Although birding at Presqu'ile Provincial Park has hit the summer doldrums, the diversity for which the Park is famous among birders has again revealed itself in the variety of sightings by those few birders who have been out this week, and there has even been a stirring of fall migration. As an indication of what surprises may be lurking, six years ago a WHITE-FACED IBIS showed up in mid-July and stayed for almost a month.
Six GADWALLS, an AMERICAN BLACK DUCK, a BLUE-WINGED TEAL, and two GREEN-WINGED TEAL were with the MALLARDS at beach 3. A RED-BREASTED MERGANSER flew over a birder's head. A family of about ten young WILD TURKEYS (not the "young turks" that were celebrating Canada Day in the Park) was in the calf pasture yesterday. A BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO was also there. Someone canoeing in the Presqu'ile marsh heard a KING RAIL and two VIRGINIA RAILS. An AMERICAN WOODCOCK was flushed from the beach 3 parking lot. The first fall shorebird was a LESSER YELLOWLEGS that flew over beach 2 on July 3. There are still many BONAPARTE'S GULLS on beach 1, and a flock of 11 flew past the lighthouse. About 120 CASPIAN TERNS were roosting on the beach on July 2, including at least one juvenile. Twice in the past week, a COMMON LOON was seen in Presqu'ile Bay. GREAT EGRETS are regularly seen flying over the Park, and as many as 13 were counted from the beach on one day among the nests on High Bluff Island. Two BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS were seen on July 2.
RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS are almost certainly present all summer, but the only one reported recently was on July 3. A MERLIN was again seen on Bayshore Road, where the species has been seen regularly this summer. GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS and PURPLE FINCHES are known to be in the Park in summer but are rarely encountered, so the two observations of the former and one of the latter this past week are of interest. Likewise, among the summering warblers not often reported this far south were three species found on July 3: BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, NASHVILLE WARBLER, BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER. A SCARLET TANAGER also on that date is a species not often seen at Presqu'ile in summer. Three ORCHARD ORIOLES on July 3 and a family with fledglings yesterday were somewhat typical of what may be expected in the Park in summer.
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.