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What Birds To Expect This Month PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Spraque   
Sep 01, 2015 at 06:00 AM


WHAT BIRDS ARE IN PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY & THE BAY OF QUINTE REGION THIS MONTH

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This fall plumaged Black-bellied Plover is just one of many species of shorebirds we can expect to see passing through this month . Photo by Barry Kant of BrightonEarly September will see high numbers of shorebirds in suitable areas where fine shorebirding beaches such as nearby Presqu’ile Provincial Park and Amherst Island may produce upwards of 20 species of these long distance fliers in a single day. Some of the species like both species of yellowlegs, SEMIPALMATED, LEAST, and PECTORAL SANDPIPERS, SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS and SANDERLINGS that turned up last month, will continue to be seen this month as large numbers make their way through from the Arctic to wintering grounds in South America. Mostly, the shorebirds that turn up this month will be the young of the year which typically migrate later, and will joining the adults of the same species that had turned up last month. So, expect to see a nice mixture of both adult and immature shorebird species this month. Other species to expect this month are both BLACK-BELLIED and AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER (photo by Barry Kant of Brighton), and WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER, Later species such as DUNLIN begin showing up toward the latter part of the month, but there will still be plenty of other species that turned up in mid-August still passing through in September.
 
This is also the month to start watching the shorelines of Prince Edward County for migrating birds of prey. These birds are reluctant to cross the open waters of Lake Ontario, and choose to follow the inland areas along where thermals that will help them in their movement with minimal effort are strong. This migration of buteos, accipiters, falcons, eagles, harriers and vultures will continue well into November.
 
The fall plumaged Chestnut-sided Warbler is far from the dazzling bird we see in May.  Photo by Garry Kirsch of BellevilleThe first marked drop in temperature is sure to bring a wave of warblers flooding into prime birding areas such as Prince Edward Point and West Point at Sandbanks Park, as well as nearby Presqu’ile Park. Birders whose patience has been sorely tried by relatively poor birding in August, will discover that their observations in the field will be attended by more promising results this month the woods with birds in drab autumn plumage which Roger Tory Peterson in his Field Guide to the Birds has thoughtfully labeled “confusing fall warblers.”  NORTHERN PARULA, PALM WARBLER, BLACKPOLL WARBLER and CONNECTICUT WARBLER will be passing through this month, along with increasing numbers of earlier migrants such as AMERICAN REDSTARTS, BAY-BREASTED WARBLERS, CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLERS (photo by Garry Kirsch of Belleville) , NASHVILLE WARBLERS and TENNESSEE WARBLERS. YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, resembling drab sparrows with flashes of yellow on the wings and rump, will increase in numbers this month, remaining until well into November.
 
A few ducks which we normally associate with winter will have started showing up this month including COMMON GOLDENEYE and GREATER SCAUP, along with a few LESSER SCAUP toward the latter part of the month. We will need to wait until at least October before we start seeing my favorite species, the LONG-TAILED DUCK.
 
This White Pelican showed up n the Bay of Quinte In June and is still around  Photo by Ian Dickinson of BellevilleOnce again, as last year at this time, a WHITE PELICAN (photo by Ian Dickinson of Belleville) is in the area. First turning up at Belleville in late June, the large white bird continues to associate with flocks of DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS in the area. Hopefully, it will continue to hang around a bit longer. You can look for it at the denuded Snake Island where cormorants have nested and traditionally hang out, either from the foot of Herchimer Avenue in Belleville, or from the shoreline at Massassauga Point. Athough it can be seen with the aid of binoculars, better views can be obtained through a spotting scope. The pelican has also been seen with cormorants along the shore of Massassauga Point and even as far away as the waters between Huff’s Island and Big Island. Where the cormorants go, so shall he go.
 
This is also the month when many people erect their feeding stations attracting at least a few of the permanent residents who may be in the process of seeking out feeding areas that may sustain them through the winter. Expect to have BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, DOWNY and HAIRY WOODPECKERS, NORTHERN CARDINAL and WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH as regular clients at this time.
 
Once again, as last year at this time, a WHITE PELICAN is in the area. First turning up at Belleville in late June, the large white bird continues to associate with flocks of DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS in the area. Hopefully, it will continue to hang around a bit longer. You can look for it at the denuded Snake Island where cormorants have nested and traditionally hang out, either from the foot of Herchimer Avenue in Belleville, or from the shoreline at Massassauga Point. Athough it can be seen with the aid of binoculars, better views can be obtained through a spotting scope. The pelican has also been seen with cormorants along the shore of Massassauga Point and even as far away as the waters between Huff’s Island and Big Island. Where the cormorants go, so shall he go.
 
The Clay-colored Sparrow will still be around this month, but harder to find. Photo by Tom Wheatley of BellevilleWhile many species of blackbirds won’t be peaking until next month, other members of the family such as the BOBOLINK will have all but left the county by early September. Large numbers of 200 or so though are seen passing over Prince Edward Point until the very end of August, continuing into early September Large flights of EASTERN MEADOWLARKS may also be witnessed this month as migrants head on out, leaving only a few individuals behind to challenge the rigours of winter. Some sparrows will be moving through this month too including SAVANNAHS, WHITE-CROWNED and WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS and DARK-EYED JUNCOS, but the best time to see large numbers of these birds is in October. Others like the GRASSHOPPER SPARROW and CLAY-COLORED SPARROW (photo by Tom Wheatley of Belleville) may still be around in September, but are harder to locate.
 
Migration of other birds including BROWN THRASHER, AMERICAN  PIPIT, both species of kinglets, flycatchers, RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD, thrushes, wrens and tanagers will also be underway this month.
 
Birds are moving this month, but identification of these migrants isn’t the cut and dried process that it tends to be in the spring. Foliage can be quite heavy during September, most species are in drab fall plumage and are joined by similarly plumaged juveniles of the year, and very few are in full song, leaving many birders, especially those who bird by ear, mystified as to the identity of many of the migrants that pass through. There are some good field guides on the market today and electronic devices that can help in the process of sorting them all out.
 
Don’t forget - we do enjoy hearing about your sightings. Everything that comes in is entered on the computer. This information is valuable in getting a better feel for the habits of those birds that choose to migrate through, or nest in, Prince Edward County. Keep checking the QUINTE AREA BIRD REPORT for daily updates on the birds of our area
 
Good birding this month!

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


 

Last Updated ( Sep 01, 2015 at 07:15 AM )
Quinte Area Bird Report PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Spraque   
Sep 01, 2015 at 03:00 AM

Cedar Waxwing. Photo by Garry Kirsch Cedar Waxwing. Photo by Garry KirschTHE QUINTE AREA BIRD REPORT


 

with sightings from the Bay of Quinte region, and beyond

 

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Please e-mail your sightings directly to   Terry Sprague


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


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

Monday, August 31: We start off our Bird Report this evening with just a few significant sightings including a RED KNOT on the beach at Sandbanks near the Lakeshore Lodge Day Use Area. The bird was foraging with four SANDERLINGS and 3 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS. A photo of the RED KNOT  will appear in this Report, hopefully, by tomorrow evening. At Presqu’ile Park, 3 BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS were on Beach 3 late yesterday evening (an immature had been been reported by another observer the same evening). According to the Ontario Birds listserv, the three birds were in some small and low beach vegetation near the water. They were not feeding with the other sandpipers and plovers on the algae mats. On the algae mats there were many SANDERLINGS, SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS and LEAST SANDPIPERS. Also in the area, but closer to Owen Point, about 4 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS  were seen.  Early this morning, 80 GREAT EGRETS (the highest total so far this fall), flew out of the Hamilton Wetland near Demorestville between 6:20 a.m. and 6:30 a.m., two of them wearing green tags. Also present, 7 LESSER YELLOWLEGS and a BELTED KINGFISHER.

Sunday, August 30: Quite a flurry of activity today, starting with A juvenile HERRING GULL  performing its appointed duty of being  caretaker of the beach. This individual at West Lake was trying its best to airlift a dead MUDPUPPY, but failed in the end due to the weight of the creature. COMMON NIGHTHAWKS continue to be reported. Seven were seen two days ago at South Bay, and 12 to 15 north of Stockdale last evening going crazy as they snatched insects. The Harmony Road wetland last evening was described by one Wellington area birder as “slim pickin’s” with BLUE-WINGED TEAL, VIRGINIA RAIL,  a couple of  SWAMP SPARROWS and 4 GREAT EGRETS representing the more significant finds. Heading north to the Trans Canada Trail, a party of birders there spent the entire morning on a long stretch between Tweed and Drag Lake (Palmateer Lake), coming up with approximately 50 species. WARBLING, PHILADELPHIA and RED-EYED VIREOS (4)  were checked off, and warbler species seen added up to six species, most notable being TENNESSEE, MAGNOLIA (5), and BLACKBURNIAN. The lengthy walk also produced 3 COMMON LOONS, a VIRGINIA RAIL, VEERYS, GREATER YELLOWLEGS, SCARLET TANAGER and 3 ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS. They even managed to find a couple HOUSE SPARROWS! Also seen was a BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO, and another was seen today along County Road 17 near Picton. Yesterday afternoon, a PEREGRINE FALCON showed up at Charwell Point, and a pair of SANDHILL CRANES were in a field along Royal Road. The same 3 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS and four SANDERLINGS seen yesterday along the beach near Lakeshore Lodge at Sandbanks were there again today. BONAPARTE’S GULL numbers had increased from yesterday’s six to nine today at the same location. A HOODED WARBLER  today at the Prince Edward Point Harbour was a highlight today for a Belleville birder who spent eight hours wandering about the Point area, coming up with 63 species. Some highlights of the day included 1,000 DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS, an immature BALD EAGLE, and a MERLIN. Yet another OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER turned up in what is becoming a daily occurrence for this species in the County. Four species of vireo were seen – RED-EYED, WARBLING, PHILADELPHIA and BLUE-HEADED. Sixteen species of warblers were present. In addition to the HOODED, a few others included MOURNING, BAY-BREASTED, BLACK-THROATED BLUE (7), BLACK-THROATED GREEN (3), and at least 6 WILSON’S WARBLERS. Ten BOBOLINKS  were counted as this species enters the final month of being seen in our area before they disappear south for the winter. ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, SCARLET TANAGER, 5 EASTERN TOWHEES, a FIELD SPARROW, 3 BALTIMORE ORIOLES, and a BROWN THRASHER were also seen. Six species of flycatchers were identified, not an easy task at this time of the year when similar species are not in full song. Eight other flycatcher sightings were simply left as UFOs. Thank you to all who continue to send me their sightings. We obviously have a few followers of the Bird Report as we have topped 24,000 hits since January and will, at this rate,  doubtless surpass the 28,000 figure tallied for the entire year in 2014.

Saturday, August 29:  Two COMMON NIGHTHAWKS were banded at the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory yesterday, the first banding of this species for the Observatory. Yesterday was a good day at the Point with 17 species of warblers seen and/or banded with a few of the highlights being OVENBIRD, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH and SWAINSON’S THRUSH . Also recorded were three vireo species – RED-EYED, YELLOW-THROATED and PHILADELPHIA. A PHILADELPHIA VIREO was spotted at the Dunes Beach Day Use Area of Sandbanks and a first of the fall season BLUE-HEADED VIREO. Warblers present there included NASHVILLE, MAGNOLIA, CHESTNUT-SIDED, BLACK-THROATED GREEN and NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH. At Point Petre today – WILSON’S WARBLER, WARBLING VIREO and 8 EASTERN KINGBIRDS. Six BONAPARTE’S GULLS  were at West Point today, indicating that this species is starting to arrive now in larger numbers from the two seen at Massassauga Point a week ago. Also at West Point, 2 GRAY CATBIRDS and 3 SANDERINGS.  Two BROAD-WINGED HAWKS and 3 BALD EAGLES ( 2 adults & 1 immature) were a nice find at Prince Edward Point on Friday. An OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER today at South Bay makes at least a half dozen that have turned up here and there around the Quinte region this fall. Yesterday at Wilton Creek at Morven, few shorebirds, 16 LESSER YELLOWLEGS and 9  GREATER YELLOWLEGS  being the highlight with MERLIN and RED-TAILED HAWK also seen. Today, much better.  Shorebirds present were PECTORAL SANDPIPER, SOLITARY SANDPIPER, SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER (10), LESSER YELLOWLEGS (25), GREATER YELLOWLEGS (15), LEAST SANDPIPER (12), as well as KILLDEER and SPOTTED SANDPIPER. Late this afternoon at Presqu’ile Park, a juvenile BUFF-BREASTED SANDPPER was seen on Beach 3. The bird was still present at 6:00 p.m. The only other noteworthy shorebird there today was an adult WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER. A few common warblers seen at the Point Petre Provincial Wildlife Area at the corner of Simpson Road and Army Reserve Road, and other species seen included EASTERN TOWHEE, COMMON RAVEN, CEDAR WAXWINGS and EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE. Near the Simpson Road DU berm two NORTHERN HARRIERS were hunting - one over the wetland and the other south near a line of Red Cedars at the edge of an open wet meadow. Of interest to insect enthusiasts, TWELVE SPOTTED SKIMMERS were still mating, the females laying eggs and the males "on patrol" over the shallow ponds below the berm. A few COMMON WHITETAILS and BLACK WIDOW DRAGONFLIES as well as some Darners - and lots of the MEADOWHAWKS.  Several MONARCH BUTTERFLIES were flying and coming to flowers but only one GIANT SWALLOWTAIL was noted.  Lots and lots of CLOUDED SULPHUR BUTTERFLIES  along the roads and accumulating at puddles, especially along the wide MNR Road. (between Simpson Road. and Lighthall Road.) where 50 were seen clustered together.  ORANGE SULPHURS were not as abundant but were also present. In the mud around the same tiny puddle there were 16 PEARLY CRESCENTS, 2 GRAY COMMAS and one QUESTION MARK BUTTERFLY with a TWELVE-SPOTTED SKIMMER busy laying eggs in the water beside them all. To finish off this evening’s Report, an interesting sighting in a Lake on the Mountain backyard today. There was a juvenile male BALTIMORE ORIOLE on a patch of grass extracting the nectar from the BIRD’S FOOT TREFOIL growing among the grass. 

Friday, August 28: A few herons in Belleville today starting with an extremely upset GREEN HERON that was photographed by a Belleville resident in a stream behind his house in the east section of Belleville. The always faithful BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON was in its usual spot in the Moira River again today along with GREAT BLUE HERON. Yesterday there were two BALD EAGLES  soaring over the escarpment near Lake on the Mountain – one a three year old bird and the other an adult. A BALD EAGLE  was also seen today at South Bay where 2 SANDHILL CRANES, WARBLING VIREO, CASPIAN TERN, 5 CAPE MAY WARBLERS, BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER, and BLACKPOLL WARBLER  were other species of note. North of Brighton, just off Goodrich Road, a five minute flurry of passerines including foraging warblers, vireos, flycatchers and chickadees was noted by a resident there who said the mass arrived together, foraged for awhile, then flew off. Courtesy of Mark Read who compiles a weekly report on behalf of the Kingston Field Naturalists, I include a portion of his sightings, received this evening through the OntBird listserv which will be of interest to readers of my Report: Three COMMON GOLDENEYES were seen at Camden Lake (near Yarker) on 27th. At Wilton Creek, near Napanee, shorebirds are still being seen. A STILT SANDPIPER seen on 20th and 21st. This week, the best shorebirds have been a couple of SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS seen on 26th. GREAT EGRETS have also been seen at this location. Three of 5 birds seen there on 27th had coloured leg bands but unfortunately couldn't be read. Up near Westport an OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was seen on 22nd. At Cranberry Lake, near Brewer's Mills, another OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was seen this week, where the observer also racked up GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER, 2 SANDHILL CRANES and a surprise RED CROSSBILL. On the nearby Washburn Road, 4 SWAINSON's THRUSHES were seen on 27th. Near Lansdowne, 4 SANDHILL CRANES were seen on 26th. At Charleston Lake Provincial Park, both GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER and BAY-BREASTED WARBLER were observed on 26th.The weekly summary of birds at Presqu'ile Park by Fred Helleiner has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be seen by CLICKING HERE. While on the topic of Presqu'ile Park, this is their final week of interpretive programs for the summer season in the park. I have been carrying these programs on my website all summer and you can view what the Park has to offer in their final week by CLICKING HERE.

Thursday, August 27: A small flock of SANDERLINGS were on the beach today at Sandbanks Park. Other shorebirds around the area have included SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, SPOTTED SANDPIPER, GREATER and LESSER YELLOWLEGS, LEAST SANDPIPER, SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER and SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS at Wilton Creek near Morven east of Napanee. The Harmony Road wetland north of Belleville at 7:30 p.m. last night had a nice aggregation of GREAT EGRETS, numbering 27. Also seen there, GREAT BLUE HERON, NORTHERN HARRIER, 2 EASTERN KINGBIRDS and 4 BARN SWALLOWS. At the marsh in Carrying Place along Highway 33 there was a single GREAT EGRET there.  At Bay Meadows Park along North Beach Road, seen were 1 BELTED KINGFISHER, 2 WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCHES, many BALTIMORE ORIOLES, 3 male RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS, AMERICAN GOLDFINCH and a NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD. RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS have been gathering around Pleasant Bay recently and a NORTHERN HARRIER  was seen working the marsh. Today at Beaver Meadow Conservation Area south of Picton, some good sightings there included COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER, 2 AMERICAN BITTERNS, a WOOD DUCK, GREEN HERON, 5 GREEN-WINGED TEAL, COMMON GALLINULE and 2 SANDHILL CRANES. At Sandbanks Park’s West Point area, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE and EASTERN KINGBIRD.  An early fall RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET turned up in the Wellington area yesterday, and today there were GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL, and CASPIAN TERN along Wellington Beach. The BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON continues in its usual spot in the Moira River at the Lion’s Park off Station Street in Belleville. No word today, however, on the WHITE PELICAN, although doubtless, it is still around cavorting with the cormorants. Some good birds today in the Stinson Block area west of Consecon. The highlight was a mixed flock  on Edward Drive which included among others nine Warbler species. Warblers included NASHVILLE, CANADA, WILSON’S, BLACK-AND-WHITE, CAPE MAY, BLACK-THROATED BLUE, MAGNOLIA, YELLOW and AMERICAN REDSTART. Wow! Quite a little flurry there. Also present were ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, INDIGO BUNTING, BALTIMORE ORIOLE and SCARLET TANAGER. There were five species of flycatcher including EASTERN KINGBIRD, EASTERN PHOEBE, OLIVE-SIDED, GREAT CRESTED, and TRAILL’S. The last was probably a WILLOW  species since it gave loud and distinctive 'whit' calls. Finally a MERLIN sat on a pole snacking on a dragonfly. Along South Big Island Road late this afternoon, six EASTERN MEADOWLARKS flushed from a harvested hay field, indicating the species reaped the benefits of an arranged later cutting of the field where BOBOLINKS  this season enjoyed a productive breeding year for the same reason.  A reminder that tomorrow (Friday), at 10:00 a.m., the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists are holding their weekly informal bird and wildflower walk in the Point Petre Provincial Wildlife Area, meeting at the junction of Army Reserve Road and Simpson Road. Everyone – non-members included – are welcome to join them.

Wednesday, August 26 Some good stuff, bird-wise, for this evening’s Report. A LITTLE GULL, the first for the fall season, was seen today at North Beach Provincial Park. In fact, it flew right over a SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER. The only other member representing the shorebird family was a  SPOTTED SANDPIPER, so shorebirding at North Beach was a little sparse today, to say the least. Three SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS were present there on Monday and two were seen yesterday at along the Lakeview Trail at West Point. A SEMIPALMATED PLOVER  was at Wellington Beach on Monday. Another good bird was the WHITE PELICAN, seen again today at Snake Island, but this time from the Massassauga Point shoreline. Also at Massassauga Point, three species of warbler were found – AMERICAN REDSTART, NASHVILLE WARBLER and MAGNOLIA WARBLER. On Fish Lake today – 3 CASPIAN TERNS and a COMMON LOON. An interesting sighting at the 12-acre Sprague Pond in the Big Island Marsh off South Shore Big Island Road – an OSPREY and a BELTED KINGFISHER, both hovering motionless like two helicopters only 50 feet or so apart from each other, but at slightly different altitudes. A WHIMBREL was sighted near the Bay of Quinte at the end of Farley Avenue yesterday, and the BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON was present again today in the Moira River at Lion’s Park off Station Street in Belleville. At the Brighton Constructed Wetlands yesterday, a rare non-sighting – no shorebirds! However, there were some 85 CANADA GEESE, 20 WOOD DUCKS, 67 MALLARDS, 5 BLUE-WINGED TEAL and a couple HOODED MERGANSERS. Also seen, 20 COMMON GALLINULES, CEDAR WAXWING and a NORTHERN FLICKER. The numbers of GREAT EGRETS at their traditional roosts continue to rise and fall like the proverbial toilet seat with only 4 present this morning at Demorestville’s Hamilton Wetland, but 40 counted last evening at Indian Island across from Trenton. Interesting article on the Quinte News website on the burgeoning numbers and concerns over what they referred to as “DOUBLE-BREASTED CORMORANTS”. We wonder what was on their minds when they filed that story with the glaring typo. All we can do is quote Alexander Pope, who said “To err is human, to forgive divine.” It was, however, a good follow-up to an earlier story on cormorants when they included a photo of an Australian Little Pied Cormorant to illustrate their story on the local cormorant population! 

