With hundreds of birders descending on Presqu'ile Provincial Park last weekend, it came as no surprise that well over a hundred bird species were located in the Park between Friday and Sunday. Both rare and uncommon species were among them. Naturally, only the highlights can be summarized in this report.
Two WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS flew past Owen Point yesterday. A RED-NECKED GREBE was far out in Popham Bay on September 16. Yesterday and today a GREAT EGRET was in the Park. An AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER, a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER, BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS, and the first DUNLINS of the season were among the shorebirds seen in the past week. A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was again seen on two occasions. On September 18, a rare FORSTER'S TERN flew around Owen Point, where two birders were in the right place at the right time. Three owl species were seen or heard on the weekend: a GREAT HORNED OWL, at least two BARRED OWLS, and a SHORT-EARED OWL flying around Gull Island with two NORTHERN HARRIERS. Other raptors of interest included two BALD EAGLES, an early NORTHERN GOSHAWK, and several MERLINS and PEREGRINE FALCONS.
An adult RED-HEADED WOODPECKER stopped briefly at the lighthouse on September 15. On the same date, the most interesting flycatchers of the week were a late OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER and a GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER. It is probably too late in the season to see a THICK-BILLED KINGBIRD, an August bird based on past experience at Presqu'ile, but September is when other rare flycatchers such as WESTERN KINGBIRD or SULPHUR-BELLIED FLYCATCHER might show up at Presqu'ile, based on past experience. A YELLOW-THROATED VIREO was seen by a large group of visiting birders on September 16. A BARN SWALLOW joined a flock of AMERICAN PIPITS on that date. The first CAROLINA WREN of the season was along Paxton Drive. Several GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSHES, always tricky to find, were seen and heard on the weekend. An early ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER at the lighthouse on September 16 gave brief views before ducking back into hiding among the goldenrods. Other warblers were plentiful, including a YELLOW WARBLER that was on the late side. Although sparrows have not yet reached their peak at Presqu'ile, a LINCOLN'S SPARROW and an early WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW on September 16 and 15 respectively were of interest. The highlight of the week was a DICKCISSEL at the calf pasture on September 16, which posed for a large group of birders. That was only the fifth record for Presqu'ile, all of them between August and October. A late BOBOLINK was on Gull Island on the same day.
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 water that is ankle-deep, not taking into account any wave action. 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 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.