Note: In addition to this tour, I have Amherst Island tours scheduled for two other dates: February 6 and February 16. Click on the dates for more information.
Friday, February 5, 2021
Amherst Island is well known amongst Ontario birders as a raptor hotspot, and for good reason. During years with high meadow vole populations, large numbers of raptors such as Northern Harriers, Rough-legged Hawks and Red-tailed Hawks descend on the island to take advantage of these excellent feeding opportunities. American Kestrels and Northern Shrikes are often present, while Snowy Owls and Short-eared Owls find habitat in the numerous pastures on the island in varying numbers. In addition to the raptors, Amherst Island is a great location to see a nice variety of waterfowl, and Snow Bunting flocks are sometimes chanced upon while driving along the country roads. A visit to Amherst Island is not complete without a hike at the Owl Woods, where Long-eared, Barred and Northern Saw-whet Owls can sometimes be discovered roosting in the numerous conifers on the property.
The winter of 2020-2021 is shaping up nicely for high quality birding on Amherst Island. I have heard that meadow voles are present in good numbers this year. Additionally, many of the northern finch species have irrupted to the south of their typical wintering range due to seed crop shortages in the boreal forest. We will keep our eyes and ears open for redpolls, Pine Grosbeaks, Evening Grosbeaks, crossbills, and Bohemian Waxwings (which I consider an honorary finch!).
We will meet at the Millhaven ferry docks between 9:00 AM and 9:15 AM and take the 9:30 AM ferry across to to the Stella ferry docks located on Amherst Island. Due to Covid-19 protocols, we will have to take separate vehicles to the island. We will spend the day birding on the island, and will take the 5:00 PM ferry back to the mainland.
What to bring: Cold-weather clothing, binoculars, camera, spotting scope (if you have one - I will have mine with us as well), lunch, snacks, water, face covering/hand sanitizer. We will usually be close to our vehicles and can warm up if necessary.
Washrooms/lunch: The only public restrooms on Amherst Island are located at the Stella ferry docks; I will plan for a bathroom break every 90-120 minutes. There are no restaurants on the island, and so you will need to bring your food and water for the day.
Meet up time and location: We will meet between 9:00 AM and 9:15 AM at the Millhaven ferry docks. The address for the Millhaven ferry docks is 5604 Highway 33, Millhaven, Ontario. Note that the cost for the ferry is $9, which is for a round-trip ticket. For more information about the ferry service, click here.
Duration: Full day of birding from 9:30 AM until 5:00 PM.
Cost: The cost for the tour is $125 per person (inclusive). Maximum 6 people. Payment can be sent via e-transfer (firstname.lastname@example.org), or by cheque or cash in person at the start of the tour. Note that this does not include the cost for the ferry, which is $9 for a round-trip ticket. This will be paid at the ferry docks in the morning.
If interested, please send me an email: email@example.com