Tuesday, August 25: This evening we will visit some wetlands and other watery locations in our Report. A BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON that turned up in the Moira River last Thursday, was in pretty much the same spot again today in the area of the Lion’s Park off Station Street, in Belleville.  At Wilton Creek, at Big Creek Road, south of Napanee, a good flock of LESSER YELLOWLEGS, numbering 21, was present, and a BELTED KINGFISHER, RED-TAILED HAWK and 2 GREAT BLUE HERONS. Also along Wilton Creek, but closer to the community of Morven, east of Napanee, some interesting shorebirds there including 2 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS, both GREATER and LESSER YELLOWLEGS, 2 SANDERLINGS, 12 LEAST SANDPIPERS, and a half dozen SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS were present on Sunday. Today, there was a MERLIN calling from the spruce trees at the corner of County Road 18 & 12 (West Lake Road). Nearby, at the old Lakeshore Lodge site at Sandbanks Provincial Park, CASPIAN TERN, GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL (2), and SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER were seen today. BALTIMORE ORIOLE and SPOTTED SANDPIPER  were at Point Petre, BELTED KINGFISHER and GRAY CATBIRD were at Charwell Point off Army Reserve Road, and 5 GREEN HERONS  were present at the Hubb’s Creek Marsh along the Millennium Trail, west of Wellington (Danforth Road)

Monday, August 24: The first report of any significant numbers of COMMON NIGHTHAWKS arrived today. A small flight of 6 passed over Trenton heading due south at 7:45 p.m. last night. Also last night, a somewhat larger group of 17 flew into the Harmony Road wetland at about the same time, just north of Belleville and fed on insects above the marsh. There were actually quite a few good sightings at this popular wetland east of Highway 37. Also seen were 20 WOOD DUCKS, 20 GREAT EGRETS, AMERICAN BITTERN, 2 GREEN HERONS, a VIRGINIA RAIL, 6 COMMON GALLINULES, and a LESSER YELLOWLEGS. At the east end of the marsh 15 BOBOLINKS  were roosting. Over 60 species were checked off at Presqu’ile Park the previous day. Some of the highlights included a couple early birds – a WHITE-WINGED SCOTER and a LONG-TAILED DUCK. Very few shorebirds though which has been the story this past week – 8 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, 5 LEAST SANDPIPERS, and a single SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER. Nine warbler species, some of those being CAPE MAY, BLACKBURNIAN, NASHVILLE and NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH. Two BALTIMORE ORIOLES, 6 GRAY CATBIRDS, RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER, 6 NORTHERN FLICKERS, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, TRAILL’S FLYCATCHER (Willow/Alder Flycatcher) were other species of note. An estimated 1,000 DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS were also present. “Thousands” of cormorants were also present yesterday on the False Ducks Islands – specifically Swetman Island where a nice flock of CASPIAN TERNS, numbering 40, added a colourful contrast. Of particular interest was an UPLAND SANDPIPER which did a nice flyby vocalizing loudly. Twenty-one LESSER YELLOWLEGS stole the spotlight today at Wilton Creek, near Napanee. Six COMMON TERNS were at Massassauga Point today as well as a BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER, a species that doesn’t always show up in this conservation area. A GREATER YELLOWLEGS was at the Hamilton Wetland near Demorestville. And, the nomadic WHITE PELICAN was spotted late this afternoon at the east end of Snake Island, at Belleville.

Sunday, August 23: An AMERICAN BITTERN was one of several species present yesterday at the Harmony Road wetland, north of Belleville. There was a nice selection there, including 3 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, a SPOTTED SANDPIPER and a PECTORAL SANDPIPER. Three LESSER YELLOWEGS, a NORTHERN FLICKER, a COMMON GALLINULE, CEDAR WAXWINGS, and a couple WOOD DUCKS, and 3 GREAT EGRETS  were also checked off the same afternoon. At the Hamilton Wetland today, 15 GREAT EGRETS were present at 7:00 a.m. this morning, along with MERLIN and about 175 MALLARDS, and a big treat – 2 BALD EAGLES.  At Big Creek Road in the Napanee area, 4 GREATER YELLOWLEGS  were present today and 23 LEAST SANDPIPERS. Warblers at South Bay today numbered five – COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, NASHVILLE, BAY-BREASTED, CHESTNUT-SIDED, BLACKBURNIAN and TENNESSEE. Always a dependable addition to any summer list because they never stop singing, a RED-EYED VIREO was also present at South Bay. At the Big Island Marsh, a GREATER YELLOWLEGS  continues to call through much of the day.

Saturday, August 22: A few interesting birds at South Bay today included 4 COMMON LOONS, a couple COMMON RAVENS, BELTED KINGFISHER, SPOTTED SANDPIPER and 4 GREEN HERONS.  Fifty-six MOURNING DOVES along Airport Parkway on the east side of Belleville remind us that these kinds of numbers will be at our birds feeders in just four or five months. A MERLIN was also a nice find there. Today at the Stinson Block, just west of Consecon:  ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS, and five species of warblers – BAY-BREASTED, MAGNOLIA, NASHVILLE, BLACKBURNIAN and AMERICAN REDSTART. Also seen was an OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER, perched on a bare snag which is a favourite spot for them. And, if you want to see a WILLET, there is one at the Cranberry Marsh at Oshawa, seen yesterday, and still there today. The best views have been from the NW platform as it feeds along the shoreline out in the middle of the marsh.

Friday, August 21: Lots of birds around today. At the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory, seen were 12 species of warblers - NASHVILLE, CANADA, YELLOW, CHESTNUT-SIDED, MAGNOLIA, CAPE MAY BLACK THROATED BLUE, BLACK THROATED GREEN, BLACKBURNIAN, BLACK-AND-WHITE, AMERICAN REDSTART, and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT.  Lots of BOBOLINKS and a variety of smaller birds like GRAY CATBIRD, TRAIL’S FLYCATCHER, YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER. An ALDER FLYCATCHER reported on eBird must have been singing as at this time of the year, ALDERS and WILLOWS are indistinguishable and even bird banders with a bird in the hand approach enter them as TRAIL’S FLYCATCHER, the name before the bird was separated into two separate species. At Massassauga Point today, 2 BONAPARTE’S GULLS  were seen, the first of the fall season. No sign of the WHITE PELICAN in that same area today. Some good birds at Wilton Creek near Napanee including STILT SANDPIPER and 3 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS. The Hamilton Wetland near Demorestville produced a  number of GREEN-WINGED TEAL, 2 GREATER YELLOWLEGS, 16 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, 17 LEAST SANDPIPERS, 4 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS and 3 SOLITARY SANDPIPERS. A LEAST FLYCATCHER, 22 WOOD DUCKS and a GREEN HERON turned up in the Strathcona area today. Four GREAT EGRETS were seen at the Big Island Marsh today, and 19 were present at the Harmony Road wetland north of Belleville early this morning along with MALLARDS and WOOD DUCKS, but the only shorebirds noted were 2 LESSER YELLOWLEGS and a PECTORAL SANDPIPER. Two VIRGINIA RAILS  were present too as were two COMMON GALLINULES, and an AMERICAN BITTERN, GREAT BLUE HERON and a noisy PILEATED WOODPECKER  completing the half-hour stage show. Off  Highway 401 northeast of  Napanee (Napanee Plain Alvar Natural Area), observed were 4 LOGGERHEAD SHRIKES, 3 unbanded and one banded. Other sightings included 6 UPLAND SANDPIPERS, 40+ BOBOLINKS and 7 AMERICAN KESTRELS. On a sadder note,  a BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO collided with a window at West Lake near Sandbanks, and was killed. Also sad, that few, and often no birders are taking advantage of the Friday morning informal bird walks at the Point Petre Provincial Wildlife Area, as this remote area is where it’s at in terms of wildlife and wildflowers. The walks meet every Friday at 10:00 a.m. at the corner of Simpson Road and Army Reserve Road. Today, the walk took place along Lighthall Road down as far as the berm where several LESSER YELLOWLEGS  were present. A NORTHERN HARRIER swooped by after passing over the wetland, heading west.  Heard were GRAY CATBIRD, BELTED KINGFISHER, EASTERN TOWHEES, AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES, WHITE-THROATED SPARROW  and BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE.   A walk along the higher berm trail revealed at least a hundred AUTUMN MEADOWHAWKS, hiding from the wind in the shrubs; many appeared to have just recently emerged.  When the sun came out, a few 12-SPOTTED SKIMMERS patrolled the puddle-ponds, and several HALLOWEEN PENNANTS were seen flying and resting on plants.  MONARCH BUTTERFLIES  and GIANT SWALLOWTAILS were frequent, SULPHURS were abundant along Army Reserve Road. and VICEROY BUTTERFLIES were here and there.  Two MOURNING CLOAK BUTTERFLIES were having a drink along the roadside at Simpson Road.  The wet area below the berm has very similar plant associations as those that occur in the pannes at Sandbanks.  Present here were NODDING LADIES’-TRESSES orchids that are just coming into bloom as well as the magenta GERARDIAS and the pale blue KALM’S LOBELIA .  Also noticed was a LOESELL’S TWAYBLADE  orchid in fruit as well as two LEAFY GREEN ORCHIDS that also were passed flowering - but nice to see all the same.  Always something new down there.  Last week, there was a gorgeous stand of CARDINAL FLOWER  along a stream on Simpson Road. which was quite spectacular.

Thursday, August 20: A BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON was seen in the Moira River at the Lion’s Park off Station Street in Belleville yesterday. The wandering WHITE PELICAN was seen again today, this time at the east end of Snake Island in the Bay of Quinte. The bird has been travelling around a lot since first being discovered June 22nd near the Norris Whitney Bridge at Belleville. The large, white bird has also turned up in the waters between Huff’s Island and Big Island, but mostly spends its time in the Massassauga Point area. Anyone wishing to see the bird must first find some cormorants! This  WHITE PELICAN follows the DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS around so wherever there are large flocks, look for something large and white that stands out! Other sightings around the area included an EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE on Black Road near Demorestville, and 5 CHIMNEY SWIFTS in Picton. Some good birds at Kingston’s Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area – 2 GREEN HERONS, GRAY CATBIRD, 4 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, BELTED KINGFISHER, and 3 WOOD DUCKS. Fred Helleiner’s Presqu’ile Provincial Park Bird Report for this week has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be seen by CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, August 19: An immature GREEN HERON was taken today along Midland Avenue in Kingston today. Also in the category of long-legged waders, only 3 GREAT EGRETS  were present today along Harmony Road, but better luck was obtained early this morning at the Hamilton wetland, west of Demorestville. Between 6:00 a.m. and 6:25 a.m., a total of 47 GREAT EGRETS left the roost during those twenty-five minutes. One of the egrets carried a green wing tag bearing the number 87T. The bird had been banded on June 30th in the nesting colony on Nottawasaga Island near Collingwood.  Readers are reminded that counts are lacking for the  Hespeler Mill Pond, Minesing Swamp (off the 2nd Concession, west of McKinnon Rd at Angus), Muddy Creek (Wheatley), Port Maitland and Hillman Marsh. If any birders from, or near, those areas would like to do regular counts. their efforts would be greatly appreciated. Counts can be e-mailed to me, and I will forward them on to Chip Weseloh. Also at the Hamilton wetland this morning were 3 GREAT BLUE HERONS, 5 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, 12 GREATER YELLOWLEGS, 8 WOOD DUCKS, 1 DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT, 5 MUTE SWANS, 75 CANADA GEESE, 30 MALLARDS, a KILLDEER, and other small passerines and 4 RIVER OTTERS. An AMERICAN BITTERN was seen today in a ditch along Fish Lake Road where there was also a juvenile VIRGINIA RAIL. CEDAR WAXWINGS  were feasting on elderberries in the same area. A GREAT BLUE HERON was at the Harmony Road wetland today and the family of TRUMPETER SWANS was seen again along the Trans Canada Trail off Twiddy Road north of Ivanhoe this morning. Also present there were 5 each of WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH and EASTERN TOWHEE and a female SCARLET TANAGER. Quin-Mo-Lac Road produced 3 WILD TURKEYS, and along Rapids Road north of Crookston Road, 4 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS  were found. A few miscellaneous sightings today included 4 VEERYS at Prince Edward Point, a YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO near the intersection of Rapids Road and Fullers Road, and a MERLIN on Old Milford Road at Jackson’s Falls Road near Milford. In an effort to track down a possible swallow roost in the Huyck’s Bay area, one couple last night drove all the roads between Pleasant Bay Road and Huyck’s Bay Road and only saw about 6 BARN SWALLOWS and 20 TREE SWALLOWS.

Tuesday, Augst 18: Much too warm for birding today, unless you managed to get it in at the crack of dawn! Just a few scattered sightings today including a GREAT EGRET at the bridge over the Sawguin Creek along County Road 28 and 4 EASTERN MEADOWLARKS along Jericho Road. At Big Island, the same number of EASTERN MEADOWLARKS and a GREATER YELLOWLEGS that has been calling for two days from the Sprague Pond in the Big Island Marsh. At Charwell Point along the South Shore Important Bird Area, one enthusiastic birder ventured deep down the shallow streams toward the lake in his chest waders and found an EBONY JEWEL WING DAMSELFLY. Lots of NORTHERN FLICKERS about, as well as BELTED KINGFISHERS, OSPREY, NORTHERN HARRIER, and several AMERICAN KESTRELS and MERLINS. One Trenton birder commented that there seems to be some concern lately of the crash of HOUSE SPARROWS. Not sure if “concern” is the word I would use, but he said we shouldn’t worry as they seem to be holding their own elsewhere. At Niagara Falls, New York, they were present in flocks of 30 or more in the parking lots and concession areas in the Falls area. They were in the grassy areas and feeding on dropped bread and French fries near food counters. They outnumbered gulls ten to one. They were even on the outdoor patio tables picking at leftover food on plates. They looked like flying mice, he said.

Monday, August 17: The Bay of Quinte WHITE PELICAN is back! After an absence of more than a month, the large bird which arrived on June 22nd, was seen again Saturday in Sand Cove at Massassauga Point. As in the past, it arrived with a large flock of DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS, and left with them too.  And another surprise. Hot on the tail feathers of a query requesting any sightings of large flocks of PURPLE MARTINS, a Huyck’s Point resident, west of Wellington reported “hundreds” of martins in his yard today. There is presumably a roost of both martins and swallows in the Huyck’s Bay/Pleasant Bay area where over 500 swallows were seen last year at this time swarming over Pleasant Bay as darkness approached. Fifteen naturalists attended a guided hike down Lighthall Road yesterday, organized by the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, and led by Sandbanks Provincial Park Naturalist, Yvette Bree.  Despite the heat warning issued by Environment Canada, the event realized some good finds, both bird-wise, insect-wise and plant-wise. Heard were SONG and FIELD SPARROWS, EASTERN TOWHEES, BLUE JAYS, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES, AMERICAN CROW, and AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES.   A TURKEY VULTURE  was soaring, probably hoping that someone in the group would falter in the heat, and there were nice views of some CEDAR WAXWINGS.   Butterflies were abundant and the group identified at least 16 species including three species of Fritillary: GREAT SPANGLED, APHRODITE and MEADOW. Long looks were had at a BRONZE COPPER, and an EASTERN TAILED BLUE.  GIANT SWALLOWTAILS, CRESCENTS, SULPHURS and MONARCHS were present and the group even spotted a Monarch caterpillar on a SWAMP MILKWEED.  TWELVE SPOTTED SKIMMERS and COMMON WHITETAILS were the large dragonflies flying along the road but the BAND-WINGED MEADOWHAWK  was also around, as well as BLUET DAMSELFLIES on the vegetation beside the road. LEOPARD FROGS and a tiny AMERICAN TOAD were seen while flowering Asters and Goldenrods reminding everyone that summer was on the wane and autumn is in the offing. The The UPLAND WHITE ASTER (which is now categorized as a goldenrod) was in peak flower and is very characteristic of many locations along the south shore but quite an unusual plant elsewhere. From Presqu’ile Park comes this notice: it’s a little short notice but we are pleased to announce that the Ontario Centre for Specialized Species will be bringing in some live bats and giving a talk on them.  The talk will be a general bat ecology and conservation talk and the live bats they bring are all non-native but pretty cool. Vampire Bats and Flying Foxes, so they will be nice to see even if you would not find them at Presqu’ile.The talk will be followed by a walk that splits people up into smaller groups to try and detect some native bats with bat detectors. So this is a ‘one chance only’ program on Wednesday, August 19 at 7:30 pm at the Amphitheatre in Presqu'ile Park. Hope to see you there.

Sunday, August 16: It’s starting to look like spring at Prince Edward Point in terms of birds, but perhaps not quite as colourful. The autumn migration of warblers has begun with 10 species being noted in the last few days – MAGNOLIA, YELLOW, BLACKBURNIAN, BAY-BREASTED, BLACK-AND-WHITE, TENNESSEE, NASHVILLE and CANADA WARBLERS, along with COMMON YELLOWTHROAT and AMERICAN REDSTART. Forty BOBOLINKS have been banded so far this season. Anyone birding the Point Traverse Woods this fall should be aware that volunteers have received a directive from CWS to not mow the trails until further notice. Therefore, when birding there this season, use extra caution as the grass will be high and the ticks likely rampant. At the end of day, do a through tick check and it is best to come prepared in case you find one. I don’t recommend tweezers myself; much better to go into your local animal hospital and pick up a plastic tick puller for pets. They come in a package of two for just a few dollars. The small one works best. I carry one in my pocket at all times and have at least a half dozen others in various locations where they can be found quickly. In the South Bay area today, birds of note were 2 ORCHARD ORIOLES, YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER and a NASHVILLE WARBLER. On the same side of the County, BELTED KINGFISHERS, EASTERN TOWHEES and GRAY CATBIRDS  continue to dominate the scene at the Point Petre Provincial Wildlife Area. Best bird on Friday was a GREATER YELLOWLEGS in a shallow pond south of the Simpson Road Ducks Unlimited weir.

Saturday, August 15: A few birds of note seen today including  a SAVANNAH SPARROW (along Airport Road on the east side of Belleville where an EASTERN MEADOWLARK was also seen. Two kilometres west of Napanee along Highway 2, there has been an immature RED-TAILED HAWK for several days that hunts by simply standing atop a round bale of hay in a roadside field! Sorry – no report this week either from the Friday Biothon conducted by the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists along the South Shore Important Bird Area. The TRUMPETER SWANS, seen last Tuesday along the Trans Canada Trail between Highway 62 and Twiddy Road, north of Ivanhoe, were still present there today.  Best finds there today were 1 EASTERN PHOEBE, 2 NORTHERN FLICKERS,  at least 4 ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS (probably a family), 1 BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER, 2 CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLERS, 1 EASTERN TOWHEE, and one GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER. At a pond here the Trail of Two Lakes crosses Hollowview Road, there were were 2 GREAT BLUE HERONS, 2 GREEN HERONS, 4 CEDAR WAXWINGS (including young), 1 OSPREY and 1 RED-TAILED HAWK. The Harmony Road wetland was pretty quiet today with just 1 GREAT EGRET, 2 WOOD DUCKS, several MALLARDS, 2 GREAT BLUE HERONS, 1 WILSON’S SNIPE, 1 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, 1 SOLITARY SANDPIPER and a KILLDEER. Four young WILD TURKEYS on McCumber Road near Kerby Road.

Friday, August 14: In Wednesday’s Bird Report, I mentioned a program that was under way by Nature Canada to find significant roosts of PURPLE MARTINS. Megan MacIntosh of Nature Canada was interested in a possible roost site  that could be in the Sandbanks Provincial Park area. An e-mail from Belleville resident Tom Wheatley, jogged my memory of a message he sent to me, and subsequently reported on eBird of a large aggregation of PURPLE MARTINS as shown in this photo that were circling around the communications tower along County Road 11 at Fosterholm Farms, just a kilometre from the entrance to the Park. I am embarrassed to admit that his information on those sightings are in my computer files which shows 75 on August 10th last year, and even a higher number (150) a year earlier (almost to the day). In an e-mail to Tom today, Megan comments, “They likely ‘hang out’ on this structure during the day and settle in the nearby reeds for the night. Radar from 2013 shows a possible roost in the area and our suspicion  is that it is located in the marsh of West Lake behind Sandbanks.”  The researcher will be coming next week to investigate and would like to have a few experienced birders come along. Nature Canada has some funds for equipment rental of canoes and boats. If anyone is interested in participating, please let Megan know at she can be reached by phone at 613-295-0234. 

Thursday, August 13: A highlight today was the sighting of 6 BROAD-WINGED HAWKS flying over Prince Edward Point today. The fall migration is underway! Although the banding season at the Observatory down there doesn’t officially get underway until this weekend, BOBOLINKS were already being banded, and both CANADA WARBLERS and YELLOW WARBLERS were being caught as well. The Hamilton Wetland near Demorestville yesterday produced 3 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, 2 EASTERN KINGBIRDS, 6 BARN SWALLOWS and 3 GREAT EGRETS. At Wilton Creek at Morven a nice number of LESSER YELLOWLEGS (22), joined 3 WILSON’S SNIPE, a GREATER YELLOWLEGS, a GREAT BLUE HERON and a couple BELTED KINGFISHERS. Not far away, on the same creek, but at Big Creek Road and the Townline Road vicinity, another 3 GREAT BLUE HERONS and the same number of BELTED KINGFISHERS  were present there yesterday. Today, shorebirds present there included a staggering 32 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, 6 GREATER YELLOWLEGS, a LEAST SANDPIPER, 3 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS, and a SOLITARY SANDPIPER, in amongst the usual SPOTTED SANDPIPERS and KILLDEERS. So, the variety and densities of shorebirds can change day by day. An AMERICAN KESTRELat Northport was seen by two different parties travelling County Road 15, and 14 CHIMNEY SWIFTS were noted along Station Street in Belleville.  The Presqu’ile Park Bird Report for this week has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website, and can be read by CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, August 12: Six GRAY CATBIRDS  were among several species of note seen yesterday at Charwell Point, in the South Shore Important Bird Area. Other species were AMERICAN KESTREL, MARSH WREN, TWO NORTHERN FLICKERS, 5 FIELD SPARROWS and 7 EASTERN TOWHEES. A really good spot to bird, if you ever get the chance to venture down Charwell Point Road for 2 km to the lakeshore. Early this morning, between 5:45 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. a high of 70 GREAT EGRETS (one wearing blue wing tags) were counted at the Hamilton Wetland near Demorestville. Also present were 3 GREAT BLUE HERONS, 4 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, one GREATER YELLOWLEGS, 150 MALLARDS, 45 CANADA GEESE and 5 MUTE SWANS. At Lake on the Mountain today, a CASPIAN TERN and 2 COMMON LOONS.  The more or less regular GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL was again on a light standard on the the Belleville Norris Whitney Bridge, only this time, favouring the Prince Edward County side. In an e-mail today from Megan MacIntosh, she announced a program under way by Nature Canada to help find significant swallow roosting sites in Ontario. Their focus is on the PURPLE MARTIN and the Kingston Field Naturalists group  has been one of their main partners. Last year, Nature Canada had a university  contractor conduct a radar analysis of the Wolfe Island area. As a result they were successful in finding a fairly large roost there. As a side project of the radar work, a quick analysis was also done of southern Ontario along the Great Lakes where PURPLE MARTINS are most often found – those areas being Montezuma NWR in NY; Presque Isle, Pennsylvania;  Pointe Mouille SGA in Missouri; Walpole Island and Long Point in southern Ontario; and Wolfe Island. The radar has shown a possible roost site in the Prince Edward County area which they believe may be located in the marsh area behind Sandbanks Park. They are interested in doing some monitoring to verify more of these sites in Ontario and possibly incorporate them into existing IBAs for better protection. Megan will be traveling for this  field work next week. Any information on this possible site at Sandbanks, or any others in Ontario, would be greatly appreciated by Megan. Her e-mail address is or she can be reached by phone at 613-295-0234. 

