Birding activity has been extremely limited at Presqu'ile Provincial Park this week, as birders and birds lie low in the oppressive heat. Few days go by, however, without something of interest appearing. If we are to believe the rarities and unusual sightings indicated by someone on the bird sightings board on July 5, that would have been a truly exceptional day: Magpie, Solitary Sandpiper, Dunlin, Red-shouldered Hawk, etc., etc. The Broad-winged Hawk similarly reported on the following day is equally unlikely.
About 30 GADWALLS were gathered off the north shore of Gull Island on July 7, and a flock of 16 GREEN-WINGED TEAL flew past Owen Point this morning. Four COMMON MERGANSERS were in Popham Bay on July 5. GREAT EGRETS make daily flights over the Park, often crossing Presqu'ile Bay from Weller's Bay or elsewhere. There is always a possibility of other species making this flight, as two years ago this month, a SNOWY EGRET was seen doing the same thing. Unless the SOLITARY SANDPIPER mentioned above is confirmed, no other migrant shorebirds have yet appeared. The BONAPARTE'S GULLS frequenting Salt Point earlier this month have not been seen since July 5.
The distinction between post-breeding dispersal and southbound migration among passerines is blurred at this time of year, but there have been some indications of either this week, especially today, after the passage of a "cold” front. EASTERN KINGBIRDS, for example, have been showing up in gradually increasing numbers. A rare summer occurrence of a TUFTED TITMOUSE at the calf pasture on July 7 may have been a bird that was in the Park since the spring. This morning a pocket of warblers included two BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLERS, and a YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER was not far away. In the nearby "fingers” a PINE WARBLER was singing. A NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH caught and ate a dragonfly yesterday.
A new book entitled For the Birds: Recollections and Rambles, by Fred Helleiner, is available from the author (see below) for $20 plus $2.50 for postage. It is also being sold at the Lighthouse Gift Shop in the Park and at Out on a Limb and Lighthouse Books in Brighton. All profits will be donated to the Friends of Presqu'ile's 25th Anniversary Environmental Fund, which sponsors long-term projects like the eradication of invasive species. This message is authorized by the Ontbirds Coordinator.
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.