The fall bird migration at Presqu'ile Provincial Park was in full swing on the weekend, when dozens of birders were present to enjoy it. Since then, a diminished number of birders (those who don't have to keep working/school hours) are still finding lots of migrants representing species normally found this late in the season.
The three TRUMPETER SWANS mentioned in previous reports continue to be seen, with the two on and around Sebastopol Island being the most reliable. More dabbling ducks have made their way into the marsh, where at least five species have been seen from the camp office viewing deck. (The adjacent sign restricting access does not apply to that deck.) Most diving ducks, especially REDHEADS and GREATER SCAUP, as well as HORNED GREBES, are far out in Popham Bay. WILD TURKEYS have been seen again this week, with a high count of 12 on Sunday. On both Saturday and Sunday, a late BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO was at Owen Point.
Among the shorebirds seen this week were AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS, RED KNOT, BAIRD'S SANDPIPER, and WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER, as well as at least eight other species. A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was still present on Sunday, this time on High Bluff Island. The woodpile marsh continues to provide good views of AMERICAN BITTERN (also seen today along the marsh boardwalk) and GREEN HERON. One birder was surprised today to flush an immature BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON from the edge of Gull Island. The bird then posed for prolonged looks before flying off again. An OSPREY seen today was rather late.
RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS were seen at least twice. A PEREGRINE FALCON flew over Gull Island on Sunday. While not quite a record, an EASTERN KINGBIRD sighting on Saturday was very late. COMMON RAVENS are being seen and heard almost every day, and one observer saw seven at once. Both HORNED LARKS and AMERICAN PIPITS were on Gull Island today. A HOUSE WREN put in a brief appearance yesterday. GRAY-CHEEKED and SWAINSON'S THRUSHES are being seen here and there. Eight years ago on October 2, a vagrant VARIED THRUSH was the only record of that species from Presqu'ile. Warblers, including ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, have been fairly easy to find even after their onslaught on the weekend. WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS, WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS, and DARK-EYED JUNCOES also became prominent on the weekend and have been ever since. A RUSTY BLACKBIRD was in the woodpile marsh on Sunday.
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 shin-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 given priority on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Owen Point, 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.