November is the month when birders come to Presqu'ile Provincial Park in search of one of Presqu'ile's specialties, PURPLE SANDPIPER, which appears almost every year. No one has yet found one this year, but an even more unlikely shorebird did show up this week, relieving the tedium of typical late autumn birding.
Three species of swans were reported in Presqu'ile Park this week: the ubiquitous MUTE SWANS, five TRUMPETER SWANS off Gull Island on Sunday, and eight TUNDRA SWANS flying toward Presqu'ile Bay yesterday. Ducks, especially diving ducks, have been plentiful all week. An ever-changing variety of dabbling ducks can be seen from the camp office viewing deck. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of REDHEADS and GREATER SCAUP are in Popham Bay and the outer part of Presqu'ile Bay, where they shift from one side to the other depending on where the hunting is taking place. As recently as Sunday, four SURF SCOTERS were loosely associating with the latter group, and two were still near the lighthouse yesterday. A WHITE-WINGED SCOTER has also been nearby, as recently as this afternoon. BLACK SCOTERS should also be present but have not yet been spotted. Seven HOODED MERGANSERS were among the dabbling ducks in the marsh this morning, and an AMERICAN COOT was there on Friday. A RED-NECKED GREBE was seen on Sunday. Two SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS and numerous SANDERLINGS and DUNLINS have been around lately. On Tuesday, nine GREATER YELLOWLEGS were hunkered down from gale force winds in the woodpile marsh, where they posed for a photograph. Shortly afterwards, three flew over nearby, perhaps part of the same group, which had vanished not long before. The biggest surprise of the week was a RED PHALAROPE that also posed for photographs at a windy Owen Point on Tuesday. The most recent previous record for that species at Presqu'ile was almost exactly two years ago.
A SHARP-SHINNED HAWK circled the feeders at 186 Bayshore Road this afternoon. A keen-eyed observer spotted a BARRED OWL along Paxton Drive, but that did not make it a SPOTTED OWL. RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS continue to be seen. A flock of EASTERN BLUEBIRDS, perhaps as many as 20, was in the day use area on Tuesday. The most recent YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER sighting was last Friday. Large numbers of blackbirds are roosting in the marsh, among which some 6,000 COMMON GRACKLES were identified as they left the marsh in the morning.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.