Most birds seen at Presqu'ile Provincial Park this week can be assumed to have spent the summer here, and to have likely bred here. Birds whose breeding grounds are farther north are the exception, and a few of those have shown up this week. The origin of the prize bird of the past week, however, is a mystery.
A TRUMPETER SWAN was embedded in a flock of MUTE SWANS in Popham Bay on Tuesday. Ducks in that area have included well over a dozen GADWALLS, three AMERICAN WIGEONS, a GREEN-WINGED TEAL, a flock of 20 REDHEADS, two GREATER SCAUP, a WHITE-WINGED SCOTER, and COMMON and RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS. Five GREAT BLUE HERONS flew over the calf pasture together. GREAT EGRETS continue to be seen on High Bluff Island. A SHARP-SHINNED HAWK and a MERLIN were the only hawks seen this week. A flock of eleven "peeps" flew off the beach towards the islands last Friday. Since Tuesday, there have been small numbers of SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS and LEAST SANDPIPERS on the limited portion of the beach that offers suitable habitat. An early migrant RUDDY TURNSTONE was on Gull Island on Tuesday. An AMERICAN WOODCOCK was seen twice this week.
A cuckoo, unidentified as to species, was present this week. Three years ago, a RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD that appeared on August 4 served as a reminder that, even in mid-summer, rarities may appear at Presqu'ile. RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS are regular visitors to the feeders at 83 Bayshore Road. Three PILEATED WOODPECKERS flew over the marsh boardwalk together, and another three were together at the calf pasture yesterday. The sighting of an OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER, a northern breeder, on July 31 a few years ago suggests that the fall migration of land birds is imminent. Two BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS were seen on Tuesday. Unquestionably, the highlight of the past week was the discovery of a PRAIRIE WARBLER that stayed around for the entire day on July 24. It seems early for it to have been a migrant from further north, so it raises the possibility that the species may actually have bred undetected somewhere in the Park. There certainly is suitable habitat, and the presence of a singing male in late June ten years ago is also suggestive of breeding. An ORCHARD ORIOLE on July 27 was rather late. PURPLE FINCHES and a HOUSE SPARROW have visited the feeders at 83 Bayshore Road.
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 from March 10 onward 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.