Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Prince Edward County

September 15 & 16

Barbara & I  decided to join Jane, Connie, Sami & Lynne to bird Prince Edward County on Tuesday and Presqu-ile Park on Wednesday with an overnight in Brighton.  If only!

We drove down early going through Kingston for a stop at Invista Ponds.  This was a bust because of the poor light and general lack of birds.   We made a brief stop at the Amherst Island ferry terminal.  There were very few birds, but at least a flock of Common Loons far out on the lake.

We departed for the ferry at Aldolphustown and arrived with 15 minutes to spare.  Apparently, half hour service does not mean on the half hour!


Once across in Glenora, we drove slowly via Chuckeryhill Rd back to Route 7 where a perched Merlin got our attention.  We jumped out and got lots of photos, since the bird did not spook.

Can you guess which image is digiscoped?

We got back in our cars and Sami drove off leaving us behind with a car that would not turn over.  We got Sami on the walkie talkie, and he quickly returned to give us a boost.  Thanks for the push, Jane. No joy on the boost.  It was wisely decided that the other four carry on birding while we waited for the CAA.

The wait was not too long, but gave us ample time to photograph the Merlin.  When the Merlin did leave, a Cooper's Hawk soared overhead.  The CAA guy could not get our car to turn over either, so he towed us into Picton to Stormy's, where it was confirmed that we needed a new starter.  Of course they did not have one and had to order it from Toronto.

The service advisor, Terry, tried in vain to get us a rental car from Bellville.  He then called around to find us a B&B, which was very difficult - lots of no vacancies.  The receptionist, Amy, took over and finally found us one called La Vita E Bella (Italian motif), while we cancelled our Brighton reservation.  Amy even arranged for one of the staff to drive us to the B&B with a side trip to Birdhouse City!

We were hot and frustrated, but a call to Connie told us that we were not missing much.  So we looked at the little tourist pamphlet map and decided to go for a walk to a park to try for birds.  Well we got a feeling for Picton as we walked around the harbour, but did not see any birds except gulls and cormorants.  Heading back, we followed a little stream to a pond across the road where we witnessed an amazing battle between two large Snapping Turtles.

See turtle fight video

We found a decent restaurant and called Connie - they were just getting to the Point!  We walked back to our B&B and retired early.

The breakfast was at 9 am and we dined with two other couples from Ottawa.  

Stormy's called to say our car was ready, so we hiked over, which took 25 minutes.  After thanking Amy and Terry, we drove back to the B&B to get our luggage.  By then it was 10:30, and we decided that, since it was our first visit to the county, that we would spend the rest of the morning there and join the others at Presqu'ile after lunch.

We checked out Bradley Crossroad, since Connie had said it was their best birding of the day.  We walked a bit up and down  the road and Barbara found some warblers.  We photographed what turned out to be a Magnolia Warbler.  We had a lot of trouble identifying the warblers and mostly relied on our photos afterwards.

With time fleeting, we headed for the Point.  We hiked to the Lighthouse without seeing much.  But on the return hike, we got a Northern Parula.

We went to the banding station to use their bench for our lunch and were surprised that the banders were just coming in from their last pass of the nets for the day.  What a treat to see the beautiful little creatures up close - a Red-eyed and a Blue-headed Vireo, a Chestnut-sided Warbler and a Blue Jay! 

While finishing our lunch, we made the decision to stay in the county and not join the others at Presqu'ile.  It only made sense, since it would have been a mad dash to get there shortly before they were going to leave.  Instead, we hiked the trails around the banding station, and found the woods alive with vireos and warblers.  We had made a good decision.  We got three kinds of vireos and a similar number of warblers.

We finally tore ourselves away but decided to drop into the Little Bluff Conservation Area.  Here our good luck continued with more vireos, warblers, including a Palm, and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

Finally, we headed for home.  As a final treat, we saw two Bonaparte Gulls from the ferry.

Bird List

  1. American Crow
  2. Canada Goose
  3. American Robin
  4. Blue Jay
  5. Ring-billed Gull
  6. Red-winged Blackbird
  7. Mourning Dove
  8. European Starling
  9. Mallard
  10. Rock Pigeon
  11. Double-crested Cormorant
  12. Song Sparrow
  13. Belted Kingfisher
  14. American Coot
  15. Blue-winged Teal
  16. Common Loon
  17. Turkey Vulture
  18. Merlin
  19. Northern Flicker
  20. Cooper's Hawk
  21. House Sparrow
  22. Magnolia Warbler
  23. Herring Gull
  24. Northern Parula
  25. Red-eyed Vireo
  26. Chestnut-sided Warbler
  27. Blue-headed Vireo
  28. Eastern Phoebe
  29. Philadelphia Vireo
  30. Palm Warbler
  31. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  32. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  33. Cedar Waxwing
  34. Bonaparte Gull

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