There are plenty of birds at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, but finding them has been challenging this week. Bird song has diminished, and dense foliage makes visual birding difficult. Birders, ever hopeful, will soon begin looking for the first returning shorebirds, now that the solstice is behind us and the days are getting (noticeably?) shorter.
WOOD DUCKS have begun to congregate in the marsh, with 17 being counted on one day this week. A surprising find was a group of four GREEN-WINGED TEAL on the beach on June 21. On one exceptionally calm morning (June 22), ducks that could be seen far offshore included three WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS and 37 LONG-TAILED DUCKS. A COMMON GOLDENEYE was off the beach on July 21 and 22. Three COMMON MERGANSERS were in Presqu'ile Bay on June 22, and two were at the lighthouse on the following day. A count of 32 COMMON LOONS in the lake was remarkable for the date (June 22). Three family groups of fledged young PIED-BILLED GREBES, totalling 16 birds, were in Presqu'ile Bay today. An AMERICAN BITTERN was on the roadside on one day and a possible LEAST BITTERN was heard in the marsh at too great a distance to be certain of the identification. GREAT EGRETS are feeding at various locations around the shores. A TURKEY VULTURE was drifting along the shore of Presqu'ile Bay this morning. OSPREYS appear to be nesting on top of the Salt Point lighthouse. A resident COOPER'S HAWK may be responsible for the depredation of a nest of a GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER. Among the COMMON TERNS on the beach on June 21 was a juvenile that did not originate from the Presqu'ile colony and may have reached the Park from as far away as Lake Erie or the St. Lawrence River, where fledging takes place earlier than at Presqu'ile or Toronto, according to a researcher familiar with the species.
A YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO was recorded on June 20. RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS continue to patronize the feeders at 83 Bayshore Road. An ALDER FLYCATCHER was again heard at the lighthouse on June 24. The former BANK SWALLOW colony at the day use area has almost totally vanished and is occupied by only one or two of that species and a few NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS. BROWN CREEPERS have been known to nest in the Park but are secretive, so the one heard this week was of interest. Two widely spaced NORTHERN WATERTHRUSHES were heard this week. A male and female INDIGO BUNTING visited a feeder at 83 Bayshore Road, where up to six ORCHARD ORIOLES are regular visitors.
A new book entitledFor the Birds: Recollections and Rambles, by Fred Helleiner, is available from the author (see below) for $20 plus $2.50 for postage. It is also being sold at the Lighthouse Gift Shop in the Park and at Lighthouse Books in Brighton. All profits will be donated to the Friends of Presqu'ile's 25th Anniversary Environmental Fund, which sponsors long-term projects like the eradication of invasive species. This message is authorized by the Ontbirds Coordinator.
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.