As the days grow shorter and the nights grow cooler, birding at Presqu'ile Provincial Park has been re-directed to the traditional hot spots for migrating songbirds, - the lighthouse and the calf pasture among others. These areas have proven quite productive in the past week.
A small number of Green-winged Teal have been frequenting the beach area this week, and the flock of Redheads in Popham Bay has grown to a couple of dozen birds. For the second consecutive week, four Ospreys were seen at once. Two Merlins dashing over the beach on August 19 chased off the small number of shorebirds that were there. Among the latter, Baird's Sandpipers have been present at Owen Point for most of the past week. An American Woodcock was seen on lighthouse lane earlier in the week. Bonaparte's Gulls have been seen over Popham Bay and at the lighthouse recently. An adult Great Black-backed Gull was on the beach for two days.
A Black-billed Cuckoo was seen at the calf pasture. For the past three evenings, Common Nighthawks have been migrating over the eastern part of the peninsula, with a peak of 13 birds yesterday. The first Yellow-bellied Sapsucker of the season was at the calf pasture on August 20. The next ten days are the period when Olive-sided Flycatchers normally pass through Presqu'ile. A Yellow-bellied Flycatcher was seen on August 18. A Brown Creeper was at the lighthouse on August 15 and 19. A few Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers
were seen this week. Much of the attention has focussed in recent days on the flocks of warblers around the lighthouse parking lot. Sixteen species have been found there and elsewhere in the Park, including a Cape May Warbler. A Lincoln's Sparrow at the calf pasture on August 21 was an early surprise. Two Scarlet Tanagers were also there.
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.