Over 100 species of birds have been seen at Presqu'ile Provincial Park in the past week, a clear indication that the fall migration is in full swing. There has been lots of birding activity at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, 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, especially after the predicted change in the weather.
The BRANT that was seen on two previous occasions this summer was spotted again yesterday. Two TRUMPETER SWANS have been fairly regular off Owen Point.B Ducks have been present in somewhat increasing numbers. Where one GREATER SCAUP has lingered for weeks, three were seen yesterday. As well, COMMON MERGANSERS have re-appeared in three different places. One of the biggest surprises was a flock of eleven WILD TURKEYS, an adult with ten young. Someone saw a YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO on Sunday. A COMMON NIGHTHAWK was also seen on that day. COMMON GALLINULES are easy to find in both the woodpile marsh and the marsh along the causeway leading into the Park, where eleven birds were counted.
An AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER was on Gull Island on Friday. Otherwise, the shorebird flock at Owen Point has remained fairly stable all week. In addition to the commoner species, it has included one WHIMBREL late last week, a STILT SANDPIPER on Sunday, a few BAIRD'S and PECTORAL SANDPIPERS, and a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER with an injured leg. As many as three GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS are now being seen. AMERICAN BITTERN, GREAT EGRETS, and GREEN HERON have all been seen on more than one occasion. A BALD EAGLE was seen on two different days. COOPER'S HAWK, RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, BROAD-WINGED HAWK, MERLIN, and PEREGRINE FALCON have all been seen in the past week.
YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER and ALDER FLYCATCHER were among seven flycatcher species in the Park. YELLOW-THROATED VIREO and PHILADELPHIA VIREO were also seen. Single COMMON RAVENS were found twice. A BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER was seen on Monday. Two GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSHES and an AMERICAN PIPIT were the first of the season. Too many warbler species (!) to be listed here, but a HOODED WARBLER seen briefly at the lighthouse this afternoon was an interesting report. Several sparrow species are summer residents at Presqu'ile, including a few WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS that were seen twice this week, but migrants such as WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS should soon be appearing.
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. Visitors to Gull Island not using a boat should be prepared to wade through knee-deep water (not allowing for waves) in which thereis 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 bedirected to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.