In the week leading up to the Ontario Field Ornithologists' excursion to Presqu'ile Provincial Park this coming Sunday, a number of interesting sightings have occurred. Fall migration can be observed in the Park either directly or indirectly by noting the day-to-day departure of some birds and the arrival of others.
In addition to the hundreds of CANADA GEESE that gather around the shores of Popham Bay, a noisy southbound flock was observed high overhead on September 9, a sure sign of impending colder weather. Among the dozens of MALLARDS that are congregating on Gull Island, oblivious to the imminent duck hunt, there were several other species of dabbling ducks, including AMERICAN WIGEON, AMERICAN BLACK DUCK, BLUE-WINGED TEAL, NORTHERN SHOVELER, and GREEN-WINGED TEAL. A scaup of unknown species was seen flying over and a COMMON GOLDENEYE was at Owen Point. Most GREAT EGRETS have departed, but the odd one is still being seen.
Ten species of diurnal raptors were seen at Presqu'ile in the past week, one of the most regular of which has been an immature BALD EAGLE, which, on one occasion was being mobbed by an AMERICAN KESTREL. BROAD-WINGED HAWKS, uncommon at Presqu'ile, were seen on three different days this week, including two early one morning in the trees near the lighthouse.
Others of interest were TENNESSEE WARBLERS and CAPE MAY WARBLERS on September 5 and 6, A PALM WARBLER on September 8, and a MOURNING WARBLER on September 5. It is almost time for the first ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS to appear.
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. Visitors to Gull Island not using a boat should be prepared to wade through water of uncertain depth in which there is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven and slippery. Birders are encouraged to record their observations on the bird sightings board provided by The Friends of Presqu'ile Park and to fill out a rare bird report for species not listed there.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.