Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Field Trip Report: Prince Edward Point, May 7, 2011

Prince Edward Point is a favourite destination for birders, especially during migration.  Paul Mackenzie led a field trip to the area on Saturday, May 7th, and sends us this report:

Trip Report                                         Prince Edward Point       May 7, 2011                        

It was a 6.00 am departure for the 6.45 Glenora ferry for about 13 people sharing 5 vehicles. Although KFN bird trips are traditionally held on Sundays, May 7 was a trial on a Saturday. Some people like Saturdays and others are freer on Sundays.
We set out all hopeful given that the weather was finally sunny after a cool rainy week during which May migrants were scarce. We stopped to observe Purple Martins at a nest box and a colony of Cliff Swallows under the eaves of a shed. On Babylon Road, the Upland Sandpipers were heard only and no Grasshopper or Clay-colored Sparrows were found. Quite a cool west breeze was blowing and there was little evidence of a “fallout” of migrants as we drove toward the Point. Hope fell temporarily.
We sped to the Point to try for the Harlequin Ducks which had been seen intermittently the past week. Our mood improved greatly when we had excellent views of 2 pair close to shore near the banding station, along with Long-tailed Ducks, and Red-breasted Mergansers. Observatory manager David O’Kines reported that many new birds had arrived in Point Traverse Woods. The trails had many other birders, and all were delighted to find a variety of colorful spring birds. We soon had Yellow, Cerulean, Cape May, Black-throated Green, Black-throated Blue, and Black & White Warblers. Above us were Northern Parula, and several Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, and Baltimore Orioles. Great Crested Flycatcher and Red-bellied Woodpecker flew past. We were told about two coveted species we did not locate: Red-headed Woodpecker and Yellow-throated Warbler. But we did find all three species of Scoter offshore.
Additional species were added all morning. We had an early lunch near the banding station and walked past the new gate toward the lighthouse and back to the banding station.  New birds included Blue-headed Vireo, Palm Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and White-crowned Sparrow. Whoever screamed ice cream caused a stop at the Black River Cheese Shop.  
A total of over 90 species was recorded and Prince Edward Point lived up to its reputation of a rewarding place to bird.

                                Photos by Paul Mackenzie and Kurt Hennige

                                                    Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

Harlequin Ducks

                                                               Cape May Warbler
                                                  Yellow-Rumped Warbler

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