Thursday, December 8, 2011

December 8, 2011 Presqu'ile and Amherst Island birding

Spent a couple of hours birding both Presqu'ile Provincial Park and Amherst Island. Strong winds along the Lake Ontario made the crossing over to Gull Island somewhat difficult and impossible  for wading over to Sebastopol Island/point. Hightlights included a very tame Purple Sandpiper, 2 Snowy Owl, 1 Northern Shrike and 100's of Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Red-breasted Merganser, and Long-tailed Duck. On Presqu'ile Bay I counted 130+ Amercian Coot and 80+ Mute Swan.
On Amherst Island, at the east end, KFN property, there was 1 Snowy Owl patrolling the open field and a late Killdeer at the gravel bar. A flock of 27 Tundra Swan were feeding/resting off the bar.

Directions: Courtesy of Fred Helleiner: To reach Presqu'ile Provincial Park, follow the signs from Brighton. Locations within the Park are shown on a map at the back of a tabloid that is available at the Park gate. Visitors to Gull Island not using a boat should be prepared to wade through shin-deep water in which there is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven and slippery. It should also be noted that, because duck hunting is given priority on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Gull Island, High Bluff Island, Owen Point, and part of the calf pasture are not
available for bird-watching on those days. Birders are encouraged to record their observations on the bird sightings board provided near the campground office by The Friends of Presqu'ile Park and to fill out a rare bird report for species not listed there.

Directions: Amherst Island: 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 $9.00 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. Please note that the smaller ferry is still in use.

Because of liability issues, visitors to the Kingston Field Naturalists'property at the east end of Amherst Island MUST be accompanied by a KFN
member. For KFN contactinformation or how to become a member, please visit ."

Presqu'ile Provincial Park is the best location in eastern Ontario and likely southern Ontario to see Purple sandpiper up close in late November and December. 

These sandpipers are the last to migrate through eastern Ontario.

The real duck hunter at Presqu'ile.

Hip waders are necessary for crossing over to Gull island. 

This arctic sandpiper winters along the eastern coast from Newfoundland to New Jersey. A few do reach the Gulf of Mexico.   

It's difficult to hide when you white and there is no snow! 

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