Whereas, a month ago, water birds dominated the birding scene at Presqu'ile Provincial Park and land birds were scarcely worth a mention, the situation is now completely reversed. In fact, the four days beginning on April 29 were regarded by some as the best four consecutive days for land birds in their memory.
Red-throated Loons can still be found in good numbers (10 - 12) in Popham Bay when viewing conditions are suitable. Three Red-necked Grebes were also there on May 2. A male Eurasian Wigeon put in a brief appearance there on the preceding day.
Most diving ducks evacuated Presqu'ile Bay on the opening day of fishing season (May 1), but prior to that there were still scores of Ring-necked Ducks and scaup (mostly Lesser Scaup) and a few Canvasbacks and Redheads. In Lake Ontario, there were still Common Goldeneyes up till May 2.
The Yellow Rail that was first discovered a week ago has been heard calling almost every day since then, including May 6. The location is the first viewing platform on the marsh boardwalk, and the preferred times are early morning and dusk. Just outside the Park, a Sandhill Crane flew overhead on May 3. A Greater Yellowlegs was heard at the marsh on May 6. Seven Lesser Yellowlegs and a Least Sandpiper flew over the beach on May 2. A Little Gull flying past Owen Point on May 1 was the only record of that species at Presqu'ile so far this year.
A Whip-poor-will was calling near the park store on May 1. The first of several Red-headed and Red-bellied Woodpeckers seen in the Park this week were on April 30, apparently a record early date for both species. At least two early Great Crested Flycatchers were seen, the first on May 1. The Blue Jay migration that began almost two weeks ago is now in full swing at the lighthouse, with several flocks of 50-60 birds appearing every morning. Wood Thrushes were first seen on May 2, and a Gray Catbird on May 1. Two American Pipits were on the beach on May 2. Of the nineteen species of warblers in the Park during the past week, the most noteworthy were two Blue-winged Warblers (May 1 and 2)and two Orange-crowned Warblers (May 3 and 5). Some unusually early sightings were Northern Parula, Magnolia Warbler, and American Redstart (May 1), and Chestnut-sided, Blackburnian, and Bay-breasted Warblers (May 2). A Scarlet Tanager and an Indigo Bunting on May 1 were also early, but an American Tree Sparrow on the same date was late. Both Orchard and Baltimore Orioles were seen regularly seen 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.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be
directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.