Tuesday, August 11: No sightings came in today, except for this interesting observation from Wolfe Island. Says one local resident who was birding Wolfe Island today, “For the first time I may have witnessed the magnitude of TREE SWALLOWS ver an uncultivated field.  What a sight!” One Internet source says their populations have declined by one percent per year since 1966. This was about the time when I was still farming and used to see the sky dark with TREE SWALLOWS every morning just at daybreak. Thousands would blacken the sky, all arriving from the south and arriving on our shoreline along the Bay of Quinte where they fought for space on the hydro wires that ran past our home. For an hour, the swallows would nosily flutter, vying for their personal space on the wires, while hundreds more would hover over our weeping willow tree, the turbulence from so many wings causing the outlying branches to sway. I didn’t know it at the time, but the birds had just arrived from the Big Island Marsh where they presumably roosted, the location eventually being recognized as one of several major roosting locations in Prince Edward County, another roost being the cattail marshes surrounding Huff's Island known as the Sawguin Marsh. Some references refer to the decline as an ecological mystery. Others quickly attribute the decline to a combination of factors involving agricultural pesticide use and habitat loss – both on their breeding grounds and where they winter. Swallows eat a high-insect diet, which through bioaccumulation can expose them to high levels of pesticides and other contaminants such as PCBs and mercury. Despite the current interest in erecting nest boxes for TREE SWALLOWS, boxes account for only a small fraction of TREE SWALLOW nest sites. Natural cavities, where most TREE SWALLOWS build their nests, have been disappearing for the past 200 years as people clear the land, manage woodlands, cut down older trees, and remove dead trees.  Other researchers believe the decline is driven by a related decline in insect abundance or a mismatch in the timing of when insect abundance is highest and swallows are breeding. Evidence shows that there is a strong relationship between daily insect abundance and the timing of swallow breeding. Researchers are closely tracking a multitude of factors in the swallows' summer routines, including variable insect populations, the date the first eggs are laid, the date eggs hatch, the number of eggs laid and the number that hatches, and chick survival rates. And, it’s not only TREE SWALLOW  populations that are periled; BARN SWALLOWS have declined as well. They have seen a 95 per cent drop in numbers across North America in the last forty years, placing it on the endangered species list in some provinces such as Nova Scotia. How sad to see our best loved birds like the swallows quickly approaching a point of no return.

Monday, August 10: Yesterday, the only report to come in was a BALD EAGLE. Today, bird sightings just rolled in which was very encouraging. Starting in Prince Edward County, two birders walked the new Lakeview Trail, opened only a year ago, at the end of Lakeshore Lodge Road, at Sandbanks Park, and came up with a female ORCHARD ORIOLE, along with families of EASTERN KINGBIRDS, a few YELLOW WARBLERS, NORTHERN FLICKERS, and some great butterflies – at least 10 MONARCH BUTTERFLIES at thistle flowers, along with both TIGER and GIANT SWALLOWTAILS. On over toward Consecon, the Stinson Block still contained a few vocal RED-EYED and WARBLING VIREOS, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES and YELLOW WARBLERS. There were lots of young birds often in family groups. These included COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, GRAY CATBIRD, EASTERN KINGBIRD, HOUSE WREN, WOOD DUCK, and BARN and TREE SWALLOWS. The most common with many groups were CEDAR WAXWINGS with one family where three young were begging from an adult. Two species were early migrants: one CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER and two SCARLET TANAGERS.  Speaking of warblers, it is fast becoming that time of the year again. Along Fry Road, north of Picton, a female AMERICAN REDSTART was spotted in a backyard, also a BROWN THRASHER. Both CANADA WARBLER and MAGNOLIA WARBLER were seen this morning at 9:00 a.m. north of Foxboro, and a GREAT HORNED OWL was heard.  Still looking at warblers, five species were seen this morning north of Ivanhoe along the Trans Canada Trail between Highway 62 and Twiddy Road – COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, YELLOW WARBLER, CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, MAGNOLIA WARBLER, and NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH. A family of TRUMPETER SWANS was a treat on a small lake along that trail. Birds were active and calling for the first hour (7-8 a.m.), and then quieter, but still around. Checked off on the list were BLUE-WINGED TEAL, MALLARDS, PIED-BILLED GREBE, BELTED KINGFISHER, and WOOD DUCKS on the lake. Along the trail itself were young RED-EYED VIREOS, two BLACK-BILLED CUCKOOS, FIELD SPARROWS, EASTERN TOWHEES, GRAY CATBIRDS, NORTHERN FLICKERS, BALTIMORE ORIOLES and a BROWN THRASHER. BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES everywhere along with CEDAR WAXWINGS begging for food. The now famous Harmony Road wetland, 3.5 km east of Highway 37, produced some excellent finds including 3 AMERICAN BITTERNS, 3 WOOD DUCKS, 4 GREAT BLUE HERONS, 4 GREAT EGRETS, 9 VIRGINIA RAILS (3 adults + chicks), 10 COMMON GALLINULES (4 adults + chicks), and a MARSH WREN. Shorebirds have been taking advantage of the mucky conditions and species represented there today were SOLITARY, KILLDEER, LESSER YELLOWLEGS, LEAST SANDPIPER (13), and WILSON’S SNIPE. Not finished yet! A Belleville birder today birded Vanderwater Conservation Area at Thomasburg and came up with a RED-SHOULDERED HAWK. Five SPOTTED SANDPIPERS and 3 NORTHERN FLICKERS  were also found. This person, too, stopped at the Harmony Road wetland and in only 45 minutes and not moving from a single observation point, counted 21 species, among them 9 GREAT EGRETS, 2 GREATER YELLOWLEGS and a WILSON’S SNIPE. Other interesting species present were SORA, WHITE-THROATED SPARROW and a BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO. No sign though of the GOLDEN PLOVER that was present Saturday.

Sunday, August 09: No sightings or reports today, except for an adult BALD EAGLE that passed over Cole Point along Adolphus Reach at 2:00 p.m. today. 

Saturday, August 08: Two local wetlands produced some good sightings last evening and this morning, starting with an AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER at the Harmony Road wetland, just north of Belleville off Highway 37 at 10:00 a.m.. The sighting was a first for this wetland. Of the 24 species, other noteworthy birds were 5 GREAT EGRETS, 1 AMERICAN BITTERN, 2 VIRGINIA RAILS, 3 GREATER YELLOWLEGS, 1 PECTORAL SANDPIPER and 10 GREEN HERONS. The latter appeared to be two family groups. Also doing well was the Hamilton Wetland near Demorestville between 7:00 and 8:00 p.m. last night. Highlights there included 19 GREAT EGRETS, 11 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, 5 GREATER YELLOWLEGS, 4 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS, 5 LEAST SANDPIPERS and a single SPOTTED SANDPIPER. Also present were a BELTED KINGFISHER, a VIRGINIA RAIL and a family group of 5 GREEN HERONS. Birders north of Belleville tried their luck on Lahey Road, west of Moira Lake and were rewarded for their efforts with 11 WILD TURKEYS (2 adults and 9 young). On Bronson Rapids Road, just north of Springbrook Road, 2 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS made that effort worthwhile, along with a RED-TAILED HAWK and a BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO. Sorry – nothing from Prince Edward County’s South Shore Important Bird Area this week.

Friday, August 07: GREAT EGRETS  continue to move around prior to migrating south later this season. Last night, there were 61 gathered on Indian Island in the Bay of Quinte across from Trenton. Birds are becoming restless. Bird feeders that became so deserted during the summer months that even the neighbour’s cats had stopped watching what few birds came around, have suddenly picked up a little steam. At a feeder in Napanee, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES, AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES and WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCHES have all returned for an encore, and at our own feeder on Big Island, the raucous calls of young BLUE JAYS pierce the morning air most days, along with a family of HAIRY WOODPECKERS. At Luck’s Crossroad, near Picton, the name of the road was well chosen as 2 PILEATED WOODPECKERS flew over one backyard, yakking all the way. NORTHERN  CARDINAL, GRAY CATBIRDS, RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS, CHIPPING SPARROWS and CEDAR WAXWINGS have also taken a renewed interest in a two acre property as have three pairs of HOUSE WRENS that have divided the yard into quadrants. Away from the backyards and out into the field, a MERLIN and two WILLOW FLYCATCHERS were highlights at Ostrander Point. Two CASPIAN TERNS  were seen at Zwick’s Park, Belleville. Beaver Meadow Conservation Area, south of Picton lived up to its name as a prime birding spot by producing MARSH WRENS, HOODED MERGANSER, 5 BLACK TERNS, COMMON GALLINULE and 3 EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES.

Thursday, August 06: A WILSON’S SNIPE at Collin’s Creek in Kingston today is another gentle reminder to keep your eyes peeled for shorebirds as they are starting, albeit rather slowly, according to some observers. Another reminder of the impending, or start of, the fall migration, was the presence of two GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS that always seem to turn up at this time of the year during their post breeding dispersal – one perched on a light standard on the Norris Whitney Bridge at Belleville, and another at Big Island’s Robinson Cove where one always shows up at this time of year. YELLOW WARBLERS on the increase have also been noted in the Trenton area. Even the vultures are getting excited. One Trenton area resident, returning home from a fishing trip, had to stop along Highway 7 just east of Madoc as 53 TURKEY VULTURES filled the sky from tree top level, and on up, as they soared slowly in a loose pattern, enjoying the thermals. The GREAT EGRET post breeding dispersal seems to be idling at the moment as only 1 was at the Hamilton Wetland west of Demorestville, early yesterday morning, and only two were present at the Harmony Road site, north of Belleville. However, other good species – 10 in all in as many minutes, were racked up at this popular site along Harmony Road – several COMMON GALLINULES, 4 KILLDEER, a SPOTTED SANDPIPER, 2 SOLITARY SANDPIPERS, 4 LESSER YELLOWLEGS and one each of GREATER YELLOWLEGS, LEAST SANDPIPER, PECTORAL SANDPIPER and WILSON’S SNIPE. Back at the Hamilton Wetland, some sightings there have included BLUE-WINGED TEAL and 3 LESSER YELLOWLEGS. Not to be left out, South Bay produced 2  COMMON TERNS, 2 INDIGO BUNTINGS, 2 RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS and a LEAST FLYCATCHER. Along Gorsline Road at Fish Lake this morning, 2 BLACK-BILLED CUCKOOS were seen eating elderberries. EASTERN TOWHEES  were still singing as well as EASTERN KINGBIRDS calling. A GREAT BLUE HERON was standing in a dried up mud puddle along the road, apparently waiting for a frog to appear, and there was a nice MONARCH BUTTERFLY flitting amongst the milkweeds along the road’s edge. At Wilton Creek, at Big Creek Road near Napanee, seen were: 4 SOLITARY SANDPIPERS, 5 each of SPOTTED  and LEAST SANDPIPERS, GREATER YELLOWLEGS and a WILSON’S SNIPE. Two AMERICAN KESTRELS  were seen at Northport.  A reminder that the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists hold their “Biothon” every Friday morning at the Point Petre Provincial Wildlife Area, meeting at 10:00 a.m. at the corner of Army Reserve Road and Simpson Road. Involved is a a 2 -3 hour walk looking for birds, plants, butterflies, dragonflies - whatever can be seen in an effort to document the flora and fauna in the South Shore Important Bird Area. The informal walk is open to everyone so plan on taking part tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. Also, the Presqu’ile Bird Report for this past week has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be read by CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, August 05:  No bird sightings today, but it is always nice to get news from the Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre in Napanee as to what kinds of birds are coming and going from that facility. A volunteer there sends this report: “Today 2 DOWNY WOODPECKERS were released back to the Bath area. We had them as fledglings. Today we admitted two MERLIN pre-fledglings; I must admit they are cute as can be. We are tube feeding. Out back we have 4 runs of WOOD DUCK ducklings, 4-6 per run. Songbirds are doing well, AMERICAN ROBINS  (4), SONG SPARROWS (2) and NORTHERN CARDINAL,- all fledglings have survived. 2 CEDAR WAXWINGlets from the County (don't know where) eat voraciously from our tweezers, they have no shut off valve. Today we had an admission that was heartbreaking. A juvenile BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON hit by a car. Large bird, very speckled. Poor thing was simply standing in the road. He is blind at the moment but able to stand and we are trying to revive him by raising body temperature with lamps and heating pad under the cage. This time of year people must stay aware, drive slower, concentrate on what MIGHT be there and leave room for an emergency swerve.” Come to Big Island – specifically Sprague Road and South Big Island Road -  and see the lack of regard for anything that dares stand in their way. Anyway, check out this remarkable facility in Napanee by CLICKING HERE.

Tuesday, August 04: Not much today, except for a juvenile AMERICAN BITTERN that was photographed at a pond near Codrington by a resident. We haven’t heard much about Prince Edward Point lately, but should be hearing more as the fall migration of passerines kicks in. Today, there were BELTED KINGFISHER, 4 BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS, BROWN CREEPER, 3 BROWN THRASHERS, 20 CEDAR WAXWINGS,  a CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, COMMON LOON, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, 25 YELLOW WARBLERS, RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, and YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, just to name a few highlights of the 41 species checked off. The H.R. Frink Centre, north of Belleville had a few species of interest.  Most of the activity was in the marsh, as it was “Family Day” for the birds. A young VIRGINIA RAIL pestered a parent which was studiously ignoring it.There were young or family groups of SWAMP SPARROWS, NORTHERN FLICKERS, EASTERN KINGBIRDS, and dozens of RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS. On the Boundary Trail all that was of interest was a NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH and a WOOD THRUSH. Most interesting was a kettle of more than 30 TURKEY VULTURES over the east end of Mudcat Lane.

Monday, August 03: A nice treat at 23 Sprague Road on Big Island early this morning was the appearance of a singing CAROLINA WREN.The visitor whistled and he sang until the green woods rang (but he didn’t win the heart of any lady) for almost an hour. The Harmony Road wetland, north of Belleville, this morning, had a good variety of shorebirds – 2 KILLDEER, 1 PECTORAL SANDPIPER, 1 LEAST SANDPIPER, 2 LESSER YELLOWLEGS and a GREATER YELLOWLEGS. Waterfowl were represented by 35 MALLARDS, 4 WOOD DUCKS, 6 CANADA GEESE and 3 BLUE-WINGED TEAL. Other species included 4 GREAT BLUE HERONS, 1 AMERICAN BITTERN, 1 VIRGINIA RAIL, 6 GREAT EGRETS, 3 COMMON GALLINULES and a NORTHERN HARRIER. An interesting sight on Philipston Road in the Plainfield area. A very large field of grain was being harvested. Over 150 AMERICAN CROWS were in the stubble presumably picking up grasshoppers, voles and whatever other casualties there were. What looked like a few dozen BARN and TREE SWALLOWS patrolled the uncut area. . An agitated, bright INDIGO BUNTING in a bush by the road completed the picture for a Belleville birder.

Sunday, August 02: The GREAT EGRETS are really starting to arrive now at the Hamilton Wetland, west of Demorestville, which still seems a bit early for any kind of numbers to build up. This morning between 5:40 a.m. and 5:55 a.m., 39 GREAT EGRETS flew out of the depths of the wooded area toward the back where they roost out of sight. Thirty-seven, however, remained to feed and loaf in the wetland, while two others flew straight out in a north-westerly direction. Many MALLARDS and CANADA GEESE  were also present as well as  WILSON’S SNIPE. At the Harmony Road site, north of Belleville, only 4 GREAT EGRETS  were present yesterday morning at 8:00 a.m., and last evening there were 12. Also present there were 2 WOOD DUCKS, 2 BLUE-WINGED TEAL, a HOODED MERGANSER, 2 AMERICAN BITTERNS, 1 GREEN HERON, 8 COMMON GALLINULES, 3 SOLITARY SANDPIPERS, 3 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, LEAST SANDPIPER, PECTORAL SANDPIPER, and 5 WILSON’S SNIPE, just to name a few of the highlights of the 29 species present.  Last night at the Picton Armoury building on Main Street, 46 CHIMNEY SWIFTS  were counted entering the chimney between 8:45 p.m. and 8:56 p.m. At Massassauga Point late this afternoon, 20 species of birds were found, a rather impressive number for this 60-acre property, among them one harassed CHIPPING SPARROW trying to meet the demands of a young BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD. An adult OSPREY was feeding a young in the nest. Other species included an EASTERN TOWHEE, GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, CASPIAN TERN and a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW . The trip was capped off with the first MONARCH BUTTERFLY  of the season for the Belleville observer. There were also 2 young OSPREYS in the nest at the corner of Peat's Point Road. For the botanists, a BARRENS ST. JOHNSWORT (Hypericum  sphaerocarpumwas initially found along a section of the Trans Canada Trail near Ivanhoe a few days ago, and it was blooming today as predicted. It’s only the third known occurrence of this particular species of ST. JOHNSWORT in Ontario. The other two occurrences are both in southwestern Ontario. Two of the three sites are right beside old rail lines so there's some doubt that this plant is occurring naturally although the third is near the Sydenham River and could be native. The rare species is found mainly in the midwest and mid-south United States.

Saturday, August 01: Just a sprinkling of sightings came in today, the most significant being two BALD EAGLES  seen at South Bay today – one an adult, and the other a first year bird.  A miscellany of other sightings today included 2 ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS on Black Road near Demorestville, an AMERICAN KESTREL on nearby Doxsee Road, and 8 CASPIAN TERNS and one COMMON TERN at Waupoos. Lemoine Point Conservation Area in Kingston can always be depended on for some good sightings, and today didn’t disappoint for a Wilton area resident with GRAY CATBIRD, 2 LEAST SANDPIPERS, 2 RED-EYED VIREOS, 2 EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES, 6 EASTERN KINGBIRDS and 2 AMERICAN REDSTARTS. Interesting story came in today from off Telephone Road, between Trenton and Smithfield. A resident there who has a trout pond found a SNAPPING TURTLE. Judging from its polished appearance and the fact that it appeared comfortable with being handled, one would have to conclude that it had been someone’s pet and was simply dumped there to fend for itself. The turtle was on the shoreline and calmly allowed itself to be picked up without any fuss or any offer to snap. This cavalier attitude toward keeping wild animals, then dumping them when no longer wanted, has always bothered me. Any pet is a pet for life – either the owner’s life, or its life. Dumping them unceremoniously wherever the spirit may move them is not only irresponsible, but is inhumane and a betrayal of trust. The wild animal looks to its “owner” for food, protection, and shelter. 

Friday, July 31: An EASTERN TOWHEE in the Kingston area, responded to some fresh seed thrown onto a shelf of limestone rock in one backyard. Unlike their debut in the early 1980s, HOUSE FINCHES tend to be sporadic visitors in backyards these days, not only in the winter, but during the summer months as well. We have a pretty dependable two or three that visit our feeders daily, and in the Barry Heights area of Trenton, a pair turned up there after an absence of over four months. The very first HOUSE FINCH to appear in Ontario was a female at Prince Edward Point, in 1972. From that initial sighting, they soon started nesting all along the north shores of Lakes Ontario and Erie, and began to spread northward as a nesting species. During their peak, we had upwards of 60 to 70 at our feeders every day! Two large female GIANT SWALLOWTAIL BUTTERFLIES showed up at Trenton today as well. North of Wellington, a resident there reported 6 ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS, 1 INDIGO BUNTING, a GREEN HERON and a BELTED KINGFISHER. Last evening at the Harmony Road wetland, north of Belleville, GREAT EGRETS were down to an unlucky 13, but there were two LESSER YELLOWLEGS and a collection of waterfowl to fill in the gap – 4 BLUE-WINGED TEAL, and AMERICAN BLACK DUCK, 4 WOOD DUCKS and about 35 MALLARDS including a young brood. Two INDIGO BUNTINGS  were seen in the Springbrook area. Two Prince Edward County Field Naturalists members did their Friday Biothon today, checking out Lighthall Road to the DU berm and wetland along the South Shore Important Bird Area. Seen were at least 7 GREATER YELLOWLEGS at the edges of the "ponds" (or flooded road) below the berm.  A KILLDEER was very vocal and sounded the alarm when the party was sighted, sending the shorebirds off in all directions but they soon returned.  An OSPREY flew overhead as well as two TURKEY VULTURES a bit later. A flock of CEDAR WAXWINGS (at least 20) and another flock of  EUROPEAN STARLINGS (maybe 50) were feeding in the shrubs along the berm.  There were a number of EASTERN KINGBIRDS in the wetland, along the berm and below the berm - maybe 10 in all.  Two BELTED KINGFISHERS  were seen, one below the berm and the other in the wetland above. Also seen or heard were the usual birds - a MARSH WREN, TREE SWALLOW, BLACK TERN, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS, AMERICAN ROBINS, FIELD SPARROWS, SONG SPARROWS, COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES, GRAY CATBIRD, EASTERN TOWHEE and YELLOW WARBLER. WATER PLANTAIN and GREATER BLADDERWORT were in flower in the water or mud below the berm and the ponds were alive with Dragonflies - mainly TWELVE-SPOTTED SKIMMERS and COMMON WHITETAILS - and Damselflies (many BLUETS) while the berm held more HALLOWEEN PENNANTS dragonflies.   Several MONARCH BUTTERFLIES were seen and a BLACK SWALLOWTAIL(second brood) was very interested in a Prickly Ash shrub (possibly to lay her eggs on) on the berm. Below the outflow of the berm, there was a SPOTTED SANDPIPER and a NORTHERN FLICKER.

