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Birds return to County’s south shore

Peter Fuller and Amy Bodman bird watching. Cheryl Anderson photo

Peter Fuller and Amy Bodman bird watching. Cheryl Anderson photo

In spite of the cold wind, volunteers from the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory (PEPtBO), the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists and the Kingston Field Naturalists attempted to count waterfowl in the waters of the PEC South shore Important Bird and Biodiversity (IBA) areas last weekend.

The IBA waters include off-shore from McMahon Bluff, down and around Prince Edward Point and along the south shore to Soup Harbour,” said Cheryl Anderson,  PEPtBO president. “Much of the area including South Bay and Half Moon Bay was still covered with ice. Waterfowl were clustered in small patches of open water closer to Prince Edward Point and to the west near Gull Pond.”

Of note, the groups counted more than 1,200 Long Tailed Ducks and as many Scaups.

Gyrfalcon. Photo by Mark D. Read

Gyrfalcon. Photo by Mark D. Read

“Great excitement greeted the announcement of a Gyrfalcon spotted near Little Bluff Conservation Area,” said Anderson. “This is a rare sighting for the County and it wasn’t long before groups of birders could be seen racing down County Rd. 13 to try to add this arctic raptor to their life lists.”

The Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory opens for spring migration monitoring on April 13.  The observatory operates every morning from a half hour after dawn for six hours, unless it is raining or excessively windy.  Visitors are always welcome to see the banding operations.

“By the end of April the first warblers will begin to arrive in the County on their way to their breeding grounds in the Boreal Forest,” said Anderson. “The best time to see these colourful little beauties is during the Spring Birding Festival which runs from May 16 – 24 this year.  PEPtBO runs guided bird walks at Prince Edward Point and workshops at Jackson’s Falls Inn during the festival.

The Bird Observatory closes from May 31 until August 15 when fall migration monitoring begins.
Sometime in May volunteers will spend a day counting bird species as part of the Spring Bird Count.

“This is a fund raiser for the Bird Observatory – and don’t be surprised if you are asked to sponsor a friend or County Mayor Robert Quaiff, our 2015 ‘celebrity birder’.

Mayor Quaiff has agreed to accompany Anderson for a day of birding on May 15.

“We expect to see at least 50 different species.  Sponsors can pledge an amount per species, or a flat amount and are promised an entertaining account of the day in return.”

Long Tailed Ducks at Prince Edward Point. Cheryl Anderson photo

Long Tailed Ducks at Prince Edward Point. Cheryl Anderson photo

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