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Birding Report

The past week could not fail to satisfy the most demanding of birders at Presqu'ile Provincial Park. Both land birds and water birds have been abundant and to list all of the new arrivals from Friday onwards would take too much space and would probably bore people who know that these birds should be expected.

Well after dark on April 4, a TRUMPETER SWAN was calling repeatedly in the marsh. Two days later it (or another) was in the calf pasture cove. BLUE-WINGED TEALS and NORTHERN PINTAILS are among the dabbling ducks that have been in the Park this week. One observer who has been regularly checking for RED-THROATED LOONS in Popham Bay since late last month has seen at least one, and as many as ten, of that species on every occasion this month. Success in finding these frustratingly difficult birds depends on patiently scanning the distant waters with a scope and hoping that the birds surface long enough to be detected.

Waves and fog can be a problem. Both HORNED and RED-NECKED GREBES appeared in small numbers during the past week. An early AMERICAN BITTERN was found on April 3. The only GREAT EGRET of the year so far sat obligingly in full view for most of the morning on the same day, showing off its plumes as it rested in a tree.

TURKEY VULTURES and OSPREYS have both been seen in the past week. There have been at least four sightings of the WILD TURKEY that has been lurking for many weeks on Bayshore Road. WILSON'S SNIPE, BONAPARTE'S GULL, and CASPIAN TERN are all back in good numbers. An adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was on Gull Island on April 4. Getting an early start enabled one observer to locate three BARRED OWLS in one morning, probably all members of the resident families. A COMMON RAVEN was present on two days.

TREE and BARN SWALLOWS are the only aerial insectivores present at Presqu'ile, but other swallow species should arrive within a few days.

The first RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS appeared this morning. The first HERMIT THRUSH on April 2 was rather early, but others have been seen since then. Two YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS on April 7 were also rather early, and are a welcome foretaste of the warbler invasion that is eagerly anticipated every year at this time. In the meantime, the pulse of sparrows migrating through the Park has already begun, with sightings of FIELD, SAVANNAH, FOX, and SWAMP SPARROWS, as well as an EASTERN TOWHEE. A RUSTY BLACKBIRD was identified by its call as it flew over on April 2. Small numbers of PURPLE FINCHES have also arrived.

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. 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.

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Fred Helleiner