Thursday, July 30: The hot sultry days of July are beginning to take their toll with fewer bird reports coming in. The only sightings of interest today were a family of SANDHILL CRANES in a soybean field, on Carmel Road, west of Stirling, and a male NORTHERN HARRIER patrolling the fields south of Ferris Provincial Park, Campbellford. And, a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER seen and photographed at Lemoine Point Conservation Area beside Kingston Airport. The Presqu’ile Bird Report for this week has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be read by CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, July 29: Only the tireless interrogations of the RED-EYED VIREO could be heard in Presqu’ile Park today as we walked through several of the campgrounds, now and then, a brave WARBLING VIREO and a GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, all of which were up in the Trail’s End and Elmvale loops of the campground. It was just too hot to sing for happy today. It is encouraging to see the OSPREY platform occupied again along the Moira River in Belleville. In 2009, I commented editorially in my column in five different area newspapers regarding a resident who repeatedly flew a remote controlled model airplane below the platform. The OSPREYS, sensing danger, spent most of their waking hours protecting their nest from the interloper, dive-bombing it whenever they saw an opportunity. The nest was abandoned that season. When the operator of the model airplane was approached by concerned neighbours, they were met with a barrage of profanity, laced with the customary graphic expletives. While harassment of protected birds of prey is an offense under the Migratory Birds Act, the perpetrator excused his actions by adding that ospreys were “a dime a dozen”, adding that he “paid taxes too”. We’re not quite certain how payment of taxes had anything to do with his irresponsible  behaviour. Conservation Officers, when notified, tried several times to catch him in the act, but failed. He finally tired of playing with his toy, and presumably has never returned.  As one person who e-mailed me succinctly put it, “We live in a nasty uncaring world right now, no wonder our children growing up seem to have such a total disregard for anyone or anything.” Other birders out today saw ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, BALTIMORE ORIOLES and HOUSE FINCHES on the Loyalist Parkway, at Wellington. Along Elmwood Drive in Belleville, YELLOW WARBLERS, CEDAR WAXWING, NORTHERN FLICKER, and YELLOW WARBLER  were seen. So, there is some stuff around, but it takes a bit of patience and some hunting to find them.

Tuesday, July 28: Could be the heat – there’s a little bit of that around – that is responsible for some birds displaying odd behaviour. We have probably seen songbirds exhibiting what appears to be death throes as they flop out on days like this, with wings outstretched, beak wide open, and feathers fluffed out as they try to capture some cooling breezes. While it may not be related to the high temperatures, two KILLDEER have been calling non-stop outside for two straight days at a residence in the Cressy area. The birds have located beside a small stream that drains from Cressy Marsh and runs beside the house and the two birds have been vocalizing there. Meanwhile, at the Amherstview Sewage Lagoons, a WILSON’S PHALAROPE was seen yesterday, and is another reminder that the fall migration of shorebirds is well underway, having started early this month. Next week, be on the watch for SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, RUDDY TURNSTONES, SANDERLINGS, BAIRD’S SANDPIPER, PECTORAL SANDPIPER, and possibly RED KNOT and an increase in SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS (one has already been seen) . At Wilton Creek, south of Napanee, water levels are currently perfect for seeing shorebirds all along Big Creek Road where it crosses the water (three bridges and from the road). Yesterday morning, there were good numbers of GREATER and LESSER YELLOWLEGS (25 seen by one Kingston birder), SOLITARY SANDPIPERS, KILLDEERS and LEAST SANDPIPERS. Also, a few SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, GREAT BLUE HERONS and MALLARDS. At Harmony Road Wetlands this morning, north of Belleville,  there were also LESSER YELLOWLEGS, SOLITARY SANDPIPERS, VIRGINIA RAILS and lots of COMMON GALLINULES, 2 AMERICAN BITTERN, 1 WILSON’S SNIPE, 4 GREAT BLUE HERONS, a few GREAT EGRETS, lots of MALLARDS and BLUE-WINGED TEALS. The birds are all feeding out in the open so it's easy viewing.  A group of 5 COMMON RAVENS also flew over. Along Airport Parkway, east of Belleville, NORTHERN FLICKER, INDIGO BUNTING, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, and CEDAR WAXWING  were four of the highlights seen there. At Consecon Lake, the nightly disappearance of a hummingbird feeder full of nectar has been solved. It’s three young RACCOONS.  One climbs up onto deck railing and puts paws on the feeder, tipping it enough that the liquid leaks out.  He drinks it, while the others lick up the liquid that falls onto the deck surface. The theft is done quietly enough that even the family dog doesn’t waken. And we can attribute the following succinct message received earlier today on the heat also which has, in turn, increased the frustration level in Prince Edward County over the impending wild turbines. A regular reader and contributor to this blog, comments: “Yesterday, Ontario's 3500 MW of wind turbines had a total output of 13 MW at 11 AM EDT - that's less than one-tenth of 1%. So it makes perfect sense to have these things where people live, right? Excuse my sarcasm."

Monday, July 27: A few “catching up” sightings including an adult VIRGINIA RAIL and its chick seen at the H.R. Frink Centre on the 24th. With the young of the year scurrying around right now, this is a good time to check out the marsh boardwalk at the Frink Centre, on Thrasher Road, north of Belleville. Almost guaranteed will be Virginia Rails, but SWAMP SPARROWS, MARSH WRENS and COMMON GALLINULES with their young in tow will be around too. Up to five GREEN HERONS are regulars in a backyard in Allisonville where at least one or two have been coming every evening for several weeks now. Forty-one CHIMNEY SWIFTS were counted on Wednesday at the Picton Armoury on Main Street, from the previous week’s count of only 21. And there were 10 entering the chimney of the abandoned North Marysburgh Central School at Lake on the Mountain. On one of the hottest days of the summer, a Belleville birder still did very well at Massasauga Point Conservation Area today, with 24 species. Some of the highlights were WHITE-THROATED SPARROW, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, WARBLING and RED-EYED VIREOS, GRAY CATBIRD, and GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER – not bad for a 60-acre property with a monoculture of BUR OAK, RED CEDAR and EUROPEAN BUCKTHORN. The same birder, at Wilton Creek, near Morven, enjoyed more luck with most of the shorebird species expected to be seen in July, also coming up with YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER (2), INDIGO BUNTING and 2 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS. 

Sunday, July 26: GREAT EGRETS at the Hamilton Wetland roost near Demorestville are averaging about the same in number as last year at this time, with 23 seen at 5:20 a.m. this morning.  At Wilton Creek in the Morven area, 9 species of shorebirds present are again a reminder that this popular family of Arctic breeders are beginning to pass through right now. The migration will continue until well into the fall season. Among the species seen yesterday were 15 LEAST SANDPIPER, SOLITARY (3), SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER (2), 2 GREATER and 12 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, as well as a single SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER. All species were expected to arrive this month, with additional species arriving next month. Next month brings SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, RUDDY TURNSTONES, SANDERLINGS, BAIRD’S SANDPIPER, PECTORAL SANDPIPER, RED KNOT and an increase in SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS. Look for them at a beach near you.

Saturday, July 25: Hubb’s Creek Marsh, off Danforth Road, west of Wellington, is always a promising spot to bird.  Of the 19 species of birds present yesterday were two each of EASTERN KINGBIRD, MARSH WREN. Also present in the varied habitat, GRAY CATBIRD, BELTED KINGFISHER, GREEN HERON, CEDAR WAXWING and up to 4 HOUSE WRENS. Often referred to as the Danforth Marsh, the site is located along the Millennium Trail, about a kilometre walk in from Danforth Road. LOGGERHEAD SHRIKES  continue to be seen in the Napanee Limestone Plain Important Bird Area. Also present a half dozen EASTERN MEADOWLARKS, NORTHERN FLICKERS, and AMERICAN KESTREL. West of Sprague Road, there is a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW singing most evenings now. To finish, there is a job opportunity coming up at Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory. If interested, CLICK HERE for a description.

Friday, July 24: If you are convinced that we are too far north to have BLACK WIDOW SPIDERS, think again. A NORTHERN BLACK WIDOW SPIDER Latrodectus variolus,  was found and photographed by Joe Bartok of Tweed last month, near his home. BLACK WIDOW SPIDERS have actually been present in this part of Ontario for several decades.  However, Internet sources say that all the hype about this species is just that – hype. This one was eating a SPINED SOLIDIER BUG, according to Joe, and it was not even interested in biting the photographer. There was no cause for alarm – the male doesn’t even bite, and doesn’t have venom. Black widows prefer dark, sheltered spots close to the ground such as wood, trash or rock piles, or even underneath a house, but not something one is apt to find IN their house. Here they spin funnel-shaped webs to catch their insect prey. "They're not aggressive; they're a very timid spider," says one Internet source. "Once they find a place that's comfortable for them, they make a little web and stay put. It's when you disturb them that there's a small chance that they might bite."  It's the female, the one who often makes a meal out of males after she's mated with them, who can bite. But she's fairly easy to identify. She's shiny black, with a large abdomen and a red or yellowish marking on the underside of her belly.  In the remote chance that someone comes across one of these spiders -- and even in the more remote chance that one is bitten by one, it's not as though someone would die instantly. In fact, they likely wouldn't even need any medical care at all. Bird sightings today??? Other than a first year PRAIRIE WARBLER at Presqu’ile, no bird sightings came in at all. today.

Thursday, July 23: COMMON LOONS  seem to like Fish Lake, it appears. Artist Mia Lane regular sees 11 loons on the lake in front of her home along Fish Lake Road, and today, there were 13. Massassauga Point Conservation Area and 39 bird species are almost an oxymoron. This conservation area is not known for its wide variety of birds species, but early this morning, it was alive with bird song, especially along the Bay of Quinte shoreline. In addition to OSPREY (on its platform), WHITE-THROATED SPARROW, both COMMON and CASPIAN TERN and at least a dozen BALTIMORE ORIOLES, we found HOUSE WREN, GREAT BLUE HERON, EASTERN KINGBIRD, EASTERN PHOEBE, EASTERN TOWHEE and GRAY CATBIRD. A quick scan over toward Snake Island revealed only a handful of DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS, but no WHITE PELICAN. There has been no report of the bird since July 6th when Quinte Conservation staff members came upon the bird again at the island. The bird first appeared June 22nd. Out of the immediate Bay of Quinte area, 2 LOGGERHEAD SHRIKES were present on the Napanee Limestone Plain yesterday, and a PEREGRINE FALCON was spotted at the corner of Princess Street and Division Street in downtown Kingston. Just to remind us that the “fall” migration of shorebirds is well underway, no fewer than 42 LESSER YELLOWLEGS were present at the Amherstview Sewage Lagoons yesterday. Forty-five BARN SWALLOWS  were counted today on Amherst Island, not bad for a species in decline. Back to our area again, a LEAST BITTERN was heard today at the Foxboro Marsh and a VESPER SPARROW  was seen along Massassauga Road this morning. The Presqu’ile Park Bird Report for this week has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be seen by CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, July 22: In addition to the regular GREAT EGRETS at the Harmony Road wetland north of Belleville - there were 14 early Monday morning - other birds noted by one birder in the early morning visit were 3 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, many BLUE-WINGED TEAL, a few WOOD DUCKS,  a GREEN HERON, a VIRGINIA RAIL, and lots of young COMMON GALLINULES (one adult had a group of 11 that were feeding together). At the H.R. Frink Centre, just north of Harmony Road,  there were also young birds easily viewed in the marsh.  MARSH WRENS were feeding young birds and at either end of the boardwalk, VIRGINIA RAILS were out and feeding their young (3 immature were seen). BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES everywhere - along the Boundary Trail was a BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER and an OVENBIRD.  In the Silver Maple swamp, a BROAD-WINGED HAWK was calling.   Yesterday, Sheffield Conservation Area, 11 km south of Kaladar, was a  showery morning and the birds were quiet, but heard by the same observer were a couple of PINE WARBLERS, FIELD SPARROWS, EASTERN TOWHEES, NORTHERN FLICKERS, a MERLIN, and GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHERS.  Fly-overs included a COMMON LOON, PURPLE MARTINS and BARN and TREE SWALLOWS.  For the wildflower enthusiast, a number of NORTHERN SLENDER LADIES'- TRESSES turned up, and a large patch of BLACK CHANTERELLE. Also seemed to be a recent flight of AMERICAN COPPER BUTTERFLIES and large FRITILLARIES. At Bay Meadows Park at Pleasant Bay, an ORCHARD ORIOLE is seen by residents daily, and numerous BALTIMORE ORIOLES. A NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD is also in the park, closer to the entrance gate.

Tuesday, July 21: Just a few scattered reports this evening, starting off with an AMERICAN KESTREL, seen late this afternoon on a hydro wire along Christian Road, east of Allisonville. One Cressy area resident was startled at 8:00 a.m. this morning as he strolled down to his dock when a majestic adult BALD EAGLE took flight from one of his shore willows. A juvenile SANDHILL CRANE was seen in flight today at Point Petre, and at Picton, two CHIMNEY SWIFTS  were seen last evening. ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS, RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER and the resident GREEN HERONS (2), were present in an Allisonville backyard. Last night, only 24 GREAT EGRETS  were present at 9:00 p.m. at the Harmony Road wetland north of Belleville, as monitoring of this and two other egret roosts continues in the Bay of Quinte area. At the far end of Station Street, east of Farley Avenue, in Belleville, a COMMON NIGHTHAWK was seen last evening.

Monday, July 20: Everywhere you look these days, young birds are about. Four juvenile GREEN HERONS were present behind the Walmart Store in Kingston. Urban herons??? In Picton, about 30 CHIPPING SPARROWS settled down in a backyard on King Street, thought to be one of those post breeding dispersal things when birds have little else to do but roam the countryside in loose groups, now that the nesting season is over for many species. In Belleville’s Memorial Park off Station Street today, 5 CHIMNEY SWIFTS  were noted as well as CASPIAN TERN and YELLOW WARBLER. On Big Island, a RED-TAILED HAWK continues to be seen daily immediately west of 23 Sprague Road on Big Island. Pretty slim pickings today as the summer bird activity continues to slip into its traditional low ebb. Gotta work for ‘em. But, for one Belleville birder, he didn’t have to work too hard this morning to get 41 species on a relatively short walk on the Trail of Two Lakes in the Ivanhoe area. The wetlands along the way produced large numbers of RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS, SONG SPARROWS, SWAMP SPARROWS and  COMMON YELLOWTHROATS. It was flycatcher day though. He found 3 WILLOW FLYCATCHERS, 1 ALDER FLYCATCHER, 3 EASTERN KINGBIRDS, 1 EASTERN PHOEBE and 2 GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHERS. Not to be outdone, 6 CEDAR WAXWINGS forayed out to catch insects on the wing also. Other highlights were 3 PILEATED WOODPECKERS, several YELLOW WARBLERS and a BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO. Agitated GRAY CATBIRDS and NORTHERN WATERTHRUSHES suggested that they were still nesting.

Sunday, July 19: Another mild day, and almost a repeat of yesterday’s report in terms of species. Eight species of shorebirds were present at Wilton Creek, east of Napanee, among them a SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, 4 SOLITARY SANDPIPERS, 2 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS and both YELLOWLEGS species – 8 LESSER and 10 GREATER. The action continues at the Harmony Road wetland north of Belleville. Early yesterday morning, 26 GREAT EGRETS  were counted and according to the observer, the egrets upon leaving their perches in the morning tend to flop down from their roost to the marsh floor like wet dogs in front of a warm fire. Two of the egrets were banded – one wearing a red band on the right ankle, and the other with an orange wing tag. Among the 33 species seen in the space of only an hour and a bit more, were 15 WOOD DUCKS, 20 MALLARDS, 3 BLUE-WINGED TEAL and 2 HOODED MERGANSERS. Other waterfowl were 18 COMMON GALLINULES. Six GREEN HERONS  were also present as well as 3 AMERICAN BITTERNS. Seven VIRGINIA RAILS were also counted, including the young of the year, and among them was a juvenile SORA. Shorebirds were there too – four of them, including one each of SPOTTED and SOLITARY SANDPIPERS, a LESSER YELLOWLEGS and a WILSON’S SNIPE. Three MARSH WRENS also seen  Best to batten down the hatches this evening. The weather might turn on us by 7:30 p.m. in the immediate Bay of Quinte area.

Saturday, July 18: A bit mild today, but a few sightings came in regardless. A HOODED MERGANSER  was seen at the Brighton Constructed Wetland where others among the 24 species present were 10 WOOD DUCKS, a couple GREEN-WINGED TEAL and two BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS. Reflective of the fall shorebird migration which got under way in the Quinte area a week or two ago, five species were present including LESSER YELLOWLEGS, LEAST SANDPIPER, and SOLITARY SANDPIPER, all expected this month. More are on the way though as autumn creeps even closer to us. LESSER YELLOWLEGS and SOLITARY SANDPIPER  were also present at the Harmony Road wetland which is gaining a lot of attention these days. Among the 25 species there have been 3 AMERICAN BITTERNS, COMMON GALLINULES (10), 8 WOOD DUCKS, 10 COMMON GALLINULES, and 15 GREAT EGRETS – a high number given that they were seen near noon, suggesting that this is a feeding area by day as well as a roosting area at night. Other highlights from another birder there today were a BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO, 2 VIRGINIA RAILS, 3 SWAMP SPARROWS, and 9 BLUE-WINGED TEAL. Tragically, flooding in Toronto has destroyed the nest of a pair of PIPING PLOVERS on the Toronto Islands. First discovered June 30th, the nest attempt is the first for this rare species on the Canadian shore of Lake Ontario in 80 years. Unfortunately, the nest was destroyed by heavy storms in late June, and it does not appear that the pair will re-nest at that location. Volunteer wardens provided valuable stewardship services at the site, as well as sharing conservation information with beach walkers. And the fact that the birds had come from beaches along Georgian Bay and Lake Michigan reinforces the importance of a regional network of conserved sites.

Friday, July 17: Shorebirds continue to take precedence over many other species in some locations as the “fall” migration gets underway. Seven species were noted at Morven, east of Napanee today. In addition to expected species like  KILLDEER (8)  SPOTTED SANDPIPER (5) and a WILSON’S SNIPE, also on the list were 3 LEAST SANDPIPERS, 16 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, 8 GREATER YELLOWLEGS and 2 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS. There were no shorebirds today at Beaver Meadow Conservation Area at East Lake, but a plethora of other species as well as mosquitoes! At the first lookout, at least a dozen VIRGINIA RAILS  were milling about, many of them juveniles being fed by adults. BLACK TERNS  numbered about 8 and several families of COMMON GALLINULES and WOOD DUCKS were also present. SWAMP SPARROWS and MARSH WRENS were vocal throughout the wetland and COMMON YELLOWTHROATS were calling incessantly. From the wooded area came the calls and songs of PILEATED WOODPECKER, RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS, GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER and the interrogations from RED-EYED VIREOS. Birding was a little slow at Vanderwater Conservation today, east of Thomasburg, with only 18 species being seen by a Belleville birder. Over a dozen RED-EYED VIREOS were singing, but only two OVENBIRDS were heard calling. A YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, a GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, 1 EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE and three EASTERN KINGBIRDS were a few of the noteworthy species seen. Last evening, there were 34 GREAT EGRETS at the Harmony Road wetland north of Belleville. At the Westbrook/Collin’s Bay wetland at Kingston, 4 GREAT EGRETS showed up accompanied by two BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS. At Strathcona, a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW put in an appearance for one birder during a lunch break there. And, in a Bloomfield backyard today, a gardener found a BLUE-SPOTTED SALAMANDER in her garden. Not bad for a day that threatened rain, but birders were quick to get it all in this morning before the much needed rain started to fall.

Thursday, July 16:  Shorebirds is a comin’ – their tails are in sight. A bit of a bastardization of the 1950s song by Joe Stafford, “Shrimp Boats is a comin’ – their sails are in sight.” Both GREATER and LESSER YELLOWLEGS  were seen today along Nugent Road, north of Camden East. Three WILSON’S SNIPE  were also present there.  Last evening at the Harmony Road wetland north of Belleville, 10 LESSER YELLOWLEGS and  a SOLITARY SANDPIPER were seen. And just bumping it up another notch, LESSER YELLOWLEGS at the Amherstview Sewage Lagoons today numbered 20, where there was also a GREATER YELLOWLEGS and 6 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS. Also, along Nugent Road, the dependable LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE  was present again today. Four EASTERN MEADOWLARKS  were there also, and eight were seen on Bronk Road, just east of the Harmony Road site last evening. The Harmony Road wetland also had last evening, 4 HOODED MERGANSERS, WOOD DUCKS, COMMON GALLINULE and MALLARDS, and four COMMON NIGHTHAWKS were found along Airport Parkway, east of Belleville. The real treat at the Harmony Road wetland was the appearance of 10 GREAT BLUE HERONS including 6 full grown young in nests. Of course, the GREAT EGRETS were back again – this time 34 roosting in three trees. Early this morning, the Hamilton Wetland at Demorestville had 23 GREAT EGRETS  emerge from their roost area deep within the treed area. A GREEN HERON continues to appear regularly at an Allisonville residence, and often there are two. Despite the hay having been harvested in the six hay fields directly west of our house along Sprague Road at Big Island, after the prearranged date of July 10th, up to 30 BOBOLINKS and a dozen EASTERN MEADOWLARKS  continue to frolic around, often perching in a row on the hydro wires that pass over the fields.

Wednesday, July 15: Today at Belleville, there was a family 6 young WOOD DUCKS at the mouth of Potter Creek, along Highway 2. Two GREAT EGRETS were seen this morning in the Westbrook Marsh near Kingston. Also at Kingston, the popular Marshlands Conservation Area along Front Road yielded a couple YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, a VEERY and a HERMIT THRUSH. In Belleville, a GREAT BLUE HERON and a CHIMNEY SWIFT were seen at the Memorial Park off Station Street. A RED-TAILED HAWK can be seen daily one field west of Sprague Road on Big Island. Another was seen yesterday on Black Road near Demorestville.

