Although there have been a few brief periods of southerly winds at Presqu'ile Provincial Park during the past week (not generally at night, when most migrating birds would benefit), the anticipated surge of migrants has been held in abeyance. Instead there has been a steady trickle of new arrivals that have appeared at the rate of one or two new species per day. At the time of writing this report, a steady south wind has set in, creating a prognosis of excellent birding for the next few days.
There are still well over a dozen Red-throated Loons in Popham Bay, but only a few venture within easy viewing range. Scattered among them are a few Horned Grebes. A Red-necked Grebe swam off the lighthouse on April 12.
Since April 9 in the marsh, American Bitterns have been heard on most days, and one or two Great Egrets have been visible from the viewing platform near the bird sightings board in the early mornings. A Black-crowned Night-Heron was sitting beside its nest on Sebastopol Island on April 12.
A group of four Turkey Vultures crossed the peninsula on a rainy April 13 and drifted across Presqu'ile Bay towards the mainland.
The scaups in Presqu'ile Bay have begun to segregate themselves by species: increasing numbers of Lesser Scaups alongside Bayshore Road, and diminishing numbers of Greater Scaups far out in the bay. Two of the three rare ducks found at Presqu'ile last week were still present during the week just ended. The female King Eider remained for only a second day (April 9), allowing a number of birders able to come only on a weekend to see her. The male Barrow's Goldeneye off the south shore of Gull Island continued to play hide-and-seek for three consecutive days this week, raising suspicions that it had left, but this morning (April 15) he was back in the usual place. On one occasion, he was even seen displaying to a female goldeneye of unknown species.
A Merlin flying over Paxton Drive on April 15 was the only hawk of note in the Park this week. Surprisingly, no one has yet reported an Osprey here.
Owen Point has again begun to defend its reputation as the shorebird capital of Presqu'ile. Three species were observed there this week, including three Dunlins on April 15 and a Wilson's Snipe that flew past on April 11, low over the water and apparently in migration mode. On April 11, a keen-eyed observer spotted an American Woodcock squatted among dead leaves near the lighthouse. Both of the latter species have been performing recently at the marsh boardwalk at dusk.
Bonaparte's Gulls arrived in number on April 9 and have been seen on most days since then. At this time of year, they are often accompanied by Little Gulls, but none has yet been reported at Presqu'ile. A late Iceland Gull was spotted on Sebastopol Island on April 10.
Two Great Horned Owls were performing a duet in the trees near the marsh boardwalk at dusk on April 14, probably including the one that was heard from the bird sightings board viewing platform five days earlier. There was a report of a Short-eared Owl sitting in the marsh on April 9.
Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers were seen in two different parts of the Park on April 15. For the second time this spring, a Common Raven was seen in the Park, this time at the calf pasture on April 12. There was a report of four Pine Warblers (probably an unprecedented aggregation for this solitary species) at the lighthouse, but they did not linger even briefly for anyone else to see them.
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.