As is often the case, Presqu'ile Provincial Park continued to deliver up some interesting bird sightings during the past week.
The number of Horned Grebes in Popham Bay has escalated to an estimated 100 birds. In Presqu'ile Bay near the lighthouse, there was a Red-necked Grebe on October 3. Mute Swans are also congregating in Presqu'ile Bay, with approximately 50 being counted from some vantage points.
Large numbers of American Wigeons and White-winged Scoters (80 and 50, respectively) were seen on October 7. Four Ring-necked Ducks, the first of the season, were in the marsh on October 3.
Two observers saw a Bald Eagle over the beach on October 5. In addition to the Merlin that continues to frequent Gull Island and the vicinity, another one was eyeing the feeders at 186 Bayshore Road on October 7, where a Peregrine Falcon caught a small bird on October 4.
The flock of American Coots opposite 38 Bayshore Road continues to expand, and has now reached about 50 individuals. There are well over 100 shorebirds around Gull Island, Owen Point, and the beach, including American Golden-Plovers
, Semipalmated Plovers, and White-rumped
, and Pectoral
. Five other shorebird species also appeared during the past week.
The highlight of the week was the discovery of a Black-legged Kittiwake near Salt Point at noon on October 7, but the bird disappeared a short while later. It may well be lingering elsewhere in Presqu'ile Bay or on the beach.
Rare in autumn at Presqu'ile, a Red-bellied Woodpecker found at the High Bluff campground on October 5 remained in the area throughout that morning, allowing several observers to see it. It was one of six species of woodpeckers found in the Park on that day.
Eastern Wood-Pewees were at the lighthouse on October 1 and 3. On October 4 and 5, there was a migration of Tree Swallows past the Park, and among them was another swallow that was either a Cliff Swallow or a Cave Swallow
, which, if confirmed, would have represented the first record of that species for Presqu'ile.
The most active day of the week for passerines was October 5, when one observer found two species of vireos, including four Blue-headed Vireos, about 30 kinglets
of both species, at least four Hermit Thrushes, and six species of warblers, all within half a kilometre of the lighthouse. Gull Island has been a reliable place to find American Pipits, with about 75 there on October 7. An Indigo Bunting seen on October 5 was the only report of that species from the Park this fall. Purple Finches have been sporadically visiting the feeders at 85 and 186 Bayshore 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. Visitors to Gull Island not using a boat should be prepared to wade through thigh-deep water in which there is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven. It should also be noted that, because duck hunting is given priority on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Gull Island, Owen Point, and part of the calf pasture are not available for bird watching on those days.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.