Tuesday, July 14: More information on GREAT EGRETS. In an e-mail from Chip Weseloh, Emeritus Associate with CWS, in an announcement on the Ontario Birds listserv, he says that 144 young flightless GREAT EGRETS were tagged last month on Nottawasaga Island, near Collingwood, at the south end of Georgian Bay. Half of the birds were marked with green wing-tags with black  characters and the other half were marked with two red leg-bands, one  each above and below the "knee" joint (really the ankle joint) of the left leg. Both red bands carry the same number/letter. On both types of marking, the characters are in the form of number-number-letter, e.g. 88S, 27T, 46H. If you see any such marked egrets please notify Chip at   with the date, type/colour of marker, the number-letter combination and the location of your observation. “We have  been wing-tagging egrets since 2010 and there are birds with orange tags and blue tags from previous years, so please keep watch for those as well,” says Chip. He is also asking to report any evening roosting aggregations of GREAT EGRETS, like the ones already being reported to him from Indian Island at Trenton, Hamilton Wetland at Demorestville, and the Harmony Road Wetland north of Belleville. In other birding news today, a pair of COOPER’S HAWKS are nesting in the Rednersville area.

Monday, July 13: Four birders today spent this morning exploring GULL BAR, at Charwell Point, along the South Shore Important Bird Area in Prince Edward County. It was hot, but quite pleasant down by the lake and very interesting.There was a flock (80-100) of mixed Swallows right out at the point feeding on the lake and over Gull Pond.  Lots of dragonflies out as well as butterflies - at one point along the beach there was a congregation of over 30 SWALLOWTAILS. In total, 39 species were tallied. Among the more interesting species were COMMON GALLINULE (heard in the marsh behind the beach), LEAST SANDPIPER, BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO, WILLOW FLYCATCHER, 32 ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS, 50 BARN SWALLOWS, 4 MARSH WRENS, 11 GRAY CATBIRDS, 18 YELLOW WARBLERS, 2 CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS, 9 FIELD SPARROWS, and 4 EASTERN TOWHEES. Fifteen CASPIAN TERNS, 11 SONG SPARROWS and 6 NORTHERN FLICKERS also were represented in good numbers. Another birder, birding a section of the former Grand Junction Railway Line Recreational Trail northeast of Stirling, near Rawdon Creek, found 16 species in 20 minutes, among them 8 WOOD DUCKS, 5 VIRGINIA RAILS, 9 COMMON GALLINULES, 3 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, 2 BLACK-BILLED CUCKOOS, a couple AMERICAN REDSTARTS and an INDIGO BUNTING. Pretty darn good birding at both locations, considering July is regarded as the time of the year when bird activity is at its lowest ebb. Yesterday, the Brighton Constructed Wetland, just south of the town, also had some good birds, and species seen there included COMMON GALLINULES, HOODED MERGANSERS, BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS, BLUE-WINGED TEAL, LESSER YELLOWLEGS, WOOD DUCKS, LEAST SANDPIPER, SOLITARY SANDPIPER, and MARSH WRENS, just to name a few that were seen. A rather interesting sighting to come in today from Whitby involved the discovery of five singing HOODED WARBLERS on a trail in that area.The one kilometer trail that runs west from Concession Road 6, the road being the northerly extension of Westney Road, north of the Uxbridge-Pickering Town Line.  The trail starts about 100 yards north of address 2069.  There is a metal gate with a heavy chain - and a six by six wood post as a trail marker.  The birds were singing in the morning and were fairly easy to locate, but harder to actually see, and nearly impossible to photograph, as they all seem to stay well up in the canopy.  Still, that's an impressive concentration of HOODED WARBLER territories.  Other birds singing were RED-EYED VIREO and a few EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES, along with one loudly chipping MOURNING WARBLER.  Singing stopped once it got really hot.  So in spite of the really hot temperatures these days, there are still lots of birds to be found this month, especially if you have a sense of where they might be hanging out.

Sunday, July 12: Despite it being the weekend, no birding today, not even in the Kingston area to speak of. So, the only thing to report this evening is a lovely RED-HEADED WOODPECKER that has been coming for a couple days to a feeder at South Bay  Last evening at the Harmony Road wetland, a count of 31 GREAT EGRETS  was made. An interesting e-mail exchange took place between CWS retired biologist Chip Weseloh, and the observer who wondered if the relatively new Harmony Road roost could possibly be “stealing” birds from other known roosts, at least one of which has experienced a decline in numbers over the past two years. His reply may be of interest to readers: “You asked if there is any chance the Belleville roost is stealing birds from the Hamilton Wetland roost (west of Demorestville) or the Indian Island roost (Trenton). We would have to watch carefully the direction of arrival (and departure in the AM) to get an idea about that. At Hamilton Wetland all egrets seem to be coming from the North, which I suspect is the Bay of Quinte and probably even the area of Big Island and Muscote Bay. The 1-2 times I have watched arrivals at Indian Island (from the north shore of the Bay of Quinte), the egrets have arrived mostly from the west. The Harmony Rd roost looks like it is a couple miles north of the 401. My impression is the egrets seldom fly much more than 5 miles to get to their roost…so I doubt there is any conflict with the Hamilton Wetland roost. There is a chance with the Indian Island roost but I am doubtful of that one, too. The existence of 2 roosts about 25 metres apart at the Harmony Road site is not too unusual. I have seen that situation before and most of the time the two groups will join up once the sun sets and it gets dark…..sometimes not until it is quite dark. Watch it until 30-40 minutes after sunset some night and see what happens. As the season progresses and water levels go down, the egrets will often switch from roosting in trees to roosting in shallow water, so be on the lookout for that, too. I doubt the two groups indicate birds from two different colonies. At Luther marsh, where there is a roost of a couple of hundred egrets, tagged birds from two different colonies (one near Collingwood and one near Southampton), roost together in the same area of dead trees and bushes.”

July Saturday, July 11: No birding today locally, but one local resident had good success once again at the Brighton Constructed Wetland along Prince Edward Street where this relatively small wetland produced 25 species, among them, four BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS. Other notable sightings at this popular wetland included five waterfowl species – 27 AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS, 17 WOOD DUCKS (several adults with ducklings), 8 HOODED MERGANSERS (adults with ducklings), 8 MUTE SWANS (including 4 cygnets), and six MALLARDS. Other species seen here were GREAT BLUE HERON, OSPREY, 7 COMMON GALLINULES, 5 MARSH WRENS, 2 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS and a GREATER YELLOWLEGS. The yellowlegs is another reminder to keep your eyes peeled for any early southbound shorebird species. There are several that are expected in July and already they have started appearing in the Kingston area, according to Mark Read who reported an early GREATER YELLOWLEGS in the Napanee Limestone Plain area, LESSER YELLOWLEGS (as many as 17) at the Amherstview Sewage Lagoons, LEAST SANDPIPERS and 4 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS. The only sighting to be reported in Prince Edward County – and that was last evening – was an UPLAND SANDPIPER at the junction of McFaul Road and County Road 1 near Allisonville. And the GREEN HERON that paid Allisonville resident Brian Durell a visit while he was out in his yard reading a few days ago, has been back at least two more times.

Friday, July 10: There were 8 CHIMNEY SWIFTS seen today at the Belleville Lion’s Park off Station Street near the Lott Dam. A few sightings from Main Duck Island. Three COMMON LOONS  were seen off Yorkshire Island (just east of Main Duck Island), and an immature BALD EAGLE  was seen at the Prince Edward Point Harbour. GREAT EGRETS continue to congregate at some of their favourite roosts in the region. Last night (July 9) the Harmony Road egret roost, north of Belleville, had increased to 29 birds. This roost seems to be developing as 2 roosts, about 25 or more metres apart. Last night the one on left had 13 birds and the one on the right had 16 birds.  Unfortunately none of the birds have any tags to help keep track of them. Meanwhile, at the Demorestville area Hamilton Wetland roost, 15 GREAT EGRETS  were counted this morning between 5:15 a.m. and 5:25 a.m. as they flew out to the open water in the meadow to feed. Another sort of out of the way place south of Stirling, and one where I used to offer guided hikes, is a questionable and barely drivable road called Dutch Girl Lane. It runs between Baptist Church Road and Highway 62. Just in from the lane/road is a hydro right of way where numerous uncommon wildflowers grow like Carrion Flower and Upright Bindweed. Also present here is Sweet Fern which is rarely found this far south in the Quinte area. Birdlife can be quite varied due to the rich habitat and remoteness of the site. This morning though it was relatively quiet, according to a Belleville birder, who found BLUE JAYS, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES and RED-EYED VIREOS. Also, a couple of WOOD THRUSHES. The more open areas contained several singing birds, the highlights being 2 VESPER SPARROWS, 2 INDIGO BUNTINGS and a HOUSE WREN. A COMMON LOON flew over, believed to be one of the Ross Lake pair that nested there again this year, just east of Dutch Girl Lane. On Nugent Road north of Camden East today, a LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE  was seen. The Presqu’ile Provincial Park Weekly Bird Report, compiled by Fred Helleiner, has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website, and can be read by CLICKING HERE.

Thursday, July 09: Not a whole lot to report this evening, but such is the month of July. If you find your nectar feeders empty most mornings, don’t blame night slurping hummingbirds; it is more apt to be bats! They  developed a fondness for the nectar some years ago as the popularity of hummingbird feeders increased. At least one has been draining a feeder nightly along County Road 1 at Consecon Lake.  Bats have different ways of liberating the hummingbird nectar from the feeders. Some bats will land on a feeder and drink the nectar directly out of it. Other bats will fly around in circles and use their long tongues to reach in and get a sip of hummingbird nectar with each pass. At Smith’s Bay, birds reported there from a cottage today included a family of  WOOD DUCKS, 2 GREAT BLUE HERONS, a GREEN HERON, BELTED KINGFISHER and  single female COMMON MERGANSER. At Lighthall Road in the Point Petre area, an UPLAND SANDPIPER and a NORTHERN HARRIER were seen, and an AMERICAN KESTREL  was present of Black Road near Demorestville yesterday.

Wednesday, July 08: GREAT EGRETS continue to make use of the Harmony Road wetland. There were 26 there Monday morning at 6:15 a.m. and 18 there early thIs morning, as well as 2 GREEN HERONS and three GREAT BLUE HERONS. Two Demorestville area birders travelled to the Kingston area yesterday to enjoy some birding  and had some success, coming up with two BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS at the Taylor-Kidd Blvd marsh, where they also found a GREAT EGRET, and a GREEN HERON. At the Amherstview Sewage Lagoons, they managed a list of 25 species including a BLACK TERN, 8 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, 10 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, a LEAST SANDPIPER and four SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS. It would appear that the fall migration of shorebirds is underway with at least the earlier expected species. Also seen there – 6 WOOD DUCKS, 2 GADWALLS. Invista had 2 COMMON MERGANSERS. Birds are still happening along Prince Edward County’s South Shore Important Bird Area. Yesterday along Simpson Road, 19 species were tallied, among them, 9 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, 5 GRAY CATBIRDS, 7 FIELD SPARROWS, 4 ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS, a GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, 3 MARSH WRENS, 2 BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLERS, and a WILSON’S SNIPE.

Tuesday, July 07: No one out birding today, and I guess I can understand why as it was a bit mild this afternoon. One exception was the north end of Haig Road where a birder there today found 25 BARN SWALLOWS – a nice number for a species that seems to be declining, 2 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, and 8 SONG SPARROWS. Sometimes it’s nothing more strenuous than just sitting back and letting the birds come to you. Allisonville resident Brian Durell decided to sit outside where it was cooler, and read a book, when a GREEN HERON arrived to a dead tree along the property line. One birder said his fiancé had spotted what she described as a “large grey goose” flying over. When talking to his neighbour, he said that he had seen what he thought was a SANDHILL CRANE earlier. Lo and behold, as they spoke about bird sightings a well defined SANDHILL CRANE few over Miller Road to settle the argument once and for all. Though similar in stature, but taxonomically different, GREAT EGRET numbers are increasing in the Harmony Road wetland, north of Belleville where it would appear that a late summer roost is taking shape, similar to the roosts on Indian Island, near Trenton, and the Hamilton Wetland, west of Demorestville. There were 26 egrets there Sunday night. The CHIMNEY SWIFT action seems to have died down somewhat from earlier highs, but four are seen regularly over Belleville most days. On Dunnett Blvd, in that city, a young MERLIN is hanging around and causing agitation for nesting songbirds in the area.

Monday, July 06: A BLUE-WINGED WARBLER was another special find for birder/photographer Tom Wheatley of Belleville during a week of intense birding in the north country. On the 4th, he struck gold when he counted no fewer than 5 PRAIRIE WARBLERS along the hiking trail that runs from Little Mellon Lake to Haley Lake at the Sheffield Conservation Area, 11 km south of Kaladar. Found were four males, one female and two fledglings. Due to the sensitive nature of the species, the photo at the upper right was taken from a distance of 35 yards at 100X zoom. Anyone hiking this four kilometre loop are reminded that while the first half to Haley Lake is quite straightforward, the second half of the loop is more challenging and is poorly marked. The trail eventually crosses open water at Devil Lake and ultimately comes out at the remnants of Old High 41 before passing the Dark Sky site, returning to the parking lot via the shoulder of the present highway. Other birds seen on the hike to Haley Lake were LEAST FLYCATCHER, RED-TAILED HAWK, VEERY, BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, and CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER. At a little spot called Nephan, some distance northwest of the Menzel Nature Reserve, 22 species were found, including the BLUE-WINGED WARBLER mentioned above. Two males were found on territory, separated by 200 metres. The first male was with a begging fledgling. Second male in the same area as a Brewster's female. Also seen were CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, SCARLET TANAGER, YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, 5 RED-EYED VIREOS, WOOD THRUSH and OVENBIRD. These little out of the way locations can be very special. And where is the Belleville WHITE PELICAN that disappeared for awhile and showed up in the Bay of Quinte between Big Island and Huff’s Island? Well, it’s back at its favourite spot, Snake Island, between the Herchimer Street boat launch and Massassauga Point, accompanied by a flotilla of DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS. It was seen this morning by staff from Quinte Conservation. Last night BLACK TERNS  were seen in the Sawguin Creek Marsh, a species that had all but disappeared from that marsh. Last evening, at the Sprague Pond boat launch, a SPOTTED SANDPIPER  with 4 fluffy babies were running back and forth in front of a barge that is parked there. A male NORTHERN HARRIER  was seen flying over the marsh near the causeway. An UPLAND SANDPIPER was perched on a utility wire along County Road 24 at Point Petre, and 2 SANDHILL CRANES  were found not far away in a corn field along Kings Road.

Sunday, July 05: A SPOTTED SANDPIPER turned up along Haig Road yesterday  in Belleville, where a CASPIAN TERN was also seen. North of there, at the Harmony Road wetland, a GREAT HORNED OWL was heard hooting last night.  EASTERN KINGBIRDS  were seen by a party walking Gorsline Road near Demorestville today Also seen were CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS (at least 2), several WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS hiding and calling in the underbrush, EASTERN TOWHEES, CEDAR WAXWINGS, NORTHERN FLICKER, GRAY CATBIRDS, and EASTERN MEADOWLARK. Four days earlier, RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER and GREAT BLUE HERON were added to the cumulative list. Yesterday, OVENBIRD, RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER, COOPER’S HAWK and BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO were noted at Point Petre. And at Sandbanks Park, PILEATED WOODPECKER, INDIGO BUNTING, and COMMON TERN were seen there. Birds in downtown Allisonville have included WILSON’S SNIPE, HOUSE WREN, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, FIELD SPARROW, 3 ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS and NORTHERN CARDINALS. Always keen to hear sightings of BLANDING’S TURTLES; one was spotted two nights ago along the entrance road to Beaver Meadow Conservation Area at East Lake. At the Big Swamp, sightings near there have been 4 BELTED KINGFISHERS that bred successfully at an area pond and 4 RIVER OTTERS have also been there this summer. .Also seen around there have been SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, lots of  WOOD THRUSHES, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSHES, GREEN HERON and GREAT EGRET. Approximately 30 to 40 BOBOLINKS in the unharvested hay fields west of 23 Sprague on Big Island today were a big treat, as well as at least 12-15 EASTERN MEADOWLARKS. Also present along the 2.3 km mowed trail that I have around the property today were ALDER FLYCATCHER  (nested this summer), COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, SAVANNAH SPARROWS, FIELD SPARROWS, WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS, EASTERN TOWHEES, and YELLOW WARBLERS. Tomorrow evening’s Report will contain some more great sightings from Tom Wheatley of Belleville who explored two additional out of the way places over the last few days, in his search for uncommon warbler species. Be sure to tune in again.

Saturday, July 04: It’s true. Birds are where you find them. And Belleville resident Tom Wheatley knows right where to go off the beaten track, to find some interesting species, like along Powerline Road, near Cloyne. On Thursday, he hiked 8 km, finding 31 species, among them 3 RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS    (which may have been a family group), 2 VEERYS, 3 OVENBIRDS, 2 BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLERS, a NASHVILLE WARBLER, 15 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, a YELLOW WARBLER, 3 CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLERS, 1 BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER, 2 PINE WARBLERS, 1 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER and rounding the list of 10 warbler species, were 2 BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER. Despite the favourable habitat for PRAIRIE WARBLERS, none was seen. The previous day, he spent a couple hours along the Trans Canada Trail at Sulphide Road, east of Tweed, and explored 3 km of that trail. Of the 29 species of birds he tallied, only five of these were warblers, but also finding a SCARLET TANAGER, a YELLOW-THROATED VIREO, a WOOD THRUSH and 2 WOOD DUCKS. Also on Canada Day, Tom checked out a section of Suphide Road and drove to the far end where the road deteriorates into a dead end that disappears into a swamp. Thirty-one species were found here, among them A-a RED-EYED VIREO, attempting to satisfy the appetite of a BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD. Also found, YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, YELLOW-THROATED VIREO, 3 VEERYS, 2 HERMIT THRUSHES, 5 PINE WARBLERS and 3 OVENBIRDS, just to list a few of the highlights.  On the third day of his three-day birding extravaganza he checked out Puzzle Lake Provincial Park in balmy 8 degrees Celsius temperatures at 6:15 a.m. and came up with just under 60 species. The higher number could be related to the fact that he walked 10 km after parking at the start of Norway Lake Road. Included in his long list of finds were 10 OVENBIRDS, a YELLOW-THROATED VIREO, 3 each OF VEERY and WOOD THRUSH,also finding SANDHILL CRANE, AMERICAN WOODCOCK, BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO and 3 YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER. In addition to the 10 OVENBIRDS seen, other warbler species (eight in total), were 3 each of PINE WARBLER, CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER and BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER. What a fine way to celebrate Canada Day and the following two days! More locally, an INDIGO BUNTING and a COMMON RAVEN were reported from the Sager Conservation Area near Stirling. No further update on the whereabouts of the WHITE PELICAN that showed up at Belleville on June 22nd, and last seen between Huff’s Island and Big Island three days ago. If it is like the one seen last year, it may very well continue eastwards as it rides the currents in the Bay of Quinte. Speaking of Big Island, a BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON continues to be seen along North Shore Road, just west of Allison Road. Today a NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD showed up there.

Friday, July 03: With memories of the spring migration still relatively fresh in our minds, it’s hard to imagine there are “fall” migrants starting to appear already. LESSER YELLOWLEGS on their southward migration have appeared in at least two Ontario locations this week, and others like SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS, LEAST SANDPIPERS, SOLITARY SANDPIPERS, BLACK-BELLIED and SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, and RUDDY TURNSTONES  are likely next to arrive in a couple weeks. At Crofton today, a juvenile ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK and a male AMERICAN REDSTART were seen along County Road 14. A single SANDHILL CRANE continues to be seen occasionally at the Hamilton Wetland along the same county road. The Harmony Road wetland, north of Belleville, where it seems that another egret roost is establishing itself, birders there last night counted 19 GREAT EGRETS, and 15 were counted early this morning at the Hamilton Wetland. At South Bay, a BALD EAGLE  flew past one surprised angler out on the bay today.

Thursday, July 02: Well, we know where the Belleville WHITE PELICAN is now. It was seen today in the Bay of Quinte at the east end of Huff’s Island, about midway between Huff’s Island and Big Island. As it has done in the past, it has been following a flock of DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS, or the cormorants have been following him. Two biologists from Norwood, out for a bike ride on Tuesday, came a cross two BALD EAGLES, resting on a gravel bar at Prince Edward Point. At Presqu’ile Park this week, highlights there were BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO at Owen Point, A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER  at Bayshore Road, and what may have been a  WESTERN KINGIRD. For the complete story this week, check out Fred Helleiner’s Presqu’ile Park weekly summary at THIS LINK.

Wednesday, July 01: Volunteers should consider monitoring the Harmony Road wetland north of Belleville. GREAT EGRETS are starting to gather here, and 18 were seen here a few nights ago. It seems a bit early for GREAT EGRETS  to be roosting, but obviously the annual ceremony has begun. GREAT EGRETS during their post breeding dispersal, tend to gather in substantial numbers at choice locations in the Bay of Quinte area prior to migration south. Two of these locations are the Indian Island site near Carrying Place, and the Hamilton Wetland at Demorestville where upwards of 80 to 100 birds have been counted at each of these locations. These birds are not necessarily local birds, but involve birds from all over Ontario, and even the United States, as this post breeding dispersal takes place. Also take note of any that have coloured wing tags, the colour of the tag and the number. You can e-mail me that information and I will pass it along to those in charge. The population of BOBOLINKS west of our house in the still unharvested hay fields continues to burgeon as young finally begin leaving their nests. Also having nested, but quite unsuccessfully, was a RED-EYED VIREO at the Black River Cheese, south of Picton, where a young, very happy, BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD  was about to fledge. A Picton area resident with a cottage on Smith’s Bay comments about yesterday’s rainy conditions, “Sometimes misty, rainy mornings are the best. We had a family of WOOD DUCKS, a female COMMON MERGANSER, BELTED KINGFISHER, GREAT BLUE HERON, OSPREY and TREE SWALLOWS. “No such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing”, as the old Scandinavian saying goes. A few interesting species on Amherst Island – AMERICAN KESTREL, 25 SAVANNAH SPARROWS, UPLAND SANDPIPER, WILSON’S SNIPE and RED-TAILED HAWK. An appeal has been sent out by the Kingston Field Naturalists to its members, regarding the proposed wind power project proposed for the internationally recognized Amherst Island. Like the South Shore Important Bird Area where two companies are lying in wait to permanently ravage the south shore of Prince Edward County, Amherst Island is also an Important Bird Area. An incredible 27 wind turbines are slated to be erected on this island! The Amherst Island project is next in line to be approved soon by the Ontario government. If you feel strongly about this project, the people to contact are contained in KFN’s letter that I have uploaded to my website as a PDF, and can be accessed by CLICKING HERE.

