Monday, March 8, 2010

Amherst Island report – March 7 2010

(Bill & Barbara Bowman, Ross Galbraith)

We left Ottawa at 6:10 and caught the 8:30 ferry. Along the way on the 401, we saw a Red-tailed Hawk

We drove across Stella 40 Foot Road without seeing any raptors – a bit unusual. We turned left on South Shore Road and immediately saw 4 Trumpeter Swans in the open water, fairly close to shore. There were small rafts of Bufflehead and Common Goldeneye farther out.

We drove slowly down to Marshall 40 Foot Road without seeing anything else. The road was muddy, but passable, so we drove in to Owl Woods. Despite the early hour, there were already two other cars parked.

We noted the new signage about protecting the owls. We donned our hikers and slip-slided our way along the muddy trail to the feeders. There were White-breasted Nuthatches and a male House Finch, which Ross heard calling.

From that point on, we carefully checked all the cedars, and a splash of whitewash gave away a Barred Owl that was perched in plain view. Countless photos later, we proceeded to the plantation.

After a few minutes, we ran into Don and Barbara. After convincing them that we were birders and not just photographers, they led us to their daughter who had found a Boreal Owl. More photos, without flash, of course. We checked the perimeter of the roped-off area and the usual Saw-whet Owl haunts without finding another owl, although Ross did find an obvious roost tree.

We had our lunch at the feeders and observed a pair of Downy Woodpeckers, a couple of American Goldfinches and an American Tree Sparrow. We decided to cruise the island roads to look for raptors and other interesting species. We found NOTHING – not a single Rough-legged Hawk or Red-tailed Hawk. Unbelievable. We scoped some more Buffleheads for a better look.

We caught the 2 pm ferry and drove to the Dupont Plant in Kingston. At the pond were several American Coots and Common Mergansers plus a white-fronted Mallard that must have had farmyard genes.

We called the Nuttals in Wilstead, but they were not home. We decided to go there anyway, based on Nadine’s favorable report. We found their place without difficulty and staked out the feeder. After half an hour, the Nuttals came home and we chatted, but the Tufted Titmouse did not come to the feeder. We waited another 15 minutes, then scouted around back, but had to leave empty handed.

We did see 2 more Red-tails on the 401. Whoopdy dee!

We were pleased to see the owls and the weather was sunny (but windy) so we had a good day in spite of the scarcity of other species.

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