Sunday, September 25, 2016

Presqu'ile and Kingston Trip

The past few days I was towards the east part of the province for the OFO conference.  This weekend was the Ontario Field Ornithologists convention in Kingston.  I decided to head up that way on Wednesday and stay a couple of nights at Presqu'ile Provincial Park.

As it was about 23 years ago since I was last at that park, it was almost new to me! Too bad, since it is great birding park.
I arrived just after lunch and the first stop was Owen Point.

Here, we find one of the better spots to view migrating shorebirds.  Presqu'ile is known for hosting a good concentration of shorebirds and rarities.  (Piping Plovers nested there this past season).  No good rarities on my visit to the park (of course!), but it was fun checking the point every so often. Sanderlings were the most abundant shorebird.

Here you can wade out to Gull Island, especially when the water is low.  Just beyond, is High Bluff Island and to the west is a small island called Sebastopol.

The rest of the day I spent wandering around the park and saw lots of migrants, especially warblers. There are many places to check, but I found a good area was near the group campground and Newcastle Trail.

At the end of the day I once again checked Owen Point and found a number of shorebirds, including a couple of Baird's and a White-rumped Sandpiper.  I did not bring the big camera along this trip, so basically just scenery shots.

Thursday morning I got up early and went to Owen Point before the tourists (as Alan Wormington would call them!) disturbed anything.

It was a calm and clear day, perfect for birding.  While there, David Bree came along and we renewed our acquaintance.  David works at the park, but about 12 years ago he led the bird hikes at Rondeau in May.

David making his daily check!

Soon after, some birders arrived to head out to Gull Island.  A couple faces were quite familiar!  Doug McRae, Barb Charlton, Bill Gilmour and Peter Fuller were heading out to Gull Island.  They invited me along and it was a nice experience looking at all the shorebirds and gulls and other birds.

We ended up with about 12 species of shorebirds, plus a Lesser Black-backed Gull, and 3 Trumpeter Swans.  The one pair was unmarked, but the other sported the yellow wing tag K29.

A couple of birders (Ron Tozer, Mike Nelson) well behind us were not brave enough to head across. I guess they were afraid of water sharks! lol!

We ended up with a decent list of birds!

I birded around the park the rest of the day and also checked out the lighthouse.  This structure was originally built in 1840.  It was built of limestone, but sided with cedar shingles in 1894 to protect the decaying stone.

In the distance you could faintly see the ruins of the lighthouse on Scotch Bonnet Island, a small shoal out in the lake. That structure was built in 1856.  It was left to decay in the late 1950's.  The island is a National Wildlife Area since 1979.  I remember Alan Wormington telling me that he did surveys there.

Along one trail I found some Fringed Gentian.

Also stopped at Calf Pasture recreational area.  I found something of interest on the interpretive board.  There used to be a hotel along the shoreline (the old dock is still present) and small ships used to bring tourists over.  One was the Rapids King.  This vessel frequently called into Wallaceburg back in its heyday!

Friday morning dawned cold, windy and cloudy.  There was not much to see on Owen Point, especially since a Merlin kept shorebirds scurrying around.

I did some birding around the park adding some species to my list.  Included was a Ruffed Grouse at Owen Point.  Along Jobe's Woods trail, I had a close encounter with a Pileated Woodpecker!

Barred Owls are here, but I did not try for them.
I recall that a Three-toed Woodpecker was along this trail back in the early 1990's. I tried for it then, but did not find the bird as I arrived at the wrong time of day and my time was limited.

By later in the morning it started raining, so I headed towards Kingston.  After lunch, the skies started to clear, and by mid afternoon it was sunny.  I joined the field trip to Marshlands CA near Cataraqui Bay.  We had a good variety of warblers and other birds.  Our best bird was a Black-billed Cuckoo.  The company of Pete Read also kept us entertained!

Saturday morning was beautiful and I joined in a trip around the city.  Kurt Hennige led us to various lesser-known hotspots and we had an abundance of birds.  Our stops included the cemetery, where we observed a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers.  Next stop was McLean Library park, then Woods Landing.  This latter spot was very small, but excellent for birds.

Our last stop was Belle Park where we were not disappointed.  I spotted a Yellow Warbler, which is quite late for the area.

After lunch I roamed around a bit on my own.  I took a look at the Eurasian Wigeon in Cataraqui Bay which had been found in the morning by Dave Milsom and reported by David Worthington.

Sunday, I headed out early and took advantage of the lack of traffic on the 401.  Sunday morning seems to be the best for that!  I decided to swing down to Hamilton to catch a glimpse of the long-staying Hudsonian Godwit.  Been a while since I have seen one! Too far for photo.

Windemere Basin

All in all, it was a decent trip with good weather.


  1. Blake sounds like a great trip! I've never been to Presquile ... One day!

    1. Indeed it was. Wish I had more time in Kingston though.

  2. Thanks for sharing these photos of Presqu'ile ... it's a beautiful place

    1. There certainly is some great shoreline scenery there!

  3. You had a busy and birdy trip....and even the weather cooperated for the most part! I look forward to seeing your C-K and area posts again soon.

    1. The weather was great. During the rainy part I had to travel anyway!