Inevitably as the fall migration winds down, the variety of birds in the past week at Presqu'ile Provincial Park is somewhat diminished, but birders are still finding plenty of birds. Some of them are not as likely to be seen in other seasons.
One species that has yet to be found this fall is BRANT, which often pass through Presqu'ile in late October. Between now and freeze-up, the marsh is a good place to find dabbling ducks, of which six species have been present this week, including several WOOD DUCKS but no EURASIAN WIGEON, which was a regular there earlier in this decade from late October onward and is worth looking for. Among diving ducks, in addition to the numerous REDHEADS and GREATER SCAUP, there have been one or two RING-NECKED DUCKS, a female SURF SCOTER, several WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, and increasing numbers of LONG-TAILED DUCKS, BUFFLEHEADS, and COMMON GOLDENEYES. HORNED GREBES can be seen daily in Popham Bay and elsewhere, and a RED-NECKED GREBE was at Salt Point. Ten shorebird species have been present this week, including eight on Gull Island within a space of twenty minutes, most of which were DUNLINS. Of the twelve BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS that were there on October 16, only ten were there two days later, accompanied by an AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER, and they had totally disappeared by this morning. Six GREATER YELLOWLEGS and two PECTORAL SANDPIPERS were resting on a mud flat in the marsh. On Gull Island and at Owen Point there have been small numbers of SEMIPALMATED, LEAST, and WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS. The time is right for a stray RED PHALAROPE to appear; the only occasion when two of that species were seen was on this very date 23 years ago.
RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS continue to be seen at several feeders and in Jobes' Woods. A few MERLINS have been seen. The most surprising report was of an EASTERN KINGBIRD on October 16, the first October record for Presqu'ile, which is sufficient reason for the observer to submit a rare bird report to the Park. A COMMON RAVEN was being harassed by AMERICAN CROWS on October 16. EASTERN BLUEBIRDS were calling in the open area of Jobes' Woods this morning. Also this morning there were still AMERICAN PIPITS at Owen Point and the first SNOW BUNTING of the season on Gull Island. The most recent warbler sighting was on October 18, a YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER on Gull Island. AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS have begun to show up. A HOUSE SPARROW, never common at Presqu'ile, has been visiting a feeder at 186 Bayshore Road for the past five 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. Visitors to Gull Island not using a boat should be prepared to wade through water that is knee-deep, not taking into account any wave action, in which there is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven and slippery. It should also be noted that, because duck hunting is on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Gull Island, High Bluff Island, and part of the calf pasture are not available for bird-watching on those days. 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