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Birding Report

Rare birds continue to show up at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, but even without those there seems to be a never-ending parade of fall migrants that belies the onset of winter.

The preferred spot for finding dabbling ducks is off the new viewing platform near the camp office. For the past two days a male EURASIAN WIGEON has been easy to spot there. Its arrival was one day earlier than the date on which one arrived in the same place last year before staying there for several weeks and entertaining many birders. A few RED-THROATED LOONS and many COMMON LOONS have been at Presqu'ile this week, both in Popham Bay and in the open lake off Chatterton Point.

HORNED GREBES continue to be plentiful, and a few RED-NECKED GREBES have also been seen. AMERICAN BITTERNS were seen in two different parts of the Park, and a flock of six GREAT BLUE HERONS over High Bluff Island was a bit unusual at this time of year. The prize raptor of the week was a GOLDEN EAGLE seen in the distance from Owen Point this morning but probably outside the Park as it migrated westward. COMMON MOORHENS are seen from time to time in the marsh. There are still a hundred or more shorebirds of eight species between the beach and the offshore islands.

The majority are BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS, SANDERLINGS, WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS, and DUNLINS. Twelve GREATER YELLOWLEGS were in the marsh yesterday. A RUDDY TURNSTONE was still on Sebastopol Island today. A thorough search today failed to produce any PURPLE SANDPIPERS, but the first of that species can be expected any day now. Two LITTLE GULLS were off the beach on October 22. Two NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS were on the Pioneer trail on October 25.

For the second time in a week, a YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO was found and photographed at the lighthouse on October 22, breaking the record for lateness established earlier this month. A RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was there on the following day. A real surprise was the discovery of a WHITE-EYED VIREO on October 22, one of only two fall records for Presqu'ile and the latest by nine days. The most recent BLUE-HEADED VIREO sighting was on October 24. Two HORNED LARKS and a couple of dozen AMERICAN PIPITS were on Gull Island today. The only warblers seen this week were BLACK-THROATED BLUE, YELLOW-RUMPED, and PINE WARBLERS.

An EASTERN TOWHEE, two AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS, a FIELD SPARROW, and a FOX SPARROW were among the numerous sparrows that have inundated the Park this week. A few dozen SNOW BUNTINGS were milling around Owen Point today, and an EASTERN MEADOWLARK was flushed on Gull Island.

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 knee-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. 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.