Southbound shorebirds continue to be the story for visiting birders to Presqu’ile. It could be argued that Presqu’ile offers the best close range shorebird viewing in a natural setting in southern Ontario. The total of southbound shorebirds now stands at 18 species with more to come. As the water levels recede and more beach is exposed birders access to areas unreachable before increases opportunity to view shorebirds.One such area is in front of the stand of willows on beach 3 were shorebirds were taking advantage of algae build up. The first sign of passerine migrants has also begun and the next three weeks are among the best birding to be had at Presqu’ile.
For birders visiting Presqu’ile one can build their list by checking a couple of local areas close to the Park such as Huff Rd and the Brighton Constructed Wetland ( permit required ) and Brighton Sewage Lagoon which must be viewed from fence. One local birder had a couple of birds at the Constructed Wetland not commonly found in the Park. A ROCK PIGEON and 6 CHIMNEY SWIFTS on Aug 19th.
The first COMMON NIGHTHAWK migrants were spotted from a tower on the marsh boardwalk as were 3 VIRGINIA RAILS calling back and forth. Proving that even though the marsh boardwalk trail is closed due to flooding the towers are still worth a visit!
Numbers and species fluctuate daily here are some of the high counts this week. BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER 3, SEMIPALMATED PLOVER 12, KILLDEER 1, SANDERLING 16, BAIRD’S SANDPIPER 5, LEAST SANDPIPER 12, SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER 25, WILSON’S SNIPE 2, SPOTTED SANDPIPER 1, SOLITARY SANDPIPER 1, GREATER YELLOWLEGS 4. The best find of the week was a WILLET that was first photographed on 17th and hung around for a couple of days and 20 plus LESSER YELLOWLEGS.
Always nice to see were 2 BALD EAGLES soaring together on AUG 16TH. One was an adult and one was a first year bird. A BROAD-WING HAWK Aug 22 was the only other hawk reported this week. RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS continue to visit a residential feeder with 2 adults and 1 juvenile coming to feed on peanuts. An interesting observation was seeing the adult birds flying off with peanuts in their beaks in the exact flight path they used earlier in breeding season. Although RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS are known to cache food its possible that their double brooding this year!
MERLINS were seen in various locations in the Park this week. The first migrant OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHERS were seen this week with 2 birds on the 17th and 2 birds on the 22nd. The top of dead snags in the calf pasture are the best place to look for this species.
PURPLE MARTINS, TREE SWALLOWS and BARN SWALLOWS were reported this week but numbers are dwindling as they migrate out.
Another reason to bird Presqu’ile is to see fall warblers. This week saw an increase of common breeding warblers and a couple of migrant warblers. OVENBIRD, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, AMERICAN REDSTART, CAPE MAY WARBLER (migrant), YELLOW WARBLER, CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER which breed close by but have not been found breeding in Park and PINE WARBLER.
THANK YOU to all the observers who have forward me or Ebirded their list of bird sightings this week!
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).