While there have been several interesting sightings at Presqu'ile Provincial Park in the past week, nothing has been totally unexpected.
Mid-summer diving duck sightings are infrequent at Presqu'ile, so the four species present this week are noteworthy. Only the four REDHEADS in Popham Bay are regularly seen there. In contrast, four WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS off beach 1 and a single LONG-TAILED DUCK at Owen Point were unusual, as well as one of the latter vocalizing at night in Presqu'ile Bay. The two HOODED MERGANSERS that had been in the woodpile marsh since early this month (perhaps having fledged there) have now made their way into the open waters of Lake Ontario nearby, where they alternate between swimming close to shore and sitting on the south beach. Recent sightings of BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCKS on Lake Ontario and in New York state just south of the lake are a reminder that one appeared in nearby Prince Edward County in mid-July four years ago, all of which were close enough to tantalize local birders and to stir their hopes that the species might be added to the Presqu'ile list. In addition to the distant views of GREAT EGRETS on High Bluff Island, four BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS were spotted on Sebastopol Island, where they have nested in previous years. On Tuesday a BROAD-WINGED HAWK was seen by one observer and heard by three others in the Jobes' woods area. Yesterday in the marsh a VIRGINIA RAIL was heard and a SORA was seen. Frequent sightings of COMMON GALLINULE in the woodpile marsh this summer raised suspicions of breeding, which were confirmed on Tuesday, when four freshly hatched chicks accompanied their parents there. Only one adult PIPING PLOVER remains on beach 2, along with the three young birds. A LEAST SANDPIPER was still on the beach on Monday, and a SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER was there on Saturday. Throughout the summer the Park has hosted a variety of passerine birds, among which the following were seen or heard this week: ALDER FLYCATCHER, WILLOW FLYCATCHER, ORCHARD ORIOLE, and PURPLE FINCH.
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.