Monday, 14 October 2013

Lemoine Point Conservation Area

Saturday 12th and Monday 14th October 2013

Well, Autumn is in full swing and here in Kingston, the leaves have already turned. In fact, many of the trees are actually now looking fairly bare. The weather though has been great with lots of bright sunny days and above average temperatures. Many of the summer residents have now left, replaced by numerous winter wildfowl. Migration is also coming to an end, though a few species are still coming through and taking advantage of the good weather before continuing further south.

Lemoine Point Conservation Area is located just west of Kingston's airport and is a great spot for seeing the wildlife within just minutes of the city centre. Bordering Lake Ontario, it includes 136 hectares of mixed forest and grassland and can be quite a migrant trap in the Spring and Autumn as well as hosting a wide range of breeding species during the summer. Personally, I tend to visit Marshlands Conservation Area more than Lemoine Point because it is closer to home, is far-less visited and is definitively my 'home patch', but over the last couple of days, Lemoine Point has held a variety of interesting species and colours.

Autumn Woods - Lemoine Point CA, Kingston, ON

To get the ball rolling, I saw yet another addition to my life list on Saturday. To make it even better, it was an owl - namely an Eastern Screech-Owl. Some species, owls included, are always just that bit more exciting to see so I was very pleased with this one. Its presence was given away by a host of chickadees, juncos, cardinals and sparrows mobbing the poor thing as it was trying to rest. It was certainly well-hidden and this photo is as good as it gets.

Eastern Screech-Owl - Lemoine Point CA, Kingston, ON
Lemoine Point is visited by many people, all there to enjoy the nature. However, they all seem to do it in different ways - cycling, jogging, dog-walking, and so-on. This means the wildlife is quite habituated, with birds like chickadees accustomed to feeding from the hand. Nuthatches and even woodpeckers will do so too and I know of at least one Northern Cardinal that does likewise. White-tailed Deer are the largest mammal present at the site and, they too, will actually approach people to see what's on offer. Add to this the squirrels and chipmunks and it is pretty hard to leave Lemoine Point without having an encounter with nature.

Eastern Chipmunk - Lemoine Point CA, Kingston, ON
Other birds that often have birders excited are the thrushes. Here in Canada, the commonest thrush is the American Robin, though it doesn't tend to hang around for long during the winter months. The American Robin is in the same genus as many of the 'typical' European species and is about the same size as the European Blackbird. However, it is the much smaller Catharus species that have had me excited over the last month or so. The first to come through is the Grey-cheeked Thrush, followed by Swainson's Thrush and then Hermit Thrush. Of course there is overlap (for example I saw two late Swainson's today) but it generally holds true. I've been fortunate enough to see good numbers of all three of these shy species this year but have only managed to get photos of Hermit Thrush and, bizarrely, a single leucistic Swainson's Thrush (see my Flickr account). The following shot, as all pictures on today's blog, was taken this weekend at Lemoine Point.

Hermit Thrush - Lemoine Point CA, Kingston, CA
Red-winged Blackbirds and lesser numbers of Common Grackle are flocking at the moment (often with the resident European Starling) in preparation for their onward southerly journey. It is also possible to see the much less common Rusty Blackbird at this time of year and this morning I had a single female high in a tree looking for its buddies. Most striking is its white eye, a classic indicator of this species.

Rusty Blackbird (female) - Lemoine Point CA, Kingston, CA
Finally, here is a Yellow-rumped Warbler of the eastern 'Myrtle' form. This is really the only warbler still to be seen in any numbers yet, for some reason, I just can't seem to get a decent shot...

Yellow-rumped Warbler - Lemoine Point CA, Kingston, CA
Till next time...


1 comment:

  1. Lovely photo of the sceech owl at Lamoine Point. I have seen barred, great horned and long eared owls there but not the screech owl.