At this time of year it is difficult, if not impossible, to know whether some of the birds being seen at Presqu'ile Provincial Park are newly arrived southbound migrants or simply birds that have wandered away from a nearby breeding location. However, the remarkable concentration of birds around the lighthouse this morning was reminiscent of the best migration days, the numbers of birds being inflated by this year's crop of young ones that have not yet succumbed to predation or any of the other perils of migration. At the other end of the peninsula, around Owen Point, the numbers of birds are down from their peak during the breeding season, but a few unequivocally southbound migrants are among them.
In Popham Bay, there are ducks that have been present all summer, including GADWALLS, REDHEADS, up to six GREEN-WINGED TEAL, and a scaup (on July 26), as well as a female COMMON MERGANSER. A COMMON LOON was calling as it flew over Jobes' woods. Up to 14 PIED-BILLED GREBES have been counted at one time in Presqu'ile Bay, indicative of a successful breeding season. Not all of the GREAT EGRETS have left their nests on High Bluff Island, but the species is being seen flying past several other parts of the Park. OSPREYS are being seen singly or in pairs over Presqu'ile Bay and Popham Bay. The only migrant shorebird species seen during the past week are LESSER YELLOWLEGS and BAIRD'S, SEMIPALMATED and LEAST SANDPIPERS, leading the Park Naturalist to ask whimsically, "Where are all the shorebirds?" An adult BONAPARTE'S GULL at Owen Point on July 26 was the first of that species in almost a month and the first adult since the spring. Two more adults were over Presqu'ile Bay today. COMMON TERNS have all but disappeared from their breeding area on Gull Island.
A BARRED OWL was heard behind 83 Bayshore Road on July 23. PILEATED WOODPECKERS were found on two consecutive days. EASTERN KINGBIRDS have become more plentiful, or at least more visible, in recent days. From past experience, their peak numbers should be reached in the next week or two. A COMMON RAVEN was calling in Jobes' woods on July 26. Most of the PURPLE MARTINS and other swallows have departed from their nest sites and are now gathering by the dozens along power lines and on television antennas and other structures. The CAROLINA WREN that has been frequenting the property at 83 Bayshore Road has begun to investigate the buildings on that site. What appears to be a family group of BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS has been at the lighthouse and nearby.
From now on, migrating warblers will begin appearing. In fact, a CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER on July 23 and a probable TENNESSEE WARBLER on July 26 were likely new arrivals. Two MOURNING WARBLERS today may also have been. Twice recently a ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK was at the lighthouse, and ORCHARD ORIOLES are still present there.
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. Birders are encouraged to record their observations on the bird sightings board provided near the campground office by The Friends of Presqu'ile Park and to fill out a rare bird report for species not listed there.