The migrants northward fly their weary way, and leave the Park to residents and to me. These words, adapted from Gray's /Elegy Written in a Country Church-yard/, come to mind in the past week when birding in Presqu'ile Provincial Park. There is a sense of loss that very few of the migrants remain, but comfort that many birds are found day after day in the same locations.
A rather late flock of about 35 BRANT flew past on June 8. Beside the causeway just outside the Park gate, a female WOOD DUCK had seven tiny young with her. A BLUE-WINGED TEAL was on the beach this morning. Four LONG-TAILED DUCKS were still present on June 8. Two female COMMON MERGANSERS and a male RED-BREASTED MERGANSER were seen this week.
COMMON LOONS continue to be seen on most days, both in the lake and overhead. A PIED-BILLED GREBE nest can be seen off the campground office, and a family of young ones was near there this week, possibly from the same nest. A canoe-based search of the marsh yielded at least three and possibly five LEAST BITTERNS.
An OSPREY was sitting in one of the shallow ephemeral pools of water on the beach, pretending to be a shorebird. A female WILD TURKEY was at the calf pasture on June 9. VIRGINIA RAILS have been seen a number of times this spring in the marsh, but the one that was flushed into a tree at Owen Point was exceptional in its odd behaviour. A SORA was observed in the marsh on June 5. Shorebirds have thinned out almost completely.
Some of the remaining sightings are as follows: a SEMIPALMATED PLOVER on June 11; 15 RUDDY TURNSTONES on June 7; a late LEAST SANDPIPER on June 5; two WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS and a very late PECTORAL SANDPIPER on June 7; a DUNLIN on June 11; three SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS on June 7.
A BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO was calling at the start of the Owen Point trail, and a BARRED OWL was calling behind 83 Bayshore Road. On June 11, a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER spent almost an hour commuting to and fro between 186 and 187 Bayshore Road, and a few hours later it (or another) was at 83 Bayshore Road. A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER has paid periodic visits to feeders along Bayshore Road. An ALDER FLYCATCHER was found on June 7.
A NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD was chased by a COMMON GRACKLE at the calf pasture on June 5. The last of the transient warblers appear to have been two BLACKPOLL WARBLERS on June 7. Mid-June is generally a static time for birding at Presqu'ile, but a determined birder might manage to track down a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW in the calf pasture, where they have been seen in recent summer months. There are two pairs of ORCHARD ORIOLES near the lighthouse, at least one of which has a nest. The HOUSE SPARROWS in that area have fledged young in recent 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.