[Ontbirds]Quinte Area Bird Report for week ending November 03, 2005

Terry Sprague tsprague at kos.net
Thu Nov 3 19:55:41 EST 2005

Thursday, November 03, 2005

To a casual observer in Prince Edward County and surrounding areas, it would 
be difficult to determine what season we are experiencing right now. A few 
finch species are arriving from the north, a few traditional winter birds 
are now being seen, a few summer species are still migrating, and at 
Thomasburg a RUFFED GROUSE strutted past one woodlot with its tail feathers 
splayed out. Meanwhile, at Prince Edward Point, RUFFED GROUSE are happily 
drumming away most nights. We will try to sort all of this out for you in 
the following report encompassing the last seven days or so.

Recent arrivals to remind us that winter is in the offing have included a 
flock of 20 SNOW BUNTINGS at Sandbanks Provincial Park on the 28th and 
another 2 seen on November 2nd. A feeder at Cherry Valley hosted 2 PINE 
visited a feeder at Thomasburg on November 1st. Other fall/winter arrivals, 
more closely associated with areas away from the bird feeder, have been a 
ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK at South Bay on the 29th, and BUFFLEHEADS at West Point 
the same day. Likely just passing through have been hundreds of ducks on 
Muscote Bay at southwest Big Island where 100 scaup, 200 RING-NECKED DUCKS, 
20 AMERICAN WIGEONS and about 40 MALLARDS have been congregating all week, 
despite the barrage of gun fire most mornings in the area. Close to 400 
CANADA GEESE are at Sheba's Island, and 30 WHITE WINGED SCOTERS were spotted 
at Sandbanks on Wednesday along with a few LONG-TAILED DUCKS.

But in amongst the fall arrivals have been the tardy ones, including 3 
HERMIT THRUSHES at Sandbanks on October 29th, another at Thomasburg on 
October 27th, although these are not particularly late, but still 
interesting, BROWN CREEPERS at Albury on the 28th, a BLACK-THROATED BLUE 
WARBLER in the Elmbrook area on October 27th, 3 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS along 
Babylon Road on the 29th, and four CHIPPING SPARROWS at a Glenora Road 
residence. FOX SPARROWS (3) were seen during the week at Vanderwater 
Conservation Area at Thomasburg on October 30th, and another was seen along 
South Big Island Road yesterday. A dying OSPREY was found along the Bald 
Head Peninsula last week, and observers there said the bird appeared to have 
died from botulism. AMERICAN ROBINS are everywhere, and some nice flocks 
have included 80 at West Point on the 29th, 30 at Point Petre and 40 at 
Sprague Road on Big Island. There were 20 CEDAR WAXWINGS, 10 YELLOW-RUMPED 
WARBLERS and 5 WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS  at West Point on the 29th, and 
another 10 at a Glenora Road feeder, taking advantage of the fine autumn 

The PINE SISKINS and EVENING GROSBEAK, mentioned earlier in this report, are 
a good omen of even better things to come. With a PINE GROSBEAK and 
WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS being seen in the Ottawa area just a few days ago, 
it is an indication that earlier predictions of some of these winter finches 
moving south into the Quinte area may come true. The mountain ash berry 
crop - the pine grosbeak's staple food in the boreal forests - is poor this 
year in northeastern Ontario, and this may translate into a few of these 
welcome birds to the Quinte area, and possibly, to our feeders. Look for 
them feasting on the apples of flowering crab, or the berries of red cedar. 
Could be an interesting winter.

