For the first time this fall, there has been a significant migration of warblers at Presqu?ile Provincial Park, as well as several other interesting sightings.
Most of the ducks in the Park this week are Mallards, but a flock of Wood Ducks, up to twelve at a time, can usually be seen sitting on a bridge on the temporarily decommissioned marsh boardwalk. There has also been a flock of 30-40 Redheads in Popham Bay. A Red-necked Grebe was off the government dock on August 24. An American Bittern flushed off the natural beach north of Owen Point with frog in its beak on August 23 may have been the same individual that was lingering in that area earlier in the month. Great Egrets are still being seen almost every day. A Bald Eagle was at Owen Point on August 25, a Merlin was there two days later, and a Cooper?s Hawk flew low over the lighthouse woods on August 25.
Among the newly arrived shorebirds (most of which are unfortunately out of range on Gull Island and can be seen only when they fly up) were a Black-bellied Plover, a Ruddy Turnstone, and a Red Knot. A few Baird's Sandpipers are being seen regularly and a Sanderling was present on August 25. Judging from past experience, the first Buff-breasted Sandpipers should show up in the next week or so. Two adult Great Black-backed Gulls on August 24 may represent the beginning of the winter concentration of that species, making this the first winter bird report of the season from Presqu'ile!
Among land birds other than warblers, there have been Common Nighthawks, A Brown Creeper and a Carolina Wren at Owen Point, Marsh Wrens (in the marsh, of course), a report of two very early American Pipits, and a Vesper Sparrow at the calf pasture. A good variety of warblers has been present, especially on August 26, with the highlights being a Prairie Warbler and a Hooded Warbler on that date, a female Golden-winged Warbler on August 25, and two Cape May Warblers on August 24.
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.