Sightings
2018 FALL SIGHTINGS

(The Observatory is now closed for the winter)

(Yellow-throated Vireo)

Sept 29-Oct 4

On a good day (or bad depending on your point of view) there can still be up to 10,000 Cormorants found on the offshore shoal. Both Great Blue Herons and Black-crowned Night Herons were seen around the harbour this week. Turkey Vultures are starting to move in bigger numbers and 150 were counted on the 4th. On the lake, White-winged Scoters are becoming more regular and up to 35 are being seen in a day, Common Mergansers were seen on the 29th and Greater Scaup are also being seen but are far offshore. Sharp-shinned Hawks have been moving all week but the best raptor day was the 4th when the following were seen, 5 Bald Eagle, 5 Northern Harrier, 110 Sharpie's, 11 Coopers Hawks, 3 Goshawks, the first Red-shouldered, 20 Broad-wings, 50 Red-tails, 3 Peregrines and the first Golden Eagle. Saw-whet Owl banding has started and 35 were caught on the night of the 30th/1st but most nights still remain quiet due to the easterly winds. One or two Kingfishers can be seen around the harbour, a Red-bellied Woodpecker was seen on the 30th and Sapsuckers are being seen daily. The only flycatcher seen this week is Eastern Phoebe but 10 of them were present on the 29th. Blue-headed Vireos numbered 25 on the 30th and 30 on the 3rd and the occasional Red-eyed can still be found. Blue Jays have slowed in the last few days but the 28th and 29th had over 1400 a day go over. 15 or so banded Chickadees can be found around the feeders and new birds are found every so often. Both Red-breasted and White-breasted Nuthatches continue in good numbers. Kinglets are becoming common now that the season is turning colder and 80 Golden-crowns and 75 Ruby-crowns were present on the 3rd. Thrushes are still slow in coming but a suprise on the 3rd was a Wood Thrush;  American Robins are starting to show and 15 were present on the 3rd. 17 species of warbler were seen during the week with the two most abundant species being Yellow-rumped and Black-throated Blue. Orange-crowneds were seen on the 28th and 30th and a late Chestnut-sided was banded on the 4th. Cape Mays continue to trickle through with one on the 28th and two on the 3rd, Scarlet Tanagers were still around on the 28th and 4th . Sparrows are starting to appear but not in any real numbers yet; a Gambell's White-crowned Sparrow was banded on the 29th. 30 Rusty Blackbirds flew over on the 29th and Purple Finches continue to move with peaks of 135 and 145 being seen.  Occasional Pine Siskins are being found as well. Birds of the week were four White-fronted Geese that flew over on the 3rd and a Nelson's Sparrow on the 3rd - this sparrow is new for the observatory banding list.

Sept 21-28

The Black-crowned Night Herons remain elusive but were heard calling again on the 22nd; small numbers of Canada Geese can be seen moving overhead occasionally but no big numbers of them yet. Offshore small numbers of Greater Scaup and White-winged Scoters are being seen and a Black Duck was noted on the 25th. Although no big numbers yet, raptors are starting to move with Sharpies being seen daily, Peregrines have been seen three times this week with a peak of 3 on the 26th when a small movement of raptors was to be had. Solitary Sandpiper and Sanderling were the only shorebirds to be seen all week. A Screech Owl can be heard occasionally at night and a Barred Owl was seen on the 27th.  Saw-whets are usually unpredictable at this time of the year but were recorded on three dates. One or two Belted Kingfishers parade around the point daily and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are seen daily now. Yellow-shafted Flickers numbered 20 on the 22nd and 27th. An Eastern Wood Pewee was seen on the 23/24th and the odd Yellow-bellied Flycatcher can still be seen, Eastern Phoebes, however, are starting to be seen more regularly as a few migrants start moving and peaked at 25 on the 27th. Three species of Vireo were seen during the week and Blue Jays maxed out at 2500 on the 27th. 10-15 Chickadees a day are hitting the feeders - are they the forerunners of an invasion this year?  Only time will tell. Both Red-breasted and White-breasted Nuthatches are putting on a good show with Red's peaking at 20 on the 27th. House Wrens are still being seen but Winter Wrens reached 15 on the 27th with 10 banded on the 27th. Kinglets were slow to start but 75 Ruby-crowned were seen on the 27th, that day also saw a good number of thrushes around with 18 Gray-cheeks, 30 Swainson's and 12 Hermits noted; also seen were 18 American Robins (which is early for this number) and 9 Gray Catbirds. A Bohemian Waxwing was seen sitting on the wires along the road and is a record early date for the KFN area (previous earliest date 8th Oct). 19 species of warbler were seen during the week: an Orange-crowned arrived on the 25th and a Chestnut-sided was seen on the 23rd  and 27th. Cape May continued this fall's good run with one on the 23rd which was perfect timing for the fall warbler workshop that was held at the point. Myrtle Warbler and Black-throated Blues are increasing as expected and Black-throated Greens numbered 30 on the 24th. Bay-breasted Warblers are another bud-worm specialist that are having a good fall and 13 were banded during the week. This species is having its best ever fall banding totals. Chipping Sparrows are moving and peaked at 10 on the 27th as did Swamp Sparrow with 20 seen. White-throated Sparrows are increasing and up to 60 a day were noted during the week, while White-crowned arrived on the 27th when 3 were seen. That other harbinger of fall, the Slate-coloured Junco is also now being seen. 2 Rusty Blackbirds were seen on the 27th and both Purple and Goldfinch continue in good numbers. Bird of the week is undoubtedly the Western Kingbird that was seen for two days on the wires just at the start of the NWA. This is only the 3rd record for the NWA (the others were in 1969 and 1992).

