Except for a "last hurrah" of migrating shorebirds on June 14, bird life at Presqu'ile Provincial Park has settled into its static summer mode. Only the occasional sighting of a bird that forgot to migrate north livens birding up these days.
REDHEADS have been a fixture on the north shore of Gull Island for several recent summers, and this year is no exception. On the other hand, a male RING-NECKED DUCK near the causeway just outside the Park gate on June 15 represents an exceptionally late date. On two mornings this week, an AMERICAN BITTERN was flushed from the Owen Point trail, where one of that species exhibited similar odd behaviour through much of last July and August, probably feeding on the abundant leopard frogs. GREAT EGRETS and BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS continue to be a standard attraction for Presqu'ile birders. An OSPREY flew over the Nature Centre and a WILD TURKEY wandered through the property at 58 Bayshore Road. Hearing a RUFFED GROUSE drumming as late as June 15 was unusual.
From now on, even though the solstice is not yet upon us, any sighting of a non-resident shorebird will raise the question of whether it is a lingering northbound migrant or an early southbound one. It is safe to assume, however, that most of those which were on the beach from June 12 - 14 were still en route to their breeding grounds. Among those still present on June 14 were a SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, a RUDDY TURNSTONE (at Owen Point), nine SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS, five WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS, and a DUNLIN, none of which have been reported subsequently. A BONAPARTE'S GULL was also on the beach on that day.
BLACK-BILLED CUCKOOS have been calling in three different parts of the Park this week. One observer found three BLACKBURNIAN WARBLERS in Newcastle woods, a species that normally breeds to the north of here but is regular in summer at Presqu'ile. The same observer found a PRAIRIE WARBLER in the Park on June 20 a few years ago, evidence of the surprises that can show up even between migration seasons. The ORCHARD ORIOLES whose nest is behind the Lighthouse Visitor Centre appear to have hatched their young. It remains a mystery whether the two PINE SISKINS that have continued to visit the feeders at 186 Bayshore Road as recently as June 16 are nesting somewhere nearby.
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.