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Birding Report

Until the past week, the interest in migratory birds at Presqu'ile Provincial Park has focused on new arrivals, most of which have by now put in their first appearance of the fall.  Now attention is shifting to those birds which should have departed by now but are still being found in small numbers, likely lingering because of the unseasonably warm weather.


Small flocks of  TUNDRA SWANS have been seen on four of the last six days.  The marsh opposite the bird sightings board is the best place to find dabbling ducks these days, including AMERICAN WIGEONS and NORTHERN PINTAILS, a second male of the latter having joined the one that has been there through most of this month.  On November 8, a surprising ten CANVASBACKS were with the large and growing flock of GREATER SCAUP and REDHEADS that sits far out in Popham Bay just out of range of the land-based duck hunters.  The most recent DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT sighting was at Salt Point on November 9.  A late GREAT BLUE HERON was there on November 7.


A group of three NORTHERN HARRIERS  migrated overhead on November 11.  On November 7, a MERLIN  flew over Popham Bay.  About 40 AMERICAN COOTS were in the outer part of the marsh on November 7.  Shorebirds have dwindled from 28 individuals on November 8 to one KILLDEER on each of the past two days, the first of that species in several weeks.  Among the birds on November 28 was a PURPLE SANDPIPER that appeared to some observers to have some DUNLIN genes.  The bird was seen again on November 10, but not anywhere on Gull Island on November 12. 

BONAPARTE'S GULLS have put in a good showing in recent days, but none of the expected LITTLE GULLS could be detected among them.  The first ICELAND GULL of the season was at Beach 1 on November 7.  A SNOWY OWL was on Gull Island on November 10 and 11, but not on November 12.  Again this week, BARRED OWLS are being seen every day, and not in just the usual Jobes' Woods location but from one end of the peninsula (near the lighthouse) to the other (Lakeside campground).  On one day (November 10) there were five sightings, of which not more than two were likely of the same bird, judging from the locations of the sightings.  Such numbers are unprecedented at Presqu'ile and may indicate that they had a successful breeding season in the Park.


PILEATED WOODPECKERS have been seen in three widely separated parts of the Park this past week.  A NORTHERN SHRIKE and a CAROLINA WREN were both at 186 Bayshore Road on November 6.  The appearance of BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS in other parts of eastern Ontario recently suggests that birders visiting Presqu'ile might also be lucky enough to find that species.  A late YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER was at 186 Bayshore Road on November 7.  The feeders at 83 Bayshore Road hosted late individuals of EASTERN TOWHEE (November 7),  SONG SPARROW (November 9), and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW (November 7 and 8).  LAPLAND LONGSPURS flew overhead calling on two different dates.  Five PINE SISKINS paid a brief visit to the feeders at 186 Bayshore Road on November 11.


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  shin-deep water in which there is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven and slippery. It should also be noted that, because duck hunting is given priority on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Gull Island, High Bluff Island, Owen Point, and part of the calf pasture are not available for bird-watching on those days until December 20. Birders are encouraged to record their observations on the bird sightings board provided near the campground office by The Friends of Presqu'ile Park and to fill out a rare bird report for species not listed there.




Fred Helleiner