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On the Ground and In the Air, Drones PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Spraque   
May 30, 2016 at 04:16 PM
Exploring your Property: On the Ground & In the Air
On Saturday, June 18 in Madoc, the Ontario Woodlot Association (Quinte Chapter) will host an active learning day on the Ground and in the Air. Two practical demonstrations will help landowners learn new ways to examine their property.
In the GIS morning session in Madoc, you can be a cartographer. Nick January, Geographic Information System (GIS) coordinator for the County of Hastings, will demonstrate what you can learn about your property using the Hastings County Community Online Maps System. Learn how to access the most recent colour aerial photography.
In the afternoon, you can be 500 feet tall. Participants will visit Chris Droog’s property in Stirling-Rawdon and learn how to use a small drone to explore and inventory their own land for a new perspective. Chris will take his quadcopter drone for a “spin” over his farm, and then show the audience his videography on a DVD. See the miniature horse and donkey farm from 500 feet in the air.
Participants will meet on Saturday, June 18 at 9 am. at the Arts Centre Hastings, at 230 Durham Street South in Madoc. After lunch, people will drive to the farm in Stirling-Rawdon. There will be a brief general meeting and the day will wind up at 3 pm. The cost of the day is $15/person, including lunch. To book your spot and reserve a lunch, please contact Louise Livingstone at (613) 395-4388  or
Quinte Area Bird Report PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Spraque   
May 30, 2016 at 06:00 AM

 Yellow Warbler. Photo by Derek DafoeYellow Warbler. Photo by Derek DafoeTHE QUINTE AREA BIRD REPORT


with sightings from the Bay of Quinte region, and beyond



Please e-mail your sightings directly to   Terry Sprague

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, March 31: Understandably, not a lot of sightings were reported today. Two NORTHERN FLICKERS, 8 GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS, 3 WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS and a BROWN CREEPER  were highlights at South Bay today. PURPLE FINCHES and PINE SISKINS  are still passing through. Ten were on a feeder in Brighton today. At Presqu’ile Park, the first YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS showed up two days ago and, if correctly identified, a PURPLE MARTIN, reported on the 29th, would be a record early date for the Park. In the tallest white cedars back of the Park store a charming display of GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS  were observed fly-catching.  They would sally out, according to the birder who saw them, flutter about  and then fly to a different perch whence they started (unlike Tyrant Flycatchers they didn't go back to the original perch, and when not fly catching, were gleaning in regular kinglet-fashion). The full Presqu’ile Park Bird Report by resident Fred Helleiner, has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be read by CLICKING HERE. Eight RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS  are still coming to a feeder in Brighton, and a half dozen first year males are still coming to our own feeder on Sprague Road, Big Island. Two EASTERN MEADOWLARKS and a WILSON’S SNIPE seen today at Greater Allisonville.    A resident on Scoharie Road reported that spring is definitely in the air. WILD TURKEYS were getting it on in the field across the road early this morning. “Some fool Tom was courting at 3 a.m. and his impassioned cries woke the dogs who were sleeping on my bed. They both barked and ran to the window, which woke me.”  Reminds me of the tame MALLARDS we used to own who would get down and dirty directly below our bedroom window! We never needed an alarm clock at our house when spring was in the air!  The Kaiser Crossroad Wetland Waterfowl Report for this week has been uploaded to the NatureStuff Website. Read the latest by CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, March 30: Starting this evening from afar, I spent a couple hours birding Lemoine Point Conservation Area at Kingston this morning. Not a whole lot going on, but tallied were two WOOD DUCKS, TURKEY VULTURE, both WHITE-BREASTED and RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES, BLUE JAY, PILEATED and DOWNY WOODPECKER, lots of SONG SPARROWS, MOURNING DOVES, NORTHERN CARDINAL, AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES and PINE SISKINS. No doubt about the presence of BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES. They would appear from out of nowhere when I stopped and surround me looking for handouts. A few interesting species today from Wilton – 3 AMERICAN KESTRELS, EASTERN BLUEBIRD, 3 TREE SWALLOWS, and a COOPER’S HAWK. The AMERICAN KESTRELS  that have been mentioned in this Bird Report occasionally from Airport Road, east of Belleville,  are checking out the nest site under the eaves at Fuller’s Native Plants already - about 2 weeks earlier than observed other years.  This will be the 6th year if they move in again. A very large flooded field and pond just east of Atkins Rd (visible from the road)  is attracting ducks and geese and gulls these days - a good group of NORTHERN PINTAILS this morning. In Prince Edward County, OSPREY platforms continue to be a hot item in bird real estate. A male at the platform on Welbanks Road near Salmon Point is freshening up its nest site with fresh sticks. A mated pair of WOOD DUCKS are also present along County Road 12  at the Sandbanks Maple Rest Heritage House. There was a territorial pair of EASTERN BLUEBIRDS at a nest box at the Slab Creek wetland in Hillier along the Millennium Trail, many TREE SWALLOWS at nest boxes, a drumming and excavating PILEATED WOODPECKER and several pairs of WOOD DUCKS. Also seen at this site were BELTED KINGFISHER, GREAT BLUE HERON, calling EASTERN PHOEBES, KILLDEER, HORNED LARK and migrant GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS.

Tuesday, March 29: Anyone want any TURKEY VULTURES?  For reasons known only to the vultures, about 30 have fixated on a Talbot Street address in Picton where they perch in the tops of a grove of trees behind the house. This is only about 120 metres from another grove of trees, on Roger’s Street, that has attracted vultures in the past. Two winters ago, a dozen or more roosted in these trees. Since this issue has never come up anywhere else in the town of Picton, what is the attraction at this location which has caused TURKEY VULTURES  to be drawn to the trees here, and nowhere else, for at least five years, or more? Speaking of TURKEY VULTURES, one was seen this afternoon on Fish Lake Road, where WOOD DUCKS, GREAT BLUE HERON, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET, BROWN CREEPER and PILEATED WOODPECKER were among good finds seen there. It really does pay to walk the roads at this time of the year as birds that are trickling in right now are easily observed. OSPREYS are pouring into the area right now, a term that we weren’t able to use to describe their appearance not too many decades ago. OSPREY real estate is selling well, and nesting platforms are being snatched up everywhere. The South Bay platform has been spoken for and an OSPREY was seen today on a platform on County Road 8 near the end of Kaiser Crossroad.  More PINE SISKINS are showing up as the species continues to work its way north on its spring migration, as well as PURPLE FINCHES showing up at bird feeders.  Eighteen WILD TURKEYS were seen on Lost Channel and a RED-TAILED HAWK was seen today in the Highway 37 and Cemetery Road area, just west of Plainfield. At the H.R. Frink Centre this morning, CANADA GEESE are claiming nesting sites  A few MALLARDS flew around and a pair of WOOD DUCKS flew over. The only other bird that was particularly noteworthy at the Frink Centre was a COOPER’S HAWK which flew into the woods by the marsh. GREAT BLUE HERONS have moved into the heronry in the nearby Harmony Road Wetland, with six being seen, and likely more that remained out of sight.

Monday, March 28: Th early LEOPARD FROGS, SPRING PEEPERS and WESTERN CHORUS FROGS that have been calling sporadically this week whenever temperatures dictate, may become predictably quiet when the temperatures drop once again at the end of this week. Still, migrants trickle in, including increasing numbers of TREE SWALLOWS. About a dozen were present today along Lower Massassauga Road, just south of Belleville, and two GREATER YELLOWLEGS showed up today on County Road 11, just east of Selby. The Ratte Road LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE has now doubled to two birds and have now been verified as LOGGERHEAD SHRIKES and not NORTHERN SHRIKES as was earlier argued. A SNOW GOOSE was seen today near the front of a skein of CANADA GEESE flying in the area of Belleville’s Bayshore Trail.Southern winds persuaded a large number of waterfowl to move on from the Kaiser Crossroad wetlands last night near Prinyer’s Cove. There are still four TUNDRA SWANS and at least two NORTHERN SHOVELERS. Numbers of other waterfowl are reduced, sometimes drastically. On County Road # 11, just east of Selby, in with the CANADA GEESE, two pair AMERICAN WIGEONS, and one pair NORTHERN PINTAILS.  Lots of PINE SISKINS  coming to feeders right now, likely part of a migration of them north through our area, long with PURPLE FINCHES.  A lingering, or possibly, a migrant,  SNOWY OWL was seen today on Marsh Road in the Huff’s Island area, reminding us of cooler weather in the offing for this weekend. At Presqu’ile Provincial Park today, Calf Pasture Point produced BROWN CREEPER, 3 GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS and a couple SONG SPARROWS. In the area of the lighthouse at Presqu’ile Point, 3 EASTERN PHOEBES, a GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET, 4 CEDAR WAXWINGS and a PURPLE FINCH were noteworthy. Ten species of birds were tallied at the Brighton Constructed Wetlands, among them, 6 NORTHERN SHOVELERS, 5 GREEN-WINGED TEAL, several RING-NECKED DUCKS and 3 SONG SPARROWS. On Big Island on the shore of the Bay of Quinte, birds of note seen there today included a GREAT BLUE HERON, an adult BALD EAGLE, CEDAR WAXWINGS, 1 RUSTY BLACKBIRD, SONG SPARROWS and a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK. The BALD EAGLE  has been around all winter.

Sunday, March 27: Things are moving along now. Warmer days never fail to increase the tempo of the spring migration. In addition to lots of WESTERN CHORUS FROGS  singing at Ostrander Point and along Hilltop Road along the South Shore Important Bird Area, 2 TREE SWALLOWS  put in an appearance on Sheba’s Island in West Lake today. Four TREE SWALLOWS  were seen at Presqu’ile Park today too, along with an unfortunate RING-BILLED GULL that was found dead due to it being entangled in monofilament fishing line, the lure attached to its wing. EASTERN MEADOWLARK and a NORTHERN FLICKER at Calf Pasture Point. At Lemoine Point Conservation Area in Kingston today, an EASTERN PHOEBE was seen.  Still lots of waterfowl around. On East Lake near Welbanks Road and Salmon Point Road, two pairs of WOOD DUCKS  were seen today. Once today’s sun melted the ice on the shallow marshlands, others showed up there including 70 REDHEADS, 30 RING-NECKED DUCKS, 20 BUFFLEHEADS, along with MALLARDS, CANADA GEESE and MUTE SWANS. Lots of ducks this past weekend on Smiths Bay, probably close to 2000. The vast majority being REDHEADS and Scaup. RING-NECKED DUCKS were present as well and at least 1 AMERICAN WIGEON. Others included BUFFLEHEADS, MALLARDS, COMMON GOLDENEYE, MUTE SWANS, RED-BREASTED and HOODED MERGANSERS, and CANADA GEESE. Also seen were GREAT BLUE HERON, PILEATED WOODPECKER, BALD EAGLE, SHARP-SHINNED HAWK, and 3 RED-TAILED HAWKS. In Wellington, a male NORTHERN HARRIER was seen, and a pair of harriers also showed up again today at Kaiser Crossroad where NORTHERN PINTAILS  were down in number from yesterday’s high numbers, but still impressive. OSPREYS  continue to make the scene in the Quinte area with another being seen at Cressy today. RUFFED GROUSE  drumming away at South Bay. PINE SISKINS at a feeder in Crofton. BROWN CREEPER on Swamp College Road and SONG SPARROWS singing their little hearts out everywhere. It’s happening. Spring is here!

