Surprisingly, in the week leading up to the summer solstice there was still evidence of spring bird migration at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, albeit very limited. A handful of northbound shorebirds was still at the beach and a few songbirds were circling high over the lighthouse in migration mode on the morning of June 18.
With this year's brood of Mute Swans having already grown to full size, the numbers of that species are already building up. At least 70 can be found in the Park with little effort. By freeze-up there will likely be several hundred. Yet there are still no plans to deal with the problem. Most other waterfowl now at Presqu'ile are Canada Geese, with a smattering of Mallards and other dabbling ducks (Wood Ducks, Gadwalls, American Wigeons, American Black Duck). Common Loons are being sighted occasionally and Great Egrets with increasing frequency.
A big surprise this week has been the presence of at least one Bald Eagle, seen on three different days since Saturday. Eagles are seldom seen at Presqu'ile in summer. The last of the migrating shorebirds appear to have finally left. A Semipalmated Plover was on the beach on June 20, and a Ruddy Turnstone and a Semipalmated Sandpiper on June 16, but none of these could be found today. On the other side of Presqu'ile Bay there was a White-rumped Sandpiper (along with a dozen Bonaparte's Gulls) on June 15.
A Black-billed Cuckoo has appeared fairly regularly at the calf pasture. Three Blue Jays and a male Baltimore Oriole were apparently migrating over the lighthouse on the morning of June 18. A pair of Orchard Orioles was also there, and another has been frequenting the area opposite 60 Bayshore Road. The calf pasture has been another reliable location for finding these birds.
If birding gets too boring, a walk up the bicycle path leading north from the Owen Point trail parking lot will bring you to another rare specimen for Presqu'ile, a Showy Lady's Slipper in full bloom. Its location is marked by an interpretive sign and a protective fence.
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.