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Wild About Wildlife, Belleville PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Spraque   
Jul 25, 2016 at 03:26 PM
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Wild About Wildlife
Family Nature Day in Belleville
Date:
Thursday, August 4, 2016
Time:
11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Location:
Riverside Park in Belleville
(next to the Pirate Ship Park)

Enjoy all-ages activities in the great outdoors

  • Falcon and Raptor Display at 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • Reptile Display
  • Make a plant pot and take home a seedling
  • Nature games, crafts, activities and more
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult 

Sponsored by
Trees
Contact Us
Quinte Conservation
RR # 2, 2061 Old Highway 2
Belleville, ON
K8N 4Z2

email:
Phone: (613) 968-3434 or (613) 354-3312
www.quinteconservation.ca
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Quinte Conservation, 2061 Old Highway 2, RR#2, Belleville, Ontario K8N 4Z2 Canada
Quinte Area Bird Report PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Spraque   
Jul 25, 2016 at 03:00 AM

Greater & Lesser Yellowlegs. Photo by Keith Gregoire Greater & Lesser Yellowlegs. Photo by Keith GregoireTHE QUINTE AREA BIRD REPORT


 

with sightings from the Bay of Quinte region, and beyond

 

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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.  


Mallard. Photo by Sydney SmithMonday, 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, but this MALLARD and her young found it very much to their liking. Photo is by Sydney Smith of Wellington. Other birds found today did not have such good luck. 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 Black Bear. Photo by Tyler Hoarnow until freeze-up will be quite severe.  On a brighter note, this 150-200 lb. BLACK BEAR was spotted lumbering along the south end of Kings Road near Point Petre. Photo is by Tyler Hoar of Oshawa who was conducting the survey today. 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.

Tuesday, May 31: Naphan Road, north of Marysville has a pit. I did not know this, but according to birders who were there this morning, there are birds to be had. Not a whole lot, mind you, according to one couple who birded there this morning, but some decent species like EASTERN KINGBIRD, BARN SWALLOW, COMMON RAVEN, BROWN THRASHER, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, YELLOW WARBLER, SONG SPARROW, COMMON GRACKLE and AMERICAN GOLDFINCH. Just a bit west of there, on Cheese Factory Trail, the duo fared a little better in the hour or so they were there, finding RED-EYED VIREO, VEERY, GRAY CATBIRD, 2 OVENBIRDS, AMERICAN REDSTART, CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, 4 FIELD SPARROWS, INDIGO BUNTING and 2 GOLDEN-WINGED/BLUE-WINGED WARBLERS. At the North Foxboro Marsh, two hours spent there yielded 10 WOOD DUCKS, a PIED-BILLED GREBE, LEAST BITTERN, and an AMERICAN WOODCOCK with its fledgling trailing along behind. BLACK TERNS, BELTED KINGFISHER, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, WARBLING VIREO, RED-EYED VIREO, VEERY, 4 MARSH WRENS, OVENBIRD, PINE WARBLER were other birds of note among the 40 species tallied.  Tonight, 3 COMMON NIGHTHAWKS were seen flying over the rail yard south of Airport Parkway on the east side of Belleville. They were calling and diving around dusk today (8:45-9:00).  Could be a good spot if anyone wants to view them.

Monday, May 30: We’re approaching that period in the year when the spring migration begins to wind down, and more attention is concentrated in the area of backyard nesting birds. A little exploration in traditionally good birding areas will always produce something at this time of the year. Even culverts will produce something. At one such outflow from Deroche Lake along Moneymore Road east of Roslin, one birder found a MERLIN, 2 ALDER FLYCATCHERS, SCARLET TANAGER,  RED-EYED VIREO, BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, as well as both YELLOW and NASHVILLE WARBLERS. A contractor with the Enhanced Marsh Monitoring Program was surveying the wetland on the north side of Hay Bay and documented two AMERICAN BITTERNS and a LEAST BITTERN. The same surveyor volunteering at a site on the Crowe River closer to her home in the Allan Mills area west of Springbrook recorded GREAT BLUE HERON, a female HOODED MERGANSER as well as COMMON MERGANSERS. Also conducting an amphibian survey, she recorded a Code 3 for singing AMERICAN TOADS, indicating that din of singing toads was far too great to estimate their numbers. AMERICAN TOADS  don’t often receive this high a code.  At Presqu’ile Park, the three PIPING PLOVERS were present again today. Interestingly, at Darlington Beach, a pair of  banded PIPING PLOVERS also turned up. The male of this pair was hatched and banded at Whitefish Point, Michigan in 2015. The female of this pair was hatched and banded at Manistee, Michigan in 2015. On May 27th, this female has laid its first egg on the beach at Darlington making this two active breeding pairs which are nesting there. The female bird from the first pair was banded and  is known to have originated from a nest in Michigan. The male bird is also banded and is known to be one of the birds that fledged from a nest at Wasaga Beach in 2015. This pair is currently incubating a full clutch of four eggs which will be due to hatch about June 18th plus or minus a day. In addition, another unbanded PIPING PLOVER has been seen on the same beach and another banded PIPING PLOVER was seen during the week moving east past Thickson's Woods at Whitby.The location of this second nest has been shared with the recovery team for the Piping Plover of the Canadian Wildlife Service and further protection of this nest (territory perimeter fencing, do not enter signage, no dogs allowed signage, a predator exclosure, nest surveillance, etc.) has already been established under the joint auspices of the Canadian Wildlife Service, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Ontario Parks. The posted signage warns that fines may be issued to those who do not obey the posted access restrictions. Considered to be one of the rarest breeding birds in Ontario,  this Endangered Species is only now just trying to establish a new "beachhead" on Lake Ontario, where continued success might serve to provide range extension to other suitable beaches on Lake Ontario and Lake Erie and the impetus for continued strong population growth say the observer who discovered the birds at Darlington.  Observers are requested to view the birds from outside the far west or east ends of the cordoned territory only. A section of the south perimeter allows observers to walk along the shoreline, but clear signage has been erected asking observers not to stop adjacent to the exclosure for observations, but to use this merely as a passage to enable access to both ends of the beach. In an era when so many of our birds are showing alarming declines, this is an enormously encouraging and novel conservation success story being written one Ontario beach at a time. Particularly after the unfortunate nest failure on Toronto's Hanlan's Point last summer, let's hope that conservationists can do everything possible to help ensure that both of these pairs of PIPING PLOVERS have a successful nesting season  at Darlington in 2016, and that the story is repeated at Presqu'ile Park, too.

Sunday, May 29: It was a long, but very productive day yesterday, for two Belleville area birders. At the Tweed Sewage Lagoons, seen were 10 WOOD DUCKS, 3 BLUE-WINGED TEAL, and one each of REDHEAD, GREEN HERON, BROAD-WINGED HAWK, BANK SWALLOW, GRAY CATBIRD, WILLOW FLYCATCHER and GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER. Sewage lagoons are known for their appeal to shorebirds, and birders are well known for going where the birds are, with no apology. The lagoons didn’t disappoint with seven species present – 1 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, 7 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, 8 KILLDEER, 2 LEAST SANDPIPERS, 4 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS, WILSON’S SNIPE, and two DUNLIN. A 45-minute trek along the Trans Canada Trail, off Sulphide Road, east of Tweed, resulted in some nice birds found there including EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, VEERY, OVENBIRD, two GOLDEN-WINGED/BLUE-WINGED WARBLERS, AMERICAN REDSTART, CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, GRAY CATBIRD and FIELD SPARROW. At Bronk Road, north of Blessington Road, some species seen there included BOBOLINK, GRASSHOPPER SPARROW, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, and BROWN THRASHER. A couple hundred RING-BILLED GULLS  were milling about  behind the Belleville Walmart where also seen were a HOODED MERGANSER, CASPIAN TERN, and one lonely HOUSE SPARROW, the latter almost a Species at Risk in some local areas. Who would have thought that day would ever come? At the College Street Bridge over the Moira River (Belleville), a SPOTTED SANDPIPER, 2 EASTERN KINGBIRDS, and a couple YELLOW WARBLERS were highlights there. Along Airport Parkway just on the east side of town, 5 COMMON NIGHTHAWKS made their appearance, and 2 CHIMNEY SWIFTS were seen over St Thomas’ Church in Belleville. Three days ago, there was a late BUFFLEHEAD at the Brighton Constructed Wetland. A few shorebirds were present including SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, DUNLIN (2), SEMIPALMATED PLOVER and KILLDEER. Other good birds among the 26 species present were COMMON GALLINULE, AMERICAN COOT, GADWALL, BLUE-WINGED TEAL, REDHEAD, WOOD DUCK, MARSH WREN and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT. At Presqu’ile Park today, WINTER WREN, WOOD THRUSH and SCARLET TANAGER were among 66 species seen by one birder, with others being INDIGO BUNTING, 2 ORCHARD ORIOLES, and nine warbler species. One PIPING PLOVER  was feeding in the enclosure area where it and two others have been present for several days now.  No update on the CHUCK-WILL’S-WIDOW along Hilltop Road at the Miller Family Nature Reserve in the Milford area, but WHIP-POOR-WILLS are now calling at South Bay and another continues to call from various locations along Sprague Road, Big Island.

Saturday, May 28: Man, it’ hot out there! I did my early morning walk on my established 2 km trail around the neighbour's hay fields, real early, at 4:15 a.m.! Clearly, the birds have excellent “bird brains” as a total of 22 species were singing little snippets of songs while it was nice and cool – shrouded in fog and with just a hint of moonlight. Particularly vocal was the WHIP-POOR-WILL calling with a backdrop of AMERICAN BITTERNS, PIED-BILLED GREBE, MARSH WREN, SWAMP SPARROW and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT  emanating from the Big Island Marsh. A Belleville volunteer with the Marsh Monitoring Program last evening conducted bird surveys at the Brennan Road Marsh (northeast of Belleville) and at the Harmony Road wetland, north of Belleville.   The Brennan Road site is close to 100% cattails but it did produce 1 AMERICAN BITTERN and 1 VIRGINIA RAIL. The Harmony Road site was drained earlier this spring when Hydro One breached a beaver dam, still has a narrow creek/ditch which drains the swamp and Frink Centre Marsh. It drains to the south despite how close it is to the Moira River to the north. There were 3 MALLARDS, a CANADA GOOSE, 2 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS and 2 KILLDEERS,  but not even a hint of any of the target species (Pied-billed Grebe, Least Bittern, Sora, Virginia Rail, etc.) . Since Hydro only does the clearing of brush, etc. every 10 years or so it is hoped that the beavers will rebuild the dam and recreate the wetland which had become such a biding mecca, until this spring. All is not lost though as there is still an active heronry in what is left of the wetland, with 11 nests of GREAT BLUE HERONS, 5 of which were occupied. Also in the general area, Enright Road near Read produced a calling WHIP-POOR-WILL last night, and another was heard on Power Road not far from there. The same volunteer did a Grassland Survey along Old Milford Road today, coming up with a conservative 40 BOBOLINKS (likely many more). There were also several along Jackson's Falls Road. There was a BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO in the woods just south of the dump on Old Milford Road  and possibly a second a little further south. Also several SAVANNAH SPARROWS in all grasslands, so they're prospering too. On Crowe’s Road near Milford, in addition to an AMERICAN KESTREL, there were also an ALDER FLYCATCHER and an EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE. Non-avian flyers were represented primarily by GIANT SWALLOWTAILS  of which there were several. Prince Edward Point at 7:00 a.m. produced a few birds before the heat built up – a respectable 34 species, with noteworthy sightings being 14 RED-EYED VIREOS, 1 BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER, 25 BLACKPOLL WARBLERS, 3 WILSON’S WARBLERS, and 2 SCARLET TANAGERS.

Friday, May 27:  At least one stalwart birder was in today’s heat at Presqu’ile Park. Among the more noteworthy sightings were GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, EASTERN BLUEBIRD, and GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER. At Prince Edward Point, good sightings there today were EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, ORCHARD ORIOLE, 2 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, and NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD. The latter species was also seen a few days ago in Wellington and another was seen today near Kaiser Crossroad. Also at the Prince Edward Bird Observatory, bird banders reported that it was a steady day of banding  with GRAY-CHEEKED and SWAINSON'S THRUSH, BROWN THRASHER, INDIGO BUNTING, 10 species of warbler (WILSON'S, BLACKPOLL, MAGNOLIA), GRAY CATBIRDS and lots of migrating BLUE JAYS passing through. The woods and trails everywhere are abuzz with sights and sounds right now, and with the heavy foliage, birding by ear is definitely a plus. One unmistakable song is that of the BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO, and two were heard singing today – one at Stirling, and another west of Sprague Road at Big Island, where a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW  continues his insect-like call almost daily from the same spot. Fred Helleiner's Presqu'ile Park Bird Report has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be found by CLICKING HERE.

Thursday, May 26: Belleville photographer Kenzo Dozono, was enjoying a cup of coffee on the boardwalk at the H.R. Frink Centre this morning, north of Belleville, when a PILEATED WOODPECKER landed almost at his feet! The bird remained there for a good 10 minutes while Kenzo came to terms with the surprise visit and adjusted his camera to get a photo. The shorebird migration is building. Today at Presqu’ile Park, there were 18 RUDDY TURNSTONES and 33 DUNLIN, along with a half dozen SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS and a couple SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS.  KILLDEER and SPOTTED SANDPIPER, were also present, 5 of each. A baker’s dozen of warblers with NORTHERN PARULA, WILSON’S WARBLER and 13 BLACKPOLL WARBLERS. No action at Prince Edward Point – at least, non that was reported – but just east of there at Amherst Island some interesting birds seen there have included 8 LEAST BITTERNS. Sightings at Kingston’s Lemoine Point Conservation Area have included WOOD THRUSH, GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, LEAST FLYCATCHER,  EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, OVENBIRD, SCARLET TANAGER, and EASTERN TOWHEE. A prolific area everyone should plan to visit, but give yourself lots of time to explore the maze of trails and rich habitat. Today at nearby Marshlands Conservation Area, birds of note seen were PILEATED WOODPECKER, YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER, SWAINSON’S THRUSH , and a half dozen species of warbler including MAGNOLIA, PINE, AMERICAN REDSTART and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT. This morning at a bridge on Collins Creek, an Odessa birder stopped to gaze  over the bridge looking for a heron and a RED-EYED VIREO flew right into the tree in front of him. Over Brighton way, and a bit north, Goodrich-Loomis Conservation Area is not an area that one would call unsurpassed for its variety of birds (save the rogue NORTHERN GOSHAWK that attacks hikers!), but an amazing variety can be found within a kilometre of the main gate. One birder yesterday found 11 warbler species on territory, including OVENBIRD, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, AMERICAN REDSTART, BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, MOURNING WARBLER, BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER, NASHVILLE WARBLER, and PINE WARBLER. Especially nice were two CANADA WARBLERS and three BLUE-WINGED WARBLERS on territory.    Sort of dispels the common belief that all warbler species migrate to the boreal forests to nest. Some are quite content to stay right here. Miscellaneous bird species seen today in other areas were a BARRED OWL at Deroche Lake off Colonization Road (east of Thomasburg), and a very vocal CLAY-COLORED SPARROW  on the west side of Sprague Road at Big Island.

Wednesday, May 25: Once again, we focus our evening Report on Presqu’ile Provincial Park. Of course, tomorrow evening, Presqu’ile Park resident Fred Helleiner will have his weekly roundup which will be posted on the NatureStuff website either tomorrow night or Friday night. This is WHIMBREL season, and just following the annual Warblers and Whimbrels Weekend at the Park, 9 WHIMBRELS made an appearance today. Three SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS, 2 SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, 4 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS and a single SANDERLING  were also present today. Also seen, a BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON, 10 GADWALL, 4 NORTHERN SHOVELERS, 3 REDHEADS, and 8 COMMON TERNS. No reports today from Prince Edward Point today, but we can assume that the migration is still in full swing. Goodrich-Loomis Conservation Area, north of Brighton, continues to be a productive spot to bird with recent discoveries being CANADA WARBLER, OVENBIRD and PILEATED WOODPECKER. Just remember, if birding the trails there, along the two-km Loop D’ Loop, just off of the Esker Trail at the far end of the trail system, there is a very aggressive NORTHERN GOSHAWK nesting that is not beyond dive-bombing a hiker and doing some damage. One birder has already been attacked and injured while doing a Forest Bird Monitoring Program survey. Lower Trent has already posted a notice on their website about the risks of exploring this trail this month, and possibly through July. In the last couple of days, Beaver Meadow Conservation Area has been good with COMMON NIGHTHAWK early in the morning and active LEAST BITTERNS - calling in the morning and 2 flying around in the evening.  Even 2 SANDHILL CRANES came in to roost one evening.  Also GREEN HERON, MARSH WRENS, AMERICAN BITTERN and BLACK TERNS (nesting). At the Hamilton Wetland, west of Demorestville, there are GREAT EGRETS, and both LESSER and GREATER YELLOWLEGS. No word as to whether or not the CHUCK-WILL’S WIDOW  is still at the Miller Family Nature Reserve at Brewer's Road and Hilltop Road, but was present the night of May 23rd. Of course, this location is reliable for WHIP-POOR-WILL, and another was calling relentlessly last night along Sprague Road at Big Island. If you are patient, Babylon Road at South Bay will produce GRASSHOPPER SPARROW and CLAY-COLORED SPARROW, and the occasional UPLAND SANDPIPER, although for how long as the habitat is quickly being rendered unattractive to these species by the encroaching Red Cedars. Backyard birds today included some welcome species along Luck’s Crossroad, near Picton where GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, EASTERN KINGBIRD and GRAY CATBIRDS are dithering where to nest. The photo on the left of a CHUCK-WILL’S WIDOW was taken a year ago, on May 27th, when bird bander David Okines succeeded in catching the bird and banding it. It is not known if this year’s bird is the same individual although it is presumed to be.  

