There has been lots of birding activity at Presqu'ile Provincial Park in the past week, with results that have generally satisfied everyone. Perhaps the Ontario Field Ornithologists' outing to Presqu'ile Provincial Park this Sunday will generate even more sightings of interest.
The main duck migration is still weeks away, but a few recent observations include WOOD DUCKS (regular in the marsh), REDHEADS (a continuing flock in Popham Bay), GREATER (flock of five in flight) and LESSER SCAUP, LONG-TAILED DUCKS (a few off Owen Point), and COMMON and RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS. Both HORNED and RED-NECKED GREBES have been seen. A GREAT EGRET that was in the marsh this morning had a blue wing tag but was too far for its numbers or letters to be read. A GREEN HERON was seen yesterday. Apparently migrant raptors have included NORTHERN HARRIERS, and SHARP-SHINNED, COOPER'S and BROAD-WINGED HAWKS as well as an immature BALD EAGLE spotted at three different locations on Sunday (presumably the same bird each time) and another (or the same one) seen both yesterday and today near the lighthouse. COMMON GALLINULES appeared on both Saturday and Sunday (two birds).
A good variety of shorebirds, including some rarities, frequented the beach on the weekend, especially on Saturday, but there have been progressively fewer each day since then. The highlights were an AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER (up till Sunday), a WESTERN SANDPIPER (not seen to my knowledge since Monday), a BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER on Friday and Sunday, and a LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER on Saturday. More recently a GREATER YELLOWLEGS, a RUDDY TURNSTONE, a PECTORAL SANDPIPER, and several BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS have accompanied the more common species. A COMMON TERN on Sunday was the first in several weeks. This is the season when PARASITIC JAEGERS occasionally turn up at Presqu'ile.
A flock of 58 ROCK PIGEONS on Saturday was unusual in the Park. One of the weekend campers saw a BARRED OWL. The fifteen RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS on Saturday were the most in the past week. Although there are some anomalous August and September records of BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER at Presqu'ile, an anonymous report of the species on September 7 and 8 of this year requires documentation by way of a rare bird report. MERLINS have been seen several times this week. A YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER on September 4 was noteworthy. Singles of BROWN CREEPER, BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER, and AMERICAN PIPIT were also seen. There has been a considerable movement of warblers of many species through the Park. Flocks seldom stay long in one place. Thus it was not possible to re-locate one that was described in a way that suggested BLUE-WINGED WARBLER. SCARLET TANAGERS have also been on the move.
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 water that is knee-deep, not taking into account any wave action, in which there is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven and slippery. 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