Although a number of birds have already passed through Presqu’ile Provincial Park en route to points north, the later arrivals are just now beginning to trickle in, making for some happy birders.
The only BRANTS that have been seen were a flock of eleven that flew west past the lighthouse yesterday and were later seen swimming in Popham Bay. With the exception of LONG-TAILED DUCKS, few others are still present, including sightings of GADWALLS, WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, BUFFLEHEADS, COMMON GOLDENEYES, and COMMON and RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS. A WILD TURKEY was on the beach 3 entrance road yesterday. RED-THROATED LOONS were still present in Popham Bay on May 20 but will likely be leaving soon. A HORNED GREBE was seen on May 19. There were two sightings of LEAST BITTERN in the marsh. GREAT EGRETS will likely continue to be seen throughout the summer. BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS are also being seen. A BROAD-WINGED HAWK on May 17 was unexpected. The first SORA of the year was heard in the Owen Point marsh. A COMMON GALLINULE was in the main marsh.
The shorebird migration is just beginning to ramp up. There have been sightings of BLACK-BELLIED and SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS. A GREATER YELLOWLEGS stayed briefly on the beach. The first WHIMBREL of the year appeared today. RUDDY TURNSTONES, SEMIPALMATED and LEAST SANDPIPERS, and DUNLINS have been on the beach, and three SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS flew over the marsh. RED KNOTS should be appearing any day now. The only gulls worth noting were a BONAPARTE’S GULL and a GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL.
A ROCK PIGEON was seen on two different days. The first cuckoo of the year, inconclusively identified, appeared today. A BARRED OWL was both seen and heard along Paxton Drive. A RED-HEADED WOODPECKER put in a brief appearance on May 17. Two MERLINS were seen on May 20 and one on the following day. A PEREGRINE FALCON on May 17 renewed suspicions that the species might be breeding on High Bluff Island. Two YELLOW-THROATED VIREOS on May 16 and numerous PHILADELPHIA VIREO sightings were noteworthy. BLUE JAYS have been migrating all week. A CLIFF SWALLOW was seen on May 16. A few CEDAR WAXWINGS have been back for a few days, but the arrival of a flock of at least 50 today was a highlight. A BLUE-WINGED WARBLER and two ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS were among 25 warbler species seen this week. LINCOLN’S SPARROWS were seen on several different days. ORCHARD ORIOLES are sought by many visiting birders and can usually be counted on. There was one sighting of a HOUSE SPARROW.
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.