[Ontbirds]Quinte Area Bird Report for week ending August 16, 2007

Terry Sprague tsprague at kos.net
Thu Aug 16 19:41:42 EDT 2007

WEEK ENDING  Thursday, August 16, 2007

As of yesterday evening, the AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN was still present at 
Snake Island, in the Bay of Quinte, just southeast of Belleville. The bird 
appeared August 5th. The bird spends much of its time at the south-eastern 
portion of the island where it can be seen clearly from Massassauga Point 
Conservation Area. The best vantage point is from the boat launch in the 
northwest corner of the mowed area, well before you reach the closed gate in 
the parking lot area. If coming from Toronto, the best route is to leave 401 
at the Wallbridge/Loyalist Road exit and follow Wallbridge/Loyalist south 
all the way to Highway 2. Turn left and follow Highway 2/Dundas Street into 
Belleville and turn right onto Bay Bridge Road at the traffic light. Cross 
the Norris Whitney Bridge into Prince Edward County, and at Rossmore, turn 
left onto County Road 28, then left again on Massassauga Road, and follow 
for 6.5 km to the conservation area. One observer commented that others on a 
fishing boat passing by the island scared up the cormorants, but the pelican 
re-landed in the water very close to the fishing boat. The fellow in the 
rear of the boat did a double-take when he saw the pelican, but then 
continued on, apparently unimpressed. When someone to whom this story was 
related commented that "Not everyone is bird crazy, you know," we can only 
respond with, no, we're not crazy - we're just special.

But even more special has been the re-opening of the Prince Edward Point 
Bird Observatory this week, and the resumption of our weekly reports from 
bird bander David Okines.  Observations for the fall started on the 13th 
when Elizabeth Kerr and David Okines arrived to set up the nets ready for 
banding to begin on the 14th. Fall migration has been slow and has only just 
started to occur, and it is still fairly quiet in the bushes with most of 
the observed birds appearing to be the resident birds. An adult COMMON LOON 
flew over on the 14th and the semi-resident MALLARDS and CANADA GEESE being 
seen around the entrance to the harbour. An OSPREY flew into the harbour on 
the 14th and was seen later that day sitting in a tree near Point Traverse. 
A pair of SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS are frequenting the area and the adult female 
was trapped on the 16th. A KILLDEER flew over on the 16th and a SPOTTED 
SANDPIPER was around the harbour on the 15th. BONAPARTE'S GULLS are already 
starting to build offshore with 40 about on the 16th, and occasional CASPIAN 
TERNS are also going past. Up to 2 BLACK-BILLED CUCKOOS can be seen in the 
area and are most likely to be the resident pair or their young. A few 
RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS are visiting the feeders and 6 were seen on the 
15th. Five LEAST FLYCATCHERS appeared on the 16th as did the first 4 TRAILL'S 
FLYCATCHERS of the fall, Best bird of the period was an OLIVE-SIDED 
FLYCATCHER that appeared in a net in the woods. This is only the second one 
ever banded in the fall here. The EASTERN KINGBIRDS are still feeding young 
and can be seen carrying food back to their young. Usually at this time of 
the month most of the swallows have already moved on but there are still 20+ 
CLIFF SWALLOWS being seen as well as a good sprinkling of the other swallow 
species. Four PURPLE MARTINS were seen going over on the 15th. Two 
RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES were seen on the 15th and a few moulting SWAINSON'S 
THRUSHES are starting to appear, and 20+ CEDAR WAXWINGS are flying about or 
feeding on the local juniper and cedar berries.

     A few warblers are starting to move but no numbers yet with up to 20 
YELLOW WARBLERS in the area, 1-2 AMERICAN REDSTARTS have been seen, while a 
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH and a CANADA WARBLER were trapped on the 14th and 
another was banded on the 16th. The 16th also saw the first 3 BLACK AND 
WHITE WARBLERS of the fall. A juvenile SWAMP SPARROW was in the nets on the 
16th and suggests that they bred nearby, probably at the end of the harbour. 
Good numbers of PURPLE FINCHES are being seen and trapped and consist mostly 
of second year females, Trapped already have been 66 birds, which far 
surpasses the previous best fall banding total of 37 birds; hopefully it is 
a precursor to it being a good finch year this year.

     Other news in the Prince Edward Point area is there are at least two 
GIANT SWALLOWTAIL butterflies around the Observatory and they are the first 
ones banders have ever seen here at the Point. MONARCH BUTTERFLIES are also 
appearing in good numbers as well, with up to 40 a day being seen, and these 
are the best numbers here since 2001.

About 10 COMMON NIGHTHAWKS were seen one recent evening circling around and 
catching insects near the community of Read, north of the Shannonville area. 
RED-TAILED HAWKS were seen at Highways 401 and 37, and OSPREYS are showing 
up everywhere in the reporting area. One was seen yesterday at the 
Scuttleholes near Plainfield, as well as several TURKEY VULTURES riding the 
thermals above the dry riverbed. SPOTTED SANDPIPERS were also present along 
hit and miss around the area, but Muscote Bay has a number of CANADA GEESE 
now, and on Monday, 4 NORTHERN PINTAILS arrived.

Bird feeders are still doing a brisk business with ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS, 
those birds reported during the week. Both HOUSE FINCHES and PURPLE FINCHES 
have been reported from some feeders. a RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH is coming to 
one feeder in Picton. Away from the feeders, PURPLE MARTINS are through with 
nesting worries for the season, and spend much of their time house hopping 
from one location to another in sizable flocks. Our own flock has almost 
doubled in size some days with 30 or more about, and one colony east of 
Lake-on-the-Mountain has tripled in size.

In other wildlife news, several reports of hawkmoths came to my attention, 
colloquially known as "hummingbird moths." A BLACK BEAR was seen at the 
Menzel Nature Reserve during the week. One person near Milford, enjoying the 
Perseids display late one night was surprised to have a COYOTE trot by only 
about 10 feet away. At Little Bluff Conservation Area on the weekend, one 
couple was enjoying the barrier beach there when they saw a NORTHERN WATER 
SNAKE  swimming with a huge MUDPUPPY in its gaping mouth, the feathery fins 
of the mudpuppy waving in the breeze. The mudpuppy was still alive, but the 
snake held it firmly in its mouth and eventually disappeared behind a rock 
along shore, perhaps to ponder the best way to consume the huge creature.

And that's it for this week from Prince Edward County and the Quinte area . 
Our thanks to David Okines,  Ted Cullin, Henry Pasila, Tom Higginbottom, 
Fiona King, Rosemary Smith, Janet Dean, Angela Mantle, John Blaney, Frank 
Artes & Carolyn Barnes, Jerry Foster and Cheryl Anderson for their 
contributions to this week's report. This report will be updated on 
Thursday, August 23rd, but sightings can be e-mailed any time before the 
6:00 p.m. Thursday deadline. Featured photos this week in the online version 
of the Quinte Area Bird Report include the hummingbird moth by Angela 
Mantle, and a flowering BUTTONBUSH by Terry Sprague. Photo of the AMERICAN 
WHITE PELICAN at Snake Island on the Main Birding Page of the NatureStuff 
website is by Fiona King.

Terry Sprague
Prince Edward County
tsprague at kos.net

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