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Birding Report

A number of birders visiting Presqu'ile Provincial Park on Earth Day were able to find plenty of spring birds. During the past week almost every day has produced something new.

Every common species of dabbling duck was in the Park on Tuesday, and even the rare EURASIAN WIGEON has been spending the past week or two nearby, on the opposite (north) shore of Presqu'ile Bay. Both WHITE-WINGED and BLACK SCOTERS (three of each) were seen on April 22, the latter flying past the lighthouse. Also on that day, a female HOODED MERGANSER was in the marsh. From three to eight RED-THROATED LOONS have been far out in Popham Bay on each of the past four days.

COMMON LOONS have begun their early morning fly-overs. The only HORNED GREBES this week were two in Popham Bay. AMERICAN BITTERNS are back in the marsh, GREAT EGRETS are on their nests on High Bluff Island (visible through a scope from the mainland because of their brilliant whiteness), and BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS are back on Sebastopol Island. This morning one of the GREAT EGRETS stood in the marsh with its long plumes spread out like a fan.

Three TURKEY VULTURES and a COOPER'S HAWK are the only raptor-like birds seen in the Park this week. A WILD TURKEY continues to appear periodically on Bayshore Road. Birders can expect to find COMMON MOORHENS in the marsh within the next few days. Three early DUNLINS were on the beach on April 16.

A COMMON RAVEN has been in the Park for the past two days. With the sighting of a NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW this morning, the only regular swallow not yet detected at Presqu'ile this year is CLIFF SWALLOW. A surprising 14 HERMIT THRUSHES were seen by one observer on April 21. BROWN THRASHERS have been seen at the lighthouse and at the calf pasture this week. YELLOW-RUMPED and PINE WARBLERS can be found with little difficulty, but the only other warbler encountered to date was a BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER on April 21. An EASTERN TOWHEE, a few FIELD SPARROWS, single SAVANNAH and FOX SPARROWS, and a few SWAMP and WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS have appeared this week. One of the big surprises of the week has been an invasion of dozens of RUSTY BLACKBRIDS in every corner of the Park throughout this week.

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