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Birding Report

Most of the bird migration at Presqu'ile Provincial Park during the past week has consisted of shorebirds, with a sprinkling of late land birds among the many that have settled down to breed in the Park.

There are now hundreds of CANADA GEESE gathered around the shores of the Park, after several flocks flew in from across the lake on May 29 and 30. In addition to a good variety of dabbling ducks on the north shore of Gull Island, there has also been a small number of SCAUP and COMMON GOLDENEYES. One SCAUP is also lingering near the lighthouse. Five COMMON LOONS on May 29 were likely non-breeders.
PIED-BILLED GREBES have fledged broods in the woodpile marsh and in the marsh. As recently as June 2, a HORNED GREBE and a RED-NECKED GREBE were in Popham Bay, where they have been for almost a fortnight. A LEAST BITTERN was found on May 30. The previously reported WILD TURKEY has apparently decided that it can find enough food in the woods near the calf pasture, forsaking its affinity for human habitation. A big surprise in the form of a noisy SANDHILL CRANE arrived in the marsh on May 28 and was seen again on the following morning taking off and flying over the day use area towards the lighthouse, bugling all the way.

Although there has not been a major shorebird grounding like those of recent years, a respectable twelve species showed up in the past week.

Seventy-four BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS were counted on May 30. On May 29 and 31, five WHIMBRELS flew off within sight of Owen Point. Another was there on June 2. High counts of 84 RUDDY TURNSTONES and 107 RED KNOTS on May 30 were much higher than before or since in the present season, and were regrettably ephemeral. Six RED KNOTS and a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER were seen on June 1 and 2, respectively. A male WILSON'S PHALAROPE put in a couple of very brief appearances.

A YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO was calling repeatedly between the park store and the bird sightings board on May 31. A COMMON NIGHTHAWK was at the calf pasture on May 29, the second of the season. The RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER nest in Jobes' Woods seems to be surviving. Two BLUE JAYS were still migrating over the lighthouse this morning. The two young COMMON RAVENS in their recently discovered nest were close to fledging on June 2 and were nowhere in sight or sound this afternoon. This nest is further south than any confirmed breeding record in the most recent Breeding Bird Atlas. An apparent nest of a CAROLINA WREN is on private property on Bayshore Road, whose owner does not want visitors trespassing. Six BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS were found on May 30. A surprising male EASTERN BLUEBIRD was at the day use area of the Park on May 29. A male PURPLE FINCH was singing near the start of the Owen Point trail on June 2.

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. 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