Thursday, December 29, 2011

Amherst Island

Dec 27, 2011

Barbara, Ross & I went to Amherst Island on Tuesday.  We left a few minutes after 6 am and caught the 8:30 am ferry. 

The car behind us in line was that of Paul O'Toole, who was taking some visiting photographers from Pennsylvania to the KFN preserve to photograph Snowy Owls.  Ross chatted him up and soon got an invitation for us to come along.

We went directly to the KFN property, passing one Snowy Owl along the way.  We hiked all around the property and saw another seven Snowy Owls including two males that were nearly all white. 

There was little else to see except for small flocks of Long-tailed Ducks and Common Goldeneye off shore.

We went to Owl Woods, had lunch and hiked in on the very muddy trail.  In spite of intensive searching, we did not see a single owl!  The highlight was a Red-bellied Woodpecker high in a tree at the feeder.

We cruised the back roads, but raptors seen were few.  We saw three each of Rough-legged Hawks and Northern Harriers.  We saw two Red-tailed Hawks and a single American Kestrel. 

We went down Front Road at 3:15 pm ,and stopped when we saw the Pennsylvanian photographers.  They had located the Short-eared Owls, and we were delighted to see about a dozen drifting about the fields in the fading light and drizzle.
The rain came on heavily, so we departed for home.  There was no snow, only rain until we got well onto the 416, so the driving was not that bad.

1 comment:

  1. We'd very much like your, and others', help in spreading the word about a serious problem for birds on Amherst Island.
    Amherst Island, as you may know, is a world-renowned IBA on a major bird migration route.  An industrial wind farm is in the planning stage at this point in time.  (There is also a wind farm planned for Ostrander Point, Prince Edward County - another major migratory bird route.)
    If the industrial wind turbine farm is built on Amherst Island as the wind developer would like (but not 9/10 of the island's residents) this may be the last chance to see Short-eared Owls, Snowy Owls, Boreal Owls, Great Grey Owls, etc. alive instead of dead at the base of turbines. 
    Neighboring Wolfe Island has the deadliest bird kill rate in Canada and the second deadliest in north America.
    For more information, visit    and   ”
    How can you help?  By spreading the word to other birders and by writing to the politicians (below), some of whom are condoning the slaughter.   (A quick way is to cut & paste your letter into different emails.)
    Those who are supporting the wind farm in this Important Bird Areas include:
    Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario   
    Andrea Horwath, Head of the NDP