Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Summer on Amherst Island, a report, A Big Day and upcoming field trips

Apologies for the scarce blog entries, an old slow dialup connection keeps your KFN Blogger from posting more tidbits.

Amherst Island is a popular destination for birders, and it rarely disappoints.  Paul Mackenzie had sent a report for July 4th:

"Yesterday went to Amherst to KFN property. The Osprey nest has three young still looking rather small and fluffy beside an adult standing on the platform.  Canada Geese must have had a good season with over 120  adults and young parading from the berm into the lake. They and the deer have kept some of the vegetation low near the pond, but it is mostly overgrown with low water levels, so no real mud flats.  The only migrant shorebirds were two Least Sandpipers near the bar, on southbound migration. Yellow Moneywort blooms were carpeting the open areas by the pond. Trying to ID the thistles Canada Thistle Cirsium arvense with small violet flowers was easy , but the common bright red-purple one along the berm stumped me for a while. Spiny  Plumeless Thistle Carduus acanthoides, if correct, is not in Peterson or Newcombe, but mentioned in the ROM  guide to Ontario Wildflowers. Whatever, it has sharp spines! But the total lack of mosquitoes and very few deer flies made the walk quite pleasant with many flowering plants.  Monarch Butterflies and beetles were coupling all over the Milkweed.      A Common Tern fed briefly over the pond and a Caspian Tern was resting off the bar, with the usual Cormorants, Gulls, Mallards, Gadwalls, and Wigeon. "

Erwin Batalla and Kurt Hennige are planning a "Big Day" birding event in September:

"To highlight Amherst Island as a special migration location for birds, Kurt and I are planning a Big Day in September. We will try to see as many species as possible in a calendar day exclusively on Amherst. The birds must be seen by all members of the group which usually consists of three or four people. Other people cannot direct us to birds during that day.

Similarly to the Baillie birdathon, we are seeking pledges for that event. All funds will be donated to the Association for the Protection of Amherst Island (APAI). APAI has endorsed this and will be seeking pledges from their own members." 

Details will be forthcoming in the next newsletter.  Both Erwin and Kurt are avid birders with keen eyes, we wish them success in finding a good number of species.

In the meantime KFN members can participate in a couple of upcoming field trips.  There was a typo in the newsletter listing the August field to Amherst Island as August 1, so to correct the problem 2 field trips have now been planned.  One will take place on August 5, led by Peter Good, the second will take place August 12, led by Erwin Batalla.  Trip details and contacts will be on the KFN webpage ( 

Should be a good summer to enjoy the Island.