With only weeks to go until the major push of spring bird migration at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, expectations of what to find this week have not quite been met. On most days, there have been one or two newly arrived species, but others that are due, like BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS, are still being awaited, probably because of unfavourable weather conditions that have influenced both birds and birders.
This morning at least two flocks of CANADA GEESE passed overhead, the first in a month. A TRUMPETER SWAN was seen on April 20. A few other waterfowl are still around, including GADWALLS, AMERICAN WIGEONS, NORTHERN PINTAILS, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, CANVASBACK, REDHEADS, RING-NECKED DUCKS, SCAUP, WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, and COMMON GOLDENEYES, among others. Only a few RED-THROATED LOONS have been reported recently.
There were still HORNED GREBES in the lake a few days ago. GREAT EGRETS and BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS can be seen every day on the offshore islands. TURKEY VULTURES have been drifting past, and three were foraging on the beach yesterday. A GREATER YELLOWLEGS and up to seven DUNLINS have been seen on the beach. The only BARRED OWL was on April 22.
There is some evidence that RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS are nesting in front of 75 Bayshore Road, and sightings continue in other parts of the Park.
PILEATED WOODPECKERS occur year-round throughout Presqu'ile, and have been appearing almost daily around the eastern end of the peninsula.
All six of the SWALLOW species known to occur at Presqu'ile have been present in the past week, most of them evidently foraging over open water on the coldest days. HOUSE WRENS have been seen on each of the past three days, and the first MARSH WREN of the season was on April 25. HERMIT THRUSHES are widespread on the forest trails. In addition to abundant YELLOW-RUMPED and common PINE WARBLERS, a NASHVILLE WARBLER and a few PALM WARBLERS have appeared. Surprisingly few EASTERN TOWHEES and FOX SPARROWS have been reported this spring, and none in the past week. A few RUSTY BLACKBIRDS were near the lighthouse on the weekend.
PURPLE FINCHES and PINE SISKINS are still present.
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.