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Warblers and Whimbrels Weekend at Presqu'ile

Warblers and Whimbrels Weekend at Presqu’ile – May 20-21/2017

The Friends of Presqu’ile Park are pleased to announce that Spring is finally here!  And with Spring comes the return of tens of thousands of smaller birds and shorebirds that migrate through Presqu’ile Provincial Park on their way north.  These are some of the most beautiful and sought after birds for birdwatchers and this weekend is packed with activities designed to introduce visitors to these birds and the fine art of bird watching. 

On both Saturday May 20 and Sunday May 21 we will start out with an ultra early bird walk for the ultra keen at 6:30am from the Lighthouse Centre.  Want to sleep a bit longer?  We will also offer a repeat bird walk starting at 10am from the Lighthouse Centre. In between we will have staff and volunteers around the Lighthouse pointing out whatever birds are migrating through, with warblers always being crowd favourites.  “Warblers are often called the “jewels of the forest” for their varied and beautiful colours” says Park Naturalist David Bree, “but they can be a challenge to see.  Our experts can help you find and identify some of the 20+ species likely present in the park this weekend.  While bird watching is best in the early morning, there is usually some activity all day during migration and we should see birds on our later walks as well as the early ones.” 

There will be a guided walk starting from the Owen Point Trail parking lot at 2pm to seek out shorebirds.  Bree goes on to say “With this walk we are going to the other end of the birding spectrum. Warblers are often hidden, shorebirds stand in the open, Warblers are brightly coloured, shorebirds are beautiful but are subtle tones of brown, grey, and red.  Shorebirds too can be a challenge to identify, but having a guide with a spotting scope will help visitors get a good look at these fascinating creatures. These are true long-distance migrants; many are travelling from southern South America to the Canadian Arctic and are only stopping a few days at Presqu’ile to refuel.  Last year we had Piping Plovers nesting on our beach.  The high water level this year means the beach is very wet – not good for plovers but very attractive to other shorebirds, so viewing should be good.”

The highlight for many will be a bird banding demonstration at the Owen Point Trail parking lot from 8am until noon courtesy of Elizabeth Kellogg and Roger Frost, licensed bird banders.  This will allow visitors an unprecedented chance to see birds up close and learn how and why birds are banded.  This activity is weather dependent for the safety of the birds.

The Lighthouse Centre and Friends’ store will be open 8am to 4pm and this will be the last chance to get in on our raffle for Bushnell optics. The draw will be held at 4pm on Sunday for the scope/tripod package generously donated by Bushnell.  The Friends will also host a fund-raising BBQ on both days at the Lighthouse Centre from 11am until 2pm.

The Friends invite everyone to share in this event.  It makes a great outing for those that appreciate nature, families and individuals alike.  The only cost involved is a $14.50/vehicle park entrance fee. We hope to see you there.

For more information call 613 475-4324 ext. 225 or email david.bree@ontario.ca