The arrival within recent weeks of fall migrant shorebirds at Presqu'ile Provincial Park has brought on the anticipation of migrant songbird arrivals, but differentiating those from birds that are merely dispersing from their breeding territories is virtually impossible.
The noisy flock of 14 Common Loons, some in breeding plumage and some in winter plumage, that was off the day use area on July 21 has not been in evidence all summer. Contrary to what was reported last week, Great Egrets are now more prominent: one flew over near the lighthouse on July 18, two were on the beach on July 21, and three flew over the marsh on July 22. A Green Heron was also on the beach on July 21.
An Osprey at the calf pasture on July 22 and a Merlin at the Owen Point trail on July 21 were interesting raptor sightings. The two fledged young Barred Owls along the Jobes' Woods trail also belong in that category, though birds of that species are present there throughout the year but usually remain hidden.
Shorebird habitat north of Owen Point is now excellent. Some of the birds themselves have discovered it and can be found there every day. The numbers and species vary on a day-by-day basis. Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers and Lesser Yellowlegs are there on most days.
Flocks of swallows have been moving past the lighthouse this week, including a dozen Bank Swallows on July 17.
A singing Winter Wren on July 21 and a singing White-throated Sparrow on July 17 were reminders that those species are regular but often inconspicuous summer residents in the Park. A Rose-breasted Grosbeak at a feeder at 186 Bayshore Road on July 22 may also have been in the Park all summer, or it may represent an early migrant. The vanguard of migrating warblers should soon put in an appearance.
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.