Tuesday, May 24: It seems that ATVs are good for something. A VEERY was seen at sunrise this morning at Deroche Lake east of Thomasburg, otherwise known as the Cassidy Block. The bird was bathing in what appeared to be an ATV track in the mud in the section just east of the lake, off Colonization Road. Fortunately no off road vehicles were seen or heard that early in the morning, giving one birder a chance to chalk up a list of over 50 species. The five kilometre, six hour casual walk, resulted in species typical of this 3,000 acre property including RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, 3 WOOD THRUSHES, 15 OVENBIRDS, 1 GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER (with a BLUE-WINGED WARBLER  song), BLUE-WINGED WARBLER, and numerous other warbler species. One of them, a CERLULEAN WARBLER, was heard at 6:10 a.m., in the same spot as a week ago. On his return trip to the car, there were two CERULEANS singing at the same time on either side of the roadway.  Interesting was the sighting of four other birds that flew from a group of conifers with calls like those of a RED CROSSBILL. In flight, they appeared like bulky finch-like birds with notched tails, one of them with streaking like a juvenile, and another with pale yellow undersides. Deroche Lake is a great spot and I have birded there several times, and have led guided hikes in there, on both sides of the lake. The property is owned by Quinte Conservation. I have a need to go back again soon.   Some good sightings at Presqu’ile Park early this morning starting with a PIED-BILLED GREBE in the campground pond and 9 GREAT EGRETS on the west side of Gull Island. Shorebird-wise, there was an excellent hint that the DUNLIN migration is in high gear with 154 being seen. Others were 3 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, 7 LEAST SANDPIPERS, 4 KILLDEER and 2 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS. The big news , of course, is the arrival of three PIPING PLOVERS this past week. Between noon and 2:00 p.m., two of the PIPING PLOVERS were in and around the exclosure erected by Park staff at the Beach 2/3 area to protect them. According to a post on the OntBirds listserv this morning, the male completed a display flight close to shore during a rare moment when the female was away from 2 nesting scrapes that she was actively visiting at the back (east) part of the exclosure. After digging in each scrape, the female PIPING PLOVER would sit as though incubating eggs. Eventually, the male joined the female, and after a brief bit of strutting, he mounted the female and they copulated.This is the first recorded observation of copulating PIPING PLOVERS at Presqu'ile for several decades (likely since at least the early 1960s, though Park staff may have more concrete numbers on this). After sporadic attempts by lone birds to establish territory on the Presqu'ile beach over the past decade, this year's copulating pair is an exciting development for long-time Park visitors. PIPING PLOVERS  historically nested at Sandbanks Park. Lester Snyder who did a flora and fauna survey of the County in the early 1930s commented that it was one of the few known breeding stations in the province. In earlier years before Sandbanks began experiencing annual visitation of 700,000 + sun worshipers, the largely deserted beaches along the dunes were likely very conducive to the PIPING PLOVER. Only six sightings have been made at Sandbanks since 1952. Miscellaneous bird sightings around the local area today included WHIP-POOR-WILL calling all last night (seemingly non-stop!!) in the woods along Sprague Road on Big Island, along with an address on North Big Island Road having COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, and several YELLOW WARBLERS.

Monday, May 23: A single BRANT was at Presqu’ile Park today, along with a half dozen other waterfowl species including a couple NORTHERN SHOVELERS and 15 LONG-TAILED DUCKS. Regarding the latter, we will be seeing the last of them in a few days as the species work their way to their northern nesting grounds in the Cape Henrietta Maria and Pen Islands area at the top of James Bay and Lower Hudson Bay coast. I will miss their musical conversation chatter. Fifteen warbler species were also present today at Presqu’ile, and among the shorebirds today were LEAST SANDPIPERS and SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS. A few RING-BILLED GULLS, too – an estimated 50,000! Four DUNLIN  were also present today. A single DUNLIN was also seen today in the Big Island Marsh at Northport. Some 80 kilometres away from Presqu’ile Park, at Prince Edward Point, birding was still humming along today with lots of warblers, and vireos about. Birds of note there today were PHILADELPHIA VIREO, BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER, ORCHARD ORIOLE, and in the warbler family – CANADA, YELLOW (20), TENNESSEE, (6), BAY-BREASTED (5), and 10 BLACKPOLL WARBLERS just to name a few. Among the almost dozen species tallied along Babylon Road today were 5 TURKEY VULTURES, a couple  BARN SWALLOWS, a GRAY CATBIRD and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT. No UPLAND SANDPIPERS this time as the habitat is no longer as conducive to breeding UPLAND SANDPIPERS as it once was, compared to the 1970s or so when dozens could be found here.   Three KILLDEER  was the only species in the shorebird family that Jackson’s Falls Road could produce in the adjacent creek where numerous species are often found. However, 5 BOBOLINKS, a GREAT BLUE HERON, AMERICAN KESTREL, and 2 BARN SWALLOWS made up for the lack of shorebirds. Beaver Meadow Conservation Area though seldom disappoints and today was no exception with AMERICAN BITTERN, COMMON GALLINULE, 3 SANDHILL CRANES, a dozen BLACK TERNS, and a single RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER made it on the list for a couple of Demorestville area birders. The Hamilton Wetland, west of Demorestville, is still producing good birds. Yesterday, 2 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER  were present in this beaver flooded wetland, along with  4 GREAT EGRETS, 2 GREAT BLUE HERONS (nesting), a LESSER YELLOWLEGS and 11 WOOD DUCKS. Other sightings today included a BARRED OWL along Elmbrook Road, and at Rednersville – GRAY CATBIRD, INDIGO BUNTING and a fleet of COMMON MERGANSERS  with young. Finally this evening, as Prince Edward County and a few other areas around the Quinte Region approach two months without a substantial full day rain, mud like this is becoming a precious commodity.

Sunday, May 22: Bird of the day – actually, even yesterday – was a WILLET that turned up yesterday at the Brighton Constructed Wetland, and was still there today for weekend birders. The WILLET was in the cell closest to the road, along with a number of other shorebirds. At nearby Presqu’ile Park, a Brighton birder found a LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH on Jobes Woods Trail. It was at the small series of ponds at Post 5 (which is fallen over but still visible) - interestingly the same site where one occurred several years ago.  There is also a NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH  territory right there.  Also, at Presqu’ile Park, there were 3 PIPING PLOVERS on the Beach today - mostly around Beach 2 and all were north of the small exclosure that Ontario Parks have put up (an area from which unwanted animals are excluded).  One bird was displaying and one with #071 on a yellow band was making scrapes (nest depression attempts) very close to the back of the beach.  Although the exclosure has been put up it is recommended that birders to give them more room and not approach the entire area too closely.  Hopefully these birds will establish a nest shortly. Otherwise it was a fairly quiet day without large numbers, although the species count was good. Back at the Brighton Constructed Wetland, of interest were a pair of BLUE-WINGED TEALS and a  RED-HEADED WOODPECKER that flew west over the Wetland. A note to anyone looking for RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS around Presqu'ile, there appeared to be an influx of them this weekend, as there were reports of at least 5 different individuals in the area. On Old Stone Road, west of Rednersville yesterday, a COMMON NIGHTHAWK was noted, as well as another at the Black River Bridge at 5:30 a.m. During a biodiversity motor tour along the South Shore Important Bird Area, from Point Petre to Prince Edward Point today, a few interesting birds were seen and heard as we drove along and made brief stops along the way. With us were about 40 participants along with PEC Mayor Robert Quaiff and Bay of Quinte MP Neil Ellis. Really pleased to see local dignitaries along as it gave us a chance to promote the importance of this last stretch of undeveloped shoreline in Prince Edward County. At Point Petre, after exploring some of the woodland wildflowers, we heard ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS , both WARBLING and RED-EYED VIREOS, YELLOW WARBLERS and EASTERN TOWHEES. At the Miller Family Nature Reserve along Army Reserve Road, east of Brewer’s Road, pretty much the same species with FIELD SPARROWS and a BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER. At Ostrander Point, FIELD SPARROWS, BOBOLINK, and EASTERN TOWHEE. At Prince Edward Point, a few warblers were still around with “hearings” of BLACK-THROATED BLUE, CHESTNUT-SIDED, YELLOW and sightings of CLIFF SWALLOWS, PURPLE MARTINS and lots of BALTIMORE ORIOLES. Some great sightings yesterday at the Point that got overlooked in last evening’s Bird Report – 10 BRANT, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, PHILADELPHIA VIREO, 12 RED-EYED VIREOS, VEERY, 15 GRAY CATBIRDS, SWAINSON’S and WOOD THRUSH,17 species of warblers (among them 12  NORTHERN PARULAS), 12 SCARLET TANAGERS and INDIGO BUNTING, just to name a few of the highlights among the 80 bird species seen by a Belleville area birder. In other birding news, an almost certain GOLDEN EAGLE (quite well described) was seen today passing over the north end of Belleville. Spring sightings of this species tend to be quite rare in the Bay of Quinte region, so this one was of particular interest.

Saturday, May 21: The big news today at Prince Edward Point was the sighting of a male SUMMER TANAGER in the area around the lighthouse. One birder reported seeing 14 species of warbler this morning with COMMON YELLOWTHROAT and BLACKPOLL WARBLER  being the highlights. Another had good looks at NORTHERN PARULA, BLUE=HEADED VIREO, SCARLET TANAGER, and EASTERN TOWHEE. Still lots of warblers around as the migration continues so visit some of these hotspots as the spring migration all too soon will be but a memory and the wooded trails at Point Traverse especially will revert to dog strangling vine, prickly ash and an unbelievable tangle of spider webs. North of the County Line, a LAWRENCE’S WARBLER turned up today northwest of Ivanhoe along Twiddy Road, 500 meters south of Wood Road. The beautiful LAWRENCE’S WARBLER is the rarest of the BLUE-WINGED/GOLDEN-WINGED hybrids. Hybrids tend to develop into one of two distinctive plumages, which early naturalists at first thought were separate species: "Brewster's Warbler” (which looks like a BLUE-WINGED WARBLER with a white chest), and "Lawrence's Warbler" (which looks like an all-yellow GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER). The Ivanhoe area bird is presumed to be same bird as seen last summer (June 20, 2015) , returning to set up territory. Quite a remarkable journey, and memory, if it is the same bird. Some good sightings at the Brighton Constructed Wetland yesterday – 3 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS, 2 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, 2 CANVASBACKS, 10 MARSH WRENS, 4 COMMON GALLINULES, 2 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, 15 LEAST SANDPIPERS, and a couple GRAY CATBIRDS. Last evening at the H.R. Frink Centre during a workshop I conducted for volunteers with the Marsh Monitoring Program, we found no fewer than five different VIRGINIA RAILS just a few metres along the boardwalk. Also calling for us were COMMON GALLINULE, SWAMP SPARROW, MARSH WREN, EASTERN KINGBIRD, MALLARDS, and a GREAT BLUE HERON floating lazily over the wetland. At Black River today in Milford off Crowes Road, EASTERN TOWHEE, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, BOBOLINK, GRASSHOPPER SPARROW and OSPREY were seen during a “River Walk”, conducted as a fundraiser for the Save the South Shore effort. The single SNOW GOOSE  that spent a few days along Athol Bay along County Road 12 at Sandbanks at the new Lakeland Lodge Day Use Area disappeared a few days ago, but didn’t go far. It showed up today along the shore of East Lake at Cherry Valley and seemingly plans to hang out with the CANADA GEESE  there now.  A travelling night bird show as part of this week’s Birding Festival to introduce interested participants to CHIMNEY SWIFTS, WHIP-POOR-WILLS and EASTERN SCREECH-OWLS had a successful event with 15 turning out for the night of birding. CHIMNEY SWIFTS  were everywhere when the group met in Picton. Down on Brewer’s Road, all birds showed up on cue – WHIP-POOR-WILLS, duelling BROWN THRASHERS, lots of WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS, AMERICAN WOODCOCKS and WILSON’S SNIPE, even a GREAT HORNED OWL. The celebrated CHUCK-WILL’S-WIDOW that turned up Wednesday night was still around and performed admirably. The enthusiastic birding group was able to walk right up to a WHIP-POOR-WILL beside the road (but couldn't see him in the dark). At Glenwood Cemetery, efforts to locate EASTERN SCREECH-OWLS  were thwarted by someone mowing grass at 10:30 p.m.! The group found a quieter spot but didn't get any response - no one was excited about coming back at 3 a.m. Participants came from Montreal, Ottawa, Kingston, upstate N.Y. and the County. At Presqu’ile Park, the annual Warblers and Whimbrels weekend event continues through tomorrow. CLICK HERE  to see the scheduled events.

Friday, May 20: An amazing week at Sandbanks Provincial Park camping in the Woodlands Campground, surrounded by spring migrants, WOOD THRUSHES starting each morning with their rich flute-like notes, and both ORCHARD ORIOLES, BALTIMORE ORIOLES and a GRAY CATBIRD feasting on orange halves on two different campsites along the edge of the woods beside the Woodland Nature Trail. Also present was a SWAINSON’S THRUSH, and what we were certain was a MOURNING WARBLER, vocal for a a few scant seconds before melting away into the forest. The bird of the week though was not at Sandbanks, but at the Miller Family Nature Reserve on Hilltop Road Wednesday night where a CHUCK-WILL’S-WIDOW was heard singing by two birders from one our two campsites. More than likely the same individual that was present last year at this time. West Point at the Park Tuesday evening was alive with migrants, primarily warblers, one tree containing at least a dozen species. The birding was very nice at Prince Edward Point Tuesday morning, says a Belleville birder who found lots of birds and a decent variety. Seen were 15 different warbler species, as well as a SWAINSON’S THRUSH, BROWN THRASHER, BLUE-HEADED VIREO, WARBLING VIREO, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS, and an assortment of flycatchers and orioles.  The following day, another birder in the Consecon area tallied 17 warbler species, including NORTHERN PARULA, CAPE MAY, BAY-BREASTED, TENNESSEE and BLACKPOLL WARBLERS. Other migrants included SWAINSON’S THRUSH, PHILADELPHIA VIREO and LINCOLN’S SPARROW. Unexpected were singles of RED-HEADED WOODPECKER and CLAY-COLORED SPARROW. and LINCOLN'S SPARROW. The same birder went out this morning to check out his Forest Bird Monitoring stations in the Goodrich-Loomis Conservation Area, in particular, the Loop D’Loop Trail at the far end of the conservation area where earlier he had noted a pair of NORTHERN GOSHAWKS nesting. Even a few hundred yards from the nest, one of the goshawks attacked him, swooping dangerously close to his head numerous times. Once it surprised him, knocking off his hat and drawing blood. “I was mega traumatized! Needless to say I am not going in there this year even though there are some very good nesting birds.”  The world traveller who has birded numerous countries said he has never felt this traumatized in all his birding, even though I “have encountered rogue elephants, lions, tigers, crocodiles and many other very dangerous beasts. In case some of your readers are interested in Goshawks, this is not a safe place." He advised Lower Trent Conservation about the situation and they may be blocking that portion of the trail . A similar situation happened several years ago with a pair of nesting NORTHERN GOSHAWKS at Vanderwater Conservation Area, near Thomasburg that dive-bombed hikers on the trail there. Although nice weather prevails now, a Foxboro birder last weekend  hiked through drizzle 2 km west of Colonization Road into the Cassidy Block (Thomasburg area) and observed a male CERULEAN WARBLER for 17 minutes.  At one point it was having a territorial dispute with a BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER.  Another 2 km along he saw 4 GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLERS. Stopping in at Sheffield Conservation Area, he heard a PRAIRIE WARBLER while hiking in hail to Haley Lake.Then onto Nugent Road where he photographed a LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE in the snow. Glad the week improved weather-wise. Other sightings during the week included a NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD on Hambly Road near Napanee, and an INDIGO BUNTING  at a feeder on Weight Avenue, in Belleville. Fred Helleiner’s Presqu’ile Provincial Park Weekly Bird Report has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be seen by CLICKING HERE.

Sunday, May 15: Not many sightings came in today due to the high winds, low temperatures and miserable rain at times. However, the remaining stalwarts at Prince Edward Point managed to dredge up a few species, but nothing new, as I can’t imagine anything new daring to cross the lake anyway last night! A few of the species noted today down there were WHITE-WINGED SCOTER, SHARP-SHINNED HAWK, LEAST FLYCATCHER, WARBLING VIREO, GRAY CATBIRD, HOUSE WREN and WINTER WREN. Fifteen warbler species were found – not bad for a day like today, with BAY-BREASTED, CAPE MAY, BLACKBURNIAN and MAGNOLIA being among them. MAGNOLIA WARBLERS were also noted today by another birder trying his luck at Point Petre, also coming up with this BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER (photo by John Demers of Thomasburg) . Also seen were RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS and BALTIMORE ORIOLES. Along Babylon Road, EASTERN MEADOWLARKS and FIELD SPARROWS. At the bridge at Black River, a  COMMON YELLOWTHROAT was seen. The last vestiges of moisture at the Kaiser Crossroad wetland produced a couple LEAST SANDPIPERS today. A few other sightings that came in yesterday and which I overlooked: In the Prince Edward Point area and environs, one Belleville resident located 2 BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERONS, GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, LINCOLN’S SPARROW, SCARLET TANAGER, ORCHARD ORIOLE, INDIGO BUNTING, as well as three species of vireo – WARBLING, RED-EYED and PHILADELPHIA and 19 warbler species. And, at the Brighton Constructed Wetland yesterday, seen were over 20 species, among them SORA, VIRGINIA RAIL, GADWALL, NORTHERN SHOVELER, REDHEAD, COMMON GALLINULE, SEMPIPALMATED PLOVER, SOLITARY SANDPIPER, PECTORAL SANDPIPER both GREATER and LESSER YELLOWLEGS, LEAST SANDPIPER and MARSH WREN. At Mountain View, an unusual HAIRY WOODPECKER is visiting a feeder with tan replacing the usual white area, not unlike the plumage of the western Pacific Hairy. Please note that the Quinte Area Bird Report will be offline until sometime Friday night or early Saturday morning. See you then! Feel free to continue e-mailing any sightings.   

Saturday, May 14: A SNOW GOOSE was still in the Lakeland Lodge Day Use Area at Sandbanks today and has also been seen in past days from the Lakeview Trail near West Point. WILSON’S WARBLERS, AMERICAN REDSTART, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT and NORTHERN PARULA  were among just a few of the warbler species seen today at Prince Edward Point. Close to 30 species of warblers have been seen thus far during this spring’s migration. Strangely, no HOODED WARBLER or CERULEAN WARBLER  seen yet although they may come along this week, or may have been seen, but not reported. All vireos, except for YELLOW-THROATED, have been seen. Things are moving along, and certainly did so on this, the opening day of the Spring Birding Festival in Prince Edward County. SCARLET TANAGERS (5), ORCHARD ORIOLE, 20 BALTIMORE ORIOLES, LINCOLN’S SPARROWS, INDIGO BUNTING, SOLITARY SANDPIPER, COMMON LOON, and EASTERN KINGBIRD were other noteworthy species that turned up at the Point today. LONG-TAILED DUCKS  are still being seen and hopefully will remain long enough for those doing Birdathons down that way in the coming weeks. Nearby Babylon Road had species typical of that stretch of habitat – UPLAND SANDPIPER, EASTERN MEADOWLARK, BROWN THRASHER, EASTERN KINGBIRD, EASTERN TOWHEE, FIELD SPARROW, etc. A few good sightings at Black River including SWAMP SPARROW and PINE WARBLER. Along Jackson’s Falls Road, LEAST SANDPIPER and BOBOLINK. A half dozen BLACK TERNS were found in East Lake off Log Cabin Point where a colony has nested for several years. Some nice birds in the lighthouse area at Presqu’ile Point today including GRAY CATBIRD, NASHVILLE WARBLER, BAY-BREASTED WARBLER, INDIGO BUNTING and BALTIMORE ORIOLE. Speaking of Presqu’ile, Fred Helleiner’s Weekly Presqu’ile Provincial Park Bird Report has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be viewed by CLICKING HERE.