Tuesday, June 30:  Some bird surveys yesterday morning in the South Shore Important Bird Area of Prince Edward County produced a few good finds. On Ostrander Point Road, a MAGNOLIA WARBLER was found. We tend to think of MAGNOLIA WARBLERS  in terms of migrants, but they do nest not far north of here, and there are numerous summer sightings in our general region. Fall migrants start appearing in August. I have birded Ostrander Point several times in the past with outstanding success, and yesterday was no different for a Belleville birder who was trying his luck there. Forty-six species were found along this 2.5 km stretch of road, among them BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO, NORTHERN HARRIER, NASHVILLE WARBLER, INDIGO BUNTING, VEERY, WOOD THRUSH, BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER and OVENBIRD. Along the lake, YELLOW WARBLERS were especially numerous. South of Helmer Road were CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS, ALDER FYCATCHER, WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS, SAVANNAH SPARROW, WILSON’S SNIPE, and HOUSE WRENS (with begging young). On Big Island, a pair of ALDER FLYCATCHERS have nested west of Sprague Road. Along the island’s north shore, a few good species there, including BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON, WARBLING VIREOS, HOUSE WRENS, BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER and also a YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER.

Monday, June 29: No sightings came in today,

Sunday, June 28:  Understandably, no one was out birding today, but a few interesting sightings from the South Bay area yesterday where a GREEN HERON was spotted there. Also of interest there were 2 SANDHILL CRANES and an INDIGO BUNTING. Today, at South Bay, there was an AMERICAN KESTREL, and that’s all I found! Obviously, a short Report this evening, so I will mention another guided hike that is taking place at Presqu’ile Park tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. from the Beach 2 parking lot. If you don’t know what a tombolo is, this is your chance to find out. A better day tomorrow, and perhaps a few bird sightings.

Saturday, June 27: A few interesting sightings today at South Bay included LEAST BITTERN, 6 MARSH WRENS, a GREEN HERON, 2 COMMON LOONS, a WILLOW FLYCATCHER and 2 BALD EAGLES. Birders from Belleville today, took advantage of the nice weather this morning west of Ivanhoe, and birded a 3 kilometre stretch of the Trans Canada Trail west from Twiddy Road. An impressive 50 species were chalked up in a good variety of habitat including an extensive wetland and a large, old field. Found were at least six GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLERS, a BLUE-WINGED WARBLER and a BREWSTER’S WARBLER. The duo saw or heard many of the woodland species including 1 PILEATED WOODPECKER, 4 YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS, 3 EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES, 4 VEERYS, 2 WOOD THRUSHES, and 5 SCARLET TANAGERS. One oddity was a ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK with a completely white-breast and not a hint of rose. The old fields contributed 4 EASTERN TOWHEES, 1 BOBOLINK, 2 EASTERN MEADOWLARKS, 5 FIELD SPARROWS and a GRASSHOPPER SPARROW. The wetlands had numerous RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS and SWAMP SPARROWS  and singles of WILSON’S SNIPE and LEAST BITTERNS .BOBOLINKS  were also seen today along Prince Edward County’s Christian Road off Highway 62. A BROWN CREEPER  carrying food and going to a probable nest was a nice find. BOBOLINKS  are doing very well this summer in a series of hay fields west of Sprague Road on Big Island where the owner has asked the farmer who cuts the hay to delay harvesting until mid-July. It is always refreshing to see conservation efforts like that. So far, I have counted 18 pairs that are currently carrying food to nests along a 2.3 km mowed trail that I have created around the fields with the blessing of the owner.  Birds present today at the Brighton Constructed Wetland were  MUTE SWAN 7, WOOD DUCKS  20 (female with ducklings), AMERICAN BLACK DUCK  25  (3 females with ducklings), and 2 lone AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS, BLUE-WINGED TEAL 1,  HOODED MERGANSER  11 (female with ducklings), AMERICAN BITTERN   1, GREAT BLUE HERON 1, GREEN HERON  1, BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON  2, and COMMON GALLINULE   7 . Other species present in the wetland were 2 KILLDEER, 5 RING-BILLED GULLS, 2 MOURNING DOVES, a  BELTED KINGFISHER , 1 NORTHERN FLICKER, a BLUE JAY, 20 TREE SWALLOWS, 3 BARN SWALLOWS, 3 MARSH WRENS, , an AMERICAN ROBIN, 2 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, and 30 RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS. Almost forgot.........1 EUROPEAN STARLING. At Allisonville, a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER is visiting a feeder there, and 2 ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS  are also around. In the hamlet of Moira, an EASTERN BLUEBIRD  was seen this morning.

Friday, June 26: We start our Bird Report at the Goodrich-Loomis Conservation Area, north of Brighton, where a birder there today checked out some old field habitat with forested edges. In the past, both  both BLUE-WINGED and GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLERS have been sighted there. Today there was only a BLUE-WINGED WARBLER. Some of the other species included MOURNING WARBLER, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, INDIGO BUNTING, FIELD SPARROW, EASTERN TOWHEE, OVENBIRD, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK and WOOD THRUSH.  Nesting boxes had nesting HOUSE WREN and EASTERN BLUEBIRD. It was also nice to see a returning Monarch Butterfly on a milkweed plant. WOOD THRUSH and ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK (5) were also the order of the day along County Road 2, north of Wellington, just past Wilson Road, where a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER was also present. No update today on Belleville’s WHITE PELICAN although it was definitely present yesterday, seen by at least a couple birders. There is a developing GREAT EGRET roost at the Harmony Road Wetland, north of Belleville. On Thursday evening at 8:30 p.m., there were 15 in a couple of trees on the southwest edge. Other noteworthy sightings were a GREEN HERON and 31 MALLARDS of various ages and at various stages of moult.  Thursday morning a very noisy young MERLIN spent about 15 minutes in an oak tree along Dunnett Blvd., in Belleville. For the past couple of weeks at least two families of AMERICAN ROBINS and several CEDAR WAXWINGS have been gorging on the fruit of the serviceberry bushes in one yard there. They were less than impressed by the MERLIN’s presence.  Two nights ago, a nice experience for a Belleville photographer who drove to the Dark Sky site along Highway 41, at the Sheffield Conservation Area in hopes of enjoying the predicted Northern Lights. No performance by the skies, but never so many night sounds, he commented. COMMON NIGHTHAWKS  were calling enthusiastically, along with 4 WHIP-POOR-WILLS. Also heard, a COMMON LOON, a VEERY and a WOOD THRUSH. One reader of this blog asks, “What is up this year. No SNAPPING TURTLES laying eggs on the shoulders of the road in front of my house (Cressy). In previous years I have had one to six laying most mornings from mid through late June. My friend who lives in Prinyers Cove  on Bay Side has noticed a similar lack of snappers laying. None!” On Big Island, the same observation is true with no SNAPPING TURTLES  noticed on the causeway where usually, several are seen excavating. Now, to give you something to seethe about as we enter the weekend, with this story and link. The Ontario Wind Resistance website gives us one more reason to loathe wind turbines and the so-called “Green” Energy Act that forces them down our throats. Two years after getting prosecuted under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the energy giant, Duke Energy, looking for payback, takes aim at the law itself. In early June the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Fiscal Year 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill—with a sneak attack on birds attached. The bill included an amendment prohibiting the use of Department of Justice funds to prosecute or hold liable any person or corporation for a violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. If it becomes law, anyone could kill birds with impunity, with no risk of jail time or even fines. It would decimate one of the most successful pieces of conservation legislation in history. Duke’s renewable energy division had been the first green power company to be prosecuted under the MBTA, pleading guilty in 2013 to the deaths of more than 150 protected birds, including 14 Golden Eagles, at two wind farms in Wyoming, and forking over $1 million in fines. In the wake of that guilty plea, Duke apparently began deploying its considerable resources and political muscle to undo the very law it had violated, paying at least $60,000 in 2014 in its efforts to amending the Migratory Birds Treaty Act and Bald and Gold Eagle Protection Act to address accidental avian deaths.  Read more.........

Thursday, June 25: Just a short Bird Report this evening. A BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON  was one of several present last evening at the Brighton Constructed Wetland along Prince Edward Street/C.R. 64. It, or another, was perched on the end of a dock at Brighton. The WHITE PELICAN was photographed by several birders yesterday along the Kiwanis Bayshore Trail in Belleville, and we can presume that the bird is still around. If looking for it, just focus your binoculars on the cormorants with which it associates, and you are apt to see it. Snake Island is a good place to start where cormorants nest, roost and feed. LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE, GRASSHOPPER SPARROW, NORTHERN HARRIER and EASTERN KINGBIRD were all present yesterday along Nugent Road, north of Camden East. Once we get more into the hot, sultry days of July, fewer birds will be heard singing, but we will always depend on at least two – the COMMON YELLOWTHROAT and the RED-EYED VIREO, the latter singing persistently from the tree canopy. Both species were present today in a backyard in the area of Mowbray and Miller Roads, just south of Picton. Fred Helleiner’s Presqu’ile Provincial Park summary of this past week’s sightings has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website, and can be read by CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, June 24: Three PRAIRIE WARBLERS  were heard singing three days ago at Sheffield Conservation Area, 11 km south of Kaladar. There seems to be no shortage of good finds, if one knows where to go. Belleville’s WHITE PELICAN was seen again today between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. The bird was seen from the Kiwanis Bayshore Trail, soaring high above Snake Island in the middle of the Bay of Quinte. Later, it swam with cormorants, north of the island where it seems to have developed a symbiotic relationship with this species. Also seen along the Trail were WARBLING  VIREOS, BALTIMORE ORIOLES, AMERICAN REDSTARTS, YELLOW WARBLERS, MUTE SWANS, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS, COMMON GRACKLES, SONG SPARROWS, CEDAR WAXWINGS, CASPIAN TERNS and a GREAT BLUE HERON. The latter species was one of several such species to be seen by one pair of Demoresville area birders who chose to set the alarm early and check out the Hamilton Wetland, west of the village. Seen were GREAT BLUE HERON, 7 GREAT EGRETS, a GREEN HERON and  a SANDHILL CRANE. Those sightings were topped by a third year BALD EAGLE which cruised in and sat for awhile on the ground. Just east of Belleville, along Airport Parkway, the AMERICAN KESTRELS, nesting in the eaves of a building, saw the light of day today, with 4 young and two very tired parents. .  Where there is life there is also death. A Trenton birder explored a section of the Millennium Trail where it crosses Consecon Lake when he noted several BLACK TERNS flying excitedly about the causeway. The reason for the excitement soon became apparent. A MINK crossed the trail in front of him, carrying a young bird. It did this three times. The MINK was dry and seemed to be robbing a nest on land, but close to the ground. Both shores are rocky with shrubs. The young birds were featherless, but they didn’t appear to be terns, but the adults certainly didn’t seem to like the perceived threat. Today, I spent two hours exploring the Marshlands Conservation Area in Kingston, coming up with a few good species including COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, YELLOW WARBLERS, several AMERICAN REDSTARTS, WARBLING VIREOS, RED-EYED VIREOS, GRAY CATBIRDS, WOOD THRUSH, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Cataraqui Golf Course), NORTHERN CARDINAL, SWAMP SPARROWS, INDIGO BUNTING, and WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH. Along Taylor-Kidd Blvd, an AMERICAN KESTREL was seen near the back end of the Parrott’s Bay Conservation Area. With the arrival of summer, the roster of interpretive events at Presqu’ile Park for the coming week was released today. Of interest to readers is a guided walk this coming Sunday at 10:00 a.m. to learn about the 250,000 birds that call the offshore islands their home. Those interested are asked to meet at the Owen Point Trail parking lot.

Tuesday, June 23: The WHITE PELICAN continues to be seen in the Bay of Quinte at Belleville, and was spotted today along the Bayshore Trail. One birder thinks the bird may be spending time with the cormorants on Snake Island, a tiny island containing a colony of nesting cormorants which can be seen either from the Pinnacle Street boat launch, or from Massassauga Point Conservation Area. Last night as another birder was staking out the CHUCK-WILL’S-WIDOW at Hilltop Road west of South Bay, he chalked up a list of other species during his wait including BROWN THRASHER, WHIP-POOR-WILL, VEERY, WHITE-THROATED SPARROW and a late HERMIT THRUSH – in fact the only summer sighting of a HERMIT THRUSH on file for Prince Edward County. More results from the weekend’s BioBlitz along the South Shore Important Bird Area has revealed a list of 20 species of butterflies, five species each of reptiles and amphibians, 40 species of moths, over 200 species of plants, 65 species of birds, 15 species of lichens and four species of mammals. Perhaps the most interesting sighting was a CARRION BEETLE carrying off a young dead GARTER SNAKE. Teams of observers also found a SHINING LADIES TRESSES ORCHID and several birds and reptiles on the Species at Risk list. All records will be collated and a report prepared. Through Bio Blitzes and Biothons (weekly outings) Prince Edward County Field Naturalists plan to prepare a comprehensive record of the natural environment of the IBA. Yes – the ideal location for wind turbines! As we get into fewer bird sightings and more of other nature, an interesting e-mail came in today from two Belleville residents who have a cottage near Crookston Road, in the Madoc area. Two weeks ago, their 10-year old patch of several hundred Lupines  were in glorious bloom. Four days ago, everything was reduced to bare stalks. The culprit? CALIFORNIA BLISTER BEETLES , our newest arrival that love Lupines. They are also drawn to Alfalfa as well. They are plentiful, active, voracious, mobile, and can fly. Well known naturalists and film makers John and Janet Foster, say that little is known about eggs/larvae etc.  So far, they have no known predators (biological or otherwise). They also carry a toxicity in their blood and, although you won't die from their bites, they can cause painful rashes. We wonder about toxicity to birds (apparently two cows reported died from eating hay, especially alfalfa, that had been "contaminated" when beetles were  baled up). So, there you go – just when you thought it would be a good idea to plant some Lupines. “Sorry to be bearer of bad tidings on such a glorious day," says Janet Foster, “but forewarned is forearmed, although what with I cannot say."  So check your lupines, flowers, and alfalfa! Getting back to birds for a moment – a few interesting sightings from the Little Catarqui Creek Conservation Area, just north of Kingston – one WOOD THRUSH, 6 WOOD DUCKS, 3 MARSH WRENS and a GREEN HERON. Closer to home, Mitchel Road east of Belleville, produced SAVANNAH SPARROWS, BOBOLINKS and a RED-TAILED HAWK. Two UPLAND SANDPIPERS on Amherst Island were also of note.

Monday, June 22: And the great sightings continue! A WHITE PELICAN was seen flying with DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS this morning in the Bay of Quinte near the Norris Whitney Bridge. Photographer Gilles Bisson of Belleville said the pelican and the cormorants were flying as a group and the pelican stayed with them wherever they went. The last WHITE PELICAN to be seen in the Bay of Quinte region was in 2013 when a single bird worked its way east from Trident Point, south of Shannonville, in mid-August of that year, spending the next three months in the Napanee area, before moving west to Belleville, then Frankford  where it spent the early part of December. The reported reappearance of the CHUCK-WILL’S-WIDOW at Brewer’s and Hilltop Roads southwest of Milford, mentioned in the Report last evening,  has been confirmed by no fewer than 6 birders. Results from this weekend’s BioBlitz just west of that site, are starting to trickle in. A Saturday evening walk along Simpson Road yielded almost 40 species, the highlights being AMERICAN BITTERN, ALDER FLYCATCHER, EASTERN TOWHEE, GREEN HERON, 1 WOOD THRUSH, NASHVILLE WARBLER, BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, 3 BLACK-BILLED CUCKOOS, 2 GRAY CATBIRDS and a flyover COMMON LOON.  Early the following morning, a three hour walk along Lighthall Road produced 2 CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS, 2 EASTERN TOWHEES, 6 GRAY CATBIRDS, 10+ MARSH WRENS, 3 WILLOW FLYCATCHERS, 3 BLACK-BILLED CUCKOOS, 2 WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS, a VEERY, and a GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER. More results, including other flora and fauna sightings will come later. A Belleville birder today walked the Trail of Two Lakes from Highway 62 at Madoc to Sills Road, passing through some excellent mixed habitat including small wetlands, small woodlots and a hedgerow along the trail. The birds were all typical of a south Hastings rural area but there are enough of them to maintain interest. Highlights were a RED-TAILED HAWK, 2 YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS, a LEAST FLYCATCHER, 2 BARN SWALLOWS, a VEERY, 1 OVENBIRD, an AMERICAN REDSTART, 2 CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLERS and an INDIGO BUNTING. July is just around the corner, but there are still lots of interesting birds around, so keep your binoculars poised, and report your sightings to me when you can so we can keep this blog at its current momentum

Sunday, June 21: Forget the spring migration. Some of the best birding can be had right now. A LAWRENCE’S WARBLER was seen near the village of Ivanhoe yesterday, as mentioned in last evening’s Report. The bird was seen from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. The Lawrence’s hybrid and the Brewster’s hybrid of GOLDEN-WINGED and BLUE-WINGED WARBLERS can get a little confusing at times, but birder/photographer Tom Wheatley of Belleville has had considerable interest in past years with this phenomenon. The BREWSTER’S WARBLER  is a first generation hybrid offspring of a mating between a GOLDEN-WINGED parent and a BLUE-WINGED parent. This appears to be only the second ebird sighting of LAWRENCE’S WARBLER in Ontario (and Canada) for 2015. As for its song, Tom Wheatley  described it as  neither GOLDEN-WINGED nor BLUE-WINGED but “didididi-zii” like the secondary song of a GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER. ThE BREWSTER’S typically has yellow on the underparts.  A bird displaying white underparts  would be a second generation backcross between an first generation  BREWSTER’S  and a GOLDEN-WINGED. Now enter the LAWRENCE’S WARBLER,  the result of a pairing between either two BREWSTER’S (statistically possible, but exceedingly rare), or a pairing between a BREWSTER’S or a LAWRENCE’S with either a heterozygous GOLDEN-WINGED or a heterozygous BLUE-WINGED, or a pairing of any two heterozygous parents of either species. In other words, because LAWRENCE’S is recessive for both of two traits, it cannot have received a gene from any parent homozygous for either dominant trait. Whew! Now aren’t you glad that you took up birding as a hobby? Two LEAST BITTERNS were found today in different sections of the Moscow Marsh, north of Yarker, and along Nugent Road in the Camden East area, a LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE (with a leg band) showed up.  Today wrapped up two days of BioBlitz surveys along Army Reserve Road in the Point Petre Provincial Wildlife Area. This morning, at 7:00 a.m., I conducted a bird survey down Charwell Point Road to the Lake Ontario. We found 25 species during out 4 km-walk, the best bird being a BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO that was singing energetically in the fog just across the road. We found another two birds singing as we walked along. Five HOUSE WRENS were counted, and also seen and/or heard were NORTHERN FLICKER (1), WHITE-THROATED SPARROW (1), GRAY CATBIRD (3), BROWN THRASHER (2), FIELD SPARROW (3), GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER (1), COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (5), EASTERN TOWHEE (3), WILSON’S SNIPE (1), DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT (88), and CASPIAN TERN (2). An INDIGO BUNTING was seen at the Simpson Road Base Camp, and another was reported from Point Petre proper. There was a report that the famous CHUCK-WILL’S-WIDOW is still around at Brewer’s Road and Hilltop Road, as of last night, but no details or confirmation of this are available at this time.

Saturday, June 20: MARSH WREN and BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONwere just two of several species present at the Brighton Constructed Wetlands yesterday. Other highlights at this wetland were COMMON GALLINULE chicks, OSPREY, NORTHERN SHOVELER, and GREEN-WINGED TEAL. Fishing on Camden Lake for opening bass produced more than just lucky catches of fish yesterday; it was productive for birding as well. VIRGINIA RAILS, BLACK TERNS, GREAT BLUE HERONS and MARSH WRENS  were present on the lake and wetlands as well.  This afternoon, a Mountain View resident was both surprised and elated to have a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER appear at her feeder several times today. It has been awhile since we have had any bird sightings from Main Duck Island, but a visitor there today found AMERICAN WOODCOCK, AMERICAN REDSTART, WILLOW FLYCATCHER, GADWALL, CASPIAN TERN and 3 each of WILSON’S SNIPE and SPOTTED SANDPIPER. A total of 45 BARN SWALLOWS was an impressive number for a species that has been in decline in recent years. BARN SWALLOWS have nested for several decades in the lightkeeper’s house at the tip of the island, as well as in the net shed at the harbour. Last night 4 WHIP-POOR-WILLS and a GREAT HORNED OWL were heard near the corner of Hilltop Road and Brewer’s Road along the South Shore Important Bird Area. A LAWRENCE’S WARBLER – a rare hybrid of the Golden-winged and Blue-winged Warbler was seen today west of Crookston. More details and a photo will be in this Bird Report tomorrow evening. In that same area, NORTHERN FLICKER, CLAY-COLORED SPARROW, BROAD-WINGED HAWK, and WILLOW FLYCATCHER  were also seen.

Friday, June 19: So, what was an UPLAND SANDPIPER along Nugent Road in the Camden East area so upset about? It could have been that  her youngster was almost hidden by the tall grass and alsike clover. After photographer Bonnie Bailey stopped her vehicle, she snapped the photo of the adult bird, after which the sandpiper started carrying on about something, and it was then that Bonnie noticed there were chicks on the ground. In total along a one kilometre stretch of road, she counted 8 adult UPLAND SANDPIPERS. Also noted were 6 WILSON’S SNIPE, also in an agitated state, indicating young about somewhere. While on the topic of shorebirds, a SPOTTED SANDPIPER appears to be nesting in the Tuftsville wetlands near Stirling according to a birder there. Last evening at the Hamilton Wetland, west of Demorestville, 4 GREAT EGRETS  were seen, one with a blue circular tag on each wing. Anyone spotting color-banded GREAT EGRETS this season and especially during the fall when these egrets are roosting, please record the date, location, number of other egrets with them, and, if possible, the letter(s) and number(s)  of the banding code, so we can better document the spring migration of these birds. Report all sighting of GREAT EGRET with red color-bands to Chip Weseloh, Canadian Wildlife Service-Ontario Region, 4905 Dufferin St., Downsview, Ontario, M3H 5T4, or phone 416-739-5846 or e-mail . Today at Beaver Meadow Conservation Area, south of Picton, LEAST BITTERN, PIED-BILLED GREBE, GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, ROSE -BREASTED GROSBEAK were seen.  The Presqu’ile Park Weekly Bird Report for this past week has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website, and can be viewed by CLICKING HERE.

