In some respects, this has been an uneventful week of birding at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, at least after the flurry of excitement a week earlier, when a Marbled Godwit spent five days entertaining visiting birders. Nevertheless, the variety of bird life in the Park makes any outing worthwhile.
Among the ducks that spend each day on the north shore of Gull Island, there were a Northern Pintail and a Northern Shoveler on August 9 and a few Green-winged Teal almost every day. Great Egrets are also being seen almost daily, often on the northwest corner of High Bluff Island. A Green Heron was in the woodpile marsh and a Black-crowned Night-Heron
was at the calf pasture.
Ospreys are appearing in various parts of the Park these days. An immature Bald Eagle has been at the calf pasture for the past three days, sometimes perching in a tree exhibiting complete insouciance about the group of people staring at it from below. A Merlin, the first of the season, was found along Paxton Drive. It could well have nested somewhere in the Park without being detected.
Ten species of shorebirds have been present this week, mostly at Owen Point and on the offshore islands. Among others, there was a Baird's Sandpiper on August 9 and Short-billed Dowitchers (as many as four) for the past four days. The big numbers have not yet arrived.
The most recent of several Barred Owl sightings during the summer, including one of a bird feeding young, was on August 2.
This is the month when local birders begin watching for migrating Common Nighthawks at dusk. One favoured location is over the beach, and another is in the open area of the calf pasture. Several Pileated Woodpecker sightings have provided excitement for visitors who may not realize how common that species is at Presqu'ile. Eastern Phoebes, usually a conspicuous summer bird in the Park, have kept out of sight until this week, when one appeared at the lighthouse. A flock of about 30 Purple Martins bedecked a television antenna on Bayshore Road on August 7, but they have largely abandoned their nest boxes near the lighthouse. Only four species of warblers have appeared at the lighthouse this week, but that is more than have been there all summer. A male Purple Finch visited two feeders on Bayshore Road this week.
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.