Despite the summery weather of the past week, a number of the birds seen at Prequ'ile Provincial Park during that period are obviously still en route to their nesting areas further north. Others are in that doubtful category, - possibly late migrants or possibly locally breeding birds. In some cases, a distinction can be drawn on the basis of the part of the Park in which the bird is seen or the habitat which it is occupying.
Common Loons that fly over, as many as three on one day this week, are not likely breeding in the area. On the other hand, most birds in the heron family seen this week are known to be nesting, including Great Egrets. A Green Heron seen on the north shore of Presqu'ile Bay may also be breeding locally. Five Black-crowned Night-Herons
, presumably from the breeding colony on the offshore islands, flew over on June 7 and one flew past the lighthouse at dusk on June 9.
The status of ducks in Popham Bay is less certain. Today there were eleven species of ducks there, including a Gadwall, American Wigeons, three male Northern Shovelers, half a dozen Redheads, a male scaup (believed to be a Greater Scaup), and all three species of mergansers
. Near the lighthouse there was a Long-tailed Duck on June 5 and 8.
A Bald Eagle was seen on June 7.
All of the shorebirds still present at Presqu'ile except Killdeer and Spotted Sandpiper are certainly not breeding here. The Piping Plover whose presence has been witnessed by many birders at least as recently as June 8 would probably breed here if only it could find a mate, especially since the Park has taken measures to minimize further disturbance to the bird. There were three Semipalmated Plovers in that fenced off area on June 9. Three Whimbrels at Owen Point on June 5 were exceptionally late. Large numbers of Ruddy Turnstones and a Red Knot passed through on June 5 and three of the former were at Owen Point on June 9. Also there on that date were about twenty Semipalmated Sandpipers, a White-rumped Sandpiper, and a Dunlin.
Although a recurrence of the event is highly improbable, it is worth noting that on June 14, 1988 a Sandwich Tern showed up at Owen Point, one of the three rarest birds ever found at Presqu'ile. As the recent sighting of an Arctic Tern there indicates, the terns and gulls that roost on the gravel bar off Owen Point merit close scrutiny.
Black-billed Cuckoos were found along Paxton Drive and at the calf pasture, which is one of the preferred locations for that species in summer. A Red-bellied Woodpecker was heard near the lighthouse on June 8. A minor Blue Jay migration was observed there as late as June 5. The Purple Martins that occupy a nest box at 192 Bayshore Road have been very active in recent days. The Sedge Wren at the Owen Point trail parking lot was behaving on June 4 as if it had established a breeding territory. Although undoubtedly breeding somewhere in the Park, a Golden-crowned Kinglet and a Wood Thrush, both recorded this week, are not often seen in summer. On June 5, a Northern Mockingbird made a surprise appearance on the lawn of 184 Bayshore Road. Most of the ten or so species of warblers reported during the past week are probably summer residents, but a Nashville Warbler in habitat that is not typical nesting habitat and a Wilson's Warbler on June 6 may well represent the tail end of the spring warbler migration.
As recently as June 5, a Clay-colored Sparrow was singing along Atkins Lane, where birds of that species have been present for several weeks. Orchard Orioles appear to be on territory in at least two different parts of the peninsula, - Bayshore Road and the Owen Point trail parking lot.
ANYONE WHO HAS RECENTLY LOST A COPY OF PETERSON'S FIELD GUIDE TO THE BIRDS (EASTERN) MAY CLAIM IT FROM THE PARK WARDEN.
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.