Unlikely as it may seem to those unfamiliar with bird migration phenology, Presqu'ile Provincial Park has already begun to see evidence of the fall bird migration. In addition, some of the less common resident birds have also appeared in the past week.
A count of 110 Mute Swans on July 5, while not unusual in winter, was exceptionally high for this time of year and deserves attention from those responsible for managing the environment. A flock of about 20 mergansers, either Common Mergansers or Red-breasted Mergansers, did a fly-past on July 6 too quickly for their specific identity to be determined. A Least Bittern, a species that is present in some numbers during the summer but is often elusive, was found in the marsh on July 4. A Black-crowned Night-Heron
flew past the lighthouse on July 6. An Osprey was at the calf pasture this morning. A Semipalmated Plover was on the beach on July 4 and 5, returning south a mere 23 days after the last of the northbound migrants of that species. Another returning shorebird was a Lesser Yellowlegs on July 3 and 4. Five Least Sandpipers on July 8 were also among the forerunners of the fall shorebird migration for which Presqu'ile is noted.
With the campgrounds now alive with campers, we can anticipate a report of Barred Owls calling. A Northern Mockingbird, apparently a young bird, seen near the Park store on July 4, suggests that the species may be breeding in the Park, as has previously been suspected. An American Redstart near the lighthouse on July 6 may also have bred in the Park but had obviously wandered in from somewhere away from where it was seen. A Purple Finch was singing near the Park store on July 3 and again near the bird sightings board two days later.
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.