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Picton Farm Supply PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Spraque   
Feb 07, 2016 at 09:00 AM


(contact information at bottom of page)  


Picton Farm Supply - where good prices, excellent selection and customer service have always been our motto  

Please scroll down to see some specials and featured items!


Bryce Cronk. Photo by Terry SpragueYou can go into almost any store these days and pick up a bar of rendered suet for birds. But if you want a peanut butter suet cake, or a fruit and nut, or raisin crunch, or for those slow days at the bird feeder - high energy suet bars, then you have to go to Picton Farm Supply. It is about the first thing you see upon entering the store at 179 Talbot Street, just on the northern outskirts of town. Tray upon tray of suet cakes - a variety enough to rival the racks of chocolate bars at the local convenience store.

Picton Farm Supply celebrated its 25th year in business in 2012. For a facility that one would expect to spend more time concentrating its attention to feed mixes and agricultural supplies for local farmers, one might think that stocking supplies for birders would be a low priority. However, owner, Bryce Cronk, saw the exploding interest in birds, and especially bird feeding, years ago. Birding is North America’s second most popular hobby, and Bryce was determined to get in on the ground floor. The gamble paid off. There is no other location in Prince Edward County that stocks as many condiments for birds and birders as Picton Farm Supply.

Store displayOnce your eyes begin to travel beyond the trays of suet cakes, you soon begin to appreciate the burgeoning popularity of birds. Tucked in a corner of the store beyond the work clothes, halters, bag balm and treatments for mastitis, are bird feeders - at least a hundred of them - from basic garden variety models to the creme de la creme of bird feeders, the Droll Yankees. Although bird feeders are available in Picton in hardware stores, and even supermarkets, Bryce is an exclusive dealer in the Picton area for this popular line of feeders, so well built, they are guaranteed for a lifetime.

However, it is the bird feed that has made Picton Farm Supply the county’s first choice when seeking out locations from which to purchase feed. Bryce carefully and attentively listens to his customers when deciding on a formula for his premium mixes, and takes a dim view of so-called budget feeds. Bryce knows that people do not feed birds because they have to, but feed birds because they are eager to have the best variety of birdlife they can around their homes. "It doesn’t make sense to offer a budget feed if you want something better than budget birds at your feeders." Bryce listened to his customers, did his homework and came up with a mix that is not only black with sunflower seed - both black oil seed and large striped seed - but all the necessary ingredients, including peanuts, to attract a colourful clientele.

Quantity is no object. If you are just starting out with a bird feeder and want to experiment with just a small plastic bag of mixed feed, that can be arranged as he will sell you whatever amount you want. If you multi-task Bryce Cronkwith many feeders, he will sell you the jumbo bag, weighing in at a hefty 66 pounds. All ingredients in his popular mix can be purchased separately as well, including the option of buying bags of shelled peanuts or peanuts in the shell, or Nyjer seed. You can purchase a small bag of peanuts so small as to fit in your hand or a large bag that may require shuffling a few things around in your trunk, just to get it in. 

With summer feeding now as popular as winter feeding, Bryce says he now sells many tons of bird feed a year. "I think we actually sell more feed in the summer than we do in the winter," he laughs.

The importance of offering high quality mixed feed at our feeders, free from fillers and questionable seeds, cannot be emphasized enough. Disappearing are the days when we seek out budget feeds from big box stores that need to move their product quickly, and have no expertise in dealing with today’s sophisticated bird conscious public. Bird feeding is big business today, and serious birders take their hobby seriously. Bryce Cronk and his staff at Picton Farm Supply enjoy nothing more than swapping stories and discussing your needs.


  • Black Oil Sunflower Seed (50 lb.)  $21.95
  • Striped Sunflower Seed (50 lb.)    $23.25
  • Sunflower chips (50 lb.)                $54.50
  • Safflower Seed (50 lb.)                  $37.50
  • Deluxe Mixed Bird Feed (18 kg)    $22.95
  • Deluxe Mixed Bird Feed (25 kg)    $29.95
  • White Millet (50 lb.)                       $17.25
  • Peanuts, in shell (50 lb.)               $55.00
  • Peanuts, out of shell, (50 lb)         $44.90          




Drop in to Picton Farm Supply and see our new shipment of bird feeders, just arrived, for this coming winter! Sunflower seed feeders, nyjer feeders, unique shapes and sizes, even a three-in-one feeder in which you can offer a variety of seeds. There is no hard and fast rule as to which feeder is appropriate. Mostly it is a personal choice. The best method is to never depend on just a single feeder. Purchase a variety of feeders and place them at various locations around your yard. Then sit back and enjoy the show as birds arbitrarily decide which feeder they will frequent today. Remember - we don't feed birds because they NEED us; we feed birds because we want to see them around our premises, and there is nothing wrong with that. Except for days when there is heavy snow cover, or following a sleet storm, birds don't really need us (we need them!). Birds have been birds for thousands of years and they regard our offerings as nothing more than another stop in many that they make in the course of a day. Bird feeding is just downright fun, so come into Picton Farm Supply and pick out the feeder that appeals to you the most. And, don't forget - the secret to success is staying away from so-called budget feeds that are sold at big box stores. They are cheaper because these stores are interested only in capitalizing on a popular hobby, and moving product. At Picton Farm Supply, we listen to the customer, and offer a quality product that birds will consume with little to no waste. Just have a look at our premium mixed feed and you will note that it is black with sunflower seed, both striped and black oil. To attract a good variety of winter birds, you need to offer a quality product and we have that at Picton Farm Supply. Come in today and see for yourself and don't forget to include one or more of our new feeders.














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Give your dog a pig's ear today! Look for the box of these natural dehydrated treats that dogs love in a cardboard box as soon as you walk in the front door. Only $1.25 each. We also stock an entire complement of Hartz pet care products, including Flea and Tick Spray, flea powder for cats, as well as collars, leashes, toys and pet food. We haven't forgotten your larger pets either. During the fly season we offer both equine and cattle fly sprays.

Pets bring us so much joy into our lives. Whether you are protecting them, feeding them or just having fun with them, Picton Farm Supply is the place to go for a wide variety of supplies for your special pets.  


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Come into Picton Farm Supply and see what we have for them! Water warmers! Two styles from which to choose. The design on the left ($58.50)  is a heated base and will accommodate a conventional self-waterer, while the design on the right ($59.95) is self-contained and will provide warm water throughout the winter for your flock of chickens. A great idea from the folks at Picton Farm Supply!


 We Stock The Whole Family of Squirrel Buster Feeders !

Mini:  $34.95

Peanut:  $71.95

Finch/Nyjer:  $71.95

Classic:  $71.95

Plus:  $112.95

Standard: $40.95 (photo on right)


Squirrel Buster Plus

Squirrel Buster Classic

Squirrel Buster Finch

Squirrel Buster Peanut

Squirrel Buster Mini









 Picton Farm Supply's wild bird feed and sunflower seed is also available at The County Depot, located at the corner of Highway 33 and Salem Road, at Consecon. Open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Phone 613-394-5818


Picton Farm Supply

179 Talbot Street

R.R. # 8,

Picton Ontario

K0K 2T0

Phone 613-476-7507

NEW to Picton Farm Supply - we have an email address and would love to respond to any questions regarding the feeders we have in stock, feeders we are able to order, etc.  Feel free to email us at    with any questions you may have

Last Updated ( Feb 07, 2016 at 11:41 AM )
Discovering Our Watershed Hikes PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Spraque   
Feb 07, 2016 at 06:44 AM
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Quinte Area Bird Report PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Spraque   
Feb 06, 2016 at 09:00 AM

Snowy Owl. Photo by Daniel LaFrance of Wellington Snowy Owl. Photo by Daniel LaFrance of WellingtonTHE QUINTE AREA BIRD REPORT


with sightings from the Bay of Quinte region, and beyond



Please e-mail your sightings directly to   Terry Sprague

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

American Black Ducks. Photo by Cathy CaleySaturday, February 06: The Napanee River between the falls and the Centre Street bridge can be a prolific area to bird sometimes, and today was no exception. Impressive numbers of waterfowl were present, including these AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS (photo by Cathy Caley of West Lake). Cathy is pictured below photographing the MALLARDS, AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS and CANADA GEESE that were present in the river, in the next photo by her husband, Eric Caley. Thousands of CANADA GEESE  were present in the Bay of Quinte for about a kilometre along Highway 33 in the Conway area. A lone HOODED MERGANSER and a lone WOOD DUCK, and a few MALLARDS were seen in Picton Harbour. Marsh Creek flows into Picton Harbour here and provides them with a bountiful food supply. In the Stinson Block area, west of Consecon, the wintering WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW and WHITE-THROATED SPARROW were again present on Glen Lane. Fifteen, or so, species at Barcovan today, at Wellers Bay, but nary a ROSS’S GOOSE, 10 to 11 of which delighted birders for at least a few days. Among those seen today were four TRUMPETER SWANS – two adults and 2 immatures – 40 GREATER SCAUP, 40 LONG-TAILED DUCKS, REDHEADS, and some 250 CANADA GEESE, oh – almost forgot – MUTE SWANS, apparently lots of them as no numbers was attached to the sighting! A number however, was attached to the species at Wellington Harbour – an estimated 100 of them. Also present at the harbour were 13 REDHEADS, 40 COMMON GOLDENEYE, 2 LESSER SCAUP, 3 RING-NECKED DUCKS, a GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL, and the resident AMERICAN COOT and TRUMPETER SWAN.  Today on Amherst Island – BALD EAGLE, RED-TAILED HAWK, ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, 5 SNOWY OWLS, and 2 NORTHERN HARRIERS, to name just a handful of those species tallied. The light but persistent snow this morning brought in at least a dozen RED-WINGED Cathy Caley. Photo by Eric CaleyBLACKBIRDS to a feeder at 23 Sprague Road, Big Island. Over a field west of there, a NORTHERN HARRIER was seen and a GREAT HORNED OWL was calling early this morning while it was still dark from a wooded area across the Big Island Marsh. The reported 120 EVENING GROSBEAKS coming to the Algonquin Park Visitor’s Centre feeder earlier in the week, have dropped to half that number today. That’s 60, and still 60 more than what we have at our feeder! Still worth a trip up there though, if only to see the scattered sightings of COMMON REDPOLLS – another finch species we still don't have down here yet.  Four AMERICAN COOTS  were still at Invista (Dupont Lagoons) at Kingston. It has been a favourable winter so far for certain species of water birds, not normally present here in the winter. At this point, I am all for the current winter conditions continuing as I psych myself up for our Marsh Monitoring Program workshop on March 7th. There is a video included with the advertising poster on my website this year. To see the poster and the short video on this year’s local program, CLICK HERE.

Friday, February 05: The famous ROSS’S GEESE did not put in an appearance today apparently as there has been no positive update today at all on their presence. This photo shows remarkably well the vertical neck ruffles on both birds, one of several features that separate this species from the similar SNOW GOOSE. A Belleville birder was there this afternoon at 4:30 p.m. and despite his disappointment, did come away with a SNOWY OWL on the edge of the ice, and two TRUMPETER SWANS with the MUTE SWANS. Throughout the Quinte area, BALD EAGLES  everywhere. One impressive adult was spotted maintaining a vigil on the ice near Massassauga Point. A juvenile BALD EAGLE  flew over the Lake on the Mountain area this morning. There were 3 BALD EAGLES - 2 mature, 1 immature -  on the ice east of the ferry at Glenora this afternoon. One flew about 10 feet off the water across the now wide ferry 'channel', only to sit on the ice on the other side. Otherwise, some mature and immature HERRING GULLS hanging about on the ice and in the air, and a flight of 3 female & 4 male COMMON MERGANSERS shot through. More COMMON MERGANSERS  just a short distance east of there where close to 50 were counted by a local resident. A TURKEY VULTURE was seen on Bath Road on 4th, possibly one of the birds that is overwintering in Prince Edward County. A RED-TAILED HAWK was seen on Nugent Road in the Camden East area. Some good finds on Amherst Island today, including 5 SNOWY OWLS, 8 ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS, 2 NORTHERN HARRIERS, 1 BALD EAGLE and an AMERICAN KESTREL. At Wellington Harbour, there were 4 TRUMPETER SWANS today, one of them the wing-banded individual that has been around since fall.  Three of them were adults and one a juvenile.  There were 2 TUNDRA SWANS in evidence but there may have been more in the many sleeping humps of white feathers. The Kaiser Crossroad flooded fields are still frozen solid but there were 10 TUNDRA SWANS on the shore south of County Road 8, east of Kaiser. Lake Ontario is wide open and the waterfowl are widely dispersed. And, the TUFTED TITMOUSE at a Waupoos bird feeder, showed up again today, after a long absence. It has been more or less a regular at the feeders there since November 5th of last year. The Presqu’ile Park Weekly Bird Report by resident Fred Helleiner has been updated to the NatureStuff website, and may be found by CLICKING HERE.

Thursday, February 04: North of Havelock today (Hubble Road), juniper berries were under relentless attack by a flock of 356+ BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS. Surely, we can coax a few of them, if only a handful, to pay the Bay of Quinte area a visit before winter ends and they move on to their nesting grounds. A very nice assortment of birds in that area including 6 BALD EAGLES, PURPLE FINCHES, EVENING GROSBEAKS and RED CROSSBILL. Another BALD EAGLE  today soaring over the Trent River at Glen Ross looking for a meal. In the Sandy Lake Road area, an adult GOLDEN EAGLE  was seen today along with five RED CROSSBILLS. Moving south, a SNOWY OWL was seen on the ice at Presqu’ile Park. And, east of there, at Barcovan Beach (Weller’s Bay), the 10 ROSS’S GEESE  were still present as of 4:30 p.m this afternoon. The birds were there again at 10:00 a.m. this morning, and were also seen yesterday at around 3:00 p.m. Looks like the ROSS’S GEESE may stick around awhile this winter in this location. The open water also harbours a collection of CANADA GEESE (300+), MUTE SWANS (50), AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS, MALLARDS, REDHEADS, LESSER SCAUP, LONG-TAILED DUCKS, COMMON GOLDENEYE (100), and COMMON MERGANSERS. As expressed in the Bird Report two days ago, please be mindful that the road is narrow by the channel and  it is best to park on Carter Road, and walk the short distance to the shoreline. There should be 10 ROSS’S GEESE, although when originally seen Monday evening by Doug McRae of Brighton, there was also an immature in among them. It has since disappeared. The Brighton Constructed Wetlands along County Road 64/Prince Edward Street at Brighton had little to offer except for a MUSKRAT, lured out by the open conditions. Also present there, several MALLARDS, a lone female BUFFLEHEAD, and a pair of MUTE SWANS staking a claim. Activity will pick up once spring arrives. Along Adolphus Reach today near Lake on the Mountain, there was an adult BALD EAGLE and two juvenile eagles loafing on the ice.

Wednesday, February 03:  George, the male SNOWY OWL that has been present along County Road 2, just north of Wellington since mid-December, was present again today. Obviously, the hunting is good here as he doesn’t wander far, unlike some of the other Prince Edward County SNOWY OWLS that have come and gone. The lone TRUMPETER SWAN and equally lone AMERICAN COOT were still at Wellington Harbour today, enjoying the unusually mild conditions, unlike past winters when volunteers provided corn to stave off the mortality that was occurring due to absence of open water where waterfowl could feed naturally. No word as to whether the 9-11 ROSS’S GEESE were seen again today at Barcovan, in Wellers Bay. Of course, the weather this morning was not conducive to serious birding by even the hardiest of birders. Seeing them depends on the time of day and luck of the draw. One Belleville birder sped to Barcovan last evening only to find they were conspicuous by their absence, but did come up with a WOOD DUCK though for his trouble. Some good numbers of waterfowl at Presqu’ile Park today – 3,000 REDHEADS, 700 GREATER SCAUP, 450 LONG-TAILED DUCKS and  300 COMMON GOLDENEYE. Considered extirpated from our feeders at Big Island for close to 30 years, we can only assume that all HOUSE SPARROWS have since migrated to Brighton where one resident near the harbour has been feeding a flock comprising over 30 individuals for most of the winter. Despite the occasional one being picked off by a visiting  COOPER’S HAWK, the noisy flock keeps growing and numbered 45 this week. Another impressive tally, but for a more welcome species, was the PINE SISKIN that numbered 30 at a feeder south of Codrington today. Good numbers for another member of the finch family at Allisonville where over 40 AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES dropped in for a bite to eat, among them, one individual that showed some leuscism in the head area. This afternoon, a first year BALD EAGLE and a GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL were seen from the Glenora Ferry between Adolphustown and Glenora. A BALD EAGLE  was also seen today on the Cataraqui River in Kingsron, north of Belle Island where other birds of note included five HOODED MERGANSERS and 40 COMMON MERGANSERS. Ninety GADWALL at Invista (Dupont Lagoons), and a couple COMMON RAVENS yesterday.Despite the weather and the open conditions in the meadows, 16 RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS and one BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD were at our Big Island feeder today once again.

Tuesday, February 02: The ROSS'S GOOSE, a rarity in these parts, is regarded in the Kingston area as a very rare, occasional transient, with only one spring and two autumn sightings on record. In Prince Edward County, we have managed five sightings between 2002 and 2012. Singles – all of them. Yesterday afternoon, an unprecedented eleven (11) showed up at Barcovan, where Weller’s Bay connects with Lake Ontario, and no one was more surprised than Doug McRae of Brighton who stopped to see what might be around in the channel that attracts three species of swans and numerous duck species every year at this time. The 11 birds (10 adults and 1 immature) were mingling with CANADA GEESE. The main features which sets the ROSS’S GOOSE apart from SNOW GOOSE is its small size, very small - almost dainty - bill, a clean straight line where bill and facial feathering meet, a “cute-eyed" look on a very rounded head, and obvious vertical neck ruffles (see photo of lone bird below). A check of Barcovan harbour  this afternoon revealed only 9 Ross's Geese (where were the other two?) in a tight raft floating just outside the harbour mouth.  They drifted further away from the harbour mouth but were close to shore for pretty good looks.  They seemed somewhat agitated or uncomfortable, repeatedly shaking their heads back and forth like you would expect a bird to do trying to dislodge something or dry their beaks, but none were dipping their bills in the water. After about 8 minutes they all flew away at about 3:30 p.m., heading west but will likely return for another encore tomorrow, if anyone would like to see them. Barcovan is about about 5 km east of the Presqu’ile Lighthouse as the goose flies.  The area  is a residential area, and all land is private property so viewing from the road itself is the only option.  The road is also very narrow with no shoulders so please be thoughtful and don’t block traffic or park there.  If coming from the east, take County Road 64 from Carrying Place to Carter Road, and follow to the channel at Barcovan/Wellers Bay. The best bet might be to park on Carter Road just away from the lakeshore and walk the short distance to the channel.  If coming from Brighton, on County Road 64, go over the Murray Canal and veer left with the main road.  Continue past the Barcovan Golf Course then turn right on Carter Road  This will take you to the lake.  Park just before the lake and walk to the shore. Although paling by comparison, other sightings to come in today were of  a male WOOD DUCK, 2 AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS and about 100 MALLARDS (among them, a leucistic female) in a bit of open water at the bottom of Foster Avenue along the Bayshore Trail in Belleville.

Monday, February 01: Everyone is present and accounted for at Wellington. George, the male SNOWY OWL, was seen yesterday again, after an absence of several days, north of Wellington near the old freezer plant, and was seen again today. Another SNOWY OWL seen today  perched on some rocks at the end of a boat slip at Carrying Place.  TRUMPETER SWAN and AMERICAN COOT  still at the harbour. With ice disappearing once again as the weather continues to be more like March than February, waterfowl have been coming in closer to shore, such as a huge raft of LONG-TAILED DUCKS at the mouth of Prince Edward Point Harbour. Also seen down there -  2 BALD EAGLES, SHARP-SHINNED HAWK, small groups of COMMON GOLDENEYES, RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS, WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, and a HORNED GREBE.   A MERLIN at Prinyer’s Cove, a RED-TAILED HAWK on County Road 7, and another on County Road 4, north of Picton wrap up the raptors seen.

Sunday, January 31: A rather dismal day today, both in terms of overcast skies, and news. A MINK was seen feasting on a CANADA GOOSE today at Wellington Harbour. Whether the MINK preyed on the goose or was merely taking advantage of a carcass that it had found, is not known. If the latter, it is a good example of nothing ever going to waste in nature. Now, back to the AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN at Syracuse that was found dead a few days ago, and originally believed to be the same one that hung around in the Bay of Quinte from June through part of January, an autopsy showed that the bird died of starvation, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation, according to a New York resident who e-mailed me late this afternoon. However, the Bay of Quinte bird that we had here was clearly a male, identifiable by a laterally flattened "horn" on the upper bill, located about one-third the bill's length behind the tip. (The horn is shed after the birds have mated and laid their eggs). The bird in Syracuse was a 3-year-old female and weighed 7.27 pounds, according to the results of a necropsy performed on it three days ago at the DEC's pathology lab in Delmar. It was found to be also stressed by parasites in the liver and the stomach wall, including hundreds of long, slender flukes, according to the necropsy report.The bird, which was rare for Central New York, attracted much attention when it was first spotted in the Inner Harbour on Jan. 12. We have to believe that it was only coincidental that the female pelican showed up in Syracuse only three days after “our” pelican made its last visit on the Bay of Quinte on January 9th . We can only hope that our AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN in fact did successfully migrate south to warmer climes once the bay froze over. Back to Wellington Harbour again, the lone AMERICAN COOT and TRUMPETER SWAN were both present again today.

Saturday, January 30: The AMERICAN COOT  and TRUMPETER SWAN were seen again today at Wellington Harbour were there was also a GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL and HERRING GULL. The Glenora Ferry channel today produced 3 TUNDRA SWANS, a  BALD EAGLE, and a couple  COMMON MERGANSERS. Six TRUMPETER SWANS  have been at Barcovan, and four were at Presqu’ile Park today, along with 500 LONG-TAILED DUCKS, 2 BALD EAGLES, a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, and 2 GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS. Five GADWALL were at Cressy Lakeside Road today east of Waupoos, and yesterday there were 2 BALD EAGLES  seen there.   Just south of Belleville on Highway 62, there were  two RED-TAILED HAWKS today, these ones were quite close together, just on either side of the highway, and two more between Trenton and Belleville. Two PINE SISKINS  at Waupoos, on the 29th was a good sighting as none has been seen in Prince Edward County since the 22nd of November when one inexplicably showed up at a Fry Road feeder. The sighting of a lone COMMON REDPOLL at Sydenham on 24th continues to tantalize us with the expectation that these loved finches will eventually make it down to our feeders in the Bay of Quinte region. A lone HOARY REDPOLL at Prince Edward Point on the 22nd is the only redpoll of any kind that has favoured us with its presence.  If redpolls refuse to show up in the Bay of Quinte region this winter, there is hope that a few BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS may just come along. Over 130 were seen today in the town of Huntsville. Closer to home, 16 BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS were seen last month at Prince Edward Point, and 22 were at Verona, so there is hope. Amherst Island continues to be THE place to see birds of prey this winter with up to 20 ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS present on one day to serve as bait for eager birders, with lots of other members of the hawk family present as well. Unfortunately, there have been several reports from landowners this week about trespassers on their property. The ONLY property with granted access on Amherst Island is the Owl Woods, all other birding must be conducted from the road. Members of Kingston Field Naturalists (KFN) or their accompanied guests may access the Martin Edwards Reserve at the east end of the island. Another case of some birders refusing the follow the Birders Code of Ethics. and causing grief for those who do act responsibly.

Friday, January 29: Other than a COOPER’S HAWK and two BALD EAGLES (1 immature and 1 adult) at Wellington, there were no other reported sightings today. It seems the best place to go these days for interesting birds is Algonquin Park where things are really picking up momentum. There was an upswing in the number of PINE GROSBEAKS, with a dozen foraging for grit along the shoulder of the highway in one location. Up to 75 COMMON REDPOLLS – something that hasn’t shown up yet in the Quinte region, WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS, PINE SISKINS, GRAY JAYS of course in their usual locations, and SPRUCE GROUSE where a SPRUCE GROUSE should be – along the Spruce Bog Boardwalk. Even a couple BOREAL CHICKADEES and a BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER. Things are happening back there. But, the winner hands down is the EVENING GROSBEAK where over 120 descended on the feeders at the park’s Visitor Centre! Remember those days in the Quinte area where huge flocks of these voracious eaters would flock to feeders every winter without fail? Today we jump up and down with excitement if we see two or three anywhere in any given winter. What happened?  The cause of the decline in EVENING GROSBEAK numbers is unknown, although there are some theories. The most obvious is that EVENING GROSBEAKS simply may not be moving as far south during the winter due to the hemispheric trend in warmer winter temperatures. The declines might also be related to food availability. Hardwood tree seeds, a favourite natural source of food, may be less common due to broad-scale changes in forestry practices in Canada. Finally, EVENING GROSBEAK numbers in the East may be stabilizing after their colonization of the north woods east of the Great Lakes. Prior to the late nineteenth century, the EVENING GROSBEAK was rare east of the Great Lakes; since then they have expanded rapidly across Ontario, Michigan, Quebec, the Canadian Maritimes, and New England following a baited highway as one of their favourite foods, the samaras of the Manitoba Maple became more widespread in the East. Another theory is that during their heyday, there were severe outbreaks of spruce budworm, and the larvae of this insect was a popular choice for grosbeak nestlings. That sort of makes sense since those outbreaks occurred in the 1960s and 1970s, the period when grosbeaks were numerous at feeders. Since bird numbers are usually dictated by the availability of food, it makes sense that as their food supply became less due to a concerted effort to control the budworm outbreak, so did nesting success, and numbers consequently declined in response to the availability of nestling food. Breeding numbers in recent years though have rebounded somewhat in Quebec, linked to a greater food supply from increasing outbreaks of Spruce Budworms, so a small southward flight this winter seemed likely and the 100 at Algonquin may be a reflection of this.  One can only imagine the colourful, swirling mass at the Algonquin Park feeders with constant loud calling, resembling glorified house sparrows, and how the loud chorus must be a delightful experience after so many winters with the absence of such high numbers.

Thursday, January 28: Only two hours of driving around on Amherst Island produced a nice assortment of raptors for one Belleville resident who counted at least 20 ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS on the island. Other birds of prey seen included 2 SNOWY OWLS, an immature BALD EAGLE, 5 NORTHERN HARRIERS and an AMERICAN KESTREL. The light snowfall today once again sent birds into a feeding frenzy at feeders. At our own feeder, 16 RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS (all but one juveniles) and a single BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD joined the menagerie of feeder guests that all but completely covered the ground and feeders for most of the day. At Allisonville, on County Road 2, north of Wellington, much the same activity all morning. Suddenly nothing was around except for two DOWNY WOODPECKERS motionless on their feeders. The reason for the interruption? A NORTHERN SHRIKE right on top of one of the feeder supports. At Sandbanks Park’s Lakeshore Lodge area, 75 LONG-TAILED DUCKS drifted in for on birder. Yesterday, two COMMON RAVENS were seen at Prinyer’s Cove, and a PILEATED WOODPECKER  was seen at Strathcona. Yesterday, the four AMERICAN COOTS seen previously at Kingston’s Elevator Bay, had increased to seven in number at Invista (Dupont Lagoons), where 45 GADWALL were also counted. Back in Prince Edward County, a GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL was seen at the Glenora Ferry crossing. About 30 HORNED LARKS  still hanging out along the roadside on Conley Road (Wellington) near the Mushroom Plant. The warming trend has resulted in a good variety of waterfowl at Presqu’ile Park. Dabbling ducks generally disappear from Presqu'ile, at least from Presqu'ile Bay, during the winter, but a pair of MALLARDS arrived at Salt Point yesterday, a precursor to others, perhaps NORTHERN PINTAILS, that are often among the first to return.  A male CANVASBACK and two male RING-NECKED DUCKS have been seen regularly from the government dock, most recently this afternoon.  REDHEADS and GREATER SCAUP numbers are gradually building up.  Four WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS at Salt Point yesterday were the most seen anywhere in the Park this year. Fred Helleiner’s weekly Presqu’ile Park bird summary for the past seven days includes these sightings, and others, in his report which has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website. To read it, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, January 27: A TURKEY VULTURE was seen circling Sandbanks Park a few days ago. This species is becoming more commonly encountered likely due to warmer winters and no dearth of roadkills on which to feast. Last winter at this time there were 15 or more that hunted together in the general area of Picton, coming to roost every night in a grove of conifers on Rogers Street in town, interestingly, behind the Whattam Funeral Home. No COMMON REDPOLLS yet anywhere in the Bay of Quinte region despite predictions that they would be. However, a single HOARY REDPOLL, of all things, was included in an eBird list of species seen at Prince Edward Point on Friday. Other good finds in the list were 16 BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS, 3 GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS, 140 DARK-EYED JUNCOS, and five BALD EAGLES. Around 1,000 LONG-TAILED DUCKS were out in the open lake, along with a half dozen other species. A Trenton resident birding the Goodrich-Loomis Conservation Area, north of Brighton, spotted RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS and two RUFFED GROUSE (three of the latter had been seen there yesterday). Three RED-TAILED HAWKS  were on Hamilton Road today in Quinte West. The celebrated AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN that attracted bird watchers from across the state to visit Syracuse's Inner Harbour for nearly two weeks has died. Steve Joule, chief wildlife biologist at the state Department of Environmental Conservation's Cortland office, confirmed that its carcass was picked up by a DEC wildlife biologist at about 2:30 p.m. today. It was sent to the DEC's pathology lab in Delmar for analysis. According to the DEC there were no obvious injuries to the bird but witnesses reported it appeared sick and lethargic. The pelican is believed to be the same individual that was present on the Bay of Quinte from June 22nd of last year to January 9th of this year, only three days before this one inexplicably turned up at Syracuse, thought to be the same bird. The bird spent its short stint in New York on Onondaga Lake. It is the first pelican to be on Ononaga Lake in over 100 years. That was before present day laws on migratory birds, and the observer that time reportedly went out and shot it, which was customary back in early days. That specimen is now in the permanent collection at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry's Roosevelt Wildlife Collection. 

Tuesday, January 26: Or.....you can just check for the presence of a wing tag to help in separating the TUNDRA SWAN from the TRUMPETER SWAN. This is the first time the numbers on the tag have been clearly visible, more times than not, concealed by either ruffled feathers or ice. The tag information was sent to the Ontario Trumpeter Swan Restoration Program at the Wye Marsh Centre in Midland, and the Centre’s Kyna Intini said that K46 is a female and was banded in March of 2013 as a cygnet. She added that they were unsure who her parents were because at the time of banding they were unable to read the band number on her father, and her mother was not banded. So, there you go – more information on the lone TRUMPETER SWAN that has been present at Wellington Harbour for some weeks now. No other bird sightings came in today. An amazing turnout of 80+ at the Quinte Field Naturalists meeting in Belleville last evening to hear Peter Fuller, owner and operator of Fuller Native and Rare Plants. Peter is an avid birder who often submits sightings to this Bird Report.

Monday, January 25: Now that TRUMPETER SWANS are becoming more common due, in part, to a successful release program at Big Island and Huff’s Island, in 2006, we must be cautious when assigning names to these birds. The TRUMPETER SWAN is much larger than the TUNDRA SWAN but may be difficult to access if the two species aren’t swimming together. My defining field mark is the V-shaped border on the forehead of TRUMPETER (vs U-shaped on TUNDRA), but even that can be hard to judge and some birds can appear intermediate. Sibley adds that a consequence of the TRUMPETER SWAN’S larger size is that they move more slowly and ponderously, they seem relatively short-legged and walk slowly and carefully, methodically, while TUNDRAS seem to “prance” and move quickly and with agility. The bill is black in adults of both species, with orange-red ‘grin’ line. Most TUNDRA SWANS have at least a small yellow spot in front of the eye, about 10% have a large yellow spot and also in about 10% this is all black, like TRUMPETER, and therefore not useful for ID (it has been reported that the TRUMPETER SWAN can also show a pale spot, so one should not assume that this makes the bird a TUNDRA, but such a spot, and particularly the presence of symmetrical yellow spots on both sides of the bill, is probably so rare in TRUMPETER as to be safely ignored.). All this just when you thought separating MUTE SWANS from TUNDRA SWANS  was easy, then the TRUMPETER steps in to confuse things a bit. There are MUTE SWANS (23 at last count) and TUNDRA SWANS (at least a half dozen yesterday), so be sure to exercise caution when identifying the three species present at Wellington Harbour. In other bird news today, the adult SNOWY OWL was along County Road 2 again today, north of Wellington, perched on a pole between Gilead Road and Swamp College Road. A BARRED OWL was reported from Roslin today.

