Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley
Mississippi River at Pakenham

Amherst Island

Explore the Owls of Amherst Island

Join our outing to Amherst Island, west of Kingston;  tour the island and look for several species of owl, including Barred owl, Northern Saw-whet, Boreal owl and Snowy owls, and some hawks and water birds.

When: Saturday, February 25, 2017

Destination: Amherst Island Ferry dock, for 9:30 A.M. sailing. Return sailing 3:00 P.M.

Bring: Binoculars, spotting scope (if you have one), lunch and hot thermos. Dress warmly for Lake Ontario winds are cold.

NOTE: Pre-registration is required.

For further information and to pre-register, please contact Cliff Bennett at 613-256-5013 or

In case of unsuitable weather, this event will be cancelled.

IMG_4987A Great Horned Owl - orig

Great Horned Owl. photo Howard Robinson

Amherst Island Owling Adventure

Join our outing to Amherst Island, west of Kingston, to tour the island and Owl Woods, and look for different owl species including Barred owl, Northern Saw-whet, Boreal owl and Snowy owls plus species of hawks and water birds.

Date: February 27, 2016

Car Pooling: Meet at Union Hall for departure at 7 A.M.; Glen Tay Public School for departure 7:30 A.M.

Destination: Amherst Island Ferry dock, for 9:30 A.M. sailing. Return sailing 3:00 P.M.

Bring: Binoculars, spotting scope (if you have one), lunch and hot thermos. Dress warmly for Lake Ontario winds are cold.

Pre-registration: Registration beforehand is required. Please contact Cliff Bennett at 613-256-5013 or 

In case of unsuitable weather, this event will be cancelled. 

The photos below are from a 2005 MVFN Amherst Island outing. We are not certain of the photographer (but if you read this post and can name the photographer, please let us know at ). Read full story of the 2005 trip and others by searching with key word Amherst.

Amherst2  Amherst1

Owl Outing to Amherst Island

Join our outing to Amherst Island, west of Kingston, to tour the island and especially Owl Woods, to find at least four different owl species including snowy owls plus several different hawks which ply this rural island property.

Date: Saturday, March 3, 2012

Car pooling: Canadian Tire parking lot, Carleton Place,  for departure by 7:30 a.m. to make the 9:30 ferry crossing. We should be home by 5:30 p.m. Sub-carpooling can happen at Almonte Esso or Union Hall (call Cliff), to connect at Carleton Place.

Bring: binoculars, bird book, lunch. Dress warmly; it’s cold by the lake.

Cost: ferry crossing per car

Leader: Cliff Bennett

Please register with Cliff beforehand at  or 613-256-5013.  Note: This event will be cancelled in the event of unfavourable weather. If in doubt, please call Cliff Friday evening.

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Press Story

Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists

February 22, 2011

Field Naturalists Brave Wild Winter Winds on Owl and Hawk Trek to Amherst Island

By Cliff Bennett

Blizzard white-outs and blistering Arctic winds didn’t deter over twenty members of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists and friends from their quest for hawks and owls on Amherst Island, west of Kingston, on Saturday Feb. 20. After car-pooling at Carleton Place, six vehicles arrived at the Amherst ferry moments before the craft left the terminal to punch its way through the ice to get to the island.

Led by MVFN member Cliff Bennett, the convoy of vehicles slowly circumnavigated the island. The first interesting find was well over one hundred mourning doves flying over the roadway from a scrubby area to visit a couple of bird feeders. Soon the group discovered its first flying raptor, a rough-legged hawk. Soon after, a light-phased red-tailed hawk stirred up into the wind to hover over a farm house.

A search for a single snowy owl, reported previously on the east end of the island, yielded nothing other than nearly frost-bitten cheeks and fingers. However, once the group drove to the south side of the island, conditions improved somewhat. Tipped off by another birder, we drove on in search of a rarity, a northern hawk owl (photo above). We found it easily, perched in a tree near a house, about twelve metres away from us. Everyone got a great view of the owl and dozens of photos were taken.

Hundreds of ducks, mostly golden eyes, were noted in the rolling, ice-filled waters along the shoreline. One single bufflehead duck and a pair of mallards were also recorded. A small flock of common mergansers flew over the ferry dock earlier in the day.

Our next exciting find was a male northern harrier, in field stubble eating a rodent, again only about twelve metres away from us. Harriers are migrants and this is a few weeks early for this beauty to be here. The group also logged a single juvenile trumpeter swan, preening itself in the midst of the small ice floes. Our final exceptional discovery was a pair of American kestrels, also an early arrival.

During the day’s adventure, the group logged twenty-one species of birds on the island including cardinal and snow buntings. The youngest member of the group, nine year old Jacob Cook of Perth, proved to have the sharpest eyes of all when he spotted a pair of adult bald eagles perched in the trees alongside the Indian River on Clayton Road while on the way home.

For further MVFN adventures and lectures, visit mvfn.ca.

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To all MVFN Members and friends,

Hawks and Owls of Amherst Island

Join me for a trip to Amherst Island, west of Kingston, to tour the island and especially Owl Woods, to find at least four different owl species including snowy owls plus several different hawks which ply this island rural property.

Date: Saturday, Feb. 19

Car pooling: Canadian Tire parking lot, Carleton Place for departure by 7:30 am to make the 9:30 ferry crossing. We should be home by 5:30 pm.

Bring: binoculars, bird book, lunch.

Cost: Ferry crossing per car

Please register with me beforehand,  or 613-256-5013.

Note: This event will be cancelled if there is unfavourable weather. If in doubt, call me Friday evening.

Cliff Bennett

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FULL-SIZED  CALENDAR WITH DETAILS

MVFN natural history talks:  7:30 pm on third Thursdays of Jan, Feb, March, April,  Sept, Oct, and Nov at Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin St. Almonte ON. All welcome! Non-members $5. 

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