This is the height of the summer doldrums for birding at Presqu'ile Provincial Park. Invariably, however, there are surprises awaiting birders, and the past week has been no exception.
Most of the ducks seen are those that are expected in summer, including WOOD DUCKS, GADWALLS, and REDHEADS. Less likely are the eight LONG-TAILED DUCKS near the lighthouse (but far offshore) on June 29, the two female HOODED MERGANSERS at the beach on the same day, and the female RED-BREASTED MERGANSER with the REDHEADS on July 1. AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS have been showing up recently in various parts of southern Ontario, and the species has also appeared at Presqu'ile in July a few years ago. It is worth watching the cormorant flocks on the offshore islands in case a pelican rests there with its close relatives. Herons and their allies are appearing with increasing frequency. The following species were observed in the past week: GREAT BLUE HERON, GREAT EGRET, GREEN HERON, BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON. A COMMON GALLINULE was sitting on a log in the marsh. BONAPARTE'S GULLS have been feeding near the lighthouse for the past few days.
Yesterday a CAROLINA WREN sang for a few minutes near the lighthouse and a NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD was also in that area. A PINE WARBLER was singing in "the fingers”. A young ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK showed up at a feeder this week, and young ORCHARD ORIOLES have been at another feeder, both on Bayshore Road. The first PINE SISKIN in well over a month paid two brief visits to a bird bath this week.
A new book entitledFor the Birds: Recollections and Rambles, by Fred Helleiner, is available from the author (see below) for $20 plus $2.50 for postage. It is also being sold at the Lighthouse Gift Shop in the Park and at Out on a Limb and Lighthouse Books in Brighton. All profits will be donated to the Friends of Presqu'ile's 25th Anniversary Environmental Fund, which sponsors long-term projects like the eradication of invasive species. This message is authorized by the Ontbirds Coordinator.
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.