Sunday, January 24: The AMERICAN COOT WAS present today as well as a TRUMPETER SWAN and a COMMON MERGANSER. Success at this harbour seems to hinge on time of arrival. Another observer today had 10 species present, including the aforementioned species, among them GREATER SCAUP, COMMON GOLDENEYE, and LONG-TAILED DUCKS.  At Huyck’s Point today, approximately 50 AMERICAN ROBINS were seen. Also present were LONG-TAILED DUCKS, RED-TAILED HAWK, AMERICAN KESTREL, NORTHERN HARRIER, and lots of CANADA GEESE. A RED-TAILED HAWK was also at Milford today, keeping a watchful eye at a feeder along Crowes Road where at least three sets of NORTHERN CARDINALS appeared today. A FIELD SPARROW  is still present in a backyard at Swamp College Road near Wellington, and a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW  showed up today at a  feeder along Elmbrook Road. A nice checklist of birds at Amherst Island today including 200 SNOW BUNTINGS, 19 ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS, a RING-NECKED PHEASANT, 10 RED-TAILED HAWKS, 2 RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS, a NORTHERN SHRIKE, 5 BALD EAGLES, and singles of LAPLAND LONGSPUR, and NORTHERN FLICKER. The ideal spot to place 36 wind turbines for “the greater good”.

Saturday, January 23: It was such a beautiful day, my wife and I took our Shih-tzu for a ride in the country and did some birding along the way. DARK-EYED JUNCOS were numerous along the roadsides west of Wellington, along Hubb’s Creek Road, Benway Road and Closson Road. A nice little flock of HORNED LARKS numbering from 25-30 fed along the shoulder of Conley Road across from the Wellington Mushroom Farm. Smaller numbers were encountered along McFaul Road at Allisonville and Burr Road west of Crofton. The big find, but not by us, was a FIELD SPARROW  in the Wellington area. The AMERICAN COOT was still at Wellington Harbour when we stopped, but not much else – just singles and doubles of MALLARDS, LONG-TAILED DUCK, GREATER SCAUP, COMMON GOLDENEYE and a single BUFFLEHEAD. MUTE SWANS  everywhere though in the harbour channel as well as out in the open lake. The four AMERICAN COOTS  were still at Invista (Dupont Lagoons) at Kingston today and a BALD EAGLE  was seen at Elevator Bay. A RED-TAILED HAWK was seen yesterday along Tank Farm Road, off Highway 37 just north of Belleville. A GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET was seen along the Jobes’ Woods Trail at Presqu’ile Park today. Elsewhere – 16 WILD TURKEYS near Odessa today and a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER on Desmond Road, north of Camden East. A COOPER’S HAWK north of Rednersville, and another birder located the SNOWY OWL north of Wellington which we somehow missed today.

Friday, January 22: No sightings from anywhere in the Bay of Quinte area today, except for Old Faithful, along County Road 2 north of Wellington – the male SNOWY OWL who has been dubbed George by at least one local resident. A field trip today to Amherst Island by members of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists resulted in some interesting species. It was a beautiful day to be out on the island but much more of a hawk day than an owl day.  There were 13 members in 5 cars.  The eastern portion of the island produced  3 SNOWY OWLS, 1 LONG-EARED OWL, about 18 ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS (both colour morphs), 8 RED-TAILED HAWKS and 6 NORTHERN HARRIERS, as well as 6 BALD EAGLES.  On the group’s way home, they even had one adult BALD EAGLE fly along the shore as the group was sitting in their cars on the ferry.The bird settled in a tree along the shoreline where he was admired and after a few minutes he did a fly-by around the ferry. The ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS were very interesting because at around 2:30 p.m. when the group was re-checking a field with a flock of sheep on the north side of the island, they noticed quite a few hawks sitting in trees and shrubs behind the flock (as well as 5 BALD EAGLES) - then noticed a number of them on the ground. Likely a good example of a symbiotic relationship between the sheep, the meadow voles and the raptors with the sheep scratching the ground causing the voles to scurry away whereupon the bountiful rodent population was being exploited by the hawks.  Also seen on the island was a flock of about 20 SNOW BUNTINGS near the south shore at the east end of the island. In wooded areas there lots of BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES, 2 WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCHES, 2 DOWNY WOODPECKERS and AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS. Backyards on the island produced lots of HOUSE SPARROWS and HOUSE FINCHES.  On the island shores there were COMMON MERGANSERS and MALLARDS while on the mainland shores RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS, LONG-TAILED DUCKS and  COMMON GOLDENEYE.

Thursday, January 21: Oh, darn – the operator of a Brighton bird feeder now has only 29 HOUSE SPARROWS, instead of the 30 he reported for Project FeederWatch, due to a COOPER'S HAWK !  At another feeder – this one in Picton – the RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER with the deformed beak was back again at a Low Street feeder. So far, the operator of the feeder has been unable to get a good photo of the bird. Research so far apparently has characterized the syndrome as primarily affecting the keratin layer of the beak, possibly representing abnormally rapid growth of the rhamphotheca—the horny outer layer that covers the beak. Yet, despite intensive efforts, the underlying pathology and possible mechanisms of the disorder remain unknown. The taxonomic diversity spans not only different species, but even different families.The researchers have encountered dead end after dead end in their attempts to pinpoint the cause. And, way over in Syracuse, N.Y. what is no doubt the same AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN that had spent all summer and into early winter on the Bay of Quinte, continues to generate interest by that city’s residents. The bird spends its time on Onondoga Lake, about 160 kilometres from the Bay of Quinte, as the pelican flies. More locally, a COOPER’S HAWK was at Wellington on the Lake today, and the resident SNOWY OWL, still being seen north of Wellington. The Presqu’ile Provincial Park Weekly Bird Report has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website. Nice close-up of a BARRED OWL in this weeks edition. To read Fred Helleiner’s Report, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, January 20: While Wellington Harbour continues to host a wintering AMERICAN COOT, Kingston today had five at Invista (Dupont Lagoons). HOODED MERGANSER and AMERICAN WIGEON were also listed here. Moving west, some interesting birds yesterday at Amherst Island – RING-NECKED PHEASANT, VESPER SPARROW and EASTERN MEADOWLARK. And a bit farther west, an EASTERN TOWHEE was seen at a feeder at Napanee yesterday. No birds reported from Prince Edward County today except for a strange RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER at a Low Street feeder with a very long and curved upper mandible. Despite the occasional presence of a  COOPER’S HAWK at a Brighton feeder, some 30 HOUSE SPARROWS continue to be regular uninvited guests there, and considerably lesser numbers of the more common species. Until we hear of any local more recent sightings of the AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN that was last seen near the Norris Whitney Bridge at Belleville on January 9th, we will have to conclude that the pelican that was seen in Oswego Harbour three days later, was “our” bird. According to an e-mail received today, that bird has now moved to Syracuse where it getting plenty of attention. We have to worry though about it becoming far too portly to fly  as it is associating with the gulls and being fed junk food by residents there.

Tuesday, January 19: In the Wellington area, nothing much has changed with at least two species that were in last evening’s Report: the SNOWY OWL was once again along County Road 2 north of Wellington, and down at the harbour, the single AMERICAN COOT  was present again today. Some good numbers of feeder birds in the Barry Heights area of Trenton (off Telephone Road) where daily guests number 30 for MOURNING DOVES, 20 HOUSE FINCHES, 25 DARK-EYED JUNCOS and 23 AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES. At our own feeders at 23 Sprague Road, Big Island, we still have almost 20 RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS that returned for an encore after leaving in November and returning once the first marked snowfall arrived. The 30+ AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS usually sets off alarms with Project FeederWatch with a subtle “Are you sure?” implication. However, such numbers are common at our feeders once winter finally settles in. We attribute our high numbers of birds in all seasons to over 40 years of naturalizing our yard with “wildlife shrubs” and other attractants. If you are interested in learning how you can enhance your property in an effort to attract wildlife, be sure to attend Monday evening’s Quinte Field Naturalists meeting at 7:00 p.m. at the Sills Auditorium, Bridge Street United Church (Bridge St. entrance), Belleville.  Peter Fuller, owner of Fuller Native and Rare Plants in Belleville, will discuss the benefits of using native plants in your garden, introduce the best plants for sustaining pollinators and birds and explain how to propagate native plants yourself.

Monday, January 18: Yesterday, there were 2 TRUMPETER SWANS  at Presqu’ile, also ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, RED-TAILED HAWK, 5 GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS, 2 SNOWY OWLS, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET, 2 BALD EAGLES, GLAUCOUS GULL, and 2 CANVASBACKS. Great sightings, all of them. However, one regular birder at the park said some of the best days are those when a nice casual walk through the woods reveals not only the beauty and serenity of winter, but the joy of seeing common winter birds in the act of being themselves, such as a RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, along with three WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCHES, a DOWNY WOODPECKER and countless BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES.  Among the dozen or so species of waterfowl at Cobourg Harbour today were 1 AMERICAN COOT and 2 LESSER SCAUP.  At Wellington Harbour, a TRUMPETER SWAN was present. Thirty SNOW BUNTINGS  were seen along Highway 33 at West Lake. Among the dozen or so species of waterfowl at Cobourg Harbour today were 1 AMERICAN COOT and 2 LESSER SCAUP.  At the Glenwood Cemetery Pond in Picton today, there were 80+ MALLARDS, but no other species appeared to be present.On Fry Road this afternoon near C.R. 5,  eight AMERICAN ROBINS and 2 RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS. 

Sunday, January 17: George was back. That is the name that has been given to the male SNOWY OWLthat can be seen fairly regularly along County Road 2, just north of Gilead Road at Wellington. Today, as most always, it perched atop a utility pole. Also along County Road 2, north of Wellington, a RED-TAILED HAWK was seen near Wilson Road. For the most part though, successful birding was hampered, especially during the latter part of the day, by frequent and intense snow squalls off Lake Ontario. A few stalwart birders though made some noteworthy sightings. The BELTED KINGFISHER  was seen again today at Wellington Harbour. Waterfowl at the harbour included 1 AMERICAN COOT, numerous  TUNDRA SWANS, and a mixture of CANADA GEESE, MALLARDS, BUFFLEHEAD, LONG-TAILED DUCKS, COMMON GOLDENEYE, RING-NECKED DUCK and HOODED MERGANSER. A flock of SNOW BUNTINGS along Ridge Road about half way between Shannon Road and County Road 10 reminded us of the weather that is – snow, and lots of it. Another flock of 30 was seen as they flew up from the side of the road in the gusty winds just west of the Murray Canal.  The best birding however was in the backyard where bird feeders enjoyed unprecedented activity. Perhaps the birds can sense a dropping barometric pressure driving them into a feeding frenzy. An Allisonville feeder had 20-30 AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES, 20-25 DARK-EYED JUNCOS, and a mixture of other species including a single PURPLE FINCH. At a Napanee feeder, 10-15 AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES and 15-20 HOUSE FINCHES. At our feeder at 23 Sprague Road, Big Island, I stopped counting AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS once I reached 32, and some imagined danger sent them scurrying. Over 20 AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES, NORTHERN CARDINAL and 16 RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS, a species that seems to be prevalent at many feeders this winter in Ontario were also guests all day long.   Accipiters would have had a field day, had they come around today, but none was seen.

Saturday, January 16:  RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS are coming to feeders on Swamp College Road north of Wellington and just down the highway a bit north of there past Wilson Road. Could be the same individual is involved in both reports. Two juvenile BALD EAGLES together over Adolphus Reach yesterday, and another along North Big Island Road today. At Wellington Harbour today, the female HOODED MERGANSER and COMMON MERGANSER  were there again as well as BUFFLEHEADS and LONG-TAILED DUCKS. A few sightings from Presqu’ile Park today included RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, 12 AMERICAN ROBINS, and 699 REDHEADS. Two TRUMPETER SWANS  were present today at Barcovan (Wellers Bay) along with 20 AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS. Pretty slow day today for a weekend. However, if you are willing to make the trek to Algonquin Park, some pretty good stuff there, if you are willing to search for them,  including some 50 – 90 EVENING GROSBEAKS at the park’s Visitor Centre feeder. A few PINE SISKINS about, a couple each of WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS and RED CROSSBILLS, a half dozen PURPLE FINCHES and four PINE GROSBEAKS here and there elsewhere in the park. Weird though – few COMMON REDPOLLS in the park, and yet predictions were that the species would be following a baited highway south since birch seed crops were better south of Algonquin Park. Nary a redpoll yet though in the Bay of Quinte region.

Friday, January 15: This evening, we’ll start our Report at Wellington where CANADA GEESE had numerous flights back and forth from the fields. Also present in the harbour today, male  COMMON GOLDENEYES, male and female  LONG-TAILED DUCKS, MALLARDS, MUTE SWANS and also TRUMPETER SWAN reported. RED-TAILED HAWKS yesterday and today at Rednersville, Conley Road (at Millennium Trail), Mountain View and Belleville. A feeder on Swamp College Road, north of Wellington today had 3 males and 1 female NORTHERN CARDINAL, 2 WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCHES and four species of woodpecker – DOWNY, HAIRY, RED-BELLIED  and PILEATED WOODPECKER, the latter staying only briefly. Another PILEATED WOODPECKER  was seen late this afternoon flying over Highway 62 at Rossmore. A COOPER’S HAWK buzzed a feeder along Fry Road, coming up empty. The same backyard had 13 AMERICAN ROBINS flowing through the property, and 20 more were seen along Norton Road at Northport. One birder had a productive drive from Carrying Place to Point Petre, coming up with a NORTHERN HARRIER  along West Lake and a TURKEY VULTURE south of Bloomfield. The Salmon Point Road  had six WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS and Kelly Road had six WILD TURKEYS. Point Petre had an adult BALD EAGLE and a MERLIN. Another MERLIN was on Swamp College Road chowing down on a MOURNING DOVE. Flocks of SNOW BUNTINGS were common and several had a few HORNED LARKS with them.  HORNED LARKS (13) were also noted along County Road 1, just west of Wilson Road. HORNED LARKS  today also seen at Big Island on Allison Road – 3 groupings each consisting of some 12-16 birds. AMERICAN KESTREL and SHARP-SHINNED HAWK  also seen along this road. And two days ago, a SNOWY OWL at Pinecrest Elementary School in Bloomfield where it watched the children at recess before being chased away by an AMERICAN CROW. The Presqu’ile Provincial Park Weekly Bird Report has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be found by CLICKING HERE.

Thursday, January 14: Very slow day today, despite the nice weather, although the depth of snow and questionable roads may have contributed to the lack of sightings from the southern half of Prince Edward County. A BELTED KINGFISHER somehow made it through the snow at Wellington Harbour again today. Also present were lots of GREATER SCAUP and COMMON GOLDENEYES, a female COMMON MERGANSER  and a female HOODED MERGANSER. Along Airport Road on the east side of Belleville, a RED-TAILED HAWK was spotted, and an AMERICAN KESTREL was seen at Peat’s Point in Prince Edward County near Massassauga Point. A surprising sighting on Tuesday, involved an AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN that showed up in Oswego Harbour. Could it be the same pelican that showed up at Belleville’s Norris Whitney Bridge four days earlier. As I commented to the Kingston birder who reported this to me this evening by e-mail – we gotta put transponders on these wayward birds to see where they go each time they disappear! Some good sightings today at Centennial Park and Beach in Bath – a BALD EAGLE, 2 GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS, 20 CEDAR WAXWINGS and five GADWALL.

Wednesday, January 13: Some good sightings from the Napanee Limestone Plain area – 10 WILD TURKEYS, 1 RED-TAILED HAWK, 1 NORTHERN SHRIKE, 1 COMMON RAVEN and 3 AMERICAN ROBINS. About 100 AMERICAN ROBINS  were seen today by a HydroOne employee, foraging in the Red Cedars along Clarke Road, behind Macaulay Mountain Conservation Area on the outskirts of Picton. In Brighton, a handful of  CEDAR WAXWINGS (60 !) feasted on Mountain Ash berries in one backyard, where other feeder area visitors today included 2 NORTHERN CARDINALS, 40 HOUSE SPARROWS ( a “species of concern” at our feeder with only one in the past 10 years), a HAIRY WOODPECKER, and a COOPER’S HAWK, there to do a little birdwatching of its own.   In Belleville, one resident there walked the Riverside Trail from Victoria Park north about 2 km this afternoon to see if he could find the 2 PEREGRINE FALCONS that are missing in action. No luck. ROCK PIGEONS  in the area seemed a little a little restless but there was no sign of any raptors. There was a flock of about 100 MALLARDS in the Moira River including 1 very blonde bird, possibly a leucistic individual. There was also 1 beautiful AMERICAN BLACK DUCK, very dark with a striking dark blue speculum. As usual there were also a few COMMON GOLDENEYES but missing seemed to be the usual HOODED MERGANSERS. A Trenton birder visited several feeders this afternoon which have had some overwintering birds since December. The feeder in Carrying Place still has eight RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS and a bonus was a single PURPLE FINCH with some HOUSE FINCHES. The feeder on Glen Lane in the Stinson Block west of Consecon  has two WHITE-CROWNED  SPARROWS and four WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS. The sightings of 45 GADWALL was a highlight today at Kingston’s Invista (Dupont lagoons). Also present, 200 GREATER SCAUP, 90 MALLARDS, 35 COMMON MERGANSERS, three AMERICAN COOTS, and a BELTED KINGFISHER. A few days ago, there was a NORTHERN PINTAIL at Cobourg Harbour where at least a dozen other waterfowl species have been present. No update as to the fate of the wayward WHITE PELICAN in the Bay of Quinte. A few other sightings from Prince Edward County. Thirty SNOW BUNTINGS were seen today north of Wellington, in roughly the same area where a SNOWY OWL, PEREGRINE FALCON, AMERICAN KESTREL and numerous other special birds have been seen this winter. A kilometre east of Mallory Road between Bloomfield and Picton, a RED-TAILED HAWK was spotted as it hunted over a tiny bit of marsh and came up to perch in a tree.

Tuesday, January 12: Funny – not many out birding today! However, one Morrison Point resident looks out her window every day and sees 100+ TUNDRA SWANS  and MUTE SWANS gathering in the open waters of Smith’s Bay and Prince Edward Bay in the area of Waupoos and Waupoos Island. So, if you are a Project FeederWatch participant and a hawk nabs a junco, can you still count that individual in the final totals? It was present, albeit now in tiny pieces in the hawk’s stomach. In the Orland area, north of Brighton, one participant was tabulating her totals when a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK zoomed in and captured a DARK-EYED JUNCO, right under her feeders where she was counting the clientele. The snow also brought in a little flock of PINE SISKINS. Bander-in-Charge at the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory (PEPtBO), David Okines, received a special Christmas present from the banding office this year. It was a certificate of appreciation for a banded SHARP-SHINNED HAWK. This hawk was hatched in 2012 and banded in Mexico, on the 19th October 2013.This young female hawk was recaptured at PEPtBO, just this last September. If she had flown in a straight line, it would be a journey of about 4000 km. As she took two years to arrive here, she may have taken a few side trips! Hopefully, some of the 101 SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS banded this past fall will also be recaptured. 

Monday, January 11: With colder weather upon us, waterfowl viewing should become easier as ducks concentrate wherever open water still persists. It’s a matter of going to wherever these conditions exist, set up the spotting scope, and see what’s there. Fifty CANADA GEESE, 4 MUTE SWANS and 8 COMMON GOLDENEYE today at Belleville’s Zwick’s Park. No other waterfowl reports, except at Kingston where an AMERICAN COOT  continues to be seen in Elevator Bay. A few good sightings on Amherst Island today including  5 SNOWY OWLS, 3 BALD EAGLES, 10 RED-TAILED HAWKS, a SHORT-EARED OWL, 1 BROWN CREEPER, 2 GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS, and a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK. Still no PEREGRINE FALCON in Belleville where it had spent a few days at the top of the new Court House, but there was a RED-TAILED HAWK today finishing a meal on the top of the Liddle building (across from Barber's Flowers) in downtown Belleville. The way its crop was bulging it obviously enjoyed a very large meal. George, the resident SNOWY OWL at Wellington was present again in its usual spot, just north of the village. A beautiful mature BALD EAGLE  was seen today flying west along Adolphus Reach this morning, just below the lip of the 200’ escarpment to avoid the wind. No birds at Elmbrook, north of Picton, although a birder there did find a freshly killed snake on the road. It is assumed that it got flooded out with yesterday’s torrent of water, then met its demise when it chose to absorb some warmth on the road. It has been an unusual start to winter. One Tweed resident celebrated Christmas Day by canoeing on Stoco Lake. Everyone's enjoyment of the mild weather and snowless conditions is apt to change abruptly over the next few days.

Sunday, January 10:  The SNOWY OWL that has been hanging out in the County Road 2/Swamp College Road area since first being sighted December 18th has been given a name by one observer. In fact, there were two birders out in today’s weather at different times photographing the owl as it hunted, but photographer Brian Durell of Allisonville couldn’t manage to face the stiff west winds. but managed this shot from the comfort of his car. Another two brave souls conducted the annual Mid-Winter Waterfowl Survey today, both of them agreeing that there was nothing like birding while standing on a west facing shore with a cold west wind blowing rain into your face, and not seeing much. The survey is done annually on this weekend and the area these birders covered was from Trenton to Point Petre. I have participated in the past; it can be a grueling exercise, depending on the weather. Due to the weather conditions, 150 waterfowl spotted could not be identified. The lucky ones turned out to be, in order of abundance, 525 LONG-TAILED DUCKS, 470 CANADA GEESE, 237 MALLARDS, 125 TUNDRA SWANS (Wellington Harbour), 41 MUTE SWANS, 34 COMMON GOLDENEYE, 5 each of BUFFLEHEAD and GREATER SCAUP, 2 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS and a single HOODED MERGANSER at Wellington Harbour. Two BONAPARTE’S GULLS  were still at Athol Bay, a rather late date for this species. Kudos to these hardy souls for being the only four birders out today!

Saturday, January 09: Despite the weather, birders were out and about today. A BELTED KINGFISHER  appeared at the harbour in that village yesterday. However, a juvenile PEREGRINE FALCON  was seen today flying, and later perching, along County Road 2, just south of Gilead Road near Wellington in an effort to upstage the SNOWY OWL sightings that have been made in the same area in recent weeks. Yesterday, a HORNED GREBE  was seen along Long Point Road in the Prince Edward Bay area. Further west, 3500 REDHEADS and a single CANVASBACK were both good sightings at South Bay. The WHITE PELICAN on the Bay of Quinte/Muscote Bay who likes to keep just one step ahead of Old Man Winter, has returned to the east side of the Norris Whitney Bridge at Belleville where it first turned up on June 22nd last year. Since that time, the nomadic bird has drifted around spending the last two months at Muscote Bay where it was seen at least twice in the Hamilton Wetland, just above the escarpment at Muscote Bay. On December 28th, a lucky and keen team of birders, while tallying birds for the Belleville Christmas Bird Count, saw the bird circling high above the mouth of Sawguin Creek. One has to wonder as to the fate of the pelican once winter really settles in. Today’s bird was seen at 4:00 p.m. in with a mixed flock of RING-BILLED, HERRING, and GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS as well as a possible GLAUCOUS GULL. The pelican, according to the observer, walked over and put the GLAUCOUS GULL  to flight, likely overwhelmed by the size of the visitor. Otherwise, in the same area of open water, MALLARDS, CANADA GEESE, COMMON GOLDENEYES and two HOODED MERGANSERS. Six GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS  were seen at Presqu’ile Park today. BROWN CREEPER, GLAUCOUS GULL, ICELAND GULL, AMERICAN COOT, BALD EAGLE, 600 REDHEADS and 3 TRUMPETER SWANS were among a few other good sightings made in the park yesterday. Also yesterday, but at Little Bluff Conservation Area in Prince Edward County, a SNOWY OWL was present. Two BALD EAGLES at Cressy Lakeside Road, RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER at South Bay, and a RED-TAILED HAWK at Adolphus Reach were other good sightings. Bird feeders have slowed up a little bit with the weekend’s milder weather, but still attracting some interesting numbers. A SHARP-SHINNED HAWK today at a feeder along Highway 62, south of Bloomfield. Likely attracted by over three dozen AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES  coming to the feeders! Two NORTHERN CARDINALS and 14 HOUSE FINCHES at an East Street feeder at Napanee, and close to 30 AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS are still holding strong at a feeder at 23 Sprague Road on Big Island. BLUE JAYS? Too many. Can’t count them!

Friday, January 08: TUNDRA SWANS continue to drop in unexpectedly here and there as open water dictates, like these four that flew in honking to a Cressy shoreline this morning.  Hundreds, if not thousands of CANADA GEESE were on the water there today, as well as COMMON GOLDENEYES and LONG-TAILED DUCKS. Just across Prince Edward Bay, at Prince Edward Point, a female HARLEQUIN DUCK was found sitting on the rocks about 200 metres north of the Bird Observatory. It stayed for but a few scant moments before flying some 300 metres offshore to join a raft of LONG-TAILED DUCKS. Among the half dozen or so waterfowl species on West Lake today were 10 TUNDRA SWANS, 11 MUTE SWANS and a couple HOODED MERGANSERS, but no sign of the 4 to 5 GREEN-WINGED TEAL that have been present there since November. Along Charwell Point Road off Army Reserve Road (South Shore Important Bird Area) there were 42 CEDAR WAXWINGS and 24 AMERICAN ROBINS.  Down Kingston way, 6 AMERICAN COOTS  were present in Cataraqui Bay, and the long present PEREGRINE FALCON  was seen again today at the city’s Princess Towers. Back closer to home, an EASTERN SCREECH-OWL was heard at the bridge along Bronk Road, north of Belleville. At the industrial park in Belleville, a adult RED-TAILED HAWK was seen as it took off from this tower. Meanwhile,  one Napanee birder drove to Toronto and back again today and saw nary a RED-TAILED HAWK. A bit of a change as the 401 is usually THE place to do an impressive tally on this species. In Bloomfield, a resident there has had a NORTHERN FLICKER  at her feeder daily for several weeks, and a NORTHERN SHRIKE  has also been present. SNOWY OWLS continue to be reported at Presqu’ile Park and on Amherst Island. However, there seem to be enough to go around in Prince Edward County too, with two seen now and then in the Cressy area, and another two in the Wellington area being quite dependable. Others this past month have been seen at Huyck’s Point, Wellers Bay, Prince Edward Point, Peat’s Point, Consecon, Sandbanks, Pleasant Bay, North Beach and Point Petre. The weekly Presqu’ile Park Bird Report by Fred Helleiner has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be seen by CLICKING HERE.

Thursday, January 07: Shorebirds on ice! A PURPLE SANDPIPER, one of two, was observed as it recovered after taking a spill on the ice, and a SANDERLING was having trouble finding anything to eat where it chose to forage on solid ice at Presqu'ile Park today.  Both shorebirds were on Gull Island at the park; the PURPLE SANDPIPER  was one of only two present today, and the DUNLIN didn’t appear to be present at all. Very unusual to see any species of shorebirds this late in the winter. Waterfowl on Lake Ontario were as far as the eye could see but not very many were close to the island.  Many LONG-TAILED DUCKS scattered about.  A line of scaups to the east.  There was also a group of COMMON GOLDENEYES and a couple of groups of BUFFLEHEADS. Three SNOW BUNTINGS  were also present on the island. Lot's of MUTE SWANS, too numerous to count but most on the far shore of Presqu'ile Bay. Another large group off Gull Island. Main waterfowl was LONG-TAILED DUCKS which formed a large raft off Bayshore Drive. Although today was a no hunting day, there was a blind with 4 hunters at Salt Point. The LONG-TAILED DUCKS would come right into shore within 20 feet of the blind and then get picked off. Meanwhile, some 70 kilometres to the east, as the MUTE SWAN flies, only 4 of this species was present today along Cressy Lakeside Road, at the far east end of Prince Edward County. However, there were 69 TUNDRA SWANS  present, a species that no longer seems to have any problem spending winters in local waters instead of Chesapeake Bay where they traditionally have wintered. Likely attributable to more open water in recent winters and their fondness for zebra mussels. A few other good sightings down that road too which is always a pleasure to walk with the habitat always guaranteed to produce something special. Today, it was a SNOWY OWL, 8 SNOW BUNTINGS, a BROWN CREEPER and a SONG SPARROW. A RED-TAILED HAWK was seen today near the Wellington Mushroom Plant. The PEREGRINE FALCON was still at the Princess Towers in Kingston as of today, but no recent word as to the whereabouts of the two PEREGRINE FALCONS that had been seen for several days at the Belleville Court House. This coming Saturday,  Kathy Felkar and Mike Burge from the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory will lead, teach, and advise in an unofficial bird count at Frontenac Provincial Park. This is a practice run for all of us who want to learn more about birding. Meet at the Park Office at 9:00 a.m. Perhaps our long awaited COMMON REDPOLLS are up there!

Wednsday, January 06: A great horde of CANADA GEESE – 628, according to one count – came to Wellington Harbour today.  Another observer at the harbour today did a count and in addition to the CANADA GEESE and HOODED MERGANSERS, came up 27 MUTE SWANS, 5 TUNDRA SWANS, 71 MALLARDS, a lone  RING-NECKED DUCK, 2 LONG-TAILED DUCKS, a couple of BUFFLEHEAD, 5 COMMON GOLDENEYE, 8 RING-BILLED GULLS and 3 HERRING GULLS. A few other scattered sightings around the Bay of Quinte area included 7 WILD TURKEYS in a field on the north side of County Road 64 just east of Barcovan Golf Course, SHARP-SHINNED HAWK and PILEATED WOODPECKER on the east side of Belleville, and an adult SNOWY OWL  north of Wellington where up to two (one, a female) have been seen there so far this winter. Bird feeders continue to hum with the snow cover and colder temperatures. Forty-eight HOUSE SPARROWS are regulars at a Brighton feeder, the collective name for these being a “blight”, a “subdivision” or a “humiliation” according to the nouns of assemblage for species of birds in groups. Also present in the Brighton backyard was an “ear-full” (I’m not making up these terms!) of 17 CEDAR WAXWINGS. Needless to say, it wasn’t surprising to see a COOPER’S HAWK on the list, too.

Tuesday, January 05: Very slow day today, bird-wise.  CEDAR WAXWINGS  numbered 26 that a Cressy area resident spotted perched high up on his roadside willows today. The focus of their attention was a mountain ash loaded with berries. From 60 to 70 SNOW BUNTINGS  were seen cartwheeling over a pasture field along County Road 5 early this afternoon, just south of Fish Lake Road. No recent reports as to the fate of the WHITE PELICAN that was last seen in the Muscote Bay area on December 28th, nor have there been any recent sightings of SANDHILL CRANES. One can only hope that both species have since moved on to more hospitable abodes. Despite the winter temperatures and conditions, as many as 8 DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS  have been present at Picton Harbour as of the weekend. Today at Presqu’ile Park, a BALD EAGLE  was seen and 2 RED-TAILED HAWKS  were noted today on Gilead Road. Two AMERICAN ROBINS on Burr Road and 54 CEDAR WAXWINGS as well as a MERLIN on County Road 14 west of Demorestville pretty much rounds out the sightings today. 

