[Ontbirds] Amherst Island - Winter Birds

Lev Frid lev.frid at gmail.com
Sun Jan 23 23:52:59 EST 2011


Hello Folks,

Today, myself, Ethan Huner, Peter Mills and the lovely Lyndsey Friesen
ventured into the wilds of Amherst Island for our most frigid birding
"adventure" yet...

We didn't see the BROAD-WINGED HAWK, and while we weren't specifically
looking for it, we checked the area thoroughly several times. We saw several
ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS throughout, and the ratio of light/dark morph birds was
about 4/1. We didn't see any harriers!

We did, however, see some other interesting winter birds nonetheless. There
were a couple of RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS and some BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS on a
feeder on Front Rd. between Emerald rd. and Dump rd. There were SNOW
BUNTINGS at some places as well. A couple of BALD EAGLES were seen as well,
on the eastern side of the island. The AMERICAN COOT was still around the
Milhaven ferry terminal.

A NORTHERN FLICKER was a highlight, flying over the South entrance road to
Owl Woods. Be forewarned..my low-clearance vehicle had a little bit of
trouble navigating through here, and if it wasn't for Ethan and Peter's help
pushing the car, we'd still be in there. Even the behavior of my car changed
due to the cold - the alarm went off for mysterious reasons and refused to
react to any attempted methods of arrest, one of the doors would refuse to
close, the breaks sometimes failed...it was an "adventure". There were
RING-NECKED PHEASANTS near Owl Woods.

We spent a lot of time desperately trying to cough up a Snowy Owl...and
failed miserably. We saw the obliging NORTHERN HAWK-OWL, though, on South
Shore Road. It looked fairly content sitting on a wire, and we decided to
step outside to see if it would eventually do something interesting. This
was a bad idea - we lasted about two minutes. How this thing was able to
just sit there and take it is amazing. Save for moving its head a little
bit, it didn't want to do anything and so we wished it well and left it
there as we continued our search.

As dusk was nearing we were desperately hoping for a SHORT-EARED OWL and
Peter was our saving grace as he spotted one flying high in the sky near the
Ferry Terminal.

All in all, it was a really enjoyable (if not insanely cold!) trip and it
was amazing that we saw anything alive at all!

DIRECTIONS: Amherst Island can be reached by taking exit 593 off of the 401,
following Highway 7 south to Millhaven.  The ferry to Amherst is located
100m to the right of the intersection of Highway 7 and Bath Road.

Good Birding,

Lev Frid
spruceblog.jitjit.com

Maple, ON



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