Among other interesting birds, shorebirds and a few warblers have rewarded birders at Presqu'ile Provincial Park this past week. 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 Out on a Limb and 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.
There are still numerous GREAT EGRETS being seen regularly. The most frequent sightings of TURKEY VULTURES have been on the beach. A SORA and an AMERICAN COOT are marsh birds seen this week that are not often spotted at this season. The first significant influx of shorebirds took place on Sunday, some of which lingered over the next few days. The majority, at least two dozen, were SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS, but other species this week included five SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, RUDDY TURNSTONES, at least half a dozen SANDERLINGS, and LEAST SANDPIPERS. All of those passed through Presqu'ile in the spring, but others, like STILT SANDPIPERS that are anticipated soon, are strictly fall migrants here. Adult and immature BONAPARTE'S GULLS appeared on the beach and at the lighthouse. Over 100 COMMON TERNS have congregated on Gull Island and on the beach. A group of BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES, accompanied by warblers and a vireo, discovered an immature NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL yesterday, and were kind enough to show it vociferously to a good number of birders and interested passers-by, including all of the summer interpretive staff of the Park.
Four years ago, the first OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER of the season appeared on July 31, so that species should be looked for this month. An ALDER FLYCATCHER was identified on July 30, and another flycatcher of that genus was seen yesterday but was not vocalizing and therefore could not be identified as to species. For the second consecutive week, a BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER was seen. A VEERY on July 30 was the first in several weeks. Among the more interesting warblers in the Park in the past week were a NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (helping to annoy the aforesaid owl), an early TENNESSEE WARBLER, many YELLOW WARBLERS, and a CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER. Of even greater interest was a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW on July 27.
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.