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Ostrander Point – not just for the birds

Ostrander Point and the south shore of PEC from Point Petre to Prince Edward Point is such an outstanding bird habitat that it has been recognized nationally and internationally as worth preserving.

Black tern

Twenty species of endangered, threatened or vulnerable birds, including bald eagles, black terns and short-eared owls, can be found there.
The site is home, on a regular basis, to species with restricted ranges.
The area regularly hosts a group of species, such as the whip-poor-will, loggerhead shrike and Henslow’s sparrow, which live in very specific ecosystems.
The site attracts significant numbers of breeding and/or migrating birds. More than 300 species, mostly migratory, have been counted on the south shore of Prince Edward County.

Because of this, the south shore of Prince Edward County (which includes Ostrander Point) has been designated as an Important Bird Area. This designation is recognized internationally. Just east of Ostrander Point there is the Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area, a nationally important habitat designed to protect all migratory birds, especially hawks and eagles.

loggerhead shrike

More than 750,000 birds migrate through this area twice a year – the largest number of migrating birds anywhere in the Great Lakes.
On April 17, 2000, 7.5 per cent of the global population of long-tailed ducks was seen in the Important Bird Area and 15,000 white-winged scoters – 1.5 per cent of the international population.
Every year, 10,000 greater scaup overwinter there, which is 1.4% of the global population.
One day in January 1995, 39,000 scaup were counted – that’s more than 5 per cent of greater scaup in the world.

There’s more to Ostrander Point than birds.
The Blanding’s turtle – an endangered species – calls this place home.
Large numbers of bats migrate through the area.
In 1995, Prince Edward Point was declared an International Monarch Butterfly Reserve.
Ostrander Point has been proposed as an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest and the waters offshore as a Marine Conservation Area.  A provincially significant wetland runs through the area.
Even the land is special. Ostrander Point contains alvars – that is, areas of limestone bedrock with thin layers of soil. Alvars have some of the richest plant communities in the world, many of them only found on this type of land form.

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About the Author: The Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, founded in 1997, is an affiliate of Ontario Nature. It provides an educational forum dedicated to the study, promotion, appreciation and conservation of the flora and fauna within Prince Edward County. The public is welcome at the meetings held on the last Tuesday of the month from September to May, except December, at Bloomfield Town Hall. Guest speakers introduce a variety of nature related topics. All members are encouraged to participate at meetings by sharing their experiences and observations. Regularly scheduled field trips in the vicinity offer members the opportunity to experience various habitats. Membership in PECFN is open to all. Contact: Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, P.O. Box 477, Bloomfield, Ontario K0K 1G0 Or Cheryl Anderson 613-471-1096

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