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Birding report July 21 2016

Even at the height of what birders refer to as the summer doldrums, Presqu'ile Provincial Park continues to produce some interesting birding, though the standards of what makes birding interesting may be somewhat reduced at this time of year.

A flock of ten GADWALLS has been regular in Popham Bay all summer, but five AMERICAN WIGEONS that flew over were unusual.  Three GREATER SCAUP were there today.  A HOODED MERGANSER off the south beach and a COMMON MERGANSER off the main beach were birds not often seen in summer.  The GREAT EGRETS on High Bluff Island are spending more time off their nests.  A BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON flew past while an observer was on shift monitoring the PIPING PLOVERS.  The young OSPREYS in the nest on the Salt Point lighthouse look to be about ready to fly.  A female NORTHERN HARRIER was another bird seen flying by during a plover watch.

The earliest autumn record for AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN, a species that visits Presqu'ile every few years, was July 25.  In addition to the three PIPING PLOVER chicks, the female parent, that had disappeared to Darlington for a couple of weeks, was seen again at Presqu'ile this week, perhaps to check on the status of her offspring, who seem to be doing well. They are making occasional visits to the water's edge and are taking short flights.  A LESSER YELLOWLEGS was at Owen Point yesterday and today.  Both SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER and LEAST SANDPIPER were on the beach this week.  The first three BONAPARTE'S GULLS of the fall arrived on Tuesday.

Woodpeckers have provided some interest this week, with a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER feeding a young one and two young YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS in Newcastle woods, as well as two PILEATED WOODPECKERS there.  A MERLIN and a PEREGRINE FALCON were both seen this week.  On July 15, at least one BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER was near the lighthouse, and a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW was heard singing along the main road.

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.

There is also a restricted area at beach 2, where the public is being directed away from the Piping Plover fledglings.

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