The pace of the spring bird migration at Presqu'ile Provincial Park has returned to normal, with at least one day on which a wave of migrants appeared and a steady trickle on most other days. The exceptions are two reports of birds that are not normally rare at Presqu'ile but which can not be expected as early as this in spring.
A SNOW GOOSE was on Gull Island on April 16. Among the eighteen duck species in the Park in the past week were a pair of NORTHERN PINTAILS at Gull Island (the first in over a month), a late CANVASBACK on April 15, and a female BLACK SCOTER off the lighthouse on April 13. SURF SCOTERS should be appearing soon. RED-THROATED LOONS have been seen in small numbers (up to five) in Popham Bay. Up till April 16, there were two RED-NECKED GREBES off the lighthouse. All of the regular heron-related birds except LEAST BITTERN and GREEN HERON are now back, with at least four AMERICAN BITTERNS in the marsh, at least six GREAT EGRETS on the nests at High Bluff Island (as well as two foraging in the marsh), and about twelve BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS on Sebastopol Island. Three SANDHILL CRANES flew over the marsh on April 16. The beginnings of the transient shorebird migration involved a LEAST SANDPIPER on April 18 (a rather early date) and a DUNLIN on April 16 and two on April 18 and 19.
Although AMERICAN WOODCOCKS are summer residents at Presqu'ile, the one at the lighthouse was probably a late transient. Two ICELAND GULLS on Sebastopol Island on April 17 should have moved on before this. With so many CASPIAN TERNS around, one has to wonder about the report of two very early COMMON TERNS on April 16.
A GREAT HORNED OWL was heard at the entrance to the "fingers", where the species is resident. RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS have been encountered at three different parts of the Park this week. The most intriguing report of the week was of a WARBLING VIREO on April 19, a full eight days earlier than the previous record, suggesting that a rare bird report form should be submitted to the Park. Single PURPLE MARTINS were near the lighthouse on two separate days, and two BANK SWALLOWS were there on April 17. Not unexpected were the single BROWN THRASHERS that were seen in separate areas of the Park on each of the last four days. April 16 saw an influx of YELLOW-RUMPED and PINE WARBLERS, both of which were present at the calf pasture on April 13, but no other warbler species have yet been found. Two EASTERN TOWHEES were here on April 16. Other sparrows that have recently returned include CHIPPING, FIELD, FOX, and WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS. A few PURPLE FINCHES have been present and vocal for several days. PINE SISKINS are a daily sighting.
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.