The first stirrings of fall bird migration at Presqu'ile Provincial Park began in the past week, but as yet it has amounted to only a trickle. By far the best bird of the week can not be attributed to fall migration.
An AMERICAN WIGEON and two teal, probably GREEN-WINGED TEAL, were on the beach on July 21. At 7 a.m. this morning, an adult NORTHERN GANNET was observed flying east past the Park, probably the same individual that was seen twice in early May on both sides of the eastern part of Lake Ontario, including Presqu'ile. Adults of that oceanic species are rare inland and individuals of any age are almost unheard of in Ontario outside late fall/early winter, so that it seems likely that this bird has been frequenting the eastern part of the lake throughout the summer. With many recreational boaters traversing offshore parts of the lake all summer, there might be more sightings to come. An AMERICAN BITTERN in the unusual location of Owen Point was probably attracted there by the dozens of leopard frogs and perhaps by the hordes of grasshoppers. GREAT EGRETS are no longer concentrated on High Bluff Island but are showing up throughout the Park.
An immature BALD EAGLE was being harassed by AMERICAN CROWS at the calf pasture. A SHARP-SHINNED HAWK was also seen there. Despite apparently good habitat along the beach, the shorebird migration is slow to get under way, the only two returning species noted so far being SEMIPALMATED and LEAST SANDPIPERS. One adult and two Immature BONAPARTE'S GULLS were on the beach on July 23.
A COMMON RAVEN was seen on two different days this week. BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS have not been reported as frequently this summer as in recent years, but one was seen this week. On July 21 a NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH pranced across the deck of a residence on Bayshore Road, undoubtedly a returned migrant. On two consecutive days a NORTHERN PARULA was found, another warbler species that must have returned from points north. EASTERN TOWHEES have been seen in two different areas. As many as three ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS have been seen at once, perhaps a family group. Single PINE SISKINS have paid visits to two different feeders 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.