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Migration off to a Surprising Start

Migration off to a Surprising Start

While spring has been cool and wet this year, bird migration at Presqu'ile has started nicely. The first big wave of southern flyers came on Tuesday April 26th with 1000s of Yellow-rumped Warblers forming the majority of the birds but early Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Orchard Orioles and a few other warblers were also in attendance.

The real shocker however came a few days earlier on Saturday the 23rd when after a morning rain, local birder Doug McRae found 32 American Avocets resting on Presqu'ile beach! The avocet is a stunningly beautiful western North American shorebird, with long legs, a long upturned bill, and black, white and golden colouration. This bird rarely shows up this far east; Presqu'ile has only had 6 records in the last 45 years, and these of only a single bird. To have 32 show up at once, a full month earlier than any have ever been seen here before, well it's no wonder Doug did a double and triple take before believing his eyes. World quickly got out and many local birders were able to see this marvellous site. The birds stayed around all day, mostly sleeping, before heading off west at sunset. While migration at Presqu'ile is always a marvel, this just goes to show that even the most experienced birder can find a surprise now and then. The bulk of migration is still to come with most small birds and shorebirds moving through in May so pick a day or two and come enjoy the park and what migration has to offer. There may even be a surprise or two waiting to be discovered.

Photographs by Ian Shanahan

David Bree

Natural Heritage Education (NHE) Leader

Presqu'ile Provincial Park