[Ontbirds]Quintye Area Bird Report for week ending July 10, 2008

Terry Sprague tsprague at kos.net
Thu Jul 10 18:51:53 EDT 2008

Thursday, July 10, 2008

As we get even deeper into summer, the effort to bird becomes even more challenged, both due to the humidity, and the perception that there is nothing of interest to see until the fall migration begins. In fact, to a certain extent, it has begun with both southward bound LESSER YELLOWLEGS and LEAST SANDPIPERS already showing up in the area. TREE SWALLOWS are commencing to get uneasy, but their numbers in recent years in the fall no longer come close to matching the clouds that used to form in the skies first thing in the morning, as large numbers emerged from their night roosting areas in cattail marshes and worked their way to day roosting utility lines and trees. In other areas their numbers are holding up well, as evidenced by the approximately 150 young that have fledged on one property in the Tweed area. Over 20 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS in the same area have also fledged. 

A well described YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT HERON was observed by one couple in Cherry Valley on June 30th as it roosted on a log in the creek that flows through that village. While the description leaves little doubt as to the identity of the heron, unfortunately it has not been seen since. Birders working that area should pay close attention to that creek as well as a pond area east of there, and to the boat launch area down from the Stop sign at the intersection of County Roads 10 and 18 at the far end of the village, potentially inviting roosting and hunting spots. 

For the most part though, birding in the Quinte area this past week has been without too many other surprises, although that is not to suggest that it hasn't been interesting. At the Menzel Centennial Nature Reserve, north of Deseronto, last Friday, a YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER was heard, then seen, but the real treat were the VEERIES endlessly singing from the mixed forest on both sides of the trail. INDIGO BUNTINGS continue to put in appearances here and there, with a persistent singing male at Sandbanks Provincial Park, and another seen singing from an ash tree during a hike in the Palace Road area of Napanee. One was listed on a hike along the Trans Canada Trail between the village of Stirling to Madoc Junction by one observer, and among others also seen were AMERICAN REDSTARTS, VEERY, WOOD THRUSH, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, BELTED KINGFISHERS, GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHERS, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES, CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, LEAST FLYCATCHER, GRAY CATBIRDS, PURPLE FINCHES and RED-TAILED HAWKS. Best sighting there, a LINCOLN'S SPARROW.

Back in Prince Edward County, the traditionally high number of MUTE SWANS that nest yearly on Consecon Lake between the Millennium Trail crossing and Highway 33, have many resident birds swimming the gauntlet to escape these aggressive birds. A resident there says many water birds have been seen sneaking along the shoreline of thick weeds and water lilies in order to move through the area, less they be challenged. Among the breeding birds there this summer who must keep one eye over their shoulder, have been a pair of COMMON LOONS and a pair of WOOD DUCKS, both with young in tow. 

Size doesn't really matter according to one Sandbanks area resident who has been watching for the past three days as a pair of WARBLING VIREOS repeatedly dive bomb and drive off any BLUE JAYS that dare set foot in the tree where the vireos are nesting. And for the second time in as many years, a Big Island resident watched as a RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD chased a COMMON CROW that has been feeding young on the front lawn of that home. Perhaps this trait of birds not having any concept of size could be passed on to those birds being harassed by MUTE SWANS at Consecon Lake!

At the Brighton Wildlife Management Area, 2 GREAT EGRETS were seen, a species according to the observer, and most others in the Brighton/Prince Edward County, is becoming almost as commonly encountered as the GREAT BLUE HERON, due to an active nesting colony at Presqu'ile Park. A GREEN HERON flew up near a garden in the Carrying Place area, and another was seen in the East Lake Marsh from the Glendon Green boat launch at Sandbanks during the week, and two were seen in a wetland at the end of Lesley Road south of Roslin. .

OSPREYS in the area this year are not only nesting on conventional nest platforms that have been erected for them, but are also nesting this year atop light standards at a number of ball parks and recreation fields in the area, some of them at least a kilometre away from the nearest body of water. And that body of water doesn't have to be very large either. One couple, professional photographers, were driving along Belleville's Sidney Street, past Reid's Dairy, when they were amazed to see an OSPREY coming straight at them only two metres above the car and gaining altitude. In its talons, a large very orange goldfish, obtained from a big ornamental pond behind the dairy and within scant metres of heavy traffic and the busy entrance to Home Depot. Despite a fine collection of professional camera gear, ready to capture the rare footage, the opportunity was missed due to the traffic. Along one stretch of County Road 8, running from Adolphustown to Hay Bay, there are four nesting platforms. In many areas, including at this location, Hydro One has been replacing the poles with taller ones, and building nest platforms well above the existing lines below.

PURPLE FINCHES continue to appear here and there in the Quinte area, and one Thurlow area resident has a pair coming to a feeder there. But for the most part this past week, e-mails  have come in from property owners as they excitedly watch fledglings being fed and cared for on their lawns, many of them, like BALTIMORE ORIOLES, being among the guests. A resident south of Picton has more than a half dozen coming to feeders there, while an East Lake resident reports difficulty in obtaining grape jelly in large enough bulk to satisfy the 20 or so orioles currently waiting in line at his feeders. Others are making repeated visits to local stores as they respond to the influx of orioles or attempt to upgrade their feeders. The lengths we will go to in our enjoyment of backyard guests! One of our featured photos in the online edition of the Quinte Area Bird Report is of a young BROWN THRASHER on a lawn, the result of a successful nesting in a Ridge Road backyard. Meanwhile along Bradley Crossroad, KILLDEER chicks there are being "tiddly-winked" to the shoulder of the road whenever a car passes by, while others are sticking to the driveway where a pair of adults questionably nested this year. Although not nesting yet, an adult BALD EAGLE continues to roam the South Bay/Morrison's Point area. Perhaps one day.

And that's it for this week from Prince Edward County and the Quinte area. Our thanks to Doug & Marjorie Marchant, Angela Mantle, Fiona King, Jim Ives, Nancy Smitts, Donna Fano, Janet Foster, John Charlton, George Baverstock, Kathleen Rankine, Margaret Kirk, Cathie Stewart and Paul Wallace for their contributions to this week's report. This report will be updated Thursday, July 17th, but sightings can be e-mailed anytime before the Wednesday night deadline. Feature photo on the Main Birding Page of the NatureStuff website is of a COMMON YELLOWTHROAT by Adam Penson. Photos in the online edition of the Quinte Area Bird Report is of the backyard BROWN THRASHER at Ridge Road by Jim Ives, and an AMERICAN GOLDFINCH by Dave Bell of Belleville. 

Terry Sprague
Prince Edward County
tsprague at kos.net

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