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Birding Report

Presqu’ile Bird Report for 25-31 Oct 2019


There was no significant change from the previous week with a few new arrivals, one very classy rarity, and a few days with numbers of birds on the move.

Waterfowl are plentiful now with most expected species present in either the marsh (causeway or campground marsh), off the Lighthouse, or in Popham Bay off the beach.  Four dark-billed SWANS (either TUNDRA or TRUMPETER) were seen on 28 Oct.  A flock of at least 150 BRANT flew by the Lighthouse on 30 Oct. A male WOOD DUCK flying over Gull Is. on 29 Oct was a bit late and out of place. A male CANVASBACK appeared in the big Aythya flock off the Lighthouse on 30 Oct.  REDHEAD was the most numerous duck with several thousand present most days but the 7200 counted on 28 Oct is an exceptional total.  For the first time since spring all three MERGANSERS were seen this week.

RED-THROATED LOONS were seen through the week with a high count of 12 on 28 Oct followed by six on 26 Oct.  Conversely the high count of COMMON LOON was only 40 on 26 Oct.  PIED-BILLED and HORNED GREBES were seen throughout the week.  Herons have thinned out noticeably with the only report being of a GREAT BLUE HERON at Calf Pasture on 30 Oct.  It’s been a poor fall for seeing migrating hawks in Presqu’ile (they usually bypass the Park by passing just to the north) so an adult RED-SHOULDERED HAWK flying north over the beach on 26 Oct was a treat. 

Shorebirds continued through the week on the beach and Gull Is.  Eight species were recorded with the unquestionable highlight being the AMERICAN AVOCET that touched down on Beach 1 for a few brief minutes on the morning of 26 Oct.  What was very likely the same bird was seen flying west past Whitby a few hours later.  BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS were around all week with a high of 5 on 29 Oct.  A single AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER was also seen on 29 Oct moving between the beach and Gull Is.  SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS continue to hang in with nearly a dozen for most of the week and a high count of 20 on 28 Oct.  A GREATER YELLOWLEGS was in the Gull Is. pond on 29 Oct. Small numbers of SANDERLING and DUNLIN were seen through the week with high counts being 25 and 12 respectively on 29 Oct.  A WILSON’S SNIPE was also reported on 28 Oct.

GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS are becoming more obvious with a high of 6 on 29 Oct. An immature PEREGRINE FALCON was on the beach on 29 Oct.  EASTERN PHOEBE’S were reported in small numbers through the week.  A late BLUE-HEADED VIREO was found on 28 Oct.  Both KINGLETS were seen this week with GOLDEN-CROWNED outnumbering RUBY-CROWNED for the first time.  EASTERN BLUEBIRDS were noted in passage with one on 26 Oct, two on 28 Oct and one on 30 Oct.  A major flight of AMERICAN ROBINS was noted going over the gate with 375 seen passing east in three hours on 30 Oct.  AMERICAN PIPITS were on Gull Is. with a high of 24 on 29 Oct.  Also on the island that day were the first two SNOW BUNTINGS of fall.  A late NASHVILLE WARBLER was found on 28 Oct.  A COMMON YELLOWTHROAT seen on 25 Oct was the first in weeks.  YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS were present in small numbers throughout the period.

Six AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS on 28 Oct were the first of fall.  A FIELD SPARROW on 28 Oct is getting late.  A WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW on 28 Oct might be the last of fall.  An EASTERN MEADOWLARK at the Calf Pasture on 30 Oct was a good find.  RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS and COMMON GRACKLES can still be seen in numbers in the morning or evening going to roost with high counts of 1750 and 800 respectively on 30 Oct.

Presqu’ile allows waterfowl hunting on Mondays, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and the public is not permitted in hunting areas on those days.  The areas affected are the marsh, Calf Pasture Point, Gull and High Bluff Is., and later in the season, Owen Pt.  At the present time you may go to the tip of Owen Pt. on a hunting day, but not beyond the sign.  Once a blind is placed on Owen Pt. in November, access to Owen Pt. will be closed.  The hunt will continue until 21 December.

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).