Thursday, June 18: Birding friend and fellow tour leader, Joel Coutu of Montreal, saw a bird a few days ago that really had him stumped.   Commenting on the unusual bird, Joel says, “Daniel Néron and myself observed a very interesting looking warbler in Laval. Many leading observers  in the 'bird watching' community here in Quebec, Canada and even the States, have pronounced their feeling of what this bird is. This is basically the consensus of everyone. An AMERICAN REDSTART/YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (male) hybrid.  Michel Gosselin, (Responsable de la collection des oiseaux du Musée du Canada ), also said the only documented combination of a AMERICAN REDSTART reported in Avian Hybrid (2006) was with Northern Parula, Nashville and Mourning Warbler. So  this could be a possible first observation of this hybrid bird. Joel who is well known for his prowess as a birder and tour leader, concluded, “This was fun. Now how I'm I going to top this!” Joel Coutu has often done birding expeditions in Prince Edward County, and the Kingston and Amherst Island areas. Although the spring migration is all but a memory now, it is surprising how much activity there can be when taking a leisurely stroll down a remote road. This is what one birder did today on a 4-km walk along Long Point Road to the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory. Best find was a YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO calling, plenty of YELLOW WARBLERS defending their nesting territories, at least 8 TURKEY VULTURES have made the Point their roost and home for the summer, probably eating fish washed up from spawning carp etc., HERRING GULLS that looked absolutely beautiful in their dazzling white and yellow beaks, EASTERN KINGBIRDS on fence lines, EASTERN TOWHEES singing their hearts out, BALTIMORE ORIOLES darting past, and a few other common birds. Last night, a grey morph EASTERN SCREECH-OWL was found along Bronk Road not far from the H.R. Frink Centre, north of Belleville. In Stirling, a birder there was delighted to see BOBOLINKS nesting in the first field past the bridge on the Trans Canada Trail at Ridge Road & Sutherland Road.  At Cressy, a resident there was trimming his 10’ high Blue Spruce  today and suddenly came face to face with a MOURNING DOVE’S nest, containing a fledgling almost ready to take flight. The parent flew off the nest, but the youngster chose to remain still and pretend not to be noticed. The resident continued to trim branches for a good 25 minutes while work carried on close to the nest.

Wednesday, June 17: A RED-TAILED HAWK today did not have a good day. At least four BALTIMORE ORIOLES put up a defense that resembled the Battle of Britain, landing multiple blows on his back. The hawks have a nest in a White Pine along County Road 18, near Sandbanks. A RING-NECKED DUCK that was first discovered at the east end of the Big Island Marsh, was still there as of last evening. This species, primarily a breeder in northwestern Ontario, has been seen only a handful of times in Prince Edward County during the breeding season, all of them, except for the most recent sighting, made along the west shoreline of the County.  In the Camden East area today, a few interesting birds seen there today included COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, 2 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS, BROWN THRASHER (one also recently south of the Quinte Skyway Bridge) and two GRAY CATBIRDS. Along Airport Parkway on the east side of Belleville, a VESPER SPARROW  was found – not an easy species to find anymore it seems, compared to past years. At Big Island this afternoon, a NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD posed for a few seconds from a hydro wire midway along Caughey Road at the island`s west end. An INDIGO BUNTING was photographed today near Camden East. On the heels of my June 12 reminisces of Presqu’ile Park (photos are still up for that entry by the way), I thought readers might be interested in a comment from John Kensett, supporter of the park`s 25th Anniversary Environmental Fund, contained in this month`s edition of The Beacon, received today. His piece is titled  Presqu’ile Was Always My Father`s Favourite Place. It reads:   “My parents travelled from Toronto to Brighton in the late 1970s, stayed at the Butler Creek B&B, and passed their days birding in Presqu’ile Park. In the 1980s, after my mother passed away, I joined my father every May not only to help him mourn his loss but also to continue the tradition of looking for Warblers and Whimbrels. This has continued almost every May but now includes my wife, and sometimes our three children, and now our grandson (the fourth generation of Kensett’s to walk in the Park).For the past 25 years or so, my wife and I have been joined with our good birding friends, who, also being retired, are able to spend several weeks in Presqu’ile, and not only to hunt down the odd rarity but also to enjoy the magic of Presqu’ile and completely relax from all of life’s responsibilities and worries for a short time. Presqu’ile was always my father’s favourite place and he donated money to the Park on several occasions. It is only fitting that I continue to support the Park in his memory on behalf of the Kensett family.”

Tuesday, June 16: No birds reported for tday, but that`s okay. There were more than enough seen yesterday to file a Report. A VIRGINIA RAIL  was one of several wetland birds located by one of two observers last night who were surveying the same section of the east end of the Big Island Marsh at roughly the same time. In fact, they were actually close enough that they waved to each other. One surveyor was monitoring for the Enhanced Marsh Monitoring Program through Quinte Conservation and the BQRAP, and the other was doing a Great Lakes Initiative survey. The east end of Big island Marsh has always been very productive and it certainly lived up to its reputation in past surveys this spring. Joshua Kuipers, surveying for the eMMP, said that birds identified in the survey as `focal species` (Pied-billed Grebe, American Bittern, Least Bittern, Common Gallinule, American Coot, Sora, and Virginia Rail) have been very active this spring at this location. During his first bird survey in may, multiple AMERICAN BITTERNS were observed (common in the marsh) and a PIED-BILLED GREBE was heard responding to its call. The second survey was completed yesterday and once again, he was not disappointed as there was a lot of activity from the focal species. AMERICAN BITTERNS were again a common observation, PIED-BILLED GREBES were observed at two different stations along with SORA and LEAST BITTERNS were both heard responding to their calls,  and also seen while canoeing to a station. At one station alone all four of these focal species were observed! Tyler Hoar from Oshawa, surveying the same general area, found LEAST BITTERN, 3 AMERICAN BITTERNS, 1 BLACK TERN, VIRGINIA RAIL, and COMMON GALLINULE. At 8:00 p.m. as he was finishing his survey, a PEREGRINE FALCON flew over. Both YELLOW and BLACK-BILLED CUCKOOS  were calling northwest of 23 Sprague Road, beyond the marsh. A birder doing point counts and grassland surveys yesterday had some interesting sightings. At the former Duck Dive Charters harbour near Prince Edward Point, a lone REDHEAD  was observed swimming around. Lots of swallows, including newly fledged young, were observed all along the shoreline – BARN, TREE, CLIFF and NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS, and PURPLE MARTINS. The north end of Whattam`s Road was good for BOBOLINKS (8 seen) and EASTERN MEADOWLARKS. In the wet fields along Babylon Road, WILSON`S SNIPE  were around as well as SAVANNAH SPARROWS and GRASSHOPPER SPARROW. Away from the immediate area, WOOD THRUSH, UPLAND SANDPIPER and AMERICAN KESTREL were seen in the Napanee Limestone Plain IBA yesterday.

Monday, June 15: It is June 15th and, surprisingly, this evening`s Report has considerable warbler content. At Shannon Road and Marysville Road, north of Marysville, five species were noted today – OVENBIRD, BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, NASHVILLE WARBLER, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT and BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER. Just a short distance northwest of there, a BREWSTER`S WARBLER (Golden-winged and Blue-winged hybrid) was seen today. Yesterday at the Harmony Road Wetland, east of Highway 37, north of Belleville, a COMMON YELLOWTHROAT was among  a half dozen species seen, among them MALLARD, COMMON GALLINULE, GREAT BLUE HERON, and 3 GREAT EGRETS. Warblers were also present today east of Waupoos at the Rose Cemetery where a PINE WARBLER  was singing energetically. At the far end of Cemetery Lane, I found a YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER perched in a Red Cedar at a cottage where I was doing a site inspection early this morning. While the species is regarded as a fairly common summer resident in the Kingston area, in Prince Edward County, they are rarely seen in summer. This could be due to far fewer birders in the field in this area, although certainly the habitat would seem to be conducive to a higher population than what our records reflect. Fledged young seen at Sandbanks in 1994, and a singing male in Bloomfield on June 28th, 2001 is the extent of our summer sightings, until today. The male bird sang for several moments from its perch in the open. Other birds present there and in the cemetery were INDIGO BUNTING, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, HOUSE WRENS, WARBLING and RED-EYED VIREOS and a pair of AMERICAN REDSTARTS. Cressy Lakeside Road produced few birds except for the usual species, but it did surprise me with a very vocal chorus of CHORUS FROGS, something we are more accustomed to hearing right after the ice melts from roadside ditches! Just on a hunch, I drove up Kaiser Crossroad, and the almost three inches of rain over the last few days has resulted in some limited patches of open water, and right in the middle of one of them was a MALLARD. It`s a start! A NORTHERN HARRIER  and an AMERICAN KESTREL were also seen in the area. Beaver Meadow Conservation Area at East Lake was a busy spot yesterday for more than just birds, although VIRGINIA RAIL, nesting BLACK TERNS, MUTE SWANS, BALTIMORE ORIOLES, GREAT BLUE HERON, LEAST BITTERN, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD, and COMMON GALLINULE  were added to the day`s list. Insects noted were DOT-TAILED WHITEFACE, TAIGA BLUET, WIDOW SKIMMER, FROSTED WHITEFACE and a PEARL CRESCENT. Some of the wildflowers noted included CANADA ANEMONE, PURPLE FLOWERING RASPBERRY, WHITE BANEBERRY, BLUE IRIS and BUTTERCUP.

Sunday, June 14: A COMMON LOON and her chick were seen today on Varty Lake, north of Camden East where a LEAST BITTERN, seen yesterday, also turned up again for the second day in a row. A case of build it and they will come usually holds true, but doesn't always attract the intended guest. This was the case along Highway 62 near Jericho Road today when the occupants of a WOOD DUCK nesting box turned out to be AMERICAN KESTRELS  with four young. Some good sightings at the Hamilton Wetland last evening when a GREAT EGRET, 40 MALLARDS and a SANDHILL CRANE turned up. A BELTED KINGFISHER was at the Sprague Pond in the Big Island Marsh off South Big Island Road, and farther east along the same road, 16 WOOD DUCKS, NORTHERN HARRIER and AMERICAN BITTERN were also seen. The BLACK TERN (two were also seen May 27th) that was also seen was especially encouraging given that Quinte Conservation earlier this spring installed 12 black tern nesting platforms Ten are wire platforms, which were recommended in the Black Tern Management Plan. Two are wooden platforms that were installed to see if anything would use them. A BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO was calling along South Big Island Road this morning. An EASTERN KINGBIRD  was among several species noted today along the Dunes Boardwalk at Sandbanks, and YELLOW WARBLERS and 7 CEDAR WAXWINGS were found in the Woodlands Campground in the park.  . BALTIMORE ORIOLES, PILEATED WOODPECKER, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, and BOBOLINKS were among a handful of species noted by one observer at Lemoine Point Conservation Area in Kingston. CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO, COMMON TERN, SPOTTED SANDPIPER and WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS were among species seen in the South Bay area.

Saturday, June 13: A pair of GREEN HERONS at the H.R. Frink Centre are believed to have a nest in one of the trees right by the gate. RGANSERS, WOOD DUCKS, AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS, MUTE SWANS, CANADA GEESE and COMMON GALLINULES, all had young about. MARSH WREN was heard as well, and three OSPREYS circled overhead. At Fish Lake, 10 COMMON LOONS were see grouped together, a large number for this small lake near Demorestville. A GREAT HORNED OWL was seen two days ago at the corner of County Road 5 and Fish Lake Road. At Point Petre, an INDIGO BUNTING was seen sipping water from a puddle on the trail near the edge of the woods, and an AMERICAN REDSTART was also noted there. A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER is still visiting a backyard in Allisonville where there is also a HAIRY WOODPECKER  with young, and an EASTERN TOWHEE. A photographer out for the day had good luck along Mitchel Road, north of Highway 2, east of Belleville, where he found and photographed BOBOLINK, NORTHERN HARRIER, SAVANNAH SPARROW and EASTERN KINGBIRD. A kayaker at Varty Lake, north of Camden East, scared up two GREAT BLUE HERONS, and moments later, a LEAST BITTERN, satisfied that the paddler  had neglected to bring along her camera, called from the depths of the cattails, then flew not more than 50 feet from her, later posing in a tree on shore. WHIP-POOR-WILLS are still calling enthusiastically at Big Island and in the Hilltop Road area; however, the CHUCK-WILL’S WIDOW that first appeared at that location, appears to have departed as it has not been heard since June 2nd. At Big Island, a pair of MALLARDS who don’t seem too concerned about cover, are nesting in a fallow field behind a residence along North Big Island Road. GREAT BLUE HERON, BALTIMORE ORIOLES, and RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS have also been noted here, and Allison Road has both BLACK-AND-WHITE and CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, both species likely nesting. And a report from Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre in Napanee, confirms that business there is still brisk with GREAT BLUE HERON, BALTIMORE ORIOLES and PILEATED WOODPECKER among the patients that were cared for this past week. An ALDER FLYCATCHER is still calling most mornings west of Sprague Road, and a WILLOW FLYCATCHER is a regular west of Caughey Road, both on Big Island. Thank you for your comments on last night’s report on my memories of Presqu’ile Park; we’ll do it again sometime. Meanwhile, I will leave the photos attached to that particular report for a few more days.Speaking of Presqu'ile Park, Fred Helleiner's Weekly Bird Summary has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website and can be read by CLICKING HERE.

Friday, June 12: No bird reports came in today, and it’s easy to understand why, unless you dashed out early this morning. It seemed like a good day to reminisce, and through an e-mail, I did just that. Presqu’ile Provincial Park. It was my introduction to birding back in the days when my transportation was via a 1966 Honda Dream 150 motorcycle that cost only 70 cents in gas to fill it. Presqu’ile Park has changed a lot over the years.  Where there is now solid land, a wide channel separated Owen Point from a tiny island in the mid 1960s when I started birding there. Of course, this is all one land mass now, the wide channel has been swallowed by willows, bushes, and the cattail marsh that you can see is now almost solid invasive towering Phragmites grass. At Owen Point, there was a large parking area, and several floating docks  where shorebirds often gathered along the mudflats along the edge of the cattail growth beside the docks. The Owen Point Trail today actually crosses that very parking lot. My mentor during my early days was the late Orval Kelly who lived on Division Street in Brighton and we often hooked up and birded the park together. Orval was editor of the former Brighton Ensign section of the Trentonian. As part of his section in the newspaper, he penned a column called Nature Rambles and it was through his column that I eventually got to meet him as I had just started writing my birding column in the Picton Gazette a year earlier, in 1965. Orval always delighted in telling me the story about the first American Oystercatcher to be seen at Presqu’ile Park, in 1960. He was the lucky birder to first spot the bird, but the sighting wasn’t immediately accepted as it hadn’t been “confirmed”. Fortunately, the bird hung around long enough to be seen by a “recognized birder” and it was officially listed. He always claimed that it was pretty hard to misidentify an oystercatcher! He was lucky as he was given credit for the sighting which is acknowledged in the most recent Birds of Presqu’ile, something that doesn’t always happen when new species are seen, the credit often going to the person who confirmed it and provided the necessary details. Sadly, Orval died of a massive heart attack only a year after I met him, but I will always remember those wonderful years of birding with this great man. Some of the earlier Park Naturalists at Presqu’ile park were Martin Parker, Ian Seddon, and Ron Tozer. On our full day outings at Presqu’ile Park, we would often have lunch at Paul’s Restaurant that was located just outside the Park entrance, now marked by remnants of a foundation pad. Paul Yacoff always looked forward to our visits and was eager to know what we had seen in the park that day. Back in those days, it was possible to drive right out to the edge of the beach. I always found my Honda motorcycle a great cover for birding as the incredibly quiet machine was able to approach the birds closely without spooking them, and allowing me to quickly raise my binoculars and determine their identity. Fifty years ago. Seems like a long time. I remember ranting and raving because the season’s pass had been raised to $5.00 and the day permit was no longer $1.00 ! By the way, I still have my motorcycle permit. I just need a Honda Goldwing now to go with it!

Thursday, June 11: Charwell Point Road which leads south from Army Reserve Road and ends at Gull Bar in Lake Ontario in the South Shore Important Bird Area, is not for the faint of heart, especially after a good rain, even with an AWD. It is best walked (which we will do next time!). The mixed habitat of wetlands, shrubs and trees though offers a delightful mix of birds, and today was no exception with FIELD SPARROWS, EASTERN TOWHEES, YELLOW WARBLERS, BALTIMORE ORIOLES, WARBLING and RED-EYED VIREOS bursting in song at 8:00 a.m. this morning. If you don’t take the “trail” from the corner which goes under the guise of a road (which we did) to where off roaders have been playing in the mud, the short walk to the lakeshore is a rewarding experience. If you have the inclination, GULL BAR  that reaches into Lake Ontario is a bonus. When standing on the tip, you are about as far south as one can get in Prince Edward County. My main reason for being there this morning was to preview a guided walk that I will be doing on that road at 7:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 21, as part of the 2nd Annual Prince Edward County Field Naturalists BioBlitz within the Point Petre Provincial Wildlife Area. Lots of things going on during the two day event, including a butterfly search, bird walks, pond dipping for invertebrates, marsh monitoring, moths, and tallying turtles and frogs. For more information on what’s happening, and when, CLICK HERE. Point Petre proper this morning had UPLAND SANDPIPER, SAVANNAH and SONG SPARROWS, YELLOW WARBLERS, NORTHERN FLICKERS, EASTERN TOWHEES and HOUSE WRENS in the five minutes we spent along the roadside. HOUSE WRENS  were also heard singing along Schoolhouse Road and Easterbrook Road. An AMERICAN KESTREL was perched on a utility wire along Schoolhouse Road. On Maypull Layne Road   a GRASSHOPPER SPARROW was heard singing, and a NORTHERN HARRIER coasted over a newly sprouted field of soybeans. Somehow we ended up at Black River Cheese, and readers will know the story from there.

Wednesday, June 10: Scattered sightings from all over the place today from this morning, and in between spontaneous rains this afternoon. A BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO was singing in a backyard at the end of Edward Drive in the Stinson Block, west of Consecon. The property owners thought at first that they had a LEAST BITTERN in their trees due to the similar calls. A genuine LEAST BITTERN though was heard early this morning during a Marsh Monitoring Program survey at the mouth of Blessington Creek on the east side of Belleville. The bird was heard before his survey officially began, but the bird thoughtfully flew across in front of him only 10 minutes into the survey, and only four or five metres in front of him! Across from Macaulay Village (up on the “hill”) along County Road 22 and just west of the Millennium Lookout overlooking Picton, a NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD was seen today. A BELTED KINGFISHER was seen near Camden East while the photographer was on her way to work. Work or no work, birding must go on. Parrott’s Bay, another of my favourite conservation areas to visit in the Kingston area, did pretty well today with 20 species noted, among them 5 WOOD THRUSHES, 2 SCARLET TANAGERS, an amazing 17 RED-EYED VIREOS, 5 PINE WARBLERS, 4 OVENBIRDS, 4 BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLERS, and 2 GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHERS. Yesterday, 2 BARRED OWLS, 4 EASTERN TOWHEES, 4 INDIGO BUNTINGS and a VESPER SPARROW, were spotted north of Wilton. There was no sign of a LEAST BITTERN this morning at the H.R. Frink Centre, north of Belleville, that others had seen earlier, but a VIRGINIA RAIL was present along with AMERICAN BITTERN. At the Brighton Constructed Wetlands just outside of that town, 4 NORTHERN SHOVELERS  were in evidence, as were WOOD DUCKS, a family of HOODED MERGANSERS, BALTIMORE ORIOLES, and a SNAPPING TURTLE preparing to lay its eggs along one of the paths in the wetland. And if you want to do some travelling, the male YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD  is still present  in the area of the Lynde Shores Conservation Area, at Whitby. Directions for anyone wishing to see this western bird are as follows: To get to Lynde Shores take the 401 west to Brock Street in Whitby. Go south to Victoria and then west to Lynde Shores. The only way to access the east platform is from Lynde Shores on Victoria Rd. Once there follow the Levey trail down to the east platform on the eastern edge of Cranberry Marsh.

Tuesday, June 09: With only about two weeks to live, the male and female CECROPIA MOTHS, pictured in Sunday's Report, were still “going at it” at 7:00 a.m. this morning in Wellington! Also, responding to the mating season is our resident WHIP-POOR-WILL  who was calling non-stop again this morning at Big Island for the 8th consecutive day. At the H.R. Frink Centre, north of Belleville this morning, a MARSH WREN was one of several species seen, including AMERICAN BITTERN, before the rains came. Also seen were BEAVER and NORTHERN WATER SNAKE,  In the Kingston area off Gardner’s Road, a woodlot there today produced EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, INDIGO BUNTINGS, four WOOD THRUSHES and five NASHVILLE WARBLERS were among the 26 species fond there. The Amherstview cattail marshes on both sides of Taylor-Kidd Blvd., also in Kingston, yielded 3 GREAT EGRETS today among its list of birds seen. And still in Kingston, at Lemoine Point Conservation Area beside Norman Rogers Airport, 15 BOBOLINKS were counted (nice to see the meadow habitat being retained there), and two COMMON RAVENS. No sightings in quite awhile from Prince Edward Point as the hype of the spring migration gradually wanes. From now through fall, the trails will be once again claimed by massive numbers of spiders and their webs! An update on the trail system in the Point Traverse Woods that volunteers have maintained since 1998 – CWS has instructed volunteers to refrain from maintaining the trails or placing benches. In their directive, CWS states, “The whole issue of trails and what should or should not be in place in Traverse Woods is part of the National Conservation Plan that is currently being reviewed as it relates to PEPt. Also, any trail mowing by you or others will require permits or an agreement (or maybe both) in the future so CWS will be more involved going forward.” Birders hope this issue will be resolved before the trails revert back to prickly ash, dog strangling vine, fallen trees and black-legged ticks. Trails were usually groomed in the fall, and since that will not be done this year, please keep the deteriorating condition of the trails in mind when birding there next spring as there will be significantly more hazards to watch out for unfortunately.  And to finish off this evening’s Report - now that we will soon be entering the birding doldrums, with almost 50,000 hits a year, I am interested in keeping this Report going through the summer months to maintain its momentum. Any wildlife sightings and photos will be most welcome as we expand the format to include other wildlife, wildflowers,  and any interesting wildlife behaviour. In the past, the Report has been uploaded by 7:00 p.m. each night; however, with summer in the offing, the Report may be uploaded earlier, later, or even on time, but should most always be available by 5:00 a.m. the following day, at the latest. Thank you so much for your past support!

