The past weekend offered visitors to Presqu'ile Provincial Park the best birding of the year up to this point. Migration had been stalled by adverse conditions that changed just in time for the weekend, and birds took full advantage. As many as ten newly returned species were discovered in the Park on Saturday, and still more arrived on Sunday.
The migration of Red-throated Loons may have peaked on April 19, when 30 individuals were counted in Popham Bay, but some were still there two days later.
Great Egrets were seen in three different parts of the Park this week, including one sitting in a tree on High Bluff Island, where the species has nested in recent years. Black-crowned Night-Herons have been sitting in the bushes on Sebastopol Island every day this week, with fourteen there on April 22.
The only noteworthy duck sighting this week was of a female Surf Scoter that was observed twice in four days near the lighthouse.
An Osprey perched beside the main road into Presqu'ile Park on April 19 provided several people with splendid views. An adult Bald Eagle flew over the Park on April 22. A Merlin was at Owen Point on April 18, and another near the Nature Centre on April 21 was flying around and calling noisily.
A late Iceland Gull on Sebastopol Island on April 22 may have been the same individual as the one that was there earlier in the month. On April 21 and 22, an early Common Tern could be seen on a gravel bar off Owen Point, dwarfed by the surrounding Caspian Terns.
Among the many land birds that arrived last weekend or in the next few days were a Purple Martin on April 18, the first of several Northern Rough-winged Swallows on April 17, and a Bank Swallow on April 20. No one has yet reported a Cliff Swallow at Presqu'ile this year, but they are expected soon.
There was a House Wren at the lighthouse on April 22. There have been scattered sightings of Hermit Thrushes and Brown Thrashers, both of which were first seen on April 17. Four species of warblers are now in the Park. In decreasing order of abundance, they are Yellow-rumped (ubiquitous), Pine (as many as five in one day), Black-throated Green (first seen on April 21), and Palm (April 22, apparently a record early date for the Park). Other species should be expected within a few days. An Eastern Towhee and a Savannah Sparrow that came in on April 16, ahead of the main sparrow influx, were followed in the next few days by others of those species, as well as by Chipping, Field, Fox, Swamp, and White-throated Sparrows. There were three Rusty Blackbirds at the lighthouse on April 17. Purple Finches also arrived in good numbers on that date, as did a few Pine Siskins.
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.