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Birding Report

This has been another good birding week at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, with a steady stream of fall migrants passing through or over the Park.

One or two uncommon birds were among them.

Small numbers of diving ducks are beginning to gather in Popham Bay, including an early BUFFLEHEAD on September 11 that was still there on the following two days. Between now and the opening of the duck hunt on September 25, their numbers are likely to continue building up, and a few new species may be among them. Loons and grebes are also arriving, with seven HORNED and three RED-NECKED GREBES noted in Popham Bay on September 11 and 14, respectively. There has been an interesting mix of herons and related birds in recent days, including a LEAST BITTERN photographed at the calf pasture, a rather odd place for that species, given the limited amount of cattails there. A GREEN HERON was found on September 15.

Although Presqu'ile is not noted for its hawk migration, a good flight occurred on September 10, including ten BALD EAGLES, close to 30 SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS, and a dozen or so BROAD-WINGED HAWKS, a species which is uncommon at Presqu'ile. Surprisingly, a RED-SHOULDERED HAWK was reported anonymously on September 12. One or two PEREGRINE FALCONS have been seen around Gull Island on several recent days. Twice in the past few days, a (the?) WILD TURKEY has been seen motoring along Bayshore Road, apparently one of its favourite habitats.

Shorebirds are no longer present in the numbers of recent weeks, but the variety continues to provide good birding, especially since some of them, formerly inaccessible on Gull Island, are now within reach of birders willing to wade out. BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS, AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS, and WHIMBRELS are present every day, a RED KNOT has been seen on several days, and a small flock of BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS has been loitering at Owen Point, where less adventurous birders can see them easily. Among "larids", the highlights of the week were a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL on September 13 and a BLACK TERN on September 10.

CASPIAN and COMMON TERNS were still around in reduced numbers in the past week.

A BARRED OWL and a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER were among the resident birds observed, and BLUE-HEADED, WARBLING, PHILADELPHIA, and RED-EYED VIREOS were all seen in the past week. Two COMMON RAVENS flew over on September 14. The first HORNED LARK of the season appeared on Gull Island on September 14. BARN SWALLOWS were present until at least September 13. The long-staying CAROLINA WREN at 83 Bayshore Road continues to make its presence known from time to time. Both GOLDEN-CROWNED and RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS, as well as a BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER, have been seen this week. A VEERY and a WOOD THRUSH are among the more interesting birds of the week. Soon EASTERN BLUEBIRDS should be moving through the Park. All three regular members of the "mimid" family were at 83 Bayshore Road on September 14, including the first NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD seen at Presqu'ile in many months. Estimates of the number of AMERICAN PIPITS at Owen Point and Gull Island have varied from 20 to 40. Warblers are still trickling through. When the masses of YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS arrive (probably within days), there should be some ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS joining them. The influx of sparrows of several species is also imminent. As well, LAPLAND LONGSPURS often show up on Gull Island at about this date. RUSTY BLACKBIRDS were in the marsh on September 15. A few BALTIMORE ORIOLES (or the same one a few times) were spotted at the feeders at 83 Bayshore Road between September 10 and 12.

It should be pointed out that the ten BALD EAGLES seen on September 10 represent a new daily high for Presqu'ile. Also, a NORTHERN SHOVELER was seen on September 11 at Gull Island.

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 knee-deep water 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 near the campground office 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.

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Fred Helleiner