HIGHLIGHTS: Red Knot, Carolina Wren
OVERVIEW: No unexpected rarities were discovered during the period but it was a solid week of migration birding with a good diversity of warblers still about. A major cold front that pushed in overnight on 27-28 Sep really brought a taste of fall with a general thinning of insect eating birds, a big push of sparrows and a substantial hawk flight that passed mostly north of the Park. The morning of the 28th also saw a steady steam of songbirds, especially phoebes, yellow-rumped warblers, pipits and juncos streaming off High Bluff Is. and flying east past Gull Is. toward Owen Pt.
With the start of the annual hunt in the Park last Saturday, waterfowl staging patterns have changed. The large puddle duck flock that has been around the islands all summer is more dispersed with many sitting far offshore on calm days or going to parts of the marsh without duck blinds, where they are harder to see. They often return on non-hunting days. Three shorebirds (Dunlin, Sanderling and Black-bellied Plover) and a cormorant have been observed on Gull Is. this week unable to fly due to shattered wings. Access restrictions are detailed below.
Ruffed Grouse: A grouse was heard drumming on 28 Sep. Drumming is normally a spring behavior but many birds go through a second, less intense, drumming period in fall possibly in relation to the change in daylight hours.
American Bittern: A very cooperative bird spent 26 Sep at the Calf Pasture Cove.
Bald Eagle: At least two sub-adult birds frequented the park this week, and others past to the north.
Black-bellied Plover: Birds were on Gull/Sebastopol Island all week and occasionally the beach, peaking at 16 on 30 Sep.
American Golden Plover: The only report was a single on 30 Sep.
Semipalmated Plover: A few were on the beach/island most of the week with a peak of 4 on 30 Sep.
Spotted Sandpiper: Most have now left but a single was seen on 28-29 Sep.
Ruddy Turnstone: Two birds spent the week on Sebastopol Is.
Red Knot: Two birds were seen on 26 Sep, with one remaining mostly on Sebastopol until 30 Sep.
White-rumped Sandpiper: One was on Sebastopol on 26 Sep.
Lesser-Black-backed Gull: The first of fall was a young of the year on the Beach on 26 Sep with an adult reported later the same day.
Least Flycatcher: One at Calf Pasture on 29 Sep may be the last of the year.
Eastern Phoebe: Many migrants showed up this week with 20 seen flying from High Bluff Is. east over Gull Is. in 15 min on 28 Sep.
Horned Lark: In a sure sign of fall the first two Horned Larks were found on Gull Is. on 30 Sep.
Barn Swallow: A single on 29 Sep may be the last of the year.
Carolina Wren: One that showed briefly at a Bayshore Rd. birdbath on 25 Sep was unexpected.
American Pipit: Present all week on the island with a peak of 45 on 28 Sep, many actively moving east over Gull Is.
Orange-crowned Warbler: This frequently misidentified warbler has a narrow and comparatively late window (late Sep-mid Oct) when it passes through our area. The first was reported on 25 Sep, followed by several more through the week.
Northern Parula: Small numbers present all week with a high of 7 on 25 Sep.
White-crowned Sparrow: The first of fall was seen on 28 Sep and was common by the next day.
Purple Finch: Singles were noted on 28 Sep and 29 Sep.
House Sparrow: Three birds were seen near the lighthouse on 29 Sep were the first in weeks.
Please Note: Presqu’ile Provincial Park permits waterfowl hunting from Saturday 25 September until Saturday 18 Dec on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Access to the marsh (other than the Marsh Boardwalk Trail), Calf Pasture Point, Gull Island and High Bluff Island is closed to all park users except registered hunters on those days. Once blinds are placed on Owen Pt. on 15 November, the whole of the Point to the High Bluff Campground will also be closed.
Directions: Presqu’ile Provincial Park is located south of Brighton on the north shore of Lake Ontario. It is well signed from either Hwy. 401 or Cty. Rd. 2.