With the first big influx of fall land bird migrants having reached Presqu'ile Provincial Park on Tuesday, birding has become much more exciting in the Park and promises to become even more so. The foliage still makes it difficult to spot the warblers in the canopy, especially since they are being greatly outnumbered by monarch butterflies, whose movements offer a constant distraction for those whose only interest is birds.
Not a day has gone by in the past week without sightings of Common Loons in Presqu'ile Bay. Their distress calls when boats approach too closely come as a pleasant surprise to visitors at the calf pasture. One group of observers saw eight Great Egrets fly over. Although it is still a bit early for the main hawk migration (much of which by-passes Presqu'ile anyway), there have been several interesting sightings this week: Ospreys on most days; Northern Harriers (probably local breeders); Sharp-shinned Hawk at the calf pasture on August 15; Cooper's Hawk and Peregrine Falcon on August 16; Merlin on August 14.
A Black-bellied Plover has been at Owen Point regularly since August 11. Up to six Semipalmated Plovers and four Lesser Yellowlegs have also been present on most days. A bird that fitted the description of a Hudsonian Godwit was reported, but the bird disappeared before its identity could be confirmed. A Baird's Sandpiper aand two Short-billed Dowitchers were also of interest. The next two weeks should see more shorebirds arriving, and with them, one hopes, an even greater variety of species.
A Rock Pigeon flew over the lighthouse on August 16. The most recent Barred Owl sighting was on August 14. Three Common Nighthawks flew over the lighthouse at dusk on August 10. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are appearing in greater numbers than during the earlier part of the summer. /Empidonax /flycatchers and Eastern Phoebes have begun showing up here and there. The last two weeks of August are one of two brief periods of the year when Olive-sided Flycatchers can be expected. A small Blue Jay migration appeared to be taking place at the lighthouse on August 16. Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers
have been seen twice at the lighthouse and once at the calf pasture this week.
Ten species of warblers reached Presqu'ile this week, nine of them on August 14. Among others, there were Nashville Warblers, Chestnut-sided Warblers, Black-throated Green Warblers, Blackburnian Warblers, Black-and-white Warblers, Mourning Warblers, Canada Warblers, and one that was likely a Bay-breasted Warbler. Scarlet Tanagers have been at the lighthouse on two different days.
To reach Presqu'ile Provincial Park, follow the signs from Brighton. Locations within the Park are shown on a map at the back of a tabloid that is available at the Park gate. Access to the offshore islands is restricted at this time of year to prevent disturbance to the colonial nesting birds there.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.