This week's birding at Presqu'ile Provincial Park features evidence of a number of breeding birds and a smattering of fall migrant shorebirds.
About 180 MUTE SWANS have been present all week in Popham Bay. A WOOD DUCK was escorting two small ducklings this morning. More than one each of GADWALL, AMERICAN WIGEON, AMERICAN BLACK DUCK, and GREEN-WINGED TEAL have been seen this week. The most recent BUFFLEHEAD sighting was on July 8. Three RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS were on Gull Island yesterday. A number of sightings of single and multiple LEAST BITTERNS at the south end of the marsh boardwalk culminated on July 11, when an apparent family group of four or five was there. GREAT EGRETS are no longer regarded as noteworthy at Presqu'ile, but a GREEN HERON was seen on July 9. OSPREY, BALD EAGLE, and COOPER'S HAWK were the only raptors seen this week. Both VIRGINIA RAIL and SORA have been noted along the marsh boardwalk, the former as it ran across in front of the observers.
LESSER YELLOWLEGS and LEAST SANDPIPERS have been on the beach, but the most intriguing shorebird was tentatively identified as a BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER before it flew off and out of sight before a definitive identification could be made. Other shorebirds of several species can be expected to join those that are already here. An AMERICAN WOODCOCK was flushed twice from the Owen Point trail. BONAPARTE'S GULLS have been flying around the lighthouse for the past three days. Research on COMMON TERNS has been carried out on Gull Island for the past four summers. One of the researchers will be describing that project for the public at the Park Amphitheatre on July 19 at 8 p.m.
Among land birds, sightings of ROCK PIGEONS are always exceptional at Presqu'ile, and there were two this week. A BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO was calling opposite 34 Bayshore Road. For several days a juvenile RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER has been visiting feeders at 83 Bayshore Road along with an adult female. What appeared to be a family group of COMMON RAVENS was near Owen Point on July 10, raising the question of whether the species nested for a second consecutive year in the Park.
An EASTERN TOWHEE was at the calf pasture on July 9. ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS were observed feeding young on July 8. ORCHARD ORIOLES and PURPLE FINCHES are being seen on most days.
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.