Birding at Presqu'ile Provincial Park has become somewhat more interesting during the past week than it has been throughout the summer, as fall migrants of several species are making their appearance.
On August 9, a Least Bittern was seen flying out of the marsh and across the causeway leading to the Park. Great Egrets can be seen almost every day.
Among the ducks, Wood Ducks are being seen regularly in the marsh, an American Black Duck spent most of the afternoon of August 10 swimming near the lighthouse, six Green-winged Teal flew past Gull Island on August 11, and Common Mergansers were at Gull Island on August 11 (two females and a moulting male) and August 12 (one female).
An immature Bald Eagle was flying over Presqu'ile Bay on August 8, the first of that species since late winter or early spring. An Osprey was also seen there on August 6. A probable Sharp-shinned Hawk, also the first of the season, was seen at the beach on August 7. More of them should be moving past the lighthouse in the coming weeks.
Although the shorebird habitat is more limited than it has been in mid-August in recent years, the numbers are building up every day, with ten species reported this week. The first Black-bellied Plover of the fall appeared on August 12, along with about a dozen Semipalmated Plovers. The first Ruddy Turnstones (2) arrived on August 11, and the first Baird's Sandpiper on August 12. Also on August 12, an American Woodcock was seen along the roadside near the marsh boardwalk entrance.
Most of the Purple Martins that occupied the nest boxes near the lighthouse have disappeared within the past few days, about a week earlier than last year.
Last weekend saw the first wave of passerine and other birds arrive at the lighthouse. Two Chimney Swifts were there on August 7, and an Empidonax
flycatcher, thought to be a Willow Flycatcher, was there on August 7 and 10. Nine species of warblers have been seen in that general vicinity since the weekend, and some are appearing elsewhere in the Park. Among others, there have been a Golden-winged Warbler, a Chestnut-sided Warbler (both on August 7), several Black-and-white
Warblers, an Ovenbird on August 12, a Northern Waterthrush on August 7 and 8, a Mourning Warbler on August 7 and 9, and a Canada Warbler on August 7.
A juvenile Eastern Towhee was found on August 12, about 200 metres from the location where that species has been suspected of nesting in recent years. A small group of White-throated Sparrows, perhaps a family group, was at the lighthouse on August 7.
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.