PRINCE EDWARD POINT
Spring: **** Summer: *** Fall: *** Winter: ***
Independent Directions to this Site: Prince Edward Point is just over 3 hours southwest of Ottawa and 106 km west of Kingston, Ontario. Take Highway 417 from Ottawa west to Highway 416 (exit 132). Follow 416 SSE 80 km to Highway 401. Turn right onto 401 and go 155 km to exit 566 at County Road 49. Exit south on County Road 49. Five km south of the 401 cross the Bay of Quinte onto the Quinte Peninsula, which doubles as Prince Edward County. Follow CR 49 an additional 23 km to Picton and Highway 62 / County Road 33. Picton is an effective base from which to explore the entire peninsula, if you plan to stay more than one day.
Route Map Ottawa to Prince Edward Point Area
Site Description and Birding Information: The Quinte Peninsula juts out into Lake Ontario south of Belleville. Its only land connection to the rest of Ontario is just south of Trenton near the town of Carrying Place, where the isthmus narrows to 2 km. This is the boundary of Prince Edward County, whose checklist now stands at 346 species.
The best birding spot on the peninsula is Prince Edward Point itself. As well as a great spot for migrants, this point is one of the last holdouts in Ontario for Henslow's Sparrow. Clay-colored Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Eastern Bluebird and Upland Sandpiper are found along Babylon Road.
Map of Prince Edward County Area
The Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory in Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area does banding during migration. One of the highlights here has been the night banding of owls. Large numbers of Northern Saw-whet Owls pass here, primarily in the first half of October. In 2003, 217 were banded between Oct. 5 and 11, with 76 on Oct. 7 alone; and 176 between Oct. 12 and 18. In 2004, the month of September saw 123 birds, when the usual is more like 10 to 15. The first week of October saw 144 birds; the second 248 with over 100 birds on each of the 11th and 12th.
Also worth checking is Sandbanks Provincial Park, though it is also a very popular camping spot in summer. Orchard Orioles have been seen near the entrance of Woodlands Campground. West Point is a relatively tiny point of land, but can contain phenomenal numbers of birds in migration. The sand bar can be interesting in season.
An early spring waterfowl spot is the flooded corn field area off Kaiser Crossroad in the Cressy area where hundreds of Canada Geese, Northern Pintail and Mallards are sometimes joined by less common species.
Another birding spot on the peninsula is Massassauga Point Conservation Area. This alvar setting includes some regionally interesting wildflowers, including Sleepy Catchfly, Prairie Smoke, and Sideoats Gramma Grass. Caspian Tern is seen patrolling the channel in summer.
Check East Lake for gulls, there were 25 Little Gulls there November 20, 2002. Yellow-billed Cuckoo can be seen and heard infrequently in the Walmsley Road area, near Point Petre.
Sandhill Cranes have returned again in April 2005 to their favourite pasture fields south of Picton, off County Road 10.
In winter, watch for feeding stations like the "famous feeder" at 11787 Highway 33 (Glenora Road). It hosts a good mixture of finches and other species.
Areas that can provide many profitable hours of birding in Prince Edward County, aside from those mentioned, are Beaver Meadow Wildlife Management Area, Point Petre, Salmon Point, and the Prinyer's Cove area.
Google Satellite View of Prince Edward Point
Rare birds reported from Prince Edward County include:
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Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Jul. 13 to at least Aug. 4, 2010 - Milford),
Ross' Goose (Sep. 25-26, 2003 - Wellington),
Harlequin Duck (Jan. 28-31, 2003 - Point Petre; Apr. 22 to May 14, 2010 - 5 to 9 - Prince Edward Point),
Common Eider (Sep. 13-28, 2003 - Prince Edward Point),
Eared Grebe (Nov. 3, 2007 - off lighthouse),
Western Grebe (Nov. 1, 2008 - Prince Edward Point),
Pacific Loon (Nov. 2 or 3, 2002 - Long Point; Nov. 6 or 7, 2004; Nov. 5 or 6, 2005 - Prince Edward Point; Sep. 27, 2006 - Prince Edward Point; Nov. 5, 2006, Nov. 4, 2007, Nov. 3 or 4, 2008),
Yellow-billed Loon (May 19, 2002),
Great Cormorant (May 20, 2004),
Brown Pelican (Oct. 5, 2002 - Sandbanks),
Cattle Egret (13 on Oct. 16, 2003 - Picton),
White Ibis (Oct. 6, 2009 - Prince Edward Point),
Glossy Ibis (May 1971; May 1976; Aug. 23, 2010 - Prince Edward Point),
Black Vulture (May ?, 2002; Sep. 20, 2003 and May 29, 2004 - Prince Edward Point; Apr. 19, 2004 - Point Petre; & Mar. 23, 2010 - Rutherford Stevens Lookout),
Western Sandpiper (Sept. 11, 2002),
Piping Plover (Sep. 11, 2008 - Sandbanks Provincial Park),
Black-legged Kittiwake (Nov. 23-24, 2004 - Sandbanks, Oct. 31, 2006 - Prince Edward Point),
Sabine's Gull (Nov. 23, 2004 - Sandbanks),
Pomarine Jaeger (Aug. 30, 2003 - Prince Edward Point),
Parasitic Jaeger (Sep. 10, 2004),
White-winged Dove (May 15 & 23, 2008 - Picton & Prince Edward Point; Sep. 13, 2010 - Gravely Bay Crossroad),
Great Gray Owl (Jan. 8 - Mar. 22, 2005 - total of 13 birds),
American Three-toed Woodpecker (Nov. 29, 2006 - Sandbanks Provincial Park),
Black-backed Woodpecker (Oct. 23-25, 2004; Apr. 22, 2005 - both at West Lake Sector, Sandbanks Provincial Park),
Ash-throated Flycatcher (Nov. 1982; a probable Oct. 8, 2007),
Fork-tailed Flycatcher (Oct. 5, 2008 - near observatory),
Northern Wheatear (June 23, 2003 - Point Petre),
Townsend's Solitaire (c. Nov. 5, 2005; Nov. 5, 2006 - Little Bluff Conservation Area; Feb. 16-23, 2008 - Point Petre, ON),
Tufted Titmouse (Jan. 20, 2004 - Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area),
Cave Swallow (Nov. 2003 - Point Petre; Nov. 9, 2005 - West Lake; Nov. 10, 2008 - Prince Edward Point),
Lark Sparrow (May 4, 2003; May 14, 2010 - Babylon Road),
Harris's Sparrow (Feb. 25 to at least May 2007 - 2800 County Road 1),
Yellow-throated Warbler (Dec. 1987 - Trenton; Apr. 19, 2004 - Prince Edward Point; Nov. 26 to Dec. 5, 2006 - west of Carrying Place),
Connecticut Warbler (Sep. 11, 2011 - - Prince Edward Point),
Kentucky Warbler (May 18-19, 2002, May 9, 2007),
Hooded Warbler (several present at Prince Edward Point/Point Traverse from May 12 to 21, 2007; May 19, 2008 - Sandbanks Provincial Park),
Yellow-breasted Chat (May 20, 2007 - banded),
Dickcissel (1 banded 2001; early June 2003; May 14, 2005 - Big Island; Oct. 3, 2009 - Point Petre),
Summer Tanager (May 31, 2004, May 23, 2007),
Lazuli Bunting (May 23, 2006).