Friday, May 13: The early morning rain may have put some people off, but it was perfect this morning for migrants at two locations, at least. Birders at Prince Edward Point were lined up along the roadside as early as 7:30 a.m. this morning as they suspected that a flood of migrants had crossed the lake overnight under favourable conditions, and would be reluctant to keep moving due to the rain. They were right. The birds were grounded as they rested and filled their bellies with the plethora of midges and other insects for which the Point is famous and waited for the weather to improve before resuming their journey northward. MOURNING WARBLER,  AMERICAN REDSTART, WILSON'S WARBLER, BLACKBURNIAN, OVENBIRD, MAGNOLIA, CANADA, CAPE MAY, both BLACK-THROATED GREEN and BLACK-THROATED BLUE, CHESTNUT-SIDED, BLACKPOLL, YELLOW, and other species were present for the binocular brigade. SCARLET TANAGERS AND INDIGO BUNTINGS were sighted by many birders as well as YELLOW-BELLIED FYYCATCHER. SCARLET TANAGERS and INDIGO BUNTINGS were among the sought after species, and birders weren’t disappointed. Friday the 13th also didn’t disappoint birders at Thickson’s Woods at Whitby where the overnight and pre-dawn showers resulted in a pretty good fallout of warblers. Highlights were a singing WORM-EATING WARBLER in the northwest section of the woods, a singing LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH that started out at the south end of the woods and gradually moved toward the northeast corner of the woods, three singing NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, and a YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO flushed on the east side of the first road that runs north off Crystal Beach Boulevard. So far, 24 species of warblers have been found, and there was a new influx of orioles and SCARLET TANAGERS.  At Presqu’ile Park yesterday, the majority of birds seen turned up in the wooded campgrounds. YELLOW WARBLERS, tons of BALTIMORE ORIOLES, NORTHERN CARDINALS and GRAY CATBIRDS. The marsh boardwalk yielded CASPIAN TERNS diving into the water and many more along the trails in the Park Store and Owen Point areas. Today, much the same at the park with SWAINSON’S THRUSH, SANDERLINGS, COMMON TERNS, being among the more recent arrivals. Nothing reported from Sandbanks today although we can assume the Park would have enjoyed some interesting sightings, since it also benefits from a funnelling effect during migration. All over, interesting sightings as migrants increase in numbers as they make their way along to nesting grounds further north. At Allisonville, one birder there watched as an INDIGO BUNTING, EASTERN TOWHEE and a WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW  literally rubbed shoulders with each other as though they had been long lost friends, all feeding on the ground side by side. Along Harmony Road today, a “bird” of a different colour. This was a GRAY FOX, a species that is more often encountered in southwestern Ontario. In my reply to the sender, I cautioned that GRAY FOXES  are extremely rare in the Bay of Quinte area, and are often confused with the similar cross fox morph of the RED FOX. The black tipped tail though is the distinguishing feature. Other than that, very similar. The very grainy photos taken in the few moments the fox was present did indeed look like a true GRAY FOX, so the photo was e-mailed to the Peterborough office of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and it was confirmed that the animal seen was indeed a GRAY FOX. A good sighting as their closest range is along the south shore of Lake Ontario, extending into the Thousand Islands. Any seen in our area are most always vagrants from the U.S.

Thursday, May 12: You just never know who you will bump into when exploring a cemetery. A GREAT HORNED OWL fledgling had a “grave” interest in the St. James Cemetery, adjacent to Belleville Cemetery along the shore of the Bay of Quinte today when it was seen perched atop one of the monuments. At Brighton, the RUFF continued to oblige today by remaining in the same spot at the Brighton Constructed Wetland where it was first seen on Monday. It was there early this morning. The YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD not far from there, we have since learned, was not seen in Presqu'ile Park itself this past weekend, but rather, on the Brighton side of Presqu'ile Bay.  The observer said the bird was very vocal, very hungry, and quite aggressive with other birds that entered its territory. As reported last evening, what may very well have been the same individual showed up at Point Petre, also visiting a feeding station. At Marmora, a flock of BRANT was seen as they flew along the Crowe River.  Yesterday, both BALTIMORE ORIOLES and SCARLET TANAGERS were so numerous at Prince Edward Point, it would have been difficult to miss them. Today, it was a repeat with lots of red and orange flitting through the trees. At least 16 warbler species were present, and four species of vireo – BLUE-HEADED, WARBLING, RED-EYED and PHILADELPHIA.  Among the warblers tallied today were ORANGE-CROWNED, TENNESSEE, MOURNING, AMERICAN REDSTART, BLUE-WINGED, GOLDEN-WINGED and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT. With the arrival of those traditionally late warblers – BLACKPOLL & MOURNING, it would appear that most of the expected species are present and accounted for and it`s not quite mid-May yet! We can only hope that they continue to stick around for the SPRING BIRDING FESTIVAL, commencing this Saturday and running through the long weekend. A canoeist, paddling the Big Island Marsh today near the causeway, flushed an AMERICAN COOT. The CLAY-COLORED SPARROW  was singing once again west of Sprague Road this morning, and only the CHIMNEY SWIFTS  were seen today when I was in Kingston – no PEREGRINE FALCON although it was surely around somewhere. YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLERS, MAGNOLIA WARBLERS AND NASHVILLE WARBLERS, were all present in a Wellington backyard today. And southeast of Picton, along with WHITE-CROWNED and WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS, BALTIMORE ORIOLES and an INDIGO BUNTING gathered in a backyard on Luck's Crossroad - very appropriately named.  A Trenton birder went out this morning to his usual places from the Stinson Block at Consecon to North Beach. The good weather brought in lots of migrants. There were twelve species of warblers including AMERICAN REDSTART, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, NORTHERN PARULA, YELLOW and YELLOW-RUMPED, MAGNOLIA, PALM and NASHVILLE, CHESTNUT-SIDED, BLACK-AND-WHITE and GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLERS.  Also seen were BLUE-HEADED WARBLING and RED-EYED VIREOS, both BALTIMORE and ORCHARD ORIOLES, LINCOLN`S SPARROW, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, SCARLET TANAGER, and in the thrush family – WOOD THRUSH and VEERY.  North of Belleville, good luck there, too. The Black Bear Ridge Golf Club produced four EASTERN BLUEBIRDS, while a multi-use trail at Old Madoc Road yielded 53 species. Among them were a baker`s dozen of warblers – BAY-BREASTED, TENNESSEE, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, and OVENBIRD being the more significant. Also seen were YELLOW-THROATED VIREO, WILSON`S SNIPE, VIRGINIA RAIL, GREEN HERON (2), and YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER.

Wednesday, May 11: A RUFF was still showing well for birders as of 12:30 p.m. this afternoon at the Brighton Constructed Wetland. Definitely a good find and giving all birders an opportunity to see it since first being found this past weekend. Another good find in that area was a YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD with few accompanying details which apparently wasn’t seen again. However, a well described male turned up at a bird feeder on Soup Harbour Road at Point Petre today, possibly the same one. Says the observer who e-mailed me about the sighting today, “He was spectacular and while I did not get a look at his wingspread he clearly had some white markings on the edges of his wings.   His head and his chest were a brilliant yellow with black around his eyes and a black bill.” We have had only a few scattered sightings of this western species in Prince Edward County through the years. Two SPOTTED SANDPIPERS were at West Point (Sandbanks) today, and a few late AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS were still lingering about at Potter’s Creek Conservation Area, west of Belleville yesterday. A FIELD SPARROW, has been coming to a feeder on Swamp College Road, just north of the village, and A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW  was heard early today in a field of scattered Red Cedars on the west side of Sprague Road, Big Island. Five MUTE SWANS  can be seen along the Kiwanis Bayshore Trail, where today there are also several MALLARDS and CANADA GEESE  with offspring. Birds are certainly where you find them, and in a pond at Reid’s Dairy on Bell Blvd, Belleville, there was a GREAT BLUE HERON today. In the Goodrich-Loomis Conservation Area, north of Brighton, there were eight species of warbler singing and all of them were believed to be possible nesters. They were NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, OVENBIRD, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, BLACK-THROATED BLUE and BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLERS, PINE WARBLER, NASHVILLE WARBLER and CANADA WARBLER. Also present were ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, WOOD THRUSH, GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, WINTER WREN and YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER. The highlight was a pair of vocal and aggressive NORTHERN GOSHAWKS near a nest. At Kingston’s Hotel Dieu Hospital, the CHIMNEY SWIFTS and resident PEREGRINE FALCON were once again active. I will be there again tomorrow, so I have no doubt that tomorrow will be a repeat of today. At the Brighton Constructed Wetlands yesterday, present there, in addition to the RUFF, were BLUE-WINGED and GREEN-WINGED TEALS, REDHEADS, RING-NECKED DUCKS, PIED-BILLED GREBE, 8 COMMON GALLINULES, 12 GREATER YELLOWLEGS, 24 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, 5 LEAST SANDPIPERS, and 4 MARSH WRENS. At Presqu’ile Park, a single PIPING PLOVER was photographed, and NORTHERN HARRIER, SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, CASPIAN TERNS, BARN SWALLOWS and GRAY CATBIRD were other highlights. Birds of note at Prince Edward Point today were SOLITARY SANDPIPER, 22 LEAST SANDPIPERS, a somewhat early BLACKPOLL WARBLER, INDIGO BUNTING, 3 SCARLET TANAGERS, and five NORTHERN PARULAS. A BAY-BREASTED WARBLER  was seen on Monday. There are 2 pairs of EASTERN BLUEBIRDS visiting nest boxes near the clubhouse at Black Bear Ridge Golf Course.  Black Bear Ridge Golf Course is west of Trillium Wood Golf Course at HWY 37 and Harmony Road, north of Belleville. Anyone travelling north to Madoc on Highway 62 this spring/summer should expect delays between Ridge road and Ivanhoe for road works. And, from legendary Point Pelee -  The warblers are "dripping from the trees", especially at the Tip. At least 28 warbler species have been reported so far, and the number is expected to climb. CAPE MAY WARBLERS are stunningly abundant, and there are still lots of earlier migrants like PALM and YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS and RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS and SCARLET TANAGERS. The Tip is packed with birds and people from the tram stop to land's end, namely along the west side. Visibility is excellent as the birds are feeding low and at close range. You don't even need binoculars for many of them.

Tuesday, May 10: ORCHARD ORIOLE, SCARLET TANAGER, PURPLE FINCH, WOOD THRUSH, LEAST FLYCATCHER, WINTER WREN, COMMON TERN (2), and EASTERN KINGBIRD were among the species found today by several observers at Presqu’ile Park. Over  a dozen species of warblers were tallied, among them OVENBIRD, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, ORANGE-CROWNED, CAPE MAY WARBLER and BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER. Just outside the Park, the RUFF continues to be seen in the northeast corner of the Brighton Constructed Wetlands. Prince Edward Point today was also busy with a steady stream of warblers arriving as well as a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK that was caught in the nets twice. Also, - some 16 species of warblers including a GOLDEN-WINGED, were noted here by visiting birders. Other noteworthy species recorded at Prince Edward Point today were BLUE-WINGED TEAL (2), WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS (110), LONG-TAILED DUCK (150), RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER, MERLIN, LEAST FLYCATCHER, WARBLING VIREO, SCARLET TANAGER, 5 EASTERN TOWHEES, BALTIMORE ORIOLE and WILSON’S SNIPE. It was a good day, too, at the Potter’s Creek Conservation Area (formerly Quinte Conservation Area) where 46 species of birds were checked off by a birder. MERLIN, LEAST FLYCATCHER, WARBLING VIREO, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, EASTERN TOWHEE, and 9 warbler species were among the birds tallied there. CHIMNEY SWIFTS have returned to both Picton and Belleville. Two WILSON’S SNIPE, 2 SAVANNAH SPARROWS, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT and a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW were among species spotted along Babylon Road in the South Bay area, and a WHIP-POOR-WILL was heard last night calling at Fish Lake. At Twiddy Road, south of Madoc, a BREWSTER’S WARBLER was seen. Along the Trans Canada Trail at Twiddy Road, 7 HOODED MERGANSERS, YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, 2 WOOD THRUSHES, GRAY CATBIRD,  OVENBIRD, AMERICAN REDSTART were among the 30 species seen, And, along the same trail west of there through the Springbrook grassland, COOPER’S HAWK, UPLAND SANDPIPER, 2 AMERICAN KESTRELS, 2 WOOD THRUSHES, 5 BROWN THRASHERS, 7 GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS, a BREWSTER’S WARBLER and an early PHILADELPHIA WARBLER  were among 39 species of birds seen yesterday. Also yesterday, a 2nd year BALD EAGLE was seen at Prince Edward Point. A single American White Pelican swimming in Oshawa Second Marsh and then flying overhead could very well be one of the two pelicans that were seen at Presqu’ile Park three days ago.  And at Port Hope Harbour last evening, a first summer FRANKLIN’S GULL was present on the west pier at the harbour mouth, harassed by larger gulls but flew off to the west shortly after being discovered. Of course, local feeders are alive with spring migrants and summer residents including CHIPPING SPARROWS, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS, RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS, BALTIMORE ORIOLES, even INDIGO BUNTING.....the list goes on. A ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK was at a feeder today at Bayside, between Trenton and Belleville. We waited all winter for this moment – now it’s here!

Monday, May 09: Every day, it seems, produces a special bird. Late this afternoon, it was a RUFF, seen in the northeast corner of the Brighton Constructed Wetland along County Road 64. No other big surprises today though, and it was just a repeat of yesterday with spring migrants continuing to arrive and pass through. May is a good time to keep track of the trees and bushes in your backyards. Sometimes good birds can be found there without even driving anywhere. Just pull up a lawn chair, and wait. In one such Wellington backyard today, a big sit resulted in three warbler species appeared in view at the same time. At one point the photographer had a YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER and a BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER in the cedars at the back and when a PALM WARBLER appeared out of the shadows for a photo. It may be approaching mid-May, but LONG-TAILED DUCKS are still hanging in there at Prince Edward Point, and will likely continue to do so in small groups until at least mid-May. Last year, 5,000 were a conservative estimate on May 1st, so there’s still lots of time for their delightful voices to be heard echoing across the waters of Prince Edward Bay yet. A handful was seen today in the Bay along Long Point Road.  Some good birds today at Prince Edward Point, among the finds being NORTHERN SHOVELER, AMERICAN REDSTART, CAPE MAY and CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLERS, GRAY CATBIRD, BLUE-HEADED VIREO, and BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER. In the North beach area today, one nearby resident saw a BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER, a BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, a BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER, EASTERN PHOEBE, GRAY CATBIRD, NORTHERN FLICKER, HOUSE WREN,  several BALTIMORE ORIOLES and YELLOW WARBLERS. One of the first CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS  to be reported this spring was found on Amherst Island today. A RED-TAILED was seen this morning at Marysville, and a pair of them is nesting in the Camden East area literally in a backyard. Marshlands Conservation Area in Kingston is still making its mark as THE place to go for spring migrants. Today’s birds of note included BOBOLINK, BLUE-HEADED VIREO, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, MAGNOLIA WARBLER, NORTHERN PARULA, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH and BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER.  

Sunday, May 08: A GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER was photographed at 6:10 a.m. this morning at the junction of Read Road and Cross Road, northeast of Blessington. A BREWSTER`S WARBLER hybrid was also found. A RUFFED GROUSE and an AMERICAN BITTERN also showed up at this location. Just north of there, at Naphan, 25 species were seen by a birder walking the“Cheese Factory Trail”. A nice assortment there including 3 LEAST FLYCATCHERS, WOOD THRUSH, BROWN THRASHER, 9 OVENBIRDS and a BLUE-WINGED WARBLER. Anyone walking this trail is advised not to park in front of the gate where the trail begins at Naphan Road.  Another highlight today was the sighting of two AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS flying near the lighthouse at Presqu'ile Park. Birds of different species are all over the place, it seems. A SOLITARY SANDPIPER  was seen today in the creek that runs along Jackson`s Falls Road, and a SANDHILL CRANE  was once again seen passing over the Big Island Marsh and ultimately Sprague Road.  An immature ORCHARD ORIOLE appeared at an oriole feeder along West Lake Road near Sandbanks. YELLOW WARBLER, BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER and BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER  all appeared in a Wellington backyard. There was a BALD EAGLE along Long Point Road near Prince Edward Point where a couple BOBOLINKS were also noted. Three SPOTTED SANDPIPERS noted in the West Point area of Sandbanks, 4 BLACK TERNS arrived at the marsh in East Lake off Log Cabin Point where they nest every summer, and 3 AMERICAN KESTRELS were found today along Doxsee Road. A MARSH WREN was at Beaver Meadow again today. The Kingston Marshlands Conservation Area continues to live up to its reputation as a great birding area with 35, or so, species being checked off today. Among them were CAPE MAY, CHESTNUT-SIDED, MAGNOLIA and BLACKBURNIAN WARBLERS, NORTHERN PARULA and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, BLUE-HEADED VIREO (3), 3 HERMIT THRUSHES, a LINCOLN`S SPARROW, MARSH WREN, VEERY, and WARBLING VIREO. Following a push of WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS, WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS are now being seen in good numbers at this popular conservation area along Front Road. A LINCOLN'S SPARROW was also seen this morning there. About a year ago, this Bird Report wrote about a large SNAPPING TURTLE that was intentionally crushed beyond recovery by a brain dead motorist, leaving her to die (considered a sport these days by some motorists). Taken to the Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre in Napanee, it was found that her shell was so badly broken, they couldn't save her. A happy ending though. She was pregnant with eggs so they were harvested, and eventually hatched at the Centre. Yesterday, 11 months later, these tiny hatchlings were released in the Cressy Marsh where the mother turtle had lived. were released, a much better survival rate than in the wild. I love success stories like this.

