The excitement that invariably comes with May birding has been building up all week at Presqu’ile Provincial Park. Inevitably, there have been both rare and uncommon birds among the hordes of expected species. If favourable weather conditions prevail, the first flocks of BRANT can be expected within the next few days.
A pair of GADWALLS continue to be seen off the north shore of Gull Island. Two NORTHERN PINTAILS and up to 18 GREEN-WINGED TEAL have also been in Popham Bay. Among diving ducks, a male CANVASBACK was there yesterday. Three SURF SCOTERS were off the lighthouse on Saturday. Single RED-THROATED LOONS were in Popham Bay on each of the past three days. HORNED and RED-NECKED GREBES have been in the open water of the lake. As yet, no one has reported any LEAST BITTERNS or rails, which are undoubtedly hiding in the marsh. A BALD EAGLE was seen on Saturday and a PEREGRINE FALCON on Sunday and Wednesday. Both of the falcons were adults and the sightings were at opposite ends of the Park. Someone reported a SANDHILL CRANE last Friday. A SEMIPALMATED PLOVER was at Owen Point on Tuesday and two GREATER YELLOWLEGS were on the beach yesterday. An ICELAND GULL on Friday and a GLAUCOUS GULL on three different days (including today) were late, as was a SNOWY OWL on May 2. Owls and other nocturnal birds found at Presqu’ile in the past week include BARRED OWL, NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL, and EASTERN WHIP-POOR-WILL.
Surprisingly, only one RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD has been seen so far. A COMMON RAVEN was found again this week. BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS appear to be building a nest at the lighthouse parking lot. A vociferous NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD co-operated nicely for several birders today. It was also present yesterday. Sixteen warbler species have appeared in the past week, including singles of GOLDEN-WINGED, HOODED, CAPE MAY, and YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS. The latter species has been seen only once before at Presqu’ile, and the HOODED WARBLER is not often seen more than once in a year. On May 6, an AMERICAN TREE SPARROW was rather late. A GRASSHOPPER SPARROW was reported from the marsh boardwalk. The first LINCOLN’S SPARROW appeared today. A few BOBOLINKS arrived at the lighthouse yesterday morning. An anonymous report of a BREWER’S BLACKBIRD requires more details before being added to the Park’s records, as there are only two previous records. The first ORCHARD ORIOLE arrived yesterday. A male HOUSE SPARROW visited a feeder twice this week.
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.