After a lacklustre week of birding amid beautiful summery weather at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, a cold front arrived on Tuesday night and brought with it masses of passerine birds.
A RED-NECKED GREBE was in Popham Bay on Friday. There were two sightings of a GREAT EGRET along the causeway leading into the Park. BALD EAGLES were seen on three different days, two of which were adults. Among shorebirds, DUNLINS have superseded SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS and SANDERLINGS as the most numerous species. A SPOTTED SANDPIPER on Gull Island this morning was rather late. A single GREATER YELLOWLEGS put in a brief but noisy appearance yesterday. The long-staying WHIMBREL was on Gull Island today. Three COMMON TERNS flew past Owen Point today. October should bring in new species of raptors, including perhaps ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS, GOLDEN EAGLES, SHORT-EARED OWLS, and NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS, all of which are seen most years in the Park, though never in numbers.
Late RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS were seen this week on September 27, 28, and 30. RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS have appeared in widely separated parts of the Park, including visits to at least three feeders (83, 186, and 191 Bayshore Road). Both MERLIN and PEREGRINE FALCON were seen in the past week. An EASTERN KINGBIRD on September 26 was extremely late. The most recent PHILADELPHIA VIREO sighting was on September 25. A COMMON RAVEN was seen at three different locations on Friday. In the wave of new migrants yesterday there were GOLDEN-CROWNED and RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS, a plethora of thrushes (GRAY-CHEEKED, SWAINSON'S, HERMIT, and WOOD) and far more fast-moving warblers than any observer could put a name to. ORANGE-CROWNED and CAPE MAY WARBLERS and plenty of NORTHERN PARULAS and BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLERS were among them, but the majority, as expected this late in the season, were YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS. A record late CANADA WARBLER was present on September 25. An EASTERN TOWHEE and increasing numbers of WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS and DARK-EYED JUNCOES have also appeared. SCARLET TANAGERS have been seen as recently as yesterday.
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. 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