The predicted surge of new bird arrivals at Presqu'ile Provincial Park occurred on Friday and Saturday of last week, with good numbers still present on Sunday.
Most of the ducks that pass through in the spring have thinned out. A flock of three NORTHERN PINTAILS and an AMERICAN BLACK DUCK flew in from the west on Saturday, and one of the former was seen today. GREEN-WINGED TEAL are present along the shore of the beach on most days, with a high count of 22 on Saturday. Five SURF SCOTERS were off beach 3 this morning. Several attempts to find RED-THROATED LOONS in Popham Bay were unsuccessful, the exception being on Sunday, when two were there. AMERICAN BITTERNS have been heard in the marsh almost every day since April 15. Surprisingly, there were no reports of GREAT EGRETS during the past week, raising questions about whether they will again be breeding on High Bluff Island. The return of BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS to the offshore islands is likely imminent. An immature BALD EAGLE flew over on Sunday. Sightings of SHARP-SHINNED HAWK, COOPER'S HAWK, and NORTHERN GOSHAWK represented a complete sweep of accipitrine hawks. An AMERICAN COOT has been frequenting the open water in front of the camp office viewing platform. Two successive calm evenings, somewhat unusual at Presqu'ile, enabled a few birders to hear a pair of GREAT HORNED OWLS in the "fingers". One lucky observer saw them fly out towards him. There were several BARRED OWL observations during the week.
Both RED-BELLIED and PILEATED WOODPECKERS are now making their presence known by vocalizing and/or drumming. A COMMON RAVEN was seen on three occasions. The Park was almost overrun with HERMIT THRUSHES on Friday, with lesser numbers still present on subsequent days. A few BROWN THRASHERS also arrived on that day and remain here and there. PINE WARBLERS and YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS first appeared on April 15 and 16, respectively. CHIPPING and FIELD SPARROWS have been present in good numbers, as well as a few each of SAVANNAH, FOX, SWAMP, and WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS. RUSTY BLACKBIRDS were seen on Sunday and Monday, including a flock of close to a dozen. A PURPLE FINCH and two PINE SISKINS were seen on Sunday.
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 from March 10 onward 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.