Exceptionally warm and pleasant weather at Presqu'ile Provincial Park has slowed the bird migration but has provided many birders the opportunity to enjoy studying birds at their leisure, especially on Gull Island.
The BRANT that has appeared sporadically in recent weeks was once again on Gull Island on September 16. In addition to the TRUMPETER SWAN bearing wing tag K29, two others of that species, apparently untagged, have been present for most of this week. Last year on September 20 a EURASIAN WIGEON accompanied the AMERICAN WIGEONS in Popham Bay. The latter species has again been building up its numbers in Popham Bay this week, as have GADWALLS and REDHEADS.B Ten WILD TURKEYS were again seen this week. HORNED GREBES have gathered in small groups far out in Popham Bay. As recently as this afternoon, a few RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS remain in the Park. COMMON GALLINULES have been a fixture for most of the week in the woodpile marsh.
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS, AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS, and SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS are fairly easy to find at Owen Point or Gull Island. A WHIMBREL was photographed last Saturday.B Shorebird viewing has been excellent, with 14 species seen. Among them were RUDDY TURNSTONE (usually on Sebastopol Island), DUNLIN (a single individual seen on most days), two or three BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS on most days, a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER today, two PECTORAL SANDPIPERS, SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, and SPOTTED SANDPIPER at Gull Island and the lighthouse. On Saturday and again this morning, an adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was on Sebastopol Island, and was photographed on High Bluff Island today. Most terns have left but a CASPIAN TERN flew over this morning. The most recent GREAT EGRET sighting was on Tuesday. An AMERICAN BITTERN and two GREEN HERONS continue to frequent the woodpile marsh. An OSPREY yesterday and several MERLIN sightings were of interest. GREAT HORNED OWLS have been heard at the campgrounds.
A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER was seen on Sunday and another was heard yesterday. EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE and EASTERN PHOEBE were the only flycatcher species this week, but birders are reminded that Presqu'ile's only SULPHUR-BELLIED FLYCATCHER showed up in 1986 on September 28, a time of year when rare flycatchers from the west and south-west sometimes wander into Ontario. Again this week, a shrike was seen near Owen Point, presumably the same LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE that was discovered last week. That bird was hatched and raised in captivity at the African Lion Safari this year and released at Newburgh, near Napanee, on August 26. A PHILADELPHIA VIREO was seen yesterday. A HORNED LARK was seen on Monday. Both HOUSE WREN and CAROLINA WREN were heard. There were three GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH sightings. A flock of AMERICAN PIPITS has been regular on Gull Island. Warblers have thinned out a bit, but an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER and two rather late YELLOW WARBLERS were of interest. More of the former can be expected from now on. A few SAVANNAH SPARROWS and a LINCOLN'S SPARROW have been seen, as well as a rather late SCARLET TANAGER yesterday.
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 shin-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.
It should also be noted that, because duck hunting is given priority on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Gull Island, High Bluff Island, Owen Point, and part of the calf pasture are not available for bird-watching on those days after the 23rd of September.
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.