Saturday, March 26: Lakes and bays opening up and an abundance of temporary ponds and flooded fields always ensure that waterfowl will continue to be the top item in the evening Bird Report. Yesterday at Kaiser Crossroad, there were 33 TUNDRA SWANS and over 200 NORTHERN PINTAILS. Five male NORTHERN SHOVELERS were another highlight of the wetlands. Numbers of other ducks were modest. Today, NORTHERN PINTAILS dominated with over 700 birds counted. Forty-four TUNDRA SWANS were resting on the north wetland and 7 NORTHERN SHOVELERS – possibly a record high for the species, were also on the north wetland. A female NORTHERN HARRIER seemed to be harassing the ducks, but it was hard to tell whether this was intended or just a side-effect of her hunt for small mammals in the wetland. The Kaiser Crossroad Waterfowl Report for this week by Pamela Stagg has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be read by CLICKING HERE. Two West Lake birders visited several locations today, but the Brighton Constructed Wetlands definitely had the best variety of waterfowl. Present were  RING-NECKED DUCKS, BUFFLEHEADS, LESSER SCAUPS, AMERICAN WIGEONS, NORTHERN SHOVELERS, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, WOOD DUCKS, MALLARDS and, of course, CANADA GEESE and MUTE SWANS that were staking claims for nest sites.  HOODED MERGANSERS were at the Potters Creek Conservation area on the west side of Belleville, several pair hanging out there. Several pair of COMMON MERGANSERS and a pair of RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS also at the Belleville water front Rotary park area. One spot we seldom get any reports from is the Menzel Nature Reserve, 18 km north of Deseronto on Roblin Road. Today, MUD LAKE at this huge nature reserve at the end of the 2.4 km Ovi Nature Trail had lots of HOODED MERGANSERS, interspersed with AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS, MALLARDS, 1 NORTHERN PINTAIL, a RING-NECKED DUCK and two COMMON MERGANSERS. All of them concentrated in a small strip in the middle of the lake that was free of ice. En route to the lake, the birder found a single FOX SPARROW and 3 GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS. On the Napanee River today, a shoreline resident there set up a blind and watched as 15 BUFFLEHEAD, 6 HOODED MERGANSERS, 18 COMMON MERGANSERS, 2 PIED-BILLED GREBE, and a couple CANADA GEESE came into view. Also seen at this location were an OSPREY, BELTED KINGFISHER, GREAT BLUE HERON, 3 RED-TAILED HAWKS, a TURKEY VULTURE, 4 EUROPEAN STARLINGS and  20 RING-BILLED GULLS  were also checked off, and 2 PILEATED WOODPECKERS were heard. Sometimes it pays to simply let the mountain come to Muhammad. Two BELTED KINGFISHERS  showed up today west of here – one at Presqu’ile Bay and the other at the Goodrich-Loomis Conservation Area. On this, the last weekend for Project FeederWatch, two new arrivals at our feeder on Big Island – a RUSTY BLACKBIRD and a female PURPLE FINCH. A photo of a SKUNK CABBAGE was taken at the Menzel Provincial Nature Reserve. Quite an interesting plant. The SKUNK CABBAGE is one of the few plants that exhibits something called thermogenesis, meaning they have the ability to raise their own body temperature. They can regulate their own temperature well above the outside temperature throughout the day and night. This allows it to melt its way above the frozen ground and push their way through the snow. Nature can be so amazing.

Friday, March 25: UIt will take a few days likely before the migration gets on track again after yesterday's freezing rain. Fortunately the conditions in the Bay of Quinte region weren’t nearly as serious as earlier predicted. A FOX SPARROW  showed up yesterday in a backyard at Lakeland Point Drive in Kingston (east of Norman Rogers Airport). Right on time, too, as this species usually shows up during the last week of March or early April. A foolhardy AMERICAN WOODCOCK was seen at Presqu’ile Park yesterday along with WHITE-THROATED SPARROW  and a good number of SONG SPARROWS. A COMMON LOON was reported from Presqu’ile Bay this afternoon. No word as to the fate of the early TREE SWALLOWS  that were seen at Presqu’ile Park several days ago. However, they are tough birds evidenced by eight seen today at noon flying over the Trent River at Trenton. At our feeder yesterday,  it was a flurry of activity with our three AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS burgeoning to over 30, close to the numbers we had earlier in the winter. Three CANADA GEESE even wandered in looking for handouts! In the Barry Heights area of Trenton, feeders were busy there too with the regular clients in higher than normal numbers. At Cressy, 5 SONG SPARROWS were among the guests at a feeder there. A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER  continues to be seen along County Road 2, north of Wellington (north of Wilson Road).

Wednesday, March 23: Well, at least there is one optimistic COMMON RAVEN  in Prince Edward County who cares not a whit about the weather forecast. It was seen today carrying nesting material near Quaker Road off County Road 1. A COMMON RAVEN was also involved in another sighting today, this time chasing a first year BALD EAGLE over Adolphus Reach. Every now and then, the eagle had enough and turned on the raven, but it didn’t stop the attacks though. An active day at Lake on the Mountain. Two pairs of COMMON MERGANSERS and a single HOODED MERGANSER joined by a pair of MALLARDS, probably returning to last year’s nesting spot.  Two PILEATED WOODPECKERS, three pairs of DOWNY WOODPECKERS, a pair of HAIRY WOODPECKERS and a single RED BELLIED WOODPECKER plus the usual agglomeration of COMMON GRACKLES and AMERICAN CROWS. Fourteen RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS  are still coming to a Brighton feeder, that number expected to increase with tomorrow’s predicted weather. At Jobes’ Woods Trail, Presqu’ile Park today, a PILEATED WOODPECKER  and a BROWN CREEPER  were seen. Seven species of ducks were present today at Kaiser Crossroad – 400 CANADA GEESE, 60 RING-NECKED DUCKS, 50 MALLARDS, 7 AMERICAN WIGEON, 5 AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS, 5 GREEN-WINGED TEAL, and 3 BUFFLEHEADS. A good example of how populations of waterfowl can change over a period of just a few hours, another birder today added NORTHERN PINTAILS to the day’s list and commented that they currently dominate at the Kaiser wetlands, with over 300 resting and feeding there. The TUNDRA SWANS have departed. Two, possibly four NORTHERN SHOVELERS are hiding in the vegetation. There are small numbers of other ducks and geese. At Picton Harbour, only a little bit of action with 100 RING-BILLED GULLS, and 5 COMMON MERGANSERS. Amherst Island still has at least a couple typically winter species – SNOWY OWL (3) and ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK (4). NOTE: Freezing rain and my Internet connection do not get long well. Chances are good there may not be a Bird Report for a couple of days until the ice thaws from my antenna, located some 60 feet up on a free standing tower! Really don’t want to climb it and shake the ice free.  

Tuesday, March 22: No sightings came in today. So, to give you something to read, I draw your attention to Important Bird Areas (IBAs), such as the South Shore Important Bird Area in Prince Edward County. There are 12,000 Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) worldwide, and nearly 600 in Canada. BirdLife International has recently released an updated list of 422 sites that are considered “IBAs IN DANGER.” These critically endangered sites are of international significance for the conservation of the world’s birds and other nature, but face pressing threats of damage or destruction. You can explore all the IBAs in Danger, including four in Canada, using BirdLife’s new interactive STORY MAP.  In Canada, we’re working hard to ensure that our IBAs continue to support the birds we all cherish. To learn more, watch a short VIDEO on Canada’s IBA Program or visit our WEBSITE for ways you can get involved. Be sure to follow all the above links. 

Monday, March 21: The tempo of the spring migration came to all but a stall with today’s cold temperatures. No new species seen, although a NORTHERN FLICKER  was seen north of Wellington today; however, this species has already been spotted elsewhere in the Bay of Quinte region. Even Kaiser Crossroad failed in its bid to provide much action with only 20 TUNDRA SWANS still holding firm at the wetland this afternoon while other waterfowl species were greatly reduced in numbers. The second day of the Presqu’ile Waterfowl Weekend yesterday was no better than Saturday according to reports. Waterfowl were certainly present, but some rafts far beyond what even high powered spotting scopes could bring in. A few good species to approach viewing distance included AMERICAN COOT, a pair of PIED-BILLED GREBES and a flyover by a SANDHILL CRANE. Of particular interest yesterday was the appearance of the Wellington SNOWY OWL, likely “George”, at Elm Street, Wellington-on-the-Lake. Even more locally, and practically in my backyard on Big Island, although I missed them, were 2 BALD EAGLES, seen by a visiting birder from Belleville. At the H.R. Frink Centre, north of Belleville, the wetland there yesterday produced CANADA GEESE, WOOD DUCKS and both COMMON and HOODED MERGANSERS. On Airport Parkway on the east side of Belleville, a RED-TAILED HAWK and AMERICAN KESTREL were seen.  Hang in there. Migrants will pour in once this Arctic air mass retreats.  

Sunday, March 20: Once again, the early bird gets the worm, although in this case, frozen earth. The season’s first SAVANNAH SPARROW showed up today at Kaiser Crossroad, about three weeks early of its average arrival date for our area. Waterfowl continue to come ago as their moods dictate. Today, lower numbers than in days past, but still lots of CANADA GEESE, NORTHERN PINTAILS MALLARDS, RING-NECKED DUCKS and AMERICAN BLACKS, some CACKLING GEESE, NORTHERN SHOVELERS, and BUFFLEHEADS. As usual, a few non-related species in the area, like KILLDEERS and NORTHERN HARRIER, as well as 30 RING-BILLED GULLS.  Lots of activity too at the privately owned Hamilton Wetland where there were plenty of CANADA GEESE  to go around, interspersed with AMERICAN WIGEONS  coming and going, MALLARDS, RING-NECKED DUCKS, HOODED MERGANSER (2), and a couple BUFFLEHEADS. Wherever you go, it seems waterfowl are celebrating the opening of lakes and bays and creeks. At Wesley Acres Road at the Bloomfield Marsh, there was an abundance of “puddle ducks”, geese and swans wherever there were openings large enough to accommodate them. A NORTHERN HARRIER  was seen along that road, 2 RED-TAILED HAWKS and a BALD EAGLE.The gate is still closed at Beaver Meadow Conservation Area to prevent 4 X 4’s from ripping up the ground while it is still muddy, but a walk in there today by a couple birders yielded MALLARDS, CANADA GEESE, AMERICAN WIGEON, MUTE SWANS and 2 BUFFLEHEADS.   At Potter’s Creek Conservation Area, just west of Belleville, two MUTE SWANS were enjoying the open conditions, and on Lost Channel Road near Thomasburg, a BELTED KINGFISHER and four WOOD DUCKS  were present. Yesterday, the season’s first LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE turned up Hinch Road just east of Ratte Road, north of Newburgh. RUFFED GROUSE  were in abundance along the west end of Hinch Road. A RED-TAILED HAWK on County Road 4x and a rafter of 8 WILD TURKEYS ON at the corner of Doxsee Road and Jericho Road were also seen today. An AMERICAN KESTREL was seen on County Road 64 in the Carrying Place area, and another was at the west end of South Big Island Road early this morning. TURKEY VULTURE at Picton Harbour today and a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER on Salmon Point Road, and a NORTHERN FLICKER on Old Milford Road rounds out the miscellaneous sightings today. And, finally, a mystery shorebird that wasn't a KILLDEER, was seen at Kaiser Crossroad today, but too far away to identify. 

