By the very nature of birding, the sport makes people into optimists, forever expecting (or at least hoping for) more sightings than can realistically be expected. Thus, the fact that Presqu'ile Provincial Park yielded no rarities during the past week and that newly arriving migrants were right on schedule may have disappointed the few birders who visited the Park. Things can only improve.
The latest sighting of Red-throated Loons in Popham Bay was on April 22, when four birds were counted. Onshore winds in recent days have made it difficult to determine whether there are still birds of that species present. Four Blue-winged Teal accompanying the regular flock of Green-winged Teal near Owen Point on April 27 and five rather late Common Goldeneyes at the lighthouse on the same day were the only noteworthy waterfowl this week.
Two observers watched a Northern Goshawk fly over on April 22. Common Moorhens are now established in the marsh. This is about the date when a Yellow Rail returned last year, so birders visiting the marsh will undoubtedly be listening for its distinctive call in days to come.
Shorebirds are beginning to trickle in, with a Greater Yellowlegs on the beach on April 28 and four Dunlins at Owen Point on April 22. Since Willets are appearing elsewhere in Ontario this week, the most determined optimists among Presqu'ile birders will be on the lookout not only for that species but also for a Mongolian Plover, since the only eastern Canadian record of that species occurred at Presqu'ile on the same day as a record number of Willets, May 4, 1981. The first Common Tern appeared this year at Owen Point on April 26.
A Red-bellied Woodpecker and two Purple Finches appeared at a feeder at 83 Bayshore Road on April 22. Typical late April migrants often include several species of warblers, as well as flycatchers, vireos, wrens, and gnatcatchers, all of which can be expected to arrive in the very near future.
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.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.