Presqu'ile Provincial Park has a remarkable number of bird species that spend the summer here, many of which have been found in the past week.
Some of these usually spend the summer further north and are not normally found along the north shore of Lake Ontario except while passing through in migration. Others are near the northern limit of their range at any season. While those are not unexpected in the Park in summer, they are the principal focus of birding these days. Only a few spring migrants are still around.
Hundreds of CANADA GEESE are gathered on the shore of Popham Bay, most of which are likely non-breeders or birds that have finished breeding for this year. A few unlikely ducks found in the past week are an AMERICAN WIGEON on June 12, up to eight REDHEADS, two SCAUP (sp.?), and a late BUFFLEHEAD on June 10. Some of the hundreds of DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS that nest on High Bluff Island have taken over Sebastopol Island, displacing most of the BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS that were nesting there. A LEAST BITTERN flew across the causeway that leads to the Park.
An immature BALD EAGLE flew over the Park on June 14. The only other hawks noted this week were NORTHERN HARRIER, SHARP-SHINNED HAWK, and COOPER'S HAWK. A WILD TURKEY was seen at least twice. A SORA was found in the Owen Point marsh. Northbound shorebirds continue to arrive on the beach: a SEMIPALMATED PLOVER on June 12, RUDDY TURNSTONES on June 11 and 15, 18 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS on June 16, 3 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS on June 16, 8 DUNLINS on June 14. Single BONAPARTE'S GULLS on June 12 (adult) and 14 (immature) and GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS on June 11 and 12. A BARRED OWL was heard on June 14. June is also a month when Presqu'ile's only CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW was around (22 years ago), so, given that the species has occurred further north than this in each of the past two years, local birders can live in hope that another might show up.
RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER is one of the southern species which has become established at Presqu'ile and has been seen regularly this week. Both WILLOW and LEAST FLYCATCHERS have been present this week. BROWN CREEPER and WINTER WREN, also seen this week, are two of the northern species that spend the summer at Presqu'ile. In contrast, the BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER seen this week is one of the Park's southern summer residents. A male EASTERN BLUEBIRD was found on June 12, for the second time in three weeks. A record late BLACKPOLL WARBLER on June 16 was almost certainly a lingering migrant, but the CANADA WARBLER on June 13 may well be here all summer. ORCHARD ORIOLES, a southern bird, and PURPLE FINCHES, a northern bird, are both summer residents at Presqu'ile and this week was no exception.
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.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.