Monday, January 04: No fewer than seven shorebirds were still happily feeding away on Gull Island at Presqu’ile Park, completely oblivious to the weather. Incredibly, there were three species  whichone  photographer was lucky to get all in one shot – five PURPLE SANDPIPERS, one  DUNLIN and a SANDERLING. Incredible for this time of year, even for the traditionally late PURPLE SANDPIPERS. Also present on the island yesterday was the resident SNOWY OWL and 8 SNOW BUNTINGS. The latter species seems to have arrived in the Bay of Quinte region en masse in recent weeks. One Trenton birder found 250 SNOW BUNTINGS in four separate flocks in the Consecon area today. Still some good birds to be found in the Consecon and Carrying Place area. One Carrying Place feeder still had three RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS and the Glen Lane feeder on the Stinson Block west of Consecon had five WHITE-THROATED and two WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS. NORTHERN CARDINALS which were hard to find on the Christmas Birds Counts last month, were quite conspicuous. There were at least a dozen with one large bush holding six including four bright males. Some good sightings in the Wellington area today that will be supported by photos in tomorrow’s Report. A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER  is visiting a feeder north of Wellington along County Road 2, and two RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS showed up again at 23 Sprague Road on Big Island  this weekend after an absence of nearly a month. WHITE-THROATED SPARROW and AMERICAN ROBIN were at Lemoine Point Conservation Area in Kingston today. Also down that way, just under a dozen species of waterfowl were present in Cataraqui Bay, among them 40 REDHEADS, a couple of AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS, 400 GREATER SCAUP, 26 TUNDRA SWANS  and 2 GADWALL. The four GREEN-WINGED TEAL at Wellington Harbour now number five as of  yesterday.

Sunday, January 03: As temperatures more typical of winter continue, patronage at bird feeders keeps on climbing. We had 28 AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS  feeding on the ground beneath our bird feeders at 4:00 p.m. this evening. By contrast, there was an AMERICAN ROBIN enjoying a splish-splash in our heated bird bath. Still no COMMON REDPOLLS anywhere in the Bay of Quinte region, despite the predictions that they would be here this winter. Interesting that several reports of HORNED LARKS have come to my attention, likely wintering individuals, or migrating birds from farther north.  Seen yesterday along Rock Crossroad, east of Waupoos, were 3 GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS and 3  WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS. Today,  two South Big Island Road residents near Caughey Road watched as 2 BALD EAGLES directly in front of  their house scavenged the remains of a duck killed yesterday by a GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL on the shoreline at Muscote Bay. Somewhat unusual behaviour for a GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL.  Nine TUNDRA SWANS flew over the Big Island Marsh west toward Muscote Bay at noon. The best number though for the species was along Hay Bay’s South Shore Road where 76 were counted. Ten species of waterfowl were counted there and included 358 COMMON MERGANSERS, 4 HOODED MERGANSERS, and a couple GADWALL. Fifty-nine TUNDRA SWANS  were counted in Prince Edward Bay along Cressy Lakeside Road yesterday where a LAPLAND LONGSPUR  was also spotted. Seen yesterday along Rock Crossroad, east of Waupoos, were 3 GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS and 3  WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS. The four GREEN-WINGED TEAL continue to be seen in the Wellington Harbour area.  One Trenton resident cruised the streets at the city’s Centennial Park beside the harbour looking for SNOWY OWLS because of the area’s openness and proximity to the bay. Today, the effort paid off in handsome dividends when he spotted one at about 2:00 p.m this afternoon. Just to be sure, he approached to within 100 yards to make sure he wasn’t about to report a plastic shopping bag!  It was just north of the sewage treatment plant in a maple tree beside the soccer field and held its position. It probably is tolerant as there are lots of people walking about down there. 

Saturday, January 02:  Despite today being a half decent day, and  a weekend, not much birding activity today. Something not seen too often in the Tweed area are MUTE SWANS (they can have some of ours!). Two were seen today though flying southbound over the village, probably heading for Stoco Lake. WILD TURKEYS (25) were seen three kilometres west of Napanee this morning, and five were also seen at Sandbanks Provincial Park today, while at the historic Lakeshore Lodge area at West Point, 40 LONG-TAILED DUCKS  were present. BUFFLEHEAD, COMMON GOLDENEYE, MALLARDS and RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS were seen in Athol Bay along C.R. 12, in the park.  Two hundred LONG-TAILED DUCKS  were at Prince Edward Point today, as well as a GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL. There were 2 GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS at Point Petre yesterday. Other notable sightings there were NORTHERN HARRIER and 30 CEDAR WAXWINGS. A TURKEY VULTURE  was at Sandbanks yesterday. Potter’s Creek Conservation Area (formerly Quinte C.A.) produced 2 each of BROWN CREEPER and GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET yesterday.

Friday, January 01: Happy New Year everyone! Some summer birds in this evening’s report, and some winter birds, such as a flock of SNOW BUNTINGS, numbering 138, that were seen on Amherst Island. However, some lingering summer birds continue to be tardy. Three DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS were in  Picton Harbour today. At Wellington Harbour, a group of four GREEN-WINGED TEAL which we normally don’t see hanging around  this far into winter. The teal have been present at Wellington since late November. There was also a DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT – this one, a first year bird – on the docks of the old Morch Marine in Belleville. Even more unusual was a small sailboat containing three people out on the Bay of Quinte. No doubt they will be be boasting about being the first on the bay in 2016! In Wellington, an EASTERN TOWHEE showed up at a feeder today. Bird feeders continue to do well with both AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES and HOUSE FINCHES seemingly increasing in number. An unlucky 13 HOUSE FINCHES  were at a Trenton feeder today, another dozen at a feeder in Wellington, and as many at our own feeder at 23 Sprague Road, Big Island. The PEREGRINE FALCONS that have been present at the courthouse in Belleville, were not seen today and may have found a new roost. Some action today at a Lake on the Mountain feeder when a juvenile COOPER’S HAWK snatched a BLUE JAY from beneath the feeders. The jay put up a good fight, but it wasn’t going to win against the bigger hawk. Just east of Bloomfield, a group of AMERICAN CROWS mobbing a NORTHERN HARRIER. An AMERICAN KESTREL was reported today 10 minutes south of Napanee, perhaps interested in the 100+ EUROPEAN STARLINGS that were also seen in that area. At South Bay, 2 COMMON RAVENS, and a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER at a feeder along County Road 2, north of Wilson Road (Wellington area). A HORNED GREBE was present today right at the jetty along the Murray Canal at Twelve O’Clock Point, Carrying Place. Fourteen other species of waterfowl were also present at this popular watering hole on the outskirts of Trenton. Today, there were 70 CANADA GEESE, 42 MUTE SWANS, 4 TUNDRA SWANS, 8 GADWALL, 3 AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS, 60 MALLARDS, 1 NORTHERN SHOVELER, 120 REDHEADS, 2 GREATER SCAUP, 6 LESSER SCAUP, 1 BUFFLEHEAD, 200 COMMON GOLDENEYE, 18 HOODED MERGANSERS, and 150 COMMON MERGANSERS. Twenty RING-BILLED GULLS and 4 HERRING GULLS were also present, but unusual for this time of the year were 8 BONAPARTE’S GULLS.  Rarely has the latter species ever been seen on New Year’s Day.

Thursday, December 31: A SNOWY OWL and AMERICAN KESTREL have both been present off and on along County Road 2, just north of Wellington. Yesterday, six HORNED LARKS were seen at the west end of Swamp College Road. A HERMIT THRUSH flew up from the plowed road edge into thicket of buckthorns along west end of Stinson Block Road, twelve WILD TURKEYS in a field at Wellers bay just east of the North Shore R.V.Park lane. Barcovan, normally a haven for waterfowl once we get on into winter, had only one species – a BUFFLEHEAD, in the channel.  In Belleville, a PEREGRINE FALCON has been creating a mild furor among local birders. Rumours suggest that two birds are involved. The bird or birds hang around the new courthouse, usually seen only at sunrise and sunset. Several years ago a PEREGRINE FALCON was a regular at the McNabb Towers in downtown Belleville, where it would arrive almost daily with a ROCK PIGEON, landing on an exposed air conditioning unit near the upper floor of the complex where it would eviscerate the prey. The window beside the air conditioner was matted with feathers and dried blood. The resident of the unit who eventually contacted me was absolutely ecstatic with having a front row seat to this daily performance, what she could see of it through the soiled window! Feeders continue to draw high numbers of clients since the snow and ice storm. Our own feeders are now averaging around 20 AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES, 20-25 AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS, as many BLUE JAYS and MOURNING DOVES and roughly two dozen DARK-EYED JUNCOS, along with lesser numbers of the regulars. Along Luck’s Crossroad, near Picton, 25-30 AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES have suddenly converged on those feeders as well as two NORTHERN CARDINALS. North of Picton in the Big Swamp, a BARRED OWL has been seen and another was at Presqu’ile Park today.  So far, no COMMON REDPOLLS  reported yet in the Bay of Quinte region. If you want to see redpolls at a feeder, your best bet is to go to Tammie & Ben Haché’s BIRD FEEDER CAM WEBSITE at Manitouwage in far northwestern Ontario. They had a few at the feeders when I checked today. Other good sightings included 6 COMMON LOONS along the Bayshore Road loop at Hay Bay, four AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS in the Bay of Quinte at Belleville, and a flock of 25 SNOW BUNTINGS along Allison Road at Big Island. Fred Helleiner’s Presqu’ile Park Weekly Bird Report has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website, and is highlighted this week by a photo of a BALD EAGLE  by Ian Dickinson Belleville. The Presqu’ile Bird Report can be read by CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, December 30: Yes, I am fine, but thank you everyone for your concern. You can almost bet whenever there is freezing rain, there will be no Bird Report! Hence, no Report for last evening. My antenna is atop a 60’ free standing tower and not really wishing to climb the slippery tower at 71 years of age, I opted for a gentler approach – a sledge hammer, which I used with no apology and successfully set up a vibration which loosened the ice enough to send out this evening’s Report. Can’t say I am not dedicated. Bird feeders all over sprang back to life with the arrival of yesterday’s snow and ice storm. Two AMERICAN ROBINS visited a feeder in Brighton, and one continues to splash around in our heated bird bath, and another showed up in a crabapple tree in the Barry Heights area of Trenton. Today, while driving along Fry Road, I noticed a flock of at least 25 DARK-EYED JUNCOS feeding on the road. In a bush along the fence was a dark object which I took to be a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK waiting for its chance to nab one of them. The dark object turned out to be  a NORTHERN FLICKER. Another one was seen today at a feeder in Bloomfield. More AMERICAN ROBINS seen at Presqu’ile Park today, along with CEDAR WAXWINGS. Yesterday, an immature BALD EAGLE  flew over Lake on the Mountain, and another was seen today at Mountain View. In Trenton, a recently constructed water containment area just south of the Trenton Walmart store has been attracting some attention already. The main pond is very large and is about 12 feet deep. Construction took about six weeks and they finished just before Christmas. It is almost filled to the overflow point already. Today there was a pair of RING-NECKED DUCKS resting dead center in the big pond. As this area naturalizes over time it should be a good spot to watch for waterfowl. A few more details of the Napanee Christmas Bird Count, held December 27th, with 15 volunteers, arrived by e-mail. Despite the cold and the rain, it turned out to be a record year. The 68 species counted beat the previous record of 66 (from 2014). A total of 15,596 birds also beating the 2014 record of 10,203. The very first count took place in 1961. Five new species that have not been seen in at least the past 20 years were: CANVASBACK (5), RUDDY DUCK (47),SNOWY OWL (1), BALTIMORE ORIOLE (1) and VIRGINIA RAIL (1). New high count records were set: 8712 CANADA GOOSE (vs 6274 in 2011), 54 MUTES SWAN (vs 26 in 2014), 231 TUNDRA SWAN (vs 178 in 2014), 42 REDHEAD  (vs 22 in 2013). HOODED MERGANSERS (33) were counted (typical count is 1 or 2), 107 WILD TURKEY (vs 88 in 2012) and 5 SWAMP SPARROW (vs typical 2). The count was down for RED-TAILED HAWK with only 11 counted vs an average of 25-30 in past years and 163 MOURNING DOVES vs an average count of 250 - 300.  

Monday, December 28: It certainly isn’t every Christmas Bird Count that can boast producing a WHITE PELICAN in with its list of chickadees, woodpeckers and nuthatches! The Belleville Christmas Bird Count did just that today and it was my party of observers who spotted the bird, in flight above the mouth of the Sawguin Creek between Huff’s Island and Horse Point. The bird had almost been forgotten about since being last reported on November 16th, on Muscote Bay. The stray pelican first showed up in the Bay of Quinte near the Norris Whitney Bridge on June 22nd this year and seemed to hang around the Bay of Quinte/Massassauga Point/Muscote Bay area all summer and much of the fall. Whether or not it decides to leave after tonight’s predicted forecast remains to be seen. Our party who covered Big Island West, Crofton, Mountain View, Huff’s Island and the Massasauga Point areas, found 29 species. Conditions were open which made waterfowl viewing more difficult since many species were beyond spotting scope reach. Still, we managed a half dozen species of waterfowl, comprising mainly CANADA GEESE. Yesterday, a skein of 40 SNOW GEESE  had been seen in flight over Huff’s Island, but were not found today. One lone DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT was seen in flight low over the water as it departed Snake Island and headed toward Belleville. A nice flock of 32 CEDAR WAXWINGS was seen behind one residence at Sunrise Court. A single RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD on Huff’s Island Road, and 2 AMERICAN ROBINS at Massassauga Point were also nice finds. It seemed to be AMERICAN CROW Day as we tallied a list of 40, but interesting was the good number of COMMON RAVENS  we also heard throughout the day – five of them. Results from the Napanee Bird Count held recently produced SNOWY OWL, an amazing 47 RUDDY DUCKS, 5 CANVASBACKS and a VIRGINIA RAIL. A 2nd year BALD EAGLE was seen by one birder at Huyck’s Point today. Also seen was an AMERICAN KESTREL. Waterfowl at Wellington are still pretty much scattered and given to the whims of wind direction. Present today were COMMON GOLDENEYE, 1 REDHEAD, BUFFLEHEADS and MALLARDS. A SHARP-SHINNED HAWK today at Cressy, pursued a female DOWNY WOODPECKER as it darted about a bush, hopping to the ground where it was quickly chased by the hawk whereupon the woodpecker slammed into a window, and then captured. Life isn’t easy or kind in the wild.

Sunday, December 27: The COOPER’S HAWK made a return visit to a Brighton feeder today. SANDHILL CRANES – there have been 12 over the Crosby area, north of Kingston over several days – may get a surprise when the temperature drops significantly overnight. Three were seen agan today along County Road 5, just north of Bethel Road, near Demorestville, feeding in a field on the west side.  Some good sightings yesterday at Wellington Harbour: 5 AMERICAN WIGEON, 7 NORTHERN PINTAILS, 3 GREEN-WINGED TEAL, 3 GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS, and 27 BONAPARTE’S GULLS. Elsewhere, north of Sydenham, a GOLDEN EAGLE was seen on 19th. On the same day a RED-SHOULDERED HAWK was seen on Opinicon Road.  Kingston itself has been relatively quiet these days, though the resident PEREGRINE FALCON has become more regular at its downtown location. A YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER was an unusual find in the city on Christmas Day.

Saturday, December 26: Five RED-TAILED HAWKS were seen today on Amherst Island. There was lots of NORTHERN HARRIER  activity on the Martin Edwards Reserve at the east end of the island. One harrier picked up a rabbit and managed to fly 30 feet before dropping it, and subsequently eating it. Eight SNOWY OWLS were seen along with 7 HOODED MERGANSERS. Also seen were two ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS. While temperatures and winter conditions are expected to change in a day or two, Timmins however still has the edge on us with 12 inches of ice, large snow banks and very low temperatures. A heavy wind storm up that way resulted in uprooted trees and downed lines. Resident GRAY JAYS were busy scavenging fearlessly while the trees were being removed, likely on cached food, put there by other GRAY JAYS. Closer to home, a West Lake resident was cutting up some firewood today when 7 SANDHILL CRANES flew in and landed in a nearby field, followed by a PILEATED WOODPECKER taking on a nearby dead tree, and a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK putting the run on a BLUE JAY that managed to escape. A case of good sightings coming to those who stay put in one spot! South of Codrington, near the community of Orland, one resident there has had a couple of PINE SISKINS hanging around for the past 10 days, and a BELTED KINGFISHER is still hunting in local ponds. That may change after tomorrow night. At Lemoine Point Conservation Area in Kingston today, BROWN CREEPER, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET, BARRED OWL, 16 WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCHES, COMMON RAVEN and 11 AMERICAN ROBINS were highlights for a birder at that location. An AMERICAN ROBIN was at our heated bird bath this afternoon enjoying a pleasant dip, before the temperature itself dips tomorrow night.

Friday, December 25: Merry Christmas! SNOWY OWLS continue to descend upon the Bay of Quinte regions, or some of the same individuals are moving about to different locations every day. A SNOWY OWL was captured (on camera) on Wednesday along Gilead Road. The most recent sighting was today just north of Wellington in its usual location along County Road 2. It’s shaping up to be another big year for this Arctic species. Another was seen on Presqu’ile Bay today, along with 3 TUNDRA SWANS and a BELTED KINGFISHER. At Wellington Harbour, a GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL was present, and two fields west of 23 Sprague Road on Big Island, a NORTHERN HARRIER was found consuming a prey. Of course, the mild weather continues, at least, through the weekend when more frigid temperatures can be expected. Until then, paddling enthusiasts are enjoying the open conditions. Kayak paddler, Pamela Stagg, today came across a BALD-FACED HORNET’S paper nest along the shore of Lake on the Mountain during her outing on the water. Smart bees. No raccoon was apt to rob that nest of its larvae this past season. Despite the lack of snow, Christmas today was highlighted by a rare full moon. I had occasion to be outside at 4:00 a.m. two mornings ago and the display was almost surreal as the moon cast a serene bluish-grey hue on the landscape – a bit different from what I have experienced from a full moon before.  It is during these mornings,  as morning twilight begins, when the planets Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Saturn are all visible. Jupiter appears highest in the south-southwest, about 53 degrees above the horizon, Mars is in the south-southeast (near the bright star Spica) about 40 degrees above the horizon, Venus in the southeast about 20 degrees above the horizon, and Saturn below and to the left of Venus, about 7 degrees above the horizon. As we move into next month, the planets and stars will all appear to shift towards the west, with the exception of Venus, which will appear to shift closer to the horizon, and the comet Catalina, which will rise higher in the sky much faster as it makes it way out of the solar system. Between Monday and January 8th, the moon will appear to move down this line of stars and planets, progressing past Regulus, Jupiter, Spica and Mars, and the cluster of Venus, Saturn, and Antares. In the mornings by the time of the late January full moon, Mercury will be visible just a few degrees above the east-southeast horizon, so that all the visible planets will be in the sky at the same time. Interesting stuff. Take in the display if you can, before it disappears.

Thursday, December 24: A MERLIN did a recce of a backyard in Wellington this morning and flew away in utter disgust! . One Trenton birder commented, with weather like this in the spring one would be normally on the lookout for tree swallows. In this person’s backyard off Telephone Road, there was pair of WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCHES  today sparring with a pair of BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES over one of his bird houses. That condition known as autumnal recrudescence has birds and other animals totally confused.  SPRING PEEPERS were calling in Sandbanks this afternoon, but in contrast, just as a reminder of what month we are really in, a SNOWY OWL was seen on an island in Wellers Bay off Vienna Road (Blakely Road area). A bit drafty today to lure many birders out, but a few tried their luck. Kingston area birders were out in Lemoine Point and Marshlands Conservation Areas where the habitat is a bit more sheltered, but didn’t come up with anything unusual. A few more details came in today about the inaugural Sandbanks Park Christmas Bird Count, revealing that 76 species were tallied by the 29 observers who took part. Details of what was seen in the various areas are in last evening's Report. Another example of boorish photographers totally ignoring the Birders’ Code of Ethics. Well known birder/lecturer/photographer Michael Runtz received news today that  two photographers (more appropriately called idiots with cameras) were found pulling back branches in the apple tree in which the BULLOCK’S ORIOLE in the Ottawa area was feeding, apparently in order to get an unobstructed photograph of the bird that was only metres away.  The oriole flew off and has not been seen since.  With the Pakenham-Arnprior CBC being held on Boxing Day, that species would be an incredible one to have on the count.  This kind of stupidity, say Runtz,  has to stop; perhaps when that kind of activity is observed for any bird, the person or persons should be reported to the police for cruelty to animals. These boorish photographers could take a few lessons from Belleville/Napanee and Brighton area birder/photographers who follow the Code of Ethics to the letter. The Presqu’ile Park Weekly Bird Report by Fred Helleiner has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be viewed by CLICKING HERE.  The Quinte Area Bird Report wishes its followers a very Merry Christmas, and all the best in 2016.

Wednesday, December 23: We can’t exactly say just yet that Prince Edward County has been invaded by SNOWY OWLS,  but we’re getting close! Two SNOWY OWLS continue to be seen in the Prinyer’s Cove/Cressy area, and one was seen today perched on a hydro pole along Gilead Road north of Bloomfield. The inaugural Sandbanks Christmas Bird Count, held yesterday, resulted in four SNOWY OWLS being seen, along with other sightings that can only be described as astounding, likely attributable to the highly skilled birders who took part and the open conditions which allowed birders to penetrate areas that would normally be inaccessible at this time of the year. Highlights included in the Wellington/West Lake area: 9 AMERICAN WIGEON, 16 NORTHERN PINTAILS, 4 GREEN-WINGED TEAL, 8 CANVASBACKS, 2 GREAT BLUE HERONS,  1 BALD EAGLE, 1 LITTLE GULL, 1 SNOWY OWL, 2 MERLINS, 1 NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD, 6 WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS and 1 RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD. At West Lake/Sandbanks, highlights there were: 41 TUNDRA SWANS, 2 NORTHERN HARRIERS, 1 SNOWY OWL, 2 GREAT HORNED OWLS, 2 PILEATED WOODPECKERS, 1 MERLIN , and the count’s only HORNED LARK and HERMIT THRUSH. Not to be outdone, East Lake saw 750 REDHEADS, 25 RING-NECKED DUCKS, 2 HORNED GREBES, 11 TURKEY VULTURES, 1 SNOWY OWL, the count’s only SNOW BUNTING and COMMON GRACKLE. The PURPLE SANDPIPER mentioned in last night’s Bird Report at Point Petre was joined by 1107 LONG-TAILED DUCKS, 2 COMMON LOONS, 1 HORNED GREBE, 2 AMERICAN WOODCOCKS, 1 NORTHERN FLICKER, and 1 PURPLE FINCH. The three SANDHILL CRANES that have been hanging around out that way were not missed either and neither was a rare TOWNSEND’S SOLITAIRE. The count’s only WILD TURKEYS (9) also managed to make it on the Point Petre list. Along the portion of the South Shore that was within the Sandbanks count circle, 5 TUNDRA SWANS, a NORTHERN HARRIER, one LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, another SNOWY OWL, a MERLIN and a PILEATED WOODPECKER were added to the day's list. Count week birds for the event included DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT, BELTED KINGFISHER and a BARRED OWL. There were 29 observers, certainly an excellent number of birders to have in the field for any one single event. While the first ever Sandbanks Christmas Bird Count proved that a good variety of birds can be found out there, if you look hard enough, bird feeding station patronage is declining as the mild weather continues. However, 5 woodpeckers, comprising HAIRY and DOWNY showed up all at once at a Luck’s Crossroad bird feeder today, east of Picton. And the first NORTHERN CARDINALS (2) to be reported at feeders so far this “winter” came from Brighton. We just have to be patient.

Tuesday, December 22: A PURPLE SANDPIPER was perhaps the most exciting thing to be reported today, although more sightings may come in later from today’s very first Sandbanks Park Christmas Bird Count. The sandpiper was found by a team working the Point Petre area. As that party succinctly worded it, “Such a dismal morning to do a CBC of such a great area.” The Point Petre party had 58 birds, a few LONG-TAILED DUCKS, RING-BILLED GULLS, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES, DARK-EYED JUNCOS, DOWNY WOODPECKER, ...”Honestly, we had more birds in our backyard!!” As conditions remain 100% open on our local waters, waterfowl sightings will continue to be hit and miss, such as the 9 COMMON MERGANSERS that floated in close to shore at Glenora for one resident there today. A Trenton resident had a good look at the many CANADA GEESE at Tremur Lake along Wooler Road and found three that might best be described as leucistic Canadas. Two had varying amounts of white on the face and neck while one had a complete white head and neck. The latter looked like the goose from last year. The Glen Lane feeder on the Stinson Block west of Consecon had two WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS, one adult and one first winter. Another Trenton resident had a PILEATED WOODPECKER behind her house today, and six RED-TAILED HAWKS were counted along 401 between Trenton and Toronto – not a large number compared to twice that many along the same stretch last year at this time. Of course, with tomorrow, there’s fresh hope.

Monday, December 21: A RUFFED GROUSE at Cressy had a really bad day today. After hitting the window of a house and bouncing off, it was then preyed upon by a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK while the bird was still comatose on the ground. The SHARP-SHINNED HAWK tried to fly off with the grouse but, of course, couldn’t move the heavy carcass. By late afternoon, the hawk had devoured what it wanted, and by next morning, the grouse had been scavenged by something else, and had disappeared. Talk about having a bad day! A BARRED OWL was spotted yesterday near the intersection at North Beach Road off Highway 33. In addition to three GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS at Wellington Harbour, a few of the interesting ducks present have been NORTHERN PINTAILS (5), 2 HOODED MERGANSERS and an AMERICAN BLACK DUCK. At most bird feeding stations, the selection and numbers of birds have been so dismal that even the cats have stopped watching what few birds visit on a daily visit. We completed the weekend’s Project FeederWatch survey at our home with only 3 MOURNING DOVES, but in a typical winter we would have 60+ by now. Other feeders are faring about the same – six BLUE JAYS, 4 MOURNING DOVES and singles of AMERICAN TREE SPARROW and DOWNY WOODPECKER  at an Allisonville feeder. And the yawning continues. Christmas Bird Count results are starting to filter in. Yesterday’s count at Presqu’ile Park resulted in 82 species, incredibly, up from the 20 year average of 76 species. Not surprisingly, considering the warm lead-up to the count this year, notable findings included late lingering birds, low numbers of typically winter species and lots of birds taking advantage of the open water. Unusual sightings included singles of CACKLING GOOSE, KILLDEER, SANDERLING (1st record in 20 years), DUNLIN, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD and FOX SPARROW. On the other end of the spectrum, missing on the count this year were WILD TURKEY, HORNED LARK, BALD EAGLE, EASTERN BLUEBIRD, COMMON GRACKLE, and BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD. At only 102, AMERICAN TREE SPARROW  numbers were the lowest in 20 years, also MOURNING DOVES, NORTHERN CARDINAL, COMMON MERGANSER and GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET. BELTED KINGFISHER at 4 was the 2nd highest count in 20 years. Other interesting species seen on the Presqu'ile count included 12 TREUMPETER SWANS, 18 NORTHERN SHOVELERS, 6 RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS, 2335 REDHEADS, 23 RUFFED GROUSE (a nice rebound from 0 in 2013 !), 10 NORTHERN RAVENS, but a low of 21 NORTHERN CARDINALS.  SNOW GOOSE (2) were also seen, but included only as a count week bird. Other count week birds included TURKEY VULTURE and LITTLE GULL, both of which would have been new to the actual count itself had they decided to stick around a day or two longer. 

Sunday, December 20: Even during a book launch, there are birders about. One Trenton birder on his way to the launch of my new book at Books and Company in Picton today, excitedly reported having seen a PEREGRINE FALCON just a few businesses up the street from the book store. Birds are certainly where you find them. A MERLIN landed on the deck railing of one house at Peat’s Point near Massassauga Point. For the last few days, there has also been a SNOWY OWL at Peat’s Point. A check of a flock of 20 SNOW BUNTINGS yesterday along County Road 13 at South Bay paid off when a LAPLAND LONGSPUR turned up amongst them. Three COMMON RAVENS  were also seen down that way. Another surprise for one West Lake couple today when they set off for a drive was a chorus of AMERICAN CROWS harassing a BARRED OWL in the pines beside their house. Three WILD TURKEYS were seen along Welbanks Road, but the big surprise was the sighting of two SANDHILL CRANES  heading southwest toward the end of Salmon Point. At the head of East Lake, a BELTED KINGFISHER was seen, eight more WILD TURKEYS were seen near the four-way stop at Lakeshore Lodge Road and County Road 12 in Sandbanks Park. Yesterday, a BALD EAGLE was seen in the Adolphustown area during the Christmas Bird Count. Speaking of which, a feature that has been reported by several birders and residents this fall made it on the Christmas Bird Count – a murder of 100-150 AMERICAN CROWS that forage further down Adolphus Reach toward Cressy, but which always return to roost in the Glenora area. A similar flock/murder of crows has been seen as well hanging out around the Black Diamond Cheese Factory north of Belleville. At Wellington Harbour, the usual MALLARDS, BUFFLEHEADS, RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS and LONG-TAILED DUCKS. In Brighton, the NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD is still patrolling a backyard there, much to the chagrin of what used to be a splendid population of local birds that had been patronizing the feeders. Mockingbirds tend to be very territorial wherever they happen to land, although they have no particular interest in bird feeders.  A SNOWY OWL was on Wolfe Island today, so it’s beginning to look a little more like winter now, albeit in small spurts.  But no COMMON REDPOLLS yet in the Bay of Quinte region. Where are they?

Saturday, December 19: It was hard slugging to find any birds at all today during the Prince Edward Point Christmas Bird Count. Only a handful of results have come in so far, but indications are that the wind and 100% open conditions provided little opportunity for birds to stand out. So far, heading the list was a TUFTED TITMOUSEin our area, visiting a feeder in Waupoos. It first showed up on November 7th and obligingly stayed around to be counted this morning by the operator of the feeder. As we entered our count area at Waupoos, 9 AMERICAN ROBINS  flew in front of us. Along a shoal in Prince Edward Bay at the end of Kaiser Crossroad, we counted 163 TUNDRA SWANS. The wet conditions provided some habitat for waterfowl along Kaiser Crossroad with a couple dozen MALLARDS present and over 200 CANADA GEESE. Beyond that, it was a MOURNING DOVE here, a RUFFED GROUSE there, and a HAIRY WOODPECKER over there. For one other observer birding the Glenora area, the success, or lack of it, was much the same. The open conditions and high winds really affected the count in that area as well Perhaps worth mentioning were two RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS, a NORTHERN FLICKER and a BONAPARTE’S GULL. Twelve  CEDAR WAXWINGS  were seen on Lake on the Mountain Road and a PILEATED WOODPECKER at Bongard’s Lane along Adolphus Reach. On Old Milford Road near the Gun Club, 2 PURPLE FINCHES  were seen by another birder, and there was a RED-TAILED HAWK on Mitchells Crossroad. Prince Edward Point, of course, lived up to its fame by having an impressive list comprising a dark morph GYRFALCON, an immature male KING EIDER, 8,800 LONG-TAILED DUCKS, HERMIT THRUSH, GRAY CATBIRD, 2 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, NORTHERN SHRIKE, SNOWY OWL, MERLIN and a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK. In other sightings today, in the Sandbanks area there were 4 LITTLE GULLS in East Lake, 3 SANDHILL CRANES and 2 TURKEY VULTURES in the Soup Harbour area, and a tardy DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT  at Point Petre.

Friday, December 18: A very depressing day. Except for one person, no one in the immediate Bay of Quinte area was out birding today. However, the one person who did take advantage of the weather came across a SNOWY OWL at a location they always seem to favour every winter – along County Road 2, just north of Wellington. Just north of the owl, there was an AMERICAN KESTREL. At Wellington Harbour, some waterfowl on the lake translated into 350 CANADA GEESE, 30 AMERICAN WIGEON, 37 MALLARDS, a half dozen NORTHERN PINTAILS, 14 BUFFLEHEADS, 5 COMMON GOLDENEYE and a single TUNDRA SWAN. BONAPARTE’S GULL numbers continue to remain somewhat high for this time of the winter, with 93 counted, as well as a dozen RING-BILLED GULLS and half as many HERRING GULLS. The Presqu’ile Park SNOWY OWL on Gull Island was present again today. In the area around Owen Point, present were 200 LONG-TAILED DUCKS,  singles of ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, AMERICAN KESTREL and GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL    Five SNOW BUNTINGS did their best to convince the observer that winter will arrive at some point, but not for at least a week. To finish off this evening’s Report, a few more nouns of assemblage, although it’s hard to beat the waterloo of Bonaparte’s Gulls, mentioned yesterday! A warp of crossbills, a cooch of cuckoos, a rash of thrashers, a vortex of vultures, an invisibleness of ptarmigans, an ebert of siskins, a rattle of kingfishers, a discomfiture of wood ducks, a whinny of soras, and appropriately named – a herd of cowbirds.

