Saturday, 21 December 2013

Christmas counts and winter birding.

On Sunday, December 15th, KFN held the annual Christmas Bird Count for the Kingston circle.  My group had the section from Division St. over to Sydenham Rd., a pie-shaped area encompassing the Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area.  We had snow and cold temperatures, so our lofty ambitions of trekking through the conservation area like we did last year got pared down to shorter walks in areas where we were most likely to find birds.  We also drove around in the city within our section, 3 pairs of eyes on the lookout for anything with feathers.  The noteable thing our carload couldn't find was white-breasted nuthatches, fortunately the other half of the team found both white breasted and red breasted. The count overall was down from the average, the cold weather sent a lot of birds south.  Mark's report copied below contains some highlights from both the count and sightings for the past week.

The end of the day tally and dinner gathering was held at the Cataraqui Golf and Country Club, it is always fun to have a nice meal and social gathering after the count.  Half the fun is sharing stories of our adventures getting out and about during the day and bragging on what we found, or lamenting about what we didn't find.

Birding at the moment is challenging, the ice storm that has us in its grip certainly does not entice one to venture forth.  Feeders should be attracting local birds, as soon as I knocked the ice off and spread seeds upon the ground juncoes, tree sparrows, doves, chickadees, bluejays and goldfinches came swarming in to fill their bellies. There has been a flock of about 100 cedar waxwings cruising the neighbourhood these past couple of days, I see chewed bits of crabapple under my tree in the backyard and wonder if they had been picking at the little apples this morning.  I would love to see where these birds spent the night when everything is covered in ice, there must be some sheltered places in the thickets of cedars where they can roost comfortably.  The weather predictions for the next 36 hours are dire, we could be faced with a heavy layer of ice.  May everyone stay warm and safe this holiday season!

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Kingston Field Naturalists (KFN) maintains records in a 50km radius of
MacDonald Park, Kingston. Birders already using eBird are encouraged to
share their sightings with 'Kingston FN'. Alternatively, please email, phone
or post records directly to me - contact details below. Note: some sightings
may require review and remain unconfirmed unless stated otherwise.



Highlights:

CACKLING GOOSE, ROSS'S GOOSE, SNOW GOOSE, BARROW'S GOLDENEYE, GYRFALCON,
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, SNOWY OWLS, TUFTED TITMOUSE, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER,
WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW



City of Kingston/Wolfe Island

A note summarising the preliminary findings of the 66th Kingston Christmas
Count was posted earlier in the week but highlights included 2 CACKLING
GEESE, 2 BARROW'S GOLDENEYE, a GYRFALCON and 6 species of owls, including a
very respectable 22 SNOWY OWLS and 16 SHORT-EARED OWLS. Please read my
earlier post (written by co-ordinator Ron Weir) for a more detailed summary.
The immature dark phase SNOW GOOSE was again seen in Cataraqui Bay, Kingston
over the weekend and two SNOWY OWLS continue at Landings Golf
Course/Kingston Airport as of today. A WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW attracted a
steady stream of winter listers during the week at a private residence just
east of Kingston, a SWAMP SPARROW was seen at Little Cataraqui Creek CA on
15th and a BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD returns with some regularity to a feeder
just north of the city.



Amherst Island

Not too many observers made it across to the island this week but sightings
included GREAT-HORNED, SNOWY and SHORT-EARED OWLS, up to 4 ROUGH-LEGGED
HAWKS, SNOW BUNTINGS, NORTHERN HARRIER, NORTHERN SHRIKE, a single RUSTY
BLACKBIRD and 5 RED-WINGD BLACKBIRD.



Napanee/Hay Bay/Belleville

The ROSS'S GOOSE reported last Friday just west of the Lennox Generating
Station was seen again on Saturday 14th. Whether it continues is unclear.



Howe Island

The TUFTED TITMOUSE continues to be seen on Howe Island, where BALD EAGLES
have also become quite reliable. The RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER also remains.



Other Sightings

TRUMPETER SWANS have been seen in small numbers along the Rideau waterway
from Brewer's Mills to Chaffey's Locks. A YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER continues at
Heritage Park, Bath, as does the RED-HEADED WOODPECKER at Gananoque Golf
Club. Gull watchers have enjoyed ICELAND and GLAUCOUS GULLS at both
Lansdowne Dump (near Gananoque) and Violet Dump (south of Odessa). Six
Eastern Bluebirds and 2 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS were seen near Elgin, north
of Kingston on Hwy 15 on 18th during the Delta CBC.



