Almost all of the fall bird migration has ended at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, except for a few stragglers and some winter birds that have yet to show up.
A WOOD DUCK at the calf pasture on Tuesday was rather late. On Tuesday and today, a female BLACK SCOTER could be seen from Owen Point. Single HORNED GREBES have been sighted near the lighthouse on several recent days. SANDHILL CRANES are among the few migrants that normally pass over Presqu'ile as late as early December, and birders should be on the lookout for them. The only shorebird this week was a long-awaited PURPLE SANDPIPER that flew from Owen Point to Gull Island on Tuesday. A gull that was photographed at Owen Point yesterday may have been a hybrid HERRING GULL/GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL. There were eight of the latter in view at once this morning, as well as three BONAPARTE'S GULLS. A DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT was still present on Tuesday.
A BALD EAGLE flew over on Tuesday. On Monday a sudden influx of SNOWY OWLS took place. One greeted the dawn perched on a fencepost in a tree-lined back yard, where it remained for over an hour. Later in the day, Park staff visiting the offshore islands by boat counted seven individuals. Four of those were seen by an observer on Gull Island on the following morning, three of which could be seen from Owen Point. One was visible from Owen Point this morning. BARRED OWLS were seen twice in the past week. While most MERLINS seem to have departed, one was perched at 182 Bayshore Road this morning. Again this week, RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS and COMMON RAVENS were among the regular birds in the Park. A WINTER WREN was seen on Tuesday. A very late RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET was at 186 Bayshore Road this afternoon. Today a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW at the Park office and a RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD in the reeds at the camp office viewing deck showed up where they have not been noticed recently.
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. Visitors to Gull Island not using a boat should be prepared to wade through water that is knee-deep when it is absolutely calm; this does not take into account any wave action. There is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven and slippery. It should also be noted that, because duck hunting is given priority on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Gull Island, High Bluff Island, Owen Point, and part of the calf pasture are not available for bird-watching on those days. Birders are encouraged to record their observations on the bird sightings board provided near the campground office by The Friends of Presqu'ile Park and to fill out a rare bird report for species not listed there.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.