With barely a month to go until the Christmas Bird Count at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, almost every species of bird sighted at this late date is a potential addition to the list compiled on that date (December 18). Only a very few of the birds seen during the past week are likely to have moved on by then.
Once Presqu'ile Bay freezes over, the Common Loons and Pied-billed, Horned
, and Red-necked Grebes that were present last weekend will have to migrate further or find open water elsewhere. Similarly, the few Double-crested Cormorants that are still around Salt Point (two on November 17) will soon be gone. There are still plenty of waterfowl at Presqu'ile, but not as many as a week ago. The three Gadwalls and four American Wigeons that were in the marsh on November 12 appear to have gone, but the scores of Green-winged Teal are congregated in Popham Bay now. Both White-winged
and Black Scoters have been seen this week, with over twenty of the latter in Popham Bay and another frequenting a flock of scaup near Salt Point.
A Merlin flew past near the lighthouse on November 12. Two dozen or more American Coots can usually be seen off 38 Bayshore Road, except when wave action drives them out of sight in the reeds. Not surprisingly, shorebirds have become scarce, with only a few individuals of four species encountered, almost all on Gull and Sebastopol Islands. A Sanderling was seen on November 13 and 15. Also on those two dates, there was a White-rumped Sandpiper among a group of Dunlins and at least one Purple Sandpiper on Sebastopol Island.
Northern Shrikes appeared on two consecutive days in different parts of the Park. A late Ruby-crowned Kinglet was at the lighthouse on November 17. An American Pipit was seen on Gull Island on November 13. The most remarkable bird of the week was a bright male Northern Parula that hung around the lighthouse area from November 12 to 14, the first November record of that species at Presqu'ile. A few Yellow-rumped Warblers have also been seen around the lighthouse, one as recently as November 17. Bird feeders along Bayshore Road have been active lately, with a Song Sparrow paying a brief visit at 186 Bayshore and a White-throated Sparrow at 83 Bayshore. Three Common Grackles, the first in several weeks at Presqu'ile, were at 186 Bayshore on November 17. A few Pine Siskins and over 100 American Goldfinches have been visiting several feeders.
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 should be prepared to wade through shin-deep water in which there is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven. 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.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.