Thursday, December 17: Shortly after I left The Birdhouse Nature Store in Wooler this morning, owner Connie Crowe received a phone call about the appearance of a YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER  coming to a feeder in Campbellford. Unfortunately, there was no information provided as to specifically where the bird had been seen in Campbellford, ironically reported at about the time that I was passing through Campbellford myself delivering books! Always a nice addition to have at any bird feeder, although likely doomed once winter finally arrives. Meanwhile in Brighton, much of the clientele has vanished like the wind at one backyard feeder due to the appearance of a COOPER’S HAWK and yesterday, a NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD,  which can be very territorial, although the species really has no particular interest in bird feeders. Four BLUE JAYS, 2 DARK-EYED JUNCOS, 2 HOUSE SPARROWS (from an earlier high of 40+) and an AMERICAN ROBIN was the best the resident could do for the two-day Project FeederWatch! Just west of the village of Wallbridge today a flock of about 50 SNOW BUNTINGS were spooked out of a old gravel pit at the side of the road as a Trenton motorist drove by. At the north end of Trenton a murmeration of 400+ EUROPEAN STARLINGS lifted from the railway tracks then landed again a short distance away. We can only hope they don’t murmur down this way! Thirty TUNDRA SWANS were at Amherst Island yesterday and a wedge (or bevy or herd) of 21 TUNDRA SWANS called noisily as they lifted off Muscote Bay today and flew east the length of the Big Island Marsh. Six SNOWY OWLS  are now on Amherst Island, and two have been seen at Presqu’ile Park. None has been seen in the immediate Quinte area for some days now. And while speaking of nouns of assemblage, a “waterloo” of three dozen BONAPARTE’S GULLS this week at Presqu’ile Park was a bit unusual for this time of year. Speaking of Presqu’ile Park, Fred Helleiner’s weekly bird roundup for the past week at the park has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be seen by CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, December 16: As of yesterday, a SNOWY OWL and the lingering SANDERLING and DUNLIN were still to be found on Gull island at Presqu’ile Park. And the MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD, was also luring a few birders to Hall Road at Whitby. A juvenile NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD  appeared in a Brighton backyard today. A reader was suggesting, during evenings when few, or no, sightings come in, like tonight - to include a few nouns of assemblage as fillers, since some of them are quite entertaining.  I have always liked a buttload of proctologists myself and a drift of hogs! Nouns of Assemblage, or Association (also sometimes called venereal terms) are words that describe groups of similar objects. We use them all the time like a covey of quail, raft of ducks, a gaggle of geese (when on the ground), a skein of geese (when in flight) – even a  murmeration of starlings has come into vogue recently. Here are a few others with which you may not be as familiar: a descent of woodpeckers, a spring of teals, an unkindness of ravens, a bouquet of pheasants, a parliament of owls, a charm of goldfinches, a siege of herons, a convocation or an aerie of eagles, and a scold of blue jays. More another day.    

Tuesday, December 15: Wind all day today and rain this morning kept birding at a low ebb. I was in Kingston today and very little of any significance was present at the Marshlands Conservation Area. Across the road though, in Cataraqui Bay, lots of waterfowl with numerous REDHEADS, a single CANVASBACK, COMMON GOLDENEYES, GREATER SCAUP and RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS. Also seen by another observer three hours later were HOODED MERGANSERS, AMERICAN WIGEON and GADWALL. As a further example of species appearing later than usual, a good example is the Texas and Mexico vagrant, the CAVE SWALLOW which seems to turn up along the Lake Ontario and Lake Erie shores every year, but in early November. Today, two were were seen working the beach at Point Pelee. Check your calendar! I was commenting today to a fellow birder that we no longer seem to see the rafters of 150-200 WILD TURKEYS like we used to in some parts of Prince Edward County, and I posed the question if their numbers had declined somewhat from some of their previous highs. He agreed, and felt that deep snow and ice crusts limited access to food over the past few years, and that deep cold wouldn't have helped either.  He used to see WILD TURKEYS routinely along the woodlot margins where a flock was on County Road 10, and about 3 years ago he saw a flock of hundreds fly past over the East Lake Road at Fosterholm Farms,near Sandbanks, and routinely there would be 15-20 in the woods and fields around the 4 corners at Sandbanks/Lakeshore Lodge Road, but this is the first time in a couple of years that he has seen any there. The mast crop was excellent this year, he said, based on his meanderings where there are oaks, and that's probably been helpful in bringing them to view.

Monday, December 14: And the mild weather continues resulting in an unprecedented array of late departures and rarities occurring across the province. In Ottawa, a SMEW, PINK-FOOTED GOOSE, MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD and a BULLOCK’S ORIOLE  continue to delight birders up that way, as well as all those who want to travel the distance to get some new additions to their “winter list”. Yesterday, a late DUNLIN and SANDERLING  were still enjoying the fine weather at Presqu’ile Park. Today, another flock of SANDHILL CRANES  was seen – this time, along Airport Road on the east side of Belleville where resident Peter Fuller of Fuller Native and Rare Plants was working in his greenhouse when he heard the diagnostic trumpeting and saw 25 heading north, of all directions, from the Bay of Quinte area. The wide open water conditions leads to waterfowl moving widely about. Today, Weller's Bay at the end of Edward Drive, west of Consecon, had at least a thousand birds where there were only a few the days before. Three diving ducks almost equally represented were REDHEAD, COMMON GOLDENEYE and GREATER SCAUP. The feeding activity kept 50 BONAPARTE’S GULLS occupied.  The only sightings today that even remotely suggest the time of the year was the PURPLE SANDPIPER at Presqu’ile Park (even it is late for a late arriving shorebird), a SNOWY OWL and a RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH. A few WILD TURKEYS around the County this afternoon including 7 near the entrance to Sandbanks Park, and a flock of 60+ feeding feeding in field adjacent to a woodlot on the west side of County Road 10 about 1.5 km north of Woodrous.   A single TURKEY VULTURE – another tardy migrant – was seen soaring along Outlet Beach. Other miscellaneous sightings were about 30 LONG-TAILED DUCKS feeding along shoreline in Athol Bay at the end of the Salmon Point Road, and about 20 MALLARDS feeding near County Rd 12 at the north end of Outlet Beach.

Sunday, December 13: This fine weather just won’t let up, and neither will the birds’ interpretation of it!  COMMON GOLDENEYES at Wellington were bowing and scraping at each other today – a good example of autumnal recrudescence when birds react to the photo period as they would during the mating season in spring. Unusual today was a lingering GREAT EGRET that flew over Presqu’ile Park! In Belleville, 50 SANDHILL CRANES trumpeted their way over the city’s east end at 3:00 p.m. BROWN CREEPER at Prince Edward Point today, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET and a DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT at Invista in Kingston. More normal was a BALD EAGLE  that was seen on Camden Road in Napanee. We can probably assume that both the WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS and WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS are still in the Edward Drive area at the Stinson Block, west of Consecon. There is no hope for COMMON REDPOLLS or SNOWY OWLS here if these summery birds keep taking up space!

Saturday, December 12: As the mild weather continues, species normally departed by now to warmer climes continue to be seen. AMERICAN ROBINS and a BROWN CREEPER at South Bay, a GREAT BLUE HERON today at Consecon Lake, a TURKEY VULTURE  flying over Glenburnie today, a HERMIT THRUSH at Lemoine Point Conservation Area at Kingston, and more than 200 TUNDRA SWANS  loafing about in Cataraqui Bay. Two determined  DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS  continue to bask in the mild conditions in Picton Bay. Two DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS were also seen today in Kingston’s Cataraqui Bay (often referred to by us old-timers as Elevator Bay), but also present were 150 REDHEADS, 100 scaup, 5 GADWALLS, 45-50 MUTE SWANS, 100 BUFFLEHEADS, 50-60 CANADA GEESE and 25 MALLARDS. Back in our area, a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was seen today loafing with some RING-BILLED GULLS beside a pond on Trillium Woods Golf Course, north of Belleville. As the Christmas Bird Counts begin in a few days, two more are being planned in addition to a new one at Sandbanks Provincial Park. These two, also in a provincial park – Frontenac. On December 19th, the same day as the Prince Edward Point count, the first Frontenac Provincial Park Christmas Bird Count will involve a 24-km diameter survey circle which encompasses all of the Park, several other protected areas, and rural properties along Rutlege Road and Highway 38 (Verona area), Gould Lake Conservation Area, and several properties owned by Nature Conservancy of Canada and a nature reserve owned by the Kingston Field Naturalists. If interested in participating, Carolyn Bonta is the person to contact at:     613-531-4578. A second Count, also in the Park, is being organized by Picton area resident Kathy Felkar, no stranger to the hiking trails at Frontenac, on January 9th. If you are interested in learning about winter birds and bird counts and wish to participate on this one, they will meet at 9 am at the Park Office. People should dress warmly and bring a lunch. For more information on this CBC please contact Kathy at: 613-476-9757.

Friday, December 11: Nothing too startling in today’s wind. Thirty MUTE SWANS at South Bay, but little else on the bay as current conditions allow the waterfowl to disperse. The open conditions has allowed one Glenora Road resident east of Picton to kayak almost daily. Despite the wind she was out again today along the Bay of Quinte shoreline looking for wildlife and noted a couple WHITE-TAILED DEER along the shoreline. COMMON LOON, several BUFFLEHEADS, MALLARDS and PILEATED WOODPECKER. How often does one get to enjoy a leisurely kayak paddle on December 11th? An AMERICAN KESTREL was seen today on a hydro line beside the Brighton Waste Water Lagoon this afternoon.  A murder of AMERICAN CROWS  - about 50 – showed up near the Black Diamond Cheese Factory on the north side of Belleville today. Meanwhile, all those colourful boreal finches that we always long to see at our feeders, are trickling in at Algonquin Park. Small flocks of  COMMON REDPOLLS  are now being seen regularly in the Park, and we hope a few of these nomadic flocks will work their way down to the Bay of Quinte region. A few EVENING GROSBEAKS  at the Visitor Centre feeder, a large flock of WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS, a few RED CROSSBILLS, PURPLE FINCHES and PINE SISKINS. Sounds like the place to go while the weather is still fine.

Thursday, December 10: A female MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD has been creating a mild furor among birders in Whitby. The bird was first seen on November 29th in the Halls Road area and has been present almost daily.  We can’t quite match that here, but There are still 3 SANDHILL CRANES standing around at the Hamilton Wetland along County Road 14, west of Demorestville. They were present again today.   Still lots of waterfowl at  Tremur Lake on the west side of Trenton. This afternoon the surface of the lake was like glass and the dozens of HOODED MERGANSERS stood out well. The resident dozens and dozens of CANADA GEESE were also there but minus the TRUMPETER SWAN  family. Most years by now this body of water has frozen over the odd night and the HOODED MERGANSERS move on and they do not come back even if the ice clears for a few days. Lots of good stuff at Kingston’s Cataraqui Bay today. Among the dozen species of waterfowl present were 300 GREATER SCAUP, 100 HOODED MERGANSERS, 300 REDHEADS, 75 COMMON MERGANSERS and 20  AMERICAN WIGEON. But, that wasn’t all! Also present there today was a PEREGRINE FALCON and a SNOWY OWL. Just west of there, at Lemoine Point Conservation Area, a RED-TAILED HAWK  was present, and 7 ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS  were seen on Amherst Island. The Presqu’ile Provincial Park Weekly Bird Report by Fred Helleiner has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be seen by CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, December 09: Very little to file tonight in the way of bird sightings. Perhaps the sunshine was too much of  shocker! It certainly wasn’t expected. Anyway, a few birders took advantage of it, one couple visiting Amherst Island where they had hoped to find a SNOWY OWL, but ended up empty handed. Instead, they found 5 ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS, 2 NORTHERN HARRIER, 2 AMERICAN KESTREL, and 1 RED-TAILED HAWK. Waterfowl numbers at Twelve O’clock Point in Carrying Place were only a fraction of what they had been four days earlier – except for MUTE SWANS, of course, that were still holding firm at 45. Not far away on the Stinson Block, Pope Lane and Glen Lane still had four WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS and two WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS – an adult and a first winter bird.

Tuesday, December 08: One Trenton birder travelled to Presqu’ile Park today in hopes of seeing the lingering DUNLIN, and instead, came up with a PURPLE SANDPIPER. The bird was first seen on Friday and was located on the northeast corner of Gull Island, roughly where it was located at around 3:00 p.m. this afternoon. The photographer never did find her DUNLIN. A feeder in Brighton has 40 HOUSE SPARROWS as feeder guests, a rather phenomenal number for a species that has been slowly declining in recent years. At Invista (Kingston)  yesterday, 50 AMERICAN WIGEONS, 115 REDHEADS, 60 RING-NECKED DUCKS, 100 GREATER SCAUP, and 44 HOODED MERGANSERS, just to name a few of the 12 waterfowl species were present. Other than that, no other bird sightings. Must have something to do with the overcast conditions which are predicted to continue through at least Monday. It’s a good thing that few birders are affected by S.A.D. (Affective Seasonal Disorder). The following comments that came in today on the OntarioBirds listserv might explain why I very seldom divulge the appearance of rare birds, or their locations. Birder Bruce DiLabio of Ottawa says in his post, “Since the discovery of the BULLOCK’S ORIOLE, over 200 birders and photographers have viewed this rarity, respecting its space in its unfamiliar environment . Unfortunately over the past few days the situation has changed with countless individuals situated too close to where the bird feeds thus harassing the bird. With internet accessibility,  anyone can find out the location of a rare bird. Unfortunately there are individuals who aren't aware of, or choose to ignore, the Birding Code of Ethics.  This bird is out of its range and harassment will affect its ability to survive. If you are out at the site remind everyone that crosses the line. Yet again,  common sense has disappeared to the detriment of a rare bird.  If you are out at the site remind those that cross the line. Don’t be shy to voice your concerns!  Well known photographer and birder, Michael Runtz echoed those sentiments in his e-mail, “A quick message for those photographers who are virtually camping under the apple tree in Pakenham in order to get a photo of the BULLOCK’S ORIOLE. The bird is quite possibly on the edge of survival as apples will likely not provide it with all of its needs for nutrition, and being flushed will no doubt lower its chances of survival because it is burning up its energy reserves that have not been fully replenished.  Recently one person even used playbacks of a male’s song (this is not the breeding season!) in an attempt to lure the bird in closer.  Really, what is the need to attain a full frame image of this or any other rare species when it puts a bird’s survival in question?” A similar situation started to play out not far from the Quinte area last month. The host was advised to nip it in the bud before the situation got out of hand, resulting in abusive and aggressive phone calls coming his way, and birders peering over fences and from the roadside. That bird never made it to the Quinte Area Bird Report in respect for the harried host, and never will be as long as it remains in the area.

Monday, December 07: As long as the pleasant weather continues, we shall be seeing TUNDRA SWANS  for some time yet, until ice forces them into more concentrated areas. Today, there were easily a couple hundred along the shoreline near the end of Lakeside Road, at Cressy. There were 66 today in Little Cataraqui Bay, at Kingston. Not much else today except for an EASTERN SCREECH-OWL at Sandbanks Provincial Park, and a NORTHERN SHRIKE on Fry Road. Four SNOWY OWLS  were on Amherst Island today, and another was on Lakeside Road today as well. Yesterday, two EASTERN BLUEBIRDS  were seen on Mowbray Road, south of Picton, and a GREAT BLUE HERON  was at Wellington Harbour. One birder courageously exploring Keller’s Crossroad at Waupoos – not always the wisest thing to do in the muddy season or even in the winter, for that matter, was rewarded for his efforts with a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER. Something I came across on the Internet while filling in some time was this: Brome Bird News: In October, Brome, the people that brought us Squirrel Buster feeders, launched a new weekly show on their YouTube channel. Of course, it is all about birds and highlights short news features of interest to birders. In addition, Dr. David Bird answers puzzling bird-related questions. Go to YouTube and search Brome Bird News, or CLICKING HERE  should do it for you.

Sunday, December 06: The mild weather continues to lure some species into being a little tardy this fall. Seven AMERICAN ROBINS were in the Camden East area. Picton Harbour had three DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS showing no interest in moving on to warmer climes – it’s just fine right here. Five  COMMON LOONS  also showed up in the Picton Bay/Bay of Quinte area seen between Glenora and Sherman’s Point at Hay Bay. In a private driveway off Edward Drive in the Stinson Block, a scattering of mixed feed on the driveway there today attracted three  WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS and an adult WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW. Part of the reason the customary wintering flock of TUNDRA SWANS  has failed to materialize in South Bay beyond a few dozen, could be due to no dearth of open water this month, allowing them to scatter more. Today, 175 were counted in Prince Edward Bay at the foot of Kaiser Crossroad. Shorebirds? Two species still around, although one of them, a PURPLE SANDPIPER, is to be expected this late in the season. The PURPLE SANDPIPER  was initially seen yesterday at Presqu’ile, but was present again today along the west shore of Gull Island foraging in the algae. The other species present was a DUNLIN. More in keeping with the season was a NORTHERN SHRIKE on Aitkins Road in Belleville, and a SNOWY OWL at Presqu’ile Park.

Saturday, December 05: Despite it being December 5th, SANDHILL CRANES are still in the limelight these days as the mild fall temperatures and feeding conditions continue. A flock of 13 flew over Pleasant Bay, heading west, today. Of course, the 40-50 seen in flight over Huff’s Island on Thursday was a phenomenal number for this area, this late in the season. And 43 were seen near Wilton a few days earlier. It was another good day for REDHEADS  with 250 present in West Lake today near the Dunes Beach Day use Area. Twenty COMMON GOLDENEYE  were counted in East Lake from the Glendon Green boat launch, 4 GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS were seen at Sandbanks Park, and a SONG SPARROW  was in the Lakeshore Lodge area at West Point. Off Wellington Beach, a BLACK SCOTER  was present today. A few MUTE SWANS  today at Kingston’s Elevator Bay and across Front Road as well, the tally being 146 in total. Tremur Lake on the west side of Trenton, still has the family of five TRUMPETER SWANS and a few MALLARDS. Only a few scaups and some HOODED MERGANSERS. What was present were about a thousand CANADA GEESE and among them the CANADA GOOSE hybrud that first showed in mid-November. Bain Park had a few MALLARDS – almost as exciting as it was for us yesterday. Behind Trent Valley Lodge, west of Canadian Tire in Trenton were 25 CANADA GEESE, 5 MUTE SWANS, 8 MALLARDS, a pair of AMERICAN WIGEON, but not a single  AMERICAN COOT (yesterday, there were 48). Further out was a raft of 100 of mostly scaup with a few COMMON GOLDENEYE mixed in. A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER  was seen at Sandbanks. Another, at a feeder east of Lake on the Mountain, was joined by a DOWN WOODPECKER and a HAIRY WOODPECKER, all on the feeders at the same time. Four RUDDY DUCKS  continue to be seen at Hay Bay. A YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER was found at Bath on Tuesday, and a NORTHERN SHRIKE  was seen on the Napanee Plains Important Bird Area on Thursday. It would be best to boost up your supply of sunflowers seed as 40 COMMON REDPOLLS, two PINE SISKINS, and a PURPLE FINCH were all seen on Thursday, at Verona. The Redpolls – they are acomin’ !

Friday, December 04: Forty-eight AMERICAN COOTS highlighted today’s birding in Trenton. The coots were seen in the Bay of Quinte just west of Canadian Tire. This number has remained fairly constant at this location since mid-November although the area has seen as many as 100 in past years. This was actually my first major birding trip in some time since my hip operation so it was a delight to finally get in the field again, albeit short walking distance from the parked car! Other waterfowl present were 30 CANADA GEESE, 12 MALLARDS, 40 COMMON GOLDENEYE, 1 AMERICAN WIGEON, and several TUNDRA SWANS accompanied by more than a dozen RING-BILLED GULLS. At the boat launch, at the foot of Dufferin Street, directly across from Indian Island, five duck species were present, the majority being 350 REDHEADS. Ten HOODED MERGANSERS  were also seen here as well as a dozen MALLARDS, and singles of GREEN-WINGED TEAL and AMERICAN COOT. At Carrying Place’s Twelve O’Clock Point, it was MUTE SWANS that dominated the scene with 102 being counted from the pier. Also present, MALLARD, HOODED MERGANSER (2), CANADA GEESE, AMERICAN WIGEON (only one, 146 were there just a few days ago), AMERICAN BLACK DUCK, COMMON GOLDENEYE, and two GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS.  The Stinson Block area including Arthur Road, yielded little except for  SHARP-SHINNED HAWK and the usual passerines common for this time of the year. Similarly, at Victoria Park and Jane Forrester Park in Belleville where three scaup of undetermined species was the best we could do. Very little at Bain Park when we arrived after lunch, but an earlier observer had seen 125 COMMON GOLDENEYE, 34 MALLARDS and 3 BUFFLEHEAD.  It’s all in the timing. 

Thursday, December 03: Slim pickings at the Wellington Harbour some days as open water causes waterfowl to spread out into the lake farther from shore. The harbour was absolutely deserted yesterday. Out in West Lake though, there were 300 CANADA GEESE, a handful of MALLARDS, and singles of GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL,  LONG-TAILED DUCK, 12 RING-BILLED GULLS and a half dozen BONAPARTE’S GULLS. A little more exciting was a BARRED OWL yesterday that showed up east of Foxboro. Four PURPLE FINCHES  showed up at a feeder today at South Bay, a NORTHERN SHRIKE  was at Kingston’s Lemoine Point Conservation Area, and at the Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area, BROWN CREEPER and NORTHERN FLICKER  were highlights there. One Huff’s Island resident heard some strange trumpeting sounds today, looked up, and saw a flock of between 40 and 50 SANDHILL CRANES passing by overhead. A male NORTHERN HARRIER was seen hunting over the marshes along Loyalist Parkway near the Fields on West Lake (“the Big Red Barn”, east of Wellington. However, this fine weather can’t last forever. Six ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS, a NORTHERN SHRIKE, 15 SNOW BUNTINGS, and 3 SNOWY OWLS on Amherst Island today are stark reminders of this.Fred Helleiner’s Presqu’ile Provincial Park bird summary for this past week has been uploaded to the NatureStuff Website, and can be viewed by CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, December 02: Always a good plan to have your cell phone with you. You never know when a PORCUPINE  might come lumbering along that wants to have his picture taken! One was photographed today from a hydro bucket truck at Shannonville today. So far, PORCUPINES have not successfully lumbered their way into Prince Edward County yet, at least, to the point of becoming established as a breeding species. Back in the late 1980s, one almost made it, panting and puffing as he made his way up the Quinte Skyway Bridge, but as soon as he reached the border at the bridge summit, was unceremoniously struck down by a passing car! In bird news today, two examples of birds taking advantage of the fine weather. Two DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS  were seen by the Amherst Island Ferry dock yesterday, and a SANDHILL CRANE  was heard in flight at Big Island this afternoon. At Twelve O’clock Point, at Carrying Place, 120 AMERICAN WIGEONS have been present. Seventeen species of waterfowl were tallied today at Presqu’ile Park, among them 145 MUTE SWANS, 35 each of COMMON GOLDENEYE and REDHEADS, and singles of NORTHERN PINTAIL and NORTHERN SHOVELER. An ICELAND GULL, SNOWY OWL and SNOW BUNTING, and ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, also made it on the list as reminders of the winter season. A COOPER’S HAWK was at a Brighton area feeder, and east of Belleville, a PILEATED WOODPECKER and a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW  were seen.

Tuesday, December 01: The “worser” the day the better the birding! Along the south shore of Hay Bay (C.R. 8) today, lots of waterfowl enjoying what the day had to offer. Seen were AMERICAN COOT, LESSER SCAUP, REDHEADS, AMERICAN WIGEON, RING-NECKED DUCKS and AMERICAN GOLDENEYE, just to name a few of those species observed on this, the official start to the Winter Season for birders. A COMMON LOON was seen at Centennial Park and Beach in Bath, and a GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL was at Milhaven. A GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL was also present today at Belleville’s Centennial Park where other species present in the misty rain included COMMON GOLDENEYE, 30 MALLARDS, 30 scaup of undetermined species, 8 RING-BILLED GULLS and 23 HERRING GULLS. A WHITE-THROATED SPARROW  was seen today at Airport Parkway, just east of Belleville.

Monday, November 30: Well, isn’t that what backyard clotheslines are for? A BARRED OWL thought so when it came to one in a Fry Road backyard today, just north of Picton. The owl stayed just long enough to get his picture took, then went on his way. No such luck in finding a BARRED OWL at Lemoine Point Conservation Area beside the Kingston Airport today though (one was seen today in the Kingston area by another birder)  as I hiked a two-kilometre trail at the south end of the property with my cane and brand, new hip. Of course, I intentionally stuck to the more open, meadows hoping to scare up a late meadowlark, but no luck. Lots of BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES, BLUE JAYS and at least three  COMMON RAVENS flying overhead. A PINE SISKIN also flew over at one point near the washroom location. This morning an adult COOPER’S HAWK was seen checking out a bird feeder in Trenton. In the Consecon area, there was a NORTHERN SHRIKE and a first winter WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW which joined a mixed flock of birds at a feeder off Edwards Drive in the Stinson Block, west of Consecon.  Another NORTHERN SHRIKE  was at South Bay. Six NORTHERN PINTAILS  were still at Wellington Harbour yesterday, and 130 GREATER SCAUP. A few sightings to come out of Point Petre today included a GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET, and 13 CEDAR WAXWINGS.  Yesterday, in the North Big Island Road and Allison Road areas, a NORTHERN HARRIER and a RED-TAILED HAWK  were seen, and close to 30 LONG-TAILED DUCKS  were present in the Bay of Quinte, also in that area.

Sunday, November 29: Late this afternoon, a SNOWY OWL turned up in Belleville, at the Jane Forrester Park at the far south end of Front Street roughly in the area of the boat launch and later seen by another birder at Meyer’s Pier. Another SNOWY OWL was also seen today, this one perched atop the Presqu’ile Point lighthouse! Speaking of which, a story came in today of one lucky SNOWY OWL (or unlucky, depending on the circumstances) in Ohio that collided with a truck. The owl hit the grill of the truck with such force that It cracked one of the slats allowing the owl to slide right on in whereupon it became wedged between the grill and the engine compartment. The driver quickly worked the owl free and placed it on the passenger seat in the warm cab of the truck. While the bird was undoubtedly a bit dazed and confused, and some feathers appeared out of place, it didn’t look too worse for the wear. While the man no doubt pondered what to do with the owl, it shook itself off and darted out the door. The driver reported that it flew strongly across the fields and out of sight. A couple amazing and coincidental sightings today – two MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRDS – one in Ottawa and the other in Whitby, the latter bird still there at 4:30 this afternoon. Closer to home, actually behind our house, a NORTHERN HARRIER coursed to and fro over a hay field. A DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT continues to stay one step ahead of Old Man Winter and was seen again yesterday at Wellington Harbour where MALLARDS, BUFFLEHEADS  and NORTHERN PINTAILS (6) were also seen. Today, there were 14 NORTHERN PINTAILS and a single LITTLE GULL there. A NORTHERN SHRIKE  was seen today at South Bay. West Lake was covered in REDHEADS  today with an estimated 2,450 spread out on the water. In the dunes area of the lake, an agitated WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH and 2 BLUE JAYS were seen peering into a cavity where there was likely an EASTERN SCREECH OWL. Nine lingering TURKEY VULTURES were found today in the Outlet River area of East Lake. Eleven LITTLE GULLS and 2 BALD EAGLES also turned up. A late GREAT BLUE HERON and a BELTED KINGFISHER were also in that same area, along with a BARRED OWL and 63 TUNDRA SWANS. Four PILEATED WOODPECKERS – two at the Dunes and 2 at the Outlet, were also seen. At Point Petre, there were 2 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS. And, finally, at Tremur Lake today there was a CANADA GOOSE X hybrid that looked more like a BLUE GOOSE at first glance. All in all, a good day today.

Saturday, November 28: A few scattered sightings here and there today as we inch even closer to the end of this month, and the official start of the Winter Bird List. Persistent open water has encouraged waterfowl to venture deeper out into the lake leaving us poor souls on shore with few species to view. One lucky observer did chance upon a raft of 33 LONG-TAILED DUCKS   today at Prince Edward Point. Even feeder birds in these conditions prefer feeding in the wild than at the feeders. However, in the Carrying Place and Barcovan areas, one birder today managed to rustle up a few small flocks of AMERICAN ROBINS, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS  and CEDAR WAXWINGS. Also present in those areas today were singles of COMMON GRACKLE, PURPLE FINCH and GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET. Yesterday, one hundred miles north of here, in the Calabogie area, there were several large flocks of PINE SISKINS so keep your eyes peeled for those in the field and at the feeders as these flocks move southward. At Loughborough Lake, north of Kingston, 30 PINE SISKINS  were seen there early in the week and 8 COMMON REDPOLLS  were seen on Washburn Road near Sunbury. Looking good so far! Even Vanderwater Conservation Area a couple days ago, renowned for its wide variety of birds, was uncharacteristically quiet a couple days ago, with only BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, HAIRY WOODPECKER, RUFFED GROUSE, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET, AMERICAN ROBIN and COMMON RAVEN rounding out the list of birds encountered along an approximately nine kilometre trail. A missed report to come in involved two GOLDEN EAGLES present at Prince Edward Point on the 24th, and a HERMIT THRUSH and RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET present a day earlier. Another notable sighting was an ICELAND GULL near Odessa last weekend.At the H.R. Frink Centre this morning, there were still a few MALLARDS and an AMERICAN BLACK DUCK. Three BEAVERS  were busy dragging trees to a new lodge they're building at the west end of the boardwalk, swimming back and forth under the boardwalk as they laboured. 

Friday, November 27: An AMERICAN KESTREL was seen sitting on a hydro wire just west of the Diamond J Ranch along Glenora Road, east of Picton, devouring a MEADOW VOLE. When the motorist returned some time later, the bird was still there, presumably digesting its lunch. The weather report is promising more winter-like temperatures by the weekend, but the real sign of winter in the offing was the sighting today of two (male and female) EVENING GROSBEAKS that turned up south of Codrington. This location had a nice steady flock of EVENING GROSBEAKS  all last winter. In South Bay, south of Milford, TUNDRA SWAN numbers seem to be slow in building up compared to past years at this time. Fifty were counted today, but the low numbers in South Bay proper could be attributed to the milder temperatures causing the swans to be more widely distributed along South Bay and adjoining Prince Edward Bay. A SNOW GOOSE is also present in the bay as well as 200 RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS.

Thursday, November 26: Everything right now as we edge closer to December, appears to be at a low ebb as no bird sightings came in today at all from anywhere in the Bay of Quinte region. These doldrums are apt to change however once December 1st rolls around and birders become more active as they work toward their Winter Bird List. The winter season for birders commences on December 1st, and concludes on February 28 (or 29). During that time all of us try to prove to the skeptics who believe that all birds go south for the winter, that there is still lots to see during the three lean months of the year with a minimum of at least 100 species being possible. A good start on that list can be achieved by visiting Algonquin Park where right now, PURPLE FINCH, EVENING GROSBEAK, COMMON REDPOLL and PINE SISKINS  are coming to the Visitor Centre feeder, species that might be missed if the Winter List was restricted only to the Bay of Quinte Area proper. BOREAL CHICKADEE and GRAY JAY have also been seen in the Park. Eleven species of waterfowl were present today at Invista (Dupont Lagoon) in Kingston, with good numbers of MALLARDS, REDHEADS, and GREATER SCAUP (200). Dribs and drabs of waterfowl are present at Presqu’ile Park with GADWALL, NORTHERN SHOVELER and NORTHERN PINTAILS being the most significant. A few lingering DUNLINS and a late SANDERLING have been present and the long awaited PURPLE SANDPIPER finally showed up there today. The Presqu’ile Park Bird Report for this past week by Fred Helleiner has been updated to the NatureStuff website and can be seen by CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, November 25: As the bird feeder season gets well under way for another “winter”, at least one unusual sighting has shown up. A juvenile BALTIMORE ORIOLE turned up at a Brighton feeder this morning, just in time to be entered on the observer’s Project FeederWatch totals. Additionally, he has a half dozen CEDAR WAXWINGS, 4 RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS and a contingent of some 30 HOUSE SPARROWS! At a feeder on Swamp College Road, north of Wellington, an operator there has 15-20 AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES, 6-10 each of BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES and DARK-EYED JUNCOS, a half dozen BLUE JAYS and 3 woodpecker species – RED-BELLIED, HAIRY and DOWNY. But the surprise arrival yesterday on the west side of Wellington, albeit quite dead, was a WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL that had collided with a window. This species which is not to be expected in the Quinte area this season in any great numbers moves back and forth like a pendulum across the boreal forest looking for bumper spruce cone crops and irrupts south only in years of widespread cone crop failures. They are expected to be scarce in most of Ontario this winter because cone crops are low, but will occur this winter in Atlantic Canada including Newfoundland, which has a heavy spruce cone crop. It is hoped that WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS will move into the northern New England States and the Adirondack Mountains in New York State where spruce cone crops are very good which might bring a few down our way. RED-TAILED HAWKS wre seen today along County Road 2 in the Wellington area, and along 401 in the Belleville area, with another being spotted at Brighton. An AMERICAN KESTREL was seen keeping watch over the fields along County Road 2 near Wellington, and a COOPER’S HAWK on the north side of Belleville. A PILEATED WOODPECKER was seen by a motorist travelling Camden Road at Napanee today.

