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Birding Report Although flocks of migrant land birds have settled in many parts of Presqu'ile Provincial Park in the past week, most of the interesting sightings have been on and around Gull Tombolo (formerly Gull Island).
Up to four live Common Loons have been present in Popham Bay, in addition to dead ones on the shore, apparently victims of disease. Sixty Horned Grebes were counted there and on the south shore on October 8, when viewing conditions for water birds were ideal. At least two live Red-necked Grebes were present this week. Two Wood Ducks were in the woodpile marsh on October 10. A maximum of 27 American Black Ducks were also seen on that day. Northern Pintails and Green-winged Teal are now more regularly found in the marsh than elsewhere. A male Canvasback was with the raft of Greater Scaup and Redheads in Popham Bay on October 8. Eight Ring-necked Ducks were in the marsh two days later. All three species of scoters have been seen in Popham Bay this week, with six Surf Scoters on October 8 and two Black Scoters on October 10. The open waters of Lake Ontario are dotted with White-winged Scoters. A Common Goldeneye was in Popham Bay on October 8 and 10.
An Osprey on October 8 and two on the following day were rather late. Among the remaining shorebirds, an American Golden-Plover on October 10, a White-rumped Sandpiper on October 8, and a Baird's Sandpiper on October 12 were of interest, all of them on Gull Tombolo. An adult Little Gull was also there on October 12. Two Common Terns at the lighthouse on October 12 were late.
At Presqu'ile, any Barred Owl found away from the Jobes' Woods area, like the one late last week, especially at this time of year, is suspected of being a migrant rather than one of the resident birds. No other owls have been reported in the Park for quite some time, but others, especially Northern Saw-whet Owls, are likely to appear soon.
Blue-headed Vireos have been plentiful in the past week, with one observer seeing six on October 6 and three on October 12. The first Horned Lark of the season appeared off Owen Point on October 10. Two Orange-crowned Warblers were also present at the other end of the Park on that day. Among the other seven species of warblers over the past week was a Northern Parula on October 6. A highlight of the week was the discovery of at least one Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow on Gull Tombolo on October 8. A White-crowned Sparrow of the Gambel's race was also there. A Fox Sparrow was there two days later. Three Lapland Longspurs were in that same area on October 8. A Purple Finch was at 186 Bayshore Road on October 12, the first of that species this fall. Three House Sparrows at that same feeder on October 7 were unusual for Presqu'ile.
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. It should be noted that, because duck hunting is given priority on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Gull Tombolo, High Bluff Island, and part of the calf pasture are not available for bird-watching on those days. For the first time in several years, however, birders and others will be permitted at Owen Point on hunting days, at least for the first few weeks of the hunting season.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.