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Birding Report

Presqu’ile Bird Report for 31 May – 6 June 2019

HIGHLIGHTS: RING-NECKED DUCK, RED-THROATED LOON, SNOWY EGRET, CATTLE EGRET, YELLOW-THROATED VIREO

Spring migration is winding down but there are still some migrant warblers and shorebirds about.  The flooded beach has been very interesting with some nice shorebirds and a very cooperative Snowy Egret.  Rubber boots are essential, and waders if you want to go to Owen Pt.

Waterfowl have really thinned out now.  Apart from MUTE SWANS, CANADA GEESE, MALLARD and a few GADWALL there is very little remaining.  A BLUE-WINGED TEAL flew past Woodpile marsh on 5 Jun.  Twelve GREEN-WINGED TEAL were at Beach 3 on 3 Jun and four NORTHERN SHOVELERS were there on 6 Jun. The long staying pair of RING-NECKED DUCK continues north of the Camp Office viewing deck, and a pair of BUFFLEHEAD was at the Calf Pasture cove on 1 Jun.  Ten WHITE-WINGED SCOTER were flying west high over the gate on 31 May.  A glass calm day on 6 Jun revealed only 9 LONG-TAILED DUCKS remaining. RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS started the week with a high of 85 on 1 Jun but had dwindled to just a handful by the end of the period.

Three RED-THROATED LOONS and 12 COMMON LOON were off the beach on 6 Jun. It has been a great week for herons with eight species reported! LEAST BITTERNS have been seen and heard almost daily from Presqu’ile Parkway, the Marsh Boardwalk tower or the Camp Office viewing deck with a high of 5 on 6 Jun. The star heron was a SNOWY EGRET first found on 4 Jun at the woodpile marsh (between the Pines and High Bluff campground) and relocated the next day on Beach 2-3 area.  This bird, which has some sort of staining or injury on the left side of its face, continues to show well.  Another excellent find was a CATTLE EGRET that was a one-day wonder on Huff Rd, just NW of the park, on 5 Jun.  This is the fourth time a CATTLE EGRET has been on Huff Rd this year but it is unclear whether these are different birds or a returning individual.  GREEN HERONS are being seen more frequently now with a high of three at then gate on 6 Jun.

A sub-adult BALD EAGLE flew past the Lighthouse on 6 Jun. A SHARP-SHINNED HAWK was near the gate on 1 Jun and a RED-TAILED HAWK was at Calf Pasture the same day.  Shorebirds continue to pass through, mostly in small numbers now.  Three BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER on 1 Jun were the last reported. A GREATER YELLOWLEGS on Beach 3 on 6 Jun was decidedly late. RUDDY TURNSTONES were present all week with a high of 10 on 6 Jun. The Endangered RED KNOT turned up with 3 on 5 Jun, 6 on 6 Jun. DUNLIN were seen on and off with three on 1 Jun, one on 2 Jun, and one on 6 Jun. Two LEAST SANDPIPER on 6 Jun were late. SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS were present all week with the high count being 325 on 2 Jun. A flock of nine on 4 Jun contained one bird with a blue flag (band) on the upper right leg marked MT7.  The blue flag indicates that this bird was banded in Brazil!

A handful of BONAPARTE’S GULLS are still on the beach, and a sub adult GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL was there on 6 Jun.  There may be as many as three pairs of RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS in the park this summer, which is great news for this rare bird.  A lone sub-adult was at the gate on 4 Jun. Singing ALDER FLYCATCHERS on 1 and 6 Jun may be migrants, as this species is rare as a breeding bird in the Park – time will tell.  A YELLOW-THROATED VIREO singing near the Park Store on 6 Jun was late and unusual.  BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS have become quite scarce as breeding birds in the past few years; one on 3 Jun was the only one reported.

Apart from resident breeding warblers, a few late migrants were noted. Three TENNESSEE WARBLERS were seen on 1 Jun. Two CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLERS were near the Group Camp on 4 Jun and may be breeding.  The tail end of the BLACKPOLL WARBLER flight passed this week with 9 found on 1 Jun dwindling to one on 6 Jun. A YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER at the Lighthouse on 1 Jun was a late migrant.  On 6 Jun a CANADA WARBLER was singing from a mature Norway Spruce plantation – an unlikely breeding site so it is probably a late migrant.

Three EASTERN TOWHEE were found in Calf Pasture on 1 Jun along with a SAVANNAH SPARROW, which is odd since neither species are believed to nest in the Park.  Finally, a pair of BOBOLINK was found in Calf Pasture on 6 Jun  – another species that hasn’t bred in the Park in years.  Stay tuned.

Needless to say we local birders would love to hear promptly of any rarities that visitors find so if you see something rare, 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 to the local birding community. Thanks.

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).