Tuesday, November 24: Birding these days can be hit and miss with some birds tending to show up where you find them. One Kingston birder came across a BARRED OWL in his travels in the Kingston area.   In Wellington, a tardy DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT continues to linger in West Lake. Duck populations can vary too, apparently due to the whims of the wind, forcing birds out into the open lake, or closer into shore where they can be observed. No further sign of the EURASIAN WIGEON that was in with a group of AMERICAN WIGEONS a few days ago. In fact, no sign of the AMERICAN WIGEONS either. Present yesterday was just a handful of ducks comprising a couple dozen CANADA GEESE, 36 MALLARDS and small numbers of LONG-TAILED DUCKS and BUFFLEHEADS. In among them was  GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL. A SONG SPARROW was also seen. As the Christmas Bird Counts approach, a new one is being set up and attracting some enthusiastic interest at Sandbanks Provincial Park. It butts onto the existing Prince Edward Point Count and not far away from the Belleville and Presqu’ile Park Counts. Anyone interested in registering to take part in the new count can leave their names with me, and I will forward them on to the compiler. Essentially, the survey circle takes in all of Sandbanks Park, Wellington, East Lake and West Lake, Beaver Meadow, Salmon Point and Point Petre. Some good birds present at Prince Edward Point in the last few days have included HERMIT THRUSH, RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET, and WHITE-THROATED SPARROW. Three RED-TAILED HAWKS  were observed east of Belleville, and a PEREGRINE FALCON continues to be seen in the city of Kingston.

Monday, November 23: CAVE SWALLOWS have been in the news lately. CAVE SWALLOWS  first showed up in Prince Edward County in 2003, which coincided with about the same time they started turning up in Ontario. I became suspicious when a Point Petre resident reported a “Cliff Swallow” in his garage. In as much as it was well into November, the likelihood of a Cliff Swallow being here this late when the species migrates south by mid-September at the latest, was pretty slim. I immediately thought CAVE SWALLOW and when I went to see the bird, it had already died. The bird was severely emaciated, not unusual for a species that has somehow travelled from northern Mexico and Texas to Lake Ontario at a time when insects are next to absent. Two were seen feeding in the water treatment tanks at Sedgwick Park in Oakville. Others have been turning up too all along the Lake Erie and Lake Ontario shorelines to at least Oshawa this fall. The one theory as to why they always seem to arrive here every November is prolonged strong southerlies or southwesterlies during late fall, which basically carries the birds northward These southwestern winds often occur in advance of long trailing cold fronts. On the days of the southwesterlies, large numbers of CAVE SWALLOWS can sometimes be seen at “spring migration” hotspots, such as Point Pelee. Sadly, it is a one-way trip for them as the birds become too weak from lack of sustainable food and they starve in the November temperatures. In other bird news, a lone DUNLIN fed with a small group of BONAPARTE'S GULLS at Presqu’ile Park yesterday. On Sebastopol Island north of Gull Island  a distant SNOWY OWL was seen.  At nearby Gosport  4 TUNDRA SWANS, 2 SONG SPARROWS, a COMMON LOON, 1 RED-NECKED GREBE, and a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL were highlights during an OFO birding trip yesterday. At Prince Edward Point, WHITE-THROATED SPARROW, COMMON LOON and HORNED GREBE  were highlights. And trying for one more kick at the can before winter finally sets in, a few stems of PHILADELPHIA FLEABANE were still in bloom near the old school at Lake on the Mountain. A day or two earlier, this HAREBELL was putting on a brave front on the edge of the limestone cliff at Point Traverse. Photo by Jeff Haffner of Napanee.

Sunday, November 22: A little more information has come in regarding these two SNOW GEESE that showed up yesterday at Presqu’ile Park. Belleville birder and photographer Ian Dickinson, wonders, due to the size difference, if one might be a “Greater” and the smaller one, a “Lesser”? In Snow Geese males and females are the same size so there wouldn’t be any sexual dimorphism at work. Birders/hikers on the Doe Lake Trail at Frontenac Provincial Park today saw 47 COMMON MERGANSERS on the lake. NORTHERN SHOVELERS  were present today at Kingston’s Marsh;ands Conservation Area, and an ICELAND GULL was present at Odessa. At Bath’s Centennial Park and Beach, present were GREATER SCAUP, MALLARDS and BUFFLEHEADS, COMMON GOLDENEYE, GADWALL both COMMON and RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS and over 600 CANADA GEESE. And up in the Napanee Limestone Plain area, a NORTHERN HARRIER and 2 COOPER’S HAWKS  were noted by one observer. What could have been an EURASIAN WIGEON - clearly different plumage from the other Wigeons - brown head/buffy head stripe, and its sides were black and white/grey and not brown like the other Wigeons – was examined from a distance of 200 metres at West Lake Harbour. In addition to the AMERICAN WIGEONS, also present in the harbour area, waterfowl seen included lots of BUFFLEHEAD in West Lake.  Closer in around the cattails were a few NORTHERN PINTAIL, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, and good numbers of CANADA GEESE, MALLARDS and BONAPARTE’S GULLS (35).  A few HERRING and GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS were present as well. At the bird feeders, a lone PINE SISKIN arrived with 4 AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES to a feeder along Fry Road today, north of Picton. The RUFFED GROUSE also put in an appearance. If you don’t have many DARK-EYED JUNCOS so far at your feeder – well, they are all at this Fry Road feeder – about 20 of them!

Saturday, November 21: Five EASTERN BLUEBIRDS were seen a few days ago along Army Reserve Road, near the west MNR Road. Up to 20 or more have been in that area this fall. Not really a bad day for birding, and a few birders were out today scouting their favourite pastures for late November birds. Certainly the bluebird added a splash of colour to the dull days we have been experiencing this week. The excellent weather allowed one birder the opportunity to fish the Bay of Quinte today, travelling from Picton Harbour, all the way to Prinyer's Cove. During his casual travels, he was impressed by all the juvenile COMMON LOONS he passed by - at least a dozen, and all seen as singles. Birders were out everywhere today, it seemed. A BALD EAGLE  was seen at South Bay and a NORTHERN SHRIKE was spotted by someone else along Babylon Road. A tardy DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT at South Bay was accompanied by other sightings in that area including 3 COMMON GRACKLES, a CACKLING GOOSE and a PINE SISKIN. Four HORNED GREBES were seen along Long Point Road in Prince Edward Bay. Along Cressy Bayside Road, an excellent spot to bird at any time of the year, 200 CANADA GEESE were present in the bay there. A single MALLARD at the end of Kaiser Crossroad served as a reminder today that greater things are in the offing for this now famous waterfowl location come spring. A HOODED MERGANSER was at the Black River Bridge where the species can almost be depended on, and 48 TUNDRA SWANS  were counted in South Bay. At Point Petre, a single MERLIN and 25 CEDAR WAXWINGS  were highlights there, while a  nice cluster of a dozen DARK-EYED JUNCOS were enjoying the relative remoteness of the Miller Family Nature Reserve along Hilltop Road and Brewer's Road. Today, at Presqu'ile Park, two SNOW GEESE  were hanging out with the CANADA GEESE on the beach. And, it's not much, but a COMMON REDPOLL was finally seen, albeit at Bedford Mills in the Frontenac Park area, suggesting, at least, a few may be heading our way. At Heritage Point in Bath, a couple residents there decided to explore the woods to the shore of Lake Ontario yesterday evening, and were rewarded with a GREAT HORNED OWL that moved from tree to tree across a moonlit sky and kept hooting right above the observers. Birding experiences just don't get much better than that.

Friday, November 20: Two SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS in Napanee were seen yesterday chasing each other, while late yesterday afternoon, a MERLIN  showed up in the photographer’s backyard in Allisonville, north of Wellington. Today, however, no one reported any birds in the area, so I would like to concentrate this evening on a species which seems to show up, somewhere, every day – the SANDHILL CRANE. A photo taken in late November last year along South Big Island Road, just west of Allison Road, depicted over 40 SANDHILL CRANES. There have been somewhat larger flocks elsewhere in Prince Edward County in the past, so what’s the story? Everett Hanna of Toronto who was one of my volunteers for last year’s Marsh Monitoring Program, had a very interesting article in the October issue of the OFO News. The three migratory species spread across the continent are further separated into six migratory populations. The Eastern Population which we have here in Ontario, like all of the others, were decimated by over hunting in their former breeding habitat in the Lake Michigan and Lake Superior areas. Following protection, those populations began to increase and spread east into our area. The first documented sighting in Prince Edward County was in 1971, along Jericho Road in the Crofton area. Everett says our eastern population seems to have regained a secure hold, and are here to stay. As to their presence here during historic times, it is difficult to determine since many observers often referred to great blue herons as cranes. But, we can be sure that there have always been vagrants here during historic times, much the same as there are now with other species. Of course, there is sufficient evidence now to support the theory that the species is actively nesting in the Bay of Quinte area. I will always remember the time I was in a hay field behind our house walking the dog when I became aware of a presence behind me. Two SANDHILL CRANES had landed not more than 15 metres from me. They looked us up and down for a few moments, then facing each other, began their mating dance, jumping high into the air with considerable wing flapping. What an amazing photo......had I only had my camera with me! Hardy birds, it is not uncommon to see SANDHILL CRANES linger well into the winter months before finally moving on. Given that cranes seem to have the lowest fecundity of any game bird in North America (and they are actively and legally hunted in some areas), their successful re-population in Ontario has been nothing short of incredible. From a few scattered sightings making their way onto Rare Bird Report forms only a few decades ago, the estimated Ontario population today is at least 15,000. What a treat to have a chance to see these stately birds in local meadows and corn fields today.

Thursday, November 19: Except for a report of AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS along C.R. 7, and LONG-TAILED DUCKS at Wellington Harbour there appeared to be no birding at all today in the Bay of Quinte region. When that happens, we can always depend on the Kingston Field Naturalists who seems to have someone out every day, no matter the weather. Yesterday, it was Parrott’s Bay Conservation Area along Bath Road at Amherstview that produced about 20 species of birds for one birder. Like Lemoine Point Conservation Area, Parrott’s Bay Conservation Area is a spectacular conservation area with lots of trails that take you through a variety of habitats. Included, of course, is the bay itself which contained eight species of waterfowl yesterday, among them 6 NORTHERN PINTAILS, 20 GADWALL, 15 HOODED MERGANSERS and a couple of TUNDRA SWANS.  Over at Invista (Dupont Lagoon), a PEREGRINE FALCON and a SONG SPARROW were seen by another observer, but the show stoppers are always the waterfowl and yesterday was no exception with more than a dozen REDHEADS  present, along with 25 RING-NECKED DUCKS and 175 GREATER SCAUP. Heading west, Presqu’ile Provincial Park, a RED PHALAROPE  was feeding in with about 50 BONAPARTE’ GULLS at Owen Point at 2:00 p.m. today. It had been seen before noon on Beach 3. Note that tomorrow is a hunt day in the Park, so Owen Point won’t be accessible to birders. Speaking of Presqu’ile Park, Fred Helleiner’s weekly bird summary has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website, and can be seen by CLICKING HERE. Along County Road 64 between Prince Edward County and Brighton, a RED-TAILED HAWK and 10 WILD TURKEYS  were seen.

Wednesday, November 18: A RED-NECKED GREBE was one of 22 species of waterfowl noted at Twelve O’clock Point in Carrying Place yesterday by two birders. A PIED-BILLED GREBE  was also present among the scattered numbers of waterfowl, but the most obvious were the MUTE SWANS – some 40+ of them, with the majority over in the area of the Dead Creek Marsh. Other species of note here were 12 AMERICAN COOTS, 52 AMERICAN WIGEONS, 5 NORTHERN SHOVELERS, 40 HOODED MERGANSERS, 24 BUFFLEHEAD, and singles of AMERICAN BLACK DUCK, GADWALL and  COMMON LOON. Much the same make-up of species was present again today when I visited the site this morning. Just across the Bay of Quinte behind the Trenton Canadian Tire store, 46 AMERICAN COOTS, 5 AMERICAN WIGEON and a couple TUNDRA SWANS were present yesterday. At Tremur Lake along Wooler Road at Telephone Road, north of Carrying Place, 4 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS were a highlight there, but also present were a half dozen species of waterfowl – the TRUMPETER SWANS,of course, but also 72 HOODED MERGANSERS and about a half dozen GREEN-WINGED TEAL. And, at Trenton’s Bain Park, where last Sunday’s juvenile BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON was seen briefly, a late DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT was present as well as two TUNDRA SWANS and 39 AMERICAN COOTS. So, it’s mostly about waterfowl for the next little while until colder weather seals the open waters and we direct our attention to something else. At Point Petre,  NORTHERN SHRIKE, 2 NORTHERN HARRIERS, 45 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS and a TURKEY VULTURE were highlights there. Driving along Burr Road today, I hoped to spot the four SANDHILL CRANES that we found there yesterday, but they had left for other pastures. Elsewhere, a PINE SISKIN and a COMMON GRACKLE appeared at a Brighton feeder today. And along Taylor-Kidd Bvd. at Parrott's Bay Conservation Area, a BELTED KINGFISHER  was seen today.

Tuesday, November 17: A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER  and a RUFFED GROUSE have been bird feeder guests in one Fry Road backyard, north of Picton as volunteers with Project FeederWatch begin paying closer attention to their feeder guests this season. At least one AMERICAN ROBIN is making regular visits to our feeder area at 23 Sprague Road on Big Island, making use of a heated bird bath. Not much sense in migrating south to find a heated pool when one is right here!  NORTHERN FLICKER, WINTER WREN, PURPLE FINCH, 3 RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES and a COMMON RAVEN were a few highlights from Sandbanks yesterday, while at Kingston’s Lemoine Point Conservation Area, a LONG-EARED OWL and a BALD EAGLE made it on a checklist there. Another BALD EAGLE  was seen this morning soaring above the west end of Brighton. Six AMERICAN PIPITS and a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW  continue to be regulars along Airport Road in the Belleville area. Today, a NORTHERN HARRIER  was seen over the Big Island Marsh along South Big Island Road, and about midway along Burr Road, west of Crofton, four SANDHILL CRANES stood peacefully in a row along the edge of a field.

Monday, November 16: What happened to our  WHITE PELICAN since it was last seen September 27th at the Hamilton Wetland, west of Demorestville? Well, it’s still around, and was seen today at Muscote Bay, just below the escarpment from the wetland where it had last been seen. Point Petre today was described as a large feeding frenzy of several species. Highlights were an immature NORTHERN GANNET, a PACIFIC LOON, 9 RED-THROATED LOONS, 114 COMMON LOONS, 104 HORNED GREBES, 2 LITTLE GULLS and 3 BLACK SCOTERS. Another PACIFIC LOON turned up today on West Lake. On Outlet Beach at Sandbanks Park, there was a single BLACK SCOTER, an adult RED-SHOULDERED HAWK and 7 TURKEY VULTURES. The prize today though goes to the County’s first SNOWY OWL of the season, seen on a telephone pole at Huyck’s Bay, just west of the bible camp at 4:30 this afternoon. Last bird of the day for birder Tyler Hoar and it was a good one! In Lake Ontario off Wellington Beach, 750 REDHEADS  were present, and a first year LITTLE GULL was in the harbour. Seen by another observer in the harbour were GREAT BLUE HERON, BELTED KINGFISHER and 4 BONAPARTE’S GULLS. At Barcovan, nothing starting to build up yet for the season. Just a couple MUTE SWANS. At Tremur Lake on the west side of Trenton, the five TRUMPETER SWANS  were there again, and an estimated 50 HOODED MERGANSERS. At the Brighton Constructed Wetland, a cloud of ducks took off when a birder arrived, mostly NORTHERN SHOVELERS, GREEN-WINGED TEAL and BUFFLEHEADS. Where there are live waterfowl, there will also be casualties, and not necessarily victims of the fall duck hunt. Twenty-two COMMON LOONS  were found along the shoreline of Prince Edward County today, victims of Type E-botulism. One birder, just home from a birding trip in Ethiopia, reported many endemics such as the rare and local Stesemann's Bush Crow and Prince Ruspoli's Turaco, but more locally, in the Consecon area today he found lots of AMERICAN ROBINS, and a few WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS. Somewhat notable there were nine RUSTY BLACKBIRDS and one PURPLE FINCH. At Sundridge, 75 km south of North Bay, sightings there gave rise to hope of some winter finches at our feeders in the weeks to come.There were numerous flocks of COMMON REDPOLLS, some flocks numbering over 100 birds. A large flock of 400+ PINE SISKINS mixed with a few COMMON REDPOLLS was seen just south of Sundridge. Other birds seen PINE GROSBEAK and EVENING GROSBEAK in small numbers. On the non-bird side of things, a hiker a few days ago walking the boardwalk at the H.R. Frink Centre, north of Belleville, was surprised to see a tadpole with just the beginnings of its hind legs swimming in the marsh. Doubtless, this was an AMERICAN BULLFROG which can take up to three years to progress through the tadpole stage before becoming an adult.

Sunday, November 15: Birders soon learn that birds are where you find them, and some of the best finds are by chance. This happened to a Belleville birder/photographer today when he decided to pop into Bain Park at the Trenton Air Force Base while on his way through town. There weren't many birds there, but he did get a nice surprise when a juvenile BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON   flew by and landed in one of the trees! There was not much happening at the park generally. It was a stroke of luck that the heron showed up. It perched quite high in a tree, and the only angle he could get was by shooting through the branches of another tree. So, needless to say, he was quite pleased with how the final shot turned out, and certainly so was I.  A Trenton area birder today did some exploring at Presqu’ile Park, coming up with a YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER  and three lingering DUNLINS on Gull Island at Owen Point. At Sandbanks Park, a lone SNOW GOOSE  was sharing the limelight today with a couple hundred CANADA GEESE along the Dunes Beach. A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER  was in Wellington today. In the Bloomfield area, an observation of a different kind. Taking advantage of the balmy temperatures today were hundreds of little grasshoppers hopping along the sunny edge of a field of soybeans. At Carrying Place, Twelve O’clock Point Road had lots of MUTE SWANS, a few AMERICAN WIGEON, HOODED MERGANSERS, MALLARDS, Scaup, BONAPARTE’S GULLS,  3 REDHEADS, 2 AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS, and 1 NORTHERN SHOVELER. In Wellington Harbour, a few NORTHERN PINTAIL were present along with GREEN-WINGED TEAL, AMERICAN WIGEON, BUFFLEHEAD and Scaup, and a small group of BONAPARTE’S GULLS. Along Belleville’s Airport Road, there continues to be a dozen AMERICAN PIPITS, and this morning, there were also 2 SNOW BUNTINGS and a NORTHERN HARRIER. And a little farther away, at Kaladar, three birders there walked portions of the Trans Canada Trail east and west of the village coming up with good numbers of BLUE JAYS, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES, WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH, a GREAT BLUE HERON, 4 RUFFED GROUSE, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS and a couple of AMERICAN ROBINS, as well as a COMMON GRACKLE at a feeder. Sheffield Conservation Area, 11 km south of there, was very quiet with just a couple of  COMMON RAVENS, BLUE JAYS and a HAIRY WOODPECKER. As I recover from my hip operation, I used an hour of my time to watch what turned out to be the most outstanding documentary on the MONARCH BUTTERFLY that I have ever watched. It’s from The Nature of Things and it’s called Flight of the Butterflies. You won’t regret taking the time to watch this program that focuses on the research of Dr. Fred Urquhart and his wife, Nora, who devoted their lives to finding the wintering grounds of the Monarch.To watch it, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, November 14: Lots of good birds flying around today, including a juvenile female NORTHERN CARDINAL in the Wellington area  to get the opening day of Project FeederWatch under way in fine fettle. In Napanee, a flock of 20 to 25 HOUSE FINCHES bombarded a feeder there on East Street. Now I know where all of mine suddenly went! Over 300 SNOW BUNTINGS were seen north of Belleville – certainly a rather large flock for so early in the season. Meanwhile, at Milford, a single SNOW BUNTING landed on a driveway and remained for some time. At Prince Edward Point, a SNOW BUNTING was photographed as it wandered on the road. Another great sighting was the appearance of two EASTERN BLUEBIRDS on the trail to the lighthouse. From there, the day took a down turn when a party of duck hunters entered the national wildlife area, hiding their truck behind the lighthouse. Around 50 decoys were spread out on the water. It amazes me that thousands of dollars were invested in a new roadside page wire fence for the length of the property (about 2 km) to curb this activity, but the gate at the harbour is never locked in the fall; indeed the gate is often open. It just boggles the mind how money can be wasted in this fashion with no apology.  Getting back to the brighter side of things, a GOLDEN EAGLE was seen and photographed today on Ridge Road east of Stirling. RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH and 3 GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS were two of the highlights in the East Lake/Outlet area of Sandbanks Provincial Park today. On over on the other side, in the Lakeshore Lodge Day Use area of Sandbanks, good birds seen there were 4 TURKEY VULTURES, LONG-TAILED DUCKS, BUFFLEHEAD and  COMMON GOLDENEYE. Meanwhile at Wellington, a tardy DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT was present yesterday along with a female LONG-TAILED DUCK and 2 BUFFLEHEADS.  At Pleasant Bay today, a dozen TUNDRA SWANS flew low over the water. Yesterday’s CAVE SWALLOW  sighting at Oshawa’s Second Marsh was followed today with additional sightings at Mississauga and Oakville. A reminder from the Friends of Presqu’ile that Christmas at Presqu’ile is in its final weekend and sales have apparently gone well with lots of visitors. The Friends encourage you not to miss this opportunity to buy ‘one of a kind’ Christmas gifts, enjoy relaxing in the Tea Room and meeting with the artists at the Lighthouse Art Gallery. This is an annual fund raising event with proceeds going toward supporting educational, environmental and research programs at Presqu’ile Park. You have only until tomorrow to take in this event. Details can be found on my website by CLICKING HERE.

Friday, November 13: “What birder could pass on the opportunity to visit a dump?” so asks Tom Wheatley of Belleville who sent a photo from Thailand where is birding this month. On one of his checklists where he stopped in at one of the highest dumps in the country, his six-kilometre trek resulted in some 60 species. Some of the rarest birds, he says, can be found at the dumps. Such species as ORANGE-BELLIED LEAF BIRD, EURASIAN HOOPOE, BLYTH’S SHRIKE-BABBLER, CHESTNUT-VENTED NUTHATCH and FLAVESCENT BULBUL made it on his list of 60 species. Sounds like a place where one could go to get some life birds. A little more locally, a CAVE SWALLOW  was spotted early this afternoon at the Oshawa Second Marsh, a reminder to keep our eyes peeled for this November vagrant from Texas and Mexico which always seems to work its way to the Great Lakes at this time of year. And, even more locally, Tremur Lake was once again a scene of activity, along Wooler Road off Telephone Road. There was a nice collection of 57 HOODED MERGANSERS with brightly coloured males outnumbering the females significantly. The supporting cast was less spectacular. It was made up of 18 MALLARDS, 10 AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS, 14 CANADA GEESE and 10 RING-BILLED GULLS.  Even this meagre assemblage outdid the show at Bain Park at the Trenton Air force Base. With the west wind whipping across the peninsula the main challenge was finding a suitably calm spot for the scope. The checklist consisted of 11 MALLARDS, 6 CANADA GEESE, 9 RING-BILLED GULLS and 6 BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES. Speaking of chickadees, tomorrow is the official start of this season’s Project FeederWatch. My binoculars are poised to start counting tomorrow morning. While there has been some promise of some redpolls this winter in the Bay of Quinte region, and many of the typical species can always be found at Algonquin Park, boreal species are almost regulars at a feeder in Manitouwadge, located about midway between Wawa and Lake Nipigon. Ben and Tammie Haché have operated a high definition bird feeder cam there now every winter for some time. Today I enjoyed visits from both PINE GROSBEAKS and EVENING GROSBEAKS. You can too by CLICKING HERE. By the way, don’t be alarmed. They have a good ground covering of snow there right now.

Thursday, November 12: A juvenile COOPER’S HAWK appeared in a backyard at noon today along Swamp College Road, north of Wellington. Other than a FOX SPARROW  seen east of Belleville, there wasn’t a whole lot of incentive in today’s high winds and horizontal rain to do much birding. At Oshawa today an ibis, either a GLOSSY or a WHITE-FACED, was seen feeding along the cattails at the Oshawa Second Marsh, but the observer wasn’t able to tell with certainty what species it was due to the weather and the distance. No updates have come in since the sighting today at noon. What we have been waiting for – a taste of what might be available this winter at Algonquin Park, the destination for those birders wanting to get a few boreal species on their winter checklists this season. Retired Park Naturalist Ron Tozer says there were eight species of “finches” reported this week, but all were in low numbers. A single PINE GROSBEAK was seen along the Mizzy Lake Trail rail bed and a couple  WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS were heard passing over the same area a few days ago. Seven RED CROSSBILLS were observed along the Park’s east side at Lake Travers a week ago. We are anticipating some redpolls this coming winter and the forerunner of that hopeful irruption was the sighting of two COMMON REDPOLLS in the same area with another flying over the Park’s Visitor Centre. PINE SISKINS  have been widespread in the Park with flocks numbering from 20 to 30. EVENING GROSBEAKS, almost a regular at the Visitor Centre feeders numbered 16 on the 3rd and 10 on Tuesday. A few PURPLE FINCHES have been noted along the Mizzy Lake Trail rail bed and AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES  are regulars at the Visitor Centre feeders most days. Always a welcome sight, BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS  have also been on the move this week with small groups of a half dozen or so being seen.  Other northern specialties such as the BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER were represented by two males seen along the Mizzy Lake Trail rail be. GRAY JAYS  and BOREAL CHICKADEE have also been seen at this location as well as along Opeongo Road. Everyone’s favourite though, the SPRUCE GROUSE, has not been reported yet. The Presqu’ile Park Bird Report for this past week has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be read by CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, November 11: With Project FeederWatch set to begin this coming weekend, I always enjoy documenting other critters that visit our feeders in the earlier part of the season for my own interest. Right now, two EASTERN CHIPMUNKS  are regulars but their visits will lessen as winter approaches. Not so with the plethora of RED SQUIRRELS and the occasional GRAY SQUIRREL. However, most feeder operators enjoy all species that come to their feeders, whatever they are. I usually have a half dozen or so COTTONTAIL RABBITS  every winter, one birder in Trenton has had FLYING SQUIRRELS and a Wooler area resident has had a VIRGINIA POSSUM. Birding today got off to an early start with one last try at the Hamilton Wetland for any sign of the tardy GREAT EGRET that has been lingering at the roost there, but it seems to have wisely decided to depart for good. However, the three resident SANDHILL CRANES were there again this morning. Another early birder was at Trenton’s Tremur Lake at 8:00 a.m. yesterday morning, arriving in time to see the five TRUMPETER SWANS taking off from the lake and heading west. This morning, they were all back along with about 25 HOODED MERGANSERS. More than a dozen species of waterfowl were noted today at Kingston’s Cataraqui Bay. Among them were 60 TUNDRA SWANS, a dozen AMERICAN WIGEON, 8 GADWALL, 6 REDHEADS, 380 GREATR SCAUP, 5 LESSER SCAUP, and 20 LONG-TAILED DUCKS. An earlier report from another birder had placed the number of TUNDRA SWANS  at between 75 and 80. And to finish off this evening’s report, a little bit of trivia for you from Brian Morin’s Ontario Birding News out of Cornwall: A study of thrushes migrating between wintering grounds in South America and the U.S. this spring came up with an amazing result. A GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH banded in Columbia was located in Indiana in just 3.3 days. That is 3,200 km or 986 km  a day.

Tuesday, November 10: Some nice sightings at Prince Edward Point, a location which seldom fails to disappoint, even in November. Present were RED-NECKED GREBE, WHITE-THROATED SPARROW, 2 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, NORTHERN FLICKER, COMMON RAVEN, MERLIN and, just to remind us that winter is on its way, a couple  SNOW BUNTINGS. At South Bay, the population of TUNDRA SWANS is building with 60 now present in the bay. On Sunday, a pair of birders decided to try West Point at Sandbanks Park for the traditionally late arriving PURPLE SANDPIPER, but came up empty. A  MERLIN made up for the absence of his original quest. Fully 200 CANADA GEESE  were in Athol Bay, along with two rafts of REDHEADS – one estimated at 300 birds, and the other at 200.  Two PINE SISKINS  were present at Lemoine Point Conservation Area, along with 3 PURPLE FINCHES  and a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK. At nearby Parrott’s Bay Conservation Area, the bay there is attracting a fair number of ducks. Present were 7 species, among them 2 HOODED MERGANSERS, 18 NORTHERN PINTAILS, and a couple NORTHERN SHOVELERS. And this morning at Trenton, a birder there saw a PILEATED WOODPECKER in a tree beside the Tim Hortons drive thru on RCAF Road on the base. A very Canadian bird sighting on a grey November day. 

Monday, November 09: Two FOX SPARROWS were seen yesterday at Oshawa’s Cranberry Marsh. Also present were many dabbling ducks -  GREEN-WINGED TEAL, AMERICAN WIGEON and NORTHERN SHOVELERS.   A group of 7 or 8 CACKLING GEESE flew in and that made the trip worthwhile for the Belleville birder. Of particular interest was a GREAT BLUE HERON that frequents the path where BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES, the FOX SPARROWS, and even CHIPMUNKS come to feast on the feed that visitors scatter for them. The heron’s interest in the path? The clientele that the scattered feed attracts! This particular GREAT BLUE HERON on the Lynde Shores paths apparently stands motionless beside the path and waits for a chickadee or chipmunk to come to within striking distance. Some years ago, a camper at Bon Echo Provincial Park sent me a series of a photos he took of a GREAT BLUE HERON that wandered the campsites in that park looking for chipmunks, nabbing them one by one as they came within striking distance, then nonchalantly wading into the water with his prize where he would dunk it in the water a few times to lubricate the prey before swallowing it. More locally, only one tardy GREAT EGRET emerged from the Hamilton Wetland early this morning west of Demorestville, but the resident three SANDHILL CRANES were present giving the observers a cheery chortle as they left. Fish Lake today continued to harbour massive numbers of waterfowl, primarily RING-NECKED DUCKS with BUFFLEHEADS  mixed in.

Sunday, November 08: For the last three years at about the same time a pair of TRUMPETER SWANS  have shown up at Tremur Lake in the southeast corner beside Wooler Road on the west side of Trenton. Today they were there with three grey youngsters. Last year they had two and the year before one. On Friday about 10 HOODED MERGANSERS were there.   Today at Wellington Harbour, there were many MALLARDS, 46 AMERICAN WIGEON, 12 GREEN-WINGED TEAL, a few dozen BONAPARTE’S GULLS,  and far out in West Lake, many BUFFLEHEAD and a few REDHEADS. Along County Road 2, north of Wellington,  was a group of 7 AMERICAN PIPITS. Temperatures are gradually dipping as we get closer to winter and this is translating into the appearance of some birds more typical of the winter months. Of course, the DARK-EYED JUNCOS are well established, a NORTHERN SHRIKE  was seen on Babylon Road, and there have been scattered reports of SNOW BUNTINGS, but only in ones and twos so far. The denizen of the winter season, the LONG-TAILED DUCK, is starting to show up in a bit larger numbers now. Twenty were present  at Prince Edward Point. Elsewhere, a few scattered sightings including a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER on Keller Crossroad, 12 CEDAR WAXWINGS on Helmer Road, and 5 BLACK SCOTERS at Prince Edward Point.