Saturay, March 19: It must be spring! Three SANDHILL CRANES  came in for a landing at the Hamilton Wetland, west of Demorestville, today, officially marking the opening of active birding at this popular location. Please remember, this is private property, and an observation spot at the fence has been cleared of Red Cedars and brush to provide better visibility from the roadside. The observation spot is marked by a tennis ball jammed over the steel stake of the fence, and a No Trespassing sign. The Waterfowl Viewing Weekend completed its first day of two under beautiful, sunny skies at Presqu'ile Park. Although the ducks are widely scattered due to the open conditions right now, a nice mixture of waterfowl was ticked off by today’s observers including WOOD DUCKS, RING-NECKED DUCKS, 300 REDHEADS. A PIED-BILLED GREBE  was also found. Fifty CANVASBACKS  were seen at Calf Pasture Point, as were an estimated 10,000 scaups comprising both GREATER and LESSER. Three TRUMPETER SWANS  at Barcovan today. Ten species of waterfowl at Twelve O’Clock Point at Carrying Place, among them AMERICAN WIGEON and GADWALL. At Little Bluff Conservation Area today, 10 RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS and about 50 COMMON GOLDENEYES. At Kaiser Crossroad near Prinyer’s Cove, geese and ducks arrive and depart like the winds, but one birder today found 80 TUNDRA SWANS, 30 RING-NECKED DUCKS, 200 CANADA GEESE, 4 NORTHERN PINTAILS and the same number of MALLARDS. Nothing of note at Cressy Lakeside Road today – just 14 COMMON GRACKLES. At the Lennox Generating Plant, RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS  were seen. Miscellaneous sightings today included a NORTHERN FLICKER on South Shore Road at Hay Bay, and a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER  at the end of Huff’s Island Road.

Friday, March 18: The only new arrival was an EASTERN PHOEBE – actually yesterday – when one was spotted along the new Lakeview Trail at Sandbanks Provincial Park, at West Point. Other than that, more of the same arrivals and scattered sightings of other species. At Ben Gill Road, there were 20 or so TUNDRA SWANS  feeding in a corn field, and another observer spotted a couple SNOW GEESE later in the day. At Prince Edward Point, absent were the flocks of AMERICAN ROBINS, BLUE JAYS and CEDAR WAXWINGS that are often there, but most were seen in singles including GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET, DARK-EYED JUNCOS and RUFFED GROUSE. LONG-TAILED DUCKS and BUFFLEHEADS in the harbour and at the lighthouse. Across Prince Edward Bay, at the Kaiser Crossroad flooded agricultural fields, ducks and geese continue to come and go as dictated by their whims. NORTHERN SHOVELERS, NORTHERN PINTAILS, BUFFLEHEAD, COMMON GOLDENEYE, AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS, MALLARDS, GADWALL, AMERICAN WIGEON and CANADA GEESE  were all present again today. Meanwhile at Presqu’ile Park, preparations are in place for the Waterfowl Viewing Weekend, tomorrow and Sunday. See details of what to expect, both in terms of waterfowl and displays by CLICKING HERE. Over on the west side of Prince Edward County, an EASTERN BLUEBIRD  was seen at Partridge Hollow Road in the Consecon area. Pamela Stagg’s Weekly Kaiser Crossroad Report has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be found by CLICKING HERE.

Thursday, March 17: Two very early TREE SWALLOWS flew past the lighthouse at Presqu’ile Park on Sunday, so the migration continues despite cooler temperatures. Both TURKEY VULTURE and DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT were also seen at the park. A female GREEN-WINGED TEAL was also seen as the park gears up for its annual waterfowl viewing weekend on Saturday and Sunday. Fred Helleiner’s full Report can be found by CLICKING HERE. Nearby at the Brighton Constructed Wetland, waterfowl are gathering also. Yesterday 2 pairs of NORTHERN SHOVELERS  were present as well as MALLARDS, AMERICAN WIGEON, CANADA GEESE and 15 BUFFLEHEADS. Also, BUFFLEHEADS at Potter’s Creek Conservation Area on the west side of Belleville. The marsh is completely open now at the H.R. Frink Centre north of Belleville. Today, there were two WOOD DUCKS, 2 RING-NECKED DUCKS and a BUFFLEHEAD. Nearby, an AMERICAN KESTREL was at the intersection of Bronk and Harmony Roads. Friends John and Janet Foster of the Madoc area have submitted a request. The well known nature film makers, on behalf of a producer seeking footage for a documentary on RED FOXES for PBS and The Nature of Things, would love to find an active fox den. They will shoot with minimum disturbance, using telephoto lenses and a blind, and would not approach the den. If any landowners know of a fox den, and are interested in helping out, please contact the Hastings Stewardship Council and Matt Caruana will put you in touch with John and Janet. The footage and stills would also become part of their next presentation for the Stewardship Council. The best time for filming would be after the kits emerge from the den -- possibly in April or May.  E-mail Matt at  .

Wednesday, March 16: It was more of the same today with KILLDEERS everywhere you turned and  EASTERN MEADOWLARKS and SONG SPARROWS  singing melodiously. Nothing new turned up today though in the immediate Bay of Quinte area, although there was a WILSON’S SNIPE at Bath. A persistent RED-TAILED HAWK was in the same tree today, and on the same limb, as yesterday, along Fry Road.  A few miscellaneous sightings included a GREAT BLUE HERON on Newburgh Road, PILEATED WOODPECKER  and 4 SONG SPARROWS at Strathcona, an AMERICAN BLACK DUCK/MALLARD hybrid on the Aitkin Road extension in Belleville, and a HOODED MERGANSER at Belleville’s Victoria Park. New arrivals at the Kaiser wetlands today were a pair of REDHEADS, one BUFFLEHEAD and an extraordinarily early BLUE-WINGED TEAL. Here’s an interesting link. Environment Canada has recently released a new version of its STATUS OF BIRDS IN CANADA website. The website now includes accounts on the status, distribution, and conservation needs of each of the roughly 450 bird species that breed in or regularly visit Canada. The revised assessments are based on the best information available up to 2014 from a wide variety of bird monitoring programs. Thanks, of course, to the dedicated birders, both volunteer and professional, who  participated in bird survey programs such as the Breeding Bird Survey and Christmas Bird Counts that help agencies assess species to benefit their conservation.

Tuesday, March 15: And spring continues to arrive in spurts as though unsure of its welcome. The season’s first AMERICAN WOODCOCK along Fry Road last night may have to sharpen its beak to penetrate the earth for worms by Friday when night time temperatures are expected to drop to minus 11, and stay cold like that through the weekend. However, ice continues to leave the Bay of Quinte with the only  significant ice left in the bay just in inlets like the ones by the Belleville water purification plant or the mouth of Sawguin Creek. Even that ice is so  dark it may not have lasted through the misty days and nights. A short walk at Massassauga Point today by one area birder yielded a few COMMON GOLDENEYES and even fewer CANADA GEESE. At least a flock of 6 TUNDRA SWANS did fly by for the birder. In Picton, a TURKEY VULTURE floated over the Town Hill and a GREAT BLUE HERON flew over Picton Bay. And, a little farther away, two GOLDEN EAGLES were seen at the Thousand Islands – one just south of the US border checkpoint at Ivy Lea Bridge and the other just north of the Canadian checkpoint.

Monday, March 14: The weather wasn’t really conducive to enthusiastic birding today, so just a brief report of what did come in. At a feeder along Luck’s Crossroad, near Picton, a half dozen PURPLE FINCHES stopped by, followed by a male EASTERN BLUEBIRD to add a splash of colour to an otherwise dreary day. Two TRUMPETER SWANS flew noisily over Sprague Pond in the Big Island Marsh at 6:00 p.m. this evening, thus adding one more new species to a growing checklist of birds that have been seen in the newly rehabilitated wetland since 2013 when the project was started. To finish up this evening, Bird Studies Canada are asking volunteers to consider being a part of the RUSTY BLACKBIRD BLITZ this spring. Although occasionally overlooked as 'just another blackbird', RUSTY BLACKBIRDS face an unfortunate and remarkable notoriety: this species has endured a decline more severe than that of any other once-common landbird. March 1st marked the beginning of the final year of the Rusty Blackbird Working Group’s three-year Spring Migration Blitz, and readers of this daily blog can help ensure a strong finish. It’s easy! You just bird as you normally do during the Blitz window (March 1 to June 15) and submit your sightings to eBird using the “Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz” observation type at the link above. Check out the Areas of Interest by CLICKING HERE. The RUSTY BLACKBIRD  is easy to identify once you are familiar with the squeaky-hinge song and by the flash of rust-tipped feathers under the bright yellow eye.

Sunday, March 13: Among the waterfowl seen at the Brighton Constructed Wetlands today were 7 WOOD DUCKS and 5 AMERICAN WIGEONS. Other species present there today were 100 CANADA GEESE, 12 NORTHERN SHOVELERS, 6 BUFFLEHEADS, 4 GREEN-WINGED TEAL, 3 RING-NECKED DUCKS and a half dozen MUTE SWANS. The two NORTHERN SHOVELERS which appeared at the Kaiser Crossroad flooded agricultural fields at Cressy, were there again today, but today seemed to be a blink-and-you’ll-miss-them kind of day at Kaiser Crossroad as waterfowl arrived and departed in the favourable weather. Species and individual bird numbers were down. The highlights, other than the shovelers, were 17 TUNDRA SWANS. As temperatures rise and waterfowl viewing opportunities increase, it is a case of keeping watch on any spot that has some water, as at least a few waterfowl will be taking advantage of these areas. One such case is a field on Huff’s Island Road. If you aren’t looking, you can miss it as it is located some distance away. Present today were 40 NORTHERN PINTAILS, 50 MALLARDS, 6 GREEN-WINGED TEAL, 8 WOOD DUCKS, 2 AMERICAN WIGEONS, 15 AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS and 800 CANADA GEESE. RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS were back in full force along the roadside due to the extensive cattail marsh on either side of the road. Non-waterfowl along the road included 2 KILLDEER, a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER and 2 NORTHERN HARRIERS which were probably a pair because they were soaring higher than usual together. Two EASTERN MEADOWLARKS  at Big Island today, 2 at Point Petre, and another 2 at Presqu’ile Park yesterday as well as a GREAT BLUE HERON. Today at the park, SONG SPARROW, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET and WINTER WREN were noteworthy. Things have opened up at 12 O’Clock Point at Carrying Place where more than a half dozen species of waterfowl were present today, among them 12 REDHEADS and a single RING-NECKED DUCK. Other noteworthy sightings today around the Quinte area were 200 TUNDRA SWANS at Pleasant Bay, a NORTHERN SHRIKE along the south shore of Consecon Lake, and an AMERICAN KESTREL along Highway 62 near Jericho Road. Two RED-TAILED HAWKS were at their last year’s nest site settling in for a future brood on County Road 18 near Sandbanks Park. And an optimistic LEOPARD FROG was seen in a mud puddle at Point Petre!

