Judging from the past week at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, there seems to be an inverse correlation between fine (i.e. pleasant) weather and abundance of birds. On the weekend, when there was steady rain on Saturday and intermittent rain on Sunday, the woods and beaches were alive with birds. One group of birders saw 79 species in the pouring rain on Saturday and another group saw over 100 on Sunday. In both cases, almost all of the birds were within the Park. Since then, the weather has been superb and the bird migration has slowed to a crawl, though that metaphor may be inappropriate for winged creatures. There are still some good finds in the Park, but they are in most cases birds that have lingered since the weekend or earlier.
The REDHEAD flock in Popham Bay has grown to about 120 birds and is accompanied by a few GREATER SCAUP. A few WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, HORNED GREBES, and RED-NECKED GREBES have also been there. A GREAT EGRET and an OSPREY were seen on Saturday. Among the 15 shorebird species seen in the past week, highlights included the following: AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS (still present on Gull Island today); WHIMBRELS (also on Gull Island since at least Sunday and still present); WHITE-RUMPED, BAIRD'S, and PECTORAL SANDPIPERS; the first DUNLIN of the season on Gull Island; last but not least BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS, the first of which were one on the beach and three on Gull Island on Tuesday, with four being seen on Gull Island today. Most CASPIAN TERNS have left, but a group of nine COMMON TERNS was at the lighthouse on Friday and two were there on Monday. The most recent BARRED OWL record was today.
RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS continue to visit the feeders at 83 Bayshore Road. A PEREGRINE FALCON was seen on Tuesday. Most of the remaining flycatchers are EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES and EASTERN PHOEBES, but there were reports of both YELLOW-BELLIED and WILLOW FLYCATCHERS. A GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER yesterday was late. Both BLUE-HEADED and PHILADELPHIA VIREOS have been accompanying the warbler flocks. Again this week there were a few COMMON RAVEN sightings. The most recent swallow sightings were on Sunday and Tuesday, both of which were BARN SWALLOWS. A BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER on Sunday was rather late. All of the regular "brown-backed" thrushes except HERMIT THRUSH were seen this week. With AMERICAN PIPITS now being seen almost every day, we can expect the imminent arrival of the first HORNED LARKS and LAPLAND LONGSPURS. Despite their frustrating habit of flitting through leafy canopies, warblers in all their autumn glory (!) were ubiquitous for a few days. At least 22 species were recorded on Sunday and smaller numbers have been present all week. One of them was a BLUE-WINGED WARBLER and another was a rather late YELLOW WARBLER. Several ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS have appeared this week. Another bird was tentatively identified as a CONNECTICUT WARBLER, but experts who have seen its photo believe it to be a NASHVILLE WARBLER. The first onslaught of migrant WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS has not yet reached Presqu'ile, but a few were seen on Sunday. There were anonymous reports of BALTIMORE ORIOLE and PINE SISKIN.
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. 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