The first significant numbers of insectivorous birds have arrived at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, but are likely going hungry these last few days, with sub-zero temperatures and snow both having occurred.
Pairs of WOOD DUCKS are showing up in wet areas of the woods. A GADWALL was off the beach this morning. A WHITE-WINGED SCOTER flew past the lighthouse. Most of the LONG-TAILED DUCKS have now molted into their summer alternate (breeding) plumage, with which birders in southern Ontario are less familiar. Two BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS were on High Bluff Island on Friday. While the peak of the shorebird migration is still a few weeks away, there are already stirrings in nearby wet fields (SOLITARY SANDPIPER and GREATER and LESSER YELLOWLEGS) and two sightings of SPOTTED SANDPIPER in the Park: an early one near the lighthouse on April 24 and two on the beach this morning. Even at this early date, one cannot rule out surprises such as the 32 AMERICAN AVOCETS that visited Presqu'ile on April 23, 2011, a number similar to the number seen two days ago on the shore of Lake Erie.
There were several interesting owl sightings in the past week. A GREAT HORNED OWL, a SNOWY OWL, and another that was probably a BARRED OWL were on High Bluff Island on April 22 and a GREAT HORNED OWL was in Jobes' woods this morning. One observer found six different PILEATED WOODPECKERS in three different areas of the Park. MERLINS and COMMON RAVENS have also been present.
PURPLE MARTINS have re-occupied the boxes at 190 and 192 Bayshore Road, and NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS and BANK SWALLOWS have been seen around their nesting cliff in the day use area. HOUSE WRENS have been around since April 23. Four warbler species have been seen: an early PALM WARBLER on April 24, plenty of PINE and YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, and a NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH in Jobes' woods this morning. Last Friday three different EASTERN TOWHEES were at 83 Bayshore Road, where a FOX SPARROW was also seen. A few PURPLE FINCHES and PINE SISKINS have been seen this week.
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.