Thanks to all those who submitted sightings over the last week.



Good birding!

Mark.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Computer problems caused me to miss a week on the bird reports.  Can't miss out on this week, got some good sightings to report!   A thick billed murre took top billing, drawing birders from across Ontario and even up from the United States to get a look at it.  A good selection to get us all psyched up for the Kingston Christmas Bird Count taking place on December 15th.  Here is Mark's report:


Highlights:

RED-THROATED LOON, THICK-BILLED MURRE, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, TUFTED
TITMOUSE, CAROLINA WREN, EASTERN MEADOWLARK, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD, BALTIMORE
ORIOLE



City of Kingston

Undeniably Kingston-centric, the highlight of the week was, without doubt, a
THICK-BILLED MURRE that showed up mid-afternoon on 3rd and remained in place
in Kingston's downtown throughout the 4th, allowing birders from far and
wide ridiculously close-up viewing. A RED-THROATED LOON was also located
nearby, at the entrance to the Inner Harbour on 4th and remains to date. A
CAROLINA WREN has been less reliable during the week putting in sporadic
appearances near Fort Henry. At least three observers caught up with a late
BALTIMORE ORIOLE on 3rd at the Invista plant where NORTHERN SHRIKES have
become regular. Other late birds include 22 RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS on 2nd at
Cataraqui Bay and widespread but decreasing numbers of DOUBLE-CRESTED
CORMORANT, BELTED KINGFISHER and GREAT BLUE HERON. Reports of interesting
geese have dropped off, though an immature dark-phase LESSER SNOW GOOSE was
an interesting local find at Lake Ontario Park early in the week. Both
LESSER BLACK-BACKED and GLAUCOUS GULLS have been reported within the city
limits this week.



Amherst Island

Please note that the Owl Woods remain closed (for the hunt) until 9th
December. Up to 3 Snowy Owls have taken up residence on the island and the
occasional SHORT-EARED OWL has been reported. Three SWAMP SPARROWS, as well
as 3 SONG SPARROWS were observed on 6th by the Fishing Village and the
regular cast of NORTHERN HARRIER, ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, NORTHERN SHRIKE and
SNOW BUNTING seen quite widespread.



Napanee/Hay Bay/Belleville

Now outside our reporting area, the AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN was relocated at
Belleville on 2nd but not seen subsequently. However, it was reported on the
Trent River at Frankford on 6th.



Howe Island

The TUFTED TITMOUSE continues to entertain, or frustrate, birders popping
over to the island. RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER is also regular at the same
feeding station.



Other Sightings

Six TRUMPETER SWANS were seen back at Chaffey's Locks on 4th and may remain
now that the lake is beginning to thaw. YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS continue at
Heritage Park, Bath. An ICELAND GULL has taken up residence at Lansdowne
Dump near Gananoque and the RED-HEADED WOODPECKER at Gananoque Golf Club
continues.



Thanks to all those who submitted sightings over the last week and sorry for
the slight delay in reporting the news.



Good birding!

Mark.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

It's looking like winter has arrived, with a skiff of snow on the ground.  "Winter storm watch in effect", words to send a chill down the spine.  'Tis the season to fill up the bird feeders, my own sunflower seed feeder shows the level of seed steadily declining as the chickadees and goldfinches are hitting it hard before the storm.  This first blast of winter may bring in some migrants from the north.

This past week's sightings, as reported by Mark Read to ont.birds:

Kingston Field Naturalists (KFN) maintains records in a 50km radius of
MacDonald Park, Kingston. Birders already using eBird are encouraged to
share their sightings with 'Kingston FN'. Alternatively, please email, phone
or post records directly to me - contact details below.



Highlights:

AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN, ROSS'S GOOSE, SNOW GOOSE, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER and
CAROLINA WREN



City of Kingston

As well as GREATER SCAUP in Cataraqui Bay and LESSER SCAUP in the Inner
Harbour, numbers of REDHEAD, in particular, and RING-NECKED DUCK have also
increased. A RED-NECKED GREBE was also found in the Inner Harbour after the
storms of last weekend. RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS continue to linger at
Marshlands Conservation Area and a PEREGRINE has been seen regularly in the
city.



Wolfe Island

Two SANDHILL CRANES were reported by at least two observers throughout the
week and wildfowl numbers remain good.



