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Birding Report

Presqu’ile Bird Report for 12-18 Apr 2019

HIGHLIGHTS: Lots of returning birds but nothing unusual.

There have been a few small surges of migrants during brief windows of suitable weather but we have yet to see a big passage of migrant songbirds.  Most birds seem to be arriving more or less “on time” but numbers remain low for species that would normally be common by now.

Waterfowl have thinned out considerably.  Puddle ducks are scarce and are mostly being seen around the islands and beach.  Migrant diving ducks can still be found in Presqu’ile Bay but are often far out.  SCAUP are dominant but a small number of REDHEAD remain, and up to 100 RING-NECKED DUCKS can easily be seen in the marsh off Presqu’ile Parkway.  Presumably the same female BLACK SCOTER reported last week made an appearance at the lighthouse on 15 Apr. Increasingly vocal LONG-TAILED DUCKS are still common but often rafting far out.

An AMERICAN BITTERN was calling near the gate on 13 Apr and GREAT EGRETS have returned to their nesting trees on High Bluff Is with up to 12 seen on 16 Apr. An AMERICAN KESTREL was in the Calf Pasture on 16 Apr and a male has been seen all week just outside the gate. MERLINS were seen at several widely separate areas through the week suggesting several nesting pairs are present.  The first PURPLE MARTIN arrived on 13 Apr and multiples since.  For most of the week several hundred swallows could be seen far out in Presqu’ile Bay making identification difficult but the majority appeared to be TREE SWALLOWS.  BARN SWALLOWS were also present including two independent high counts of 40 on 15 and 16 Apr.

A pair of BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES was seen excavating a nest cavity of 16 Apr right on schedule.  There were good numbers of BROWN CREEPER, GOLDEN and RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS.  A male EASTERN BLUEBIRD is singing daily at the Birdhouse Nature Store, just outside the gate.  Small numbers of HERMIT THRUSH were seen throughout the week.  Newly arrived BROWN THRASHERS now make it impossible to tell if the wintering thrasher is still around.

The first YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER was found on 13 Apr with a handful more through the week.  The first PINE WARBLER was at the Calf Pasture 16-17 Apr and another was at the Birdhouse Nature Store feeders the same two days. Migrant sparrows picked up this week.  CHIPPING and FIELD have returned to breeding sites.  Numbers of DARK-EYED JUNCO and AMERICAN TREE SPARROW have swelled with returning migrants.  The first SAVANNAH SPARROW was seen just outside the gate on 16 Apr. FOX SPARROWS were seen on 12 Apr and 14 Apr.  Several WHITE-THROATED SPARROW arrived on 16 Apr but numbers are still low. Two RUSTY BLACKBIRDS were with RED-WINGS at the gate on 12 Apr.  Winter finches have thinned out but a PURPLE FINCH at a feeder on 14 Apr was the first in ages.

Directions: 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 (10 March-10 September).