As a migrant trap, Presqu'ile Provincial Park is an excellent place to watch the fall bird migration develop week by week. Although the progress of that event is gradual, the days when a cool front passes bring surges of birds of many different species.
Great Egrets have become a Presqu'ile specialty in the past few years and can now be relied upon almost every day as a likely sighting. Two Turkey Vultures were consuming something on Beach 1 on August 13.
More than one each of Wood Ducks, Gadwalls, American Black Ducks, Green-winged Teal, and Redheads have been seen in the Park during the past week, as well as both Common and Red-breasted Mergansers.
Raptor sightings of the past week have included Osprey, Northern Harriers, Sharp-shinned Hawk, and Merlin.
Although shorebird numbers have been rather disappointing lately, largely because of high water levels, nine species have been sighted during the past week, including at least seven Black-bellied Plovers on Augiust 19, an Upland Sandpiper on August 13, and four Whimbrels on August 19. On the heels of a cool front, there was a significant influx of shorebirds between August 18 and 19. One of only a handful of sightings in recent years at Presqu'ile, a Black Tern was seen flying past Gull Island on August 19.
One of the Barred Owls in Jobes' Woods was seen in the middle of the morning on August 17. Every year in mid-summer, these birds are seen more frequently than during the rest of the year, either because there are more visitors to the Park at that time of year or because there are fledged young augmenting their numbers, or perhaps for both reasons.
At the lighthouse there have been sightings this week of a Chimney Swift, an Eastern Wood-Pewee, a few Purple Martins, and a handful of warblers. Small pockets of migrant songbirds elsewhere in the Park this week have included a Veery, two Red-breasted Nuthatches, and Chestnut-sided, Blackburnian, Pine, and Canada Warblers, among others. A Purple Finch paid a brief visit to a feeder at 186 Bayshore Road on August 16.
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.