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Birding Report Excellent birding conditions have prevailed at Presqu'ile Provincial Park during the past week. Not only have birds been abundant, with a sprinkling of unusual birds, but the weather has also been conducive to comfort.

A Red-throated Loon in winter plumage was at the calf pasture from October 3 to at least October 5. It, or another bird in the same plumage, was joined on October 9 at Salt Point by another of that species that was barely out of summer plumage. Common Loons and Horned Grebes are gathering in Popham Bay and off High Bluff Island.

Six Snow Geese were out in Lake Ontario off High Bluff Island this morning (October 9). Later in the day, they were swimming off Gull Island but soon disappeared into the mist. Dabbling ducks of several species, including Wood Ducks, Northern Shoveler, and Northern Pintails, have reasserted their right to the marsh, and can be found feeding there in plain view of the road. Further east, where the marsh opens out into Presqu'ile Bay, there are usually Redheads, Ring-necked Ducks, and Lesser Scaup, and out in Popham Bay, there are both Surf (up to 5) and White-winged (3) Scoters and two Long-tailed Ducks on October 5.

At least one Bald Eagle was flying around the Park on October 5. A Northern Goshawk flew past Gull Island on October 9. The raptor highlight of the week is the regular presence of two Peregrine Falcons on Gull Island and the neighbouring Sebastopol Point (now also an island), and a probable third individual near the lighthouse on High Bluff Island on October 9.

Two American Golden-Plovers have been feeding with Black-bellied Plovers in the damp vegetation alongside the snow fence south of beach 3, but a surprising and perhaps unprecedented 21of the former species were on Gull Island on October 9. A Spotted Sandpiper on High Bluff Island on October 9 and a Ruddy Turnstone south of beach 3 on October 4 may prove to be the latest of those species at Presqu'ile this year. On October 7, a Parasitic Jaeger put on a splendid display of harassing the gulls off Gull Island, and was eventually subjected to the same treatment at the hands of one of the Peregrine Falcons.

A Little Gull was at the far northern end of the beach on October 9, and a Lesser Black-backed Gull was seen on October 5. A Common Tern at beach 3 on October 7 was one of the latest fall records for that species in the Park.

There was an unusual report of a Barred Owl at the marsh boardwalk on October 8. Although that species is resident in Jobes' Woods, it is rarely found outside that area, and almost never in the habitat around the marsh boardwalk. A birding trip to High Bluff Island on October 9, probably the first of this year, failed to turn up any Northern Saw-whet Owls, but the normal peak of their migration is later in the month.

As late as October 6, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds were seen at both 83 and 186 Bayshore Road. This may be the latest record for Presqu'ile. Two late flycatcher records were established this year: a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher at the lighthouse on October 4 and a Great Crested Flycatcher at 85 Bayshore Road on October 2. A Philadelphia Vireo along Paxton Drive on October 3 and House Wrens at the calf pasture and 186 Bayshore Road on October 4 and 6, respectively, were also very late. Another apparently record late sighting was of a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher near the lighthouse on October 6.

Ten species of warblers were seen in the Park during the past week. Among them were a number of Orange-crowned Warblers and a Northern Parula and a Pine Warbler on October 3.

A Lincoln's Sparrow and three Lapland Longspurs were on Gull Island on October 9.

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. It should also be noted that, because duck hunting is given priority on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Gull Island, Owen Point, and part of the calf pasture are not available for bird watching on those days.

Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be
directed to: