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Birding Report

Almost all of the birds seen at Presqu'ile Provincial Park in the past week were repeats of the same species seen during the previous week.

This is largely because most migrants from the north arrived before the end of October and few new species are left to pad the lists of those birders seeking to build up a high "year list". That said, the birding is far from uninteresting in the Park, with a few rare or uncommon birds still to be seen.

One of the expected fall migrants that has not yet been reported is BRANT, though one was on the north side of Presqu'ile Bay on Saturday.

A TRUMPETER SWAN was reported on October 30. TUNDRA SWANS appeared at Presqu'ile twice in the past week. Overshadowing the WOOD DUCKS and other dabbling ducks visible from the camp office viewing platform is the EURASIAN WIGEON that has been present for over a week. At times it disappears for a few hours or even a couple of days at a time, only to re-appear later, as happened today. Undoubtedly there are patches of water interspersed among the reeds that hide it from view. Two RING-NECKED DUCKS were at that location for a few days. BLACK SCOTERS have finally put in an appearance. RED-THROATED LOONS have been seen on most days when the wave action allows them to be detected with a scope.

An EARED GREBE in partial moult was seen off Gull Island on November 1, presumably the same individual that was there for a few weeks earlier in the fall but missing since early October.

The first NORTHERN GOSHAWK of the fall made a pass at some bird feeders on October 30. A GOLDEN EAGLE, the fourth of the season, a MERLIN, and a PEREGRINE FALCON were among the more interesting raptors seen this week. Apart from a small number of RUDDY TURNSTONES and a late SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, the composition of the shorebird flocks has been as expected this late in the season. After a total absence of SNOWY OWLS last winter, we are expecting some to show up imminently. The discovery of three BARRED OWLS in one day (or night) were likely the result of persistence in seeking out the resident birds, rather than an indication of an influx from elsewhere, as was the case two winters ago. Birders willing to wade out to Gull Island have been rewarded this week with sightings of one or two SHORT-EARED OWLS.

An immature RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, the third in just over two weeks, was at the High Bluff campground on October 30. RED-BELLIED and PILEATED WOODPECKERS continue to be seen here and there fairly regularly. The most recent EASTERN PHOEBE sighting was on October 31. NORTHERN SHRIKES were seen in various places, including two seen at the same time, which rarely occurs away from their northern nesting grounds. Four very late TREE SWALLOWS were in the lighthouse area on October 30. CAROLINA WRENS have been both at the lighthouse and at 83 Bayshore Road. Five EASTERN BLUEBIRDS were on Bayshore Road on October 29 and two were in the day use area two days later. A few YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS were still present on November 1. Not unexpectedly, a variety of sparrows was in the Park this week, including CHIPPING, FIELD, SAVANNAH, FOX, SWAMP, and WHITE-CROWNED. Large numbers of SNOW BUNTINGS have been on the beach.

A few PINE SISKINS were present on October 28.

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.



Fred Helleiner