Up to last week, shorebirds were the only fall migrants to have reached Presqu'ile Provincial Park, but some of the observations since then suggest that that is no longer the case.
Two American Black Ducks at Gull Island on July 31 are the first of that species to have been noticed there since the spring. A possible Northern Pintail was seen there (at some distance) on July 24. Again this week, an American Bittern was flushed at least once and perhaps twice from the Owen Point trail, perhaps having discovered the swarms of frogs there. An immature Bald Eagle was harassing an Osprey at the calf pasture on July 25. A Sharp-shinned Hawk, clearly in migration mode, flew over Owen :Point on July 28. The only new shorebird species to have arrived in the past week was a pair of Baird's Sandpipers on July 28. High water levels have limited the shorebird habitat along the beach but the frequent rains have kept the ephemeral pools that are inland from the water's edge supplied with enough water to entice shorebirds away from the immediate beach. Two Bonaparte's Gulls flew past Owen Point on July 30, and a Great Black-backed Gull was there on July 31. The count of roosting Caspian Terns at Owen Point is over 100.
A Black-billed Cuckoo was on the Owen Point trail on July 25. Whether the warblers that moved through on July 29 had come from points north or from elsewhere in the Park is impossible to tell. They included species such as Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, and Ovenbird, all of which likely nest at Presqu'ile but apparently not in the area where they were seen. Chestnut-sided Warblers may be the next to return. Both Orchard Orioles and Baltimore Orioles have been visiting various feeders along Bayshore Road.
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. Birders who have not visited Presqu'ile in the past few years may not be aware that the boardwalk that provides access into the marsh has been closed and is unlikely to be re-opened for another year or so. 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.