Amherst Island

As last week, TUNDRA SWANS, NORTHERN HARRIER, RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER and
SNOW BUNTING were all reported. A PECTORAL SANDPIPER on 16th must have been
wondering where all its buddies had gone. A couple of ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS
have also been seen on several dates. Please note the Owl Woods are closed
until 9th December during the hunt.



Napanee/Hay Bay

The highlight of the week for many was an AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN that has
been associating with a flock of 40 or so MUTE SWANS just west of Napanee.
Apparently present for some time, this bird has proved popular with
Ontbirders. In nearby Hay Bay, an impressive 1000+ TUNDRA SWANS were seen
mid-week, with CANVASBACK, and RED-NECKED GREBE also present earlier in the
week. Nearby, at the intersection of Highways 8 and 9, ROSS'S GOOSE, 6 SNOW
GEESE and a single BRANT were present on 20th-21st at least, in with the
regular CANADA GEESE.



Other Sightings

An 'OREGAN' form of DARK-EYED JUNCO was photographed near Camden East on
19th and 8 TRUMPETER SWANS were seen flying over Sydenham Lake last weekend.
The long-staying RED-HEADED WOODPECKER at Gananoque Golf Club was seen on
several days during the week with a supporting cast of CAROLINA WREN and
EASTERN SCREECH-OWL on 19th and 20th. Three AMERICAN WOODCOCK, though not
particularly late, were a nice surprise for one observer on Florida Road,
north of Kingston.



Thanks to all those who submitted sightings over the last week.



Good birding!

Mark.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Mark Read has taken over the weekly bird reports from Mark Conboy, who is currently on his way to a new career in Alberta.  Mark C., we wish you safe travels and good adventures out west!  The weekly bird report summaries are submitted to ont.birds, for those who don't subscribe and for those who wish to review reports, we will also post them here.

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For the week ending November 15, 2013:

Kingston Field Naturalists (KFN) maintains records in a 50km radius of
MacDonald Park, Kingston. Birders already using eBird are encouraged to
share their sightings with 'Kingston FN'. Alternatively, please email, phone
or post records directly to me - contact details below.



Highlights:

ROSS'S GOOSE, SNOW GOOSE, GOLDEN EAGLE, arriving BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS and a
late YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER



City of Kingston

The arrival of TUNDRA SWANS was noted by many appreciative observers to
Cataraqui Bay this week, which also hosts almost 1000 GREATER SCAUP. The
Inner Harbour, in comparison, continues to hold good numbers of LESSER
SCAUP.



Wolfe Island

Wildfowl numbers continue to build with 2000 REDHEAD and 1000 GREATER SCAUP
at Button Bay, as well as an impressive 260 GREEN-WINGED TEAL earlier in the
week. A SNOW GOOSE was seen amongst CANADA GEESE on 13th and TUNDRA SWANS
continue in Button Bay.



Amherst Island

A quiet week but TUNDRA SWANS and NORTHERN HARRIER, RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER
and PURPLE FINCH were all reported.



Prince Edward Point
A TURKEY VULTURE on the 9th was the only raptor of note. Wildfowl numbers
fluctuate but the 8000 LONG-TAILED DUCKS also seen on the 9th far out-number
the WHITE-WINGED and SURF SCOTERS along the South Shore. A single RED-NECKED
GREBE was picked out amongst 50 HORNED GREBES at Traverse Woods on the 9th.
On the same day, 9 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS and a NORTHERN SHRIKE were seen near
the banding station. BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER and DUNLIN were reported on the
12th, along with lingering RED-WINGED and RUSTY BLACKBIRDS.



Other Sightings

A GOLDEN EAGLE was seen flying over one lucky observer's backyard, north of
Napanee, on 13th, with the season's first BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS being seen there
and in Bath on 11th. A late YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER was photographed near
Camden East on 8th, but didn't quite make last week's report in time. After
the Snow and Cackling Geese of last week's report, a single white-phase
ROSS'S GOOSE was seen at the same location east of Lennox Generating Station
on 12th. As well as the nine birds at Prince Edward Point, a single EASTERN
BLUEBIRD was seen on Florida Road, Odessa, on the 9th. To round off this
week's report 8 TRUMPETER SWANS were present at Charleston Lake Provincial
Park on 12th.



Thanks to all those who submitted sightings over the last week.



Good birding!

Mark.