Finding fall migrants among the land birds at Presqu'ile Provincial Park still takes a bit of searching and/or luck, but they are definitely on the move. On the other hand, the shorebird migration has fizzled almost to nothing in the past few days, perhaps in part because high water levels have minimized the amount of suitable habitat, a condition that may change during the next week of predicted warm, dry weather.
The two TRUMPETER SWANS that were last seen in mid-July re-appeared in Popham Bay on August 8 and 10. A record early BUFFLEHEAD flew past the lighthouse on August 10. A COMMON MERGANSER is being seen regularly at Owen Point. A high count of nine GREAT EGRETS on High Bluff Island may still be an under-estimate because not all can be seen from the mainland. Up to three OSPREYS have been seen almost every day this month. Now that the nesting season for BALD EAGLES is over, birds of that species may soon be showing up at Presqu'ile. Various other hawks have appeared in the Park in the past few days, including NORTHERN HARRIER, COOPER'S HAWK, RED-TAILED HAWK, and MERLIN (the latter at two widely separated locations on the same day). As mentioned above, the shorebirds that were present a week ago have mostly moved on, but the previously reported RUDDY TURNSTONE and BAIRD'S SANDPIPER were both seen again during the past week (August 11 and 7, respectively). When the next influx of shorebirds occurs, as it surely will, Presqu'ile will again be not only a productive place to see them at close range but also a place where they can be seen in a more natural habitat than a sewage lagoon.
Single CHIMNEY SWIFTS were flying over the lighthouse on August 9 and 10. A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER paid two visits this week to 83 Bayshore Road. The second OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER of the season was found along Paxton Drive on August 11. A CLIFF SWALLOW flew over on August 11, the first in many weeks. A wren seen briefly at the lighthouse on August 12 was probably a CAROLINA WREN. BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS continue to frequent 83 Bayshore Road. A GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH at the lighthouse on August 8 was two weeks earlier than the previous record at Presqu'ile.
Among the warblers seen in the Park this week were NASHVILLE, CHESTNUT-SIDED, BLACKBURNIAN, and NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH. Two SCARLET TANAGERS were seen on August 13. A PURPLE FINCH was feeding a young one on August 7.
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