[Ontbirds]Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrows - Amherst Island

Bruce Ripley ripley at kingston.net
Tue Oct 3 18:56:20 EDT 2006

    A very birdy day today with a total of 89 species of birds being observed along with 7 species of butterflies and 3 species of dragonflies.  The first stop was at the Amherstview Lagoons which produced 2 RUDDY DUCKS, 1 HUDSONIAN GODWIT and 2 STILT SANDPIPERS along with many species of common waterfowl and shorebirds.  A NELSON'S SHARP-TAILED SPARROW was seen at the lagoons on Sunday (M. Bain) in the southwest corner of the first lagoon on the east side.  
    While on the ferry to Amherst Island and feeling a little nervous about the distant bolt lightning to the west, many COMMON LOONS were seen with one raft containing 11 birds.  Fortunately the thunderstorm moved to the south and I walked the KFN property to the gravel bar.  While searching for sparrows among the reeds and grasses, 4 LAPLAND LONGSPURS flew up along with several AMERICAN PIPITS.  As the longspurs flew away, a single juvenile LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER flew in and landed right in front of me.  Proceding along the shoreline to the north end of the ponds, 3 NELSON'S SHARP-TAILED SPARROWS were located accompanied by several SAVANNAH SPARROWS, MARSH WRENS and a COMMON YELLOWTHROAT.  A SORA was flushed from the sedges.  Also in the ponds was a single WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER and 1 PECTORAL SANDPIPER.  At the gravel bar there were 6 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS, 1 AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER and a MERLIN.  On the hike back 3 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS flew by and in the water close to the Fishing Village were 4 SURF SCOTERS. 
    The entrance to the Owl Woods was alive with birds, but the woods themselves were relatively quiet.  The first bird I noticed as I got out of the van was a YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO which sat in the open for a good period of time.  Among the seemingly hundreds of WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS, 1 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was present along with a LINCOLN'S SPARROW.  
    Stopped off at the Amherstview Lagoons again at the end of the trip to find 1 BAIRD'S SANDPIPER, 25 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS and an otter swimming in the northwest cell.  Excellent day for waterfowl (16), shorebirds (14) and sparrows (10).

Good Birding
Bruce Ripley

Kingston Area Ferry Schedules





Directions To Amherst Island - Ontario Road Atlas, MapArt Publishing [Pg. 36, E54 & E55]


Located 18 km. west of Kingston.  Exit off Hwy. 401 at exit 593 (County Rd. 4, Camden East) and drive south to the very end (Millhaven).  Turn right on Hwy. 33 and drive 100 metres until you see the sign for the Amherst Island ferry. The ferry (20 minute trip) leaves the mainland on the half hour and leaves the island on the hour. Cost is $6.00 Canadian round trip. There are no gas stations on the island. There are restrooms on the ferry, and at the island ferry dock.  The East End K.F.N. property is at the easternmost part of the island on the east side of the Lower Forty Foot Road.  To reach the Owl Woods, turn left (east) at the four-way stop sign by the general store and drive 3.4 km along Front Rd. to the (seasonal) Marshall Forty-Foot Rd.  Marshall Forty-Foot Rd. is across the road from house #2320.  Drive along Marshall Rd. to the mid-way point, where there is an "S" in the road (1.2 km, look for the K.F.N. kiosk which had owl observing ethics).  Park in the gravel lane or off the road edge. The road is closed due to snow drifting so you might have to make the 1km or so walk in.  The chickadees can be hand fed.  The Fishing Village (Emeric Point) is at the south-west tip of the island.


Directions to Amherstview Sewage Lagoon - Ontario Road Atlas, MapArt Publishing [Pg. 36, D55]


>From Hwy. 401 take exit 599 (County Rd. 6, Odessa) south on County Rd. 6 to Taylor-Kidd Blvd. Turn left (east) on Taylor-Kidd and drive approx. 1 km watching for a lane on your right after crossing railway overpass. This is the entrance to the lagoon. If you're coming from Amherst Island, drive east on Hwy 33 approx. 9 km. and then turn left on County Rd 6. Continue north about 1.5 km and turn right (east) onto Taylor-Kidd Blvd. 

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