Amherst Island Trip Report

Though Wolfe Island offers some great birding, it’s just a bigger and better (and more attractive) show on Amherst; there’s no question! Our birding group was so big that the ferry nearly capsized when we drove on. I decided to take the group right to Owl Woods to look for small roosting owls. The walk to Owl Woods was terrific. The sky was a bluebird blue; it was beautiful winter’s day. When we arrived at Owl Woods, we took our time searching each tree carefully. After a short while, Bree Tucker whispered in shock “I am looking at a Long-eared Owl.” The whole group gathered around and peered up into the canopy, and, there it was, a beautiful Long-eared Owl. Bree self-found her lifer! (Amazing spotting, Bree, and congrats on finding a “small” owl.) About 30 minutes later, Derek Dunnett spotted some ear tufts swaying in the breeze, right next to a tree trunk; another Long-eared! Congrats on your superb find, Derek! In the end, we encountered four Long-eared Owls, what a highlight! Amazingly, our day went from amazing to stupendous when a total of twelve Short-eared Owls lifted up from the base of sumacs and fluttered around before landing again. We were astonished by this sighting.

After Owl Woods, we enjoyed our lunches, then hit the open country in search of birds of prey. In the end, we observed fourteen Snowy Owls, twelve Rough-legged Hawks, and seven Red-tailed Hawks.

What a great day in the field; a Perfect 10!

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Amherst Island: