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Birding Report The past week at Presqu'ile Provincial Park has seen bird migration take place at its normal pace for early September. A few surprises have made it interesting to be out scanning the waters, beaches, and thickets. Some of them might still be around for the annual Presqu'ile excursion of the Ontario Field Ornithologists on Sunday, September 9 (8 a.m. at the lighthouse parking lot).
One of these surprises was an exceptionally early Brant that showed up at beach 1 and at Owen Point early this morning. Another was a Trumpeter Swan that has been consorting with a few Mute Swans off Owen Point. Over 100 of the latter have congregated in Presqu'ile Bay, a prelude to winter, when that number is likely to double or triple. A female scaup was in Popham Bay on September 3. Another surprise on that date was an early Horned Grebe surrounded by algae at the base of Salt Point. Three Black-crowned Night-Herons were on Sebastopol Island on September 5, perhaps reconnoitring that former breeding site as a possibility for next year.
A Turkey Vulture flew over the Park on September 6, a Northern Goshawk was in Jobes' Woods on September 2, and both Merlins and Peregrine Falcons have been seen repeatedly, usually around Owen Point.
Depending on such factors as heat haze and the presence or absence of predatory falcons, shorebirds have either been frustratingly distant and difficult to identify or fairly cooperative on the algae flats at Owen Point, Chatterton Point, and Salt Point. After public access to Gull Island resumes on September 11, much of the frustration recently experienced by visiting birders should dissipate. Among the more interesting shorebirds of the past week were two American Golden-Plovers on September 2 and 3, three Whimbrels on the same two dates, two Red Knots on September 5, a White-rumped Sandpiper from September 4 to 6, daily sightings of several Baird's Sandpipers, a Pectoral Sandpiper on September 5, and a Buff-breasted Sandpiper on September 1 to 3. A Lesser Black-backed Gull was at beach 2 on September 5. At least two Great Black-backed Gulls have been present this week, the first since mid-July. We are still awaiting our first phalaropes and jaegers of the season.
A Black-billed Cuckoo has been seen sporadically near the lighthouse. A Red-bellied Woodpecker and a Tufted Titmouse were reported on the bird sightings board with no details. If anyone reading this report knows of the circumstances of either of these reports, especially the latter, please contact David Bree at 613-475-4324, ext. 225. Another southern bird of interest is the Carolina Wren that has been in the lighthouse area, and frequently vocal, almost daily since August 27. A Wood Thrush was at the lighthouse on September 1, and up to three Brown Thrashers have been patronizing the feeders at 83 Bayshore Road. Surprisingly, no American Pipits have yet been reported at Presqu'ile this fall.
Flocks of migrating passerines (especially vireos, warblers, and tanagers) have been moving through the Park, though one may go for some time without seeing any. One such flock contained eleven species of warblers in one small tree. Species of interest have included Philadelphia Vireos, a Blue-winged Warbler, a Northern Parula, and increasing numbers of Yellow-rumped Warblers, which will soon be outnumbering all others. One or more Evening Grosbeaks have been visiting the feeders at 83 Bayshore Road.
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 until after September 10 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.