Presqu’ile Bird Report for 1-7 Nov 2019
This week’s cold weather stimulated lots of movement with an increase in waterfowl and a thinning of passerine numbers.
On 1 Nov a lone BRANT flew north out of the Park with three CANADA GEESE and appeared to be heading to the corn fields on Huff Rd., which is unusual as this species is rarely seen feeding away from the actual lakeshore. Two white morph SNOW GEESE flew over Calf Pasture on 5 Nov. Two TRUMPETER SWANS, a species not yet common here, were seen on 5 Nov. A small movement of TUNDRA SWANS also came through with sightings from various locations between 3-7 Nov, and with a high count of 16 on 3 Nov. Waterfowl numbers continue to build with diving and sea ducks contributing the largest share. Two CANVASBACKS, scarce in fall, were in Presqu’ile Bay on 3 Nov. Two SURF SCOTERS were seen off the Government Dock on 3 Nov and small numbers of WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS were around throughout the week.
A few PIED-BILLED GREBES were seen throughout the week in the marsh. DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT numbers have also dropped to a handful on most days and at least one GREAT BLUE HERON is still hanging in. There were more raptors this week. TURKEY VULTURES were seen in small numbers through the week. Single BALD EAGLES were seen on 3 and 5 Nov. Two migrating male NORTHERN HARRIERS were seen coming off the Lake at dawn on 4 Nov. Two more harriers were half-heartedly chasing birds in a huge blackbird/starling flock in the marsh on the evening of 7 Nov. Two slightly more serious COOPER’S HAWKS were also working the massive bird flock on 7 Nov. A NORTHERN GOSHAWK – our first of fall – flew past the Lighthouse on 1 Nov. Two RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS passed over the gate with five RED-TAILED HAWKS on 3 Nov.
The flock of AMERICAN COOTS along the causeway had grown to 28 by 7 Nov. Shorebirds this week included BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER with a maximum of five on 3 Nov. A SEMIPALMATED PLOVER on 3 Nov may be the last of the year. KILLDEER, which hasn’t been seen in weeks, turned up twice with one on Huff Rd. (just NW of Park gate) on 3 Nov, and two on Beach 1 on 7 Nov. Both SANDERLING and DUNLIN were seen throughout the period with high counts being 15 on 3 Nov and 9 on 7 Nov respectively. There was no coverage of Gull Is. this week. The only unusual gull was an adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL that was seen by many on the beach on 3 Nov.
A BELTED KINGFISHER at the gate on 5 Nov was the only report. MERLINS were seen several times and a PEREGRINE FALCON was over the causeway marsh on 3 Nov. Two EASTERN PHOEBE on 5 Nov might be the last of fall. A HORNED LARK was at Beach 1 on 7 Nov. RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS have thinned out greatly with a high of three on 5 Nov. EASTERN BLUEBIRDS moved through in some numbers with eight on 3 Nov, 10 on 5 Nov, and one on 6 Nov. A few HERMIT THRUSHES lingered with one on 7 Nov being then last. A truly massive flock of EUROPEAN STARLINGS estimated at 12,000 birds flew about the marsh at dusk on 7 Nov being intermittently chased by NORTHERN HARRIERS and COOPER’S HAWKS! Two AMERICAN PIPITS were on the beach on 3 Nov. 12 SNOW BUNTINGS were seen on 3 Nov and a group of 20 were in the picnic area 5-6 Nov.
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS were seen through the week in small numbers with a high of eight on 5 Nov. BLACKBIRDS are roosting in the marsh and are still common at dusk and dawn. The largest gathering was 3500 RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS mixed with 1500 COMMON GRACKLES, along with the afore mentioned starlings on 7 Nov. Seven RUSTY BLACKBIRDS were also seen in that roost, and another two were at the gate the same day.