The fall bird migration at Presqu'ile Provincial Park is slowly gaining momentum, with new species returning every few days.
There are still several scaup that have been spending the summer near Sebastopol Island, too far away to determine their specific identity. A male White-winged Scoter was near the lighthouse on July 11, and a female Hooded Merganser near Gull Island on July 15. Two Common Loons flew eastbound high over the beach calling to each other. A Least Bittern was found on July 11. A high count of six Great Egrets by one observer on July 14 indicates how easy that species is to find in the Park.
An Osprey carried a large fish past the beach on July 17, and a week earlier an immature Bald Eagle was seen around High Bluff Island. A Cooper's Hawk was seen in two different locations this week. An earlier report has just come to light of a Wild Turkey with young just inside the Park gate on July 4. Six species of shorebirds, only two of which are summer residents have been on the beach this week. The most numerous of the migrants have been Least Sandpipers, with a high count of 43 birds on July 11. There was a Semipalmated Plover on July 16, three Lesser Yellowlegs on July 17, and single Semipalmated Sandpipers on July 16 and 17. Other species, including some such as Stilt Sandpiper that are absent in spring, should soon be appearing. Caspian Tern numbers, augmented by this year's young, have reached triple digits, with 120 individuals counted at Owen Point on July 16.
A silent Black-billed Cuckoo, almost hidden among leaves, was spotted by a keen-eyed observer at the Owen Point Trail parking lot on July 16. Three Barred Owls were calling in Jobes' Woods on July 12, and another was observed in flight the next day near the beach 2 access road. A few flycatchers of various species have appeared at the lighthouse in recent days, probably early migrants. Among them were an Eastern Wood-Pewee
and an unidentified flycatcher of the /Empidonax/ genus. Swallows of several species are lining the wires along Bayshore Road. Both American Redstart and Northern Waterthrush have appeared near the lighthouse recently, as has an Orchard Oriole.
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. Birders who have not visited Presqu'ile in the past few years may not be aware that the boardwalk that provides access into the marsh has been closed and is unlikely to be re-opened for another year or so. 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.