Birding has picked up a bit at Presqu'ile Provincial Park this week, as several late stragglers have been discovered, including one record late species. Today two visiting birders found a respectable 44 species of birds in the Park.
A second printing of a book entitled For the Birds: Recollections and Rambles , by Fred Helleiner, is now available from the author (see below) for $20 plus $2.50 for postage. It is also being sold at the Lighthouse Gift Shop in the Park and at Out on a Limb in Brighton. All profits are being donated to the Friends of Presqu'ile's 25th Anniversary Environmental Fund, which sponsors long-term projects like the eradication of invasive species. This message is authorized by the Ontbirds Coordinator.
TUNDRA SWANS have been present in small numbers in the past week. Each winter GADWALLS and NORTHERN PINTAILS gather on the east shore of High Bluff Island, and both species were observed there this morning. One of the former, as well as two GREEN-WINGED TEAL, were in the marsh on November 15. Large numbers of REDHEADS and smaller numbers of WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS are among the less common ducks that are still in Presqu'ile Bay. Both of those species, as well as two BLACK SCOTERS, were in Popham Bay this morning. Among the regular winter ducks, COMMON GOLDENEYES have not yet built up their numbers to levels expected in mid-winter. If the BARROW'S GOLDENEYE that has made a habit of spending the winter near the lighthouse for several recent years intends to do so again this year, it will have to arrive by tomorrow if it is to match last year's date or by Saturday if it matches the arrival date in 2011.
A RUFFED GROUSE was seen on Saturday. The only grebe and cormorant of the past week were a HORNED GREBE and a DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT today in Popham Bay, both on the late side. A TURKEY VULTURE flew over this morning, apparently in belated migration. NORTHERN HARRIER (2), SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (2), RED-TAILED HAWK, and MERLIN were the only other hawks this week. For the first time since last spring, no shorebirds were found in the past week, despite a thorough search of Gull Island today by two intrepid birders who braved the swell and, in one case, suffered the cold, wet consequences. An ICELAND GULL on Tuesday and a GLAUCOUS GULL today were both on Gull Island. A BARRED OWL was again seen in Jobes' Woods.
RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS are regular visitors to feeders at 83 and 186 Bayshore Road. On November 19, a RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET at the lighthouse and a YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER near Owen Point were rather late. One or more SNOW BUNTINGS were present on November 17. Two CHIPPING SPARROWS were reported last weekend, and three observers saw one on November 19, the same day as a FOX SPARROW and five WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS were at 85 Bayshore Road. The WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW reported last week was seen again on November 15. A COMMON GRACKLE was at 102 Bayshore Road on November 19. Last but not least, the most surprising find of the week was a female BALTIMORE ORIOLE with an injured wing near the Pioneer trail parking lot on November 20, by far the latest date on record. It has not yet been re-located.
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. Visitors to Gull Island not using a boat should be prepared to wade through water that is shin-deep, not taking into account any wave action,.in which there is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven and slippery. It should also be noted that, because duck hunting is given priority on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Gull Island, High Bluff Island, Owen Point, and part of the calf pasture are not available for bird-watching on those days. 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: