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Birding Report

Once again this week, the focus has been on shorebirds at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, but not to the exclusion of other interesting birds.

In both of those categories there have been some good finds. A substantial moult migration of Canada Geese on May 25 was followed by the day of the Brant (May 26), when at least half a dozen flocks moved past Presqu'ile, with a few stopping to rest on the offshore islands. A few White-winged Scoters and Common Goldeneyes and a late Bufflehead (May 22/23) have been in Popham Bay. There were still two Red-throated Loons there on May 22, but no one has reported any since then. A rather ratty-looking Broad-winged Hawk sailed overhead on May 23, a rather late date unless the bird is breeding in the Park, which would not be unprecedented. A Peregrine Falcon scared off a huge mass of shorebirds at Owen Point on May 24.

After the shorebird grounding reported last week, it was not anticipated that a second such event, with a different mix of species and an even larger number, would occur just two days later on May 24. One estimate put the total at 8,000 birds on that day. Included in that number were a few Black-bellied Plovers, 60 Whimbrels, a Marbled Godwit (the second godwit species in the Park this month and one of only very few records), six Red Knots, a rare-in-spring Purple Sandpiper, and 14 Short-billed Dowitchers. A remarkable 91 Red Knots were on the beach this morning (May 28) and stayed only long enough for observers to determine that six of them had bands and/or coloured flags on their legs. Information as to their origin is eagerly awaited. The only group of shorebirds not yet represented among the seventeen species in this year's flocks is the phalaropes.

Two Black-billed Cuckoos at the calf pasture are likely a nesting pair.

One of the few remaining migrants yet to be found at Presqu'ile this spring is the Common Nighthawk. Both Olive-sided and Yellow-bellied Flycatcher are among the other late migrants seen in the past week.

Three nests of Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers have been located in the Park this year. A Gray-cheeked Thrush foraged on a Bayshore Road lawn on May 23.

Another sighting of a Northern Mockingbird occurred on May 22. The remnants of the warbler migration included a Blue-winged Warbler on May 22, a Mourning Warbler on May 24, and (the biggest prize of all) a singing Connecticut Warbler on May 28. Serious efforts to re-locate that bird were only partly successful and not at all so after it ceased singing. An Orchard Oriole has been building a nest behind the Visitor Centre at the lighthouse. There still is no end to the Pine Siskin presence.

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