This may be the last week in which spring migrants feature in the weekly birding reports from Presqu'ile Provincial Park. Almost all of the sightings of migrants now are of shorebirds, and even those are already dwindling.
One of the most unexpected birds this week was a TUNDRA SWAN that sat on the end of Owen Point on June 4 before flying off to the north in a belated departure. Among other waterfowl, a male NORTHERN SHOVELER on May 31 was unusual, but REDHEADS are continuously present, though not always visible if conditions are unfavourable, between Gull and Sebastopol Islands. The male RING-NECKED DUCK and female BUFFLEHEAD that were in Presqu'ile Bay through the latter half of May were still present on June 1. On June 5, a scan of Lake Ontario off the day use area revealed four WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, seven LONG-TAILED DUCKS, and four RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS, and one of the latter was also on the beach that day. On May 31 a WILD TURKEY was seen along the road. A probable LEAST BITTERN was flushed along the causeway leading into the Park. As well as nesting on High Bluff Island, GREAT EGRETS have taken to feeding along the beach to the north of Owen Point, with four there yesterday. Three BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS flew over in the fog on June 2.
In addition to KILLDEERS, which nest at Presqu'ile, three species of migrant plovers were seen on the beach this week: three BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS on June 4, two SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS as recently as June 3, and a rare PIPING PLOVER on June 2 and 3. Two WHIMBRELS on June 1 and one on June 4 were rather late. This spring's peak of RUDDY TURNSTONES up to now was on June 5, when one observer saw a flock of about 30 at Owen Point and another saw ten on the beach. A large flock of SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS was at Owen Point on June 4. Two LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were on Sebastopol Island on Sunday. Birders who are surprised to see COMMON TERNS with yellow dye around their heads are advised that these birds are not a rare species but part of an on-going study taking place on Gull Island. On the other hand, a precedent was set 25 years ago this month when a SANDWICH TERN spent much of June at Presqu'ile.
A CLIFF SWALLOW was among the many swallows at the beach this afternoon. The warbler migration went out with a bang this year when several birders found a singing CERULEAN WARBLER on June 1 and another saw two of that species. If those were a mated pair rather than migrants, they would represent the first evidence of breeding in the Park. They were seen along the paved trail leading from the park store towards Owen Point and in the cottonwoods behind the Owen Point trail parking lot. Further sightings of these birds should be reported by way of a rare bird report form. As in previous years, ORCHARD ORIOLES are again a not uncommon summer bird at Presqu'ile.
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.