Saturday, May 07: A TUFTED TITMOUSE  at Point Petre was a highlight today in the list of spring arrivals and sightings. According to the observer, the bird launched two reverse migration attempts before settling in to lakeside scrub, singing loudly.  A reported YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD on Presqu’ile Bay was a close second though. A singing BREWSTER’S WARBLER was seen at the junction of Point Petre Road and Army Reserve Road today. Fifteen CASPIAN TERNS were seen sitting in a tilled field near West Lake. At Prince Edward Point today, PINE WARBLER, BLUE-HEADED VIREO, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS, WHITE-CROWNED and WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS, and LEAST FLYCATCHERS were seen, as was an INDIGO BUNTING. Also present, WINTER WREN, BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER, BALTIMORE ORIOLE, BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, DOWNY WOODPECKER, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, OVENBIRD, CAPE MAY WARBLER, LONG-TAILED DUCKS, TURKEY VULTURES, PURPLE MARTIN, CLIFF SWALLOWS, BARN SWALLOWS, YELLOW WARBLER and HERMIT THRUSH were seen. And lots and lots of birders! Babylon Road near Prince Edward Point produced 2 UPLAND SANDPIPERS. Ten BARN SWALLOWS  on Kaiser Crossroad, and an EASTERN KINGBIRD at Black River were other sightings to come in today. Massassauga Point Conservation Area, normally not the most productive area for birds, managed to produce CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER and GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER today. This morning along Opinicon Road, west of Chaffeys Lock, birders managed managed one male GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER, 1 CERULEAN WARBLER, and three YELLOW-THROATED VIREOS. Overall, there were few birds, except for 6 OVENBIRDS, 2 BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLERS, 3 BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLERS, and two GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHERS. To see more birds, consider attending a guided hike tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. at Sandbanks Provincial Park’s West Point to look for spring migrants with Park Naturalist Yvette Bree. A 2:00 p.m. hike tomorrow will focus on the wildflowers of the Park, meeting at the Park Office area. As well as bird reports streaming in to me on a daily basis, reports of roadside turtles are also starting to arrive. One Big Island resident who volunteers at Napanee’s Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre, said today she delivered three run over and flipped over turtles along the Big Island causeway and County Road 15 (Northport Road), struggling to survive. She reminds readers that May and June is turtle season as they seek the soft roadside shoulders in which to lay their eggs. Make it a point to carry a shovel in your car and take the time to use it to gently move the turtle from the road in the direction in which it was heading when you found it. At West Lake, a similar situation where a local resident moved a BLANDING'S TURTLE off County Road 12 before it got intentionally run over. 

Friday, May 06: RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS  are still everywhere as the spring migration continues. A good sighting was a SNOW GOOSE in the new Lakeland Lodge Day Use Area along County Road 12 at Sandbanks Provincial Park. It may be the same bird that was present in the Foxboro area a few days ago. With the migration now in full swing it is almost impossible to keep track of new arrivals as they appear. BOBOLINKS have finally arrived on Big Island, although not in the numbers as in previous years – only a single bird here and there, and not quite rollicking yet in full song.  In the Stinson Block area, migrants were not as plentiful as on Tuesday, but there was still lots of action and song from recently arrived birds. Three GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS on Pope Lane in a very suitable field were an excellent find. Also seen were good numbers of WARBLING VIREO, LEAST FLYCATCHER and two BOBOLINKS. MERLINS continue to be more common and all spring there has been a pair noisily flying about the southern end of Weller's Bay.  NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS, WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS, NASHVILLE WARBLER, and BELTED KINGFISHER, were all birds of note at West Point at Sandbanks today. Two COMMON GALLINULES  were still present at Beaver Meadow as they have been for several days now. WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS  are simply everywhere right now in backyards, and this morning, there were fully 20 of these delightful Hudson Bay residents covering the ground beneath my feeders. Amazing how far these birds travel to nest. A tardy ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was still at Amherst Island today, while other species more in keeping with the season were seen – LEAST FLYCATCHER, DUNLIN, and five HOUSE WRENS, even a RING-NECKED PHEASANT. At Prince Edward Point, a YELLOW-THROATED VIREO was a new arrival, as were CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER and BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER. Also seen today were RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD and BLUE-HEADED VIREO. A rather slow day, say bird banders, although 12 warbler species have been seen to date.  An AMERICAN WOODCOCK was seen along Airport Parkway on the east side of Belleville, and another was at Presqu’ile Park, both of them today. Two SOLITARY SANDPIPERS  showed up at Milhaven Creek in Bath, and six LEAST SANDPIPERS  were at Wilton Creek near Morven. A COMMON TERN turned up today at Presqu’ile Park as this species begins to move in and start thinking about nesting. There was also a WOOD THRUSH there today as well and we should start seeing more of these over the next few days.  Fred Helleiner’s Presqu’ile Provincial Park Weekly Bird Report has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website, and can be seen by CLICKING HERE.

Thursday, May 05: At Prince Edward Point a grey GRYFALCON was a highlight today. The bird flew over the harbour at 10:25 a.m., then over the Observatory and headed north, but returned just past noon, for another pass, this time heading southwest. More warblers were arriving at the Point this morning involving a nice selection including: NASHVILLE, BLACK-AND-WHITE, YELLOW-RUMPED, YELLOW, BLACK-THROATED GREEN, BLACK-THROATED BLUE, PALM (both western and yellow varieties), along with BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER. Also seen today, 2 BLUE-HEADED VIREOS, PILEATED WOODPECKER, YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, HOUSE WREN, BELTED KINGFISHER, and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW and ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK – the latter two species inundating some backyards right now WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS and LONG-TAILED DUCKS  were present in Prince Edward Bay along Long Point Road today, and along nearby Babylon Road, 2 UPLAND SANDPIPERS were seen along with FIELD SPARROW and BROWN THRASHER. Eight HOODED MERGANSERS  were at South Bay, and a PIED-BILLED GREBE  was still present in East Lake at the Glendon Green Boat Launch. As the Kaiser Crossroad season winds down, there is less to see at this popular destination, and no one reported anything today from there. Pamela Stagg’s final Kaiser Crossroad Wetlands Report for the season has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be found by CLICKING HERE. Good birds seen at Point Petre today were BELTED KINGFISHER, PALM WARBLER, BROWN THRASHER, FIELD SPARROW, and  EASTERN TOWHEE. Some of the same birds that I saw at Beaver Meadow yesterday, were present again today – VIRGINIA RAIL, RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS, PIED-BILLED GREBE, 2 COMMON GALLINULES, and a NASHVILLE WARBLER (which I missed). RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, EASTERN KINGBIRD, BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER, GRAY CATBIRD, BROWN THRASHER, BLACK-THROATED GREEN and BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLERS, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH and YELLOW WARBLERS are now at Presqu’ile Park.  LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE and UPLAND SANDPIPER were key species in the Napanee Limestone Plain IBA today as well as 2 AMERICAN KESTRELS. At Amherst Island, 2 DUNLIN, 2 WOOD THRUSHES, a WILSON’S SNIPE, OVENBIRD and a GRASSHOPPER SPARROW were all nice finds today. At Big Island, an OSPREY is nesting in a dead elm – something you don’t see much of in Prince Edward County with no dearth of nesting platforms, interestingly, not far from a pair of COMMON RAVENS that have selected a good lookout point to place their nest – at the top of a construction crane! Other sightings today were a male NORTHERN HARRIER north of Napanee on County Road 41, YELLOW WARBLERS on Big Island, 3 LEAST SANDPIPERS on Atkin Road on the east side of Belleville, 5 BLACK TERNS  at Beaver Meadow (yesterday), and a GREEN HERON at Kingston’s Lemoine Point Conservation Area.

Wednesday, May 04: Lordy! Where do I begin? It seemed the migration gates really opened today resulting in literally pages of sightings coming my way this evening. The bird of the day was a LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE, seen on Atkins Road, on the east side of Belleville.  A couple hours early this morning at Beaver Meadow Conservation Area south of Picton resulted in two WOOD THRUSHES, GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, VIRGINIA RAIL, COMMON GALLINULE, PIED-BILLED GREBE, WOOD DUCK, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS  being added to my own list for the day. Better weather and good migrating conditions sure made a big difference  to the numbers and species present this morning in the Stinson Road to North Beach area. There were eleven species, eight of them, warblers. YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS were abundant and there were also good numbers of  YELLOW, BLACK-THROATED GREEN, NASHVILLE, and BLACK-and-WHITE WARBLERS. Also seen were two NORTHERN PARULAS and singles of PALM WARBLER and OVENBIRD. Other migrants included  2 GRAY CATBIRDS, 2 BLUE-HEADED VIREOS and singles of EASTERN KINGBIRD, GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER and male BALTIMORE and ORCHARD ORIOLE, and four ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS. In fact, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS must have enjoyed a bit of a fall-out in the Quinte area overnight as almost every report to come in this evening included this species. One, at Glenora, was a leucistic male. Two turned up at a Fry Road feeder, and two at a Cressy feeder. All others involved individual males at feeders, with one of those at Cressy being a female. Another major influx was the WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW with several being at Beaver Meadow this morning, and others also at feeders at Wellington, Cressy, Foxboro, Trenton, Madoc and north of Napanee, all of them proclaiming "to go pee-pee now." (who makes up the words to these songs anyway?) Six EASTERN TOWHEES, five BROWN THRASHERS, many WILSON’S SNIPE, EASTERN MEADOWLARKS, a pair of UPLAND SANDPIPERS and a RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD between 704 Hinch Road and Ratti Road, in the Newburgh area. And everyone, it seems, still has AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES at their feeders in bright, breeding colours, although the species isn’t interested in nesting for two or three months yet. It was a riot of song at Presqu’ile Park early this morning with GRAY CATBIRD, YELLOW WARBLER, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS and RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD  being among the more noteworthy species seen.  A flock of ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS came in last night at Prince Edward Point, says one birder who also saw  YELLOW WARBLER, a few YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, a BLACK-THROATED GREEN and a BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, as well as a BLUE-HEADED VIREO, plus clouds of CEDAR WAXWINGS. Also seen by other observers at the Point today were BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER, BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON and EASTERN KINGBIRD (2). Also numerous in the sightings lists that came in today were BALTIMORE ORIOLES. At Allison Road and South Big Island Road, a VESPER SPARROW  was present early yesterday morning. An early morning canoeist in the Big Island Marsh at Muscote Bay came across 3 RUDDY DUCKS (2 males and a female). The canoeist played the call of the RUDDY DUCK (he is a surveyor with the Marsh Monitoring Program) whereupon one of the two males heard the mating call, and immediately went "stiff-tail", and started bobbing his head, and swam towards the canoe. Certainly an amazing day for birds and watchers of birds.

Tuesday, May 03: At Foxboro today, one person shovelling earth, came up with a few “dirt birds” - 2 each of EASTERN PHOEBE and HOUSE WREN were seen along with 4 HOUSE FINCHES and a PINE SISKIN. North of the village, a two kilometre hike produced better results with the sighting of a WOOD DUCK, 2 RUFFED GROUSE, 1 WILSON’S SNIPE, 1 BARRED OWL, 3 YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS, 2 BROWN THRASHERS, 2 OVENBIRDS, one each of BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER and PINE WARBLER and a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW.  Sometimes it isn’t even necessary to get out of your car. While parked on Sydenham Street beside Hotel Dieu Hospital, 2 CHIMNEY SWIFTS circled above me, and a PEREGRINE FALCON called repeatedly several times as it patrolled the area. At noon today two male ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS arrived at sunflower feeders in the Barry Heights area of Trenton. Another was also seen today north of Napanee, and “a number” of them showed up today at a South Bay feeder. The usual species at Prince Edward Point today, but a few of the noteworthy species were BROAD-WINGED HAWK, GREEN HERON, 2 BLUE-HEADED VIREOS, and AMERICAN WOODCOCK at Prince Edward Point, and an UPLAND SANDPIPER on Babylon Road. Down at the Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area, north of Kingston, a Belleville birder today managed 30 species, among them PINE WARBLER, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, HERMIT THRUSH and 2 VIRGINIA RAILS. The latter species also turned up today at the Brighton Constructed Wetland where other interesting species included COMMON GALLINULES, GREATER YELLOWLEGS, a nesting pair of KILLDEERS, and a family of out for a stroll on one of the walking paths. The Kaiser wetlands were deserted this afternoon, except for a MALLARD (which soon disappeared) and six CANADA GEESE. The water has also almost completely disappeared on the north wetland. The south wetland dried out a few days ago. At the H.R. Frink Centre near Plainfield, WINTER WREN and BROAD-WINGED HAWK were seen. Also present was a BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER and another one was in a Belleville backyard today. And, the bird that everyone has been waiting for – the first RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD – arrived at Bayside between Trenton and Belleville today. Now that we are into spring and fine weather pulls us outside, the Quinte Area Bird Report will no longer be available at the target time of 7:00 p.m., but may appear earlier or much later in the evening, but we will certainly strive for 7:00 p.m. whenever possible. However, please have all sightings to me by at least 6:30 p.m. as always for inclusion in the Report.

Monday, May 02: You just never know who’s going to turn up unexpectedly for supper! A NORTHERN BOBWHITE  showed up last night as the Trenton couple were sitting down to supper, doubtless an escaped bird from a private collection, since wild populations of this species seem to be restricted to southwestern Ontario. Looking out the window also provided some entertainment yesterday for a West Lake couple in the drizzly rain when two  local COMMON RAVENS were back again, raiding a population of ROCK PIGEONS in a barn across the road. The COMMON GRACKLE nests in  pine trees near the observer’s home and didn’t seem to appreciate the present of the raven, resulting in a spectacular aerial show as the  grackles put up a defense.  At Prince Edward Point today, AMERICAN WOODCOCK and YELLOW WARBLER were high points of the day, but BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, RUSTY BLACKBIRD and 3 WOOD DUCKS also held prominent spots on the day’s checklist. WOOD DUCKS  were also found today at the H.R. Frink Centre on Thrasher Road, 9 km north of Belleville. Also checked off on the day’s list were AMERICAN BITTERN VIRGINIA RAIL, WILSON’S SNIPE, YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, 2 WINTER WRENS, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (3), OVENBIRD, and 6 WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS. While we wait in the Quinte region for that first WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW to appear on its northward migration, one did arrive today in the Kingston are, at Glenburnie, along with a ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, both in the same backyard. NORTHERN SHOVELERS and NORTHERN PINTAILS were once again at the Kaiser Crossroad wetlands, but in greatly reduced numbers (2 and 5), a nice count of 25 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, also a couple GREATER YELLOWLEGS. The north wetland is nothing more than an oversized puddle, but that was enough to attract 18 LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS. There is no water remaining on the south wetland. An EASTERN BLUEBIRD was seen at Black River and a WILSON’S SNIPE  was at Point Petre today, as were singles of SAVANNAH SPARROW, FIELD SPARROW and EASTERN TOWHEE. In he Blessington Creek Marsh, a contractor with the Enhanced Marsh Monitoring Program described a series of calls from what may have been a YELLOW RAIL, unseen, of course, as are most rails of this species. Also recorded were 2 COMMON NIGHTHAWKS and a SORA. In Stirling this morning, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, YELLOW WARBLER, COMMON GALLINULE and a GREATER YELLOWLEGS. Kingston’s Marshlands Conservation Area was once again a hive of activity with no fewer than 55 WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS being counted. Other birds of note seen included 15 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, a WINTER WREN, 2 VIRGINIA RAILS, PINE WARBLER, OVENBIRD, BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, HERMIT THRUSH and a couple BROWN THRASHERS.

Sunday, May 01: A rather poor day for serious birding. And, it wasn't that much of a rainfall – only 7 mm, hardly anything to cheer about as we enter a spring of drought. Along the K & P Trail off Sydenham Road at Kingston today, a leucistic AMERICAN ROBIN was seen. And, speaking of robins, this particular robin took advantage of a sheep farmer along Highway 62, just south of Crookston Road for some nice soft wool and incorporated copious quantities of it in a warm, creative way during its nest construction. In keeping with the weather, 9 GREATER YELLOWLEGS and 5 LESSER YELLOWLEGS  were present at the Gray`s Wetland, south of Napanee. For a rainy day it was a lucky morning for birds at Luck`s Crossroad. A very hungry pair of NORTHERN CARDINALS were in and out all morning, along with CHIPPING SPARROWS. Also a BROWN THRASHER that appears often enough to suggest nesting nearby. For the first time several VESPER SPARROWS dropped by to eat grass seed. Four pairs of TREE SWALLOWS have settled in nest boxes, up four pairs from last year! While the home owners were having breakfast, they were treated to an X-rated complementary scene outside their window as a pair of NORTHERN FLICKERS were getting it on! At the H.R. Frink Centre today, north of Belleville, a pair of GREEN HERONS were very vocal and flying around. Lots and lots of PAINTED TURTLES (mostly quite small) and a few BLANDING`S TURTLES  as well. SWAMP SPARROWS were calling but not close to the Boardwalk. Along the Millennium Trail at Consecon Lake,  CASPIAN TERNS, SWAMP SPARROWS, PIED-BILLED GREBE and a COMMON LOON were noted last evening. Birders in Kingston were out at the Marshlands Conservation Area once the rain had all but topped in late afternoon today. A few of the noteworthy sightings were 17 WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS, 1 PINE WARBLER, 7 HERMIT THRUSHES, and the season`s first reported BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER. Ten BANK SWALLOWS  were seen at Presqu'ile Park, a nice number for a species that seems to have declined somewhat in numbers in recent years. Three PINE SISKINS and a BROWN THRASHER along Desmond Road in the Camden Lake area. The Amherst View Sewage Lagoons was not the most glamorous location for one of the first YELLOW WARBLERS of the spring season to make its debut, but the popular birding location also produced a FIELD SPARROW, 2 GADWALL and 8 NORTHERN SHOVELERS. Two RING-NECKED DUCKS, 2 BLUE-WINGED TEAL, 4 SAVANNAH SPARROWS, 3 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS and a GREATER YELLOWLEGS  were birds of note today at the Martin Edwards Reserve at the east end of Amherst Island. What was obviously the first BOBOLINK of the season was seen north of Stirling on April 20th, but sadly, no others have shown up since to mark the bubbling arrival of this popular species. Without them, spring simply hasn't arrived yet.

Saturday, April 30: A BLUE-HEADED VIREO was a highlight at Kingston`s Lemoine Point Conservation Area, where 6 WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS, 2 PILEATED WOODPECKERS, 10 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS and a SAVANNAH SPARROW were also seen.Present along Nugent Road in the Camden East area were the two LOGGERHEAD SHRIKES  that have been present for several days,  as well as EASTERN MEADOWLARKS and WILSON`S SNIPES. It was a busy day for one Brighton birder who racked up a list of close to 50 species at Presqu'ile Park today. Among the good finds were 3 BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS, 3 PIED-BILLED GREBES, 2500 RING-BILLED GULLS, and a HOUSE WREN. Three species of warbler were part of that list – YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH and BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER. In Prince Edward County, the first BALTIMORE ORIOLE of the season made its appearance yesterday to thunderous applause along Morrison`s Point Road at Black River. Says the observer who spotted the bird, "I openly wept." At Prince Edward Point, bird banding and bird surveys continue as part of the spring season at the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory. CLIFF SWALLOWS, PURPLE MARTINS (2), TREE SWALLOWS, BROWN THRASHER, EASTERN PHOEBE, NORTHERN FLICKER, AMERICAN TREE SPARROW, WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS, RUBY CROWNED KINGLETS, etc. are still arriving or passing through and seen daily. Three SPOTTED SANDPIPERS  were at South Bay today, and a SANDHILL CRANE trumpeted its way over the Big Island Marsh early this afternoon. One birder doing a shrike survey along Crowes Road and Old Milford Road, failed in his bid to locate any shrikes, but was rewarded with 3 UPLAND SANDPIPERS - (one on Old Milford Road, one on Crowes  Road and one on Clarke Rd near Miller). SONG, FIELD and SAVANNAH SPARROWS  were scattered along Old Milford and Crowes Road, and an AMERICAN KESTREL and several EASTERN MEADOWLARKS were found along Crowes Road. A pair of GREAT BLUE HERONS arrived at the Kaiser Crossroad wetlands today, to polish off frogs in the puddles that remain on the south wetlands. Token numbers of ducks and yellowlegs can be seen on the drastically reduced pool on north wetland. Yes, the Kaiser migration season is drawing to a close while the spring migration of passerines forges bravely ahead.