Saturday, November 07: Best bird of the day today was a TUFTED TITMOUSE coming to a feeder in Waupoos. Lately, we have been averaging a titmouse once or twice every other year or so as the species gradually increases its range to include our area, but it has been a slow process. The 7 GREAT EGRETS that were seen at the Hamilton Wetland, west of Demorestville, on Thursday, were present again at 6:45 a.m. this morning as they take advantage of the fine weather we have been having. A FOX SPARROW  has been coming to a feeder at Allisonville off Christian Road, also a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER. The latter species is also at a feeder along Fish Lake as well as a PILEATED WOODPECKER. Fish Lake today near Demorestville was filled with RING-NECKED DUCKS and one estimate placed the total at 1500-2000. A male EASTERN BLUEBIRD  was seen along the north shore of Big Island near Allison Road yesterday. Although shorebirds have all but departed from the area except for the RED PHALAROPES  seen a few days ago at Presqu’ile Park, all eyes now are on the rocky shorelines where PURPLE SANDPIPERS, the stragglers in the shorebird family, may begin showing up. In past years, they have turned up at Sandbanks Park’s West Point, Prince Edward Point and Point Petre, all three areas boasting suitable shorelines for this latecomer. One has already shown up in Toronto, so keep your binoculars poised. Another latecomer to be on the lookout for in November are vagrant CAVE SWALLOWS (photo by Paul Martin). One showed up today at Point Pelee. These Texas/Mexico residents tend to show up here in November, of all months. Prince Edward County’s first sighting of this species was in November of 2003 when one showed up in a garage at Point Petre in an emaciated condition. It died within a few hours and I picked up the carcass two days later and had the carcass sent to the Royal Ontario Museum. Since then, there have been three other sightings – 2005, 2008 and 2012, all of them in early November. The Prince Edward Point sightings in in 2008 unfortunately missed the publication cut-off date for Birds of the Kingston Region species account, but a hastily inserted note at the front of the book managed to include mention of it. Another November bird to be on the lookout for this month. Nothing else of great significance in Prince Edward County today – some 500 CANADA GEESE on tiny Milford Pond, 12 BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES on Jackson’s Falls Road – usual stuff to be expected this month. Elsewhere, there was a RED-THROATED LOON off Portsmouth Harbour in Kingston yesterday as well as BRANT. The resident Kingston PEREGRINE FALCON was seen again three days ago, and a NORTHERN SHRIKE  was at the Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area.

Friday, November 06: Birds typical of the season are beginning to increase in numbers at bird feeders as the days go by – DARK-EYED JUNCOS, in particular, and BLUE JAYS.  BLUE JAYS  enjoyed a heavy migration this fall all along the Lakes Ontario and Erie shorelines and this may have contributed to the high numbers we are seeing right now. The strength of annual flights appears to be linked to the size of acorn, beechnut and hazelnut crops. Acorn crops were good in some areas and poor in other areas of the province. The beechnut crop failed in most areas and the hazelnut crop was average in 2015. AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS  are also showing signs of increase with 8 being seen today at Belleville. Their numbers will certainly increase once we see the first measured snowfall of the season. Typically, I have between 25-40 at my feeders every winter, so we have a way to go yet before we see those kinds of numbers.  At South Bay, AMERICAN WIGEON, AMERICAN BLACK DUCK, RED-BREASTED MERGANSER, BUFFLEHEAD, and COMMON LOON  were among the waterfowl species that showed up there today. A reminder of a presentation coming up tomorrow in Napanee in support of the Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre. For several years, legendary Canadian nature film makers, John and Janet Foster from the Tweed area, have helped me with co-leading guided hikes on their property. They have donated some of their videos as teaching aids in my Bird Identification Courses and Backyard Naturalization Courses.  Tomorrow afternoon, they will be assisting the Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre with a fundraiser as they present Stories from the Wild at the South Fredericksburgh Hall. SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!!   The Fosters are donating two photos and a package of 5 of the documentaries they did for the Discovery Channel (Leave it Wild, Polar Voyages, Journeys Far and Wild, A Love Affair with Algonquin, and Journey to the Sea of Ice).  The Fosters have signed the photos on the back and had them framed so they are a very special “gift”. They will be available on the Silent Auction Table. To learn more about this special presentation, click on the link below to see the full colour poster about the event on my website by CLICKING HERE.

Thursday, November 05: The only sighting to come in today was of 7 GREAT EGRETS  still persisting at the Hamilton Wetland along C.R. 14, west of Demorestville. While it may seem late for GREAT EGRETS  to be still hanging around, we can likely attribute the late date to the fine weather. However, November dates are not uncommon. Last fall, one was still on Indian Island in the Bay of Quinte near Trenton on November 1st, and one was seen daily at the Hamilton Wetland from November 3rd, finally leaving for good on the 10th. LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, RED PHALAROPES, BARRED OWL and RUDDY DUCKS  were a few of the special birds seen this past week at Presqu’ile Provincial Park. The Presqu’ile Park Bird Report for the past week by Fred Helleiner has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be seen by CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, November 04: One of the RED PHALAROPES found yesterday at Presqu’ile Park’s Beach #1, was there again this morning, feeding in the algae on shore. Overall though, the beach at Presqu’ile was rather quiet today, according to a Trenton birder who wandered out to Gull Island today. The highlights were seeing a group of about eight SNOW BUNTINGS on Owen Point. A PILEATED WOODPECKER was also encountered at Owen Point as it flew from tree to tree. Other than an AMERICAN PIPIT seen near Belleville, there was virtually no birding again in the Prince Edward County area, despite the gorgeous temperatures. However, CEDAR WAXWINGS  were photographed in a Wellington backyard, munching away on red cedar berries. CEDAR WAXWINGS tend to be quite nomadic and sort of follow a baited highway from food source to source. Which begs the question. What are the prospects for the appearance of their larger cousins, the BOHEMIAN WAXWING  this winter? We can probably expect a moderate southward and eastward flight this winter because mountain-ash berry crops are average in the boreal forest. According to birder Ron Pittaway who makes predictions every winter about certain species of birds, BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS should get east to St. John's, Newfoundland, where mountain-ash (dogberry) crops are excellent. BOHEMIANS now occur annually (historically more infrequently) in southern Ontario, southern Quebec, northern New York State, and elsewhere in the east. Their more regular winter occurrence now may be related to the abundance of introduced buckthorns (Rhamnus) which produce large berry crops almost every year. If they venture south, BOHEMIANS will also find large crops (some bumper) on European Mountain-ash and ornamental crabapples in many areas.

Tuesday, November 03: Well, we certainly can’t say enough about the fine November weather we have been enjoying this month so far. Recovering from surgery, I was lured out to the sundeck yesterday by the balmy sunshine and immediately was covered by a layer of LADYBIRD BEETLES!  You have to be a dyed-in-the-wool nature enthusiast to enjoy that experience! “Ladybugs” or as they are also known as “Ladybirds” were experienced across the Bay of Quinte region yesterday as wildlife of all kinds responded to the balmy temperatures. Yesterday’s warmth also brought out a MOURNING CLOAK BUTTERFLY east of Lake on the Mountain. Bird-wise, a few sightings beg to differ about what the temperatures are suggesting. A SNOW BUNTING was seen at Lemoine Point Conservation Area beside the Kingston Airport. Also in Kingston, at the Marshlands Conservation Area, nine species of waterfowl were present, among them GADWALL, REDHEAD, RING-NECKED DUCK, HOODED MERGANSER, AMERICAN WIGEON and NORTHERN PINTAIL. At Presqu’ile Park today, 2 RED PHALAROPES were found this morning on Beach 1. One of them vanished fairly quickly, but the second bid remained. It is not known if either of them were seen later in the day. Also seen was a sub-adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL on the rocks off Sebastopol Point (the small island north of Gull Island with a willow and 2 duck blinds present). The fall banding program of migrants has ended for this year at the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory. Some interesting figures include a total of 459 NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS banded this fall. Also banded were 4 BARRED OWLS and 2 LONG-EARED OWLS. Of interest to readers might be the history of saw-whet owl banding at Prince Edward Point dating back to when the banding was done in the old lighthouse and I was actively banding owls myself. From the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory website, we learn that NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS were originally considered rare in the Prince Edward Point area. However during the years 1975-1988 the Kingston Field Naturalists (KFN) ran a program at the "Point" and captured a total of 4,875 saw-whets. From 83 to 779 owls were trapped in any one year and the KFN used up to 42 mist nets from late September to early November. The KFN did not use audio lures during those years but only ran their nets as "passive nets". In late October of 2000 Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory conducted a one-week trial period to see how many owls were around  Using audio lures and standard mist nets they banded 137 NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS and a BARRED OWL during that week. With the Trillium Foundation Grant in 2001 providing money to hire a full time bander, a full NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL Migration Monitoring program was put into action. Ten 2-3/8 inch owl nets were erected in an area of the Cedar Woods just to the east of the main passerine netting area. In the fall of 2001, 345 NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL, 4 LONG-EARED OWLS, 2 BARRED OWLS and 3 EASTERN SCREECH-OWLS were banded and a decision was made to add the program to our banding protocols. Prince Edward Point has since earned the title, “The Saw-whet Owl Capital of the World”.

Monday, November 02: A female BLACK SCOTER  was present at Prince Edward Point yesterday.  Results just came in today of a Waterfowl Blitz held earlier on the weekend around the South Shore Important Bird Area, roughly all the area along the shoreline of South Bay, right around Prince Edward Point proper, and back up the shoreline to Point Petre. Certainly a large area to cover for the 15 volunteers who took part. Thirty-six species were tabulated, among them an unlucky 13 species of waterfowl which included 199 ducks that were too distant to identify as to species. Heading the list was the GREATER SCAUP which topped out at 2,420 birds within the survey area. LONG-TAILED DUCKS came in high too as winter approaches represented by 569 individuals. Also high were RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS  at 504, followed by CANADA GOOSE  at 201, WHITE-WINGED SCOTER at 181, MALLARD (135), and COMMON MERGANSER (133). BUFFLEHEAD, MUTE SWAN, AMERICAN BLACK DUCK, TUNDRA SWAN, HOODED MERGANSER and COMMON GOLDENEYE came in with lower numbers – 79, 20,, 14, 13, 10 and 1, respectively. Also checked off were 97 HORNED GREBES, 86 COMMON LOONS, and six RED-NECKED GREBES. Raptors noted that day were BALD EAGLE (1) and MERLIN (3). Other interesting birds seen within the South Shore Important Bird Area were three each of BONAPARTE’S and GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS, one NORTHERN FLICKER and a PILEATED WOODPECKER. Three COMMON RAVENS and a BROWN CREEPER  also made it on the day’s list, as well as 97 AMERICAN CROWS, 60 BLUE JAYS, and 71 BLACK-CAPPED  CHICKADEES. Of course, the now famous SUMMER TANAGER made it on the day’s list too. Away from the South Shore IBA and east of Belleville along Airport Parkway, two rather late SAVANNAH SPARROWS  are still hanging around as of today.

Sunday, November 01: Prince Edward Point’s special bird, a juvenile SUMMER TANAGER, was present again in the same spot near the lighthouse today. While there have been numerous sightings of this southern species of tanager in the past, the vast majority of them at Prince Edward Point in the last 25 years or so, most of them have occurred in the spring, with only a few autumn sightings, and only two this late in the season. The previous late date was November 8th in 2009 when birder extraordinaire Michael Runtz discovered an adult female at nearby Little Bluff Conservation Area. Other interesting sightings to turn up today included 20 TUNDRA SWANS at South Bay, a body of water that seems to attract up to a hundred or more of this migratory species before freeze-up. It has only been in the last few decades that wintering TUNDRA SWANS have become regulars in local waters during at least the early winter months, the abundance of zebra mussels likely a contributing factor. In the 1960s, it was extremely rare to see a TUNDRA SWAN (they were called Whistling Swans back then) remain the winter in Prince Edward County; they always migrated to Chesapeake Bay. Other good sightings to come in included a PIED-BILLED GREBE at the Glendon Green Boat Launch at East Lake (headwaters of the Outlet River), a WINTER WREN at Soup Harbour, PILEATED WOODPECKER on Simpson Road, and a RED-SHOULDERED HAWK on Cold Creek Road (Pleasant Bay area). At Prince Edward Point, BROWN CREEPER, 8 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS and a PURPLE FINCH were birds of note.

Saturday, October 31: Yesterday  was a pretty fair day at Prince Edward Point with just under 30 species being tabulated.  Three RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS were seen (one was banded on Monday), 2 COOPER'S HAWKS, 8 SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS and 3 BALD EAGLES  were checked off during the day as were 2 GOLDEN EAGLES (5 were seen during the week), RED-TAILED HAWK, and NORTHERN HARRIER. Other interesting species tallied yesterday at Prince Edward Point to close off the month of October were HERMIT THRUSH, 4 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, 2 RED-NECKED GREBES, 7 PURPLE FINCHES and 3 BLACK SCOTERS. Also present, some of which were banded, were GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS, AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS and WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS. BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES - a species we tend to think of as sedentary - were also on the move with numbers passing through. Also passing through in numbers were DARK-EYED JUNCOS, a trend that was noted elsewhere today. On East Street in Napanee, a resident there reported “squadrons” of them all over his yard very early this morning. Other birds of note at Prince Edward Point during the past week included  an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was seen on 26th and a PINE WARBLER on 27th. EVENING GROSBEAK, first for the season, was present at the Observatory on 27th. Unusual for this location, a SHORT-EARED was seen on 26th and a  NORTHERN SHRIKE was seen at the Observatory on 27th and BLACK SCOTERS have been regular this week just off the lighthouse. PINE SISKINS and PURPLE FINCHES have been regular throughout the week. But the big news today was a first year SUMMER TANAGER seen at 4:00 p.m. this afternoon near the lighthouse.

Friday, October 30: One Napanee birder cruising the roadsides today in Prince Edward County got a couple of unexpected surprises. A male RED-HEADED WOODPECKER   was seen 1 kilometre west of the new OPP station along County Road 1 (Schoharie Road), on the outskirts of Picton. Earlier in the day, the same motorist spotted three adult SANDHILL CRANES at the junction of County Road 5 and Fish Lake Road, just south of Demorestville. The Presqu’ile Provincial Park Bird Report for the past seven days, compiled by Presqu’ile Park resident, Fred Helleiner, has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website. You can read it by CLICKING HERE. Nice photo in there of a WHITE-EYED VIREO that made headlines in the Park last week.

Thursday, October 29: No birding today anywhere in the Bay of Quinte region as most birders preferred to avoid the wrath of flying branches and leaves in the high winds. One stalwart birder though did manage to get an impressive shot of the wave conditions at the west jetty of the Wellington Channel. Not good kayaking weather today!   However, the activity at our feeder, at least, kept me busy for most of the day as more than a dozen male RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS and as many BLUE JAYS struggled in the wind to retrieve their food from the feeders. DARK-EYED JUNCOS  are also represented by as many in number, and also present today were HOUSE FINCHES, both HAIRY and DOWNY WOODPECKERS, WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCHES, MOURNING DOVES. If there were AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS, then they were surely camouflaged by the constant flurry of blowing leaves around them! By November 14th, most of us involved in an exciting project known as Project FeederWatch will have a better understanding of what our clientele comprises of, and in what numbers, as we begin paying attention to exact numbers. Remember something called The Ontario Bird Feeder Survey? That  was the original name of Project FeederWatch and I was a part of it way back then too. It’s a fun project every winter and takes so little of our time and we end up learning so much about our feeder guests. If you are not already a participant by checking out the PROJECT FEEDERWATCH website today? 

Wednesday, October 28: One birder from Belleville didn’t let the impending rain and wind deter him from birding. In the scant time before the rain settled in early this morning, he managed a couple dozen species at the Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area, just on the north side of Kingston. Among the finds were two each of  WOOD DUCKS and GREEN-WINGED TEALS, 5 HOODED MERGANSERS, 5 GADWALL and 64 RING-NECKED DUCKS. Also making their way to the day’s checklist were NORTHERN FLICKER, HERMIT THRUSH, BELTED KINGFISHER, and 12  AMERICAN ROBINS. Park Naturalist at Algonquin Provincial Park, Lev Frid, says this is an excellent time of the year to bird the Park with the potential to see a few rarities. The bird of the week was a BOREAL OWL late last night at km 20. It was vocalizing and was recorded. These owls have been on the move this year at Hilliardton Marsh and there is always the possibility of finding migrants in places like Algonquin Park, he says. They are probably regular but not-often-detected migrants here due to lack of coverage and difficulty of detection. SNOW BUNTINGS arrived in Algonquin Park this week, with birds being seen in a few locations alongside the highway. A VESPER SPARROW a week ago at the Old Airfield was a new late date. AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS and DARK-EYED JUNCOS are common throughout now. A juvenile NORTHERN GOSHAWK put on a good show for a group from Paris yesterday at the top of the Mizzy Lake Trail. A report on a few of the Boreal specialties for which Algonquin Park has become famous: SPRUCE GROUSE: These have gone back into anonymity in Algonquin, and none was reported this week. The Opeongo Road, Spruce Bog Boardwalk and the top of the Mizzy Lake Trail are likely your best chances. GRAY JAY: Birds were at the Algonquin Logging Museum, the north end of Mizzy Lake Trail, Arowhon Road, and Opeongo Road this week looking for handouts. BOREAL CHICKADEE: Excellent views were had by a group yesterday at the north end of the Mizzy Lake Trail. This location seems to be the prime spot at this time. BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER: Reported at the Costello Creek Picnic Area and the north end of the Mizzy Lake Trail this week.  PURPLE FINCH: Several were flying over various areas this week. COMMON REDPOLL:  One flying over yesterday (Oct 27), and more to come. EVENING GROSBEAK: A flock has been irregular at the Visitor Centre Parking Lot, with 15 birds there on Oct 23. RED CROSSBILL: A singing male was at km 20 on Oct 26th. Great spot to bird. Once my new hip lets me out of the house, I hope to get back there for a day.

Tuesday, October 27: To feeders, to feeders – the Redpolls  are coming! Well, not in the immediate Bay of Quinte area yet but certainly during the weekend, COMMON REDPOLLS were reported at Tommy Thompson Park (Leslie Street Spit in Toronto), as well as near Rochester, New York. Yesterday, a mere 15,790  COMMON REDPOLLS  were seen passing over the Tadoussac Bird Observatory, 212 km northeast of Quebec City. This is the largest movement of Redpolls ever recorded at the Observatory. And while speaking of numbers, thousands of SNOW GEESE filled one lake the same weekend in Quebec. Among the noteworthy sightings in the Napanee Limestone Plain IBA along Nugent Road today were 4 AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS, an AMERICAN KESTREL, NORTHERN HARRIER, and a MERLIN. Three  SANDHILL CRANES, almost regulars now, showed up at the Hamilton Wetland, east of Demorestville. With only a few days to go banding NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS at Prince Edward Point, the running total to date according to their website, stands at 424. Also banded this fall have been 2 LONG-EARED OWLS and 3 BARRED OWLS. At Presqu’ile Park today, A WHITE-EYED VIREO was found near the Lighthouse. The immature bird was located  in the dense tangle of vegetation directly behind the plaque for Don Shanahan, which is located by the viewing deck closest to the lighthouse.  This is believed to be the third fall record for the Park, all in the last decade, in mid-late October.

Monday, October 26: At Vanderwater Conservation Area, east of Highway 37, at Thomasburg, an hour’s birding there revealed a late SWAINSON’S THRUSH, 2 FOX SPARROWS, 8 GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS and both species of nuthatches. The first AMERICAN TREE SPARROW  of the winter season turned up today at Prince Edward Point. Other birds of interest seen down there today were 30 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, 18 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, 45 COMMON LOONS a FOX SPARROW, 4 HERMIT THRUSHES, a RUSTY BLACKBIRD, a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK , 1 LONG-TAILED DUCK and 16 SNOW BUNTINGS. Certainly some reminders there that winter is in the offing. The rumour is that lots of PINE SISKINS have been banded at Prince Edward Point, but no numbers are available. One resident along Adolphus Reach at Cressy was drawn to a cacophony of sound and saw these DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS and gulls diving for food. Apparently this has happened several times this past week. And this oil painting on the left is a actually a photo taken through the early morning fog at the same location of the OMNRF Ontario Explorer research vessel plying its way along Adolphus Reach. Both photos are by Paul Wallace of Cressy. At the Point Petre Provincial Wildlife Area, things are slowing down somewhat, although on Simpson Road, north of the DU berm road there were quite a number of AMERICAN ROBINS,  a few MOURNING DOVES and BLUE JAYS and a resident flock of CEDAR WAXWINGS that have spent most of the spring and summer roaming the South Shore Important Bird Area, eating Viburnum berries.  A couple other birders from Leamington (actually working for Bird Studies Canada) saw 20 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS in a field north of the corner of Army Reserve Road and Hilltop Road - and a young NORTHERN SHRIKE who was eyeing the bluebirds!  Still not too late for salamanders as 10 BLUE-SPOTTED SALAMANDERS  were found in the Charwell Point area. When the sun came out around two o'clock, three CLOUDED SULPHUR BUTTERFLIES and four AUTUMN MEADOWHAWKS  were also seen.  Not sure how much longer we'll be seeing them this year!

Sunday, October, 25: Despite freezing temperatures some nights, and blustery weather during the days, EASTERN PHOEBES will always keep just one step ahead of Old Man winter.  At Milford Pond today a SNOW GOOSE  was seen as well as two CACKLING GEESE. A MERLIN was at Prince Edward Point today and a BARRED OWL and a TRUMPETER SWAN were seen in the South Bay area. And, yes – I am home sporting a brand new hip right now, but it will awhile before you will see me out birding! Thanks to those who dropped by to wish me well at Room 611 at BGH. Hope you didn’t mind the loud party going on in there among the four of us! And that’s it for today. The Presqu’ile Bird Report for October 16th to the 22nd by Fred Helleiner can be found on the NatureStuff website at the FOLLOWING LINK:

Thursday, October 22: The only report to come in today was of a nice flock of 50 AMERICAN PIPITS in the Consecon area.  A few other notable migrants were five EASTERN PHOEBES, two HERMIT THRUSHES and singles of EASTERN TOWHEE and NASHVILLE WARBLER. Just north of Belleville, 26 WILD TURKEYS on Marsh Hill Road, near Baptist Church Road this morning.The Quinte Area Bird Report is going on hiatus for a few days while I check myself into Belleville General and receive a brand, spanking new hip. First time ever overnight in a hospital. A regular reader of this Report says I won’t need to worry about bringing any underwear as it isn’t part of the dress code. Sounds like a far out place! The Report will resume, hopefully, by Monday evening.

Wednesday, October 21: It is usually the supply of acorns and other nuts that determines the fall flight of BLUE JAYS  each year at this time. The flight of BLUE JAYS is fairly strong this year along the north shorelines of Lakes Ontario and Erie, according to Ron Pittaway who who has become well known for his finch and other winter bird predictions.  The strength of annual BLUE JAY flights appears to be linked to the size of acorn, beechnut and hazelnut crops. Acorn crops were good in some areas and poor in other areas of the province. The beechnut crop failed in most areas and the hazelnut crop was average in 2015. One happy Napanee area birder was driving along McFaul Road in the Allisonville area today, and managed to get a species on his list that he has been seeking for some time. Flying only about 50 feet off the ground and only 50 yards away, were two SANDHILL CRANES were spotted near the south end of this road that connects up with Scoharie Road (C.R. 1). On Goodrich Road, south of Codrington, a flock of 30 PINE SISKINS were seen feeding up in the trees. However, says Ron Pittaway, expect few around these parts this winter as the white spruce crop is generally quite low, and the majority this winter will be concentrated in western Canada which has enjoyed a heavy spruce cone crop. To see Ron Pittaway’s bird predictions for this winter, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, October 20: Still some birds passing through. A flock of 17 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS on a wire was a nice find in the Consecon area. Other migrants included EASTERN PHOEBE (8), HERMIT THRUSH (5), YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (7), BLUE-HEADED VIREO (2), NORTHERN FLICKER (2), RUSTY BLACKBIRD (8), EASTERN MEADOWLARK (3) and one MERLIN.  Along County Road 4 through the Big Swamp in Prince Edward County, a PILEATED WOODPECKER flew across the road in front of one motorist. No owls of any description were caught last night at the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory, but a LONG-EARED OWL was banded the night of October 17-18. Number of NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS banded to date this fall is 336.

Monday, October 19: Virtually no birding in Prince Edward County today, so we will commence with Tremur Lake, on the west side of Trenton along Wooler Road where yesterday the open water produced 2 RUDDY DUCKS. Also present were 7 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS.  A few sightings from the Wellington area yesterday involved 20 or so RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS as this species starts its migration and is showing up at bird feeders everywhere. Typical bird feeder species are now showing up as opening day for this season’s Project FeederWatch gets under way on the 14th of November. Numbers of BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES are building as well as BLUE JAYS, WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCHES, both HAIRY and DOWNY WOODPECKERS and DARK-EYED JUNCOS. HOUSE FINCHES are reappearing and a few feeders in the area have had a PURPLE FINCH, or two. Despite the wind and the promise of colder temperatures in the offing, the Kingston area enjoyed some enthusiastic birding today. At Lemoine Point Conservation Area, with BROWN CREEPER, COMMON LOON, RED-TAILED HAWK and both WHITE-CROWNED and WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS highlighting the sightings there at noon. In Cataraqui Creek, north of Front Road, 60 GADWALL, a couple AMERICAN WIGEON, 55 NORTHERN PINTAILS, 35 LESSER SCAUP, and a BUFFLEHEAD  were some of the waterfowl species noted there. A nice raft of 350 GREATER SCAUP, a WHITE-WINGED SCOTER and a GREEN-WINGED TEAL were present in Cataraqui Bay, and 200 REDHEADS and 6 PIED-BILLED GREBES and a NORTHERN PINTAIL  made up the waterfowl in front of the Montreal Street apartments. Twenty NORTHERN SHOVELERS and 200 AMERICAN COOTS were present at Belle Park. At Amherst Island, RED-BREASTED and COMMON MERGANSERS  were seen there. At the Martin Edwards Reserve at the east end of the island, the attention there swung from waterfowl to passerines with 7 AMERICAN PIPITS being seen.  Six BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER and a tardy WILSON’S SNIPE were also seen there. A GREATER YELLOWLEGS  was still hanging loose at Invista (Dupont lagoons). And, returning to the Bay of Quinte area, the leucistic DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT can still be found along the Kiwanis Bayshore Trail where it has been for some time. Just a reminder from one reader as we continue to forge bravely ahead through the migration season, the incidents of bird strike at windows increases at this time of the year when birds are actively on the move. There are ways to prevent this from happening or, at least, lessen the occurrences by doing an Internet search and trying different solutions. On the market today is a variety of products such as inexpensive transparent black fiberglass screen that hangs loosely in front of glass, raptor silhouettes, various widow films and attractive art work that can be applied during this active time for birds. All it takes is just a little effort to install these. They can be removed later once activity slows down. 

Sunday, October 18:  Despite frost on the pumpkin this morning, WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW and EASTERN PHOEBE were seen at South Bay today. Yesterday at Prince Edward Point, 2 BLUE-HEADED VIREOS were among the highlights there for two observers, while at Black River, a BELTED KINGFISHER  showed up there. There was a MERLIN at Easterbrook Road near Point Petre, and 6 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS  were once again along County Road 24 at Point Petre. And the 7 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS that  were seen about 10 days ago were still in the same general area on Salmon Point Road. They hang out near Civic Address #878. The attraction is probably the excellent crop of wild grapes along a fence line on private property. There's no need to trespass. If the birds are there they perch on the utility lines beside the road. This morning, a handful of AMERICAN COOTS were along the shore at Consecon Lake, but according to a resident there, there were at least two to three hundred coots there a week ago.

Saturday, October 17: Today got off to an exciting start at Lake on the Mountain when a male MERLIN grabbed a DARK-EYED JUNCO from under a feeder east of there, then took its unfortunate prey to a telephone pole along County Road 7 to eat breakfast. Late yesterday afternoon, a photographer at the mouth of the Outlet River thought he was just getting a pretty picture of storm conditions off the Salmon Point rocky shoreline. It wasn’t until he examined his photos at home that he realized over 60 TURKEY VULTURES  were also in the photo, soaring around above the shoreline. At the mouth of the Outlet River yesterday afternoon, the photographer observed 3 BONAPARTE’S GULLS foraging along the beach, and loafing with about 20 RING-BILLED GULLS. There also were several immature HERRING GULLS along that section of beach, and several further flocks of ~30 gulls each further north along the beach. Two of the gulls were foraging, both with small inverts in their bills, and one loitering and feeding in the Cladophora washed up on shore. At about 6:20 p.m., he was startled to observe a kettle of over 30 other TURKEY VULTURES soaring close overhead in 30-40 km/hr winds and north along the beach.  Presqu’ile Park, noted another observer three days ago, was a bit dead after driving 45 minutes or so for “the list”. He walked the entire length of the beach and then went to Owen Point. Not one shorebird! Best bird was an EASTERN PHOEBE. On the way home he did a little tour of the Brighton Constructed Wetland and found lots lot of MALLARDS and quite a few GREEN-WINGED TEAL. Returning home, he racked up a list of 20 species from his own backyard! Among them were RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER, both HAIRY and DOWNY WOODPECKERS, both WHITE-CROWNED and WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS, HOUSE FINCH and a migrating flock of 8 EASTERN MEADOWLARKS. A few sightings to trickle in from Prince Edward Point over the last several days were a somewhat late OSPREY on the 10th, and a BLACK SCOTER  near the lighthouse on the 12th. Today, there was a dark morph SNOW GOOSE at Tremur Lake this morning, and this afternoon, the leucistic DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT was seen that had been spotted at Zwick’s Park about a month ago. A photo forwarded to me by Kenzo Dozono of Belleville who saw the bird along the Kiwanis Bayshore Trail, suggests the bird may be a full albino rather than a leucistic bird.

Friday, October 16: Lots of RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS  around yet. This little guy was taken today at Lemoine Point Conservation Area, in Kingston. Birding began today at 7:15 a.m. by one couple who surveyed the Hamilton Wetland west of Demorestville for action. In total, 27 GREAT EGRETS flew from the roost between 7:15 a.m. and 7:35 a.m. The resident 3 SANDHILL CRANES  were there also, accompanied by 2 GREAT BLUE HERONS, 3 NORTHERN HARRIERS, 1 RED-TAILED HAWK, a MERLIN, 2 NORTHERN SHOVELERS, 3 PIED-BILLED GREBES and a half dozen RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS. At Prince Edward Point this morning, mainly GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS, some HERMIT THRUSHES, a WINTER WREN, a couple RUSTY BLACKBIRDS, a PURPLE FINCH, one SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (#100 banded this season which beats any previous record) and a few regulars like BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, DARK-EYED JUNCOS, not a really busy day, but enough to provide some entertainment. And also at Prince Edward Point, a reminder that the ‘Big Sit’ raptor watch will be held at the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory tomorrow 10:00-14:00. It’s free (donations welcomed as always). Just bring a lawn/camping chair, binoculars, lunch, telescope (and camera) if you have one, and warm clothing. Predicted NW winds might bring in some exciting birds – possibly a Golden Eagle or two. Coffee will be available. There will also be a kids programme – What’s that Bird? – at 11am. This will be repeated next week on Sat 24th. The Prince Edward County Field Naturalists’ weekly Friday morning walk along the South Shore Important Bird Area in the Point Petre Provincial Wildlife Area, came to a close for this year today on a gorgeous sun filled day. Nothing too remarkable seen, but at this season of the year, a spectacular time to see what’s around. The Ash trees have all lost their leaves and only their keys remain on the branches while the Maples are glorious yellows, oranges and reds and the Buckthorn leaves remain green.  There were gnats swarming along Army Reserve Road - so a few EASTERN PHOEBES were there too.  There were COMMON CROWS, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES, BLUE JAYS, AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES and SONG SPARROWS at Simpson Road.  A couple of AMERICAN ROBINS  along Army Reserve and there were SULPHUR  butterflies flying: 25 CLOUDED SULPHURS between Simpson and MNR Roads, 18 between MNR Road and Lighthall Road, so roughly 50 of them, where literally hundreds were there a few months ago.  At Lighthall Road, a COMMON RAVEN heard to the east of the DU marsh and a BELTED KINGFISHER in the marsh.  Mixed flocks of DARK-EYED JUNCOS, CHIPPING SPARROWS and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS were eating berries from the shrubs along the berm trail.  A single MONARCH BUTTERFLY was seen flying down Lighthall Road.  A few LOBELIAS, GERARDIAS and BOTTLED GENTIAN could be found in flower if you searched for them.  Still some GOLDENRODS and ASTERS blooming but most are over. The Presqu’ile Park Bird Report for this week by Fred Helleiner, has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be viewed by CLICKING HERE.