Saturday, March 12: It’s a happening thing at the Kaiser Crossroad flooded fields right now. The waterfowl are arriving to exploit the flooded conditions in both the north and south ponds. The north pond had several hundred CANADA GEESE and MALLARDS early this morning. The south field contained about 100 TUNDRA SWANS and several MUTE SWANS together with MALLARDS and a few NORTHERN PINTAILS. Mid-week, there were also GREEN-WINGED TEAL, AMERICAN WIGEON, 5 CACKLING GEESE and a possible EURASIAN WIGEON. The first EASTERN MEADOWLARK of the season was found there that day, too. Another observer today reported 32 NORTHERN PINTAILS, 30 AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS, 18 MALLARDS, 12 AMERICAN WIGEON, 6 GADWALL, 6 WOOD DUCKS, 6 GREEN-WINGED TEAL, 3 RING-NECKED DUCKS, and a big surprise for relatively early in the season - 2 NORTHERN SHOVELERS. Two RING-BILLED GULLS and 1 KILLDEER were also present. The Barcovan area today had many waterfowl but most were far from land. Joining the usual species were AMERICAN WIGEON and several WOOD DUCKS. At Gosport today, across from Presqu’ile Park, there were a couple rafts of ducks, totalling well over 2,000, made up mainly of GREATER SCAUP and REDHEADS with a pair of NORTHERN PINTAILS looking a little lost in the midst of it all. There were also 57 MUTE SWANS, and small numbers of RING-NECKED DUCKS, AMERICAN WIGEONS, LONG-TAILED DUCKS, COMMON GOLDENEYES, BUFFLEHEADS, COMMON MERGANSERS and HOODED MERGANSERS. Noteworthy among non-waterfowl were a KILLDEER and an adult BALD EAGLE. At Presqu’ile Park today, a flock of a dozen or so CEDAR WAXWINGS, contained one bird that had a bright orange, almost red, band rather than the usual yellow band at the end of the tail. Apparently this can happen if the bird eats berries from exotic honeysuckle plants during the molt. No new passerine migrants today although a SONG SPARROW  and BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD  were in Trenton today. A Carrying Place feeder had a dozen PINE SISKINS. The Glen Lane feeder off Edward Drive in the Stinson Block west of Consecon still has four WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS that have been regulars all winter. Today, there was a BROWN CREEPER  nearby. A birder at Deroche Lake, east of Thomasburg came across about two dozen CEDAR WAXWINGS, and an even nicer sighting on the 3,000-acre property was a group of five BALD EAGLES.

Friday, March 11: As Wellington Harbour surrenders to warming temperatures, things are getting a bit quieter in there. Still, the spring migration forges bravely ahead with dozens of male BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS turning up today at South Bay. A RED-TAILED HAWK along Wymen’s Road near Marysville, and a BALD EAGLE  at South Bay were also seen today. Two RED-TAILED HAWKS along County Road 18 at Sandbanks Park where 14 WILD TURKEYS  were also noted pretty much rounds out the sightings that came in today. At the Glendon Green Boat Launch along County Road 18, there was an assortment of ducks including 4 NORTHERN PINTAILS, RING-NECKED DUCKS, REDHEADS and GREATER SCAUP. BUFFLEHEADS and LONG-TAILED DUCKS were in the Lakeshore Lodge Day Use area of the park. Fred Helleiner’s Presqu’ile Provincial Park Weekly Bird Report has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website, and can be viewed by CLICKING HERE.

Thursday, March 10: In the rain and thick fog today, more migrants showed up today including a SONG SPARROW – actually, one of two – at a Cressy feeder. But, the most remarkable was not one, but two, OSPREY that flew by a property on Old Orchard Road at Albury, along Rednersville Road yesterday. This is a record early date for this species, although we do have two or three late Marsh arrival dates for this area. Normal arrival isn’t usually for another three weeks! From Hazel Wheeler, Species Recovery Biologist, Wildlife Preservation Canada (WPC) is looking for volunteer surveyors for the 2016 Adopt-A-Site program. They are looking for help in a number of shrike ‘hot-spots’ across Ontario (Carden, Grey-Bruce, Napanee, Manitoulin, Pembroke/Renfrew and Smiths Falls) The Adopt-A-Site program uses volunteer effort to locate shrikes throughout their breeding range in Ontario. Participants are asked to survey their designated site 2 or 3 times over the spring and summer (April 15th to June 30th) for evidence of breeding birds. The information gathered on shrikes will be used to assist field staff with carrying out various recovery activities and provide valuable information contributing to accurate broad-scale population counts.   The LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE has suffered serious declines throughout its historic breeding range over the last 50 years. The eastern subspecies, found in Ontario, has been designated as endangered in Canada since 1991, and was designated as endangered in Ontario in 1992.  WPC has been leading the recovery effort for this bird since 2003, and every year our field staff to monitor the numbers and breeding success of wild birds, and breed birds in captivity to bolster the wild population.  If you would like to help, or would like more information on the Adopt-A-Site program, please Hazel Wheeler 519-993-5155, or e-mail   And to think we routinely had upwards of five pairs of these birds nesting every summer on our farm on Big Island on the shore of the Bay of Quinte in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  Photo of fog by Janyce Mann of Crofton.

Wednesday, March 09: Just more of the same, with BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS being new on the scene at Lake on the Mountain today. Fifteen CEDAR WAXWINGS  were present today at the Lakeshore Lodge site at Sandbanks Park, and these waxwings – roughly 50 or so – showed up in Wellington, feasting on Red Cedar berries that had fallen to the ground.  As backyard bird feeders start to wind down due to invasions of grackles and red-wings, some feeders are still bringing in special birds, a few of them spring migrants. The Brighton NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD seems to be a regular in a backyard now where today, 39 RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS and an AMERICAN ROBIN were added to totals recorded today and yesterday for Project FeederWatch. AMERICAN COOTS, singles in each case, are still at Wellington, Barcovan and Cobourg Harbour. The SONG SPARROW, still in Wellington, and another migrant KILLDEER showed up today, this time, on Airport Road on the east side of Belleville. At least two BALD EAGLES flew over the village of Foxboro.

Tuesday, March 08: COMMON GRACKLES, I have noticed, always seem to arrive each spring en masse. Absent one day, the ground blanketed the next. Today, 30 appeared at a feeder at Cressy, in company with 20 RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS. COMMON GRACKLES also showed up in lesser numbers at South Bay. The real harbinger of spring, well – until we get one of those March snowstorms anyway – was the sighting of 3 KILLDEER at Point Petre today. A lone SONG SPARROW showed up in Wellington today. Spring can’t stop its advance now! TUNDRA SWANS  are also on the move. There were 34 at East Lake two days ago and a couple of TRUMPETER SWANS. At Barcovan, a resident there on Barcovan Road, saw a BALD EAGLE in flight, heading toward Presqu’ile Park. One birder en route to Prince Edward County from Ottawa today while delayed on the 401 at Brockville, spent his time counting flocks of migrating geese, coming up with 4,000 CANADA GEESE and 450 SNOW GEESE. Spurred on by his success, the birder made a visit to Blockhouse Island and enjoyed a river watch as 3,800 SNOW GEESE, 3,000 CANADA GEESE, 165 NORTHERN PINTAIL, and 54 COMMON MERGANSERS, made their way east through a relatively narrow passage of open water. Another example of the advancing spring is the expectation soon of hearing frogs. The Marsh Monitoring Program workshop that I held in Belleville last evening drew 54 attendees with numerous new volunteers who will be busy monitoring frogs and birds in wetlands this spring. According to the protocol, the first frog watch doesn’t take place until mid-April. If the predicted temperatures continue, I will be sending my volunteers into the field much earlier. Meanwhile, down in the Lake Erie area, temperatures are predicted to be even higher this week – as high as 19 degrees - and volunteers there are asking, “Do we survey frogs or don't we? Best guess, listen, if you hear CHORUS FROGS at night, then its #MMPSurvey time.” Albeit it a month early.

Monday, March 07: Must be spring. The first COMMON GRACKLE appeared at our feeder this morning! Other signs of spring was the sighting of 27 AMERICAN CROWS on the east side of Belleville, and 1500 RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS on Wolfe Island! Also 40 COMMON GRACKLES there, so my lone Grackle was not just a lone migrant in eastern Lake Ontario. They’re here!  This morning in Trenton, AMERICAN ROBINS Robins were checking out territories and the first returning COMMON GRACKLES showed up there, too. The Carrying Place area had several small groups of RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS at feeders and the small flock of seven WILD TURKEYS was present along County Road 64. Interestingly, the six males were more interested in establishing dominance and completely ignored the one female. Barcovan had a lone sub-adult BALD EAGLE. Good birding on Amherst Island yesterday according to a Trenton resident who spent the day there. RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER, 2 NORTHERN HARRIERS, 1 BALD EAGLE, 8 RED-TAILED HAWKS, 9 ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS, 9 SNOWY OWLS, 2 COMMON RAVENS, and 2 RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS. There was also a group of about 250 waterfowl off of South Shore Road.  About two thirds were REDHEADS and the rest were GREATER SCAUPS and two COMMON GOLDENEYES thrown in for good measure. Sightings of BALD EAGLES of various ages being seen daily in Prince Edward County, and around a dozen are seen daily along Marlbank Road in the Tweed area.

Sunday, March 06: A handful of CANADA GEESE showed up at Wellington Harbour today – at least 1,000! Also in high numbers were REDHEADS (400), and GREATER SCAUP at 350. The AMERICAN COOT also put in its regular appearance. Half as many CANADA GEESE were at Barcovan, and somewhat lesser numbers of REDHEADS and GREATER SCAUP than what were at Wellington Harbour. There, too, a single AMERICAN COOT added contrast to the scene. High numbers of GREATER SCAUP and REDHEADS at Presqu’ile Park as well, with 2750 and 600 respectfully. The female WOOD DUCK that has spent almost the entire winter in Picton Harbour in company with a few MALLARDS, was present again today. At Napanee, the Napanee River from Springside Park had 80-100 MALLARDS, 7 AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS, and around 50 CANADA GEESE today. TUNDRA SWANS in migration appear to be arriving now as the Glendon Green boat launch at Sandbanks had 7. There were 17 at the east end of Cressy Lakeside Road and about 100 in Prince Edward Bay at the foot of Kaiser Crossroad. Glendon Green boat launch also had several other species including 50 MUTE SWANS, 75 CANADA GEESE, 4 COMMON GOLDENEYE, 2 REDHEADS,  77 RING-BILLED GULLS and a HERRING GULL. Between Cape Vesey and the east end of Cressy Lakeside Road, there were several thousand CANADA GEESE, a few hundred GREATER SCAUP and COMMON GOLDENEYE with a sprinkling of MUTE SWANS and REDHEADS. There were 3 GADWALLS regretting their decision to come north as they slid around on the ice trying to find something to eat in puddles. There were also 4 AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS swimming with the geese. Surprisingly there were few MUTE SWANS overall. At the raptor end of things. 2 RED-TAILED HAWKS  were sunning themselves along 401 this morning in the Napanee area, and an AMERICAN KESTREL was at Roslin. Thirty CEDAR WAXWINGS  were reported from Wharf Street in Wellington. Two GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS  were at the Glenora Ferry crossing, and a LAPLAND LONGSPUR  was at Kingston’s Lemoine Point Conservation Area yesterday. ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS  are still around this winter, evidenced by 35 seen on Amherst Island yesterday. Finally, a first year BALD EAGLE was working its way up Adolphus Reach this morning.

