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Birding Report

June 19/2014

A good variety of birds was seen at Presqu’ile Provincial Park in the past week, but almost all of them are species that are known to breed in the Park.  Lush foliage, combined with a reduction in bird song, has made detecting passerines challenging. 

The only unexpected duck was a BLUE-WINGED TEAL among the MALLARDS on the beach on June 17.  A COMMON MERGANSER was reported on June 15.  Also on that date a LEAST BITTERN was flushed in the marsh.  GREAT EGRETS are less visible than before on High Bluff Island but a few can usually be spotted from the mainland.  Likewise, a BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON could be seen with a scope on two different days on Sebastopol Island.  An unusual sighting was of a SOLITARY SANDPIPER on June 15.  Since there are no previous June records of that species from the Park, details will have to be submitted to the Park office by way of a rare bird report.  A presentation on the COMMON TERN research that has been carried out for several years on Gull Island will take place at the Park amphitheatre at 8 p.m. on June 24.  Everyone is welcome, but there is an entry fee to the Park.   

For the second consecutive week, a BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO was found at 83 Bayshore Road.  The only owl seen this week was a large owl, likely a BARRED OWL, that was flushed by marauding AMERICAN CROWS.  RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS are no longer vocal but are still being seen at 83 Bayshore Road.   A MERLIN was also seen there.  On June 14, one observer saw four CLIFF SWALLOWS, a species not known to breed at Presqu’ile.  Only one BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER was found in the past week, though there are undoubtedly more around.  Twice this week a VEERY was heard singing.  A NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD was in the day use area on June 15.  Among the seven warbler species found in the past week were a MOURNING WARBLER and a CANADA WARBLER, the latter being rare at Presqu’ile in summer.  The same can be said of PRAIRIE WARBLER, though one was singing in the calf pasture on June 20 nine years ago.  An EASTERN TOWHEE on June 15 was not unexpected but certainly not a daily sighting.  On the other hand, a VESPER SPARROW on that date, the second in two weeks, is a species that, perhaps surprisingly, had not been previously reported in the Park between May and August.  ORCHARD ORIOLES, while not common in many parts of southern Ontario, are a fairly common summer bird at Presqu’ile, and can be seen almost every day.   A PURPLE FINCH was seen on June 17.