Most birders who visited Presqu'ile Provincial Park on the Thanksgiving weekend were rewarded by comfortable conditions and a good variety of migrant birds, both on land and in the water.
On Saturday, a CACKLING GOOSE was in a flock of CANADA GEESE that flew past. WOOD DUCKS can easily be seen in the marsh. A flock of AMERICAN WIGEONS far out in Popham Bay included an individual that, had it been closer, might have been confirmed as a male EURASIAN WIGEON, a species that birders might do well to look for in case it comes within range of a scope. A NORTHERN SHOVELER and a dozen RING-NECKED DUCKS were seen on Tuesday. Both SURF and WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS are being seen regularly. Other diving ducks, recently returned for a winter holiday at Presqu'ile, have included LONG-TAILED DUCK, BUFFLEHEAD, and COMMON GOLDENEYE. A RUFFED GROUSE was heard drumming on the unusually late date of October 11. After WILD TURKEY tracks were detected on Saturday, two individuals were spotted on Tuesday and Wednesday. High counts/estimates of COMMON LOON and HORNED GREBE were 425 and 225, respectively, both on October 12. A GREAT EGRET was again present in the marsh just outside the Park gate on October 14.
Six AMERICAN COOTS were in the marsh on Tuesday. Most of the ten remaining species of shorebirds are being seen with some regularity this week. As well as a few BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS, there has been one AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER. The lone LESSER YELLOWLEGS on October 14 was the first at Presqu'ile for a few weeks. A HUDSONIAN GODWIT, deemd for several reasons to be a different individual from the one that was on Gull Island up to September 28, was discovered at Owen Point on October 11 and has been seen there and on the beach daily thereafter at least as recently as October 14. A WILSON'S SNIPE was seen on October 11, and an AMERICAN WOODCOCK (not included in the above tally) on October 12. Late October is the prime time for RED PHALAROPES at Presqu'ile and one might show up along any of the shores or even out in open water. An adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL off Gull Island on October 14 was a good find, but nowhere nearly as exciting as the immature PARASITIC JAEGER on the same day that gave excellent views before being spooked into flying off by a kite-surfer. Two late CASPIAN TERNS were also seen that day on Gull Island.
A large owl, probably a GREAT HORNED OWL, flew across the road in front of a birder before disappearing into the woods. Both MERLIN and PEREGRINE FALCON were seen this week. A record late YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER was at the lighthouse on October 10. Both BLUE-HEADED and PHILADELPHIA VIREOS were seen, the latter as recently as October 10. COMMON RAVEN sightings are becoming regular at Presqu'ile, and this week was no exception, with several being seen. Three HORNED LARKS were at Owen Point on October 12. Four MARSH WRENS were present on October 11 and might stay until at least freeze-up. A VEERY on October 10 was very late. Two LAPLAND LONGSPURS were at Owen Point on October 12. Although YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS are overwhelmingly predominant among warblers these days, eleven other species were seen in the past week, including late BLACK-AND-WHITE and WILSON'S WARBLERS on October 12 and 15, respectively, and a few ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS and NORTHERN PARULAS. An EASTERN TOWHEE and a FOX SPARROW were noteworthy among Emberizids. Five EASTERN MEADOWLARKS flying over on October 11 were an unusual sight. A few PINE SISKINS have finally discovered that there is food in those hanging tube 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