Some of the same mixture of migrant arrivals and late departures has been 
seen at Prince Edward Point this past week. A RED-THROATED LOON was seen on 
the 29th and a few COMMON LOONS have  passed by as well. The scaup flock had 
increased to 8500 by the 31st and good  numbers of WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS are 
offshore, and mixed in with them on the 31st were 7 BLACK SCOTER. The 
BUFFLEHEAD flock has become permanent and 20-30 are off the lighthouse every 
day. RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS are still moving, but only up to 250 in a day 
are being seen. A BALD EAGLE flew over on the 28th and a GOLDEN EAGLE did 
the same on the 27th and the 31st. NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS are trickling 
through and 120 have been trapped this week as well as 6 BARRED OWLS. A 
DOWNY WOODPECKER trapped on the 31st makes this the 5th year in a row that 
five have been trapped in the fall. At least three different NORTHERN 
SHRIKES have been seen and a late BLUE-HEADED VIREO was seen on the 28th. A 
COMMON RAVEN passed over on the 29th and up to 40 BLUE JAYS a day are still 
moving through. 700 BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES were counted on the 28th but 
generally only 1-200 a day are now moving through. A very late SWAINSON'S 
THRUSH was seen as well on the 31st, two and a half weeks after the last 
one. CEDAR WAXWING numbers are building up and a peak of 480 were seen on 
the 29th. A few AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS have been seen and a late FIELD 
SPARROW was trapped on the 29th three weeks after the last one.Two NORTHERN 
CARDINALS  were around on the 28th and both were trapped. A few finches are 
starting to appear but no big numbers have been seen yet. The Observatory 
closed down for the fall on  November 1st, and will re-open in April. Our 
heartfelt thanks to David Okines and his band of volunteers for the 
excellent reports we have been receiving from the Prince Edward Point Bird 
Observatory each week, since fall banding began there on August 16th.

An interesting sighting on the 29th involved no fewer than 60 RED-NECKED 
GREBES in the South Bay area. GOLDEN EAGLES during the week were seen at 
Prince Edward Point on the 29th, and an immature soaring over the old 
Lakeshore Lodge site at Sandbanks  one day earlier. An adult BALD EAGLE was 
seen yesterday, flying over a farm field at Edward Drive and County Road 39, 
just west of Consecon. A LITTLE GULL was seen near the Prince Edward Point 
lighthouse on the 27th, and 3 adult LITTLE GULLS were spotted at Athol Bay 
at Sandbanks on the 28th.

Bird feeder operators are getting psyched up for the start of the 29th 
season of Project Feeder Watch. All set to begin with a fine selection of 
feeder guests is a Glenora Road feeder that still hosts outstanding numbers 
CHICKADEES and DOWNY WOODPECKERS. It appears, despite the presence of snow 
to really bring on the numbers, that few feeder operators will have any 
trouble kick starting this season's surveys. One feeder in Bloomfield this 
week thrilled one avid photographer when both a WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH and 
a RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH fed side by side on a peanut feeder.

Other notable sightings during the week included 6 COMMON RAVENS at 
Vanderwater Conservation Area, 2 COMMON LOONS at Consecon Lake, NORTHERN 
HARRIER and an AMERICAN KESTREL at the west end of Big Island, three MUTE 
SWANS at Sheba's Island, and 9 WILD TURKEYS  at Edward Drive (Stinson Block 
at Consecon) where formerly this species did not occur. And be on the watch 
for any Cave Swallows in Prince Edward County. One turned up several days 
ago at Whitby's Cranberry Marsh. It was after a similar sighting near there 
in 2003 when an individual was confirmed at Point Petre, the first sighting 
ever of this Texas/Florida resident in Prince Edward County.

And that's it for this week from Prince Edward County and the Quinte area. 
Our thanks to Eileen Robbins, Pamela Martin, Paul Mackenzie, Ted Cullin, 
Joanne Dewey, Owen Weir, John & Janet Foster, Rae O'Brien, John & Margaret 
Moore, Trudy Kitchen, Henri Garand, Tom & Chesia Livingston, David Bree, Bob 
Maurer, Silvia Botnick and Donald McClure for their contributions to this 
week's report. This report will be updated on Thursday, November 10th. Bird 
sightings may be forwarded to tsprague at kos.net any time before the Thursday 
6:00 p.m. deadline. This report also appears for a period of 7 days on the 
NatureStuff website under BIRDING where this week's featured photo is a 
NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL, photographed by John Charlton of Trenton.

Terry Sprague
Prince Edward County
tsprague at kos.net

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