This has been a week of consistently good birding, with most of the regular migrants that one would expect in late September and a few that are later than expected, as well as some early arrivals of species that normally appear first in October. One group of birders saw 82 species on September 22, though a few were outside the Park.
The best vantage point for seeing dabbling ducks these days is the platform opposite the camp office (marked "restricted access”, but actually not). From there one can find WOOD DUCKS, AMERICAN WIGEONS, AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS, MALLARDS, NORTHERN PINTAILS, and GREEN-WINGED TEAL. The four NORTHERN SHOVELERS seen on September 20 were not there, but a RING-NECKED DUCK two days later was there. A BLACK SCOTER on September 20 and a LONG-TAILED DUCK on September 22, the first of the season, were both early. An estimated 100 HORNED GREBES and a RED-NECKED GREBE were in Popham Bay on September 20. In addition to daily sightings of GREAT BLUE HERONS, there were also singles of GREAT EGRET, GREEN HERON, and BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON. The OSPREYS seen on September 20 and 23 were rather late. There were also two BALD EAGLE sightings. A COMMON GALLINULE has been feeding among the ducks in the marsh. Shorebirds continue to disappoint, but a few interesting species have been BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER and SPOTTED, WHITE-RUMPED, BAIRD'S, and PECTORAL SANDPIPERS.
A GREAT HORNED OWL was in The Pines campground. RED-BELLIED and PILEATED WOODPECKERS continue to be found here and there, including at the lighthouse. AMERICAN KESTREL, MERLIN, and PEREGRINE FALCON have all been seen in the past week. A YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER on September 23 and an EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE on September 24 were on the late side. Since a SULPHUR-BELLIED FLYCATCHER was at Presqu'ile from September 28 to October 1 some years ago, birders should be aware that rare flycatchers do show up at this time of year. That being the case, a flycatcher that was seen at Salt Point yesterday by a non-birder which fitted the description of a GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER might well have been some other species with similar field marks. Again this week, four vireo species included both WARBLING and PHILADELPHIA VIREOS. Gull Island has been the place to go for HORNED LARKS, with eleven there on Tuesday. The "spotted” thrushes seen in the past week are GRAY-CHEEKED, SWAINSON'S, HERMIT, and WOOD THRUSHES. AMERICAN PIPITS are being seen regularly at Owen Point. One of the highlights of the week was a flock of about 25 LAPLAND LONGSPURS on the beach on September 22. A focus of many birders' attention this week has been the swarms of warblers hiding in the treetops. Most of them prove to be YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, as expected at this late date, but enumerating all of the others (16 species seen by one group of birders on September 22) would be tedious. However, another typically late species, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, has been seen several times this week. Among sparrows and their allies, there have been the following: EASTERN TOWHEE, an early AMERICAN TREE SPARROW on September 25, LINCOLN'S SPARROW, the first WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS of the season, and a few DARK-EYED JUNCOES. NELSON'S SPARROWS are almost certainly hiding in the dense vegetation on Gull Island, where few birders have been venturing. A SCARLET TANAGER was still at the lighthouse on September 24 and two RUSTY BLACKBIRDS were there on September 22.
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. Visitors to Gull Island not using a boat should be prepared to wade through water that is knee-deep, not taking into account any wave action,.in which there is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven and slippery. It should also be noted that Gull Island, High Bluff Island, Owen Point (beyond the EDGE OF THE VEGETATION), and part of the calf pasture are not available for bird-watching on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays,, because duck hunting starts September 28. 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.