Defying logical expectations in the summer's most punishing heat wave, a few southbound migrants have appeared at Presqu'ile Provincial Park in the past week, and more can be expected when the temperature and wind finally turn around, especially thrushes and warblers.
A TRUMPETER SWAN was spotted among the MUTE SWANS in Popham Bay. WOOD DUCKS are plentiful in the marsh these days, best seen from the road opposite the campground office. A few GREATER SCAUP were in Popham Bay on July 19. Single female HOODED and RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS have also been there. The latest WHITE PELICAN to appear at Presqu'ile was in the last week of July a few years ago. The next one might appear among the thousands of DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS milling around the offshore islands. Up to three young LEAST BITTERNS have been frequenting the south end of the marsh boardwalk, most often seen in the early morning.
The most unusual sighting of the past week was an IBIS of the/ plegadis/ genus that flushed from a pond on the interior of Gull Island on July 15.
A TURKEY VULTURE was feeding on carrion washed up on the beach. OSPREYS have been seen on more than one recent date. A slightly improved mix of migrant shorebirds appeared on the beach in pools created by an overnight storm: both GREATER and LESSER YELLOWLEGS, two SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS, five LEAST SANDPIPERS, one SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER (missing a leg). The most likely area to find BONAPARTE'S GULLS this week has been around the lighthouse. An immature GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL was on the beach yesterday.
A second young RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER is now coming to feed at 83 Bayshore Road. Both ALDER and WILLOW FLYCATCHERS have been noted this week. Swallows of several species have been roosting by the thousands in the marsh. Among them were an estimated 25 CLIFF SWALLOWS. A NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, typically one of the first fall migrant warblers, has been seen twice at 83 Bayshore Road, which is some distance from the known breeding territory of the species in the Park. ORCHARD ORIOLES, a PURPLE FINCH, and a surprising PINE SISKIN have also appeared at that address in the past week, undoubtedly attracted by the plentiful food and water provided by the occupant.
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.