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Birding Report

The spring bird migration at Presqu'ile Provincial Park is effectively over, but the variety of habitats in the Park provide opportunities for productive birding throughout the summer. In particular, the combination of southern species and those that normally breed farther north is found in few other places in southern Ontario.

Hundreds of CANADA GEESE are gathered on the southern part of the beach, where disturbance is limited. Two WOOD DUCKS were in the marsh this morning. Two AMERICAN WIGEONS were at Gull Island yesterday.

Other lingering ducks include four REDHEADS (which commonly stay all summer), a SCAUP off Sebastopol Island on June 10, two LONG-TAILED DUCKS in Popham Bay, and a small number of RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS. After staying for eight consecutive days, the RED-THROATED LOON reported last week finally disappeared after Tuesday morning. GREAT BLUE HERONS and GREAT EGRETS are seen on most days, and a BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON was on Sebastopol Island yesterday.

TURKEY VULTURES are not known to breed at Presqu'ile but at least two were rising from the trees yesterday morning. Two OSPREYS were near the Park entrance today. On June 10, migrant shorebirds included a SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, five SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS, and a DUNLIN, but the latest was a single SEMIPALMATED PLOVER yesterday, probably the last shorebird of the spring migration. A correction to last week's report of a SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER with a flag on one leg: it was banded in Suriname, not Argentina. From now on, any non-resident shorebirds could just as easily be early fall migrants as late spring ones. Again today an AMERICAN WOODCOCK was on the Owen Point trail. Single BONAPARTE'S GULLS were seen twice at Owen Point. With the arrival of campers, the possibility exists that someone will hear an EASTERN SCREECH-OWL, a species that is fairly common outside the Park but rare at Presqu'ile, where there is abundant apparently suitable habitat.

A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER was at the lighthouse yesterday. One BLUE JAY was still migrating over the lighthouse early this week. CEDAR WAXWINGS have become more noticeable this week, including one flock of 23 birds.

ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS are not uncommon summer residents in the forest canopy at Presqu'ile, but a male singing near the lighthouse today was unexpected. ORCHARD ORIOLES are fairly common in the Park at this time of year, but recognizing their song is the easiest way to find them. A PINE SISKIN, usually considered a winter bird, at a feeder on June 13 was a surprise.

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