Friday, April 29:  A SANDHILL CRANE paid a brief visit to the Kaiser Crossroad wetlands late this afternoon – a very unusual bird in this location. Meanwhile, yellowlegs just kept arriving until there were 25 LESSER YELLOWLEGS and 16 GREATER YELLOWLEGS. Water levels are dropping in both ponds and the south wetland is now so shallow that waterfowl have left it for the shorebirds. Other than those birds, there were no other birds reported from Prince Edward County today, except for a NORTHERN HARRIER at Massassauga Point, and another at Big Island. A few miscellaneous sightings today involved a GREAT BLUE HERON on the Moira River in Belleville. Meach Road at Kingsford had 3 NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS today. WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS and BARN SWALLOWS took centre stage at Kingston`s Lemoine Point with 9 of the former and 7 of the latter being seen by one birder. RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER, HOUSE WREN, GRAY CATBIRD, and WARBLING VIREO were other highlights there.

Thursday, April 28: It is always a nice transition when the winter bird feeder begins to segway gradually into a summer clientele. WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS  are everywhere right now at feeders and singing enthusiastically in many backyards. No birds reported from Prince Edward County today, but things were sure hopping outside the County, and it was mainly for the birds. Among the 48 bird species sighted by one birder at Presqu’ile Park today were a PIED-BILLED GREBE, a female NORTHERN HARRIER, flying over the “fingers” of the park, 200 RING-BILLED GULLS, a GREAT HORNED OWL (flushed from a big hemlock tree at the back portion of Jobes’ Woods Trail), 2 YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS, a lone PILEATED WOODPECKER, a RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, 12 BROWN CREEPERS, 6 WINTER WRENS, a NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, 5 PINE WARBLERS, 30 WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS, 20 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, and 4 PURPLE FINCHES. And, they were just the highlights! Two HERMIT THRUSHES and 10 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS were seen at Lemoine Point Conservation Area in Kingston. RUSTY BLACKBIRDS – 25 of them – were also seen at the mouth of Park`s Creek at the H.R. Frink Centre, north of Belleville. Also seen there were 3 YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS with 2 of them squabbling over possession of a tree cavity, RUFFED GROUSE, BARRED OWL, 2 NORTHERN FLICKERS, and 2 BROAD-WINGED HAWKS – the first to be reported in the Quinte area so far this spring. Also in the same area, 2 GREAT BLUE HERONS  were seen flying together over Highway 37. Today, while I was parked on Sydenham Street beside Hotel Dieu Hospital in Kingston, a very vocal PEREGRINE FALCON flew over Brock Street. Shorebirds are gradually increasing in numbers. Two SPOTTED SANDPIPERS and 4 GREATER YELLOWLEGS were at Wilton Creek at Big Creek Road, south of Napanee. On Wilton Creek in the Morven area, a LESSER YELLOWLEGS  was seen. Also in the shorebird family, a WILSON`S SNIPE and four UPLAND SANDPIPERS were seen today along Nugent Road in the Napanee Limestone Plain IBA. The Kaiser Crossroad Waterfowl and Shorebird Report is not available this week, but will resume on May 5th. The Presqu’ile Provincial Park Weekly Bird Report by Fred Helleiner has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website, and can be read by CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, April 27: Only a sprinkling of bird sightings came in today, and no new species. Judging from the temperature early this morning, and ice in the bird bath, it’s no wonder. North of Belleville, 3 EASTERN MEADOWLARKS  were noted by a birder on Bethel Road, near Marlbank Road. On Esker Road by the little quarry off Highway 37, were two BELTED KINGFISHERS, and another two were seen on the power lines by the marsh on Lost Channel Road. In Brighton, the Brighton Constructed Wetlands yielded 23 species of birds, among them an AMERICAN WIGEON and a BLUE-WINGED TEAL with 8 AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS, 10 MALLARDS, 41 BUFFLEHEADS, 6 RING-NECKED DUCKS, 10 MALLARDS, 4 CANADA GEESE, and the ubiquitous MUTE SWAN – six of them. Other notable sightings at this site were a NORTHERN FLICKER, a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW, 6 COMMON GALLINULES (conservative figure), 2 MARSH WRENS and 7 TREE SWALLOWS. Personally, I never thought we would ever see the day when only a half dozen TREE SWALLOWS  would be seen. Forty years ago, there would have been hundreds of them! A GREAT BLUE HERON was present at Wellington today, and the LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE continues to be seen on Nugent Road in the Camden East area.

Tuesday, April 26: Few bird sightings came in today which isn’t surprising since many areas within the Quinte region were hit with rain and wet snow. Still, a ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK appeared at a feeder east of Lake on the Mountain, the first individual to appear in the area this spring. The weather doesn’t seem to be hampering nesting birds at all. South of Madoc, on Crookston Road, the heavy wet snow back there caused the AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES to look like Christmas balls on the apple trees.  EASTERN BLUEBIRDS are busy nesting on that property. While one pair are on eggs in one box, another box is experiencing some difficulties. For three days the bonded pair worked diligently on a nest, then the female disappeared, never to return. Meanwhile, a second female came along and watched as the male attempted to finish the nest. Clearly she wasn't  not in the mood yet. New arrivals at Kaiser Crossroad today: 3 fuzzy little CANADA GOOSE goslings. The BONAPARTE’S GULLS had mostly moved on, leaving about a dozen birds behind. YELLOWLEG numbers were up to 26, in a mixed flock of GREATER and LESSER YELLOWLEGS. Although there were about 300 NORTHERN PINTAILS, the numbers of other duck species were very low. In the Thomasburg area, one birder there witnessed nothing short of a feeding frenzy going on at his feeder around 11:00 a.m. this morning -  10 AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES and 16 PURPLE FINCHES, a NORTHERN CARDINAL, 5 BLUE JAYS, about a dozen DARK-EYED JUNCOS, a COMMON GRACKLES, AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS, about 5 PINE SISKINS, 3 MOURNING DOVES, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES, a HAIRY and a DOWNY WOODPECKER on the suite feeders and a bonus WHITE-THROATED SPARROW. Pretty good patronage for this time of year.

Monday, April 25: So far, only five species of warblers have been seen by banders and birders at Prince Edward Point – YELLOW-RUMPED, NASHVILLE, PINE, BLACK-AND-WHITE and an early CAPE MAY. Once today’s surprise snow flurries are finally but a memory and temperatures once again rise, the rest of the warbler species that are waiting somewhere on the sidelines, will make their way to Prince Edward Point. Among the regulars at the Kaiser Crossroad wetlands today, gulls and shorebirds significantly outnumbered waterfowl. There were about 400 BONAPARTE’S GULLS in a flock which also included at least 10 LITTLE GULLS. There were also 18 GREATER and LESSER YELLOWLEGS. A single PIED-BILLED GREBE was present yesterday. Four AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS  were still hanging around Consecon yesterday, but they will stick around for a few more days, and gradually disappear almost imperceptibly once we get into May. A BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON was at Cobourg Harbour two days ago. PINE SISKINS  are still coming to a feeder at South Bay and WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS  are beginning to descend on many area feeders. There was a LESSER YELLOWLEGS today at the Hamilton Wetland as this species commences to migrate through the area. Four GREATER YELLOWLEGS  were also present as well as some 40 TREE SWALLOWS, 6 BARN SWALLOWS, 3 GREEN-WINGED TEAL, and a GREAT BLUE HERON. Kingston’s Marshlands Conservation Area is still producing copious amounts of new migrants, some of them in fairly good numbers. Present today were WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS (14), YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (9), HERMIT THRUSH (3), RUSTY BLACKBIRDS (6), and singles of HOUSE WREN, WINTER WREN and BELTED KINGFISHER.

Sunday, April 24: This morning the Foxboro Snow Goose was seen flying from a marsh north of the Foodland store with about 820 CANADA GEESE. The photographer believes the white goose spends the nights in the marsh and its days in the flooded agricultural field. At Wellington, a pair of NORTHERN FLICKERS  are nesting and it is believed that they have young already. GREAT BLUE HERON and a NORTHERN HARRIER also seen flying along the beach. Five WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS, BARN SWALLOW and two SAVANNAH SPARROWS at Kingston’s Lemoine Point Conservation Area today. Other good birds were 2 PINE WARBLERS, BELTED KINGFISHER  and a CHIPPING SPARROW. On Potter Road near Demorestville, a BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER  was seen today. In Allisonville, a WILSON’S SNIPE  was noted, and a YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER  was seen along Elmwood Drive in Belleville.  Six YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS at the Marshlands Conservation Area in Kingston, along with 15 WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS, 3 WINTER WRENS, and a PILEATED WOODPECKER. At the Brighton Constructed Wetlands, a COMMON GALLINULE was seen on Friday. FIELD SPARROW and NORTHERN HARRIER on Airport Road on the east side of Belleville. At 23 Sprague Road on Big Island, four TURKEY VULTURES argued amongst themselves at our backdoor compost bin, then took their disagreement out into the field where they battled it out with considerable wing flapping directed at each other. Must have been the uneatern French fries. At Prince Edward Point today, some 500 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS  were tallied. Other good species were 2 COMMON LOONS, YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, 4 NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS, 6 CLIFF SWALLOWS 1 PINE WARBLER, 3 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, PALM WARBLER, and EASTERN TOWHEE. A BELTED KINGFISHER was seen at Little Bluff Conservation Area. Four species of shorebirds at the Kaiser Crossroad wetlands today – KILLDEER, GREATER and LESSER YELLOWLEGS and the first PECTORAL SANDPIPER  to be sighted this spring. Nine species of waterfowl there today, among them GADWALL, AMERICAN WIGEON, NORTHERN SHOVELER and GREEN-WINGED TEAL. The first GREAT EGRET of the spring season at the Hamilton Wetland, west of Demorestville, appeared today. To close of tonight’s report, a MOURNING DOVE  at Wellington is nesting in an eaves trough right beside the drain pipe. A rather questionable location given that their handful of sticks sprinkled beneath them is far from adequate to deflect the surge of water off the roof. Might not be an issue though this year as we haven’t had any substantial rain (only 15 millimeters) since April 1st. 

Saturday, April 23: Someone in our group of passengers on our tour bus left a snowball on our picnic table. Of course, we were in Plevna, so that might explain the remnants of snow and a bit of ice along the roadside. By contrast, we were surprised to see an EASTERN KINGBIRD  along Arden Road, close to Tamworth. This PINE WARBLER and pair of COMMON MERGANSERS were seen today in the Prince Edward Point Harbour area. Yesterday at the Point, LEAST FLYCATCHER, NASHVILLE WARBLER and CAPE MAY WARBLER  were seen, all new spring arrivals. A few good birds this morning in the Consecon, North Beach and Hillier areas. The cool weather and north wind kept the number of migrants down but a few birds are worth mentioning. There were two HOUSE WRENS in full song and a singing PURPLE FINCH turned out to be a female. There were three species of warblers with several groups of YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS and singles of PALM and NASHVILLE WARBLERS, all early migrants and expected. However, an unexpected surprise was a very responsive SORA at the Slab Creek Marsh in Hillier.  At Foxboro, a SNOW GOOSE was hanging out with some CANADA GEESE in a flooded field near Foxboro Foodland. The flooded field is on the south side of Frankford Road and can be seen by parking at Foodland, and walking east into Foxboro.  It is assumed to be a wild bird as there are no apparent leg bands, and it is probably the same bird seen in flight (white goose with black primaries) earlier in the week. At Presqu’ile Park today, a very vocal MERLIN was seen and heard at Calf Pasture. In Wellington, a BELTED KINGFISHER and OSPREY were seen passing over. Although a very early CHIMNEY SWIFT  was seen April 17th at Prince Edward Point, there have been no further sightings of these “flying cigars”. However, CHIMNEY SWIFTS are heading north and should be arriving soon in greater numbers! Observers from Manitoba to Nova Scotia will soon participate in the National Population Roost Monitoring Blitz. Blitz participants monitor a known roosting site for four evenings (May 25, May 29, June 2, and June 6 this year). SwiftWatch results are combined with other information to assess Chimney Swift population trends across Canada.  To learn more about Chimney Swifts, submit your sightings, and report new nest and roost sites, visit Bird Studies Canada’s SwiftWatch page or email us at  or . The online offerings include information about other aerial insectivore species, recent reports, and stewardship resources.

Friday, April 22: Some new arrivals today. At Kingston’s Marshlands Conservation Area along Front Road, the season’s first VIRGINIA RAIL appeared. At Prince Edward Point, the spring’s first BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER made its appearance. Soon there will be so many migrants arriving it will be quite impossible to keep track of new arrivals.  As birding at Prince Edward Point escalates this month, it bears repeating that CWS who owns the property down there has banned any further trail maintenance or the placement of benches by volunteers in the Point Traverse Woods, a maintenance job that volunteers have done since 1997. There are apt to be fallen ironwoods across the trail as there are every year, and trail side prickly ash and dog strangling vine will be encroaching the trails. However, the biggest concern will be the increased presence of BLACK-LEGGED TICKS (deer ticks) due to the tall grass. When birding the trails there, be sure to do a thorough body check upon leaving the woods and always make it a practice to carry a tick puller with you. They are available for only a few dollars at any animal hospital. One can lessen the chances of ticks by wearing lighter coloured clothes, pulling the socks over the pant legs, and applying insect repellent. As the migration continues, common migrants are being seen in larger numbers. BROWN THRASHERS according to one Big Island birder near the west end of Big Island were singing everywhere along the roadside, and a field near this person’s home, a cluster of 40 CASPIAN TERNS  were seen loafing.  Quite out of place in the beach area of Wellington, was a RUFFED GROUSE which took flight and flew across the channel to the Sandbanks spit. It was a slow day for banders at the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory today; however, present today were RUSTY BLACKBIRD, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS, COMMON LOON, CEDAR WAXWINGS, both RUBY-CROWNED and GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS, SWAMP SPARROW, and lots of NORTHERN FLICKERS, among them an integrade. Back at the Marshlands Conservation Area, 9 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS and 20 WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS indicated that the migration of these two species was ramping up to peaking sometime soon.  Also present at this popular conservation area were WINTER WREN, 6 SWAMP SPARROWS, 24 RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS, PINE and PALM WARBLER, 2 HERMIT THRUSHES and a FOX SPARROW. The Presqu’ile Provincial Park Weekly Bird Report by Fred Helleiner has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be viewed by CLICKING HERE.

Thursday, April 21: CASPIAN TERNS, have really increased in numbers in recent days and are now a common sight. A couple new arrivals today included a PALM WARBLER along Gorsline Road at Fish Lake, and a HOUSE WREN in the Stinson Block area west of Consecon. Both a bit early, but that’s okay. Also seen on Gorsline Road today were YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS, EASTERN TOWHEE, and four sparrow species – SONG, CHIPPING, SAVANNAH and WHITE-THROATED. An encouraging sight at Huyck’s Point was the appearance of about 100 TREE SWALLOWS, seemingly playing and enjoying the warm weather. A little anthropomorphic perhaps but as birders, we don’t care. In Huyck’s Bay there were 5 MUTE SWANS, 12 COMMON MERGANSERS, a pair of MALLARDS and a GREAT BLUE HERON. On the beach itself were 4 KILLDEERS, several DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS and about 30 CASPIAN TERNS.  Compared to a few days ago, Prince Edward Point was a bit ho-hum today with birds detected on the radar probably overflying the Point. There was an UPLAND SANDPIPER – another new species this spring -  and migrating COMMON LOONS in the waters along Long Point Road. NORTHERN FLICKERS and TURKEY VULTURES are still numerous north of the National Wildlife Area. The clientele make-up at bird feeders these days is gradually changing. Gone for the most part are the BLUE JAYS and MOURNING DOVES, but still remaining are DARK-EYED JUNCOS, and a sprinkling of AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS. However, some of the summer species are finding their way to the offerings now. A CHIPPING SPARROW  was at a feeder today east of Lake on the Mountain and SONG SPARROWS are now common visitors, as well as the occasional WHITE-THROATED SPARROW  as this species commences to make its spring debut. Miscellaneous species seen today included YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER and BELTED KINGFISHER on Elmwood Drive in Belleville, and a LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE in the Camden East area. BLUE-HEADED VIREOS and BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLERS any day now! Pamela Stagg’s Kaiser Crossroad Wetlands Report has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be viewed by CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, April 20: A SPOTTED SANDPIPER was seen today at Allisonville. Anew species to add to the spring migrant list.  I had the pleasure of joining two friends for several hours of birding, starting at Muscote Bay where we saw a mature BALD EAGLE. At Wellington Harbour, several CASPIAN TERNS  were floating low over our heads as they fished the harbour. At the new Lakeview Trail at West Point, we walked the entire trail for a distance of 4.8 km, finding some 40 species of birds, among the more notables, COMMON MERGANSERS, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, both species of kinglets, EASTERN TOWHEE, BROWN THRASHER, EASTERN MEADOWLARKS, NORTHERN HARRIER, CEDAR WAXWING, NORTHERN FLICKERS, BELTED KINGFISHERS (2), and five species of sparrows – AMERICAN TREE, CHIPPING, SONG, SAVANNAH and  FIELD. Along the wooded area of the trail, BROWN CREEPERS were seen flitting from tree to tree and at least two were doing a curious downward spiral flight around the trees where they commenced their climb again from the base of another tree. They were so numerous, it was quite impossible to count them as they seemed to be passing in front of us constantly. At the park office, a PINE WARBLER  was singing from one of the conifers, and at the Glendon Green Boat Launch off C.R. 18 beside the Park, a PIED-BILLED GREBE announced its presence with its loud, far-reaching  calls, descending into a series of less audible gasps as though totally exhausted by the effort. MUTE SWANS  and several individuals of the species Javex clorinatus (floating Javex bottles) were also present on East Lake. At Point Petre, the OSPREYS  were once again present on their nest within the Military Aeronautical Communications System compound. A drive along the questionable roadways in the wooded area revealed a YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER. Two AMERICAN KESTRELS  were seen during our outing, one of them at Point Petre. We found a single GREATER YELLOWLEGS at the Hamilton Wetland west of Demorestville. Sadly, TREE SWALLOWS were in discouragingly low numbers today, as this species continues to decline in population, compared to 40-50 years ago when the numbers of these important insect eaters used to darken the skies with their numbers. As further evidence of this, only 1 TREE SWALLOW  was seen today at Strathcona by an observer there. At one of my favourite conservation areas at Kingston, Marshlands today produced a nice mixture of birds including YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, WOOD DUCKS, WINTER WREN, 2 WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS, PILEATED WOODPECKER, 2 HERMIT THRUSHES, and a FOX SPARROW. Miscellaneous sightings from around the reporting area today included EASTERN TOWHEE and WHITE-THROATED SPARROW at Odessa, lots of kinglets and DARK-EYED JUNCOS and BROWN CREEPERS  reported from Prince Edward Point, and a WILSON’S SNIPE  at the Harmony Road Wetland. The latter is rapidly becoming the Harmony Road Dryland as a property owner has drained the popular wetland that had become a focal point for birds every year including GREAT EGRETS and nesting GREAT BLUE HERONS. I have purposely left the best until the very last though. A very  early BOBOLINK was seen today east of Springbrook in the Stirling area.

