With bird migration in full swing at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, at least one species that is rare elsewhere in southern Ontario but regular at Presqu'ile has been present this week. Shorebirds have been kept on their toes and warblers in hiding by marauding accipiters and falcons. 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. Birders on the OFO outing at Presqu'ile this Sunday will find the Lighthouse Gift Shop open from 10 a.m.
For the past two days there has been a goose on the beach whose plumage is that of a blue-phase SNOW GOOSE, though its size approaches that of CANADA GEESE, with which it is consorting. Four REDHEADS and a COMMON MERGANSER are the only diving ducks of interest. COMMON LOONS were apparently in migration on September 3. There were two GREAT EGRETS on High Bluff Island today, the first in several days. There was a BALD EAGLE on September 3 and numerous other hawks on the following day, including numerous SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS and a BROAD-WINGED HAWK.
Two COMMON GALLINULES were beside the causeway leading into the Park. The shorebirds on the beach and on Gull Island have included a few species that are noteworthy: a BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER on September 1; a GREATER YELLOWLEGS for the past two days; a WHIMBREL on September 1; a RED KNOT from September 1 to 3; one or two BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS on most days; and the highlight of the week, a BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER first found on September 1 and seen sporadically for the next two days. Once birders gain access to Gull Island, that bird and perhaps other shorebirds may be found. Based on the date, RED-NECKED PHALAROPE is a distinct possibility. A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was seen on September 4.
A BARRED OWL on September 3 was the only one of the past week. A flock of 16 or more COMMON NIGHTHAWKS went over the lighthouse on August 31 and a single one was flushed near Owen Point on September 3. Several AMERICAN KESTRELS and MERLINS and a PEREGRINE FALCON were among the raptors observed this week.
At least two OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHERS were present on September 1. Two YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHERS were seen on September 3, and another of that genus was identified as a WILLOW FLYCATCHER. Three PHILADELPHIA VIREOS were seen this week. BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS have been seen on most days. On August 31 an exceptionally early RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET was reported without details. Warblers have been abundant, with 19 species being seen, including the first PALM WARBLERS of the season. A LINCOLN'S SPARROW on September 4 was very early.
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 until after September 10 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.