Birders visiting Presqu'ile Provincial Park this week from outside the immediate area have not been disappointed. At least 75 species of birds have been observed in the Park this week, and an additional two late last week. To a great extent this reflects the diversity of habitats in the Park.
The two TRUMPETER SWANS reported last week were seen again twice in the last four days in the vicinity of Sebastopol Island. A scope is needed to pick them out from among the MUTE SWANS. An AMERICAN WIGEON on Gull Island was the first in about three weeks. REDHEADS in that area have increased in number to about 14. A COMMON MERGANSER was at Salt Point on July 12. One observer found four species of heron-related birds in one day, all of which are regularly present but not always seen on the same day: AMERICAN BITTERN, GREAT BLUE HERON, GREAT EGRET, BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON.
OSPREYS often fish over Presqu'ile Bay, and this week has been no exception. A RED-TAILED HAWK, likely a visitor from outside the Park, was harassed by a number of smaller birds to the point of wishing he had never made the trip. The fall shorebird migration has been slowly picking up steam for the past several days, with gradually increasing numbers of LEAST and SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS and LESSER YELLOWLEGS (as many as three at a time) on three of the past four days. One of the next shorebird species to arrive might well be a BAIRD'S SANDPIPER. Two immature GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS were present on July 11.
For the second consecutive Friday, a YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO was calling at the lighthouse on July 10. PILEATED WOODPECKERS and BROWN CREEPERS are year-round residents at Presqu'ile, but finding them in summer is a matter of luck, yet one birder saw one of each this week. RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES are also present all year, but one near the lighthouse on July 16 had obviously moved away from its breeding territory, whether that was in the Park or elsewhere. On July 13 a BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER spent a few hours feeding two recently fledged juveniles as they sat shoulder to shoulder in a birch tree near the lighthouse. From one to three of that species has visited that birch tree every day since then.
Warblers that have been seen this week, including BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER, PINE WARBLER, and three AMERICAN REDSTARTS, can not be considered fall migrants, as they all summer at Presqu'ile. FIELD SPARROWS, seen on July 14, are also in that category. ORCHARD ORIOLES continue to be seen in various plumages almost every day. After last week's report noted the absence of PINE SISKINS, two showed up at a feeder on the very next day, and one was still there on July 11.
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