Tuesday, April 19: The spring migration continues with gusto, and local residents are getting down to nesting. A Consecon resident reported that Consecon Lake is covered now with over 100 MUTE SWANS and some now have eggs in nests – not good news in view of the aggressive nature of this species toward native waterfowl. A kayaker back from kayaking the |Outlet River says there were PIED-BILLED GREBES calling in the marshes of the Outlet and the west end of East Lake, and CASPIAN TERNS at their customary loafing area along the beach where the Outlet empties into Lake Ontario.  It is not known if the hundreds of BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS that descended on Prince Edward Point a week ago, were there today, but they certainly were yesterday, according to one observer. We don't know if this qualified as a "fallout", but it certainly was a mass migration. Around the Quinte area, BROWN THRASHER, 3 WILSON’S SNIPES, a SAVANNAH SPARROW and EASTERN MEADOWLARKS  were birds of note yesterday at Nugent Road in the Napanee Limestone Plain. Today at Prince Edward Point, a few of the special birds on hand for visiting birders were YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, WINTER WREN, VESPER SPARROW, SURF SCOTERS, BLACK SCOTER, 5 SANDHILL CRANES, PINE WARBLER, PURPLE FINCHES, and the season’s first BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER. It was a big day for BROWN CREEPERS to at the Point with almost every tree containing one, with one tree having as many as five in view at one time. Grab your binoculars! The spring migration is here!

Monday, April 18: Good numbers of migrants have been streaming into Prince Edward Point since Friday. Among those seen today were mostly BROWN CREEPERS, RUBY-CROWNED and GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS, NORTHERN FLICKERS and DARK-EYED JUNCOS. Also PURPLE FINCHES, AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES, BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS, COMMON GRACKLES, BONAPARTE’S GULLS (steady stream of them along the shore), numerous LONG-TAILED DUCKS, BUFFLEHEADS, COMMON and RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS, MALLARDS and WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS. COMMON LOON also seen. A PEREGRINE FALCON did a quick flyover, and RED-TAILED HAWKS, SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS and TURKEY VULTURES  were also noted today. Other good birds today at Prince Edward Point included WILSON’S SNIPE, WINTER WREN, HERMIT THRUSH, BROWN THRASHER, PINE SISKIN, RUSTY BLACKBIRD, and SONG, FIELD, CHIPPING and FOX SPARROWS. Harbingers of the May warbler migration were present today again, in the form of YELLOW-RUMPED and PINE WARBLERS. Twenty members of the Ontario Field Ornithologists were at Prince Edward Point yesterday and in addition to the above mentioned birds, also added the very first CHIMNEY SWIFT. Four LESSER YELLOWLEGS and a CASPIAN TERN were new arrivals at the Kaiser Crossroad wetlands today. Apart from about 300 NORTHERN PINTAILS, waterfowl numbers were very modest. BONAPARTE’S GULLS numbered about 80. There may have been a few LITTLE GULLS in the flock but heat haze made it impossible to pick any out or identify the two small shorebirds behind the gulls. In a flooded agricultural field off Greer Road, west of Wellington yesterday, 4 GREEN-WINGED TEAL were present and a GREATER YELLOWLEGS. Also yesterday, some good birds seen at Point Petre included 250 BONAPARTE’S GULLS, 5 HERMIT THRUSHES, EASTERN TOWHEE, COMMON LOON and WINTER WREN. Long Point Road, beyond Babylon Road, had FOX and FIELD SPARROWS, 5 NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS, and 12 HORNED GREBES among the 26 species tabulated along that stretch of road. Today, at Belleville’s Victoria Park, a MERLIN was seen, and a COMMON LOON  was present along the Kiwanis Bayshore Trail. WILD TURKEYS, SANDHILL CRANE, BELTED KINGFISHER, and COMMON RAVEN at Big Island today.

Sunday, April 17:  And, the fine weather continues, as does the spring migration of birds. Interestingly, few reports came in today. Everyone must have been out birding yesterday, and not today. A BROWN THRASHER  was singing enthusiastically along Sprague Road early this morning. NORTHERN FLICKERS in great abundance now, and actively singing. Four were in a Black Road backyard today.  The banding season is well under way, and Observatory volunteers are also finalizing the schedule for this year’s Spring Birding Festival, May 14-23. The week will include guided walks in the Point Traverse Woods as well as walks from the Observatory to the lighthouse, both locations well known for their concentrations of spring migrants. Outside of the Prince Edward Point area, Mike Burrell from the Natural Heritage Information Centre will lead a walk on the Millennium Trail through the recently designated Provincially Significant wetland at Hubbs Creek, west of Wellington. A guided day long birding tour of Prince Edward County, titled, appropriately enough, “Bird ‘Til You Drop” is now sold out! Also on tap will be a “Boot Camp for Birders” at the Jackson’s Falls Country Inn, near Milford, May 7-8, precedes the Festival, and is being presented by Pamela Stagg who does the weekly Kaiser Crossroad Bird Reports for the NatureStuff website. It’s going to be a great week and more information can be found by CLICKING HERE. Speaking of Pamela Stagg, her Kaiser Crossroad sightings from today included two very early DUNLIN in non-breeding plumage that showed up. Only in 2012, have DUNLIN appeared before May. So, the shorebird migration is definitely underway at the Kaiser Crossroad wetlands with the appearance of not only the early DUNLIN, but also BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS and GREATER YELLOWLEGS.  Duck numbers there have dropped dramatically. The big news, in addition to the early DUNLIN,  was the presence of 300 – 400 BONAPARTE’S GULLS and 1 – 2 LITTLE GULLS that appeared yesterday evening and remain today.  Another BARN SWALLOW  was seen on Airport Parkway near Belleville today as their numbers steadily increase. Five HERMIT THRUSHES  were at Kingston’s Marshlands Conservation Area today. Be on the watch for them now as they pass through the area to nesting grounds a bit further north of us. The first two NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS  of the spring season were seen in Kingston today, but four ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS  continue to linger on Wolfe Island, although the species can continue to be seen in our area a bit into May. 

Saturday, April 16: More sunshine today ensured another great day of birding for those who took advantage of the weather.  PIED-BILLED GREBE in the harbour at Prince Edward Point, BUFFLEHEADS and COMMON MERGANSERS also present. Encountered too, were VESPER SPARROW, EASTERN BLUEBIRD, lots of BROWN CREEPERS, 2 YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS, both RUBY-CROWNED and GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS, 2 EASTERN TOWHEES, and the usual numbers of DARK-EYED JUNCOS, SONG SPARROWS, etc. PINE WARBLERS have returned to Prince Edward Point, and another was seen today at Odessa. CLIFF SWALLOWS have once again returned to their usual haunts at the old lighthouse at Prince Edward Point, and three early CLIFF SWALLOWS were seen  today at a regular nesting site northwest of Tamworth, south of Sheffield Conservation Area. FOX SPARROWS and HERMIT THRUSHES are starting to show up with two of each being seen at Lemoine Point Conservation Area at Kingston, and at Marshlands Conservation Area, just east of Lemoine Point, a GREAT HORNED OWL, 1 PILEATED WOODPECKER and 2 RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES  were all nice finds. Back in Prince Edward County, PURPLE MARTINS have returned to West Lake, and a WILSON’S SNIPE  was heard winnowing at South Bay. Bird feeders, despite the summer-like temperatures are still enjoying fairly brisk business with large flocks of AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES still being reported. Three PURPLE FINCHES  were at a feeder on Black Road, west of Demorestville. In Belleville, the Kiwanis Bayshore Trail this morning, SONG SPARROWS  were everywhere, lots of RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS, COMMON GRACKLES, CANADA GEESE, and MALLARDS, with a small group of COMMON MERGANSERS  finishing off the checklist at the east end of the trail.  At Brighton, the Constructed Wetlands there along County Road 64 contained seven species of waterfowl including 7 NORTHERN SHOVELERS. However, the big surprise there was a MARSH WREN, about two weeks ahead of its usual spring arrival date. The Kaiser Crossroad Waterfowl (and shorebird) Report, compiled by Pamela Stagg, has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be read by CLICKING HERE.

Friday, April 15: Now things are moving along! There was considerable movement today among birds, among them, a few new migrants to celebrate the arrival of spring. New on the arrival list this spring was a YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, and also newly arrived were 4 HERMIT THRUSH, 2 BROWN THRASHERS and VESPER SPARROW, all in the Consecon area.  A lone PIED-BILLED GREBE showed up Peat’s Point and not far away, a female PURPLE MARTIN arrived at Davidson Road just off Lower Massassauga Road. The first day of bird banding at Prince Edward Point at 6:30 a.m. started off with a bang as over 300 birds were processed this morning, the back log of banding continuing until 3:00 p.m. Highlights among the banded birds were: a large flock of DARK-EYED JUNCOS that appeared (over 100 banded), FOX SPARROW, GOLDEN and RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS, BROWN CREEPERS, NORTHERN CARDINAL, SONG and CHIPPING SPARROW, WINTER WREN, AMERICAN ROBIN, YELLOW BELLIED SAPSUCKER, and BLACK CAPPED CHICKADEE. Even a BOHEMIAN WAXWING! Over on the west side of the County, at Carrying Place, the piers at the east end of the Murray Canal had 35 CASPIAN TERNS and 12 BONPARTE’S GULLS, mostly in adult plumage. A bonus was an adult BALD EAGLE that flew over. In the greater Consecon area, common migrants were everywhere with many kinglets, mostly GOLDEN-CROWNED with a few RUBY-CROWNED mixed in. Also common were BROWN CREEPER and YELLOW-BELLED SAPSUCKER with about ten of each. There were nine species of sparrow. In addition to the common SONG and SWAMP SPARROW there were 4 CHIPPING, 4 FOX, 2 WHITE-THROATED, 2 FIELD and singles of WHITE-CROWNED, SAVANNAH and VESPER. Also seen were  3 BARN SWALLOWS , 2 male NORTHERN HARRIERS and singles of EASTERN TOWHEE and  WINTER WREN. One Picton area birder took advantage of the fine weather and went for a kayak paddle from Glenora to Picton, and back again.  There were quite a few pairs of BUFFLEHEADS - perhaps 10-15 pairs in total.  BELTED KINGFISHERS  were encountered at four separate locations during the 8 km paddle  In the harbour, very close to the yacht club was a COMMON LOON preening himself. Also there were several pairs of MALLARDS, one of which was already sitting on a nest.  Five pairs of COMMON MERGANSERS were also there and about two dozen or so CANADA GEESE. Miscellaneous sightings today involved a RED-TAILED HAWK along Highway 37 near Lost Channel Road, and seven GREAT BLUE HERONS at the Harmony Road wetland, north of Belleville, where there is a heronry. COMMON RAVENS, 2 NORTHERN HARRIERS and a SANDHILL CRANE  were in the Big Island Marsh area this afternoon. BELTED KINGFISHER at Wellington as well as GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS and TREE SWALLOWS. At the Kaiser wetlands today, yesterday’s GREATER YELLOWLEGS were replaced by a BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER just starting to moult into breeding plumage. About 100 BONAPARTE’S GULLS were present but both swans had disappeared. Meanwhile in Algonquin Park, still lots of ice and snow as abnormally cold temperatures this past week preserved extensive deep snow and mainly ice-covered lakes and ponds. Probably the last chance to see boreal species, some of which didn’t make it down to the Bay of Quinte region this past winter, including RED CROSSBILL, COMMON REDPOLL (1 here and there), and EVENING GROSBEAK numbers have dwindled from a noisy flock of many dozens, down to only a couple at the Visitor Centre feeders, and elsewhere.

Thursday, April 14: WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, TREE SWALLOWS, and the season’s first reported BARN SWALLOW were sightings of note along Long Point Road today near Prince Edward Point. A WILSON’S SNIPE and a GREAT BLUE HERON were seen along Babylon Road, and another GREAT BLUE HERON was seen in flight today over Shannonville Road. At Black Diamond Road, just off Highway 37 at Belleville, a RED-TAILED HAWK was seen and another turned up today at Mountain View. In addition to the two CASPIAN TERNS seen at Sandbanks yesterday, another two were seen flying low over Muscote Bay at Big Island. CASPIAN TERNS have been seen on at least two occasions at Presqu’ile Park this week, so that species is definitely here, and accounted for. Another PURPLE MARTIN  showed up yesterday on Davidson Road just off Massassauga Road. Meanwhile, the Vacancy sign still swings in the wind at my martin house on Big Island. The first sign of a shorebird migration in the immediate Bay of Quinte region came with the sighting of two GREATER YELLOWLEGS  today at the Harmony Road wetland, north of Belleville. GREATER YELLOWLEGS today as well at the Kaiser Crossroad wetlands. Also, north of Belleville, it was mostly about frogs at the H.R. Frink Centre with an absolute din of enthusiastic SPRING PEEPERS at the start of the marsh boardwalk, and further on, NORTHERN LEOPARD FROGS chimed in. From a vernal pool in the woods, WOOD FROGS  were in full chorus. Definitely good news for volunteers with the Marsh Monitoring Program as they have been chompin’ at the bit to get going on their first April survey of the season. There was a PILEATED WOODPECKER  at Black River today, and at Atkin Road east of Belleville, 5 NORTHERN PINTAILS and a couple  GREEN-WINGED TEAL  remained. OSPREYS? Well, they’re everywhere right now, certainly a major success story given their disappearance in the 1960s due to the effects of toxic chemical  sprays that were washed into water courses where these majestic birds fed. A birder from the Thomasburg area covered a bit of the rail trail between Tweed and Belleville this afternoon.  Lots of PAINTED TURTLES  out sunning themselves this afternoon.  Lots of MALLARDS everywhere and a a dozen  WOOD DUCKS in various ponds and one pair up in a tree.  Also one GREAT BLUE HERON. Fred Helleiner's Presqu'ile Park Bird Report for this week has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be seen by CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, April 13: As the term ‘spring’ takes on new meaning with warmer temperatures, the milder weather is translating into more sightings suggestive of the season. There were seven to 10 CEDAR WAXWINGS at Massassauga Point Conservation Area. Photographer Daniel LaFrance wryly asks, “What the heck is wrong with these dog owners (at Massassauga) ? I parked and walked maybe 100 feet – in that distance I saw so many dog feces, it was simply disgusting!”  I responded by saying that it’s a popular destination for dog owners. Unfortunately, almost 90% of them are irresponsible, and the rest of them hang their doggie bags from the boughs of bushes and trees! Other than irresponsible dog owners, today was otherwise very pleasurable with numerous sightings and “hearings”. Among the latter was the first AMERICAN BITTERN of the season at the Big Island Marsh. Also new today were the first CASPIAN TERNS (2) of the season, hunting along the beach at Sandbanks Park.  The spring bird banding season at the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory officially got under way today (once the nets melted!). Yesterday at Prince Edward Point, WESTERN CHORUS FROGS were singing up a storm and GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS  and BROWN CREEPERS  were around, and a few NORTHERN FLICKERS were seen. A few ducks in the harbour including  a few WHITE WINGED SCOTERS as well.   There are considerable fluctuations in waterfowl numbers at the Kaiser Crossroad wetlands, with  about 400 NORTHERN PINTAILS  present today and just over 200 MALLARDS. But gradually numbers of other ducks are decreasing. Three TUNDRA SWANS were present, as well as 28 BONAPARTE’S GULLS and 3 LITTLE GULLS. In the Brighton area, and WOOD DUCKS were in Presqu’ile Park. They were among about 20 species of waterfowl that can still be seen in the Presqu’ile Park area. Yesterday, in the park, there was a RUDDY DUCK, and CANVASBACKS were also present.  Also, HORNED and RED-NECKED GREBE.  The Brighton Constructed Wetlands had BLUE-WINGED TEAL and GREEN-WINGED TEAL, REDHEAD, RING-NECKED DUCK, BUFFLEHEAD, NORTHERN SHOVELERS and MALLARDS. Elsewhere, it was a bit of this and a bit of that.  PINE SISKINS at at a Crofton feeder, along with TREE SWALLOWS  back today checking out a nest box. Male and female NORTHERN CARDINALS were around today and  and  two EASTERN PHOEBES, one going into a shed on the property to check that out as a potential nest site. There was a RED-TAILED HAWK on Highway 62, near Huff's Island Road. At Massassauga Point OSPREYS were soaring in the sky. At the Demorestville  Conservation Area there were a half dozen CEDAR WAXWINGS there. And at the Hamilton Wetland along County Road 14, a GREAT BLUE HERON floated over the flooded wetland. SONG SPARROWS and a single FIELD SPARROW still at a feeder in Crofton, and 2 OSPREYS  were perched side by side on a nest platform at South Bay. A WILSON’S SNIPE today in the Napanee Limestone Plain IBA, and 3 FOX SPARROWS at the Marshlands Conservation Area in Kingston. The warmer temperatures have got the birds all revved up, for sure.

Tuesday, April 12: Numbers were up for the largest and smallest waterfowl at the Kaiser Crossroad wetlands today, with CANADA GEESE at around 350 birds and GREEN-WINGED TEAL, up to 32. Other species were generally lower and overall, the Kaiser wetlands looked decidedly quiet this afternoon. Ducks at the south west end of East Lake (at Welbanks Rd.) are fewer in numbers this week. There are still BUFFLEHEADS, REDHEADS, RING-NECKED DUCKS with CANADA GEESE and MUTE SWANS every day. Recently and including this morning, present were about a dozen each of GADWALL and LESSER SCAUP. There are 2 OSPREY pairs nesting nearby. One pair is on top of the platform at County Rd. 18 and Parr's Lane and today there was a pair building their nest on top of the cell tower at Salmon Pt. Rd and County Rd.18. OSPREY have returned to the nesting pole along County Road 8 near Kaiser Crossroad and DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS are back at Prinyer’s Cove. A few “hearings” came in today, involving a WESTERN CHORUS FROG in a small wetland east of Lake on the Mountain, and an EASTERN PHOEBE  calling in the same general area. Except for Trenton where over 200 TREE SWALLOWS have been present for several days, other sightings in the Belleville/Prince Edward County up until  today involved only swallows seen in twos and threes. Today, 25 seen flying over the Dundas Street bridge in Belleville bespeaks of the fine weather that is on its way. DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS have returned to Snake Island in the Bay of Quinte, and speaking of snakes, an EASTERN GARTER SNAKE was lured out by the brief periods of sunshine this afternoon, challenged only by periods of snow pellets in between. Two PILEATED WOODPECKERS  were seen on a hydro pole along County Road 28 off highway 62 (south entrance).  Four SWAMP SPARROWS, 2 WOOD DUCKS, 2 NORTHERN HARRIERS, were all good sightings today at Marshlands Conservation Area in Kingston. Over in nearby Lemoine Point Conservation Area, 4 WINTER WRENS  and a NORTHERN FLICKERS were also good sightings. All positive signs of spring. I am through waiting. Tomorrow the purple martin house goes up!  

