Spring birding is in full swing at Presqu'ile Provincial Park. Some have even described the events of recent days (especially Monday) as a fallout. There may not have been any exotic birds this week, but few birders could go away disappointed after a day's birding in the Park.
A rather late TUNDRA SWAN was seen on April 8. NORTHERN SHOVELERS were on the beach on April 10 (1) and 12 (2), among the many GREEN-WINGED TEAL, which numbered close to 200 on April 11. It is worth scrutinizing those teal flocks for a possible EURASIAN (COMMON) TEAL, one of which was at Presqu'ile six years ago. The best place to look for RED-THROATED LOONS, up to five of which have been seen this past week, is Popham Bay. A spotting scope is almost essential, even when the water is calm. At least one was there this morning, but the waves could have been concealing more of them. A RED-NECKED GREBE was in Presqu'ile Bay off the "fingers" on April 10. An AMERICAN BITTERN was heard in the marsh, and several GREAT EGRETS have been sighted. The number of BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS on Sebastopol Island has been steadily increasing from three on April 8 to nine this morning. COMMON MOORHENS should be arriving within the next week. A SANDHILL CRANE flying over the Park on April 14 was a record early date. A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was at Owen Point on April 9, and a GLAUCOUS GULL was there on April 8.
Only one BARRED OWL was encountered this week. A COMMON RAVEN was seen on April 8. PURPLE MARTINS have been back near the lighthouse for the past three days, and an early NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW was there on April 11. Mid-April to early May is the time when an occasional TUFTED TITMOUSE has appeared near the lighthouse in the past, a bird that should be looked for soon. BROWN CREEPERS and GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS have been super-abundant this week, especially on Monday. A few RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS have been around and singing yesterday and today.
The first HERMIT THRUSH appeared on April 10, and the first BROWN THRASHER on April 12. An early AMERICAN PIPIT was on the beach on April 8. There have been two sightings of single YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS in the Park this week, a foretaste of the hordes that are about to arrive.
Among the sparrows that were seen this week were EASTERN TOWHEE, CHIPPING, VESPER, SAVANNAH, FOX, and WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS. A RUSTY BLACKBIRD was seen on April 8. The feeders at 186 Bayshore Road hosted a COMMON REDPOLL on April 9 and 10 and two PINE SISKINS on April 8.
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.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.