Weather conditions at Presqu'ile Provincial Park in the past week have made for very pleasant birding, but, except for a few unexpectedly early arrivals, the number of returning warblers and other land birds has been disappointing. Typically, however, the peak for those species occurs after the middle of May.
Although attention is no longer focused on water birds, there were still twenty species in the Park since last week's report. Among them were a late NORTHERN PINTAIL, five RING-NECKED DUCKS, two WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, six RED-THROATED LOONS, and four RED-NECKED GREBES. A WILD TURKEY was at the calf pasture this morning. A LEAST BITTERN was calling in the marsh on May 6. GREAT EGRETS can be seen both on their nests and flying over. A GREEN HERON was perched high in a tree at the lighthouse yesterday morning. Eight species of hawks were seen this week. Both VIRGINIA RAIL and SORA put in appearances this week. The shorebird migration for which Presqu'ile is noted is slowly building up, with the first SEMIPALMATED PLOVER and a LESSER YELLOWLEGS on May 8 and four LEAST SANDPIPERS on May 4. Three DUNLINS were at Owen Point this morning. An AMERICAN WOODCOCKS with three young was also discovered.
A very early COMMON NIGHTHAWK flew over on May 7, and an EASTERN WHIP-POOR-WILL was calling last night. In a departure from recent years, RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS are being seen almost daily, with three seen on May 4. RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS are apparently the most common woodpeckers in the Park now. A vireo that was probably a RED-EYED VIREO was heard yesterday. The BLUE JAY migration that can be witnessed at the lighthouse late in May is already well under way. A COMMON RAVEN was present on May 4. A rare TUFTED TITMOUSE made several visits to a feeder at Cruise Cottage yesterday. Birders are welcome to approach the feeders on the west side of the house. A vocal CAROLINA WREN spent two days, May 3-4, near the lighthouse. BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS are being seen on most days near the lighthouse. Among the fifteen warbler species seen this week were at least one GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER (seen on different days) and early TENNESSEE and BAY-BREASTED WARBLERS on May 8. HOODED WARBLERS occur almost every year at Presqu'ile, so that is one of the species that birders will be looking for in the next week or so. A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was at the calf pasture on May 4. A late DARK-EYED JUNCO was seen today. RUSTY BLACKBIRDS were still present on May 4. There have been several sightings of ORCHARD ORIOLES. PINE SISKINS have been patronizing the feeders at 83 and 191 Bayshore Road. A female EVENING GROSBEAK has been an irregular visitor at the former address.
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.