Every day for the past week, newly returned birds are appearing at Presqu'ile Provincial Park. This is the time of year between the peak of waterfowl migration and the onset of shorebird migration, when attention is focused on land birds.
For most of the past week, viewing conditions have been unfavourable for locating birds far out in the water (waves and rain), but today was ideal, and seven loons were spotted in Popham Bay, six of which were Red-throated Loons. The latest sighting of a Red-necked Grebe was on April 24 in Presqu'ile Bay. Great Egrets and Black-crowned Night-Herons
are on their nests on the offshore islands. Turkey Vultures, obviously on migration, were seen in the Park twice this week.
Among the remaining ducks in Presqu'ile Bay are a single male Canvasback, a Surf Scoter that has been in the same location for over two weeks, and a female Hooded Merganser last seen on April 21. An Osprey flew over near the lighthouse on April 26, and a Sandhill Crane flew northward high over the peninsula on April 27. A Dunlin on the beach on April 23 was the first of the later shorebirds to arrive. A Glaucous Gull was seen from Owen Point on April 23 and 25. Common Terns should be arriving there soon.
Surprisingly, there have been no reports yet of Blue-headed Vireos, which are normally here before the end of April. The Carolina Wren that appeared in the Park last week was last noted on April 23, but the House Wrens that arrived on April 27 are not likely to move on. A Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher was at the lighthouse on April 25 and 27. The Veery that was seen on April 25 may be the first April record for Presqu'ile. Warblers are trickling in. The four species found this week included several Palm Warblers on April 27 and a Black-and-white Warbler on April 25. By this time next week, there will likely be at least six more species in the Park. Two American Tree Sparrows on April 21 are probably the last of that species to be seen at Presqu'ile for the next six months. Other sparrows seen this week include several Field Sparrows, a Savannah Sparrow, and a White-crowned Sparrow that has been visiting feeders at 191 and 186 Bayshore Road daily since April 22, which appears to be a record early date. A Rusty Blackbird was near the lighthouse on April 27.
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.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.