Most of the newly returned species of birds at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, too many to enumerate, have arrived on schedule. A few unexpected uncommon or rare birds have been among them.
Almost all of the transient ducks have moved on, but this morning three scoters were off the lighthouse, two of which were a pair of BLACK SCOTERS and the third might have been a SURF SCOTER but flew off before its identity could be confirmed. A group of eight COMMON GOLDENEYES today was rather late. There was a RUDDY DUCK in Presqu'ile Bay on April 27. A RED-THROATED LOON was still in Popham Bay today. The biggest surprise of the week was an adult NORTHERN GANNET that flew out of Presqu'ile Bay yesterday, only the second record of that Atlantic species for the Park and one of very few spring records or adult records on the Great Lakes. GREAT EGRETS, a Presqu'ile specialty, are relatively easy to find. With the discovery of a GREEN HERON today, the only remaining one of the regular ardeids is LEAST BITTERN, which may in fact be back already, undetected in the marsh. Both GREATER and LESSER YELLOWLEGS were on the beach on April 28. On April 26, another stellar gull day produced eight ICELAND, four LESSER BLACK-BACKED, and three GLAUCOUS GULLS. There have been a few COMMON TERNS in the past week. A GREAT HORNED OWL was calling on April 30. The first MERLINS of the season showed up yesterday.
A RED-HEADED WOODPECKER at the lighthouse yesterday was almost a record early date. In the same tree was a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER, one of many in the Park these days. A GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER today and an EASTERN KINGBIRD yesterday were the first of the spring. A COMMON RAVEN was seen on April 30. There was a report of a SWAINSON'S THRUSH on the exceptionally early date of April 29. Both HERMIT THRUSH and WOOD THRUSH are present. Among the nine species of warblers plus one hybrid were a BLUE-WINGED WARBLER and a "BREWSTER'S” WARBLER. A few WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS have arrived, the first ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK returned on April 27, and the first BALTIMORE ORIOLES today. A few PINE SISKINS are around. A female EVENING GROSBEAK visited the feeders at 83 Bayshore Road today.
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. 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.