The wild winds of the past week may have been responsible for the appearance of a few somewhat unusual birds for October at Presqu'ile Provincial Park. There have also been large numbers of the more expected species of land birds and good numbers of ducks and shorebirds.
SURF SCOTERS and WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS are being seen on most days. The only newly returned ducks this week were BUFFLEHEADS. High waves have sometimes made it difficult to see the birds off Owen Point, but two observers managed on October 18 to see again the EARED GREBE that has been present for almost six weeks. Both AMERICAN BITTERN and GREAT BLUE HERON have been seen in the past week. A BALD EAGLE flew overhead on October 16. Three RUFFED GROUSE were behind 83 Bayshore Road. A COMMON GALLINULE and four AMERICAN COOTS were off the camp office viewing platform today, and three GREATER YELLOWLEGS were there on October 16.
Though the variety is somewhat limited, there are still plenty of shorebirds on the beach and on Gull Island, including an AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER, a rather late SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, and many WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS.
The biggest surprise of the week was the discovery of not one but two record late YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOOS at the lighthouse on October 17, a species of which one seldom sees more than one at a time. One of the resident BARRED OWLS was noted. Both RED-HEADED and RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS were at 83 Bayshore Road on October 16. Although there are still good numbers of EASTERN PHOEBES around the Park, other flycatchers have disappeared except for two late stragglers on October 16, an EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE and an /EMPIDONAX/ flycatcher. A BLUE-HEADED VIREO on October 18 was rather late. A CAROLINA WREN has showed up sporadically at 83 Bayshore Road, and an EASTERN BLUEBIRD, never common at Presqu'ile, was not far away. Most of the remaining warblers are YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, but seven other species were also seen in the past week, including a NASHVILLE WARBLER on October 16 and a BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER on October 15. A few BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLERS are still around. An EASTERN TOWHEE was at 83 Bayshore Road, along with many other sparrows. AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS should be appearing soon, and the first FOX SPARROW appeared on October 19. A late INDIGO BUNTING was seen on October 16.
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. It should also be noted that, because duck hunting is given priority on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Gull Island, High Bluff Island, Owen Point, and part of the calf pasture are not available for bird-watching on those days. 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.