Inevitably at this time of year birders turn up a few surprises at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, and this week has been no exception.
Most of the ducks that were at Presqu'ile earlier in the spring are still present but in much reduced numbers. A WILD TURKEY was in the Park on April 22. Five RED-THROATED LOONS were detected with a scope, far out in Popham Bay. The GREAT EGRETS that are nesting on High Bluff Island can likewise be seen from the mainland. Two observers counted 26 of them with the aid of a scope. A few hawks have been found in the Park this week: TURKEY VULTURES, OSPREY, NORTHERN HARRIER, SHARP-SHINNED HAWK, AMERICAN KESTREL. Although there was a report of four RED KNOTS on the beach on Tuesday, unless a satisfactory rare bird report is received by the Park, the sighting must be questioned since there is no previous April record of that species at Presqu'ile. WILSON'S SNIPE and AMERICAN WOODCOCKS can be found at dusk in several areas. Other shorebirds should soon be trickling in. There have been a few BONAPARTE'S GULLS this week, and an ICELAND GULL was on the beach today. COMMON TERNS were reported on April 23 and 24, both exceptionally early dates for that species.
A ROCK PIGEON was at 186 Bayshore Road this morning. On April 22, a BARRED OWL was found and a NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL was calling in "the fingers”. The latter was heard again on the following evening. The only CLIFF SWALLOW of the season was at the lighthouse on April 21. The first HOUSE WRENS of the season were on April 21 and 22, and a BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER was found on April 24. A female EASTERN BLUEBIRD was seen on April 21. On April 22 and 23, a NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD visited the feeders at 186 and 191 Bayshore Road. A NASHVILLE WARBLER on April 21 represents a record early date and should be supported by a rare bird report. Other warblers seen this week were PALM, PINE, and YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS. A rather late AMERICAN TREE SPARROW was at the lighthouse yesterday. A RUSTY BLACKBIRD was there today. The first PURPLE FINCHES of the year showed up this week.
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.