At Presqu'ile Provincial Park, the past week has seen little change from the week before, which is to say that there are still plenty of water birds, shorebirds, warblers, and sparrows to be found. The coming week could prove exciting, as new migrants appear, the first week in October being the time when Presqu'ile's only VARIED THRUSH was found, two years ago.
The BUFFLEHEAD that has been in Popham Bay for a few weeks was seen again on Sunday. COMMON LOONS and HORNED GREBES have been seen off shore. A late OSPREY flew over the day use area on September 28. A PEREGRINE FALCON and a gull had an indecisive mid-air altercation in full view of a crowd of spectators. Having promised in an earlier report to make no further mention of the WILD TURKEY on Bayshore Road, I will not report that it was seen on September 29. The BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS and AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS that have been seen by many visiting birders in the past week were over-shadowed by the discovery of a WILLET among the former on September 26. WHIMBRELS have enticed some birders to wade out to Gull Island, where they can almost always be found, but where they usually remain tantalizingly out of sight of the mainland. A few BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS remain at Owen Point, including one that stands out by reason of its one-legged hopping gait. BONAPARTE'S GULLS have been seen almost every day in the past week. The discovery of a single LITTLE GULL among a large group of that species a short distance outside the Park on September 26 provides an incentive for observers to scan the gull flocks at Presqu'ile for it. One of the most reliable birds in the Park in the latter half of September has been a GREAT HORNED OWL that can be heard in the vicinity of the bird sightings board on most evenings after dusk.
RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS appear to have left, the latest one of which I am aware being seen on September 24. Since September 18, BELTED KINGFISHERS have been sighted at an average rate of one per day, a rate that is higher than normal at this location. YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS have been moving through the Park in good numbers since mid-September.
EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES and EASTERN PHOEBES are apparently the only remaining tyrant flycatchers, but exotic western varieties do occasionally make their way into southern Ontario at this time of year.
BLUE-HEADED VIREOS are being seen daily. COMMON RAVENS, usually two at a time, continue to surprise old-time birders who are unaccustomed to finding them south of the Canadian Shield. Earlier this week, thirteen species of warblers were still in the Park, but by now most are YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS with only a sprinkling of others, including the odd NORTHERN PARULA and up to three ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS. The most recent SCARLET TANAGER sighting was on September 29. A LAPLAND LONGSPUR was at Owen Point on September 24. A dozen RUSTY BLACKBIRDS were at the woodpile marsh on that date.
To reach Presqu'ile Provincial Park, follow the signs from Brighton.
Locations within the Park are shown on a map at the back of a tabloid that is available at the Park gate. Visitors to Gull Island not using a boat should be prepared to wade through knee-deep water in which there is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven and slippery. It should also be noted that, because duck hunting is given priority on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Gull Island, High Bluff Island, Owen Point, and part of the calf pasture are not available for bird-watching on those days. Birders are encouraged to record their observations on the bird sightings board provided near the campground office by The Friends of Presqu'ile Park and to fill out a rare bird report for species not listed there.