Quinte Area Bird Report

Terry Sprague tsprague at kos.net
Sun Apr 13 19:15:19 EDT 2003


   The increasing warmth and the presence of the sun were both welcomed by
birders this past week who were hoping to see the spring migration resume
following the snow and sleet storm of 10 days ago. While TREE SWALLOWS are
slowly starting to reappear around the Quinte area, there is evidence that
many failed to survive the storm. Armin Quckert of Massassauga Road, south
of Belleville, was alarmed to find 36 dead swallows on his property, with 18
dead swallows alone crammed into one of his nesting boxes which had
obviously tried to seek shelter there from the weather.

    On a more optimistic note, OSPREYS  have returned to the nesting
platform at the corner of Massassauga Road and County Road 28, first
observed on April 5th. The first COMMON LOON of the season was heard calling
on the Bay of Quinte at the Quinte Skyway Bridge where the observer
summarized the observation with "all is well with the world." The first
VESPER SPARROW of the year was seen at Point Traverse on April 12th, and
three somewhat happier AMERICAN WOODCOCK were found on Miller Road, Macaulay
Mountain Conservation Area, and another along County Road 5 during the week.
Hundreds of sparrows, mostly DARK-EYED JUNCOS and SONG SPARROWS were found
in the Point Petre area on Monday, interspersed with no fewer than 31 FOX
SPARROWS. Also recorded in the Point Petre area were numerous NORTHERN
FLICKERS and several TURKEY VULTURES loafing in the area. At the Gull Pond
Heronry, east of Point Petre at least five GREAT BLUE HERONS were on nests
and WILSON'S SNIPES were displaying everywhere. On Saturday, the Point Petre
area had two WINTER WRENS and a singing WHITE-THROATED SPARROW.

    As the creeks and bays surrender once again to spring, waterfowl species
are occupying the open areas. There was a pair of HOODED MERGANSERS in
Bloomfield Creek last Sunday evening. At Pleasant Bay, approximately 1,000
CANADA GEESE were present during the week in the open water and along the
ice. Also present there were COMMON MERGANSERS, RING-NECKED DUCKS, scaups,
6 SNOW GEESE in the field by the entrance to Sandbanks Provincial Park, and
three NORTHERN SHOVELERS in a pond near Wellington. Observers at Point Petre
TEAL. In a creek near Anderson Farms, just north of Picton, 4 WOOD DUCKS
were seen by another observer.

    Owl counters during the week had good success in the Quinte area. During
an owl survey in the Cressy area on Wednesday night, 10 EASTERN SCREECH OWLS
were found at 6 stops and 3 GREAT HORNED OWLS located at 3 stops. The
following night in the Picton area, 3 EASTERN SCREECH OWLS were recorded at
3 stops, and a SHORT-EARED OWL along County Road 22 near the Prince Edward
Flying Club. North of the county, there was a very vocal pair of BARRED OWLS
on Ketcheson's Road, near Wallbridge.

    What is probably the last NORTHERN SHRIKE of the season was found on
Hogsback Road near Marlbank on April 12th. At Point Petre two EASTERN
TOWHEES turned up and another was seen at Milford, all on Wednesday. Bird
feeders, after a heightened period of intense activity during the storm,
have settled back to a more normal routine with occasional surprises turning
up. A YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER showed up at a niger feeder in Thomasburg during
the week and many feeders still have FOX SPARROWS. There was a RED-BELLIED
WOODPECKER at Prinyer's Cove, likely the same individual that visited the
varied thrush feeder all winter. Several feeder operators reported TREE
SPARROWS still hanging in there, although they should be departing for more
northern nesting grounds in two or three week's time.

    Other interesting sightings included 5 WILD TURKEYS on Babylon Road,
EVENING GROSBEAK at  the Prince Edward Point banding station, EASTERN
BLUEBIRDS at Codrington and Marsh Hill Road, south of Stirling (staking out
territory at the latter location), and a RING-NECKED PHEASANT on Daley Road
in the Marlbank area.

    The Prince Edward Point Bird Banding Station was set up this weekend
preparatory for this season's banding operation. Banding is scheduled to get
under way on Monday.

    And that's it for this week from Prince Edward County and the Quinte
area. Our thanks to Don Craighead, Matt Holder, Peter Johnson, Donald
McClure, Karen McCrea, Iona Wager, Martha and Curry Grant, Lloyd Paul, Nick
Quickert, Joanne Dewey, Doris Lane, John Blaney, Evelyn Sloane, Trudy
Kitchen, Joe Victor and Wynne Thomas for their contributions to this week's
report. This report will be updated by 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 20th. Bird
sightings must be in by 6:00 p.m. on Sunday evening to be included in the
next report. Good birding.

Terry Sprague
Picton, Ontario
tsprague at kos.net

"Terry Sprague" <tsprague at kos.net>

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