Monday, June 08: Just when you think you have seen everything. Artist Mia Lane of Fish Lake, and her husband, Robert, witnessed a courtship between a male AMERICAN BITTERN and a female right on their shoreline property. Since bitterns tend to be quite secretive and perform their nuptials in the secrecy of dense cattails, they were not aware that the male has huge white epaulets on his wings with long, white trailing feathers that he displays for his intended bride. The white feathers are not something that shows up in most bird guides. The Lanes said the male bowed like a Red-winged Blackbird to show of his finery, then stiffened his tail erect like a Ruddy Duck and paraded around her like that while she she appeared to ignore him. Getting little to no response, the male stepped up his efforts a notch and did his familiar throat pumping sound. This evening at Sandbanks during a guided hike along the newly opened Lakeview Trail at West Point, birds were in fine fettle as the woods resounded with the songs of ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS, WARBLING and RED-EYED VIREOS, NORTHERN FLICKERS,  and BALTIMORE ORIOLES. Also seen on the 4.6 km hike were GRAY CATBIRD, SONG SPARROW, CASPIAN TERNS, and FIELD SPARROW. An AMERICAN KESTREL was spotted along County Road 10, just south of Picton, and a RED-TAILED HAWK flew low across Fry Road near dark. In Wellington, a male ORCHARD ORIOLE is defending his property from an intruder – his reflection in the window of a residence. The owner says he has been doing this for several days, a habit one associates more with cardinals and robins. South of Stirling on Baptist Church Road, a sand pit there has attracted at least 30 nesting BANK SWALLOWS. The observer says this is a regular site for nesting BANK SWALLOWS despite the damage to the site from ATVs. Yesterday at the North Foxboro Marsh, among the bird species seen were 1 WOOD DUCK, 3 LEAST BITTERNS (one of them calling repeatedly for 15 minutes), 2 GREEN HERONS, BLACK TERN, 2 EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES, a WILLOW FLYCATCHER and a GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, MARSH WREN, VEERY, OVENBIRD, BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, 2 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS and a PINE WARBLER.

Sunday, June 07: Readers often question my propensity in getting up every morning at 4:00 a.m. As a birder, it does have its rewards. I have had AMERICAN WOODCOCKS at my feet on a trail that I often walk at that hour, an ALDER FLYCATCHER calls every morning from the next field where there is a natural area of Grey Dogwoods and Red Cedars, and an early WHITE-THROATED SPARROW is almost a given. This morning, another sound woke me up only moments before the alarm. It was a WHIP-POOR-WILL calling repeatedly from a treed area on our two-acre lot! Another addition to the yard list! Our yard list comprises only those species that actually touch terra firma on our property and does not include those seen or heard from the property. A few people out birding today, but not many. A LEAST BITTERN was photographed early this morning at the H.R. Frink Centre. A Kingston birder doing a breeding bird survey along Foster Road near Fish Lake came up with VIRGINIA RAIL, 2 LEAST FLYCATCHERS and 6 RED-EYED VIREOS as highlights among the 26 species of birds he found. On a Kingston Field Naturalists field trip today in the Camden East/Camden Lake/Moscow Marsh area, with 23 in attendance, 3 UPLAND SANDPIPERS and a LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE  were spotted on Nugent Road. SORA, COMMON GALLINULE, BLACK TERNS and BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO were found at the Moscow Marsh, and at Camden Lake, NORTHERN HARRIER, CASPIAN TERNS and EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE were among the notables showing up there. Closer to home, at the Harmony Road wetland today, just north of Belleville, there were two GREAT EGRETS, COMMON GALLINULES, WILSON’S SNIPE, BLUE-WINGED TEAL, HOODED MERGANSER and MARSH WRENS. The corner of Blessington and Bronk  Roads nearby continues to be a good place to see UPLAND SANDPIPER (and BOBOLINK, EASTERN MEADOWLARK and GRASSHOPPER SPARROW). UPLAND SANDPIPERS are regulars too at the corner of Atkin Road Airport Parkway. At Peat’s Point, off Massassauga Road, a female WOOD DUCK with five young in tow were seen today swimming amongst the water lilies. We finish off tonight’s Report with some insect pornography. A couple of CECROPIA MOTHS were getting it on for some time today in a Wellington backyard. The female had just emerged from the remains of the cocoon. Returning with her camera at 7:00 a.m., she was surprised to see that the male had already arrived, and they continued copulating until 3:00 p.m. CECROPIA MOTHS can remain attached like that for pretty much the entire day. That is the adults’ sole purpose in life -  to seek each other out, mate until the windows rattle, then die after two weeks! They don’t even eat during this period since they have no mouth parts with which to do it. Hardly worth coming out of the cocoon! The female emits a pheromone and it was likely the female that had emerged from the cocoon.  Because the pheromone is so powerful, the male likely was there within minutes.  You got to admit that the private lives of wildlife just boggles the mind.

Saturday, June 06: A BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO was seen today near Camden East, and another BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO was one of 32 species checked off today at Charwell Point, along Prince Edward County`s South Shore Important Bird Area. Other birds of note there today were BROWN THRASHER, AMERICAN BITTERN, YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER, WILSON`S SNIPE, MARSH WREN, LEAST FLYCATCHER,  and COMMON LOON. Along Taylor Kidd Blvd., in Kingston, a GREEN HERON was spotted today and 18 WOOD DUCKS. At the Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area, SCARLET TANAGER, WOOD THRUSH, PINE WARBLER and 3 VIRGINIA RAILS were a few highlights there of the 36 species noted, while at Westbrook 5 GREAT EGRETS  were seen. From Mark Read`s weekly report, a late BRANT was hanging out at Kingston`s MacDonald Park on Wednesday, and two BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS  were seen at the Westbrook Marsh the following day. Amherst Island has had a first year male ORCHARD ORIOLE coming to a feeder, and some special sightings at the Queen`s University Biological Station on Lake Opinicon (regarded as regulars there) included YELLOW-THROATED VIREO, CERULEAN WARBLER,  and a real treat when two PRAIRIE WARBLERS showed up. It is unfortunate that I have to include a grisly report of a 13-inch SNAPPING TURTLE that was intentionally run over at 7:00 a.m. this morning at Cressy. The photo was too graphic to include in this evening`s Report. A reminder, there will be a Lighthouse Guided Walk at  Presqu’ile Park this coming Saturday, June 13th. Presqu’ile’s history is rich with mystery, progress and recreation. Find out about the characters of Presqu’ile’s past during this walk with Park staff around the lighthouse. Hike  begins at the Lighthouse Interpretive Centre at 2:00 p.m. On the following Saturday, June 20th, Park staff explore the world of “Marsh Madness” on a walk along the popular Marsh Boardwalk where you will learn about the unique plants and animals that call the marsh home and why this is such a special place at the park. WARBLING VIREO, RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD, numerous YELLOW WARBLERS, BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER and a CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER have been turning up almost daily along North Big Island Road near Allison Road, where a VESPER SPARROW  was seen and heard singing today.

Friday, June 05: Not much today in the way of birding news. But, that`s okay – we all need a rest now and then from the stresses associated with binoculars, spotting scopes and checklists. A WHIP-POOR-WILL continues to call non-stop every morning along Sprague Road at Big island. A few birds of note from the Camden East area including EASTERN BLUEBIRD, GRASSHOPPER SPARROW, BOBOLINKS and GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER. Time to just sit back and enjoy what happens along in our backyards. The Presqu’ile Park Weekly Bird Summary by Fred Helleiner has been uploaded to the NatureStuff website with an accompanying photo of a LEAST BITTERN by Marmora resident Derek Dafoe. You can see Fred’s Report by CLICKING HERE.

Thursday, June 04: It’s still a happening place at Prince Edward Point, despite that we are now into June. Today 30 species were noted there, among then four species of warblers – AMERICAN REDSTART, NASHVILLE WARBLER, CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER and YELLOW WARBLERS, as well as a BALD EAGLE. WHIP-POOR-WILLS are sure holding their own along the southern reaches of Prince Edward County. During a survey Tuesday night along County Road 13, Babylon Road and Hilltop Road, 50 birds were heard calling in 26 stops. Highest concentration seemed to be along Babylon Road.   With the bright moon this is a great week for anyone wanting to get out and hear them.  The CHUCK-WILL’S WIDOW at Hilltop and Brewer's Roads was also calling loudly as mentioned in last night’s Report. Also recorded during the survey were COMMON NIGHTHAWK, AMERICAN WOODCOCKS and WILSON’S SNIPE. The entire area where the surveys were conducted is part of the South Shore Important Bird Area. The Prince Edward County South Shore IBA includes approximately 26 square kilometers of land and 65 square kilometers of waters along 30 km of shoreline.  It has been designated as a globally significant IBA because of its congregatory waterfowl populations (especially LONG-TAILED DUCKS, WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS and GREATER SCAUP).The IBA is also an important flyway for raptors in fall migration. Large numbers of landbirds pass through in both spring and fall and a number of Species at Risk breed in the area. The Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory  has become the official Caretaker of the Prince Edward County South Shore IBA, a responsibility that involves collecting data on species in the IBA, assessing sites and being an advocate for habitat conservation. Read the recent CBC ARTICLE about bird habitats in danger, including the Prince Edward County South Shore IBA. Last evening a confirmed BLACK VULTURE flew at eye level with a patron dining on the patio deck, overlooking Picton Bay. Yesterday, a Marsh Monitoring Program volunteer noted a small flock of SANDERLINGS flying over the Brighton Constructed Wetland. West of the general reporting area, Oshawa’s Second Marsh had lots of activity this morning with 4 RED KNOTS, a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER and 3 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS being seen along with a LITTLE GULL, 49 WOOD DUCKS and a singing BLACKPOLL WARBLER. And the LITTLE EGRET at Carp, near Ottawa, seems to have left for new pastures, and was last seen yesterday morning.

Wednesday, June 03: Birders were out and about today which was good to see after the frenzy of the spring migration. Charwell Point, an excellent, remote and beautiful area along Prince Edward County’s South Shore, had some good sightings today including 9 LEAST SANDPIPERS, 23 CASPIAN TERNS, 2 COMMON TERNS, BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO, MERLIN, 18 CEDAR WAXWINGS, COMMON LOON, 14 YELLOW WARBLERS and a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW. At a small wetland and a creek at the north end of Haig Road In Belleville which hardly lends itself to rails, a SORA was heard calling last night during a Marsh Monitoring Program survey by a volunteer. The CHUCK-WILL’S-WIDOW did not seem bothered at all by the banding exercise a few nights ago, as it was happily calling along Hilltop Road again late last night. Numerous WHIP-POOR-WILLS  were also heard calling enthusiastically. At the H.R. Frink Centre today, a highlight there was an immature NORTHERN GOSHAWK. Other notable sightings were WILSON’S SNIPE, NORTHERN FLICKERS, many singing GRAY CATBIRDS, HOODED MERGANSER and chicks, AMERICAN BITTERN ,LEAST BITTERN (heard), 6 SWAMP SPARROWS, 4 MARSH WRENS, GREAT BLUE HERON, COMMON RAVEN and EASTERN KINGBIRD. A pair of GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHERS are nesting in a PURPLE MARTIN house at Cressy (photo tomorrow). LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE, GRASSHOPPER SPARROW, and GREEN HERON were among the species seen on the Napanee Limestone Plains IBA by members of the North Leeds Birders, while at Strathcona today, 2 CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLERS  were seen there. Other sightings included 2 WHIP-POOR-WILLS in Tyendinaga Township and a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER in downtown Allisonville.  A record crowd attended to celebrate the 20th year of Bird banding at PEPtBO last Saturday evening.  After a delicious buffet dinner the evening’s activities began with the Annual Spring Bird Count wrap up.  The Whiskey Jacks (David Okines and Gerard Phillips) were the winner of the Laphroaig trophy with 134 species seen (The Sprague’s Pipits are filled with chagrin as we ended the day with 133 species!) .  Cheryl Anderson was awarded the Barrel of Money trophy for the most dollars sponsored. Photo contest winner were Sydney Smith for her photo of a pair of Northern Cardinals, Kyle Blaney for his shot of a Blue-headed Vireo and Ayman Rizk for his photo of an Eastern Kingbird. Three positions on the board were endorsed during the Annual General Meeting: Peter Fuller as Vice President, John Hirsch as Secretary, and Kathy Felkar as Director at Large.  Two positions of Director at Large remain open.  Sadly, the technical advisor position formerly filled by the late David Hussell is also open.  The board will be working to fill all these positions as soon as possible. After the “official” part of the evening was completed we were treated to a history of the first 20 years of PEPtBO.  Past President Rosemary Kent brought the story to life by inviting several people to the stage to tell (or sing!) their PEPtBO story.  We heard from Joanne Dewey, Terry Sprague, founder Brian Joyce, David Okines, Jeannette Arsenault, Janet Kellough and Carolyn Barnes.  Included in Rosemary’s presentation were lists of long term volunteers that were augmented by a complete chart in “hard copy” form on a presentation board. Thanks to all who attended and to everyone that helped with the AGM and the wonderful 20th anniversary presentation.

Tuesday, June 02: No word whether the star CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW of Brewer's Road near South Bay is still present. The bird was first heard on May 17th and was last reported calling on May 29th. On May 27th, Bander in Charge for the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory, David Okines, set up a mist net at the location and was able to capture the bird and band it, before taking these photos and releasing it. This is not the first time that this southern version of the better known WHIP-POOR-WILL has been seen in Prince Edward County. Up to 1975, there were only five records for all of Ontario! The first for the County was in 1976 when one was heard calling near Prince Edward Point, followed by another in 1977, and two more in 1978, all of them located along Babylon Road. In more recent years, one turned up in 2013, right at the banding station, of all places, actively repeating its name enthusiastically! Last spring, of course, the individual CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW along Hilltop Road was the real drawing card with cars arriving almost nightly on this narrow, seldom travelled road to hear this southern visitor which hung around and called faithfully every night from May 19th to June 29th. Whether or not this spring's bird is the same individual is difficult to say, now that this species has become almost a regular visitor here every spring. It's similar cousin, our familiar WHIP-POOR-WILL is still being reported from various locations giving rise to the belief that the species may not be as uncommon as a breeder here as we feared it might be. One was calling at 4:00 a.m. this morning from a wooded area, along Sprague Road on Big Island, and another was reported calling at Macaulay Mountain a few days ago. At the Brighton Constructed Wetland today, there was still some activity with BLUE-WINGED TEAL, MARSH WREN, AMERICAN COOT, NORTHERN SHOVELER, and CANADA GEESE. The GREAT EGRET season may be beginning at the Hamilton Wetland, west of Demorestville. Three were seen last evening flying in that direction from Doxsee Road. Also active have been the CHIMNEY SWIFTS in Picton.  There were a record 90 entering the Picton Armoury chimney and another 11 in various other chimneys in town. Outside the area, the WHITE-FACED IBIS was seen again today at Whitby, and another turned up today near Ottawa. Amherst Island had some pretty good sightings today, among them ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO, GRASSHOPPER SPARROW and LEAST FLYCATCHER. In the Napanee Limestone Plain, UPLAND SANDPIPER and about a dozen BOBOLINKS  were once again seen. On the lighter side, teenaged birder Ben Diabilo of Carp (near Ottawa), e-mailed his dad, Bruce Dilabio in Alberta today about something he saw along the Carp River that he believed to be a LITTLE EGRET from Europe. Turns out the young birder was correct and birders are "flocking" to Carp to see this rare visitor! Congratulations, Ben!

Monday, June 01: Two BLACK TERNS continue to be seen at a marsh northwest of Foxboro. North of Stirling today, a WHIP-POOR-WILL landed in a backyard and performed for the residents. Also performing well, but last evening, was a VESPER SPARROW, singing its heart out along a fencerow west of 23 Sprague Road, a rarity on Big Island in recent decades. Also in the same area, the resident AMERICAN WOODCOCK  was found in its usual spot early this evening along a 2-km mowed trail on the property. Shorebirds are thinning out a bit, but 3 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS  were seen at Wilton Creek east of Napanee. However, 400-500 shorebirds still remain at the Oshawa Second Marsh which is rather late for so many to be still around. The FRANKLIN'S GULL, seen yesterday, and 4 RED KNOTS are also present. It seems many of the really good birds have gravitated to that part of the Lake Ontario shoreline as a rare WHITE-FACED IBIS was seen today at Whitby's Cranberry Marsh. At Toronto, the PIPING PLOVER has now moved from the status of 'historical breeding species' to that of an active contemporary breeding species in the Greater Toronto Area. Earlier today, it was confirmed that  an active nest of PIPING PLOVERS was found on the beach at Hanlan's Point on Toronto Islands, according to resident birder, Glen Coady. This represents the first nesting of PIPING PLOVER on the Canadian shore of Lake Ontario since the spring of 1934, when George North found a nest with eggs on Hamilton's Van Wagners Beach on 4 June 1934 and G. Hubert Richardson discovered a nest with three downy young and one egg at this very same Hanlan's Point Beach on Toronto Islands on 9 June 1934.  The location of the nest has been shared with the recovery team for Piping Plover of the Canadian Wildlife Service and further protection of this nest (perimeter fencing, predator exclosure, nest monitoring, etc.) under the joint auspices of the Canadian Wildlife Service, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority will continue tomorrow. This represents a new 'beachhead' in the recovery of this Endangered Species in Ontario and efforts are underway to provide the birds with the best chances for successful nesting. A large area at the north end of Hanlan's Point Beach has already been fenced off and 'Do Not Enter' signage has been erected on all sides of the general nest area. It would be to the birds' advantage if visitors could avoid the site altogether until the recovery team has had the opportunity to provide further security for the nest area and to coordinate a monitoring protocol and set up a volunteer public interpretive program similar to that at the nesting site at Wasaga Beach on Georgian Bay. In an era when so many of our birds are showing alarming declines, this is an encouraging and novel conservation success story being written one beach at a time. Let's hope that this pair of PIPING PLOVERS has a successful nesting season to come, concluded Coady in a post today on the popular listserv, Ontario Birds. Elsewhere today, COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, BOBOLINKS, BROWN THRASHERS, WILSON'S SNIPE, and EASTERN MEADOWLARK were some of the highlights today at the Napanee Limestone Plain IBA. 

 

Last Updated ( Sep 01, 2015 at 08:30 PM )
Monarchs and Migrants Weekend PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Spraque   
Aug 31, 2015 at 03:42 PM
 
 
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Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan News PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Spraque   
Aug 30, 2015 at 03:00 AM
 
 
 
 
BQRAP NEWS
 
 
CLICK HERE  for the 2014 BQRAP Annual Report
 
This newsletter covers:our new story map history journal, the Hastings County Plowing Match and what to do if you suspect a blue-green algae bloom
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August 2015

Story Map History Journal

Take a tour through time with the Bay of Quinte History Journal, it is an interactive map that shows the evolution of the Bay’s waterfront from its industrial past to present day.  In 1985, the Bay was designated an Area of Concern (AOC), which is an area where human activities have severely degraded the environmental. Each AOC must develop and implement a comprehensive Remedial Action Plan (RAP) to address the environmental issues. 

Since the development of the RAP numerous federal and provincial agencies, municipalities, industries, conservation authorities and the public have been working to complete all the recommendations outlined in the RAP. 

There have been significant changes and improvements to the Bay’s waterfront. Now, there is abundant fish and wildlife habitat, facilitating a world-class walleye and bass fishery. Industrial sites have been rehabilitated and are used for community activities. There have been upgrades to sewage treatment plants, stormwater management plans have been developed and abatement strategies implemented for industries.

Today, the Bay is close to having its Area of Concern status removed and is recognized as a gem in the Great Lakes system.

The map is designed to be a living document, meaning it can be updated regularly.  If you have any photos or information you would like to contribute to the story line of this map, please contact . You can also upload photos to the map’s social media page. 

Bay of Quinte Algae Bloom

BQRAP Web site update

We have updated our web site to make it easier for people to access information. There are two new tabs in the top navigation bar, Current Challenges and Municipalities. Under Current Challenges there is information on the status of all the environmental challenges facing the Bay. The Municipalities tab has info relevant to municipal interests.

On the side navigation bar, the History Journal has been added, under Community Programs each program has its own page, and under Be Part of the Solution there is information on stormwater, phosphorus, algae, and shorelines.
Take
browse around the site and if you have any questions or comments please send them to:

Bay of Quinte Algae Bloom

What to do if you suspect a blue green algae bloom?

Late summer and early fall are the prime season for algae blooms. Although the Bay of Quinte has not had a major bloom, so far, there have been several small outbreaks. These have been tested and a couple showed relatively high levels of toxic blue green algae.

If you see a bloom and suspect blue green algae take a cautious approach: assume toxins are present, avoid using the water, and restrict pet and livestock access to the water.  

Call the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Spills Action Centre at 1-800-268-6060.  Your local health unit has information on health risks associated with blue-green algae blooms.  
Visit our web site for fact sheets on blue-green algae.

Bay of Quinte Algae Bloom

Hastings County Plowing Match and Farm Show

This year, the BQRAP partnered with Lower Trent Source Water Protection, Lower Trent Conservation and OFAH Invasive Species. Over the two days of the event, we talked to and educate approximately 760 people about the importance of protecting source water, the Bay of Quinte, conservation programs and promoted invasive species awareness. It was another great year at the plowing match.

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