Saturday, March 05: Robins, Robins, and more Robins. The warm weather has certainly increased the numbers of AMERICAN ROBINS and RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS at local feeders and suitable habitats in the area. All we need now is the first KILLDEER. Unfortunately, and surprisingly, few birders were out today taking in the fine weather and returning migrants.   What didn't have much fun today was a MERLIN who returned to a Lake on the Mountain back yard feeder to try its luck once again with the MOURNING DOVES that had been enjoying the sun on a shed roof yesterday, despite repeated dive-bombing by the hawk. However, the doves had not returned to press their luck again. Lots of bird activity along the shore at Cape Vesey in the last few days, with a half dozen BALD EAGLES in a concentrated cluster interested in what the beach had to offer in the way of a menu of numerous CANADA GEESE and swans as well  mixed flocks of ducks likely thousands strong.  Prince Edward Bay at that location develops thin overnight  ice with local leads. Three RED-TAILED HAWKS  were seen today by two birders while they were running errands -  one on York Road in Tyendinaga , and a pair on  Millennium Parkway on the north side of Belleville.  Although much of the Quinte area escaped the threat of Wednesday`s snowstorm, Algonquin Park received another 25 cm and temperatures of –30 C. So, there is still time to head up to Algonquin to view the spectacular winter scenery and see some winter finches, namely, those COMMON REDPOLLS that failed to make it to the Bay of Quinte area this season. Forty-five PURPLE FINCHES came to the Visitor Centre feeders this week, high numbers that we can only reminisce about down this way. A flock of 100 PINE SISKINS  was noteworthy at the park, as were 70 EVENING GROSBEAKS. Also seen in the past few days were 4 PINE GROSBEAKS, 4 WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS, 3 RED CROSSBILLS and, of course, the specialties that have made Algonquin a favourite destination for birders – SPRUCE GROUSE, GRAY JAYS, BOREAL CHICKADEES and BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER. Winter will continue at Algonquin, until it is finished, and if the temperatures rise according to predictions, spring migrants will be arriving both here and eventually in areas north of us.

Friday, March 04: Very quiet day today, bird-wise and birder-wise. Of particular interest was the discovery of a BROWN THRASHER along the Owen Point Trail at Presqu’ile Park today. We can presume this was likely an overwintering individual as this species isn’t due to arrive yet for at least another month. I say that with tongue in cheek as just a short distance away, at the Brighton Constructed Wetland, a GREATER YELLOWLEGS  showed up earlier this week, more than a month ahead of schedule. No word as to whether it was seen again, but the resident AMERICAN COOT  was seen again today at Wellington Harbour that has spent the entire winter there in sometimes rather restricted open water conditions.  Events are gradually falling into place for this year’s SPRING BIRDING FESTIVAL in Prince Edward County, May 14-23, now in its 20th year. Guided bird walks and tours will be taking place in the Point Traverse Woods at 8:00 a.m., on weekends only. Other guided hikes will be taking place at the Observatory, and to the lighthouse, on both Saturday evenings, at 4:00 p.m.

Thursday, March 03: Just a few sightings around the region. BALD EAGLES, of course, seen almost daily. One Lake on the Mountain resident who has the species on her yard list, saw one today again at first light, heading west toward Glenora Ferry. This is a favourite route, it seems for eagles, and as many as a dozen have been seen in past winters in a group on Adolphus Reach. In the same backyard, a MERLIN was making passes at a cluster of MOURNING DOVES who were absorbing the morning sunshine from a woodshed roof. After each attack, the doves went back to their sunny spot and the MERLIN would come down again. It took five dives before the doves decided to seek out more hospitable abodes elsewhere. Bird activity at most bird feeders in the region returned to normal after the predicted snow storm of Tuesday that didn’t happen. Interesting how bird activity accelerates when a storm is in the offing, then returns to normal once all threats are past. RED-TAILED HAWK at Marysville, and a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK at South Bay were other sightings that came in today. Ten species of waterfowl present at Barcovan’s Wellers Bay Channel, among them 400 CANADA GEESE, 385 GREATER SCAUP, and a single AMERICAN COOT. The ducks are on their way for sure with the warmer weather and, of course, the place to see them has always been Presqu’ile Provincial Park. Once again, plans are under way for their special Waterfowl Viewing Weekend, Saturday and Sunday, March 19 & 20. Volunteers with spotting scopes will be on hand at viewing locations to show visitors the returning waterfowl and help with their identity.   Other activities include a Friends of Presqu’ile BBQ starting at 11:00 a.m., 3 wildlife artists demonstrating their work and techniques – Doug Comeau, Linda Barber and Sherrie Grieg, carver and photographer Gary McPherson display, taxidermist Steve Dingman display, kids craft room and activities, Bushnell representative with many fine products to show off and sell, a raffle for Bushnell scope and binoculars with money supporting the Friends of Presqu’ile, and other “ducky” displays. The Friends gift shop will be open. And, along the same theme, an invitation has been sent out by Belleville resident Peter Fuller to participate in Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory's Spring Waterfowl Count on April 2nd from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Participants are asked to meet at the South Bay Mariner’s Museum (corner of County Road 13 and County Road 10. If interested in helping out with the PEPtBO waterfowl survey, please contact Peter Fuller at . The waterfowl, they are a comin’ Already, the spring arrival of TUNDRA SWANS at the Aylmer Wildlife Management Area has started. An estimated 450 TUNDRA SWANS and 600 CANADA GEESE patiently [so far] are forming long line ups at the feeding berm where the Elgin Stewardship Council started feeding corn last Saturday. Fred Helleiner’s Presqu’ile Park Bird Report for this past week has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website, and can be found by CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, March 02:  As winter surrenders to warmer weather (whenever that is), there should be some splendid opportunities to view some of the waterfowl species that gather here every spring. The real show stopper today though was at the Brighton Constructed Wetland along Prince Edward Street/C.R.64 where an exceptionally early and optimistic GREATER YELLOWLEGS put in an appearance this morning. Early by more than a month! The earliest arrival date on file is April 1st back in 2006 when three appeared at the Kaiser Crossroad wetlands. Commenting on today’s sightings, Brighton birder Doug McRae said, “This is an incredibly early record and I checked the bird against all other options such as Greenshank, Redshank, etc.  While I do think it is a Greater, it has some odd features.  The very base of the upper mandible shows what looks like a small orange saddle over the top of the bill and this colour is a little more extensive at the base of the lower mandible.  The bill does not look quite as robust as I usually think of Greater’s having, and at times it almost appears like the bill is ever so slightly down curved, along the lines of a Spotted Redshank.  The legs appear as more yellow-orange (but still dominantly yellow) rather than just bright yellow.  Having said that, there is no white wedge up the back as in European tringas, and I can’t see what else it might be.” So, there you go – our first shorebird arrival of the “spring” season! The shorebird was still at the wetland location at noon. Elsewhere, it was just more RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD  arrivals with 30 showing up at Harrowsmith today. Other interesting sightings included an AMERICAN KESTREL on Airport Drive on the east side of Belleville, and 10 AMERICAN CROWS spread out along 401 between Napanee and Belleville foraging amongst the window-thrown fast food litter. A RED-TAILED HAWK was along along 401 east of Highway 37 yesterday. Up in the Desmond Road area north of Camden East, good sightings today were 6 RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS. An AMERICAN COOT and an AMERICAN WIGEON joined the half dozen or so waterfowl species at Cobourg Harbour today, with others being 200 CANADA GEESE, 75 MALLARDS, along with LONG-TAILED DUCKS, BUFFLEHEAD, COMMON GOLDENEYE, and COMMON MERGANSER. Despite predation by a COOPER’S HAWK, the HOUSE SPARROW population at a Brighton feeder has rebounded and is back to 40 species, along with the appearance of a NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD adding some additional interest to the backyard clientele.

Tuesday, March 01: It’s interesting how the actions of humans during impending snow storms, resembles those of wild birds. Birds exhibit periods of frenzied feeding when they sens a storm brewing. Similarly, at No Frills in Picton today, the parking lot was full and shoppers were furiously emptying shelves! At a Lake on the Mountain feeder today, 5 NORTHERN CARDINALS  showed up – a record at this feeder – and 25 AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES, in addition to the usual complement of DARK-EYED JUNCOS, AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS, BLUE JAYS, various woodpeckers including RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER and 10 RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS. And where there are birds, there is apt to be an Accipter, such as a COOPER’S HAWK  which seems to have made itself pretty much at home in a Wellington backyard. At Big Island, an adult BALD EAGLE soared yesterday and today over Caughey Road at the west end of the island. Other sightings today included 2 TUNDRA SWANS  flying over Union Road at Mountain View today, and AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES at Lake on the Mountain beginning their spring moult – silly birds!

Monday, February 29: The Point Traverse Woods at Prince Edward Point saw its first birding in several weeks today. No harbingers of spring except for a half dozen AMERICAN ROBINS, but other birds seen at and from this popular birding destination included 16 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, 300 LONG-TAILED DUCKS, 35 GREATER SCAUP, 3 AMERICAN WIGEON and 2 GADWALL, just to name a few of the more noteworthy sightings.Yesterday, four TRUMPETER SWANS at Barcovan in the morning, one with wing tag R81. Thirteen TUNDRA SWANS flew over, and a NORTHERN PINTAIL was the other noteworthy species. A leucistic female AMERICAN GOLDFINCH  has been coming to a feeder along County Road 28 east of Fenwood Gardens (south of Belleville), while a leucistic female MALLARD continues to be seen in Belleville, seemingly alternating between the Kiwanis Bayshore Trail and locations in  the Moira River. Numerous RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS were swayed by the fine autumn weather and fairly open winter, resulting in numerous wintering individuals being reported throughout the winter in the Bay of Quinte region. However, more recent reports of the arrival of males at feeders are probably spring arrivals who may get a reminder tomorrow that winter isn’t quite over yet! A male was seen at a Croydon feeder, north of Napanee, today, and an unexpected arrival of nine turned up at a South Bay feeder. The promise of greater things to come at Wellington when a single COMMON REDPOLL showed up at a Narrow Street feeder yesterday, fizzled out as the single bird failed to put in a repeat appearance today, or bring any others with him. Meanwhile, at Orland, north of Brighton, 70 PINE SISKINS  continue to happily feed daily there. Three RED-TAILED HAWKS were seen soaring together today over a cleared lot where a new subdivision at the north end of Farley Avenue in Belleville is replacing the fine habitat that was once there. At Wellington, a COOPER'S HAWK continues to frequent a backyard there.

