Presqu’ile Bird Report for 3-9 May 2019
HIGHLIGHTS: RED-THROATED LOON, SNOWY EGRET, CATTLE EGRET, RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, PIPING PLOVER, LITTLE GULL, LAUGHING GULL, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, YELLOW-THROATED VIREO, NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD, GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER
It was a great week with many new arrivals and some exciting rarities, especially on the beach. Lake Ontario keeps rising and during strong west winds the beach now floods extensively. Rubber boots are very useful for getting around.
As an aside, there were a couple of great rarities this week that were missed by the local birding community as word of their presence didn’t get out. Needless to say we local birders would love to hear promptly of any rarities. If you see something unusual, please feel free to call or text my cell (613-243-4161) or Bill Gilmour’s cell (613-475-4219) and we will get the word out locally. Thanks.
Diving ducks have thinned out greatly, in part due to a large amount of boat traffic associated with the opening of fishing season last Saturday – only LOING-TAILED DUCKS remain common offshore. RED-THROATED LOONS were seen off the beach with four on 4 May and two the next day. A HORNED GREBE on 5 May may be the last of spring. The first GREEN HERON was noted on 5 May. Two rare herons were seen this week – a SNOWY EGRET feeding along the shoreline at Beach 3 on 5 May and a CATTLE EGRET on Huff Rd. (just northwest of the gate) on 7 May.
A BROAD-WINGED HAWK was seen on 5 May and two RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS – very rare in spring - were seen flying over the woods north of the Birdhouse Nature Store, just outside the gate, on 9 May. A SORA was heard on 3 and 6 May in the marsh along Presqu’ile Parkway. The first SEMIPALMATED PLOVER was on the beach on 9 May and the colour-banded PIPING PLOVER found on 1 May remained until 6 May and was enjoyed by many. Two LEAST SANDPIPERS on 9 May were the first. With the flooding the beach habitat is fantastic for shorebirds with lots of pools so the next few weeks should be fun.
BONAPARTE’S GULLS have been present all week in small numbers. An adult LITTLE GULL – different than the bird last week – was on Beach 3 on 4 May and what is suspected to be a different adult LAUGHING GULL from last week’s bird was on the beach 3-4 May and seen by many. The other “good” gull was a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL on 4 May, which is surprisingly our first of the year.
A WHIP-POOR-WILL was found roosting in a tree along Paxton Rd on 6 May. The first RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD showed on 4 May. Two somewhat early EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES were at the lighthouse on 7 May. The first LEAST FLYCATCHER was on 4 May followed by a GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER the next day. A YELLOW-THROATED VIREO on 7 May was a great find. The first WARBLING VIREO was seen on 4 May. All the swallows are being seen regularly but a concentration of 65 BANK SWALLOWS over the marsh on 9 May was unusual.
A NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD was at the Lighthouse on 6 May. More warblers arrived this week. Scarce species included a GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER near the lighthouse on 5 May and BLUE-WINGED WARBLERS on 4 May (2), 6 May, and 7 May (2). First arrivals include OVENBIRD on May 4, TENNESSEE on 6 May, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT on 7 May, AMERICAN REDSTART on 4 May, NORTHERN PARULA on 4 May, MAGNOLIA on 7 May, BAY-BREASTED on 7 May, BLACKBURNIAN on 5 May, CHESTNUT-SIDED on 6 May, BLACK-THROATED BLUE on 4 May and WILSON’S on 7 May.
AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS seen at two sites on 5 May are getting late. A DARK-EYED JUNCO on 7 May may be the last till next fall. A SCARLET TANAGER was seen on 6 May and the first of several INDIGO BUNTINGS was noted on 5 May. The first BOBOLINK was seen on 5 May and the first ORCHARD ORIOLES were two on 6 May. PURPLE FINCHES are being seen regularly now and a few PINE SISKINS persist with the last being 2 on 9 May.
Directions: 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 (10 March-10 September).