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Birding Report

In the week leading up to the Ontario Field Ornithologists' excursion to Presqu'ile Provincial Park this coming Sunday, a number of interesting sightings have occurred. Fall migration can be observed in the Park either directly or indirectly by noting the day-to-day departure of some birds and the arrival of others.

In addition to the hundreds of CANADA GEESE that gather around the shores of Popham Bay, a noisy southbound flock was observed high overhead on September 9, a sure sign of impending colder weather. Among the dozens of MALLARDS that are congregating on Gull Island, oblivious to the imminent duck hunt, there were several other species of dabbling ducks, including AMERICAN WIGEON, AMERICAN BLACK DUCK, BLUE-WINGED TEAL, NORTHERN SHOVELER, and GREEN-WINGED TEAL. A scaup of unknown species was seen flying over and a COMMON GOLDENEYE was at Owen Point. Most GREAT EGRETS have departed, but the odd one is still being seen.

Ten species of diurnal raptors were seen at Presqu'ile in the past week, one of the most regular of which has been an immature BALD EAGLE, which, on one occasion was being mobbed by an AMERICAN KESTREL. BROAD-WINGED HAWKS, uncommon at Presqu'ile, were seen on three different days this week, including two early one morning in the trees near the lighthouse.

Shorebirds are again the focus of attention, with a good variety and some noteworthy species. Both BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER and AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER are being seen almost every day. A GREATER YELLOWLEGS was seen on September 6, and four or five WHIMBRELS have been present on the beach and on Gull Island. Three different observers reported single WESTERN SANDPIPERS on the weekend. BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS are present most of the time, as many as 11 on September 7. DUNLINS are likely to be the next to appear. Usually two but up to four STILT SANDPIPERS have been regular sightings. A BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER has also been on the beach on one or two occasions, most recently on September 10. Many observers have had the opportunity to study closely two LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS that have been present every day since September 5.
 
An AMERICAN WOODCOCK was at the entrance to the marsh boardwalk. A phalarope seen on September 6 was too far to identify as to species. If a jaeger appeared on Sunday, which would not be out of the question at this date, it would undoubtedly be a highlight of the OFO outing.
 
There have been three recent "sightings" of BARRED OWLS, two of which were in Jobes' woods, though one was only heard. Three COMMON NIGHTHAWKS flew over on September 5 and 6. The RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER that has been patronizing the feeders at 83 Bayshore Road of late has appeared on each of the last four days. On September 6, a late EASTERN KINGBIRD was at the lighthouse and a PHILADELPHIA VIREO was at 83 Bayshore Road.
 
A female BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE that had been banded in the Park in May, 2005 and caught again on August 31 of last year was caught for a third time on September 5. A BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER was seen beside Paxton Drive on September 9. VEERIES were seen on three different days this week. AMERICAN PIPITS were seen on September 5, 6, and 8. Most of the common warbler species were seen in the past week, but especially notable was a GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER on September 4.

Others of interest were TENNESSEE WARBLERS and CAPE MAY WARBLERS on September 5 and 6, A PALM WARBLER on September 8, and a MOURNING WARBLER on September 5. It is almost time for the first ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS to appear.

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 of uncertain depth in which there is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven and slippery. Birders are encouraged to record their observations on the bird sightings board provided 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.