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Birding Report

Presqu’ile Bird Report for Week of October 19-25 2018

HIGHLIGHTS: RED-THROATED LOON, LITTLE GULL, COMMON TERN, CAROLINA WREN, LAPLAND LONGSPUR, COMMON REDPOLL

It was a great week for birding but unfortunately coverage at Presqu’ile remains low so much of the big passage noted nearby was not documented here.

Waterfowl continue to build with good numbers of most puddle ducks still in the marsh, and to a lesser extent around the Islands.  Two TUNDRA SWANS flew over the gate on 20 Oct. A single BRANT was on Gull Is. on 23 and 25 Oct. Diving and sea ducks picked up considerably and species such as LONG-TAILED DUCK, BUFFLEHEAD and COMMON GOLDENEYE are now present in numbers.  The first RING-NECKED DUCK of fall was a male off Salt Pt. On 21 Oct.  All three scoters were seen throughout the week with up to 12 SURF on 21 Oct and 9 BLACK on 24 Oct. RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS are also building up with large flocks roaming the lakeshore in search of fish schools.

COMMON LOONS were all over the lake this week with the highest count being 150 on 23 Oct.  Three RED-THROATED LOONS were also seen that day in Popham Bay. HORNED GREBES are also common on the Lake and with them were 12 RED-NECKED GREBE on 23 Oct. Raptors moved on several days with 21 RED-TAILS passing the gate on 21 Oct as well as a RED-SHOULDERED and an AMERICAN KESTREL that day.  MERLINS remain a daily feature.

Shorebirds are still being seen, mostly around Gull Is. but as water levels decline some – especially GREATER YELLOWLEGS and PECTORAL SANDPIPER - are also collecting in the causeway marsh area. Three SEMIPALMATED PLOVER on Gull Is. on 25 Oct are getting a bit late. Most surprising was a dusk observation on 19 Oct of 70 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER flying through the marsh.

BONAPARTE’S GULLS have arrived in big numbers and with them have been a few observations of LITTLE GULL with singles on 19, 24 and 25 Oct from different sites on the peninsula.  Although COMMON TERNS are common here in summer they leave this area quite early – usually by late September – so a single seen on 23-24 Oct was most unusual. Small numbers of EASTERN PHOEBE were seen throughout the week.

Seven WHITE-BREATSED NUTHTACH observed crossing an open field on 24 Oct suggest a movement of this species is occurring also.  CAROLINA WRENS are still being reported from feeders along Bayshore Rd. suggesting that at least one and possibly two are still around. Two EASTERN BLUEBIRD were at the gate on 20 Oct.

Four LAPLAND LONGSPUR were seen on Owen Pt. on 23 Oct and a few SNOW BUNTINGS are also on Gull Is. and Owen Pt.

Warblers have really thinned out with YELLOW-RUMPED being the only one seen regularly.  Other lingering birds include single ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS at two sites on 23 Oct, a PALM WARBLER at the lighthouse on 23 Oct, and a COMMON YELLOWTHROAT in the causeway marsh on 24 Oct.

Sparrows are moving through in numbers.  Among the common species a few less common ones were seen including SAVANNAH on 21 Oct, CHIPPING on 24 Oct, the first AMERICAN TREE SPARROW on 21 Oct.  Small numbers of FOX SPARROW have been reported all week.

Big flocks of RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD and COMMON GRACKLE are roosting in the marsh each evening. A RUSTY BLACKBIRD was reported on 19 Oct and an EASTERN MEADOWLARK was seen in the Calf Pasture on 23 Oct.

Finally winter finches continue to build up with a high count of 110 PINE SISKIN at one feeder on 24 Oct as well as the first report of COMMON REDPOLL on the same day.

Note that fall waterfowl hunting in now occurring in the Park which means park users cannot go to Owen Pt., the islands, the marsh (boardwalk is open), or Calf Pasture Pt. on Saturdays, Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays even if no one is hunting on those days. This restriction will last until mid December so plan your trip accordingly.

Presqu’ile Provincial Park is located on the north shore of Lake Ontario, just south of the town of Brighton.  It can be reached from either Hwy. 401 or Cty. Rd. 2 and is well signed.  A Park map can be found in the information tabloid available at the Park gate.  Presqu’ile’s two offshore islands – Gull and High Bluff – support a large multi-species colonial bird nesting area and access is not permitted during the breeding season.