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Birding Report

November is typically a slow month for birding at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, but the fine weather of the past six days has kept hydrophobic birders in the field long enough to find some welcome "goodies".

For over two weeks, a male EURASIAN WIGEON has delighted almost everyone who came looking for it. Sooner or later a skim of ice over the marsh would cause it to leave, and in fact that may have happened since yesterday, when it was last reported. Other ducks are still plentiful, with WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS being the only ones of passing interest. Most loons have moved on, but a RED-THROATED LOON was still in Popham Bay on November 6. HORNED GREBES are also less in evidence with each passing day.

A BALD EAGLE was spotted on two different days. A NORTHERN GOSHAWK was observed attempting an attack on a RUFFED GROUSE. Other unusual hawk sightings were a RED-SHOULDERED HAWK (apparently the only one of the fall at Presqu'ile), a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, and a GOLDEN EAGLE seen in the distance outside the Park by an observer in the Park. The latest of the BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS was seen on November 9. On Gull Island, the first of the season's PURPLE SANDPIPERS was found on November 9, consorting with a large number of DUNLINS and a smaller number of WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS.

It may be just the defoliation of the past week that has made BARRED OWLS more visible, but the increase in sightings in recent days (three by one observer and two by another pair of birders, as well as several singles) coincides with the arrival of larger numbers a year ago. It seems unlikely that a similar influx will occur for a second consecutive year. The same observers who a month ago found the only NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL of the fall in the Park found another one on November 9.

RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS continue to be sighted, including one coming regularly to a feeder at 30 Bayshore Road. COMMON RAVENS were rare at Presqu'ile even five years ago but have become a fairly common bird in the Park this year and are still being seen on most days. The continued presence of a CAROLINA WREN at 186/191 Bayshore Road suggests that it might be planning to spend the winter there, as one did a few years ago. A RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET was at the lighthouse on November 8 and 9, and a GRAY CATBIRD was there as recently as November 6. Surprisingly, there have been no reports of YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS at Presqu'ile this month, but a very late NORTHERN PARULA paid a brief visit to 186 Bayshore Road this afternoon, sitting on the frame of a parked bicycle beside two birders sunning themselves on a bench before flying off to greener pastures, - close but no cigar when it comes to establishing a late record. FOX SPARROWS were at 191 Bayshore Road up till November 8. The biggest surprise of the week was a flock of forty or more PINE GROSBEAKS at Jobes' woods on November 9. No one has re-located them.

Two birds identified by sound as WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS flew over Atkins Lane on November 10. PINE SISKINS are around in smaller but still respectable numbers than a week ago.

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. Visitors to Gull Island not using a boat should be prepared to wade through ankle-deep water (deeper when there are waves) in which there is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven and slippery. It should also be noted that, because duck hunting is given priority on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Gull Island, High Bluff Island, Owen Point, and part of the calf pasture are not available for bird-watching on those days.

Birders are encouraged to record their observations on the bird sightings board provided near the campground office by The Friends of Presqu'ile Park and to fill out a rare bird report for species not listed there.

Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.


Fred Helleiner