERLIN has been making repeated passes over the shorebirds.  The coming week will mark the fourth anniversary of the discovery of a THICK-BILLED KINGBIRD, which delighted many birders from far afield for a period of four days.  It now serves as a reminder that rare flycatchers from the west and south-west do occasionally show up in southern Ontario in fall.  A good variety of warblers can be found on most days.  At least fifteen species have been seen, plus a good many more that got away before being identified. The first two SCARLET TANAGERS of the season were at the calf pasture yesterday.
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. 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.

Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to:


Last Updated ( Aug 25, 2016 at 08:37 PM )
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