Last weekend was an exceptionally good one for migrating birds at Presqu'ile Provincial Park. Well over 100 species have been recorded in the past week, with one group recording 78 species on Sunday. Since then, there have also been a number of interesting sightings.
Several birders got a pleasant surprise yesterday when a flock of MUTE SWANS in which a SNOW GOOSE was embedded flew past. A NORTHERN SHOVELER was in the marsh on September 16. A RUDDY DUCK off Gull Island on September 12 was unusual. The first two HORNED GREBES of the season were in Popham Bay yesterday. A BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON was heard in the marsh. For the second week in a row, the raptors sighted included BALD EAGLE (4 today), BROAD-WINGED HAWK (5 today), and PEREGRINE FALCON.
Shorebirds are again attracting birders from far and wide, not only because they can easily be seen in fairly good numbers but also because at least two rarities were/are among them. AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS were seen on three different days. Up to three WHIMBRELS have been on Gull Island, accompanied on one morning by a HUDSONIAN GODWIT. That rare species was discovered last Saturday on the beach before flying off. Either that same bird or another was found on Gull Island two days later and has been seen regularly by a number of birders at least up till yesterday. Four RED KNOTS were at Owen Point last Friday and from one to three have been seen on the beach since then. An elusive WESTERN SANDPIPER has made at least four appearances at Owen Point, most recently this morning. Since it generally travels in a flock of other shorebirds, it can easily be overlooked unless seen exceptionally well, as in the two photographs that both revealed the subtle points of identification. One or two WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS, a few BAIRD'S and PECTORAL SANDPIPERS and DUNLINS have also been seen on several days this week. Although gull-watching will gradually become more interesting (as well as frustrating for some of us) in coming weeks, it is not too early to be on the lookout for LITTLE GULLS. The latest CASPIAN TERN of the season was seen on September 14.
RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS are fast disappearing, but the RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS that have been around all summer are likely to stay throughout the year. A YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER on September 15 and a GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER seen yesterday were rather late. Two PHILADELPHIA VIREOS were seen on Saturday and singles on several other days. Both TREE and BARN SWALLOWS were seen on Sunday. A VEERY and a SWAINSON'S THRUSH were the only migrant members of that family reported. Over twenty warbler species were at Presqu'ile in the past few days. A male GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER on September 17 was both rare and late. CAPE MAY, YELLOW, and PINE WARBLERS were also good finds. An early DARK-EYED JUNCO was found on Monday and a SCARLET TANAGER on two different days. A PURPLE FINCH was seen on Tuesday.
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 knee-deep water (not allowing for waves) in which there is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven and slippery. 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.