Spring bird migration is in full swing at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, with new species arriving every day.
Most of the migrating duck species are still present in small numbers. A NORTHERN SHOVELER in Popham Bay was the only one this spring so far. Somewhat surprisingly, no one has reported any RED-THROATED LOONS this week, though they are undoubtedly present in Popham Bay, where a scope is usually required to see them. Off the south shore of the peninsula, HORNED GREBES are present in small numbers, and RED-NECKED GREBES are expected soon. One observer found three AMERICAN BITTERNS this week, two in the marsh and one beside the entrance road. About 16 GREAT EGRETS are on their nests on High Bluff Island, and a few BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS have also been seen there, as well as flying over the causeway outside the Park gate.
A ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was still on High Bluff Island yesterday. A MERLIN was photographed earlier in the week. Yesterday a SANDHILL CRANE was heard calling overhead. DUNLINS have been at Owen Point for over a week, initially four but lately only two. BONAPARTE'S GULLS have been present since April 13. There was another good gull day early this week, when there were two ICELAND, three adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED, and four GLAUCOUS GULLS.
RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS are now a regular feature of the Park's bird life. Four swallow species have returned already: PURPLE MARTIN, and TREE, BANK, and BARN SWALLOWS. A minor BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE migration was observed at the lighthouse yesterday. It is obviously risky to predict what rare bird might appear in the next week, but in recent years a small number of TUFTED TITMICE have been spotted in late April. Good numbers of RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS have been seen and heard in the past three days. Two EASTERN BLUEBIRDS, several HERMIT THRUSHES, and a BROWN THRASHER have also been seen. The only warblers so far have been YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, the first of which was seen on High Bluff Island on April 15. An EASTERN TOWHEE was at 186 Bayshore Road this morning. CHIPPING, FIELD, FOX, WHITE-THROATED, and, surprisingly for this early date (April 17), several WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS have all been present this week, the latter on High Bluff Island. Among the many DARK-EYED JUNCOES that have been ubiquitous this week, there was one of the "Oregon” race at 83 Bayshore Road today. Several RUSTY BLACKBIRDS have been around the eastern end of the Park for the past three days, but the first of that species was found on April 13. A PINE SISKIN, the first of the spring at Presqu'ile visited a feeder at 186 Bayshore Road on April 17.
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.