Saturday, 25 January 2014

A winter Ramble and Bird Sightings January 18th to 24th, 2014

January 2014 continues to be a true "Canadian winter" month, brutally cold temperatures and more snowfall.  It was so cold that only 4 people showed up for Tuesday's ramble, 4 brave women who bundled up and enjoyed a walk at the Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area,  around the Chickadee Trail and then down the main road to the creek.  In spite of the cold temperatures (-25C to -27C depending on which station you listened to) there was bright sunshine, blue sky and little wind.  The only birds seen where the few small groups of chickadees who await the handouts of sunflower seeds from visitors along the trails, one downy woodpecker inspecting cattails at the creek, and a couple of juncoes.  Not even the red squirrels that regularly scold passersby were to be seen.  Anne checked the bushes along the road to the creek, and was rewarded with a few pussywillow catkins.  It was a tiny promise of a far-off spring yet to come.  The ramble finished up with a cup of hot chocolate at the interpretive centre.

We have many brave souls amongst the KFN birders who venture forth in winter.  Here is Mark's roundup of the past week's sighting.  Some of us are content to sit in our warm livingrooms watching the birds at our feeder.  Yours truly has been keeping the snow cleared from under the feeders.  This morning's swarm consisted of 10 turtle doves, a pair of cardinals, a dozen juncoes, 5 or 6 tree sparrows, about 8 bluejays, and half a dozen or more chickadees.  As evidenced by the red bits in the snow under the backyard crabapple tree something has been nibbling on the fruit, I shall be keeping watch to see if the flock of cedar waxwings that has been seen occasionally in the neighbourhood (Glenburnie)  since November is making a stop here in the mornings.

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This week's sightings reported for the Kingston region:

Highlights:

With another bitterly cold snap well-entrenched across the region, virtually
all water is now frozen and both birds and birders are finding the
conditions somewhat challenging to say the least. A brief report follows.
Highlights include; TURKEY VULTURE, continuing SNOWY OWLS, RED-HEADED
WOODPECKER, RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER, TUFTED TITMOUSE, NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD,
EASTERN BLUEBIRD, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, HORNED LARK, LAPLAND LONGSPUR, and
FOX SPARROW.



City of Kingston

Not much from the city this week, other than a BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD again at
feeders in Reddendale, NORTHERN SHRIKE at Invista and a single RING-NECKED
DUCK at the Invista ponds.



Wolfe Island

The island continues to host good numbers of SNOWY OWLS, most reports of 10
or more. All sightings seem to be from the west of the island though no
reports specifically state an absence from the east. For those willing to
try, up to 5 birds can been seen on Simcoe Island too. A TURKEY VULTURE seen
by an islander on 20th has not seen since. A RUSTY BLACKBIRD was seen at a
feeder on 24th.



Howe Island

The TUFTED TITMOUSE was seen on 18th but it appears no one has been out to
check since. On the same date the EASTERN SCREECH-OWL was also seen, as well
as the resident RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS.



Amherst Island

Sightings of SNOWY OWLS continue from Amherst with an apparent increase over
the week from 4 last weekend to as many as 12 on 23rd. Three dark-phase
ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS were seen on 17th but during a KFN trip to the island on
19th, 2 light-phase birds were seen, as well as an unexpected but welcome
PEREGRINE FALCON. An ICELAND GULL was seen briefly on the same trip. A
BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD was located on the island on 23rd, and NORTHERN SHRIKE,
SNOW BUNTING and AMERICAN KESTREL appear to be regularly encountered.



Prince Edward Point

Not much this week due to the cold weather but a NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD was
seen on Long Point Road on 20th, as was a NORTHERN FLICKER and 6
WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS.



Other Sightings

East of the city, the long-staying RED-HEADED WOODPECKER is still present at
Gananoque Golf Club. Further east near Lansdowne, the LAPLAND LONGSPUR was
again seen this week, usually in the presence of 10-15 HORNED LARKS. SNOW
BUNTINGS are also still present in the Lansdowne area and a YELLOW-RUMPED
WARBLER was seen at the eastern limit of the area along the 1000 Islands
Parkway. North of the city, the FOX SPARROW continues at a private feeder
near Bedford Mills and was seen from 18th-21st. EASTERN BLUEBIRDS continue
to be seen at Elginburg, where a BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD is also regular. West
of the city, a NORTHERN HARRIER (remarkably scarce this winter) was seen
near Jim Snow Drive on 19th.



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



Mark.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Kingston area birds January 4 - 8, 2014

Highlights:

This early edition of the weekly round-up is also shorter than usual due to
an unexpected absence over the next couple of days. As elsewhere, the
extreme cold and slick ice has kept most of the sensible birders indoors but
a few brave souls contributed the following this week. Highlights include;
continuing SNOWY OWLS, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER, TUFTED
TITMOUSE, EASTERN BLUEBIRD, HORNED LARK, and LAPLAND LONGSPUR.



City of Kingston

No reports of the SNOWY OWL at Landings Golf Course this week but a couple
were seen near Portsmouth Olympic Harbour on 5th. A female was reported at
Amherstview yesterday (8th). A PEREGRINE FALCON was noted at Invista during
the week where good numbers of MALLARD, GADWALL and BLACK DUCK continue with
up to 63 RING-NECKED DUCKS, a few HOODED MERGANSERS, AMERICAN COOT, GREATER
SCAUP and a lone AMERICAN WIGEON. Continuing the waterfowl theme (or lack
thereof) a single male NORTHERN PINTAIL was seen consorting with hundreds of
MALLARD at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour on 5th but has not been seen since. A
few REDHEAD took advantage of a slight break in the ice the next day. Gull
watchers picked out an immature ICELAND GULL at the Wolfe Island ferry on
5th but it has, likewise, not been relocated. A BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD was
seen at a feeder in the Reddendale area of the city on 7th.



Wolfe Island

An attempt at the annual waterfowl survey on the 5th was severely hindered
by ice on all sides of the island. However, the ice had trapped a deer at
Point Metcalfe on the NE corner and an impressive 14 BALD EAGLES, 4 coyotes
and 6 COMMON RAVENS were making the most of it. SNOWY OWLS continue on the
west side of the island and SNOW BUNTINGS area also usually encountered.



Howe Island

The TUFTED TITMOUSE continues to be regularly seen on Howe Island, as does
the EASTERN SCREECH-OWL.



Other Sightings

East of the city, the long-staying RED-HEADED WOODPECKER has been seen a few
times this week at Gananoque Golf Club, where a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER can
also often be seen. Further east near Lansdowne, a couple of LAPLAND
LONGSPUR and approximately 20 HORNED LARK were photographed on freshly
spread muck but seem to have moved on. North of the city, at Lower Brewer's
Locks, 7 TRUMPETER SWANS were noted yesterday. Also north of the city,
several reports of EASTERN BLUEBIRD have surfaced this week with a high of 6
near Elginburg on the 7th. The FOX SPARROW reported last week at a private
feeder in Bedford Mills has been seen on a couple more occasions this week
but is not reliable. To round off this week's news, a female BELTED
KINGFISHER was noted at Chaffey's Locks on 5th and 2 GLAUCOUS GULLS were
present at the Amherst Island ferry, Milhaven, also on 5th.



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



Mark.