The bird life at Presqu'ile Provincial Park has changed dramatically over the past week. Many of the insectivorous birds have thinned out while seed-eating birds are now more dominant. Strong winds and concomitant wave action on the three days when there has been no hunting have discouraged birders from wading to Gull Island. Partly for that reason there have been fewer shorebird and waterfowl reports.
Six TUNDRA SWANS flew over on October 11. Six WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS were in Presqu'ile Bay today and a female BLACK SCOTER was in Popham Bay on Sunday. A COMMON GALLINULE was in the marsh yesterday and two AMERICAN COOTS were there on Friday. The only shorebirds were BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS (one on Sunday, three on Monday, and four today) and a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER today. However, one seen at a distance on Monday might have been the long-staying WHIMBREL. PURPLE SANDPIPERS often show up at Presqu'ile in November but they occasionally arrive even earlier than this date.
A cuckoo, unidentified as to species, was at Owen Point on Sunday. There have been later sightings of YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO but not BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO. A male RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER at 83 Bayshore Road and a female at 186 Bayshore Road have become regulars. MERLINS have been seen on three of the past seven days and a PEREGRINE FALCON on Tuesday. A NORTHERN SHRIKE appeared at the calf pasture on October 12, tying the record early dates established for that species in 2011 and 2012. It (or another) was seen there this morning. Two COMMON RAVENS were seen on Sunday. There was an anonymous report of a WOOD THRUSH on Saturday. A NASHVILLE WARBLER on October 12 was the only warbler apart from plentiful YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS seen this week, but an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER this morning was just outside the Park gate.
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 knee-deep, not taking into account any wave action, in which there is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven and slippery. It should also be noted that, because duck hunting is on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Gull Island, High Bluff Island, and part of the calf pasture are not available for bird-watching on those days. 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