Although the past weekend was billed as Warblers and
Whimbrels weekend at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, only the former could be found. The thousands of shorebirds that normally move through the Park in late May have not yet arrived, while the movement of warblers, thrushes, and other passerines (except flycatchers) has begun to abate.
As recently as May 22, there was still a Red-throated Loon in Popham Bay. A lone Brant bobbed in the waves off the lighthouse for at least four days, and a flock of about 30 was at Sebastopol Island on May 25. Gadwalls and American Wigeons have been along the shores of Gull Island recently. A Bufflehead on May 21 and two Common Goldeneyes on May 23 were late dates.
On three different days during the past week an Osprey has been seen over the Park.
The highest Black-bellied Plover count to date was six on May 20. The highlight of the week was unquestionably a Piping Plover that remained on the beach from May 21 to 24, except for a brief period when a dog disturbed it and it retreated to one of the offshore islands. Up to six Ruddy Turnstones and five White-rumped Sandpipers have been seen at any one time. Surprisingly, no one has yet reported a Whimbrel at Presqu'ile this year, even on the traditional date of May 24. Only one Red Knot has been seen to date, on May 22, whereas hundreds may be expected to land on the beach or on Gull Island any day now. A flock of 20 Short-billed Dowitchers stopped briefly on the beach on May 19, and one was seen there on three subsequent days. A Little Gull that had been present for a few days was seen flying away on May 20.
The next few days mark the window of opportunity for finding a Common Nighthawk on its spring migration, though there certainly are fewer than in years past. Someone, probably a camper, checked off Whip-poor-will on the bird sightings board on May 23. The species is uncommon at Presqu'ile but undoubtedly goes undetected much of the time unless one is out-of-doors at night.
A Red-headed Woodpecker has been at the lighthouse for five of the past seven days, and a Red-bellied Woodpecker has also been seen there but less frequently. There was an anonymous report of a Yellow-throated Vireo, and a number of people saw a Philadelphia Vireo on May 24. There have been a few sightings of Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher at the lighthouse. Blue-winged Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, and Mourning Warbler (on May 20) were among the more interesting warblers in the Park during the past week. The majority of the recent Clay-colored Sparrow sightings have been along Atkins Lane. A late White-crowned Sparrow was at 186 Bayshore Road on May 25 and another was on the Owen Point Trail on the following day. Several Orchard Orioles have been seen, and the pair that visits feeders at 83 and 85 Bayshore Road may be planning to nest nearby.
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.