With Lake Ontario water levels slowly dropping, there is abundant habitat along the shores of Presqu'ile Provincial Park to attract birds that favour mud.
The most interesting duck of the week was a male CANVASBACK that appeared near Salt Point on July 20 and 21, perhaps the same individual that was lingering further west in Presqu'ile Bay into the middle of May. A pair of BLACK-BILLED CUCKOOS was on the Owen Point trail. Again this week, the abundance of shorebirds around beach 3 has been the main attraction, with numbers and variety changing day by day. Twelve species, not counting the American Woodcock seen nearby, have put in appearances in the past week, the majority being LESSER YELLOWLEGS and SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS. Among the others have been half a dozen SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS for the past four days, a SOLITARY SANDPIPER on the weekend, up to three each of GREATER YELLOWLEGS and PECTORAL SANDPIPERS, two STILT SANDPIPERS on Sunday and one on three of the four days since then, and two SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS and a WILSON'S PHALAROPE on Sunday. We are anxiously awaiting a MARBLED GODWIT, which was present ten years ago from July 29 to August 2, and the first BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS, which show up almost every year as early as July 24. The high count of BONAPARTE'S GULLS at the beach this week was 52. A COMMON LOON was off the beach on Sunday. LEAST BITTERN, GREEN HERON, and multiple GREAT EGRETS have also been seen.
OSPREYS often fish in Presqu'ile Bay and occasionally perch (unintended pun) on the Salt Point lighthouse. A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER has been at 83 Bayshore Road. A family group of three YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS was at the nature centre. WILLOW FLYCATCHER and ORCHARD ORIOLE are other species known to summer in the Park and seen this week that may interest visiting birders. The previously reported NORTHERN PARULA was seen again yesterday at 94 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. 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.