[Ontbirds] Quinte Area Bird Report for week ending September 18, 2008

Terry Sprague tsprague at kos.net
Thu Sep 18 18:12:46 EDT 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

It has been a few years since a PIPING PLOVER has touched down on the beaches of Sandbanks Provincial Park, a location which, historically, was a very important breeding station for this species many decades ago. On a fairly deserted Outlet Beach September 11th, an observer spotted one shy individual in winter plumage, not far from where a brief flurry of small shorebirds, including SEMIPALMATED and LEAST SANDPIPERS diligently pecked through the accumulated algae on shore. Interestingly, what may have been the same individual, was later reported by a birder 10 km west, as the plover flies, on Wellington Beach. 

It was a week of some good sightings with a BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON showing up in the Moira River near West Riverside Park in Belleville on the 13th, a CAROLINA WREN at McMahon's Bluff a day earlier, and a very cooperative AMERICAN BITTERN along Belleville's Bayshore Trail on the 15th, squatting on lily pads in a small trailside pond, happily consuming insects as they came along. A GREEN HERON was at VANDERWATER CONSERVATION AREA at Thomasburg on the 11th, and a handful of LEAST SANDPIPERS was present at Wellington Beach on the 17th. 'Tis the season of EASTERN SCREECH-OWLS as several have been reported during the past week, with individuals heard calling at Big Island, Consecon, Hillier and Milford. Several were in concert around one home at Cape Vesey. Seventeen COMMON LOONS were counted in Prince Edward Bay during the week, and AMERICAN KESTRELS have once again taken up their post along County Road 2 in the Allisonville area. BELTED KINGFISHER, 2 OSPREYS, and 3-4 CASPIAN TERNS have been noted at Muscote Bay. Field crickets at the west end of Big Island, notes one observer, haven't stood a chance against a flock of many hundreds of EUROPEAN STARLINGS that descend periodically to his lawn for a feeding frenzy. CANADA GEESE have been more active as of this week, although most are believed to be local residents travelling to and from feeding areas. A RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET on Fry Road today is an indication that the fall migration of this species is underway. 

Bird feeders are picking up the pace as local residents renew their interest. EASTERN TOWHEES, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS, and BROWN THRASHERS have been among the regulars at a feeder in downtown Allisonville, AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES have been in good supply at feeders at Pleasant Bay, while other feeders across the region have none. RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD numbers have dwindled somewhat as the migration season continues, although feeders at Waupoos and Sheba's Island still have representation.

At Prince Edward Point, a few CANADA GEESE are starting to move and small flocks of up to 40 have been seen almost daily as they make their way south. TURKEY VULTURES are only being seen in small numbers and 10 on the 16th was the peak. The MALLARD flock around the entrance to the harbour has built up again to about 170, and mixed in with them are up to 4 AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS, 3 AMERICAN WIGEONS and a GREEN-WINGED TEAL. The first WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS of the fall were seen on the 16th and 2 were seen the next day. 

Now that the fall migration seems to be actually happening, a few raptors have been seen. An OSPREY was circling on the 16th, two BALD EAGLES were observed on the 15th (an adult and a first year) and an adult was seen on the 18th. A migrant NORTHERN HARRIER flew over on the 17th and up to 10 SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS are being seen daily. COOPER'S HAWKS are putting in an occasional appearance, as are MERLINS and AMERICAN KESTRELS.  A nice adult male MERLIN was hunting the harbour area on the 15th. 

Shorebirds this week comprised the usual SPOTTED SANDPIPERS on the beach and they were joined by a SOLITARY SANDPIPER on the 15th and a SEMIPALMATED PLOVER on the 14th. A CHIMNEY SWIFT was seen over the woodlot on the 17th and NORTHERN FLICKERS are being seen daily in the woods now. Eight EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES were present on the 15th along with 3 YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHERS. A TRAILL'S FLYCATCHER on the 15th was the first of that ilk for nearly two weeks. LEAST FLYCATCHERS are still being seen most days as well. An EASTERN KINGBIRD flew over on the 15th. The remnants of Hurricane Ike dropped a couple of trees in the woods as it went past and it only gave us 4mm of rain; birdwise, we didn't get any southern rarities from it, but we did get a good arrival the following morning when 274 birds were banded. Highlights of that day (15th) were 12 SWAINSON'S THRUSHES, 15 NASHVILLE WARBLERS, 70 CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLERS, 120 MAGNOLIA WARBLERS, 80 BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLERS, 10 BLACKBURNIAN WARBLERS, 120 BLACKPOLL WARBLERS, 30 BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLERS, 20 AMERICAN REDSTARTS, 12 WILSON'S WARBLERS, 4 CANADA WARBLERS, 4 SCARLET TANAGERS and 8 ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS. Fifteen BLUE-HEADED VIREOS were seen on the 16th along with 6 PHILADELPHIA VIREOS.

BLUE JAYS have started to move and the first flocks started on the 16th when 55 were seen with 120 being noted the following day. One to three RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES are being seen daily and the month's first WHITE-BREASTED  at the Point was seen on the 16th. BROWN CREEPERS continue to trickle through and the first WINTER WRENS arrived on the 16th and 17th. The 17th also saw the first RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET of the fall and the 18th saw the first GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET. Thrushes also continue to trickle through with SWAINSON'S THRUSH being the commonest species seen. A WOOD THRUSH was banded on the 15th. Twenty-two species of warblers were recorded for the week. A late YELLOW WARBLER was banded on the 16th and a CAPE MAY WARBLER was banded on the 17th. Four YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS were seen on the 15th and BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLERS are putting in a better appearance with a peak of 10 on the 16th. A PINE WARBLER was trapped on the 18th and was a nice male instead of the usual dull females we normally see here. The first WHITE-THROATED SPARROW was banded on the 16th and the first DARK-EYED JUNCO of the fall was trapped on the 17th. SCARLET TANAGERS have been seen on most days this week. Three RUSTY BLACKBIRDS on the 16th were new for the fall. Bird of the week was a HOODED WARBLER that was banded on the 16th and is the first fall record for the Observatory. 

And that's it for this week from Prince Edward County and the Quinte area. Our thanks to David Okines, Mike Carmody, Ken & Shirley Joyce, Eileen Whitmore, John Blaney, Charles Crowe, John & Margaret Moore, Fred Chandler, Doris Lane, Ted Cullin, Laura Pierce, Janet Mooney, Gloria Durell, Cheryl Anderson, Henri Garand, and John Charlton for their contributions to this week's report. This report will be updated on Thursday, September 25th, but sightings can be e-mailed any time before the Wednesday night deadline. Feature photo on the Main Birding Page of the NatureStuff website is one of the signs of fall - the flocking of thousands of starlings, taken by Henri Garand. Photos in the online edition of the Quinte Area Bird Report are of a GIANT SWALLOWTAIL larvae by Laura Pierce of Waupoos, and a GIANT SWALLOWTAIL adult, taken on Grape Island in Muscote Bay by Terry Sprague.

Terry Sprague
Prince Edward County
tsprague at kos.net

More information about the ONTBIRDS mailing list