2003 – PEP Talk – Volume 4
News from Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory ~ Volume 4
Time is now moving on and I am in to the second month. Good news is that we are out of the southerlies. Bad news is that it has swung to the south east, and that is even worse. We still have fabulous clear skies with bright sunshine, not a cloud in sight, and it is set for another week at least. The wind is chill off the lake and as a consequence there are no flying insects and therefore no birds. The flycatchers and Yellow Warblers are well gone.
We do catch a good mixture of warblers first thing (Blackpoll, Bay-breast, Wilson, Magnolia, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Blackburnian, Mourning, Nashville and Redstart), then nowt. Even the water has cleared and therefore not a shorebird to be seen either. Nowt to do but sit it out in the sunshine which is very strong out of the wind. The only sign of birds moving are the Blue Jays. They hop from tree to tree in groups of up to 200. Now and again they find their way into the nets but not too many yet. It’s meant to be a Blue Jay year, so we have expectations that we may band as many as 500!
There has been a new moon this week giving rise to the most stunning views of what can truly be described as a harvest moon, bright red to begin gradually becoming the brightest of golden colours as it rises and glistens over the lake. It is so bright all night it is easy to walk around and see quite clearly. Another of life’s little experiences.
More bad news and that is this place is being discovered by birders and we get far more visitors now. They make the long trek to see nothing (at present) and to pester us with silly questions. This observatory has only been operating for 5 years, but is already becoming known as one of the premier sites. I do not believe that it will be too long before it surpasses Pelee. It may not get the vast numbers, but it definitely gets more variety, banding the most Owls and now shorebirds (when they are here). Its quite nice to be part of it all.
To date I have seen 124 species which includes 9 lifers. This is not bad considering we are on the northern limits of most species that I would have expected to see. Grebes, Herons, Egrets, and even Coot and Moorhen are rare birds here. I can’t imagine going on a twitch for a coot, but guess it will happen soon. The total should be near to 200 mark which would mean that my species list for this year would be in excess of 600. Not bad eh!
Highlight of the week was Picton fair. Its like our county shows with all the usual stuff plus a large funfair. The Obs had a stand there and we went to man it Saturday afternoon. It really was quite good. They had the usual cattle and sheep show, prize veg and cooking etc, plus hose riding, not only show juming etc., but western style riding. This is really quite exciting and a whole different style. Kids of 5 and 6 right up to grown ups dressed up as cowboys riding like fury round posts, lasooing steers (they are not cows here) etc etc. Good spectator stuff.
On my perambulations, I had the biggest hotdog ever. It was like playing an oboe. Full of sauerkraut, onions and mustard and about 12 inches long. Very tasty too. I also spotted an exhibit that I thought was too good to be true. “The Picton Hookers”. Perhaps this would be another establishment to visit in town! Thought my luck was in only to be disappointed to find out that they were the local crochet group. Never mind, there is always another day plus it means that I still do not have to wash that often.
After watching bit more rodeo, hit the posh hotel bar in the next town. I must have had a good time judging by how much my head hurt the next morning. No one said too much so I guess I must have behaved myself
Birds Banded 438
Banding Ticks 22
Birds seen 124