In the face of persistent northerly winds at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, migration has been slow for the past week. Indeed, two large white quintessential winter birds were seen. The highlight of the week, however, was a large black bird. Not everything is black and white in the Park, for some more colourful birds are also present.
Apart from a NORTHERN SHOVELER and a rather late CANVASBACK, the variety of ducks has been unremarkable. Other water birds have been somewhat more interesting. At least three RED-THROATED LOONS were in Popham Bay this morning. COMMON LOONS are being seen on most days, but the anticipated early morning fly-overs have apparently not yet begun. The first RED-NECKED GREBE was at the lighthouse on April 7, and two have been there for the past two days. BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS have yet to appear at their nesting site on Sebastopol Island, but the wind change that is forecast for tomorrow might bring them.
Two lucky birders were in the right spot at the right time on April 11, when, looking up, they saw a BLACK VULTURE with a group of TURKEY VULTURES moving past overhead. The only previous BLACK VULTURE at Presqu'ile was in December, 2002. OSPREY, NORTHERN HARRIER, SHARP-SHINNED HAWK, and AMERICAN KESTREL are the only other hawks seen in the past week. For the second consecutive week, a RING-NECKED PHEASANT was reported, this time along Paxton Drive. A late GLAUCOUS GULL was found on April 8. CASPIAN TERNS are back in small numbers. A late SNOWY OWL was sitting on the railing of the marsh boardwalk on April 10. Another BARRED OWL was discovered on April 8.
The most reliable place to find RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER these days is Jobes' woods, where one has been very vocal. Although YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS and RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS have been seen twice this week, they are not yet as plentiful as usual for this date. HERMIT THRUSHES have been surprisingly scarce, none having been reported since April 4.
The first PINE WARBLER of the spring was singing near the old cemetery this morning. By now there should be a good variety of sparrows, but we are still awaiting the first migrant CHIPPING, FIELD, VESPER, SAVANNAH, and FOX SPARROWS, all of which are normally here by early to mid-April, often mingling with the flocks of DARK-EYED JUNCOES which also pass through Presqu'ile at that time. PINE SISKINS are still present in good numbers.
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.