Birders have been visiting Presqu'ile Provincial Park this week from far and wide, and have come up with a good variety of interesting sightings. It is difficult to pinpoint a time when the fall migration reaches its peak, but early September merits consideration.
The latest reported sighting of a TRUMPETER SWAN was on August 29. A group of five LONG-TAILED DUCKS that flew past the lighthouse on August 29 has likely been somewhere on Lake Ontario all summer, as it is too early for migrants from the north to appear. Still being seen but in much smaller numbers than in mid-summer are GREAT EGRETS and BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS.
In contrast, TURKEY VULTURES and other raptors are here more frequently these days. Among them was an immature BALD EAGLE consuming something on the beach and a PEREGRINE FALCON, both on September 3. SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS have been moving through in small numbers, and MERLINS are regularly giving the shorebirds a run for their money (or their lives). Two AMERICAN KESTRELS were seen on September 2. A WILD TURKEY was on Atkins Lane on August 28.
As usual at this time of year, the big avian attraction at Presqu'ile is the gathering of shorebirds, which invariably includes some uncommon or rare species. At least sixteen species have been seen in the past week, including two AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS on August 31, a GREATER YELLOWLEGS on September 3, three WHIMBRELS on August 28, multiple WHITE-RUMPED, BAIRD'S, and PECTORAL SANDPIPERS, two STILT SANDPIPERS for the past three days, and a BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER first seen on August 31 and seen daily since then (two on the first date). No one has yet found a WESTERN SANDPIPER, a rare species that shows up almost every year at this time. Four species of terns showed up this week. A FORSTER'S TERN flew in from the west on August 29 and three juvenile BLACK TERNS did the same thing two days later. At least twenty COMMON NIGHTHAWKS flew over on September 2.
83 Bayshore Road continues to be the best, if not the only, location at which a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER can be found. An OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER has been a fixture near the west end of the calf pasture since August 30 and was still there today. Two observers saw two of that species along Paxton Drive. Other flycatchers have included EASTERN KINGBIRDS still lingering on August 31 and September 2. YELLOW-THROATED VIREOS were seen on August 29 and 30 and a PHILADELPHIA VIREO on August 29.
On August 31, a CLIFF SWALLOW flew over near the lighthouse and a BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER was seen nearby. On the same day, an early AMERICAN PIPIT was on the beach. Among the seventeen species of warblers in the Park in the past week were NORTHERN PARULA, CAPE MAY WARBLER, BAY-BREASTED WARBLER, and CANADA WARBLER. WILSON'S WARBLERS have been surprisingly plentiful. A SCARLET TANAGER on September 2 and a PURPLE FINCH on August 28 were also of note.
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 for another week 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