Thursday, October 15: A species that we don’t always hear about for our Bird Report, was a RING-NECKED PHEASANT in the Bath area today. Also down that way, two EASTERN BLUEBIRDS  - a male and a female – at Lemoine Point Conservation Area this morning. A better night last night for NORTHERN WHET-OWL banding than the previous two nights at Prince Edward Point when none was captured. A total of 67 NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS  ended up with bands on their legs last night, bringing the total banded so far this month to 245. No other sightings came in today given the high winds, and the predicted thunderstorm as I write this at 5:30 p.m. has now arrived.

Wednesday, October 14: A HERMIT THRUSH dropped in for a visit at a backyard in Wellington today.  TURKEY VULTURES are still moving through evidenced by 50-60 soaring over Salmon Point Road today, and another 70 soaring above Picton Bay and Glenora Road near Chuckery Hill Road today. Thirty were seen as well heading west through North Oakville, so conditions must have been favourable. A CHIPPING SPARROW  was still present along Airport Parkway. Not too late for them just yet, but we seem to pay less attention to them at this time of the year as we await the arrival of the first AMERICAN TREE SPARROW, which should be starting to show up next week, or even by this weekend. TUNDRA SWANS are arriving from their northern breeding grounds, en route to their wintering grounds in Chesapeake Bay, although an increasing number are remaining in our area now during the winter months, something we never saw a half century ago. There were 113 today at Wolfe Island. More open water in recent winters and a convenient food source – zebra mussels – are thought to be responsible for higher populations wintering here now. A GREATER YELLOWLEGS at Lemoine Point Conservation Area in Kingston today. And in the Consecon area, lots of common migrants about but also some harder to find species. There were still three warbler species with YELLOW-RUMPED and singles of NASHVILLE and  ORANGE-CROWNED. Other migrants included 40 AMERICAN PIPITS, three HERMIT THRUSHES, two EASTERN PHOEBES and singles of BLUE-HEADED VIREO, EASTERN TOWHEE and FOX SPARROW. There were also two COOPER’S HAWKS. One had a screaming BLUE JAY in its talons and came to ground in front of a birder. Luckily the jay got away and  the birder had to call out GO JAYS GO !!    

Tuesday, October 13: Rain in the morning, gusty winds in the afternoon. It is not surprising that no bird sightings came in today locally. However, yesterday at Prince Edward Point, it was a fantastic day for one birder who found some great species including a BLACK SCOTER, 60 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, 1 HERMIT THRUSH, 2 WINTER WRENS and a PEREGRINE FALCON. Friend  Joël Coutu of Montreal was on Amherst Island yesterday, finding a GREATER YELLOWLEGS, a MERLIN, 5 RED-TAILED HAWKS, and a COOPER’S HAWK. Also present, but found by other birders were a couple SANDERLINGS, 5 AMERICAN PIPITS and a BRANT. On Monday, birders had a YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO near Tamworth, which may have been the same bird that spent the summer there.

Monday, October 12: A Napanee birder at Point Petre today ticked off a pretty good list comprising 25 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, 90 to 90 BLUE JAYS in one flock, 2 MERLINS, a NORTHERN HARRIER, 1 RUFFED GROUSE, and just to remind us that winter’s a comin’ – 2 LONG-TAILED DUCKS. One interesting sight was a flock (a mumuration) of EUROPEAN STARLINGS that was chased repeatedly by a MERLIN. It was remarkable, he said, to see all of them fly together in a very tight, compact group to avoid the MERLIN’S attack and failing to single one of them out. Over on the other side of the County, in the Consecon and Hillier area, many of the common migrants were about but the number of species was down even from five days ago. There were only two species of warbler, many YELLOW-RUMPED and one WILSON’S. Other migrants were KILLDEER (13), EASTERN TOWHEE (2), EASTERN PHOEBE (7), GRAY CATBIRD (3), EASTERN MEADOWLARK (3) and singles of HOUSE WREN, NORTHERN HARRIER, AMERICAN KESTREL and MERLIN. Along the east extension of the Belleville Bayshore Trail, south of Farley Avenue and adjacent to the old Bakelite Plant, some nice finds there today including YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, SWAINSON’S THRUSH, 4 HERMIT THRUSHES, a single PURPLE FINCH, and 3 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS  were seen by a Belleville birder. A PURPLE FINCH was also at 23 Sprague Road today as well. One birder had a good day today at Lemoine Point Conservation Area in Kingston when he racked up a list of 23 species, among them 2 WINTER WRENS, 4 SURF SCOTERS, 25 SONG SPARROWS, 2 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS, a PALM WARBLER, 35 GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS, 2 BLUE-HEADED VIREOS, 6 BROWN CREEPERS and a BALD EAGLE.

Sunday, October 11: Far too blustery today for any serious birding, and that was reflected in the number of sightings that came to my attention. A BLUE-HEADED VIREO was seen in a Belleville back yard today, along with an EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE. Along Belleville’s Airport Parkway, a LINCOLN’S SPARROW and over a dozen AMERICAN PIPITS highlighted sightings made there in the wind today.

Saturday, October 10: Must be the fine weather we had today that resulted in two very late dates of a couple species. A Trenton resident was enjoying his morning cup of coffee when a RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD came to some flowers just outside his door. Residents are always advised to keep their hummingbird feeders up through the first two weeks of October just in case a few stragglers may still be around, but normally October sightings are not that common. The latest date in my files is October 7th. And north of Belleville along Bronk Road (north of Harmony Road), a birder was surprised to see a GRASSHOPPER SPARROW  still lingering about. To see this species still around this late is rare and the latest date we have on file for this area is October 20th when two were seen in the Ameliasburgh area three years ago.  Also seen today along Bronk Road were 2 SAVANNAH SPARROWS, a SONG SPARROW and a BALD EAGLE “a mile up”. Still lots of time yet, until the end of this month and even early into next month to check off BLUE-HEADED VIREOS. Two were at Prince Edward Point today and one was in the backyard this afternoon at 23 Sprague Road on Big Island. Several parties of observers were at Prince Edward Point today, Toronto resident David Allan capturing a photo of a GOLDEN EAGLE. At least 4 juvenile BALD EAGLES were seen, SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS, COOPER’S HAWKS, but it was the TURKEY VULTURES that tried to steal the limelight, numerous kettles of them drifting overhead all day, one kettle comprising 220 birds. The population of DARK-EYED JUNCOS today was estimated at 100. GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS  numbered 20-30, and joining the fracas were 100 COMMON GRACKLES, a WHITE-WINGED SCOTER, an assortment of gulls, 6 PINE SISKINS, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, 2 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS and NASHVILLE WARBLER. On Fish Lake today there were 2 GADWALLS, some MALLARDS and a PIED-BILLED GREBE. At Sandbanks Park, EASTERN SCREECH-OWLS have been calling this week in their usual location in the woods beside the Woodland Campground. It appeared to be a good day for all involved.

Friday, October 09: If you think volunteering at  a banding station is a rewarding job, you might change your tune should you happen to find a TURKEY VULTURE in the nets. They don’t take too kindly to being handled, and this one, banded a few days ago,  threw up on the volunteer! The vulture was the first one ever to be caught at the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory. Banding of NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS has been underway since the first of the month and the running total of saw-whet owls banded as of last night is 102. Weather permitting, banding demonstrations of these diminutive owls will be taking place on Sunday, from 8:30 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. as part of the Observatory’s MIGRATION MATTERS weekend. Guided hikes and a raptor watch are also planned for the weekend. One sighting to come in from Prince Edward County was of a possible GOLDEN EAGLE at Consecon. Twenty-five species were checked off at the Bath Hydro Generating Station, among the sightings, some impressive numbers. RING-NECKED DUCKS (150), 76 NORTHERN PINTAILS, 850 CANADA GEESE, and 101 AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS made up the rafts of ducks which also included AMERICAN WIGEON, BLUE-WINGED TEAL,  GADWALL, HOODED MERGANSER, LESSER SCAUP, MALLARDS, MUTE SWAN and NORTHERN SHOVELER. Six GREATER YELLOWLEGS and 2 PEREGRINE FALCONS were also noteworthy. Kingston’s Lemoine Point Conservation Area didn’t do too badly either with 10 each of WHITE-THROATED and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS, 6 PALM WARBLERS and an AMERICAN KESTREL.  It was a grey day, but one observer made it down to the Point Petre area where the usual species for this time of the year were around in great abundance – BLUE JAYS, EASTERN TOWHEES, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, DARK-EYED JUNCOS, WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS and both species of kinglets. At the Simpson Road DU pond a BELTED KINGFISHER was seen and a couple of SWAMP SPARROWS in the marsh. Along Army Reserve Road, west of MNR Road,  a COOPER’S HAWK flew with a COMMON CROW in pursuit.  Along Lighthall Road., north of Royal Road, three AMERICAN KESTRELS were on a telephone wire, each spaced about 10 metres apart - probably waiting for nicer weather for their flight south. Fred Helleiner’s Presqu’ile Park weekly bird summary for the past week has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website, and can be found by CLICKING HERE.

Thursday, October 08: A gorgeous fall day for birding and what better bird to greet a Kingston resident than a juvenile ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK. It is a late date for this species, although not too unusual to see them in early to mid-October. A LINCOLN’S SPARROW and PALM WARBLERS  continue on Airport Parkway on the east side of Belleville. The beautiful day must have stimulated some activity among the DARK-EYED JUNCOS.  An individual that turned up today at a feeder near Lake on the Mountain must surely have been left behind because a birder today along Long Point Road near Prince Edward Point reported juncos by the hundreds, perhaps thousands. The same birder tried his luck on seldom travelled Gravelly Bay Road and it paid off in handsome dividends with 75 TURKEY VULTURES being seen, 4 RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS, a RED-TAILED HAWK, 2 BALD EAGLES, a NORTHERN HARRIER and a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK passing over. Seven EASTERN BLUEBIRDS  were spotted on County Road 24 (Point Petre Road) near Soup Harbour Road, and AMERICAN KESTRELS and EASTERN PHOEBES  were common everywhere. In a Wellington backyard today, there was a PINE WARBLER  and also a HERMIT THRUSH. Two birders birding Presqu’ile Park returned home with a respectable list of 42 species, among them, BROWN CREEPER, BELTED KINGFISHER, RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, NORTHERN SHOVELERS, CEDAR WAXWINGS, 3 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS and four TRUMPETER SWANS. BONAPARTE’S GULLS were at the Brighton Constructed Wetland. Gull Island was uncharacteristically devoid of birds.  

Wednesday, October 07: Twelve DUNLIN were among the finds at Amherst Island today, more specifically, the Martin Edwards Reserve at the east end of the island. Other good finds included a nice group of 25 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS  2 BLUE-HEADED VIREOS,  40 GREEN-WINGED TEAL, 3 GREATER YELLOWLEGS, 1 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, 4 NORTHERN SHOVELERS, 30 REDHEADS, 5 SANDERLINGS, and a SEMIPALMATED PLOVER.  Thirty-four YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS highlighted a few sightings at Strathcona today where other birds of note included GRAY CATBIRD, PILEATED WOODPECKER, SWAMP SPARROW  and GREAT BLUE HERON. At Stoco Lake, Tweed, an angler was fishing for muskellunge around noon when an AMERICAN BITTERN flew into a reed bed along the shoreline. Another birder had a great morning at the Goodrich-Loomis Conservation Area north of Brighton where birds of note there were PALM, PINE and YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, lots of DARK-EYED JUNCOS as that species continues its migration through the area, WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS,  and an OSPREY, with the capper being a BLANDING’S TURTLE basking in the sun on one of the trails. Of course, dozens upon dozens of both GOLDEN-CROWNED and RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS.  In the Consecon area today,  good number of migrants. In all there were seven warbler species and the Vermivora were close and together so the identification was easier. The species were ORANGE-CROWNED, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE, PINE, PALM, YELLOW-RUMPED and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT. Eight species in the Sparrow family were seen with WHITE-CROWNED, WHITE-THROATED, CHIPPING, FIELD, SONG and SAVANNAH representing the sparrows commonly recognized as such. Also in that family DARK-EYED JUNCO and EASTERN TOWHEE. Both Kinglets were plentiful with about equal numbers of RUBY-CROWNED and GOLDEN-CROWNED. Other migrants included BLUE-HEADED VIREO (6), GRAY CATBIRD (4), BROWN CREEPER (5), EASTERN PHOEBE (10), YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER (6) and singles of COMMON LOON and GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH. Certainly a good day for that birder! The first site in Prince Edward County where a roost of GREAT EGRETS was found back in 2012, harbouring well over 100 roosting GREAT EGRETS at its peak, is now all but deserted. That site – Indian Island in the Bay of Quinte across from Trenton – efforts were underway this year to discourage DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS  from roosting there as they were killing some of the trees with their excrement. In those efforts, the egrets became displaced as well. A final check last night revealed no egrets, and there were also no cormorants, so whatever has been going on is definitely having the desired effect.

Tuesday, October 06: Kinglets are on the move and also on the move are oth WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS. A resident in the Barry Heights area on the west side of Trenton had 25 of the former in his backyard foraging on the ground. GREAT EGRETS are still around although in reduced numbers. One was seen yesterday lumbering up the Trent Canal toward the 401. They will till persist however through much of this month. One hung around the Hamilton Wetland along County Road 14 until November 10th last year. Five egrets were in the wetland today along with a BELTED KINGFISHER and four RUSTY BLACKBIRDS. Duck-wise at the wetland, there were 4 NORTHERN PINTAILS, 600 CANADA GEESE, and 100 MALLARDS this afternoon as well as a dozen YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS and a NORTHERN HARRIER. In Wellington, a backyard on Narrow Street had a single YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER ( two yesterday), and a BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER took advantage of an available bird bath for a sip of water. Along Airport Parkway on the east side of Belleville, WHITE-THROATED SPARROW, WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS,  7 RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS, 7 AMERICAN PIPITS, and one each of PALM WARBLER, CHIPPING SPARROW and LINCOLN’S SPARROW  were all good sightings there. Yesterday at Strathcona, a GRAY CATBIRD  was found. On Duetta Road in Prince Edward County, EASTERN TOWHEE, HOUSE WREN, 2 EASTERN MEADOWLARKS, a BROWN THRASHER were all excellent sightings today. A COOPER’S HAWK was at Point Petre, and SANDHILL CRANES  were heard, but not seen, somewhere near the west end of Big Island today, probably the three that often turn up at the Hamilton Wetland. And in the Napanee area, 3 COMMON CROWS  were seen climbing down the side of a round bale of hay – combing it for grasshoppers, perhaps? Just a reminder that the informal walks conducted by a member of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists on Friday mornings, will be coming to an end shortly. One is scheduled for this Friday, another on the 16th and the final walk on October 30th. The walks are conducted by a botanist but anything that moves is also documented. Walks leave the intersection of Army Reserve Road and Simpson Road at 10:00 a.m. You can contact Sheila Kuja at if you need more details. 

Monday, October 05: Lots of some species around right now – YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS, WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS, and now, DARK-EYED JUNCOS moving in. A few LINCOLN’S SPARROWS along Airport Parkway on the east side of Belleville today, and a TUFTED TITMOUSE  turned up today along the same road, at the Fuller Native and Rare Plants nursery.  The proprietor was able to follow it around for a while and it even did some singing , but all he was able to get was a grainy photo, unfortunately.  There was also an immature COOPER’S HAWK that swooped into the brush pile and then took off. Lots of kinglets of both species around the nursery all weekend. At Wellington, the predominant bird today in a Narrrow Street backward was the YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, and 2 YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS also appeared late this afternoon. A BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER even used the backyard bird bath! At Presqu’ile Park today, a SEDGE WREN was reported anonymously with no details provided. This species is rare at Presqu’ile, especially in the fall. Twenty-nine species were seen by one enthusiastic birder from Belleville at one of my favourite conservation areas, Parrott’s Bay, just west of Kingston today. Among the more noteworthy were 4 WOOD DUCKS, 5 NORTHERN PINTAILS, GADWALL, 6 AMERICAN WIGEON, 4 AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS,  50 CANADA GEESE, RING-NECKED DUCK and 50 MALLARDS, on the bay inside the conservation area. A SWAINSON’S THRUSH, 8 WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS, a couple  RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS, a  CASPIAN TERN, and just to put some icing on the day – a BALD EAGLE. In the Napanee area – actually Morven – Wilton Creek produced a couple GREATER YELLOWLEGS. Nearby, along County Road 8, south of Napanee, 10 WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS and a RUSTY BLACKBIRD were highlights there. Fellow birder Ron Pittaway has once again compiled his Winter Finch Forecast for the coming season. Will we once again have redpolls? To find out CLICK HERE.  Photo credits by the way, for the accompanying photos in his predictions, can be seen by “mousing over” the photos. All photos were taken by local photographers.

Sunday, October 04: Nothing reported today except for these three SANDHILL CRANES that showed up on Kings Road in the Point Petre area. An observer at Point Petre noted plenty of TURKEY VULTURES migrating and AMERICAN KESTRELS  present. At the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory this coming Thanksgiving weekend, it’s “Migration Matters”, a weekend of guided hikes and NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL banding. Guided hikes take place Saturday and  Monday mornings, commencing at the Observatory at 9:00 a.m. Visitors can see the banding of Northern Saw-whet Owls on Sunday, October 11th from 8:30 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. (weather permitting. To see what other Observatory events are taking place this month, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, October 03: Not a lot going on today, likely due to the wind, but a few birders were out. The three SANDHILL CRANES (2 adults & juvenile) that turn up almost daily at the Hamilton Wetland along C.R. 14 west of Demorestville, appeared today along Black Road, just a short distance away. An AMERICAN KESTREL was also seen in that area. At Point Petre today, an EASTERN PHOEBE, a COOPER’S HAWK and a couple YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS. At Sandbanks Provincial Park in the Lakeshore Lodge day use area, NASHVILLE and BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER  were seen as well as a lone TREE SWALLOW. Two WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS were on a birder’s list today at the Little Catarqui Creek Conservation Area, just north of Kingston. Also present, 10 RING-NECKED DUCKS, a BELTED KINGFISHER, a BROWN CREEPER, 1 BLUE-HEADED VIREO, GREAT BLUE HERON, GREEN-WINGED TEAL and a PINE WARBLER among the 15 species of birds checked off there by a Belleville birder. An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER  was at the Marshlands Conservation Area yesterday in Kingston, as well as three HERMIT THRUSHES. Five RUSTY BLACKBIRDS  were at South Bay yesterday and two were at 23 Sprague Road on Big Island today. Codrington area resident and regular contributor to the Bird Report, Leslie Abram, has been doing some reading about the challenges that migratory birds face, and has written her latest blog about how choosing shade grown coffee can help.    Readers might be interested to know that their coffee drinking choices can make a big difference. There is even a plug in there for the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory coffee! You can read Leslie’s blog on why we should be drinking shade grown coffee by CLICKING HERE.

Friday, October 02: Lots of migrants about this morning in the Consecon area. Many species, according to one birder,  were present although nothing out of the ordinary. Some species were present in large numbers like BLUE JAYS (hundreds), WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS and YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS. There were six species of warbler: YELLOW-RUMPED, PALM, BLACK-THROATED BLUE, NASHVILLE, ORANGE-CROWNED and NORTHERN PARULA. A good number for this time in the season. Sparrows present were WHITE-THROATED,WHITE-CROWNED, SWAMP, SONG, LINCOLN’S CHIPPING and DARK-EYED JUNCO.  Other migrants were good numbers of EASTERN PHOEBE and NORTHERN FLICKER but also YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, GRAY CATBIRD, WINTER WREN, BLUE-HEADED VIREO,  and three species of thrush – SWAINSON’S, GRAY-CHEEKED and HERMIT. Both GOLDEN-CROWNED and RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS  were also present. At the other end of the County, down at Prince Edward Point, it was a good day there too, with 11 SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS banded. There were a few SWAINSON’S and HERMIT THRUSHES, and GOLDEN-CROWNED and RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS mirroring what the day was also like at Consecon, but few warblers – just BLACK-THROATED BLUE. A flock of TREE SWALLOWS, likely just arrived from the James Bay area, was seen. Lots of TURKEY VULTURES in squadrons flying past. Lots of TURKEY VULTURES  too in the Point Petre Provincial Wildlife Area with kettles of 30, sometimes 20, and other times 35 passing over.  Lots and lots of RED-TAILED HAWKS, COOPER’S HAWKS and SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS.  A few NORTHERN HARRIERS, too. Definitely a day to be looking up, way up! Probably several hundred BLUE JAYS - they were everywhere and quite vocal. Certainly a very blustery day, but quite exciting for all birders who were out today! Yesterday, the Hamilton Wetland west of Demorestville, managed to produce another exceptional bird to add to the SANDHILL CRANES, 90+ GREAT EGRETS, WHITE PELICAN and others that have shown up so far this year. A HUDSONIAN GODWIT turned up late yesterday afternoon and joined 3 GREATER YELLOWLEGS and the resident 3 SANDHILL CRANES that show up every day. Warblers are staying around despite the chilly winds – a late BAY-BREASTED WARBLER  was found yesterday along the trail that runs north from the intersection of Cannifton and River Road. A BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER  was also found. Other interesting sightings were a KILLDEER, 8 WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS and a RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET -17 species on a 1 kilometre section of trail. Pretty good for a windy October day. And, finally, our congratulations to regular contributor to this Report, Peter Fuller, for being the winner of a pair of 8 X 40 binoculars  in the 2015 Great Canadian Birdathon draw. There were several winners of various prizes awarded to Birdathon participants across North America, but Peter was the only local resident to win a prize.The Presqu’ile Park Weekly Bird Report by Fred Heleiner has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be found by CLICKING HERE.

Thursday, October 01: Except for a few sightings along Airport Parkway in Belleville – PALM WARBLER, GOLDEN-CROWNED and RUBY-CROWNED  KINGLETS, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, SWAMP SPARROW and 8 WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS – no one was out birding today. Peak numbers of WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS will be appearing this week and next, and the species will hang around until late November, except for the few that always turn up at winter bird feeders. Several showed up today in a Wellington backyard. It’s also the time for RUFFED GROUSE  to be on the move as evidenced by one that flew directly in front of one motorist on Taylor-Kidd Blvd this afternoon.

Wednesday, September 30: No action today, except from the wind. A few bird sightings did come in too late last night for inclusion in last evening’s Report, so I will list them here. At the Miller Farm Nature Reserve, along Prince Edward County’s South Shore area just east of Brewer’s Road (legendary Chuck-will’s-widow location!), found yesterday were MAGNOLIA WARBLER, a LESSER YELOWLEGS and  a GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET. Not far away, on Whattam’s Road, NASHVILLE WARBLER and RED-EYED VIREO were found. The big list though came from Prince Edward Point where a tally of good sightings included PEREGRINE FALCON, 4 MERLINS, 15 NORTHERN FLICKERS, a BALD EAGLE, 36 COMMON LOONS, 1 WHITE-WINGED SCOTER, 350 BLUE JAYS, a WINTER WREN. Warblers seen were 35 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, and one BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER. And way over on Main Duck Island, an adult BALD EAGLE has been present there since summer, according to a few observers.

Tuesday, September 29: Birds are where you find them, and WHEN you find them, even if it is during a steady rainfall. A GREAT BLUE HERON was found fishing at the base of the Napanee Falls in Springside Park this morning. He was having great success fishing and the observer wondered how so when the water was flowing so swiftly, obscuring any view of the fish swimming in the turbulent waters. Just west of Glenora Ferry, one resident there watched a continuous parade of  COMMON LOONS today, both swimming and flying, heading west. This performance has been going on for several days. Another birder who has no fear of rainfall, birded the lakeshore trail at Lake Ontario Park in Kingston this morning, coming up with more than a dozen species, among them, YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, RED-TAILED HAWK, NORTHERN PARULA, BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER, 15 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, and five CHIPPING SPARROWS.  Meanwhile downtown, Kingston’s PEREGRINE FALCON that has been around all summer made its appearance today at the Princess Towers. Enjoy the evening. It’s still raining.

Monday, September 28: There were 65 GREAT EGRETS  seen flying out of the Hamilton Wetland, west of Demorestville, last evening at 5:15 p.m.    Also present were these two SANDHILL CRANES.  Also present at the wetland were 13 NORTHERN PINTAILS, a PILEATED WOODPECKER, 3 PALM WARBLERS and some 300 EUROPEAN STARLINGS. If the egret and the crane weren’t impressive enough, the wandering WHITE PELICAN  was present too at the wetland. The pelican lately has been spending some time on nearby Muscote Bay, just below the escarpment and seems to have forsaken the cormorants with which it had previously associated. Now it’s egrets! A few interesting birds seen on the weekend at Prince Edward Point were 3 BALD EAGLES, EASTERN TOWHEE, and 8 SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS. At Sandbanks Park, some highlights there were a HORNED GREBE, 4 GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS, a couple COMMON RAVENS, and a BROWN CREEPER. Along County Road 2, north of Wilson Road in the Wellington area, a WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW  and a LINCOLN’S SPARROW were found yesterday, and down Kingston way today, a MARSH WREN and a RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH were present in the Marshlands Conservation Area off Front Road. A SPOTTED SANDPIPER and 4 GREATER SCAUP were checked off at Invista (Dupont lagoons). Back in our area, birds present at Presqu’ile Park included BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, GREATER YELLOWLEGS, SANDERLING, BAIRD’S SANDPIPER, SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, AMERICAN PIPIT and GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL. In Belleville, the BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON was in its usual spot in the Moira River today when I stopped in, along with a GREAT BLUE HERON and a GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL. Friend Ron Pittaway has completed his predictions for what may be expected in our area this winter and at our feeders. Get ready for Redpolls because we may very well have them again this winter, he predicts. They may move into southern Ontario because birch seed crops are low to average in northern Canada. A small flight of EVENING GROSBEAKS is expected in the East because of increasing numbers due to expanding spruce budworm outbreaks in Quebec. PINE GROSBEAKS also should move south in small numbers because the mountain-ash berry crop is below average in northern Ontario. And, he says, expect a scattering of RED CROSSBILLS across the East this winter. I will post his predictions on my website in a day or two along with a few photos. It seems weird with such balmy temperatures most days, to be talking about winter bird feeding, but signs of increased activity around the feeding stations at our home is already taking place with about a dozen BLUE JAYS, AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES, HAIRY and DOWNY WOODPECKERS, WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH and all the other regulars, now present and making regular forays to the feeders. If you are reading this right now at 6:15 p.m., there is still time to catch the first fall meeting of the Quinte Field Naturalists with the guest speaker Michael Mesure speaking about the Fatal Light Awareness Program. Finally,The WESTERN KINGBIRD in Ottawa was still perched in a dead tree at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden just south of the butterfly garden at noon today. Check the trees on the west side of the "old" field.

Sunday, September 27: A NELSON’S SPARROW (formerly called Sharp-tailed Sparrow)  was found and photographed today at the H.R. Frink Centre. Also present along the boardwalk in the marsh was “an infestation” of SWAMP SPARROWS (15) a good number for this wetland bird, and a VIRGINIA RAIL. The NELSON’S SPARROW is a rare but regular autumn migrant at this marsh. This particular one came into a taped song at the new section of boardwalk. A VIRGINIA RAIL was also present at the Harmony Road wetland north of Belleville east of Highway 37, but surprisingly, no GREAT EGRETS after the record number of 93 having been seen at the Hamilton wetland near Demorestville a few days ago. Also present at Harmony Road at daybreak this morning were 8 WOOD DUCKS, 2 COMMON GALLINULES and 110 RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS. However, the real treat was a PEREGRINE FALCON that circled the wetland, then did a power dive into a small flock of BLUE-WINGED TEAL. Another surprise was a flock of 15 BOBOLINKS, a rather late date for this species which normally departs by mid-September. Argentina is a long way off, so these BOBOLINKS  had best be going soon. Low of 1 degree Celsius by Thursday night! Another birder who was at Prince Edward Point yesterday echoed yesterday's report of numerous hawks playing a game of cat and mouse with the BLUE JAYS. Seven SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS, he said, were gliding in the wind and then another came flying up from the trees... they were striking everywhere doing crazy aerial manoeuvres all over the place.   BLUE JAYS were hiding in trees hopping around quietly or else freaking out.. Goldfinches and rarely seen Warblers were chased into cover immediately.   The observer had never seen anything like it, he related.  At one point, there were 3 NORTHERN HARRIERS that went by, a BALD EAGLE drifting around as well as the SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS seemingly everywhere... another big hawk took a run at a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK  - it was just pure chaos and he even saw SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS take aggressive runs at TURKEY VULTURES twice, once making a loud whack..  pretty amazing to watch, went on all morning, he confirmed. At the Hubb’s Creek Wetland along the Millennium Trail off Danforth Road west of Wellington, a DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT was making use of what little bit of open water exists here between the cattail masses. Seven PAINTED TURTLES were basking in the fall sunshine at one spot. And a MERLIN was finishing off a dragonfly lunch. If you don’t mind driving a little bit, a WESTERN KINGBIRD  appeared today in Ottawa and hung around all day. I can provide directions, if interested.

Saturday, September 26: BLUE JAYS  were on the move today at Prince Edward Point, but it wasn’t the uninterrupted fall migration that usually takes place at this now famous migratory focal point. BLUE JAYS were on high alert as hundreds called alarms and flew from one side of the road to the other at 9:00 a.m.. The reason was soon obvious. At least 2 NORTHERN HARRIERS and possibly 4-6 SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS  were looking for breakfast. At noon, the commotion was still going on but with less fervour - just 1 SHARP-SHINNED HAWK and the BLUE JAYS were probably exhausted. BLUE JAYS on the move were also noted at Sheffield Conservation Area, south of Kaladar, so the migration of this species is certainly well under way. A flock of 18 AMERICAN PIPITS was noted there, as well as a couple of BLUE-HEADED VIREOS and a RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET. It is always interesting to determine the arrival of species by the number of reports that come in daily from birders in the field. For example, Thursday was determined to be the date when DARK-EYED JUNCOS began arriving with reports coming in from various areas. Another report of a Thursday arrival of the species came from the east side of Belleville. Along Airport Parkway, a PALM WARBLER, WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS and an AMERICAN PIPIT turned up today. As of yesterday, the lone BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON continues to frequent the waters of the Moira River at the Lions Park off Station Street in Belleville where it was joined by a GREAT BLUE HERON. A few interesting species at the Parrott’s Bay Conservation Area, west of Kingston. The list started out with another DARK-EYED JUNCO, followed by 8 each of GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS and YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS. Also present were SWAMP SPARROW, GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH,  WINTER WREN, NORTHERN PARULA, a RED-EYED VIREO, and 2 AMERICAN WIGEON. Certainly a great place to bird where a year ago in May, there was a KENTUCKY WARBLER singing within a stone’s throw of a WORM-EATING WARBLER! Other birds seen around the region were a GREAT EGRET at the County Road 28 bridge near Fenwood Gardens south of Belleville, a NORTHERN HARRIER  west of Demorestville, and a PILEATED WOODPECKER in a backyard near the west end of Victoria Road west of Ameliasburgh.

