Once the log jam of birds waiting in points further north through much of last week finally broke on Sunday, Presqu'ile Provincial Park was suddenly inundated with hundreds of southbound migrants that had been held up by summer-like weather and southerly winds.
In addition to the long-staying TRUMPETER SWANS around Sebastopol Island, four TUNDRA SWANS were nearby on Tuesday. A good variety of ducks is present to the west of the camp office lookout over the marsh. On most days, there are WOOD DUCKS, GADWALLS, AMERICAN WIGEONS, AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS, and MALLARDS, but the majority are GREEN-WINGED TEAL (275 by one count). Today there were two NORTHERN PINTAILS, and on Tuesday the first RING-NECKED DUCK of the season showed up there, followed by four on Wednesday. A female SURF SCOTER off Salt Point on Monday and a few WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS in Popham Bay were also of interest. A RUFFED GROUSE was seen on two different days and a WILD TURKEY on Sunday. On Sunday and Tuesday, single RED-NECKED GREBES were seen. Only six shorebird species were around this week. Both BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER and two AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS have been present this week, including this morning. A WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER on Tuesday and Wednesday and a rather late SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER today were also seen. At this time of year, observers should be on the lookout for RED PHALAROPES, which occasionally stop at Presqu'ile. An AMERICAN WOODCOCK seen on Friday also qualifies technically as a shorebird. A CASPIAN TERN was still lingering on Friday. Although the GREEN HERONS that frequented the woodpile marsh for over seven weeks appear to have departed, the AMERICAN BITTERN that was also there was last seen on Friday.
Apart from numerous TURKEY VULTURES, hawks and owls have been scarce this week. A GREAT HORNED OWL was calling late one night, and MERLINS and a PEREGRINE FALCON have been seen sporadically. As usual, there have been a few sightings of RED-BELLIED and PILEATED WOODPECKERS. The first NORTHERN SHRIKES of the season sometimes show up in mid-October. What may be the last RED-EYED VIREOS of the year were seen on Saturday and Sunday. Although GRAY JAYS are rare at Presqu'ile (only one record in the past forty years), all of the autumn sightings have been in October, including one on October 16 six years ago. COMMON RAVENS are again being seen on most days, including nine on Saturday. A CAROLINA WREN was singing near the woodpile marsh on Friday, almost three weeks since another or the same one was also heard there. HERMIT THRUSHES were ubiquitous on the weekend. Half a dozen AMERICAN PIPITS were in the woodpile marsh on Tuesday and Wednesday. The same observer who photographed the first LAPLAND LONGSPUR of the season last week also photographed the first SNOW BUNTING of the season on the beach yesterday. Warblers have thinned out since the weekend, but up to and including the weekend eight species were seen, including a few ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS and rather late TENNESSEE, BAY-BREASTED, and BLACKPOLL WARBLERS. Three FOX SPARROWS were among the hordes of other sparrows in the Park.
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 ankle-deep,not taking into account any wave action,.in which thereis 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.