In anticipation of an influx of fall migrants, birders from farther afield have been trickling in to Presqu'ile Provincial Park. To a certain extent, they have been successful, for a few new arrivals have augmented the mix of summer birds in the Park.
There has been a good variety of waterfowl along the north shore of Gull Island, including half a dozen Green-winged Teal among the usual other ducks, and a lone American Coot on August 5. Some Common Mergansers were on the other shore of the island. An immature Bald Eagle was spotted at the calf pasture and subsequently flying over Presqu'ile Bay. Among the shorebirds near beach 3 there have been both Greater Yellowlegs and Lesser Yellowlegs, as well as small numbers of smaller shorebirds.
On August 5, a Black-billed Cuckoo showed up on the property of a birder on Bayshore Road, and the following morning one was calling near the group campground and two others were interacting with each other at the High Bluff campground. One day later, a fifth bird was calling at the calf pasture. Most of the warblers moving around the Park are Yellow Warblers, but a Black-and-white Warbler was near the lighthouse on August 7. A White-throated Sparrow spent two days at a feeder on Bayshore Road. On August 7, a small flock of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks appeared near the lighthouse, where they have not been all summer. Although Eastern Meadowlarks are seen from time to time throughout the summer at the calf pasture, it came as a surprise to see one perched in a treetop and then flying off far to the south and well beyond the semi-open cleared area of the former farm. No one has yet reported a crossbill at Presqu'ile this season, but a smattering of reports from other parts of southern Ontario and the presence of plenty of suitable habitat suggest that birders should be on the lookout for these nomadic birds in the Park in the next few 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. 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.