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Birding Report

To no one's surprise, most of the birds found at Presqu'ile Provincial Park this week are summer residents, while the tail end of the migration features mostly shorebirds. From now until late next month, any non-residents would be noteworthy.

Among the hundreds of CANADA GEESE along the beach near Owen Point was a BAR-HEADED GOOSE, almost certainly an escaped bird rather than a truly wild wanderer. Most of the interesting ducks that have not migrated out of the area are gathered on and around the north shore of Gull Island and visible with a scope from lookout #3 on the Owen Point trail. Among others are GADWALLS, AMERICAN WIGEONS, a NORTHERN PINTAIL, REDHEADS, SCAUP, and, since June 7, an apparently mated pair of RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS. For over two weeks, a HORNED GREBE was also in Popham Bay, but it has not been seen since June 8. Anyone visiting Presqu'ile in the spring and summer months can be assured of finding GREAT EGRETS, either in the marsh or flying over or on their nests on High Bluff Island, which are visible with a scope from lookout #1 on the Owen Point trail. A TURKEY VULTURE spent a long time over a carcass on the beach, while a gull patiently waited its turn a metre away.

What was probably the last pulse of the spring shorebird migration took place on June 8. There were about thirty BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS, about 80 RUDDY TURNSTONES, a RED KNOT, and a dozen or two SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS. Two days later all of those were gone except eight of the latter, as well as a single SEMIPALMATED PLOVER and a DUNLIN. A BONAPARTE'S GULL flew past the lighthouse on June 8, a rather late date. Without getting one's hopes up, it is worth mentioning that, on June 14, twenty-two years ago, a SANDWICH TERN took up residence at Owen Point for a week or two, if only to point out that surprises can happen even in a traditionally slow season. What will be next?

A CHIMNEY SWIFT was near the lighthouse on June 6. Both RED-HEADED and RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS were seen in the past week, the former on June 5. A rather late OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was present on June 4. A BLUE JAY migration of about 25 birds took place on the late date of June 5.

The previously reported COMMON RAVEN was still on its nest on June 10.

Except for resident species, the only warblers noted in recent days were a YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER near the nature centre (possibly a resident), a BLACKPOLL WARBLER on June 4, and a rare PROTHONOTARY WARBLER that was seen and photographed on June 3 but not reported until after last week's deadline. A DARK-EYED JUNCO at 83 Bayshore Road on June 7 would not raise any eyebrows were it not for the exceptionally late date (almost a record). A PINE SISKIN at the same address on June 10 was also very late.

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