Presqu’ile Bird Report for Week of 26 Oct – 1 Nov 2018
HIGHLIGHTS: BRANT, LITTLE GULL, COMMON TERN, CAROLINA WREN, LAPLAND LONGSPUR
Waterbirds abound in the marsh, Presqu’ile Bay and Popham Bay (off the beach and islands). Seven BRANT were on Gull Is. on 28 Oct (FH). Alarmingly up to 400 MUTE SWAN were seen in Presqu’ile Bay on 30 Oct (DM). Lingering NORTHERN SHOVELER and NORTHERN PINTAIL were seen on 29 Oct (KA) and 30 Oct (FH) respectively. WHITE-WINGED and SURF SCOTER were present throughout the week.
PIED-BILLED, HORNED and RED-NECKED GREBE were all seen this week with singles of the latter on 27 Oct (FH) and 30 Oct (DM). The only heron reported was a GREAT BLUE HERON that is feeding regularly along the causeway. Weather was less conducive to hawk flights this week but an imm RED-SHOULDERED HAWK was seen passing the gate area on 26 Oct (RDM).
A few AMERICAN COOT can usually be seen in the marsh, as viewed from the Ontario St. Boat Launch at the east end of the causeway. Shorebirds continue to do well with at least eight species reported, mostly from Gull Is or the developing mudflats in the marsh. A SEMIPALMATED PLOVER seen on 30 Oct (DB) is getting late. A lingering RUDDY TURNSTONE was most recently reported on 30 Oct (DM,DB) and up to six WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS were also seen that day. GREATER YELLOWLEGS and PECTORAL SANDPIPERS are now being seen regularly in the causeway marsh area.
Gulls continue to amass offshore as they search for schools of fish. HERRING, RING-BILLED, GREAT BLACK-BACK (a handful) and BONAPARTE’S GULLS make up the bulk of these but a scarce LITTLE GULL was spotted with them on 27 Oct (FH). An imm COMMON TERN, likely the same late bird seen last week, was noted off the Government Dock on Bayshore Rd. on 28 Oct (RDM,KR).
EASTERN PHOEBES were seen throughout the week in small numbers but are likely to be very scarce from now on. A HORNED LARK was seen on Gull Is. on 30 Oct (DB). The CAROLINA WREN that is frequenting the Lighthouse area and nearby feeders was seen on most days this week. BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES continue to move but numbers are lower than a few weeks ago. A few lingering RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS and HERMIT THRUSHES were seen throughout the week but will likely be rare from now on. Two LAPLAND LONGSPUR were seen on Gull Is. on 30 Oct (DB) as were a small number of SNOW BUNTING.
Warblers are getting scarce now except for YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, which persist in low numbers. Other warblers seen included a NASHVILLE on 1 Nov (RDM), ORANGE-CROWNED on 28 Oct (RDM), and PALM on 25 Oct (DB).
Two EASTERN TOWHEE were seen at a Bayshore Rd feeder on 28 Oct (BG). Several species of sparrow – WHITE-THROATED, WHITE-CROWNED, AMERICAN TREE AND DARK-EYED JUNCO - were generally common and widespread. Less expected was a somewhat late LINCOLN’S SPARROW that spent 28-29 Oct at a Bayshore Rd feeder (BG).
Finally winter finches continue to break budgets at feeders this fall. PINE SISKINS are common with over 100 at some feeders. Mixed in are smaller numbers of HOUSE and PURPLE FINCH, and AMERICAN GOLDFINCH. COMMON REDPOLLS were noted flying over the gate area with 1 on 31 Oct and 2 the next day (RDM).
Note that fall waterfowl hunting in now occurring in the Park which means park users cannot go to Owen Pt., the islands, the marsh (boardwalk is open), or Calf Pasture Pt. on Saturdays, Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays even if no one is hunting on those days. This restriction will last until mid December so plan your trip accordingly.
Presqu’ile Provincial Park is located on the north shore of Lake Ontario, just south of the town of Brighton. It can be reached from either Hwy. 401 or Cty. Rd. 2 and is well signed. A Park map can be found in the information tabloid available at the Park gate. Presqu’ile’s two offshore islands – Gull and High Bluff – support a large multi-species colonial bird nesting area and access is not permitted during the breeding season.