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Birding Report

The spring bird migration at Presqu’ile Provincial Park is progressing more or less according to expectations.  At this time of year, one or two surprises can be expected, even if not in the category of mega-rarities, and this week has been no exception.

 Three TUNDRA SWANS, the only ones this spring, flew past on April 13.  Although most of the waterfowl have moved on, two BLUE-WINGED TEAL, typically a later arriving species, were in Popham Bay with GREEN-WINGED TEAL on April 12.  Four NORTHERN SHOVELERS were in the marsh on the following day.  A pair of CANVASBACKS is lingering in Presqu’ile Bay.  Two WILD TURKEY hens were seen near the Park store.  The first RED-THROATED LOON of the season was in Popham Bay this morning, and on April 13 the first AMERICAN BITTERN was in the marsh, where single GREAT EGRETS have been seen repeatedly since then.   A COOPER’S HAWK on April 13 was of interest. Outside the Park gate but technically still within the Park boundaries was a COMMON GALLINULE yesterday along the causeway leading to the gate.  On April 11, at least three observers saw a SANDHILL CRANE flying north overhead. Twenty-one hours later another of that species was also flying north overhead.  WILSON’S SNIPE and AMERICAN WOODCOCKS are performing their aerial displays along the marsh boardwalk at dusk.  ICELAND, LESSER BLACK-BACKED, and GLAUCOUS GULLS have all been seen from Owen Point this week.  SNOWY OWLS were still present at the beach on April 12 and on the ice in Presqu’ile Bay (perhaps two birds) on April 13.  A BARRED OWL was calling around noon in Jobes’ woods on April 11, and a NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL was calling last night just north of the beach 3 access road.  A MERLIN was along Bayshore Road on Sunday.

 A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER continues to frequent the feeders at 186 Bayshore Road and the tall trees in that vicinity.  There was a belated report of a NORTHERN SHRIKE on April 10.  There were two COMMON RAVEN sightings this week.  The only swallows that have returned to Presqu’ile are PURPLE MARTINS and TREE and BARN SWALLOWS, but NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS will likely appear within the next day or two and BANK and CLIFF SWALLOWS will not be far behind. Although not to be expected, this is also the time of year when spring TUFTED TITMOUSE sightings have occurred in the past.  A NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD put in two brief appearances on April 13 , and the first BROWN THRASHER was seen yesterday.  A report of a YELLOW WARBLER a week ago would be a record early date if adequate details could be provided to the Park office.  However, a PINE WARBLER that made repeated visits to suet feeders on April 13 provided "killer” views.  Migrant sparrows this week have included EASTERN TOWHEE, FOX SPARROW, SWAMP SPARROW, and WHITE-THROATED SPARROW.  A few RUSTY BLACKBIRDS have been seen along Paxton Drive.  A HOUSE SPARROW was at 83 Bayshore Road on Monday.

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.

Fred Helleiner