Bay of Quinte Tourism

BoQ Bird Blog – July

Thanks for taking the time to read my monthly Bird Blog!  This is the first of my monthly blogs for Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board, where I’ll write about my nature walks, and give you a perspective of the Quinte area through the eyes of a birdwatcher.  There’s much see and do. Please enjoy!

An Evening Stroll Along The Riverside Trail​

It has been another hot and muggy July day.  As the sun begins to set, I’ve come to Belleville’s Victoria Park to enjoy the cool evening air and walk north along the Riverside Trail.  Out over the surface of the Bay waters, I watch cormorants form serpentine-like lines as they fly towards Snake Island, and the gulls make their southward commute high over the shop tops of Downtown Belleville.​

A picture of a cormorant in flights taken from underneath with a bright blue cloudless sky background.
A Cormorant in Flight – Photo by Rick Beaudon

As I walk upstream past Belleville’s City Hall, I spot a few lazy Mallard ducks seeking some rocky bit of real estate on which to establish themselves for the night. A large black and white raptor is making his way upstream, fresh fish in his talons.  It’s an Osprey.  I’ll follow him. I know where he’s going.​

A picture of an Osprey in flight hovering over it's next platform with a fish in its talons and a young offspring peeking up out of the nest ready for dinner.
Feeding Time for the Osprey Offspring – Photo by Tom

Above me the Chimney swifts are starting to chitter chatter, racing to fetch a final mouthful of insects before nightfall.  For a species that has seen it’s population decline by 90% over the past 50 years across Canada, it’s nice to see a few of them still nesting in Belleville.​

A picture of a chimney swift in flight from underneath with a bright blue sky background
A Chimney Swift Soaring – Photo by Rick Beaudon

My attention is now taken by the explosive rattling call of a kingfisher darting downstream.  She zips past a pair of Great Blue Herons that have set down along the river for a meal of minnows,  while next to them a weary Canada Goose has flopped down like a wet dog on the rocky river edge. ​

A picture of a Great Blue Heron side profile with crooked neck and yellow eyed stare.
The Great Blue Heron -Photo by Rick Beaudon
The Trail now does a double dip under the bridges of Front Street and Pinnacle Street, where I hear the coo-coo-cooing of pigeons echoing cave-like under the rumbling of the steel beasts above.​

A family of Common Mergansers have spotted me.  Mom is leading her brood swiftly away from my approach, with one duckling lagging, struggling awkwardly to catch up.  Eventually he gets back to his place in line behind his siblings.​

A picture of a family of Common Mergansers on a cement platform in the river. Mom up top with five ducklings below.
The Common Merganser Gang – Photo by Tom
Not far away, on the opposite shoreline, a Black-crowned Night-heron has almost alluded my sights.  These herons are not often seen along the Moira River in spring and early summer, choosing to nest secretly elsewhere in the Quinte area, but a few of these stocky black and white herons appear in late summer, sometimes accompanied by their brown plumaged young.​
A picture of a black crowned night heron on the edge of shore staring into the water below.
Black Crowned Night Heron – Photo by Tom
The Chimney swifts are really moving about now, much more quickly and frenzied,  as I make my final approach to Lions Park on Station Street.  They are likely looking to roost somewhere close by, perhaps in the isolated brick chimney which remains on the abandoned lot across from Historic Meyers Mill.​
There’s my Osprey.  It’s been a noisy reunion with his young family.  Alighting on his nesting platform, he’s begun to deal out his dinner of Bay fish to his two flightless offspring.​
A picture of a family of Osprey resting on the nesting platform.
An Osprey Family – Photo by Tom
My walk now over, I realise it has been quite a rewarding wildlife experience, despite my city surroundings.​

I’ll come back another evening.  Maybe I’ll see you there.​


“Tom’s Birding Tip of the Month​” — It’s hot out there, even for the birds. Remember to fill your bird bath daily.​

Bay of Quinte Region is an alliance of interdependent communities, bound together by a common history, shared economy, and the water that surrounds and defines us. We hope to welcome you soon.

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Bay of Quinte Region is an alliance of interdependent communities, bound together by a common history, shared economy, and the water that surrounds and defines us. We hope to welcome you soon.