Sunday 2nd February 2014
Four KFN members joined me for an enjoyable morning visiting a few of Kingston’s birding locations on a day with vastly improved weather compared to the bone-numbing cold experienced during the previous few days. To get the day rolling, we headed up to Princess Towers where I had seen the resident pair of Peregrine Falcons just that morning. Of course, we missed seeing them but at least one member of the group stopped in later during the day and actually observed one of the pair take a Feral Pigeon.
We then went down to the Wolfe Island Ferry Dock where waterfowl, though not numerous, are restricted to the ice-choked channel, there-by allowing for some close looks. Mallard numbered about 40 and in with them was a leucistic female, quite unusual. Of more interest though to those present were the two 1st winter drake Long-tailed Ducks allowing us very close views right from the dock. Also present were Common Goldeneye, Greater Scaup, a single American Black Duck and both Common and Red-breasted Mergansers – these allowing close comparison of the females.
|Long-tailed Duck (1st Winter Male) - Wolfe Island Ferry Dock, Kingston, ON|
|Common Merganser (Female) - Wolfe Island Ferry Dock, Kingston, ON|
|Common Goldeneye (Male) - Wolfe Island Ferry Dock, Kingston, ON|
We then decided to call in at the Invista plant to check out the open pool on Cataraqui Bay. Immediately upon our arrival we were greeted by an immature Snowy Owl. Up to 3 have been seen here but it was still nice to see this bird so quickly and easily. Scanning the pool, we logged 15 Mute Swans, 5 American Coot and the usual Canada Geese, Mallard, Gadwall and American Black Duck, albeit in lower numbers than typical. We then continued to the Ball Diamond where we could get better looks at the outfall, often a better area for diving ducks. Here we were rewarded with 9 Greater Scaup, a single Common Goldeneye and just one Common Merganser. However, the highlight for all was a Northern Shrike that first gave itself away with its scratchy yet melodic singing. We all enjoyed great views through the ‘scope; Polly actually seeing the bird regurgitate a pellet as she was watching. With one of the party needing to head off to work, we decided to continue to Lemoine Point but not before seeing a Red-tailed Hawk on the way out.
|Black Duck and Mallard - Wolfe Island Ferry Dock, Kingston, ON|
We spent just over an hour at Lemoine Point and, although the wind was ‘fresh’ near the car park, enjoyed the birdlife in the shelter of the woods. However, one bird that was enjoying the open grassland was a female American Kestrel sitting on a pole observing us walk by. We soon began seeing numerous Black-capped Chickadees, all hoping for a free hand-out of sunflower seeds. We obliged and quickly attracted both Hairy and Downy Woodpecker to the vicinity but not to the hand. However, a diminutive pair of Red-breasted Nuthatches did come to the hand, allowing those with a fast shutter to snap a few shots. White-breasted Nuthatch, not to be usurped by its miniature cousin joined in the show and later came to the hand as well. This opportunity allowed us to compare the male and female of each species, with males having black crowns and females dark grey crowns.
|Red-breasted Nuthatch (male) - Lemoine Point CA, Kingston, ON|
Looping back to the car park, we added a few more species to the trip list including Golden-crowned Kinglet, Northern Cardinal, Dark-eyed Junco and Blue Jay. In total (including Peregrine), we saw 35 species – not too bad for a cold winter morning in Kingston.
Till next time,