Sunday, February 28: The water just east of Calf Pasture Point at Presqu’ile Park is starting to open up with the promise of lots of waterfowl species to see during the Waterfowl Viewing Weekend on March 19-20. There was a baker’s dozen of waterfowl species present today at the park, among the more noteworthy sightings, 550 REDHEADS, 225 GREATER SCAUP, 65 CANVASBACKS, 650 LONG-TAILED DUCKS, and 300 COMMON GOLDENEYE, 325 COMMON MERGANSERS. A few RING-BILLED GULLS have also arrived – an estimated 7,500 of them! To remind us that it is still winter though, a SNOWY OWL was also seen. No word on the Wellington SNOWY OWL and where it is hanging out these days. However, a COMMON REDPOLL was seen on Narrow Street in Wellington today – the very first COMMON REDPOLL to appear this winter in the Bay of Quinte area, although a flock of 40 or so did make a one day appearance at Presqu’ile Park earlier this winter, and there was a HOARY REDPOLL at Prince Edward Point in late January. Perhaps there is hope yet for the appearance of this colourful northern finch at our feeders in the area before winter ends. Elsewhere today, it was eagles. A backyard east of Lake on the Mountain had an immature BALD EAGLE in a distant tree, thereby explaining the deserted feeders this morning. Another BALD EAGLE  was seen two days ago by a reader who had stopped to refuel at the Quik Stop Gas Bar along Highway 49 at Deseronto.  Birder/photographer Ian Dickinson Belleville, who often submits photos for the Bird Report, has made it a goal this year to reach a total of 300 on his life list of birds that he has seen and photographed. Read his latest blog, Onward to 300 – A Birder’s Trek, by CLICKING HERE.

Saturday, February 27: A few good sightings from Prince Edward County. A PEREGRINE FALCON  zoomed in on a prey along the Wellington shoreline a few days ago. The only active birding anywhere today in Prince Edward County, was along Cressy Lakeside Road where there were phenomenal numbers of MUTE SWANS, according to a Napanee birder who birded the shoreline today before the winds picked up much. Not to be outdone were 300 COMMON GOLDENEYES.   Also present, a couple dozen MALLARDS, 17 RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS and two flocks of GREATER SCAUP, totalling about 100.  The female  WOOD DUCK  that has been present in Picton Harbour for much of the winter, is still there along with 2 male MALLARDS. HORNED LARKS were seen along Cressy Lakeside Road, and 3 COMMON MERGANSERS  were at Glenora Ferry today. Not looking so great these days in Trenton is the female GREEN-WINGED TEAL that has been present in the Trent River by the railway bridge at the Jack Lange Memorial Trail for much of the winter. It was there today in with the usual MALLARDS, COMMON GOLDENEYES, CANADA GEESE ,and gulls. Two WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS  are regulars now at a feeder along County Road 14 (Demorestville Road, east of Highway 62 at Crofton, and a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER made its debut today at a suet feeder along Palace Road east of Napanee. Slightly out of the area, along Florida Road near Wilton, some good sightings there today, among them 60 PINE SISKINS, 20 DARK-EYED JUNCOS and 22 AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS. Lots of waterfowl these days at Invista (Dupont Lagoons) at Kingston as spring inches ever so much closer. Yesterday, there were eight species of waterfowl including a lone AMERICAN COOT, 6 CANVASBACKS, 120 MALLARDS, 20 AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS, 9 REDHEADS and 55 GADWALL. And even farther away, but of considerable interest was a GYRFALCON near the Lafleche Landfill near Cassleman (south of Ottawa). Just to remind us that it is the nesting season for some birds, such as owls, a pair of BARRED OWLS turned up at the H.R Frink Centre at Plainfield yesterday. And, keep your eyes peeled for the PURPLE FINCH at your feeders now as small numbers are showing up at feeding stations throughout the Bay of Quinte region.

Friday, February 26: An amazing sight this morning at first light, says one birder from Lake on the Mountain: six BALD EAGLES flying in front of her house from the direction of Cressy towards Glenora Ferry. Two were mature, the others were younger but couldn’t be aged because they were seen gliding, wing-on, in silhouette against the early light.  Eleven species of waterfowl were present today at Barcovan, among the more noteworthy, 150 CANADA GEESE, 120 GREATER SCAUP, 60 COMMON GOLDENEYE, 40 each of REDHEADS and LONG-TAILED DUCKS, singles of HOODED and COMMON MERGANSER and 4 TRUMPETER SWANS. On Amherst Island, RUSTY BLACKBIRDS (3), an EASTERN BLUEBIRD, single northern RED-TAILED HAWK, and 21 ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS made for a good day four days ago.  PURPLE FINCHES  continue to infiltrate local feeders as the species works its way through the area on its spring migration. Two were seen today at Wilton, and small numbers of not more than 10 are being seen at many feeders around the Quinte area. Certainly a far cry from the late 1960s when upwards of 70 or more would bombard our feeders on our farm at Big Island.  Birding seems to have entered a low ebb right now. Could be a combination of waterfowl overload and counting down the days when the first SONG and FOX SPARROWS belt out their spring songs, signalling the start of the spring migration in earnest. The Presqu’ile Provincial Park Weekly Bird Report by Fred Helleiner has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website. To see it, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, February 25: Two rivals, but so far, surviving in the same Brighton backyard, is a NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD, as well as a regular COOPER’S HAWK. This morning, at least 70 PINE SISKINS descended on a feeder in the Orland area, north of Brighton. The feeder operator said the flock was eating heartily and vocalizing loudly! This morning, a MERLIN was spotted in Belleville, at the corner of Haig Road and Victoria Avenue. Not much interest in birding in yesterday’s crazy weather, although a NORTHERN FLICKER  was seen in Wellington. Today, a visit to Barcovan at the Wellers Bay Channel off County Road 64, resulted in all three species of swan being present, with a single TUNDRA SWAN joining the five TRUMPETER SWANS  and “hoards” of MUTE SWANS. The AMERICAN COOT  was still present in the open waters there. A few AMERICAN MERGANSERS were joined by a male HOODED MERGANSER. Also new was a female NORTHERN PINTAIL and a male RING-NECKED DUCK.

Wednesday, February 24: No report today. Foul weather....no birds....no Internet!

Tuesday, February 23: A RED-TAILED HAWK  was in a Wellington backyard today, and another was present today on Big Island. Almost a dozen species of waterfowl at Barcovan today, including a single AMERICAN COOT. Others were 180 CANADA GEESE, 30 MALLARDS, 7 REDHEADS, 50 each of GREATER SCAUP and LONG-TAILED DUCK, 35 COMMON GOLDENEYES, 2 TUNDRA SWANS, 8 AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS and singles of COMMON and RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS. The five TRUMPETER SWANS were there and one adult showed aggressive behaviour and started trumpeting. Two BALD EAGLES were seen, both sub-adults. One was a first year and the other a third year bird. Another BALD EAGLE was seen on Lost Channel Road near Thomasburg. Another was seen at Deroche Lake at the end of Vanderwater Road earlier, a few kilometres east of Thomasburg. Two BALD EAGLES on Amherst Island and yesterday, a SNOWY OWL was seen flying from the site of the old Millhaven Plant across the strait to Amherst Island. RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER  today along County Road 2, north of Wilson Road (north of Wellington).

Monday, February 22 : A bit of humour to start off this evening’s brief Report. A reader in Napanee asks a profound question: “If a large group of crows is a murder, are four crows an assault without just caws?” About 83 unidentified swans were present today in the headwaters of the Outlet River at East Lake. It won’t be long now before this popular area will open up some more and provide some profitable waterfowl watching from the Glendon Green boat launch. One hundred MALLARDS and a lone WOOD DUCK were seen along Belleville's Kiwanis Bayshore Trail today. WHITE-THROATED SPARROW and RED-TAILED HAWK were highlights at Lemoine Point Conservation area. There is increasing evidence that PURPLE FINCHES are beginning to migrate through as small numbers have been showing up at local feeders.  There were 10 present today among the dozen or so species at a Cressy feeder which included RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER, a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW, and 20 AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES. South of Tweed, 96 WILD TURKEYS are regular visitors to feeders on a side road there.    

Sunday, February 21: Some signs of winter today and a few signs of spring. George, the Wellington resident SNOWY OWL, was seen once again today at his usual perch, although missed by several other birders who tried to seek him out.  Huge flocks of SNOW BUNTINGS reported today from the Napanee area, and also at Napanee, a male and female NORTHERN CARDINAL that seemed late for supper as they were seen feeding at a feeder on East Street at 6:00 p.m. when it was quite dark. A SNOWY OWL today at Jim Snow Road and Bath Road. Two other winter birds, NORTHERN SHRIKES, were seen in the Wellington area today. However, there were signs of spring, too, today. Several flocks of AMERICAN ROBINS in the Stinson Block area of Consecon and one has to assume that some of the birds were early migrants. A flock of about 10 robins foraging along County Road 7 east of Lake on the Mountain yesterday. A pair of  COMMON RAVENS were on territory in that area too. At Barcovan, two PURPLE FINCHES were seen at a feeder, and 8 (5 females and 3 males) dropped in unexpectedly to a feeder at Cressy. At Pleasant Bay a second year BALD EAGLE was seen heading straight north. A SHARP-SHINNED HAWK along Gilead Road at Highway 62, and a RED-TAILED HAWK not far away on Conley Road, rounds out the sightings that came in today.

Saturday, February 20: A PILEATED WOODPECKER was seen foraging in some backyard conifers in Kingston, not far east of Lemoine Point Conservation Area.  Another PILEATED WOODPECKER was among several species seen today south of Madoc, at the corner of Wood Road and Twiddy Road at the Trans Canada Trail. Also seen there were a SWAMP SPARROW and a WINTER WREN, both species good sightings at this time of year. Down at the Wellers Bay channel at Barcovan, an AMERICAN COOT joined the dozen or so waterfowl species noted there today, along with 5 TRUMPETER SWANS. Recently seen in Brighton was a nice flock of 150 CEDAR WAXWINGS. East of there, a female GREEN-WINGED TEAL was on the Trent River, just south of the railway bridge at the Jack Lange Memorial Trail area. The teal has been there for a couple of weeks now. There was a BALD EAGLE  at Glenora today, and eight COMMON CROWS on the ice at Cressy were probably a murder of 150 or so that roost at Glenora and course to and fro along Adolphus Reach every day. On a drive down Kaiser Crossroad and County Road 8, a birder there found two flocks (24+) SNOW BUNTINGS tumbling over the fields. And, always a good sign of spring, although premature yet to think in those terms, 30 AMERICAN ROBINS  which appeared all morning along the edge of the Cressy Marsh, foraging on the shoulder of the road. More scattered flocks of AMERICAN ROBINS  at Big Island and also Norton Road at Northport. However, all it took was a visit to the Wellington shoreline today to remind us that it was still winter as several LONG-TAILED DUCKS surfed the rollers during today’s windy conditions.