Monday, April 11: Today, not much happening although a few sightings did trickle in. Smith's Bay continues to host many ducks, primarily REDHEADS and Scaup in good numbers, over 100 of each. Less numerous were a few AMERICAN WIGEONS, BUFFLEHEADS, RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS and MALLARDS. A pair of BALD EAGLES (1 adult and 1 immature) caused all the ducks to take flight, very impressive sight. At the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory, numerous LONG-TAILED DUCKS kept company with both WHITE-WINGED and BLACK SCOTERS.  The Kaiser Crossroad wetland still has many NORTHERN PINTAILS, along with AMERICAN WIGEONS, RING-NECKED DUCKS, a few TUNDRA SWANS and one GREEN-WINGED TEAL. Highlights at Beaver Meadow Conservation Area yesterday included 2 BUFFLEHEAD, 3 AMERICAN WIGEON,  GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET & BROWN CREEPER. Among birds present at the Glendon Green Boat Launch at Sandbanks Park were 2 WOOD DUCKS, 50 RING-NECKED DUCKS, PILEATED WOODPECKER. A location that is all too often under birded is Glenwood Cemetery in Picton where the rolling topography and ornamental pond, abundance of mature conifers and an escarpment of deciduous trees can produce a plethora of birds, depending on the weather and time of year. Although only BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES, DARK-EYED JUNCOS and EASTERN PHOEBE were there yesterday, EASTERN SCREECH-OWLS  are almost a given at the top of the cemetery where I have heard as many as five calling at one time. Miscellaneous observations to come in today included BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS and PINE SISKIN at a Trenton feeder, GREAT BLUE HERON in flight over Wyman’s Road in the Marysville area, and OSPREYS at a nest platform east of Belleville near Baz Auto.

Sunday, April 10: A mixed bag of sightings today as the skies darken for yet another spate of winter weather. A RUFFED GROUSE was playing on the roadside along County Road 12 at West Lake today.  A lone SANDHILL CRANE  was trumpeting at Big Island early this morning. And in Wellington, one birder checked out the harbour today to see if any TREE SWALLOWS  were about, and came upon a GREAT BLUE HERON hiding in the cattails. A BELTED KINGFISHER  was also in the area. COMMON LOONS calling on the Bay of Quinte near Glenora. A dozen NORTHERN SHOVELERS  were present at Presqu’ile Park yesterday while at Prince Edward Point, 70 km away as the COMMON MERGANSER  flies, 24 of the latter were present today. Also seen down there were 16 TURKEY VULTURES, a BELTED KINGFISHER, 2 NORTHERN FLICKERS, a dozen GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS, and a single WINTER WREN were good additions to the day’s check list. Hundreds of ducks and geese took to the air today, leaving very low numbers of waterfowl on the Kaiser Crossroad wetlands. Fortunately, 46 BONAPARTE’S GULLS and 2 LITTLE GULLS arrived to fill the gap between waterfowl and shorebirds. One birder there today did find 80 NORTHERN PINTAILS among the waterfowl species there. On Charwell Point Road in the South Shore Important Bird Area, the first two CHIPPING SPARROWS of the “spring” season were seen, along with 2 WILSON’S SNIPES, and 3 SWAMP SPARROWS  were present nearby at the Ducks Unlimited Berm. A bit unusual at this late date were two dozen RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS which dropped in to a feeder along Glenora Road. PURPLE FINCHES and PINE SISKINS  in varying numbers are still coming to some feeders, and at a Crofton feeder, just east of Highway 62 and Burr Road, a FIELD SPARROW  has been visiting a feeder for several days.

Saturday, April 09: Nice weather today, so it was understandable that birders were out and about. I was doing Marsh Monitoring Program site checks today, so I combined the effort with birding. Had a profitable hike at Trenton’s Hanna Park, coming up with BLUE JAYS, BROWN CREEPER, several NORTHERN CARDINALS, NORTHERN FLICKER, EASTERN PHOEBE, RUFFED GROUSE, RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, PURPLE FINCH and PINE SISKIN. However, the single PINE SISKIN was nothing compared to 100+ siskins that were bombarding feeders at the The Birdhouse Nature Store in Wooler!  In the last couple of weeks there has been a significant movement of PINE SISKINS with similar numbers appearing at feeders in eastern Ontario. There are some green morph PINE SISKINS among them present, too.They have more yellow-green in the overall plumage.  At Prince Edward Point today, nothing much of significance. Seen were YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, RUFFED GROUSE, BUFFLEHEAD, LONG-TAILED DUCKS and BONAPARTE’S GULLS. On Atkin Road, north of Airport Parkway in the east side of Belleville today – 10 SONG SPARROWS expressing their joy of sunny days in song, 2 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS,  6 NORTHERN PINTAILS and a TURKEY VULTURE  were highlights. What was probably the first HERMIT THRUSH of the season turned up at Marshlands Conservation Area along Front Road in Kingston today, along with 3 WINTER WRENS, 2 PILEATED WOODPECKERS and a COOPER’S HAWK. Desmond Road in the Camden East area today had birds in sixes with equal numbers each of PINE SISKIN, TREE SWALLOW and PURPLE FINCH. Near Stockdale today, an AMERICAN KESTREL, followed by a single OSPREY at Frankford. Philburn Road north of Belleville had a NORTHERN HARRIER, and along the Bayshore Trail just south of the hospital, there was another AMERICAN KESTREL. In Trenton, lots of TREE SWALLOWS on the Trent River near the Bay. Another test of their endurance again tomorrow night with more snow in the forecast. The last two days, the PURPLE FINCHES have been absent from feeders north of Telephone Road but the 20 each of AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES and PINE SISKINS are taking a toll on the nyger seed. Imagine well over a hundred of them hitting the feeders like they are doing at The Birdhouse in Wooler. Perhaps they know there is a bountiful supply of feed just inside the building.

Friday, April 08:  A well described male PINE GROSBEAK appeared east of Lake on the Mountain in the area of Bongard’s Crossroad on Thursday. This follows on the heels of a sighting of one on April 1st at Presqu’ile Park. Must have been a small movement of them through the area. The only other one to be seen in our area during last winter was an individual on Victoria Road on the west side of the County, in December. Over 700  CANADA GEESE dominated the Kaiser wetlands today. NORTHERN PINTAIL numbers were low (30 birds) after a female NORTHERN HARRIER was harassing the ducks yesterday. The harriers were patrolling the wetland again today. While numbers of RING-NECKED DUCKS were close to 100, other duck numbers were modest. There were two TUNDRA SWANS on the wetland. New birds continue to arrive in the Kingston area, but not so much here in the Bay of Quinte area. North of Kingston, the first AMERICAN BITTERN of the season was seen at Sydenham a week ago. The first VIRGINIA RAIL was noted at Clear Lake, near Crosby on 2nd and 7th, and 5 BARN SWALLOWS were also seen at Adolphustown on Tuesday. To finish off this evening’s Report, the 2016 AMERICAN WOODCOCK SINGING-GROUND SURVEY is about to begin! Volunteers for this Ontario program report all AMERICAN WOODCOCKS seen or heard at roadside survey points on one evening between April 20 and May 20 each year. The information is used to monitor the size of populations throughout North America, to guide management and conservation. Bird Studies Canada received data for an impressive 81% of 99 routes assigned in 2015, and they’re hoping for even better returns in 2016!   Bird Studies Canada’s Ontario Volunteer Coordinator Kathy Jones has been contacting coordinators and volunteers regarding their 2016 survey plans. The survey is especially in need of participants near Sudbury and North Bay, with a few additional routes available throughout Ontario. Anyone interested can review the ONLINE ROUTE MAP. To register for a particular route, email .  

Thursday, April 07: This afternoon at the Kaiser wetlands, a NORTHERN HARRIER was seen feeding in the vegetation. Her prey was hidden, but when she rose from her meal, about 100 NORTHERN PINTAILS took off and disappeared from the wetland, suggesting that she had been feasting on a duck. She was certainly going after ducks when she was last sighted. Shortly afterward, snow squalls made viewing impossible for the visiting birder today. Pamela Stagg’s Kaiser Crossroad Waterfowl Report has been updated for this week and can be seen by CLICKING HERE. As for the mystery food that the TREE SWALLOWS and RING-BILLED GULLS  were enjoying such a feeding frenzy over on the Trent River at Trenton yesterday, the general feeling is the birds were probably feasting on a hatch of midges. Apparently the pupae swim to the water surface by the millions when conditions are right, float on the surface for a very short period of time as they crawl out of there pupae then fly away. That few seconds became the feast. Midges are the black mosquito-like insects that swarm in clouds near water. There are 20,000 different types of midges world wide. Anyone who has ever birded Prince Edward Point in May certainly can relate to clouds of midges that resemble columns of smoke in the distance. A SNOWY OWL was seen today on a utility pole along Ben Gill Road in Prince Edward County. Two WOOD DUCKS continue to put in an appearance at Kingston’s Lemoine Point Conservation Area where other good birds seen today included 10 SONG SPARROWS, PILEATED WOODOECKER, EASTERN PHOEBE, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS and 5 NORTHERN FLICKERS. Just 10 minutes east of there, at Marshlands Conservation Area, a SWAMP SPARROW was a good find today along with 2 WINTER WRENS and a NORTHERN HARRIER. Other sightings to come in today included AMERICAN KESTRELS  at Big Island and Doxsee Road. Weather conditions have not been conducive to a major push of spring migrants at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, but a few interesting sightings such as the first GREAT EGRET of the spring season, and a lingering SNOWY OWL are among the few sightings that were made in the Park during the past week. To see Fred Helleiner’s full Report, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, April 06: Nothing new turned up today, but another EASTERN TOWHEE appeared – this time along Fry Road. Other than that, the usual species to be expected at this time – only more of them in numbers. At Brighton, feeder birds there in one back yard included 6 BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS, 12 RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS, 21 COMMON GRACKLES and a SONG SPARROW. In the Lost Channel area near Thomasburg today, a nice flock of 30 PURPLE FINCHES  at a feeder, more closely resembling high numbers of years past. Twelve AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES, PINE SISKINS, DARK-EYED JUNCOS, and five HAIRY WOODPECKERS at the same feeder. On Lost Channel (Moira River), 4 WOOD DUCKS and a GADWALL were seen. An interesting observation today In the Greer Road area of Hillier was a “flock” of about a dozen EASTERN PHOEBES that had gravitated to a central spot, presumably due to the abundance of available insects. PINE SISKINS are still at a Wellington feeder, and two WILD TURKEYS  strolled nonchalantly across a Cressy lawn at 10:00 a.m. this morning. Photo by Paul Wallace of Cressy. Also, a PILEATED WOODPECKER has been visiting a backyard near Lake on the Mountain during the last few days. With all the moisture we have had in recent days in the form of rain and/or snow, it pays to keep one’s eyes peeled on any flooded fields. Along Greer Road today, one such field contained a number of NORTHERN PINTAILS. The OSPREY are back at the (noisy) nest platform near the Lennox & Addington generating station along Bath Road. Rather amazing that they stayed there all last summer, right through the blasting for the new gas plant. An early PURPLE MARTIN that arrived on Lower Massassauga Road on April 1st, is still alive, thanks in no small way to a resident who has a number of gourds that are used to house the martins during the nesting season. After seeing the snow and the mercury in the thermometer dip out of sight, the resident caught the bird in one of the gourds and brought him inside. He made a cage out of a big box, installed side and roof  plastic windows, perch, door and hung the gourd inside. He and his wife acquired live crickets and Melli worms to feed their patient. Using a mesh bag, they unplugged the hole and was able to reach into the bag and hold the bird in his hand.  Unable to get the bird to cooperate and accept food, they released him  at 11:00 a.m. two days ago on a nice sunny day. The martin circled in normal flight and settled in another gourd. Yesterday morning, another sunny day, he left about 10 a.m., returning at about 7:45 p.m. The resident wrapped that same gourd he had caught him in with an electric battery heater. That night he went into the heated gourd, stayed for only a minute, then retired next door!! He has been flying with the TREE SWALLOWS, feeding over the Bay of Quinte, hoping that might help with securing food. These “scout” PURPLE MARTINS, the first to arrive to an established colony in the spring, always face an uncertain future when weather like this threatens their survival.

Tuesday, April 05: Despite the wintry conditions, love is still in the air as evidenced by a pair of HOUSE FINCHES sharing a tender moment in a Wellington backyard. Compared to yesterday, today was a rather dull day with few sightings coming in. A COMMON LOON showed up near the shoreline at Prince Edward Bay, in the Cressy area today. Also today, a FOX SPARROW, NORTHERN FLICKER and BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD were new spring arrivals at a backyard along Luck’s Crossroad, near Picton. Eleven species of waterfowl were still present at Kaiser Crossroad today, among them, three TUNDRA SWANS, 400 MALLARDS, 46 RING-NECKED DUCKS, 4 NORTHERN SHOVELERS, 3 GADWALL and 14 GREEN-WINGED TEAL.  The low night time temperatures have still not affected the abundance of TREE SWALLOWS – an estimated 100 – feeding above the surface of the Trent River at Trenton. A trip to the same area at two p.m. found one side of the river from the edge of the channel to the east shore white with RING-BILLED GULLS. When viewed through binoculars, it seemed they were feeding on something on the surface that appeared to be small and abundant. That piece of river is shallow and weedy and I think a hatch of some sort was going on. Smelts??? Any ideas? I eat fish but I’m not a fisher person!

Monday, April 04: Interesting comparisons today between an obvious return to winter conditions and spring-like actions among birds that just won’t stop. About 50 TREE SWALLOWS seen yesterday at Lemoine Point Conservation Area, flying over the surface of the lake after insects and then into the shoreline trees. A similar sight was made yesterday involving 200+ TREE SWALLOWS skimming back and forth close to the water over the Trent River at Trenton. We wish both of them well after last night’s snowfall and frigid temperatures. BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS in Trenton and certainly no absence of AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES  changing into their spring finery in both Napanee and Trenton. PURPLE FINCHES and 15 PINE SISKINS at a Trenton feeder in the Barry Heights area, just north of Telephone Road, and four coming to a feeder in another part of Trenton. At the Barry Heights feeder, feeders were extra busy this morning. PINE SISKINS now match AMERICAN GOLDFINCH in numbers at 25.  Today there was a pair of YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS on the tree beside the suet but they seemed only interested in themselves. MOURNING DOVES at that address now have young and she better sit tight on them tonight. Eggs were laid March 13, very early. TREE SWALLOWS on the Trent River today numbered two to three hundred at 11:00 this morning, so they seemed t have made it through last night in fine fettle. PINE SISKINS in Wellington, and feeders overflowing with them were a great sight in Harrowsmith.  Thumbing its beak at the weather was an EASTERN TOWHEE  at Allisonville, but even more oblivious to the temperatures was a KILLDEER along South Big Island Road that is setting on eggs in a harvested corn field, its location quite obvious by the perfect ring of melted snow. Nice and sunny on the water’s edge at Cressy where a birder watched  and heard more than a dozen Kinglets, all GOLDEN-CROWNED except for one RUBY-CROWNED. They were both flitting between trees and hopping about the lawn. Two BROWN CREEPERS looking up and down the tree trunks for insects together with 3 WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCHES.  At Hubb’s Creek Marsh west of Wellington off Danforth Road, GREAT BLUE HERON, BELTED KINGFISHER and lots of GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS. BELTED KINGFISHER  reported today at Presqu’ile Bay, HORNED LARKS at a property along Muscote Bay, and a male NORTHERN HARRIER  at the Big Island causeway were a few other sightings that were e-mailed to me today. A SHARP-SHINNED HAWK was seen today chasing an AMERICAN ROBIN in the East Hill part of Belleville. Yesterday, at the Kaiser Crossroad wetlands, many of the birds were sheltering from the strong winds. There were high numbers (about 300) of NORTHERN PINTAILS present. TUNDRA SWAN numbers increased to 6 and AMERICAN WIGEON (26) and RING-NECKED DUCKS (88) were also up. The most unique sighting was a RIVER OTTER cantering across a ploughed field. Excitement turned into disappointment today at the Kaiser Crossroad wetlands when a white goose-like bird turned out to be a DOMESTIC DUCK. There are still 6 TUNDRA SWANS present and high numbers of NORTHERN PINTAILS (about 500) and RING-NECKED DUCKS (76). There were 10 GREEN-WINGED TEAL this afternoon and at least 7 NORTHERN SHOVELERS. But overall, the wetlands are quiet after the large numbers of waterfowl earlier in the season. PURPLE FINCHES and  a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER on Lake on the Mountain Road yesterday, EASTERN PHOEBE on Cressy Bayside Road, 2 WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS on Old Milford Road, and another EASTERN TOWHEE  arrival at Amherst Island, were a few other sightings that came to my attention.

