Last-minute plans are being finalized for the annual Warblers and Whimbrels Weekend at Presqu'ile Provincial Park. The weather forecast is good, but the foliage has advanced to the point where viewing warblers in the canopy can be frustrating. Many birders visiting the Park recently have found it worthwhile to visit the constructed wetland a short distance outside the Park at the corner of Harbour Street and Prince Edward Street (County Road 64) at the south-east corner of Brighton, where shorebirds and other interesting birds can still be seen despite the rapidly growing marsh vegetation. Among other things, recent visits have produced Least Bittern, Virginia Rail, Sora, many Common Moorhens, Sandhill Crane (overhead), up to three Solitary Sandpipers, a dozen Short-billed Dowitchers, two female Wilson's Phalaropes, sundry other shorebirds in good numbers, and a Great Horned Owl hooting in broad daylight nearby.
Two Green Herons appeared briefly at the calf pasture on May 18. Also there at the same time were two immature Trumpeter Swans that were inexplicably consorting with a pair of Mute Swans. Small numbers of eight species of dabbling ducks have been seen in the past week. An American Wigeon, a Northern Pintail, and a Green-winged Teal were among them. The most interesting duck of the week is a Harlequin Duck that has been around since May 14, close in to shore west of Chatterton Point between the Elmvale and Lakeside campgrounds.
Five species of raptors have been seen in the Park in the past week, including an Osprey and a Peregrine Falcon. The latter bird, seen on May 15 off Owen Point, was being chased by Common Terns. Close to a dozen species of shorebirds have put in appearances at Presqu'ile in the past week. Two Black-bellied Plovers were at Owen Point on May 12. A bird fitting the description of a Wilson's Plover was seen on the beach along the Owen Point trail on May 17 but disappeared before its identity could be confirmed. The main passage of Whimbrels
is not expected for another week, but, given the right conditions, the vanguard could appear any day now. Indeed, there was a report of a flock flying past the day use area as early as May 14. A Ruddy Turnstone was present near Owen Point for three consecutive days. The first Semipalmated Sandpiper of the season was at beach 1 on May 18. A Short-billed Dowitcher was at Owen Point on May 12 and 18.
Seven species of woodpeckers seen in the Park in the past week include Red-headed Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, and a late Yellow-bellied Sapsucker on May 16. A probable Alder Flycatcher was observed carefully on the Owen Point trail on May 13. Both that species and Willow Flycatcher should be listened for in that area in coming days. For the second consecutive week, a Yellow-throated Vireo was seen at Presqu'ile, this one in the lighthouse area on May 14. Philadelphia Vireos were seen on May 13 and 18. Blue Jays have been migrating over the lighthouse in good numbers early in the mornings. A Common Raven flew over near the Park entrance on May 15. A Cliff Swallow was at the calf pasture on two consecutive days. Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers
have been fairly easy to find in recent days. Among other thrushes in the Park, a Gray-cheeked Thrush was seen on the Owen Point trail on May 17 and 18.
Most birders visiting Presqu'ile this week have concentrated their efforts on finding warblers. On three different days, individual observers have been able to find 20 or more species, not including the hybrid Brewster's Warbler seen on May 13. A Blue-winged Warbler was seen on May 12. There have been several sightings of Tennessee Warblers, Northern Parulas, Cape May Warblers, Palm Warblers, Bay-breasted Warblers, American Redstarts, Mourning Warblers, Wilson's Warblers, and Canada Warblers, and single sightings of Blackpoll Warbler and Cerulean Warbler. Scarlet Tanagers have also been fairly easy to find.
Clay-colored Sparrows are being found regularly along Atkins Lane. A Lincoln's Sparrow was seen on May 17. A Dark-eyed Junco and a Pine Siskin on May 13 were late. Although the migration of Orchard Orioles appears to have slowed down, there still are a few around Presqu'ile, the most reliable location being the feeders behind 83 Bayshore Road and perhaps the spruce trees around Langton Avenue.
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.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.