Friday, February 19: COMMON RAVENS were heard vocalizing this morning in the woods surrounding Sawguin Creek on County Rd 23 near Rednersville. A flock of RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS  descended on a bird feeder along C.R. 14, east of Crofton, near the Hamilton Wetland. From black to white, SNOW BUNTINGS were present again today along County Road 2, north of Wellington, and 15 were also seen along County Road 32 just east of Bloomfield, and others were also spotted along Highway 33 between Bloomfield and Picton. The male SNOWY OWL at Wellington has been very cooperative in allowing numerous birders view it as it perches unconcerned on the top of utility poles in the area. Today it was back along County Road 2, north of Wellington, but it was also seen today by other observers along Gilead Road. One just needs to be patient and determined if seeking out this winter visitor as it responds to its own whims. On the west side of the County, at Trenton, it was spring, or thought one returning birder from his winter in Mexico, as clucking AMERICAN ROBINS, warbling HOUSE FINCHES and singing BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES and several singing EUROPEAN STARLINGS  responded to the warming temperatures, disturbed only by the appearance of a COOPER’S HAWK. The Weller's Bay channel at Barcovan was full of the usual waterfowl today with REDHEADS joining the expected ducks. All three swan species were present with one TUNDRA SWAN and six TRUMPETER SWANS (four first year and two adult)   joining the multitude of MUTE SWANS. The Glen Lane feeder at the Stinson Block, west of Consecon, was very busy with eight  NORTHERN CARDINALS adding some colour. Two rarer wintering sparrows at the feeder included six WHITE-THROATED and two WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS.

Thursday, February 18: The SNOWY OWL, which has been affectionately referred to as George, was seen again on a roof along Gilead Road, just north of Wellington. Both Gilead Road and Conley Road near the mushroom farm have proved to be a mecca this winter for birds. In addition to the SNOWY OWL; there have been numerous SNOW BUNTINGS, at least one LAPLAND LONGSPUR and large numbers – at least, 100 according to one estimate -  of HORNED LARKS. There were several different birders along that route today armed with binoculars, so very little got missed.  At Wellington Harbour, also a popular destination for birders in the area,  23 TUNDRA SWANS, 2 TRUMPETER SWANS, and 4 REDHEADS were among the waterfowl species present at the open water there. At about 4 p.m. yesterday, on County Road 38, just east of Campbellford, east of English Line Veterinary Clinic, a mature BALD EAGLE was seen flying and circling around, over the Trent River and inland east of the river, putting on quite an airshow. At Lake on the Mountain, a 1st-year BALD EAGLE was seen flying up the Adolphus Reach towards Glenora this morning. Other good sightings today included a RED-TAILED HAWK on the 401 near the Deseronto turnoff, 7 AMERICAN ROBINS at the base of Farley Avenue in Belleville, and 4 COMMON CROWS at my Big Island feeder. Fred Helleiner's weekly Presqu'ile Park Bird Report has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website, and can be viewed by CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, February 17:  Horned Larks are back on County Road 2, as well as nearby Gilead Road  and Conley Road. Several large flocks 100s for sure. These are doubtless migrants as their average arrival date in the Quinte area has always been recognized as February 12th, although there have been a dozen or so since January near the Conley Road mushroom farm. The WHITE-THROATED SPARROW  was once again at a Crofton feeder, and the Gilead SNOWY OWL was back again at Wellington, although it had moved to a hydro pole along a long private driveway. Numerous SNOW BUNTINGS  were seen along Gilead Road – flocks numbering 10 to 40. Barcovan today had MUTE SWANS and at least one TRUMPETER SWAN, COMMON GOLDENEYE, GREATER SCAUP, CANADA GEESE, REDHEADS, and LONG-TAILED DUCKS. RED-TAILED HAWKS  today at Stinson Block, Highway 62 north of Oram Road, Big Island, Belleville area, Crofton and Adolphustown. To conserve owls and their habitats, we must monitor their populations, says Bird Studies Canada in their recent newsletter, who administers this popular survey program every year. These important predators, and their prey, are affected by a number of environmental factors, including changes in Canadian forests. Through the national Nocturnal Owl Survey, nine regional survey programs are conducted across Canada. Volunteers have unique opportunities to hear and see these fascinating birds. Citizen Scientists collect valuable information that helps document owl distribution and population trends. Bird Studies Canada thanks all the volunteers and conservation partners who have supported Nocturnal Owl Surveys. We wish the 2016 participants a wonderful survey season! As with all long-term monitoring programs, there is an annual need to fill survey gaps. If you live near Canada’s great forests and can spare an evening this spring to volunteer, please contact your regional owl survey program coordinator through the Bird Studies Canada website.

Tuesday, February 16: Once again, bird feeders, especially in Prince Edward County where snowfall was the heaviest and unrelenting, were hives of activity.  The 50’ X 75’ ground beneath our feeders that I keep scraped clean  would erupt into a blanket of birds every time I scraped it bare today with 30+ AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS, over 80 AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES and lesser numbers of BLUE JAYS, DARK–EYED JUNCOS and more than a dozen RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS. An unusual sighting at  feeders this morning  east of Lake on the Mountain, some 40 AMERICAN CROWS. A flock of about 150 roosts near Glenora and flies towards Cressy each morning. Some of them obviously saw an opportunity to top up along the way! At Crofton, along Demorestville Road just east of Highway 62, the WHITE-THROATED SPARROW  was present again today at the feeders there. COMMON GRACKLES were reported there too along with three NORTHERN CARDINALS. NORTHERN CARDINAL and DARK-EYED JUNCOS at a Napanee feeder and another at Elmwood Drive in Belleville. Yesterday, a NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD and COOPER’S HAWK were at a Brighton feeder. At the entrance of Proctor Park in Brighton today were trees full of CEDAR WAXWINGS, although no estimate of number was included in the e-mail.

Monday, February 15: Almost a carbon copy of last evening’s Bird Report at Wellington when two of us stopped to survey the waterfowl today. There were still 1,000+ CANADA GEESE spread out in and around two areas of West Lake, east of the harbour where the water was still open. Fifteen HERRING GULLS were also in a group, trying to stay out of the wind, although they picked a poor spot on the open ice to do so.  Enough wind and frigid temperatures early this morning though as a steady incoming current in the channel was saturated with pancake ice as it worked at closing off what little water there was in the open harbour itself. Some 85 swans, most of which were unidentified as they huddled together with heads tucked under their wings. Two TRUMPETER SWANS  were identified along with about 60 MALLARDS, 2 REDHEADS a single COMMON GOLDENEYE and a GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL were also present. These MALLARDS were in a cluster near the wharf.  LONG-TAILED DUCKS bobbed and disappeared behind the rolling waves and spume of the lake. On Gilead Road, the SNOWY OWL (George) was still on its favourite utility pole at 9:30 a.m. and was still there in mid-afternoon. Huyck’s Point Road produced 3 SNOW BUNTINGS, and Lake Ontario at Huyck’s Point proper yielded a few LONG-TAILED DUCKS, COMMON GOLDENEYES and MALLARDS. Two BALD EAGLES in the distance flew over the water in the area of Nicholson’s Island. It was slow on the Stinson Block, west of Consecon, and the only bird of note seen was a RED-TAILED HAWK. Twelve WILD TURKEYS  were seen along Glenora Road.  A decent day today on Amherst Island.  Half a dozen ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS, 4 SNOWY OWLS, one of which glided soundlessly about 20 feet directly overhead, TRUMPETER SWANS, and 2 NORTHERN HARRIERS. 

Sunday, February 14: Birders tend to take only one day off from birding when the weather is old; the second day, they are out, despite the temperature before light this morning being -27 degrees, colder than yesterday morning! George, the SNOWY OWL that has called County Road 2, north of Wellington, its home for much of the winter, reappeared after a period of absence. It was found today along Gilead Road, just 400 metres east of County Road 2.  At Wellington it was wall-to-wall CANADA GEESE which a Belleville birder  estimated at 1000  in 3 small open areas. Among the swans there were 75 MUTE, 2 TRUMPETERS and a hard-to-spot TUNDRA SWAN which was sleeping, but its yellow-spotted bill was visible at some angles. For ducks only 13 MALLARDS and 1 COMMON GOLDENEYE were visible. At Barcovan 175 MUTE SWANS and 400 CANADA GEESE were present today. There were also 3 TRUMPETER SWANS. Some COMMON GOLDENEYES (75), MALLARDS (30), LONG-TAILED DUCKS (25), GREATER SCAUPS (25) and singles of REDHEAD and AMERICAN BLACK DUCK did manage to squeeze in. The cold temperatures also resulted in brisk business at bird feeders around the area for the second day in a row. A WHITE-THROATED SPARROW popped into a feeder at Cressy. At Milford, a resident there reported seeing an AMERICAN ROBIN in a Red Cedar casually preening itself this morning as the mercury in the thermometer there plunged to a bone chilling -35 degrees Celsius. Two COMMON RAVENS  were along Highway 49, north of Picton, and a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER  appeared at a feeder in Allisonville after an absence of several weeks. At Presqu'ile Park in the Presqu'ile Bay area yesterday, 5 BALD EAGLES managed to catch some ducks in the frigid cold.  There were 4 adults and 1 immature bird.  It is believed that these may be the same birds that dined on a deer carcass about a week and a half ago, to the north of here.    Also, an Iceland Gull was also seen in the Park. SNOWY OWL, HORNED LARK and SNOW BUNTING  were noted today near the Lennox Generating Plant.

Saturday,February 13: Forget looking for waterfowl in today’s –25 degree temperatures; today was a day to bird from the comfort of one’s home. And, it paid off for several local residents today. Bird feeders went absolutely wild today with the cold temperatures, and business was brisk.  As I was counting  a small number of AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES  at our own feeder on Big Island for Project FeederWatch, a flock of 80+, when counting then became a matter of estimating, probably under estimating, if anything. At a Cressy feeder, a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER, a HAIRY and a DOWNY WOODPECKER showed up for sustenance, along with a PURPLE FINCH, AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS, a dozen AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES and BLUE JAYS, the ongoing appearances broken only by one adult and one immature BALD EAGLE  flying by at different times. In Milford, a RED-TAILED HAWK parked itself in a tree beside a bird feeder to do some birdwatching of its own. Dozens of DARK-EYED JUNCOS, two sets of NORTHERN CARDINALS and the usual clientele continued to feed, unaffected by its presence. At a  West Lake feeder near Sandbanks, much the same activity, with the highlight being a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER and a PURPLE FINCH. At Orland, north of Brighton, there were four pairs of PURPLE FINCHES, a good number considering they are no longer as common at bird feeders as they were back five decades ago. Six PINE SISKINS were also among the feeder guests.  In Brighton, the NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD  was once again in a backyard, at about the same time as it appeared yesterday morning, to a heated bird bath rimmed with ice. CANADA GEESE, AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS, MALLARDS, REDHEADS, GREATER SCAUP, LONG-TAILED DUCKS, COMMON GOLDENEYE, COMMON and RED MERGANSERS were all seen by a Belleville birder who braved the bitter wind today and took a tally of waterfowl species at Barcovan.

