March 14 2020 (Saturday) Fisherville Area, Haldimand and Norfolk Counties
Leader: Dave Milsom, Barry Coombs.
27 birders enjoyed a rather cool day birding Haldimand county today from 9 am until 4 pm 50 species seen by the group Few waterfowl included all 3 Merganser species, Northern Shoveler and Green-winged Teal. Raptors : many Turkey vultures and Red-tailed Hawks, 6 Northern Harriers, 3 Rough-legged, Coopers and Sharp-shinned Hawks, 7 Bald Eagles, 2 Ravens, 6 Eastern Meadowlarks, 12 Killdeer, Horned Larks, Cowbirds, Eastern Bluebirds, at least 14 Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Song Sparrows, and 3 Tufted Titmice, one of which sang repeatedly from a tree overhanging the road on Irish Line. Many thanks to co- leader Barry Coombs.
February 23 2020 (Sunday) Amherst Island with optional extension to Kingston and Wolfe Island
Leader: Jon Ruddy.
The omens for the OFO trip to Amherst island were not good. A dearth of meadow voles this winter has meant that raptor numbers are very low. Owls in particular are in very short supply. And our fearless leader had to cancel out, leaving the trip in the hands of a couple of volunteers from the Kingston Field Naturalists. Despite being advised of these issues, twenty cheery OFO members showed up at Millhaven eager to take their chances.
So did we prove the doubters wrong? Well? no. But we had a very pleasant day exploring the island in the bright sunshine. We managed to spot one Snowy Owl at long range, had several good views of Red-tailed Hawks, and a large lump in a tree was revealed by the high-end scopes and lenses to be an adult Bald Eagle. A very early Turkey Vulture was seen soaring over a treeline, and a lone Horned Lark made a low pass over the group. Nineteen Wild Turkeys were seen in a farmyard imitating domestic cousins. In other places this might evoke a yawn, but it was an exceptionally high count for Amherst.
Waterfowl numbers are just starting to build up, and we had good views of some Long-tailed Ducks and a large armada of Common Goldeneye.
The bird of the trip was a dark phase Rough-legged Hawk ? a life bird for many of the participants ? that gave us a good look at its plumage as it banked and soared. These birds are typical winter visitors to the Kingston area but have been very hard to come by this winter.
After a visit to Owl Woods to feed the chickadees we called it a day and caught the 3:00 p.m. ferry back to the mainland.
Thanks to all the participants for making this a good day out, and to Paul Mackenzie for stepping up at late notice to assist.