Highlights: CACKLING GOOSE, RED-THROATED LOON, SNOWY OWL, CAROLINA WREN, EVENING GROSBEAK
There are still a number of lingering migrants about but it is starting to feel a little more like things are settling in for winter.
Waterfowl abound with lots of puddle ducks primarily in the marsh (best viewed from the causeway or camp office viewing deck) and diving and sea ducks in Presqu’ile Bay and around the islands.
A single CACKLING GOOSE flew over the gate with CANADA’S for comparison on 3 Nov. Lingering puddle ducks include NORTHERN SHOVELER on 6 Nov, NORTHERN PINTAILS on 4 Nov and 6 Nov (2). All three SCOTER species were seen this week. Three RED-THROATED LOONS were seen on 2 Nov followed by a single beside a COMMON during the OFO hike on 4 Nov and another single on 7 Nov. Small numbers of PIED BILLED and HORNED GREBE were seen throughout the week and a RED-NECKED GREBE was north of Gull Is. on 8 Nov. A GREAT BLUE HERON continues to feed daily off the causeway.
TURKEY VULTURES are getting scarce but four were seen on 6 Nov. MERLINS were seen on multiple dates including two flying to High Bluff Is. on 8 Nov. An AMERICAN COOT was seen in the causeway marsh on 4 Nov. Small numbers of the “usual” late shorebirds – BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, SANDERLING, DUNLIN, WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER etc. - are still around, mostly on Gull Is. A GREATER YELLOWLEGS was seen from the causeway marsh on 3 Nov. No rare gulls were reported but numbers of GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS have increased somewhat.
A GREAT HORNED OWL was seen at the Park Store on 4 Nov and the first two SNOWY OWLS were reported from Gull Is. on 8 Nov. An EASTERN PHOEBE was seen just outside the Park on 4 Nov. The CAROLINA WREN continues to frequent the Lighthouse area and nearby feeders. There were at least three RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS seen on 8 Nov. EASTERN BLUEBIRDS were seen on several dates with singles on 3 and 4 Nov and four on 8 Nov. A HERMIT THRUSH was seen at Owen Pt. on 8 Nov. A lingering BROWN THRASHER was coming regularly to a feeder along Bayshore Rd. and may try to winter. Up to three AMERICAN PIPITS were still on Gull Is. on 8 Nov. The only warbler reported was a YELLOW-RUMPED on 3 Nov.
Two EASTERN TOWHEE were at a Bayshore Rd feeder on 2 Nov with one lingering to 4 Nov. A somewhat late FIELD SPARROW was seen on 8 Nov and a handful of WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS were present through the week. There are still sizable flocks of RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS and COMMON GRACKLE roosting in the marsh at dusk. Among them were four RUSTY BLACKBIRDS on 4 Nov. A BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD came to a Bayshore Rd feeder on 4 Nov.” Winter finches” picked up this week with the arrival of EVENING GROSBEAKS. Six were at the Birdhouse Nature Store feeders just outside the gate on 4 Nov (OFO) and at least seven were seen at several sites on 8 Nov. PINE SISKINS remain common, although possibly slightly decreased from the previous few weeks. Five COMMON REDPOLLS were noted flying past the gate on 3 Nov.
Note that fall waterfowl hunting in now occurring in the Park which means park users cannot go to Owen Pt., the islands, the marsh (boardwalk is open), or Calf Pasture Pt. on Saturdays, Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays even if no one is hunting on those days. This restriction will last until mid December so plan your trip accordingly.
Presqu’ile Provincial Park is located on the north shore of Lake Ontario, just south of the town of Brighton. It can be reached from either Hwy. 401 or Cty. Rd. 2 and is well signed. A Park map can be found in the information tabloid available at the Park gate. Presqu’ile’s two offshore islands – Gull and High Bluff – support a large multi-species colonial bird nesting area and access is not permitted during the breeding season.