Friday, February 12: Snow squalls and brisk winds all day today in much of Prince Edward County (zero visibility in Wellington, for example for most of the day), so most birders avoided that area today. So, no updates on the situation at Wellington Harbour, or if the SNOWY OWL, missing in action for several days, had reappeared north of the village. Wild weather though often does bring in some surprises. A NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD stopped in for a drink at a Brighton backyard at 8:30 this morning, stayed for two minutes, and then flew off. At Crofton, a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW  showed up at a feeder there, just east of Highway 62 along Demorestville Road (C.R. 14). Yesterday, 40 AMERICAN ROBINS  were found along Melville Road at Adam’s Lane, east of Consecon Lake. At Cobourg Harbour today, 10 waterfowl species were counted including 280 MALLARDS. Other species were 32 AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS, GREATER and LESSER SCAUP, REDHEAD, MUTE SWAN, LONG-TAILED DUCK, BUFFLEHEAD, COMMON GOLDENEYE and COMMON MERGANSER. Of special note were 550 HERRING GULLS, 100 RING-BILLED GULLS, 2 GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS and 2 ICELAND GULLS.

Thursday, February 11: Not too much birding today, and all one had to do was stand facing the raw northwest winds to understand why.  Two BALD EAGLES were seen making their way westward up Adolphus Reach at first light this morning. In the half light, it was determined that one was an adult and the other an immature.  Belleville photographers Ian Dickinson and Gilles Bisson whose photos often appear on the NatureStuff website and in this  evening report, are two of several members of the local Photo-Nat Club having a nature photography exhibition in the Quinte Mall this weekend. The exhibit continues through tomorrow and Sunday. One of the exhibitors, Gilles Bisson will be present there tomorrow  2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.,  and Saturday and Sunday after 3 p.m. There have been no reports of BALD EAGLES or other raptors this week at Presqu’ile Park, but both SNOWY and BARRED OWLS have been seen.  Four COMMON RAVENS were feeding on the ice of Presqu'ile Bay on Tuesday, and one was there on the next day.  Sightings of BROWN CREEPERS have been regular this winter, but three found by two observers walking the roads were exceptional.  Probably the most surprising find of the week was the flock of 45 COMMON REDPOLLS mentioned in last evening’s Report, a species that has been virtually absent all winter.  Perhaps they are a precursor of other finches arriving later in the winter. Fred Helleiner’s Presqu’ile Provincial Park Weekly Bird Report has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website, and can be read by CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday February 10:  Waterfowl were certainly the order of the day at Presqu’ile Park yesterday when one birder there estimated the numbers of REDHEADS  at 3,000, matched only by GREATER SCAUP at 1,000. COMMON GOLDENEYE  numbered 85 among the eight species present. And, we can resume our optimism that COMMON REDPOLLS will one day make their way to the Bay of Quinte region as a nice flock of 45 made their way on the observer’s  list at Presqu’ile yesterday. At Wellington Harbour today, there was an adult BALD EAGLE on the Sandbanks side of the channel and a very high number of REDHEADS  out in Lake Ontario. Nice variety of winter birds at Algonquin Park right now, including WHITE-WINGED and RED CROSSBILLS, PINE GROSBEAK, EVENING GROSBEAK, PINE SISKIN, COMMON REDPOLL, PURPLE FINCH, GRAY JAY, SPRUCE GROUSE, BOREAL CHICKADEE. They’re all there, but in some cases, widely scattered. Something to consider for this coming Saturday is Algonquin Park’s Winter in the Wild Festival – a day chocked full of activities including guided bird walks, artists exhibition, winter photography tips, wildlife snowshoe excursion, winter in the wild lunch, wildlife tracking, winter camping demonstrations, ice skating, campfire and barbeque, concluding with a winter fireside talk and night hike. To learn more and see a short entertaining video about the planned events on the NatureStuff website, CLICK HERE. They have snow back there!

Tuesday, February 09: Ten species of ducks present at Wellington Harbour today, among them, AMERICAN BLACK DUCK, REDHEADS, and GREATER SCAUP. A few ducks at Athol Bay, at Sandbanks Park, but widely scattered and in very low numbers. Species I noted included GREATER SCAUP, BUFFLEHEAD, LONG-TAILED DUCK, COMMON GOLDENEYE and MALLARD. At Barcovan, birders are still making the trek in hopes that the rare ROSS’S GEESE have returned for an encore, but no sign of them today. There was a dense cluster of what were believed to be 300+ RING-NECKED DUCKS in the distance on the Wellers Bay side. Among the many MUTE SWANS were seven TRUMPETER SWANS, four being adults and three being juveniles.  One adult had a yellow tag K29 and two juveniles with tags R73 and L97. At South Bay today, there was a sighting of two BALD EAGLES on the ice that covers South Bay for about a half hour this morning. Other than a NORTHERN HARRIER and a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK flying almost side by side along South Big Island Road this morning, no other sightings came in today.

Monday, February 08: Another good day at Amherst Island for raptors with 21 ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS being counted by one Kingston birder. Also seen, an AMERICAN KESTREL, 3 NORTHERN HARRIERS and 7 RED-TAILED HAWKS. Five TURKEY VULTURES were seen today riding the winds near Sandbanks Park. On County Road 39 (Stinson Block) west of Consecon, a flock of 40 CEDAR WAXWINGS showed up. Other than that, a pretty ho hum day. Still lots of swans and geese in the harbour at Wellington, and north of there, the male SNOWY OWL has not been seen now for a few days. One resident thinks it may have moved on to more hospitable abodes since the fields it once hunted on are now being spread with compost from the nearby mushroom farm.   And, I guess we can assume that the 10 or so ROSS’S GEESE have also moved on as there have been no sightings since last seen on Thursday of last week. We’ll just have to hang on tight until that first promised COMMON REDPOLL shows its face at our feeders!

Sunday, February 07: Waterfowl and watchers of waterfowl are having a field day now as mild  weather has opened up many of their former haunts. A prolific area these days has been Cressy Lakeside Road where massive flocks of GREATER SCAUP flew along the shoreline. Singles of WOOD DUCK, AMERICAN BLACK DUCK and HOODED MERGANSER, seen yesterday at Picton Harbour cozied up together side by side along the boat docks. A PILEATED WOODPECKER  was seen in Yarker. Two each of GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET and BROWN CREEPER  were spotted at Presqu’ile Park today. Also seen, 12 GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS. One BALD EAGLE on the ice today east of Glenora Ferry and another one today on Amherst Island. One very lucky birder there today on the island tallied an impressive list of no fewer than 11 SNOWY OWLS! South Bay COMMON RAVENS continue to be seen and heard frequently.  On Dainard Road today, near Point Petre, a BARRED OWL was found, and a couple days ago, a NORTHERN SHRIKE was seen south of Milford right where the rare Black-bellied Whistling Duck was seen in July of 2010. Another NORTHERN SHRIKE  was seen at the former Ducks Dive Charters near Prince Edward Point. Returning home from a day of birding at Prince Edward Point, a birder today was in collision with a RUFFED GROUSE on Long Point Road which bounced off the front bumper as it flew across the road. The bird, none the worse for the experience, shook itself off and resumed its flight. Although I have been birding for over 60 years, I am having some difficulty trying to pin an identity on the following bird of prey. Whatever it is, the local birds don’t seem to appreciate its presence. To see the mystery hawk, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, 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 MALLARDS, AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS and CANADA GEESE that were present in the river. 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 BLACKBIRDS 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.


Last Updated ( May 30, 2016 at 11:18 PM )
What Birds To Expect This Month PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Spraque   
May 29, 2016 at 03:00 AM


                                                        *  J U N E  *   

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

The Blackpoll Warbler, a late migrant, may be seen into June as the species continues to tickle through. Photo by Sydney Smith of WellingtonBy and large, the spring warbler migration is all but over by the end of May. Despite how the month started out with near zero Celsius temperatures at night, and even snow flurries, May was a good month – a few good days, but no spectacular fallouts, although there was a steady procession of warblers right through the month. A few of the late migrant species continue to appear into early June including BLACKPOLL WARBLER (photo by Sydney Smith of Wellington), WILSON’S WARBLER and MOURNING WARBLER, but these typically later migrants were already beginning to show up in mid-May this spring. . A few species of shorebirds will continue migrating through the County including late migrating species such as SANDERLINGS that will also be observed still passing through in early June.

As we enter June, we can safely assume that most resident species are already well into nesting. Some, like the EASTERN PHOEBE, AMERICAN ROBIN and SONG SPARROW that may have nested in April, will move into their second brood of the season. Meanwhile, the young of other early nesters such as the GREAT HORNED OWL may still be occupied with household chores in June.

Both May and June are busy months for birds, and for some species, activity is at its highest ebb as parents mark out their territory by song, defend their nests, and feed their young. The presence of predators or some other perceived danger will send most birds into a variety of defensive actions as they either defend their nest or attempt to lure intruders away. The confusing calls of young birds will fill the air in June as young AMERICAN ROBINS, COMMON GRACKLES and BALTIMORE ORIOLES, although out of the nest, continue to beg for food and train their voices.

AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES, however, wait until the thistle down ripens before they give much serious thought to nesting worries. Until then, they continue to travel around in loose carefree flocks, bounding through the air like miniature roller coasters. Keep your niger and sunflower seed feeders well stocked for they will visit them often during this time of the year.

Meanwhile the similar calls of the ALDER FLYCATCHER and WILLOW FLYCATCHER (photo by Garry Kirsch of Belleville) will continue to try the patience of new birders. Learn their songs, as that, and often their choice of habitat are the only sure ways of separating them in the field. Some birds, although melting into the dense growth at this time of the year, are relatively easy to identify by song. The OVENBIRD’S “cher-tee, cher-tee, cher-TEE, CHER-TEE” with rising inflection will identify this species as we walk the woodland trails at this time of the year; similarly the rich flute-like notes followed by a little trill or slur at the end pinpoints the location of the WOOD THRUSH. When in the field, make attempts at putting words to their songs as a way to remember them when heard again. The “drink-your tea-a-a” of the EASTERN TOWHEE, the “whitchety, whitchety, whitchety” of the COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, or the “Maids, maids, put on your tea, kettle, kettle, kettle” of the SONG SPARROW. Warbling vireos become easy to learn if you think of their fast paced spiralling song as saying, “If I had it, I would squeeze it, if I squeezed it, it would SQUIRT!” Sometimes the songs may be rude, or make little sense, but it is one sure way of remembering them.

Some key areas to continue looking for birds in June are Prince Edward Point, Point Petre and Sandbanks Provincial Park. And while at Sandbanks, keep an eye on West Point, the tiny rocky peninsula that juts out into Lake Ontario from the base of the sand dunes, on Lakeshore Lodge Road. These little out of the way places can still offer surprises.

Above all, don't put away your binoculars yet. There is still considerable bird activity to take in during the month of June. Enjoy!

Keep checking the QUINTE AREA BIRD REPORT for daily updates on these lost souls as well as other arrivals as they occur.

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


Last Updated ( May 29, 2016 at 07:04 AM )
Picton Farm Supply PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Spraque   
May 28, 2016 at 03:00 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.)  $24.95
  • Striped Sunflower Seed (50 lb.)    $25.95
  • Sunflower chips (50 lb.)                $54.70
  • 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.)                       $17.40
  • Peanuts, in shell (50 lb.)               $59.50
  • Peanuts, out of shell, (50 lb)         $46.40         




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.















































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.  


 * * * * * * * * * *



 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 ( May 28, 2016 at 01:04 PM )
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