Sept 14-20

Black-crowned Night Herons were seen or heard three times during the week, 48 Canada Geese flew over high on the 19th and Mallards are appearing more regularly in the harbour now. Bald Eagles are being seen more often and 12 Broad-winged Hawks flew over in a kettle on the 15th . Sharp-shinned Hawk numbers are picking up with a peak of 20 on the 15th.  A Peregrine was seen on the 18th. A Black-bellied Plover flew over on the 17th and occasional other shorebirds are starting to appear on the beach. A  Screech Owl was heard on the 15th and trapped on the 17th. A late Chimney Swift was seen on the 17th and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have nearly all gone. Blue Jays are starting to move in earnest with counts of up to 1800 being made in a day. Brown Creepers started to arrive on the 18th and a Winter Wren was seen on the 19th the same day as the first Ruby-crowned Kinglets arrived. Gray-cheeked Thrushes arrived on the 16th and Swainson's Thrush numbers have started to pick up. A Wood Thrush was seen on the 17th. Cedar Waxwings are now numbering 50+ a day. 20 species of warbler were seen this week including a Brewsters Warbler that was banded, Nashville's are a bit more common now but not being seen in any real numbers yet. A Cape May was seen on the 14th and Black-throated Blues are becoming more common; they should peak at the end of the month. Myrtle or Yellow-rumped Warblers are starting to pick up with 10 – 12 a day being seen; Western Palms are arriving as well with a max of 5 seen on the 19th the same day as a Yellow-Palm was banded. A Savannah Sparrow was banded on the 19th and White-throated Sparrows are being seen in small numbers daily now. An Indigo Bunting was banded on the 19th. And finally, the bird of the week was a White-rumped Sandpiper on the 16th.

Sept 7-13

Still fairly quiet again at the point. Common Loons are occasionally being seen and Cormorants are still being seen in up to 10K a day offshore. Hawks are few and far between with no real numbers of any species being seen. A Spotted Sandpiper was seen on the 13th as were four Sanderling. Hummingbirds are much reduced in numbers with a maximum of one a day being seen. The first 2 Blue-headed Vireos were found on the 13th and Philadelphia Vireos were seen on the 8th and 9th while Red-eyed continue to trickle through. Blue Jay numbers are starting to pick up with a peak of 210 being seen on the 13th. A late Bank Swallow was seen on the 13th as well. Wood Thrushes were seen on the 7th and 13th21 species of warbler were found this week. A Blue-winged Warbler that was photographed in the bushes on the 13th is one of only a handful of fall records. Northern Parulas numbered 6 on the 8th and 8 on the 11th, a late Yellow Warbler was seen on the 9th.   Magnolia Warblers continue in reasonable numbers and Black-throated Greens are starting to increase and peaked at 12 on the 12th. The only Mourning Warbler of the fall so far was a late one banded on the 11th. The first Lincoln's Sparrow of the fall was caught on the 12th. Four late Bobolinks flew over on the 13th. As usual, Purple and Goldfinches continue their good run. And finally a Carolina Wren was seen near the west end of the harbour but prize place goes to the Loggerhead Shrike that was photographed near the entrance to the NWA on the 13th and is the first one of that ilk seen here since the Observatory started in 1995.

Aug 31- Sept 6

Banding remains fairly quiet with just 198 banded during the week. Birding wise, 80 Mute Swans were seen on the 6th and a Green-winged Teal was seen on the 1st. The last four days of the week had a few raptors moving with 2 Ospreys on the 3rd, up to 6 Broad-winged Hawks a day including one banded on the 6th. A few Sharp-shinned Hawks were moving most days and a Peregrine Falcon was seen on the 3rdLesser Yellowlegs were seen on two days and a Solitary Sandpiper was seen in the harbour on the 6th. 6 Common Nighthawks moved on the evening of the 4th and 26 went past the following night. Single Chimney Swifts were seen on the 3rd and 5th. A Yellow-throated Vireo banded on the 3rd is the first ever banded in the fall. 10-15 Red-eyed Vireos were seen each day and Warbling Vireos put in an appearance on two dates. Swainson's Thrushes can be found daily now.  18 species of warbler were seen during the week with highlights of a Yellow-breasted Chat on the 2nd; the first Blackpolls on the 4thand 10-20 Magnolias each day - all the other warblers were seen in numbers of 5 or fewer a day. The first White-throated Sparrow of the fall appeared on the 4th and was preceded by a Junco the day before. Bobolink banding ended on the 4th with 254 banded. Both American Goldfinch and Purple Finch are moving this fall and 20-30 of each are being seen daily. Finally a Great Egret was seen on the 6th.

TIPS FOR VISITING the OBSERVATORY

Bring a jacket in case of rain or extra layers - weather can be very different down at the Observatory and the lake can make it cooler
Wear close-toed shoes or hiking boots
Mosquitoes are sometimes a problem - repellent may be useful but don't use it around the birds (i.e. at the nets or in the banding lab)
Long sleeves and long pants are recommended - a few places have poison ivy and there have been reports of ticks. Stay on paths and do a tick check after visiting the Point
Binoculars, if you have them, are useful for seeing birds in their habitat
While visitors are encouraged to observe the banding operations, please stay away from the mist nets in the net lanes. Only trained volunteers are allowed to extract birds from the nets and they are sometimes very busy - they may not be able to take time to talk with you. You can view the birds up close at the banding lab as they are banded.
On very busy days, when the bander and scribe have a lot of birds to process, there should be no talking in the lab. They are always more than willing to answer questions, but the birds come first, and they need to focus on their work. So watch, but please don’t talk or interrupt.
The Observatory is located on the Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area. Overnight camping and campfires are not permitted
Toilets are available, but there is no drinking water on site
Please respect the habitat and vegetation by staying on the road or trail
Enjoy the birds!

 

Barred Owl