Some of the rare birds reported last week remained until the weekend at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, and at least two others appeared on the weekend and later this week, to the delight of the many visiting birders.
An interesting report, without any supporting details, of a very early SNOW GOOSE on September 9 was provided by someone checking it on the bird sightings board. Other waterfowl remain plentiful, and include a flock of nine NORTHERN SHOVELERS, a NORTHERN PINTAIL, a REDHEAD, a RING-NECKED DUCK, 25 GREATER SCAUP, a LESSER SCAUP, and HOODED and COMMON MERGANSERS. For the second consecutive week, four species of grebes were found, including two HORNED GREBES, a RED-NECKED GREBE, and, the much-sought-after EARED GREBE, which remained off shore in Popham Bay until at least September 13. Wave action has made it difficult to find since then, if indeed it is still present. There have been a couple of GREAT EGRET sightings and one of a GREEN HERON. A WHITE-FACED IBIS, presumably the same bird that has been frequenting the pond on Gull Island since mid-July, has put in several appearances, in part because access restrictions to Gull Island have been lifted. On Saturday, the first sighting for many weeks was made by a 12-year-old birder who recognized it in flight as an ibis. A few minutes later, it re-appeared, also in flight, and landed on the beach, where a crowd of birders was able to pin down its identity in ideal viewing conditions before it took off again. On the next day, it or another similar ibis flew over another group of birders. Early on Monday and Tuesday mornings, it was back in the pond where it spent much of the summer before flying off to some other hiding spot.
Several TURKEY VULTURES, OSPREYS, two MERLINS, and a PEREGRINE FALCON were among several hawk species seen this week. For the first time in several weeks, a WILD TURKEY was seen. Again this week, shorebirds were a big drawing card, with somewhat diminished numbers but great variety.
Both BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS and AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS were present off and on. RUDDY TURNSTONES were at both Owen Point and the lighthouse. A RED KNOT was still around as recently as September 12. Persistence paid off for a number of people who carefully studied the flocks of SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS and were able to pick out a WESTERN SANDPIPER among them. It was seen on three different days, including yesterday.
WHITE-RUMPED, BAIRD'S, PECTORAL, and BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS were all seen by many people. Both SHORT-BILLED and LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS were at Owen Point on Sunday, allowing a good comparison between these similar species. A lone PARASITIC JAEGER on September 13 was the first of that rare species this year.
A birder camped in The Maples campground heard a BARRED OWL. A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER was near the lighthouse. No one has yet reported a YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER in the Park this fall. An OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER at the lighthouse on September 10 was one of very few remaining flycatchers and the only one of its kind found this fall at Presqu'ile. A WARBLING VIREO in full song on September 11 was unusual.
A CAROLINA WREN was discovered in "the fingers" on September 10. The first RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET of the fall was seen on September 14. A BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER was at the lighthouse today. AMERICAN PIPIT flocks have begun to build up on Gull Island. A wide variety of warblers can be found with a lot of searching and luck, but no unusual species were reported in the past 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 until after September 10 to prevent disturbance to the colonial nesting birds there. Visitors to Gull Island not using a boat should be prepared to wade through water of varying depth (said to be over the knees in calm 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 by The Friends of Presqu'ile Park and to fill out a rare bird report for species not listed there.