Saturday, 14 May 2011

Opinicon Road Area Birding

Mark Conboy gives an update on recent birding at the Opinicon Rd./Chaffey's Lock area:


Some have been asking for an update on birding conditions along
Opinicon Road in Eastern Ontario, so here it is:

Though migration was fairly slow this spring all of the most sought
after species have returned to Opinicon Road at this time. I counted
15 cerulean and 3 golden-winged warblers between the Lindsay Lake Road
(trail) to the Skycroft Campground. Other warblers present in the area
include yellow, chestnut-sided, blackburnian, magnolia, black-throated
blue, yellow-rumped, prairie (only 1, on May 9), palm, pine,
black-throated green, black-and-white, Canada and Nashville warblers,
along with American redstart, northern parula, northern waterthrush,
ovenbird and common yellowthroat.

A blue-winged warbler was foraging and singing in the shrubs along the
creek just south of Crosby on Highway 15 (about 1 km north of where
Opinicon/Chaffey's Lock Road (the name changes part way along the
road) meets Highway 15). A white-phase snow goose was there too.

Other birds of interest: yellow- and black-billed cuckoos (still low
numbers), 2 red-bellied woodpeckers (on May 13; 1 on Lindsay Lake Road
and 1 near the Skycroft Campground), peregrine falcon (1), bald eagle
(1), American bitterns, Virginia rails, sora (1),  blue-gray
gnatcatchers and yellow-throated vireos (and 3 other vireo spp). My
field assistants and I saw a tufted titmouse back on May 5 at the
Queen's University Biological Station. Unfortunately it has not been
relocated, but keep your eyes and ears peeled - it's an unusual bird
around here. Pretty well all of the expected migrants have returned
with only the latest-arriving species left to make an appearance.

Finally, recent counts of eastern whip-poor-wills along Opinicon Road,
Massassauga Road and the Cataraqui Trail have provided estimates of
about 50 singing males within earshot of the roads/trail - not too bad
for a threatened species. If you come whip-poor-willing you'll also
hear lots of American woodcocks, common snipes, barred owls and an
occasional great horned owl.

Directions to Opinicon Road: From Kingston: Go north on Division
Street/Perth Road/County Road 10 to just past Perth Road Village. Turn
east (right) on Opinicon Road. From Ottawa: Go west on Highway 417 to
Highway 7. At Carleton Place turn south (left) on Highway 15. Follow
Highway 15 for about 60 km through Smith's Falls and all the way to
Chaffey's Lock Road (name changes to Opinicon Road west of Chaffey's
Lock). The best birding is between Chaffey's Lock and Perth Road.
Queen's University Biological Station (main operations centre;
emergency address 280) is located at the end of Queen's University
Road, 2 km west of Chaffey's Lock.

Note: Visitors are welcome at Queen's Univsersity Biological Station
throughout the year. Please avoid distrubing ongoing avain
research projects by staying on the trails and not using playback. If
you have questions about research at QUBS you can contact Mark Andrew
Conboy by email (


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