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Birding Report August 18

Birders and birds have begun re-appearing at Presqu'ile Provincial Park this week.  Some uncommon or unusual ones have been among the latter (to say nothing of the former).  A significant influx of new arrivals appeared yesterday, after a rainy Tuesday.

An apparently unhealthy BRANT, rare in summer, was photographed on the beach this week.  On August 15, the previously reported TRUMPETER SWAN was on Sebastopol Island.  A BLUE-WINGED TEAL was at Owen Point yesterday.  The flock of REDHEADS in Popham Bay has grown in size to well over a dozen birds.  Two CHIMNEY SWIFTS, seen at Presqu'ile only in migration, were over the calf pasture yesterday.

A few dozen shorebirds have been between Owen Point and Gull Island for much of the past week, but several new arrivals appeared yesterday. The PIPING PLOVERS that nested at Presqu'ile have not been seen for a couple of days. A RUDDY TURNSTONE that was there on Saturday has not been reported since then.  Both yesterday and today a STILT SANDPIPER was among the other shorebirds.  The first BAIRD'S SANDPIPER of the season was found on August 15, and several appeared yesterday and another today.  One of the rarities seen every year at this time is BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER, one of which showed up briefly yesterday.  Up to three SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS have been seen.  Three recent sightings of a very co-operative WILLET were noteworthy, the most recent being this morning.  Any species of jaeger is a rarity at Presqu'ile, especially LONG-TAILED JAEGER.  The only record of that species in the Park was on August 22, five years ago, but the date is not inconsistent with the early migration period for that species.  An early GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL was photographed yesterday.  This morning the GREAT EGRETS on High Bluff Island were more visible than they have been since several were standing on the shore.  A GREEN HERON on the natural beach north of Owen Point was in an unusual location.

A BARRED OWL was seen at noon on Monday.  A MERLIN was also seen on that day. The PEREGRINE FALCON seen a week ago has not been reported since, but others may soon be pestering the shorebirds.  Mixed flocks of warblers, vireos, chickadees, and potentially gnatcatchers have begun to appear, including two flocks near the lighthouse yesterday.  Among them were BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER, CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, and WILSON'S WARBLER.

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.

Fred Helleiner