Presqu'ile Provincial Park continues to be a hotbed of bird activity, if not birder activity. Many of the nesting birds have begun to fledge their young, so the numbers of birds have been increasing day by day.
At the same time, bird song has faded and the squawks of young ones are attracting attention.
With the addition of this year's cygnets, the MUTE SWAN population in the Park has once again reached the worrisome figure of over 130 birds, which excludes those on the opposite side of Presqu'ile Bay. WOOD DUCKS have taken over the partially weed-choked water opposite the campground office, where 14 individuals were counted on one day this week. In addition to the eight REDHEADS that have been in Popham Bay all summer, a male has been in the marsh area this week. A female merganser at Owen Point was tentatively identified as a COMMON MERGANSER before it vanished inexplicably from sight. Three young PIED-BILLED GREBES appeared to be independent enough to be unaccompanied by an adult. For the third consecutive week, a LEAST BITTERN was seen at the marsh boardwalk one evening, as well as 4-5 AMERICAN BITTERNS, GREAT BLUE HERONS, GREAT EGRETS, and five BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS. Two GREEN HERONS flew over a birder's cottage and another observer heard one at the calf pasture but could not find the bird. A SORA was in the marsh on Tuesday evening.
A RUDDY TURNSTONE on the beach on June 26 and 27 was more likely a late spring migrant than an early fall one. No other migrant shorebirds have yet appeared, but a LESSER YELLOWLEGS was at the nearby Brighton constructed wetland yesterday and a SOLITARY SANDPIPER was there this morning, undoubtedly the vanguard of fall migrants. Four BONAPARTE'S GULLS and a single immature GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL were the only noteworthy /larids/ seen this week.
Three BLACK-BILLED CUCKOOS in three widely separated parts of the Park in the past eight days were almost certainly different birds. A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER continues to make frequent visits to 83 Bayshore Road. SWALLOWS have begun to congregate in the marsh in the evening, with an estimated 200 of five species there on Tuesday. YELLOW WARBLERS, MOURNING WARBLERS, and COMMON YELLOWTHROATS appear to be the most vocal of that family these days, at least to the ears of one who no longer hears many of the others. Four other species have been found this week by a birder who hears them well: BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER, BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER, PINE WARBLER, AMERICAN REDSTART. Both ORCHARD ORIOLES and BALTIMORE ORIOLES have been feeding their young, in one case side by side. PURPLE FINCHES are again visiting the feeders at 83 Bayshore Road.
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.