Twenty years ago today, the weather at Presqu'ile Provincial Park was wet and grey, like today, but on that day a new bird for Canada was discovered in the Park, a Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher. No such momentous sighting was repeated on this anniversary, but another rare bird provided a consolation prize.
Horned Grebes are increasing in number, with one observer counting 15 on September 27. Two Red-necked Grebes were seen on September 23. A Black-crowned Night-Heron
was lingering on High Bluff Island as recently as September 24. In addition to the growing flock of Greater Scaup in Popham Bay, three Lesser Scaup were there on September 25. More and more White-winged Scoters are in the waters off Presqu'ile, one of the most productive vantage points for seeing them being campsite 231.
An Osprey at the calf pasture on September 23 was rather late. On the following day a Bald Eagle was seen near the lighthouse. Both Black-bellied Plovers and American Golden-Plovers
have been moving around on a regular basis from beach 3 to Gull Tombolo (formerly Gull Island). On September 28, a rare shorebird, an American Avocet (the rarity referred to above) appeared on Gull Tombolo, but, unlike the Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, could not be relocated five hours later. The last sighting of the Whimbrel on the tombolo was on September 24. There were sightings of the Ruddy Turnstone that has been present since September 11 on September 24 and 26. Two Semipalmated Sandpipers on September 28 were the first in over two weeks. Forty Pectoral Sandpipers suddenly appeared on the tombolo in the rain on September 28. An adult Little Gull at Owen Point on September 22 may be the same bird as the one seen two days later at the Brighton sewage lagoon. A single Caspian Tern was still present on September 24, but several small terns have been in Presqu'ile Bay throughout the past week, at least one of which was a Forster's Tern seen on September 23.
A Whip-poor-will along Paxton Drive on September 25 was an unusual find. Small numbers of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are still present and will soon be challenging last year's record late dates. Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and Eastern Phoebes have been all over the Park in the past week. A Warbling Vireo sighting on September 25 may be the latest on record. Two Common Ravens were at the lighthouse on September 24. A flock of Tree Swallows was high in the air on September 23. Orange-crowned Warblers have been seen on three different days in the past week, as well as at least twelve other warbler species. A Canada Warbler on the weekend was rather late. A Field Sparrow was at the calf pasture and a flock of Rusty Blackbirds was at a Bayshore Road feeder on September 25. A flock of Common Grackles moving up the point from the lighthouse on that date was the first of that species in three weeks.
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. It should be noted that, because duck hunting is given priority on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Gull Tombolo, High Bluff Island, and part of the calf pasture are not available for bird-watching on those days. For the first time in several years, however, birders and others will be permitted at Owen Point on hunting days, at least for the first few weeks of the hunting season.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.