Sunday, 15 March 2015

Field Trip to Amherst Island

There was a recent field trip to Amherst Island, Janet Scott has written a report.  Sounds like a good one, I'm sorry I missed it!

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Kingston Field Naturalist’s Visit to Amherst Island on March 7th, 2015.

Report from Janet Scott

  Nine members of the KFN visited Amherst Island on Saturday, March 7th looking for raptors and perhaps early spring migrants. They arrived in plenty of time for the 8:30 ferry, organized quickly into two cars by Gay Beckwith and met me at the ferry dock for a trip through the ice. There was no wind and the snow was falling lightly. It was a snow on snow on snow day with sky meeting ice lightly covered in fresh white snow and the temperature at minus 5. Our first raptor was an immature Snowy pointed out to us by Will Reed one of the ferry crew. The bird did not move as the ferry cut through chopped and chunky ice and turned nicely so that Bonnie Bailey was able to capture its profile from both sides almost as if it wanted to show off its better side. We were met at the Stella Dock by 3 Red-breasted Mergansers all decked out in spring plumage who hardly moved away from the path as the ferry approached. Judy Bierma joined us at the Stella Dock. Earlier in the village I had spotted a Cooper’s Hawk but he was rude and did not wait around for our honoured guests.

We drove south through thickening snow and stopped to observe a Snowy owl in a tree east of the Road’s Garage .Thanks to Alex Simmons’s scope we were also able to identify a Red-tailed Hawk close by. Turning west along the Second Concession gave us more sightings of raptors in total 4 Snowy Owls, 8 Rough-legged hawks, 5 Red-tailed hawks and thanks to Betsy Beckwith’s hawk eyes a Barred owl was seen on the lower Emerald Forty-foot. Crows were calling and appeared in a group of five along the Second. The feeder areas along the Second gave us White-breasted nuthatches, Tree Sparrows, Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, Mourning Doves including a flock of fifteen scared up by Gay behind us while we were looking at a feeder. SURPRISE!! Ravens were feeding on a dead sheep at the Quinte pasture and Goldfinches happily twittered with Blue jays, Sparrows, Black-capped Chickadees and Woodpeckers among lilacs further west.

On the Third Concession we spotted European Starlings and Snow Buntings and were treated to yummy muffins by Betsy. Here a Red-tailed hawk flew over us to check assorted birders off his list. The breeze had stiffened and the large snowflakes that had fallen earlier fell softly from the branches over our heads. Some were able to catch the 12:00 ferry home and the others stopped with Judy and I to see the Raven nests at 350 Third Concession before catching the 1:00 ferry home where Bonnie was greeted by a Cooper’s Hawk eyeing her feeders.

A House Finch stopped at my feeder after the others had gone. It just added a little drop of colour to a snowy landscape on a wonderful day.

List of birds:

Cooper’s hawk 1

Snowy Owl 4

Red-breasted Mergansers 3

Red-tailed Hawk 5

Rough-legged Hawk 8

American Crows 8

Common Ravens 2

Downy Woodpeckers 5

Hairy Woodpeckers 1

Black-capped Chickadees 12

Tree Sparrows 6

Dark-eyed Juncos 5

White-breasted Nuthatches 2

American Goldfinches 2

Blue Jays 3

Mourning Doves 15

Barred Owl 1

Snow Buntings 7

European Starlings 12

House Finch 1

House Sparrows 12

Rock Pigeons 4

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