Things have been picking up a little at Presqu’ile Provincial Park, now that the first stirrings of definite fall bird migration are taking place.
MUTE SWANS appear to have, unfortunately, had a good breeding season, with about 130 spotted today. Two GREEN-WINGED TEAL were on the beach today, and five REDHEADS in Popham Bay on Tuesday. COMMON MERGANSERS were seen at the calf pasture on July 18 (two) and in Popham Bay today (five). One observer saw two RUFFED GROUSE on July 18. Ten years ago, an AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN stayed at Presqu’ile for two days, July 25-26. Twice this week, a LEAST BITTERN was flushed from the same area, near the southernmost viewing tower in the marsh, where one was observed on two previous occasions this month and where the species is believed to have bred in previous years. For the first time since early spring, no GREAT EGRETS were reported this week. Including two this past week, here have been repeated sightings of a GREEN HERON in the vicinity of the woodpile marsh and the south end of the large marsh. A BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON was perched on Sebastopol Island this morning. A young OSPREY on the Salt Point lighthouse appears to be fully grown and might be fledging soon. An immature BALD EAGLE flew over on July 21. A SHARP-SHINNED HAWK was seen chasing NORTHERN FLICKERS. A COMMON GALLINULE was in the marsh on Monday. Shorebirds put on a teasing show on Sunday, with the following species observed on the beach: 4 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, 4 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS, 1 LEAST SANDPIPER, 1 BAIRD’S SANDPIPER, 3 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS (which were still there on Monday and Tuesday but not today).
One observer saw three BARRED OWLS together early yesterday morning and photographed two of them. At least one RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER continues to appear at 83 Bayshore Road. Among the passerines that rode the cold front yesterday and showed up at the lighthouse today was a flycatcher of the EMPIDONAX genus. Some of the PURPLE MARTINS at the end of Bayshore Road have begun to disperse: where there were forty two days ago there are only half as many today. For the second time in less than a week, a BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER and a NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH were at the lighthouse. A BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER showed up there today. An EASTERN TOWHEE was seen yesterday. Two ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS have re-appeared at the lighthouse. ORCHARD ORIOLES have been seen at the calf pasture and at 83 Bayshore Road. A male PURPLE FINCH was near the lighthouse on Tuesday.
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.