Sunday, April 03: Hard to say whether a KILLDEER nest with two eggs on South Big Island Road is active, or has been abandoned due to this morning’s persistent snow squalls. In any event, even in balmy weather, the first few days of April seems a bit early for a KILLDEER to be nesting. Two days ago, a pair of SANDHILL CRANES, well known for their hardiness, were strolling across a field at Soup Harbour, near Point Petre. When I worked at Quinte Conservation, I had to get used to what my colleague meant when she asked for “a whack” of brochures. Similarly, a birder at Wellington yesterday reported two handfuls of PINE SISKINS. Today, she had “flurries” of PINE SISKINS, which she explained is about the the size of a “handful”, roughly fewer than a half dozen. This flurry seems to be wondering what's with all the snow today. At our feeders on Big Island, we had far more than whacks, flurries or handfuls at our feeding station. Every species was represented this morning during the day’s frequent snowfalls, more closely resembling numbers enjoyed during mid-winter. RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS, COMMON GRACKLES, 30+ AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES, a BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD, 15-20 AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS and even a visiting CANADA GOOSE, felt compelled to sample the menu this morning, along with full complements of our regular guests. YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS and NORTHERN FLICKERS showed up in several areas of the County again today. Birders along the Murray Canal at Carrying Place today saw six GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS  enjoying the foul weather. The annual Waterfowl Count along the South Shore Important Bird Area on Saturday resulted in some interesting finds including  BELTED KINGFISHER, the first SWAMP SPARROW of the spring, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS, EASTERN MEADOWLARK, EASTERN PHOEBE, TREE SWALLOW, WILSON’S SNIPE and AMERICAN WOODCOCK and an uncountable number of SONG SPARROWS. Among the ducks during the survey -  mostly LONG-TAILED, BUFFLEHEAD, Scaup and RED-BREASTED MERGANSER.  Some WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS and 1 BLACK SCOTER at the Prince Edward Point lighthouse  along with a  few LITTLE GULLS. RING-NECKED DUCKS in the marsh along Lighthall Road. Along Ostrander Point Road during Saturday’s survey,  the frogs were deafening - mostly CHORUS FROGS but also SPRING PEEPERS, WOOD FROGS and a few LEOPARD FROGS - all calling.  One small GARTER SNAKE and turtles basking in the afternoon sun! Well – that’s not apt to repeat itself tomorrow morning! Today, not a great day for birding, although a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER dropped by just east of Odessa for a visit today. In open areas this afternoon such as Kaiser Crossroad, both the scope and the birders were unsteady on their feet. Still present were more than 400 NORTHERN PINTAILS  and some other interesting sightings including 2 AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS, 8 AMERICAN WIGEONS, 2 NORTHERN SHOVELERS, 1 GREEN-WINGED TEAL and 6 TUNDRA SWANS. There were also 100-200 CANADA GEESE. Lots of CANADA GEESE  today at the Hamilton wetland, west of Demorestville,  but little else. A pair of BLUE-WINGED TEALS was nice.  Pretty well anywhere on the open lake BUFFLEHEADS  were present in small numbers. Other incidentals were more than 250 REDHEADS at the Waupoos Marina, the odd NORTHERN FLICKER in various places and an EASTERN MEADOWLARK on Doxsee Road. Seemingly hundreds of COMMON REDPOLLS swarming the Tammie & Ben Haché feeders at Manitouwage near Marathon all day today. Catch them while they are still around as Redpolls won’t be coming to Quinte area feeders any time soon this season. CLICK HERE to watch their high definition feeder cam. Lots of action most days.

Saturday, April 02: Despite the promise of much cooler temperatures down the road for next week and occasional snow flurries just to add some excitement, birds continue to arrive and move about. A YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER  was seen in Odessa today. NORTHERN FLICKER on Fry Road near Picton, and another at the Kaiser Crossroad wetlands where abundance of waterfowl depends largely on what time you plan your visit. Two different birders – one in the morning and the other in the afternoon – got varying numbers of certain species with one reporting a high of 700 NORTHERN PINTAILS. Three TUNDRA SWANS remain and small numbers of other ducks and geese. A high of four LITTLE GULLS were at the wetland this morning, and 130 BONAPARTE’S GULLS. Also present, 600 CANADA GEESE, 40 AMERICAN WIGEON, 7 AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS, 3 MALLARDS, 14 NORTHERN SHOVELERS, 25 GREEN-WINGED TEAL, 117 RING-NECKED DUCKS, and 8 BUFFLEHEADS. Two LITTLE GULLS were at Prince Edward Point where a BLACK SCOTER and a RED-NECKED GREBE  were also seen. At another wetland off County Road 8, south of Napanee, water on Wilton Creek at the Gray’s Project Wetland, is still surging along pretty fast and only an AMERICAN KESTREL, a TURKEY VULTURE and a COOPER’S HAWK chasing a MOURNING DOVES, were seen. No shorebirds, although it is a bit early for them to appear, but not too early for six GREATER YELLOWLEGS that were present along County Road 11 east of Selby. One was first seen at this same location a week ago. Two pairs of EASTERN BLUEBIRDS are present in the Camden East area. At the H.R. Frink Centre, 9 km north of Belleville, seen today were 2 BROWN CREEPERS, 1 EASTERN PHOEBE, 1 YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, 2 WINTER WRENS and a BARRED OWL. Not a bad day of birding that finished off with a TURKEY VULTURE near Bronk Road. PINE SISKINS  are still appearing here and there at feeders and a “couple handfuls” turned up today at a Wellington backyard, where spring nuptials of other backyard birds there were compared to watching an X-rated movie. Well, it’s that time of year, but their hormones may quiet down this coming week.

Friday, April 01: Two GARTER SNAKES  at Prince Edward Point and a RIBBON SNAKE at nearby Little Bluff Conservation Area, may think twice about emerging today when the temperature dips to a predicted low of minus 9 tomorrow night! Most frog species are on hold for the time being until the weather warms up again. Another dubious arrival today, given the predicted change in the weather, was a PURPLE MARTIN scout at a martin house along Lower Massassauga Road today, just south of Belleville. As with many migrant arrivals this spring, for reasons best known to themselves - a bit on the early side, about 10 days actually for the PURPLE MARTIN. More in keeping with their normal arrival date were YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS and NORTHERN FLICKERS  at Prince Edward Point today, in fairly good numbers. TURKEY VULTURES were seen wheeling in from the Timber Island, EASTERN PHOEBES singing for mates or territory and BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES, SONG SPARROWS, AMERICAN ROBINS, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS, COMMON GRACKLES,  and BROWN CREEPERS singing intermittently, making it quite a lovely walk for two birders strolling the road from Prince Edward Point Harbour to the lighthouse. DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS, BUFFLEHEADS, LONG-TAILED DUCKS, HERRING GULLS, RING-BILLED GULLS, KILLDEER making appearances and RUFFED GROUSE drumming their hearts out (or wings?). GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS in the bushes and trees and WILD TURKEYS gobbling in the woods. Certainly, Prince Edward Point, if nowhere else, signs of a spring awakening were everywhere.The Kaiser Crossroad wetlands looked very quiet this afternoon with only  BLUE-WINGED TEAL and BONAPARTE’S GULLS – harbingers of the end of the waterfowl migration – remaining, in very small numbers. A nice influx of SONG SPARROWS at Lemoine Point Conservation Area in Kingston today with 35 being tallied. PILEATED WOODPECKER, BROWN CREEPER, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS, EASTERN PHOEBE and 2 COMMON RAVENS  were other good sightings at this popular conservation area, located beside Norman Rogers Airport. 

 

Last Updated ( Jul 25, 2016 at 10:45 PM )
Backyard Naturalization PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Spraque   
Jul 23, 2016 at 03:00 PM

BACKYARD NATURALIZATION - Attracting Birds and Other Wildlife Species to Your Premises


 As environmental awareness increases, it is only to be expected that some of this interest might be directed to our own backyards. There are concerns about what we are putting on our properties to create that "perfect lawn." Do we need a perfect lawn? What can we do make our properties, be they large or small, more attractive to wildlife? And how much is too much of a good thing? This page will attempt to address the increasing interest we are taking these days in naturalization our backyards, how to attract wildlife, how to manage what we have, and how to dissuade those species we don't want. It is all about doing things "naturally", with native species of plants, natural fertilizers, composting - all those things all of us should have started doing much earlier in our lives. Watch this page regularly for more tips on how you can enhance your property and make it more attractive to wildlife. 



EFFORTS UNDERWAY TO ENHANCE GRASSLAND BIRD HABITAT ON ONE FARM IN PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY
 
NOTE: "Mouse over" the photos for their identification
 
Terry Sprague points out the benefits of grassland management to a group of naturalists.  Photo by Helene TremblayGrassland birds need grassland habitat, but many grassland species are declining. The reason? With improved technology, hay is being cut earlier in the summer than when it was harvested in earlier years.  Haying machinery is often in the field by early June, and that spells disaster for ground nesting birds such as Bobolinks and Eastern Meadowlarks, in particular. If nests are destroyed early enough, there is an opportunity for these species to make a second attempt. But, where? Important nest cover has been removed so the birds must seek another unharvested field and hope that it isn’t also on the schedule to be cut. In most cases, grassland birds simply don’t bother to make a second attempt at building another nest. So, that nesting year is lost to them.
 
In the photo at right, here I am explaining the benefits of grassland management to a group of Prince Edward County Field Naturalists. This field of brome grass was not harvested until mid-July to allow nesting Bobolinks time to fledge. 
 
Last month was especially difficult for grassland birds as a relentless drought in the Bay of Quinte region had farmers scurrying to get the hay harvested while it was still in prime condition. This race to get the crop in, threatened the grassland bird population in our area, because it coincided with the peak breeding season for bobolinks and meadowlarks.
 
A male Bobolink checks out a possible nest site. Photo by Keith GregoireFortunately, many farmers today are sympathetic toward the plight of declining grassland bird populations and are selflessly doing their part to help bring back their numbers, sometimes at considerable expense to themselves. More and more, farmers are delaying their cutting of the hay until July 15th in fields where bobolinks and meadowlarks and other grassland birds are known to nest.
 
One such person owns the property right beside us. The farm comprises some 180 acres, but much of it has succumbed to natural plant succession, resulting in many once arable fields now thick with cedars, ash, and dogwoods. That in itself is good for it makes good habitat for numerous species. However, about 50 of those acres comprise a connected series of brome grass hay fields that have been harvested regularly every year by a succession of previous owners. This, in turn, has made it suitable habitat for many species of grassland birds, that simply have no interest in overgrown field habitat.
 
New owner, Kent Monkman, an accomplished aboriginal artist from Toronto, knew right from the day he bought the property a few years ago, that he wanted to do the right thing. Purchasing the property was the first step to serve as a buffer from neighbouring activities; the second step was to manage it properly. That second step was to leave much of it as it was, but to manage the hay fields for grassland birds.
 
These fields were harvested late to allow nesting Bobolinks and Eastern Meadowlarks to complete their nesting. Photo by Terry SpragueIt has been my pleasure to work with the new owner toward that end. The hay fields are harvested by another neighbour who is also very much aware of the plight grassland birds are going through right now and for the past two years has agreed to delay cutting the fields until later than the normal date. A 2-km trail has been mowed around the perimeter of the field complex to better facilitate monitoring of the birds. It was during this daily monitoring of bobolink and meadowlark activity that we determined approximately where the birds were nesting and roughly how many species were involved. Determining the number of bobolink nests is an educated guess at best, and the number of visible males while females are setting on eggs and hidden by the dense grass is a case of coming up with a few variables and unknowns and determining a total as the male birds can be quite promiscuous, and 25 males don’t necessarily mean there are 25 nests. However, once the females were off their nest and actively feeding young, the number could be more accurately determined.  I counted 14 females (14 nests?), and there were at least six pairs of meadowlarks.
 
In addition to the bobolinks and meadowlarks, there were other species nesting. A pair of Grasshopper Sparrows also nested along the edge of one field, a species not known for its large numbers anywhere. In the bushy side fields dominated by red cedars, a pair of Clay-colored Sparrows also nested this year along with Eastern Towhees, Alder Flycatchers, Common Yellowthroats, and Eastern Kingbirds, just to mention a few that I noticed on my morning walks on the trail. On one occasion, a Vesper Sparrow was singing, a grassland species that is sure to return to these fields as a nesting species if a management program is put in place right away. In 1997, two very rare endangered Henslow’s sparrows also showed up in one of the fields and one of them remained for about a month before moving on. That year, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry became involved and halted the cutting of any hay on that field for that season. So, these fields over the years have become very important grassland habitat. Now, we protect them, and attempt to enhance them, utilizing any incentive programs that may be available.
 
A 2-km trail around the perimeter of the six fields allows monitoring of the nesting activity on a daily basis. Photo by Terry SpragueThe Nature Conservancy says that over the past 40 years, there has been an alarming 70% decline in grassland birds. Early cutting of hay is only one reason for the decline. Abandoned farms reverting to forest, the growing of row crops (corn, wheat, soybean), increase of mechanization and chemical use and development have all led to habitat fragmentation and loss. It is a rare treat to see a network of six fields comprising almost 50 acres that has been left intact. These fields definitely need to be managed properly so we don’t lose the population that has built up. Many of these grassland species can thrive quite happily in agricultural areas if bird-friendly practices are used, as these birds benefit farmers by consuming agricultural pests.
 
Managing these fields definitely does not mean barring the cutting of any fields. These fields benefit from removal of thatch and should be cut every season, or so. In this particular location, encroaching Red Cedars are an issue and once they get a toehold, the field is lost. It takes cedars only a couple years before they become too tall to cut safely with a haybine. Those who wish to save grassland birds, farmers, and guiding agencies have shown repeatedly that it is possible to work cooperatively together. On this particular farm, cats – feral or otherwise – do not seem to be an issue, making these fields a good case study and a sure success! .
 
A few incentive programs and booklets with other helpful suggestions are listed below along with their respective URLs. Lots of good reading!
 
Grassland Habitat Farm Incentive Program (Ontario Soil and Crop)
 
 
Species at Risk Farm Incentive Program
 
 
Farm Property Class Tax Rate Program
 
 
Canada-Ontario Environmental Farm Plan
 
 
Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk
 
 
Species at Risk Partnerships on Agricultural Lands
 
 
Managing Hay and Pasture to Benefit Grassland Birds
 
 
Birds on the Farm
 
 

Don’t know where to go to obtain native trees and shrubs and wildflowers? Obviously you want to consult someone who is dedicated and knowledgeable in this field. Two great native plant nurseries in the local area:

1)  NATURAL THEMES, Frankford: Whether it’s gardening with native plants or attracting wildlife to your backyard, Natural Themes, is a good place to go for information and a selection of high quality, affordable plants. Owner and proprietor Beate (Bea) Heissler is well known in the Quinte area, having been involved as an educator at the H.R. Frink Centre, north of Belleville, for many years, Natural Themes offers a wide variety of woodland, meadow/prairie and wetland species including wildflowers, ferns, sedges, grasses, shrubs and vines as well as native deciduous and coniferous trees.  Natural Themes Website 

2) FULLER NATIVE AND RARE PLANTS, Belleville: Peter Fuller propagates and grows perennials, ferns, grasses and bulbs native within a 100-mile radius of the nursery. "We practise ethical seed collection and all plants are nursery propagated," says Peter Fuller. "We promote the conservation of wild plants and the maintenance of genetic diversity in plant populations. We provide advice and resources for using native plant material in home gardens." Fuller Native and Rare Plants website

 

Last Updated ( Jul 23, 2016 at 05:31 PM )
Bird Feeding Tips PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Spraque   
Jul 23, 2016 at 03:00 AM


ATTRACT BIRDS TO YOUR BACKYARD WITH A BIRD BATH!  
 
NOTE: "Mouse over" the photos for their identification
 
 
Bathing birds. Photo by Dave BellFinally, some rain as I write this. Not a lot – only 8 mm – and a long way to go yet before the drought of 2016 becomes a memory. It will take many days of steady rain to get the grass growing again and to fill the aquifers and raise the water levels in our wetlands and rivers.
 
While some areas may have received a few showers now and then to help with the dry conditions, where we live, we inexplicably missed all the little showers. Except for June 6th when we received 25 mm (one inch) of rain, we had not had a significant rainfall since March 31st! Nothing over 5 mm anyway each time, and that is barely enough to lay the dust.
 
Needless to say, the drought has been difficult on everything, including wildlife. A report of potatoes being dug up and consumed by something and even rhubarb being chewed, were all likely attributable to either a woodchuck or raccoon in their search for moisture.  Both known to eat these items on rare occasions.
 
In the backyard, bird enthusiasts were kept busy cleaning and filling bird baths on a daily basis. We have two bird baths, along with a couple shallow containers on the ground and all of these had to be filled twice daily to keep up with the thirst of not only the birds in our yard, but also the squirrels and chipmunks. Even a water garden saw its fair share of clientele as birds bathed there daily and enjoyed the running water.
 
An Evening Grosbeak checks out a supply of water in a backyard. Photo by Sydney SmithA supply of water is essential if the goal in your backyard is to attract birds and other wildlife. Birds are attracted to the sound of running or dripping water. Not only is the presence of water an attractant to birds in the backyard, but last month was a necessity. When my bird baths went dry one day last month, even after a second filling, I entered the backyard late one afternoon to find a Black-capped Chickadee perched on the edge of one of the basins, as though waiting for a supply of water to mysteriously appear. The bird only moved when I refilled the basin, then spent several minutes splashing and drinking its fill.
 
I don’t think birds last month much cared where the bird bath was located in the garden, as long as it contained water. However, to enjoy the most success from your bird bath or baths, there are some hints as to their construction and proper placement.  Don’t think just because a store may advertise the structure as a bird bath that it is appropriate for birds. Many bird baths are simply way too deep and birds won’t feel secure in such a structure. A bird bath should be no deeper than three inches in the middle, and even shallower along the edge. If you suspect that your bird bath may be too deep, you can place a few stones in the centre and taper them down toward the edge.
 
Birds also don’t like bird baths that are slippery. Cement baths are best, although they may be too heavy for the average homeowner. However, many plastic bird baths, or fibreglass-resin baths now incorporate a rough texture, making them ideal for backyard use. Some bird baths come with a fountain or a dripper which goes a long way in attracting customers and keeping the water agitated so it doesn’t accumulate algae.
 
Two Pine Siskins take turns at this backyard bird bath in Wellington. Photo by Sydney SmithBe careful, too, where you choose to place the bird bath. Avoid the temptation to place it too near the bird feeders as it will soon become befouled with spilled seeds and spent hulls from the feeders. A good location is under the drooping branches of a tree that hang down a few feet above the bird bath, allowing birds a quick escape into the branches should a predator happen along. If there are cats about, be careful that the bath is not placed too near shrubs where cats can hide and pounce on unsuspecting birds.  Wet birds tend to be slow on taking off and will be vulnerable to such attacks.  Locating the bird bath so that it can viewed from the window of your house is an advantage, too. Or, even in the garden where it will add a decorative touch.
 
Don’t just fill the bird bath, and then ignore it. Bird baths need to be cleaned – often! I keep a small scrub brush next to my bird baths, so I can easily scrub away accumulated dirt and algae and flush it all away when I pour in the fresh water. During the hot, sultry days of July and August, it doesn’t take long for a bird bath to become soiled, especially if birds are using it regularly. Changing the water daily in the summer also prevents mosquito larvae from hatching in your bird bath, which is a concern where the West Nile virus may be present. And there is no harm in thoroughly scrubbing your bird bath now and then with a weak solution of water and bleach. Just make sure that you rinse the bath thoroughly before filling it up with fresh water.
 
Nothing compares to having one or more bird baths in your backyard to complement your bird feeder setup. In fact, a properly located bird bath can actually contribute more to attracting backyards than the presence of a bird feeder. Check out the sources below and plan to purchase a bird bath for your backyard.
 

(Photo credits and descriptions of photos can be seen by "mousing over" each photo. )

Got questions about birdfeeding? Send an e-mail 

 


Some great places in the Quinte area to purchase your birding and bird feeding needs ! 
  

Picton

Picton Farm Supply

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 Belleville

A Place to Perch

********

Wooler

The Birdhouse Nature Store

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Last Updated ( Jul 25, 2016 at 05:51 PM )
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