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Birding Report

As usual, the diversity of habitats at Presqu'ile Provincial Park has created a diversity of bird life, which makes the Park an attractive place for birders trying to find as many species in a day as possible.

Large numbers of birders in the past week have found a good variety, though the migration has begun to wind down in the past few days.

CANADA GEESE have been passing through Presqu'ile in good numbers this week in their moult migration. A flock of ~75 BRANT flew past Owen Point on May 19, nine were off Gull Island the next day, one was on Sebastopol Island two days later, and one flew past the lighthouse this evening. A WHITE-WINGED SCOTER was in Popham Bay on May 18 and 19. A mass exodus of LONG-TAILED DUCKS over the weekend has left only the odd bird remaining. Much the same, though more gradually, has occurred with RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS. A late RED-THROATED LOON was in Popham Bay on May 18. A few HORNED GREBES were still present on the weekend. GREAT EGRETS continue to be seen daily.

A BALD EAGLE on May 20 was surprisingly late. MERLINS were seen on May 18 and 19. A SORA was heard in the pannes. Three BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS flew over on May 19 and more are expected soon. The PIPING PLOVER discovered last week was last seen on Friday. Only three WHIMBRELS were seen in the past week, to the disappointment of many who had come to see them. As with other shorebirds, there has been no major fallout of that species yet. One of the latest birds to arrive in spring is the RED KNOT, which generally appears towards the end of May or even later. A WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER was on the beach on May 18. The only unusual gulls were two BONAPARTE'S GULLS and a GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL, on May 18 and 22, respectively.

BLACK-BILLED CUCKOOS were found on at least three occasions. BARRED OWLS have been vocal and visible at any time of day, both in Newcastle woods and in Jobes' woods. A RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was heard on May 18. Both RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER and YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER are being seen regularly at 83 Bayshore Road and may be nesting nearby. Both ALDER and WILLOW FLYCATCHERS have been present but as yet no YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER, another late migrant. A few PHILADELPHIA VIREOS have been seen. A CLIFF SWALLOW was investigating a possible nest site at 110 Bayshore Road, which would represent a first for Presqu'ile if its interest led to nesting. A few BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS were seen this week but for the first time in a few years no nest has been found. A number of GRAY-CHEEKED and SWAINSON'S THRUSHES were seen on May 19. There have been four NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD sightings in the Park this week, three of which were likely the same bird. A GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER on the Newcastle trail was in an unusual location. Other warblers are now either late migrants or summer residents. A LINCOLN'S SPARROW was seen on May 18. Two WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS were still lingering on May 23. ORCHARD ORIOLES are Presqu'ile specialties and can be found in several parts of the Park. After an absence of a week or two, at least two PINE SISKINS re-appeared at local feeders.

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.

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Fred Helleiner