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Birding Report Except for a few stragglers, mostly water birds, the fall bird migration has all but ended at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, and the remainder are mostly species that can be found on the Christmas Bird Count, which is barely three weeks away (December 17).
Small numbers of Red-throated Loons and Common Loons can still be seen in Popham Bay, as well as a fair number of Horned Grebes. A Double-crested Cormorant puts in a daily appearance on the little artificial island off Salt Point. A Great Blue Heron flew over Gull Peninsula on November 19. A few Tundra Swans have been present for the past two days.
With a skim of ice forming on small sheltered waters overnight, many of the dabbling ducks have moved on. Five Gadwalls flew over Gull Peninsula on November 21. American Wigeons have gradually disappeared from 35 birds in the marsh six days ago. A flock of about 100 Lesser Scaup in the inner part of Presqu'ile Bay for the past six days was accompanied by two Ring-necked Ducks on November 21. White-winged Scoters are still numerous offshore. Hooded Mergansers were present for three days in numbers reaching 25. After November 19, when there were about 70 American Coots in the marsh, they were almost all gone by the next day.
In the past two days, four species of shorebirds were in the Park, and, surprisingly, Purple Sandpipers were not among them. Three of them were found on November 23, including a Black-bellied Plover and an injured White-rumped Sandpiper, both rather late. A Spotted Sandpiper opposite campsite 335 at Chatterton Point on November 21 and 22 was the latest on record, according to /Birds of Presqu'ile Provincial Park/ (1993). It, too, did not appear healthy.
The first Snowy Owl of the season was on Gull Peninsula on November 21, and another, or perhaps the same bird, was also seen on High Bluff Island that day. One of the Barred Owls that lurk in Jobes' Woods was spotted from the road (Paxton Drive) on November 17.
A Belted Kingfisher was at the calf pasture on November 22, and a Northern Shrike has been there almost every day this week. Other individuals of that species have shown up in two different parts of the Park. A late Ruby-crowned Kinglet was at the lighthouse on November 21 and 22. Three American Pipits flew over Gull Peninsula on November 19. Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles have been patronizing feeders along Bayshore Road, with two of the former and 13 of the latter at 83 Bayshore Road on November 22. Birders should be on the lookout for Rusty Blackbirds, of which a flock was seen this week not many kilometres away. For the second consecutive week, crossbills have been found in the Park, with two Red Crossbills flying over Owen Point on November 23.
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, Owen Point, Gull Peninsula, High Bluff Island, and part of the calf pasture are not available for bird-watching on those days.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.