HIGHLIGHTS: Southbound shorebirds, Northern Parula
OVERVIEW: We are still suffering from very low coverage but there are lots of birds around. As in the past few weeks breeding birds are the big story with lots of family parties about. Because Presqu’ile is blessed with a wide variety of habitats we have many different species living in a small area, which is the formula for good birding. The other big news is that fall migration is officially underway with the arrival of southbound shorebirds!
Gadwall: a flock of 34 – an unusually large number for mid summer -flushed from High Bluff Is. in response to a boat landing on 11 Jul.
American Black Duck: One was seen in the puddle duck flock that frequents the islands on 15 Jul.
Green-winged Teal: A flock of six was at Gull Is. on 14 Jul.
Hooded Merganser: One was seen at Gull Is. on 11 Jul and it, or another that was closer in with Canada Geese on 15 Jul was clearly a young of the year.
Common Merganser: The breeding female with 9 young near Owen Pt. plus 3 additional females nearby were seen on 11 Jul plus the brood of 9 was seen again on 14 Jul.
Least Bittern: A male was seen on 11 Jul from the Camp Office viewing platform. This location has been pretty good for finding this species lately – it just takes patience to wait for one to fly from one area to another.
Osprey: Three birds were seen flying past the lighthouse on 12 Jul in what the observer thought looked like migration behavior, while the two nesting birds at Salt Pt. lighthouse were still in sight.
Sharp-shined Hawk: An adult carrying a prey item near the Park Store on 15 Jul strongly suggests nesting nearby.
Cooper’s Hawk: A local nesting pair fledged its young with sightings of them on 8 and 11 Jul.
Virginia Rail: Two were calling by the Camp Office viewing deck on 11 Jul.
Least Sandpiper: The first fall migrant was one on 11 Jul followed by 3 on 14 Jul and a single the next day.
Greater Yellowlegs: The first two fall migrants were on the natural beach on 11 Jul.
Lesser Yellowlegs: A single was also on the natural beach on 11 Jul.
Herring Gull: A maximum of 7 young of the year was reported on 11 Jul, which is far below expected numbers. A single young bird in distress was seen on 14 Jul with what appeared to be the ribbon from a balloon coming out of its throat. Balloons and discarded fishing lures present a significant hazard for gulls with numerous sightings of birds hooked or entangled over the years.
Common Tern: The first fledged young of the year was reported at Owen Pt. on 15 Jul.
Red-headed Woodpecker: Two birds are still frequenting a Bayshore Rd. feeder but, unlike other years, they have not brought their young to the feeder suggesting possible nest failure by our only known breeding pair.
Hairy Woodpecker: A bird at Owen Pt. on 15 Jul flew out toward Gull Is. several times only to come back. This is a behavior more typically seen in migration but perhaps some birds move around early.
Black-capped Chickadee: In the same vein, 2 were seen flying off Owen Pt. toward Gull Is only to return and repeat on 11 Jul.
Northern Parula: A singing male was at the Lighthouse on 13 Jul, presumably a failed breeder wandering around since they do not nest in this area.
Orchard Oriole: A pair regularly visited one feeder all summer, but was last seen there on 12 Jul. Another feeder still had a male feeding young on 12 Jul.
Please Note: Access to Gull and High Bluff Island is closed to visitation between 10 March and 10 September to protect the thousands of colonial birds that nest on the islands.
Directions: Presqu’ile Provincial Park is located south of Brighton on the north shore of Lake Ontario. It is well signed from either Hwy. 401 or Cty. Rd. 2.