Not only has the fall bird migration at Presqu'ile Provincial Park got into full swing, but the variety now includes a good many passerines to complement the shorebirds that have held sway in recent weeks and continue to provide excellent viewing opportunities.
For the second consecutive week, a BRANT was on the beach, this time yesterday evening. The TRUMPETER SWAN that has been among the other swans around Sebastopol Point for several weeks was still there this morning, as was a GREATER SCAUP among the REDHEADS. A single BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO was at the lighthouse on Sunday and a YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO was in Jobes' woods on Tuesday. Yesterday evening a CHIMNEY SWIFT flew over. The observer who found a SORA yesterday probably got to see the bird, since most vocalization has ceased for the season. At least some of the COMMON GALLINULES that were hatched in the woodpile marsh this summer are still there but fully grown.
Fifteen species of shorebirds and a hundred or more individuals have put in an appearance in the past week at Owen Point, where they feed within metres of the viewing area in habitat (algae flats) that is more natural than in sewage lagoons. Some of the highlights include RUDDY TURNSTONE, STILT SANDPIPER (one or two almost every day), BAIRD'S SANDPIPER (several almost every day), WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER, PECTORAL SANDPIPER, SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, GREATER YELLOWLEGS. A GREEN HERON pretending to be a shorebird has also been among them or nearby on most days. GREAT EGRETS frequently fly past there. An adult BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON flew over the marsh at dusk on Sunday.
A YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER was at the calf pasture. A MERLIN has been making repeated passes over the shorebirds. The coming week will mark the fourth anniversary of the discovery of a THICK-BILLED KINGBIRD, which delighted many birders from far afield for a period of four days. It now serves as a reminder that rare flycatchers from the west and south-west do occasionally show up in southern Ontario in fall. A good variety of warblers can be found on most days. At least fifteen species have been seen, plus a good many more that got away before being identified. The first two SCARLET TANAGERS of the season were at the calf pasture yesterday.
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.