Most of the birds at Presqu'ile Provincial Park in the past few days are summer residents, but there has been a good number of shorebirds and flycatchers, as well as one surprising rarity which would not normally occur this far north and not normally this late in the spring.
The moult migration of CANADA GEESE has resulted in a surge of their numbers, especially on the beach but also in flight. The next generation of the beautiful but pestilent MUTE SWANS for which Presqu'ile is noted has appeared, with numerous cygnets in evidence. A few flocks of WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS have been migrating past the peninsula this week. A male BUFFLEHEAD continues to be seen near 16 -
18 Bayshore Road. LEAST BITTERNS in the marsh and 26 GREAT EGRET nests on High Bluff Island are the most interesting sightings of that family in the past week. There were single sightings of MERLIN and WILD TURKEY in the Park.
Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of shorebirds were on the beach and at Owen Point on June 1, but most had moved on by today. There have been surprisingly few BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS all spring, and none appeared yesterday. Perhaps they are yet to come. WHIMBRELS were still present on May 27 (16-20) and May 29 (2). The majority of the shorebirds now are SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS. Among the estimated 90 RUDDY TURNSTONES at Owen Point, Gull Island, and the beach on June 1 was a lone unbanded RED KNOT, a species which also may still arrive in larger numbers. An AMERICAN WOODCOCK was flushed on the Owen Point trail.
BARRED OWLS have been vocal all week. The only COMMON NIGHTHAWK and CHIMNEY SWIFTS of the season to date were seen this week, a far cry from their former numbers. RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS, being less vocal than a month ago, have become harder to find. Among the numerous flycatchers of various species that have been seen in the past week are the two species that traditionally are among the latest spring migrants:
OLIVE-SIDED and YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHERS. Three other /Empidonax/ flycatchers (ALDER, WILLOW, LEAST) were also found this week. A few PHILADELPHIA VIREOS were present on May 30, a rather late date. A CAROLINA WREN was heard today, for the first time since mid-March. A RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET on May 28 was rather late, but the numerous BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS are summer residents in the Park. A GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH was seen on May 28.
The warbler migration, while much diminished from a week ago, produced some nice surprises. At least one (perhaps two) GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER was seen and photographed at the lighthouse on May 30, tying the record late date for Presqu'ile. A CAPE MAY WARBLER on May 28 was also late.
Two CERULEAN WARBLERS were on High Bluff Island on May 26. The fourth record of PROTHONOTARY WARBLER in the Park was established this morning when a stunning and very cooperative male was seen by a good number of observers and also photographed. Although it moved around the general lighthouse area, it first appeared in the same birder's back yard as one that was there three years ago. Finally, a HOODED WARBLER was heard and briefly seen on May 28. Although PINE SISKINS seem at last to have departed, there are still a few PURPLE FINCHES around.
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. Access to the offshore islands is restricted at this time of year to prevent disturbance to the colonial nesting birds there. 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.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.