2019 SPRING MIGRATION Sightings
The Observatory is open for the Spring Banding mid-April to May 31. Banding takes place for 6 hours each day starting at dawn.
Nets are not opened if it is raining or too windy. The best time to visit the Observatory is in the mornings.
The Observatory closes for the summer on May 31.
The National Wildlife Area is an excellent place to bird even when the Observatory is not open. Trails around the Observatory and Prince Edward Point are open all year.
Prince Edward County also offers great birding with many trails and habitats to explore (MAPS and DIRECTIONS)
To join the PEPtBO Bird Alert Whatsapp group – for real time updates and to share unusual or significant sightings in The County – please contact: ilesmatt1984 AT gmail.com with your cell number.
The 2019 migration monitoring season at Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory began with casual observations from April 11, with standard banding beginning on April 15. Here are some of the highlights and new arrivals during this period:
Apr 11-14 Barred Owl present in Cedar Woods.
Apr 11 Vesper Sparrow
Apr 12 & 13 Bohemian Waxwings – up to 120, observed between Long Point harbour and Cedar Woods.
Apr 13 saw big movements of Northern Flickers (over 80 observed), Golden-crowned Kinglets (over 100), and Slate-coloured Juncos (over 50), whilst Brown Creepers, Winter Wrens and Fox Sparrows were also trickling through in decent numbers. Several pairs of Cliff Swallows returned to the Van Cott Cottage, reportedly early for the area.
Apr 15 first day of banding saw a moderate movement of Juncos (26 banded).
Apr 16 return of first local Brown Thrasher and Barn Swallow, whilst first migrant Purple Martin, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Hermit Thrush and Broad-wing Hawk were observed.
Apr 18 saw our busiest day yet, with 171 birds of 20 species banded, including 49 Chipping Sparrow, which were moving in force this day (over 150 observed). Also numerous again were migrating Juncos and Creepers, whilst the first Myrtle Warbler (Yellow-rumped), Pine Warbler (TW) and Rusty Blackbirds were observed, in addition to a single Bohemian Waxwing associating with some Cedars and the first Great Egret – probably a local bird.
Apr 19 was the day that Ruby-crowned Kinglets began to outnumber their Golden-crowned cousins, which were still moving in numbers. There was a small movement of Purple Finches, whilst the first Red-breasted Nuthatch appeared and a Northern Waterthrush was banded, in addition to an early House Wren.
Apr 21 saw some variety on the lake, with a Surf Scoter, Red-Necked Grebe and 5 Horned Grebe all observed (PM).
Apr 20 White-throated Sparrows began to move through in numbers.
Apr 22 Swamp Sparrow and Eastern Whip-poor-will heard singing for first time this season.
Apr 23 a male Northern Parula was observed (later banded on Apr 25) – apparently the earliest record in Prince Edward County by 5 days.
Apr 24 Eastern Bluebird observed near Van Cott Cottage (KG) and a flyover Lesser Yellowlegs.
Apr 27 & 28 saw a big influx of 100s of swallows, moving along the shoreline and feeding over the lake, and later high over the point, mostly Tree Swallow, with substantial numbers of Cliff and Barn.
Apr 29 brought a movement of male Myrtle Warblers, in addition to the first Palm Warbler (banded) and Blue-headed Vireo, and a brief appearance by a female Evening Grosbeak at the Van Cott Cottage.
Long-tailed Ducks and White-winged Scoters have been present in their hundreds throughout the period, whilst large numbers of Bonaparte's Gull (up to 1000) have been present or moving through sporadically.
(Vesper Sparrow KG) (Pine Warbler MI) (Northern Parula MI)
All observations by Matthew Iles, unless the where following initials are noted: TW – Tom Wheatley, PM – Paul Mackenzie, KG – Ketha Gillespie.
TIPS FOR VISITING the OBSERVATORY
Bring a jacket in case of rain or extra layers - weather can be very different down at the Observatory and the lake can make it cooler.Wear close-toed shoes or hiking boots.
Mosquitoes are sometimes a problem - repellent may be useful but don't use it around the birds (i.e. at the nets or in the banding lab).
Long sleeves and long pants are recommended - a few places have poison ivy and there have been reports of ticks. Stay on paths and do a tick check after visiting the Point
Binoculars, if you have them, are useful for seeing birds in their habitat
While visitors are encouraged to observe the banding operations, please stay away from the mist nets in the net lanes. Only trained volunteers are allowed to extract birds from the nets. You can view the birds up close at the banding lab as they are banded.
On very busy days, when the bander and scribe have a lot of birds to process, there should be no talking in the lab. They are always more than willing to answer questions, but the birds come first, and they need to focus on their work. So watch, but please don’t talk or interrupt.
Overnight camping and campfires are not permitted in the National Wildlife Area.
Toilets are available, but there is no drinking water on site.
Please respect the habitat and vegetation by staying on the road or trails.
Enjoy the birds!