Until today, this has been a slow week for bird migration at Presqu’ile Provincial Park, though not without some surprises. On this first anniversary of a fly-by NORTHERN GANNET, we are reminded that rarities do show up at this time of year, not the least of which was a LESSER SAND-PLOVER thirty years ago this Sunday, when it was still known as MONGOLIAN PLOVER. This is not to suggest that there will be a repeat of either of those wonders, but what will this week bring?
A pair of NORTHERN PINTAILS was in Popham Bay on Monday, over two weeks later than the previous sighting. WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS have been present in small numbers this week, but no SURF SCOTERS have yet been reported this year. At least one RED-THROATED LOON was in Popham Bay on Monday. GREAT EGRETS, which nest on High Bluff Island and forage in the marsh, are seen by most birders visiting the Park at this time of year and will surely continue to be seen throughout the spring and summer. A SANDHILL CRANE was over the calf pasture on April 26. Shorebirds generally arrive later in May but the vanguard appeared yesterday, with both BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER and DUNLIN on the beach, as well as two WILLETS today three kilometres west of the Park. Two late SNOWY OWLS were on the beach on April 28.
The first BLUE-HEADED VIREO of the season was among the many new arrivals today. BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS continue to put on a good showing this week, with one observer having seen six this morning. Only six warbler species have been found so far this spring, none of which would be unusual at this date. Though some appeared in April, all six were seen today. A VESPER SPARROW on April 28 was in an odd location, – on the roadside with no open area nearby. Up to 20 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS were seen this morning, and a few PURPLE FINCHES have been at Presqu’ile this week. Not uncommon anywhere else, a male HOUSE SPARROW visited a feeder briefly.
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.
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.