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Birding Report

Presqu’ile Bird Report for 7-13 June 2019

HIGHLIGHTS: NORTHERN PINTAIL, WHITE-WINGED SCOTER, RED-THROATED LOON, SNOWY EGRET, BROAD-WINGED HAWK, NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD

A few vestiges of spring migration remain but we are now squarely in the nesting season with many species observed attending nests or feeding fledged young.  Fortunately Presqu’ile has many different habitats in a small area that support a wide variety of nesting birds to search for.

In 2017 the high water caused a near total nesting failure of the invasive MUTE SWAN but a number of broods are being reported this year suggesting they were not affected the same way even though the water is even higher.  A female NORTHERN PINTAIL was seen flying over the gate in a MALLARD flock on 7 Jun.  Four WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS were off Beach 2 on 7 Jun.  Two COMMON MERGANSERS were noted on 12 Jun.  A RED-THROATED LOON in breeding plumage lingered off Beach 2 on 7 Jun.

Herons remain popular with seven species reported, headlined all week by the very cooperative SNOWY EGRET that is most often feeding in shoreline pools between beach 2 and 3 but occasionally back at the Woodpile Marsh (between Pine and High Bluff campgrounds) where it was originally found on 4 Jun.  It’s hard to say if the high water has actually attracted more LEAST BITTERNS this year, or if they are just more obvious, but reports continue almost daily.

Single SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS were noted on 9 and 12 Jun. Quite out of place was an adult BROAD-WINGED HAWK that flew over the gate on 7 Jun.  A few northbound shorebirds were still evident this week.  RUDDY TURNSTONES were present all week with a peak of 18 on 7 Jun. The last report was of one bird on 12 Jun.  Ten RED KNOTS were seen flying past Beach 2 on 7 Jun, and a group of 45 shorebirds roosting on Gull Is. the same day might also have been knots but were too far to be sure.  The last SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS was a flock of 15 on 7 Jun.  Two WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS were also seen on 7 Jun and finally, two SANDERLINGS were seen on Gull Is. on 11 Jun. Incredible as it seems, the first southbound shorebirds could start to show up by the end of June!

Single BONAPARTE’S GULLS included a first summer bird on 7 Jun and what might be the same adult on 8 and 13 Jun.  A GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL was reported on 12 Jun.  Single BLACK-BILLED CUCKOOS were reported on 7 and 9 Jun.  RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS continue to be seen suggesting at least two pairs might be nesting this year.  This species has only been documented to nest in the park a few times so the idea of two pairs is pretty exciting. 

The last OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was seen on 7 Jun.  A NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD was reported near the lighthouse on 8 Jun.  WARBLER reports were all of the expected resident breeding species. An EASTERN TOWHEE was again reported from the Calf Pasture area on 11 Jun  – this species has not been confirmed as breeding in the Park.

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).