Friday, September 25: In the Bay of Quinte at Zwick’s Park yesterday, there was a leucistic DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT. Today started out at the break of day with more white in the form of 93 GREAT EGRETS departing the Hamilton Wetland along County Road 14, west of Demorestville – a record high. For 10 minutes there was a constant flight of egrets from the roost, with fewer than 20 settling down in the wetland.  Also present were 2 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS, 2 KILLDEER, GREEN-WINGED TEAL and 10 NORTHERN PINTAILS. Wetland birds seen yesterday at Presqu’ile Park included GREAT BLUE HERON, AMERICAN BITTERN, BELTED KINGFISHER and a couple of COMMON GALLINULES. Other birds noted in the park were AMERICAN REDSTART, YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER and PHILADELPHIA VIREOS. Vireos were also the order of the day at Prince Edward Point where banders and volunteers there broke their record for RED-EYED VIREOS. BLUE-HEADED VIREOS  are also passing through now in good numbers. With good north easterly winds, it was definitely a hawk day at Prince Edward Point today. Volunteers  had 3 SHARP SHINNED HAWKS in one net at the same time! Five hawks in total were banded, but there were many more flying overhead! There were squadrons of TURKEY VULTURES and a few BALD EAGLES as well. BROWN CREEPERS have started to show up along with RUBY AND GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS in small numbers. There are still warblers coming through, notable BLACK-THROATED BLUE, BLACK-THROATED GREEN, MAGNOLIA, NASHVILLE, AMERICAN REDSTART AND CHESTNUT SIDED. At Point Petre it was the BLUE JAY that took the limelight there with a single flock of 80 passing over Point Petre Road and BLUE JAYS  were in constant chorus all along Army Reserve Road. Also lots of NORTHERN FLICKERS  gathering together and moving eastward at Point Petre. Nine were seen in one concentration on Lighthall Road by one Napanee observer.  A small flock of WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS turned up in the Point Petre Woods. At the Point there were four AMERICAN KESTRELS perched and then flying around over the federal open field and towards the lake. One was seen hovering and then catching his lunch and flying to a hydro line on the west side of the road to eat it.  The best part of all though down there today was just the beauty and colour of the roadsides and fields near Point Petre.  Because it's a bit cooler down there, the WHITE ASTERS, purple NEW ENGLAND ASTERS and Goldenrods were at their peak flowering and were a continuous phantasmagoria from the road back to the trees for several kilometres along Point Petre Road.   Also, there was a RED ADMIRAL butterfly and several CLOUDED SULPHUR butterflies feeding on an AMETHYST ASTER (the hybrid between NEW ENGLAND ASTER and the HEATH ASTER ) along the side of the Point Petre Road. Also seen were 7 MONARCH BUTTERFLIES along Army Reserve Road and Point Petre Road. Over on the west side of Prince Edward County, there was a BALD EAGLE on the north shore of Consecon Lake and a GREAT EGRET in the marsh at Carrying Place, and another at Pete’s Point near Massassauga. SNAPPING TURTLES at Pleasant Bay have been hatching this week, notes one observer, with numerous individuals making a hasty run for the water off Bay Meadows Park. Other sightings here and there included a RED-TAILED HAWK near Picton, and a return of Kingston’s PEREGRINE FALCON  in the downtown area. A late OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was seen at Invista in Kingston two days ago where an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was also seen. A DARK-EYED JUNCO was seen there on 24th which coincides with the first junco of the season being seen at Consecon yesterday. Fred Helleiner’s Presqu’ile Bird Report for the past week has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be found by CLICKING HERE.

Thursday, September 24: It is the autumnal recrudescence of the amatory urge, judging from at least three separate examples this past week. It is the time of the year when plants and animals get mixed up by the equal day and night around the fall equinox, and think it’s spring again. In Napanee, a DOWNY WOODPECKER kept entering a nest box as though exploring the possibilities of it being a nest site.  A SPRING PEEPER was calling loudly from the Big Island Marsh at 4:00 p.m. this afternoon, and in Consecon, a GRAY TREEFROG fooled one resident there into believing that an invisible bird was calling from the trees and rooftop of his house. Consecon had lots to contribute to the Bird Report today. It must have been a good migration last night since migrants could be found everywhere and in numbers. A Trenton birder there had 13 species of warbler including BLACKBURNIAN, BLACK-THROATED GREEN, YELLOW-RUMPED, MAGNOLIA, PALM, BLACK-THROATED BLUE, NASHVILLE, BAY-BREASTED, CHESTNUT-SIDED and  WILSON’S  as well as NORTHERN PARULA, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH and  COMMON YELLOWTHROAT. Other migrants noted were SCARLET TANAGER, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, LINCOLN’S SPARROW, RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD, both RED-EYED and BLUE-HEADED VIREOS, and in equal numbers – both GOLDEN-CROWNED and RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS.  Fall is definitely coming since a few DARK-EYED JUNCOS – the first for this season - and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS were present with large numbers of WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS. Slab Creek Swamp along the Millennium Trail off Station Road in Hillier had six squealing WOOD DUCKS and a grunting VIRGINIA RAIL – the latter another example of autumnal recrudescence as that species normally would not be calling this late in the season. The east end of the Murray Canal had three GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS with the usual HERRING  and RING-BILLED GULLS. . There were also seven BONAPARTE’S GULL and a lone CASPIAN TERN.  The WHITE PELICAN that turned up at the Hamilton Wetland along C.R. 14, had earlier been seen two days earlier on Muscote Bay. And a late report came in of a BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER near Sandbanks which was subsequently found dead last week. A BARRED OWL continues to be a now and then visitor in the woods behind an Elmbrook Road residence where there is also a WHIP-POOR-WILL that has been calling every morning. A BALD EAGLE was seen at Northport three says ago, and another was seen today at Huyck’s Point. And, finally, a Fry Road resident north of Picton was outside with his iPod last night and played the song of an EASTERN SCREECH-OWL. Returning to the house, the muffled sound of a screech owl could be heard, so he returned to the outside deck, and played the song again. This time the owl flew over the man and his wife, perched in a tree,  and did a few more flyovers.

Wednesday, September 23: Last evening was a great evening at the Hamilton Wetland because, in addition to the unexpected appearance of the WHITE PELICAN, there was also present was a family of SANDHILL CRANES – two parents with a young ‘un in tow. Also present were some 25 BLUE-WINGED TEAL, one each of MERLIN and NORTHERN HARRIER and AMERICAN KESTREL, 3 GREATER YELLOWLEGS and a LESSER YELLOWLEGS. In the Moira River at Belleville, the BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON is back again off Station Street.  Five WILD TURKEYS  were present in a field near the west end of Black Road in Prince Edward County.   BOBOLINKS  have all left town by now, but EASTERN MEADOWLARKS are still round yet in good numbers. A half dozen or so can be depended on in the harvested hay fields west of 23 Sprague Road on Big Island.

Tuesday, September 22: As we say down here in The County – that’s “more better”. Lots of sightings for this evening’s Bird Report. Warblers are still passing through en masse in some areas in the Quinte region. A dozen species of warblers were present at Prince Edward Point, among them, BAY-BREASTED WARBLER, 4 TENNESSEE WARBLERS, WILSON’S WARBLER, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, NASHVILLE WARBLER, CAPE MAY WARBLER, and NORTHERN PARULA. Much the same in the Stinson Block area, west of Consecon with both BLACK-THROATED BLUE and BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLERS, MAGNOLIA, YELLOW-RUMPED, and MOURNING WARBLER making up the list, along with NORTHERN PARULA and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT.  Newly arrived WHITE-THROATED and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS  also made it on the list as did four SWAINSON’S THRUSHES and a group of five EASTERN BLUEBIRDS on a grass farmyard. Not much happening, it seems, with the three GREAT EGRET roosts. No significant numbers have come in recently from the Harmony Road site, and just a sprinkling from the Hamilton Wetland. Very unusual as numbers last year remained high, 30-50, at the Hamilton Wetland well into mid-October before dropping off with one persisting until November 10th.  However, what was present at 5:00 p.m. this afternoon was the WHITE PELICAN which had been on the Bay of Quinte since June! At the Indian Island roost site, a possible explanation for the egrets' departure there might be in the efforts from a few locals in trying to discourage the roosting DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS from using the island to roost because of tree damage.  This, in turn, may have discouraged the egrets from roosting there any longer, and have moved on. Speaking of cormorants, there were 1,800 at Swetman Island (the False Duck Islands). One birder down there yesterday chalked up BALD EAGLE, 5 EASTERN TOWHEES, 3 BROWN THRASHERS, 6 EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES and 20 GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS. Also see were 3 SWAINSON’S THRUSHES and a GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH. RED-EYED VIREOS  are still holding strong with 15 being counted and there was also a PHiLADELPHA VIREO, along with 3 MERLINS and a YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER. An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER and a BROWN CREEPER  were at Sandbanks Park. West of Demorestville along Black Road, GRAY CATBIRD and a RED-TAILED HAWK both made their appearance, while 2 AMERICAN WOODCOCK were seen at Bloomfield. At Lake on the Mountain, SCARLET TANAGER, MAGNOLIA WARBLER  and BELTED KINGFISHER  were good sightings there, while at Strathcona, SWAMP SPARROW and a MARSH WREN made it onto a birder’s list in that community northeast of Napanee.

Monday, September 21: Today, not much going on except for a few early morning sightings at the Hamilton Wetland along County Road 14, west of Demorestville. Present in the flooded field today were about 20 BLUE-WINGED TEAL, 4 GREATER YELLOWLEGS and a GREAT BLUE HERON.

Sunday, September 20: A few bird species came in today, but not much for a Sunday and beautiful weather to boot. Three GREAT EGRETS today at the Harmony Road wetland north of Belleville, and a GREAT BLUE HERON. On the Cataraqui Trail east of Strathcona, a birder there found CEDAR WAXWING and PILEATED WOODPECKER. Today at Presqu’ile Park, a birder there found CANADA WARBLER, NASHVILLE WARBLER, WILSON’S WARBLER, PHILADELPHIA VIREO, EASTERN PHOEBE and CEDAR WAXWINGS. Yesterday, another birder there found PECTORAL SANDPIPER, and 2 LEAST SANDPIPERS at Owen Point. On the beaches, GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL, a half dozen BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS including one in transitional plumage, 10 SANDERLINGS, lots of CANADA GEESE and AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS. Sunny conditions, cool temperatures and wind greeted a Belleville birder today at Prince Edward Point where birds of interest included both BLACK-THROATED GREEN and BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLERS, PINE WARBLERS, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, NASHVILLE WARBLER and NORTHERN PARULA. Hundreds of BLUE JAYS were in motion indicating a migration. Also seen, a female SCARLET TANAGER, BLUE-HEADED VIREO, RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET and an immature BALD EAGLE

Saturday, September 19:  BAIRD’S SANDPIPER and BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER  were two of the highlights at Sandbanks Provincial Park today as the fall migration continues. A MERLIN was seen along King’s Road and a BALD EAGLE  was at Point Petre. No shortage of LESSER YELLOWLEGS yet. Seventeen were present today at Wilton Creek east of Napanee, as were 3 GREAT BLUE HERONS, a SOLITARY SANDPIPER, and a BELTED KINGFISHER. Three male NORTHERN HARRIERS were seen today swooping together on Amherst Island and 8 COMMON LOONS were present along the ferry route. Yesterday there was an adult BALD EAGLE and an immature soaring overhead and heading east in the Point Petre Provincial Wildlife Area. Otherwise, just the usual birds again during the Friday morning Prince Edward County Field Naturalists walk along Army Reserve Road – EASTERN TOWHEE, GRAY CATBIRD, COMMON YELLOWTHROATS and AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES. GREAT BLUE HERON and BELTED KINGFISHER were seen in the DU wetland on Lighthall Road. MONARCH BUTTERFLIES were flying about everywhere and a VICEROY BUTTERFLY was also among them. Still a fair number of CLOUDED and ORANGE SULPHURS according to the leader of the walk, but much less than half the number seen a couple of weeks ago.  Also at Lighthall Road, a RED ADMIRAL, an AMERICAN LADY butterfly and an EASTER-TAILED BLUE  were seen.  Still a few TWELVE-SPOTTED SKIMMERS around the pools as well as some Darners flying over and many Meadowhawks, some in tandem laying their eggs There were BOTTLE GENTIANS along the sides of the road below the berm at Lighthall Road. The highlight of the walk was seeing the Red Eft stage of the Eastern RED-SPOTTED NEWT on the gravel road. Also in the same area, another observer had a good day hawking with numerous RED-TAILED HAWKS  seen, as well as and adult BALD EAGLE along the shore, a COOPER’S HAWK at Point Petre, a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK right on the road, 2 more BALD EAGLES (both juveniles)  at Charwell Point which were accompanied by 3 MERLINS. In the area of the Big Swamp, WILSON’S WARBLER, VEERY, and three species of vireo – RED-EYED, BLUE-HEADED, and WARBLING. And BLUE JAYS everywhere as their migration continues. Along the Napanee River today at Springside Park, present were MALLARDS, GREAT BLUE HERON, CANADA GEESE and a juvenile DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT.

Friday, September 18: Campsite 370 in the Trail’s End Campground at Presqu’ile Provincial Park is tucked away in a predominantly deciduous woods just a stone’s throw away from the lake shore. We could not have picked a better week, but except for a PILEATED WOODPECKER who repeatedly visited our campsite on most days, that was about the only birding I got in from Monday through today. A hip that is scheduled for new parts in November kept me pretty much campsite bound  all week so I did most of my birding vicariously through the efforts of others who left notes behind at the Bird Sightings Board about exciting discoveries they had made. The first DUNLIN appeared on the beach on Tuesday, and with it were several WHIMBREL, 2 AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER, a dozen BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER. As well, the BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER returned for an encore, and four were on Gull Island today. Thursday featured 10 RED-NECKED GREBES, 3 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS and a BARRED OWL, the latter present again today. GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSHES  have been appearing all week. A quick trip to Campbellford and Ferris Provincial Park revealed NORTHERN FLICKERS  flying back and forth and along the roadsides everywhere. As we entered Ferris Park, between 12 and 15 flew from the shoulder of the gravel entrance road. Yesterday at Sandbanks Provincial Park, 13 SANDERLINGS  were seen by a birder there. West of Demorestville, 2 EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES were still present, although this species will hang around well into October before departing. Fred Helleiner’s Presqu’ile Bird Report for the past week has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website, and can be viewed by CLICKING HERE.

Monday, September 14: Taking some time off - me and Miss Dog - for a few days. The Quinte Area Bird Report will return sometime during the latter part of the week. Meanwhile, continue to e-mail me your reports and sightings and we will catch up when this blog returns in a few days.

Sunday, September 13: Well, I guess that will teach me to claim, several days ago in this Report, that it never rains in Prince Edward County. Two and half inches later......The two day steady rain though did translate into few sightings coming in, except for a MAGNOLIA WARBLER that met an untimely death when it struck the front door of a West Lake home. And, if you don’t like the rain, you can start dreaming thoughts of winter. Already, a SNOWY OWL has appeared, seen on a telephone pole in the off ramp from Highway 8 exiting towards the 401, just south of Grand River. Sandbanks once again had shorebirds, today, featuring 2 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, 5 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, 2 GREATER YELLOWLEGS, 7 SANDERLINGS and one each of SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER and BAIRD’S. An exceptional sighting today was in a ploughed field in the Hay Bay area where 19 AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS  were seen. Eight BROAD-WINGED HAWKS and a BALD EAGLE  were at Prince Edward Point.

Saturday, September 12: Birdwatchers do it in the rain! Well ,at least a few of them, anyway. Despite what ended up being around two inches of rainfall today, one birder was at Sandbanks Park mid-morning and found a nice assortment of shorebirds including 2 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS, one SPOTTED SANDPIPER, a LEAST SANDPIPER, one BAIRD’S, a SANDERLING, one GREATER YELLOWLEGS, and 3 SEMIPLMATED PLOVERS. And here is real dedication. Two birders got a late start Friday morning, arriving 10 minutes later than usual to do a count of GREAT EGRETS leaving the Hamilton Wetland at daybreak, and discovered to their dismay that the egrets were already leaving the roost. Their count of 47 GREAT EGRETS  was considered unacceptable to them, so they returned again this morning, in the rain, swatting mosquitoes brought on by the rain. At 6:35 a.m., the first egret ventured out of the wetland, followed by many more for a final count of an incredible 91 in 15 minutes. By 7:00 a.m.  groups of 5-10 were flying off including one green tagged bird high in the sky. Mission accomplished and satisfied with their efforts, they returned home, and went back to bed!

Friday, September 11: If you are anticipating a visit to Prince Edward Point this week, and expect the same kind of excitement that spring usually offers – think again! The Point Traverse trail system is a maze of spider webs (and spiders) right now, and birding has been a bit thin. Yesterday, there was a BLUE-HEADED VIREO and ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK. The two BALD EAGLES 1 imm and 1 adult) and a MERLIN were also highlights, two species that carried on into today with 4 MERLIN being seen and an immature BALD EAGLE. Other raptor sightings suggested conditions were right for some raptor movement and also seen in the Prince Edward Point are today were AMERICAN KESTREL, RED-TAILED HAWK, BROAD-WINGED HAWK, a male NORTHERN HARRIER and lots of TURKEY VULTURES. Passerines were around, but always at this time of the year when birds are more restless than they are in the spring, and most sporting drab, confusing fall colours, not to mention that song is all but absent, sorting them out can be a challenge. One birder today did manage to confirm 7 warbler species there – BAY-BREASTED, BLACKPOLL, YELLOW-RUMPED, MAGNOLIA, BLACK-THROATED GREEN, NASHVILLE, and...drum roll...A BLUE-WINGED WARBLER. ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS was also seen today, as yesterday. Three LESSER YELLOWLEGS  were at the Hamilton Wetland early this morning as were a WOOD DUCK, 7 BLUE-WINGED TEAL and a couple hundred MALLARDS. Two SOLITARY SANDPIPERS made it on the day’s list today along Airport Parkway in the Belleville area along with a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK and a couple PALM WARBLERS. At the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory, it was a slow day but had a few highlights. On first net round banders caught a large RED-TAILED HAWK, also SWAINSON’S THRUSHES, VEERYS,  and a few warblers, notable a BLACK-THROATED BLUE, MAGNOLIA, BLACK-THROATED GREEN, and RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET.  Banders yesterday had their first BROWN CREEPER of the fall season. Quiet was the word today at Point Petre with no warblers being heard or seen at Army Reserve Road. A SWAMP SPARROW was spotted  at the Simpson Road. DU marsh.  There were two TURKEY VULTURES soaring and a CEDAR WAXWING was in one of the trees below the berm.  An EASTERN TOWHEE and a GRAY CATBIRD  were heard but mostly insects rather than birds accounted for the sounds emanating from the shrubs and grasses.  There were still a few LADIES-TRESSES orchids in bloom and a few GERARDIAS still flowering but BOTTLED GENTIANS are at their peak, as are the Asters and Goldenrods, so the colour scheme of the fields and meadows is white, blue and yellow with a touch of pink. Fred Helleiner’s weekly wrap-up of birds at Presqu’ile Park has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be seen by CLICKING HERE.

Thursday, September 10:  Airport Parkway east of Belleville today boasted a nice list of birds comprising two WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS, WARBLING VIREO, 2 ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS, a HOUSE WREN, and BLUE-HEADED VIREO. Also six species of warblers – BLACK-THROATED GREEN, BLACKPOLL, CHESTNUT-SIDED, PALM, YELLOW-RUMPED, and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT. Enjoy these species while you can as one day we will scan the trees and all will be gone until next spring rolls around. Some good stuff up in the Stinson Block area too, west of Consecon. Although birding was quiet the hedgerow along Pope Lane (off C.R. 39) had a small but varied group of migrants. Warbler species included BLACK-AND-WHITE, CHESTNUT-SIDED, MAGNOLIA, NASHVILLE, WILSON’S WARBLER, NORTHERN PARULA and AMERICAN REDSTART. Also present were RED-EYED VIREO and 5 SWAINSON’S THRUSHES. A juvenile NORTHERN HARRIER sailed overhead and COMMON RAVENS called in the distance. A pair of the latter species nested this summer in an old barn in that area, raising five young.  A half dozen species of warblers were present today at Prince Edward Point, among them, MAGNOLIA, CAPE MAY and BLACKPOLL. Also seen, BALD EAGLE and BLUE-HEADED  as well as PHILADELPHIA VIREO. Along County Road 13, BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER and BLACKBURNIAN  were chalked up by one observer, as well as BAY-BREASTED and a MERLIN. It was good going too on Amherst Island where highlights there at the Martin Edwards Reserve included 2 MARSH WRENS, SANDERLING, a GREATER YELLOWLEGS  and a BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER. A few shorebirds at Wilton Creek yet, east of Napanee. Highlights there today were LESSER YELLOWLEGS and SOLITARY SANDPIPER. More LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS being seen to accompany the individual seen recently near Gull Pond, this time in Ottawa where 4 juveniles were seen. And a bit of a flurry of migrants today at Algonquin Park where “an immense warbler flock” was seen in the Algonquin Art Centre parking lot, with the star attraction being a YELLOW-THROATED VIREO.

Wednesday, September 09: Not a whole lot to report this evening, despite the half decent day, weather-wise. A juvenile LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER was photographed in one of the wetlands off Army Reserve Road in the South Shore Important Bird Area – another reason to protect this incredible habitat from the destruction by industrial wind turbines. Our first sighting for Prince Edward County was in 1977, and the only other record we have is of two seen at Wellington Harbour in 2002 by Bruce DiLabio of Ottawa. The scarcity of sightings is probably more attributable to the difficulty in separating this species from the more commonly seen SHORT-BILLED  species. This one, photographed by Brenda Kostiuk is a juvenile. In GREAT EGRET news, the only news to come in was the sighting of 21 birds last evening on Indian Island in the Bay of Quinte, near Trenton. A few sightings from Strathcona today included 6 PALM WARBLERS, 8 EASTERN PHOEBES and 3 GRAY CATBIRDS.

Tuesday, September 08:  It is very difficult to get too excited about birding in the daytime temperatures that we have been experiencing, although a few have been out and about. Six GREAT EGRETS last night flew from east to west down the Big Island Marsh just at dusk, likely heading toward the Hamilton Wetland along County Road 14. Not much being reported these days from Prince Edward Point although through the birding grapevine, a couple of CONNECTICUT WARBLERS had been seen and/or banded on the weekend. YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, NASHVILLE WARBLER and a FIELD SPARROW  were seen at Point Petre, and a juvenile BALD EAGLE showed up on County Road 24 (Point Petre Road) near Royal Road. Another BALD EAGLE, this time an adult, flew over the northeast end of East Lake at about tree height. At the Harmony Road wetland, 16 GREAT EGRETS  were counted, all visible from the road at 6:15 a.m. At 6:25 a.m.,  they started to fly down by ones and twos into the marsh. By 6:40 a.m., the official time of sunrise, only 4 remained in the trees.  At Camden Lake and the nearby Moscow Marsh, juvenile BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER, WHITE-THROATED SPARROW, EASTERN PHOEBES, SCARLET TANAGER and lots of WARBLING and RED-EYED VIREOS were noted. You have to work for it, but there are birds around, if you don’t mind sweltering in the heat to do it.

Monday, September 07:  Presqu'ile Park's WESTERN SANDPIPER  was on Beach 3 today, but no word as to the fate of the remaining specials – the BUFF-BREASTED, BAIRD’S or the AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER. If birding was anticipated today, one had to be up with the sun and underway before both the heat and the wind, which is what one Belleville birder did this morning at 6:30 a.m. at Prince Edward Point. The distance from Belleville though proved to be in vain as only a handful of species was noted – notably a MERLIN, 12 CEDAR WAXWINGS, EASTERN TOWHEE, SPOTTED SANDPIPER, and 50 HERRING GULLS. Another Belleville birder did somewhat better with a couple dozen species at Kingston’s Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area along Division Street. Some of his more noteworthy finds were ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, PIED-BILLED GREBE, 3 HOODED MERGANSERS, MAGNOLIA WARBLER, 2 CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLERS, 3 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, and BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER. Also seen were both GREEN and GREAT BLUE HERON, GRAY CATBIRD, and NORTHERN FLICKER.

Sunday, September 06: No bird sightings today except for an update on the shorebirds at Presqu’ile Park. Early this morning neither the LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER nor the WESTERN SANDPIPER, nor the BAIRD’S SANDPIPER or AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER that created so much excitement yesterday on the beach, were present. However, later in the morning both the  WESTERN SANDPIPER and the BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER  did make an encore. Also present on the beach today were  dozen SANDERLINGS, 30 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, 6 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS and a KILLDEER. Also seen in the morning was a first winter BALD EAGLE and a MERLIN that checked out the responses of the shorebirds along the beach.

Saturday, September 05: Some good sightings arriving today despite the hot, steamy temperatures. A WESTERN SANDPIPER turned up today on the beach at Presqu’ile Park. The bird showed up this morning and was still present at 6:00 p.m. this evening at Beach Two. To see the bird, you can park at Beach 2 parking area and walk south or the Owen Point Trail parking lot (formerly Beach 4) and walk north. Quite a few other shorebirds there too today including 5 BAIRD’S SANDPIPERS, and an AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER. The real treat this evening though was a juvenile LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER, hanging out in the Beach 3 area. No sign of the BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS  though. A few species of interest in our immediate area including a GREEN HERON and 2 MERLINS at South Bay. East of Belleville, a birder there along Airport Parkway got a PALM WARBLER and an AMERICAN KESTREL for his efforts. And at Prince Edward Point, two species of birds at different ends of the size scale – 3 BALD EAGLES and three BLACKPOLL WARBLERS.

Friday, September 04: Pretty good today as far a bird sightings and reports go. A PALM WARBLER was along several species noted today along Airport Parkway on the east side of Belleville, and a MERLIN was spotted down near the Waupoos Winery this morning. Four GADWALL and two COMMON MERGANSERS were among the sightings made at Invista today as the Dupont Ponds in Kingston come back for an encore after a summer long sabbatical. Also seen in there  2 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, a BELTED KINGFISHER, 2 CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLERS and six WARBLING VIREOS. An EASTERN SCREECH-OWL was one of the high points for a birder at Beaver Meadow Conservation Area at East Lake and another MERLIN  was at Sandbanks where an impressive list of shorebirds was obtained – BAIRD’S SANDPIPER, 3 LEAST SANDPIPERS, 6 SANDERLINGS, 10 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS and a WHIMBREL. Also seen, COMMON TERN and an AMERICAN KESTREL. Along Black Road near Demorestville – EASTERN PHOEBE, 2 EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES and 2 NORTHERN FLICKERS. From Prince Edward Point today, the warm weather put a damper on activity a bit -  NASHVILLE WARBLER, NORTHERN PARULA, YELLOW WARBLER, MAGNOLIA WARBLER, BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER, BAY-BREASTED WARBLER, BLACKPOLL WARBLER, BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, AMERICAN REDSTART, OVENBIRD, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, SHARP SHINNED HAWK, RED EYED VIREOS, and the first RED BREASTED NUTHATCH.And just one BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER - this time, on Beach 2 today, instead of Beach 3 - directly opposite the south parking lot. Bird is preening and resting near junction of light sand and algae mat as of late this afternoon. Still lacking the Friday report from the South Shore Important Bird Area, but we’ll pick that up tomorrow. Remember - these Friday morning informal walks are open to everyone, commencing at 10:00 a.m. at the corner of Army Reserve Road and Simpson Road. 

Thursday, September 03: Present today in the early morning fog at Presqu'ile Park were SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS, SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, LEAST SANDPIPER, KILLDEER and a PECTORAL SANDPIPER. A few warblers around this morning at the Potter’s Creek Conservation Area at Wallbridge/Loyalist Road (formerly the Quinte Conservation Area) on the west side of Belleville. Warblers present were BLACK-AND-WHITE, CHESTNUT-SIDED, YELLOW-RUMPED, 2 MAGNOLIA WARBLERS and a couple of COMMON YELLOWTHROATS. Fred Helleiner’s Presqu’ile Park Bird Summary for the past week has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website, and can be found by CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, September 02: Just a tiny Report this evening, starting with the BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER at Presqu’ile Park.There were three of them present last evening on Beach 3, but away from the shore. Also, a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER  was present along the shore.The RED KNOT at Sandbanks was seen again on the beach near the Lakeshore Lodge day use area. With it were 5 SANDERLINGS, 2 BOAPARTE’S GULLS, 2 each of CASPIAN and COMMON TERNS and a BELTED KINGFISHER. Along Wilton Creek today, at Morven, 4 CASPIAN TERNS, a WILSON’S SNIPE, 5 GREATER YELLOWLEGS, an amazing 32 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, 4 LEAST SANDPIPERS and a couple of SOLITARY SANDPIPERS  were highlights there.

Tuesday, September 01: The RED KNOT  was still to be found at Sandbanks Provincial Park this morning. Some good sightings today, even a few that could not be identified. An impressive flock of 16 dark (plegadis) ibis flew over County Road 64 near Carrying Place yesterday afternoon, but their identity could not be confirmed. Maybe GLOSSY IBIS – maybe not. The lone BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON in the Moira River off Lion’s Park in Belleville doubled in number today, to two. Also in twos, were two GREAT EGRETS at Sandy Cove at Massassauga Point Conservation Area. Last night was mostly about COMMON NIGHTHAWKS though. Five nighthawks were observed flying over Fish Lake last evening. On the west side of Trenton, one observer there enjoyed watching a  flight last evening of about 20 nighthawks at treetop and above at about 7 p.m. It was quite entertaining to watch overhead for about 20 minutes, feeding on flying ants,  as they are very sleek rapid flyers back and forth. At about 7:15 they flew  very high up, and about 15 nighthawks were in a determined southwest glide. Within five minutes the birds at the lower level were gone and likely joined up with the others. A good group of 32+ COMMON NIGHTHAWKS were seen last evening feeding along/above River Road by a bicyclist in the Corbyville area. Highest single count of 32 at 7:30 pm. All were feeding high above River Road from Corbyville to Foxboro. Total birds along a 5 km stretch of River Road probably exceeded 50. What was likely the same OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER  was seen again today at Prince Edward Point where other species of note were MERLIN, LESSER and GREATER YELLOWLEGS, SCARLET TANAGER, 5 GRAY CATBIRDS and a GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER. A birder at Beaver Meadow yesterday near East Lake found several MALLARDS, a female WOOD DUCK, 2 GREAT BLUE HERONS, 2 BELTED KINGFISHERS, AMERICAN WIGEON, 4 MUTE SWAN (2 adult, 2 young) a GREEN HERON, and a COMMON GALLINULE. The birder also found 100+ COMMON GRACKLES, the sound so loud when they flew off it that it resembled falling rain.  Sandbanks Park, on the Lake Ontario side of the Dunes (day use area) SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS and a SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, along with HERRING and RING-BILLED GULLS were present as well as a DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT (sleeping on the beach). The dead RED-NECKED GREBE , found a few days ago washed up up on shore, was still there, surprisingly not cleaned up yet by the gulls. Noted at backyard feeders in the Barry Heights area of Trenton today, a male BALTIMORE ORIOLE with two grown up youngsters at the sugar feeder. Lots of AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES there also, at least 20+ with young. To add to the mix in this backyard,  at least four GIANT SWALLOWTAILS  this past month on the many flowers in the backyard, with the buddlea and lantana shrubs being the best. Also in the backyard, several patches of PRICKLY ASH with a good number of larvae growing for next year. The BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS (3 or 4) were on Beach 3 at Presqu’ile Park again today. Yesterday morning on the same beach, SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS and SANDPIPERS, KILLDEER, SANDERLING, BAIRD’S, LEAST, and PECTORAL SANDPIPER  were a few other species present. No mention of warblers today, but they are obviously still going through as evidenced by a flurry of mixed species that passed through a Narrow Street backyard in Wellington today.


Last Updated ( Feb 06, 2016 at 08:43 PM )
Marsh Monitoring Workshop w/Terry Sprague PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Spraque   
Feb 04, 2016 at 06:47 PM
 To see a video about the program, scroll to bottom poster and click the link provided
  Citizen Scientists are needed to monitor Bay of Quinte wetlands! 
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Last Updated ( Feb 05, 2016 at 08:52 PM )
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