As usual, Presqu'ile Provincial Park has rewarded some birders who have come visiting this week with a few surprises and with a healthy variety of more common birds. The book entitled For the Birds: Recollections and Rambles, which has been out of print, is now available in pdf format for $20. As before, the profits go to the Environmental Fund of The Friends of Presqu'ile. Orders may be sent to Fred Helleiner at 186 Bayshore Road, Brighton, Ontario, K0K 1H0.
The marsh has had a good variety of ducks, including the first few RING-NECKED DUCKS of the season. Three BLUE-WINGED TEAL were seen on October 5. Both SURF and WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS have been seen, the former at both ends of the Park. Two WILD TURKEYS were in the Park on October 7. Four species in the heron family were seen this week: AMERICAN BITTERN, GREAT BLUE HERON, GREAT EGRET, and GREEN HERON. A late OSPREY on October 4 and several PEREGRINE FALCONS were the most interesting raptors. The first AMERICAN COOT of the season was in the marsh this afternoon. Eleven shorebird species plus an AMERICAN WOODCOCK were found this week. Among others there were AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER, WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER, and BAIRD'S SANDPIPER.
For the third consecutive week, a cuckoo was found, but this week it was a surprising YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO on October 5. An EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE on October 4 was rather late. BLUE-HEADED VIREOS were seen in unusually large numbers today, as well as two rather late PHILADELPHIA VIREOS. There are too few fall records of TUFTED TITMOUSE at Presqu'ile to predict an expected arrival date, but today is the tenth anniversary of the date when an over-wintering individual was first detected at a feeder. Warblers are still to be found here and there in good numbers, primarily YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, but also including ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS on at least two dates, NORTHERN PARULA on three dates, a late MAGNOLIA WARBLER on October 4, and three BAY-BREASTED WARBLERS and a PINE WARBLER on October 5. A VESPER SPARROW on Gull Island was unusual, but none of the expected NELSON'S SPARROWS that forage there in the fall could be found. Ten LINCOLN'S SPARROWS on October 5 may be the highest fall count ever at Presqu'ile. PURPLE FINCHES and PINE SISKINS have been showing up with some regularity, but only the former have come to feeders.
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 knee-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 on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Gull Island, High Bluff Island, and part of the calf pasture are not available for bird-watching on those days after tomorrow. 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