On the first full day of summer, finding birds at Presqu'ile Provincial Park is challenging. There are plenty about, but many of the songbirds have gone quiet. Those that are best found by sight are easier to locate, but most of the same ones appear day after day, which is not a problem for birders spending just a day in the Park.
Several hundred CANADA GEESE are in Popham Bay, and may be responsible for the pollution-related beach closure of the past two days. Over 100 MUTE SWANS are also there, prompting questions about where they have been in such numbers for the past few months. Up to a dozen WOOD DUCKS are present in the marsh these days, best seen from the camp office viewing stand. Among the other ducks visible from Owen Point in the past week are GADWALL, AMERICAN WIGEON, REDHEAD, and RED-BREASTED MERGANSER. Two observers saw a LEAST BITTERN on the causeway just outside the Park and both LEAST and AMERICAN BITTERNS on the marsh boardwalk. GREAT EGRETS are still nesting on High Bluff Island, but BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS appear to have abandoned Sebastopol Island.
Both of those species can be seen late in the day flying over the marsh.
Two OSPREYS were at the calf pasture this morning, and two NORTHERN HARRIERS were at the marsh on Sunday, as well as a VIRGINIA RAIL. A COMMON GALLINULE was visible from the campground viewing stand this morning. The only shorebirds seen these days are KILLDEER and SPOTTED SANDPIPER, but LEAST SANDPIPERS may be showing up soon, perhaps after the imminent cold front. The COMMON TERN research on Gull Island involves putting lemon yellow on the necks of birds that have been counted, to avoid double counting. Some of those birds can be seen sitting at Owen Point. A BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO was at the calf pasture today. BARRED OWLS are calling occasionally behind 83 Bayshore Road.
A recently fledged RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER was at 83 Bayshore Road this evening.The behaviour of a few BLUE JAYS over the lighthouse yesterday morning was not unlike that of migrants a month earlier. One of the commonest birds around the lighthouse is the PURPLE MARTIN, since there are four occupied nesting boxes within half a kilometre of there. A BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER nest was found yesterday at the beach 1 parking lot, with young being fed. On two subsequent visits no sign of occupation could be detected. Among the five species of warblers being heard regularly are both BLACKBURNIAN and PINE WARBLERS. There are a few EASTERN TOWHEES around. ORCHARD ORIOLES continue to be seen and heard in various places. PURPLE FINCHES and young PINE SISKINS have been coming to 83 Bayshore Road.
One of the most interesting reports of the spring/summer came in too late to include in last week's report: a WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL flying over the fingers.
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.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.