Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Amherst Island Adventure 2005

Press Release
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
February 26, 2005

Amherst Island Adventure 2005

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On Saturday, Feb. 5th, twenty-six MVFN members and friends descended upon Amherst Island ferry early in the morning to sail to the island for hopefully, some quality bird watching. The expedition was led by Chris Grooms, Eastern Ontario Ontario Nature Coordinator.

The weather was bright and near perfect, until the car convoy passed by Elgin and into a solid fog bank. The fog stayed with us the whole day, making the spotting of white snowy owls in white fog and against white snow, virtually impossible. The fog might explain how one van load of participants ended up at the Wolfe Island ferry in downtown Kingston and thus missed the 10:30 sailing of the Amherst ferry. We doubled back to meet them getting off the 11:30 ferry on the island one hour later.

The group convoyed around the island, making several stops to catch a glimpse of hawks and owls. Parking on a main road, we trekked into the famous owl woods where most of the owls are usually logged. However, after a couple of hours, in which we took time for our lunch stop, we were only able to find a boreal owl and one great gray owl.

Back out in the open in the afternoon, we were able to find many short-eared owls flitting from tree to post in the fog. Back on the ferry and cutting through the pan ice, we found many ducks and a few gulls. All-in-all, the trip was very successful and, we finally got out of the fog on the way home just north of Smiths Falls.

MVFN members participating in the Amherst Island expedition were Jim and Yvonne Bendell, Rod Bhar and his mother Jill Bhar, Sheila Edwards, Chris Hume, Mary and Howard Robinson, Maida Lowe, Tine Kuiper, John and Sandra McManus and their son and Cliff Bennett. The rest of the group were friends and guests.

Below is the observation list from the day (30 species altogether):

Crow, Rock Pigeon, Chickadee, Blue Jay, Common Goldeneye, Herring Gull, Ring Billed Gull

Northern Harrier (female), Horned Lark, Mourning Dove,Starling, Tree Sparrow, House Sparrow

Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Common Merganser, Bufflehead, Boreal Owl

Great Gray Owl, Cardinal, Ring-necked Pheasant, Robin, Brown Thrasher, Goldfinch

Horned Lark, White-breasted Nuthatch, Short-eared Owl, Red-tailed Hawk, Red-breasted

Merganser, Rough-legged Hawk.