At Presqu'ile Provincial Park, the spring bird migration is no longer retarded. Most species are now arriving right on schedule, and some are even a few days ahead of time, certainly ahead of last year, when bird migration slowed right down in mid-April.
Most of the ducks in Presqu'ile Bay are spread out over a broad expanse of open water. There are still hundreds (mostly scaup and Ring-necked Ducks), but not the thousands of a month ago. Red-throated Loons in Popham Bay have been fairly easy to spot with a scope in recent days because of good viewing conditions. The high count so far has been ten birds on April 17, but smaller numbers have been seen on each of the previous three days. As many as 20 Common Loons were counted in Presqu'ile Bay on April 14, with smaller numbers elsewhere around the peninsula. Five Red-necked Grebes were off the south shore of the Park on April 15.
Great Egrets, some with magnificent plumes, have been seen both in the marsh and on High Bluff Island. A Black-crowned Night-Heron
was on the causeway leading into the Park this morning.
A minor flight of Turkey Vultures (at least 14) took place on April 14, and single birds have been feeding on the beach on two subsequent days. Ospreys were seen on April 13 and 14. Two Merlins were present on April 16.
One of the next expected arrivals is Common Moorhen, which may already be lurking in the marsh. An American Woodcock was flushed near the lighthouse on April 17, suggesting that the migration of that species continues, even though others have been performing on territory for some time. A murder of American Crows led an observer to a well concealed Great Horned Owl.
All of the expected swallows have been found this week at Presqu'ile except Bank Swallow and Cliff Swallow. The highlight of the week was a Tufted Titmouse that spent an hour and a half near the lighthouse on Monday morning. That bird, or perhaps a different one, showed up at 167 Bayshore Road yesterday evening and was singing there first thing this morning. Carolina Wrens are also singing in that area on most mornings. A male Eastern Bluebird, the only one of the season at Presqu'ile, was at the lighthouse on April 15. Two Brown Thrashers were singing at the calf pasture on the same date. Single Yellow-rumped Warblers were found on April 16 and 17 and three Pine Warblers on April 17. Two Eastern Towhees were present on April 17 and White-throated Sparrow numbers began increasing on that date after singles found on April 12, 13, and 15. A Vesper Sparrow, uncommon at Presqu'ile, was at the beach on April 15. Two Fox Sparrows continue to patronize the feeders at 85 Bayshore Road, occasionally in full song. Two Rusty Blackbirds were on the beach 1 access road this morning. An unwelcome pair of House Sparrows has taken up residence near 186 Bayshore Road, and an additional male was also there on April 11.
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.