At Presqu'ile Provincial Park a surge of newly arrived migrant birds last weekend and this morning made for some exciting birding. Although there were no rarities reported, the bushes were alive with fairly common birds in numbers not usually seen until early April.
More and more DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS are appearing every day. The first OSPREY of the season was hovering over the marsh this morning. A migrating NORTHERN HARRIER was observed on Saturday. Someone reported a GREAT HORNED OWL, a species that has not been reliably identified at Presqu'ile for many months and that should be engaged in breeding at this date. BARRED OWLS, on the other hand, are a year-round presence and breed in the Park, with at least two found this week. Two rather early YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS were seen on March 29. A MERLIN appeared on March 29. EASTERN PHOEBES are being seen almost daily since last weekend. COMMON RAVENS continue to be seen and heard infrequently (twice this week). If correctly identified, a PURPLE MARTIN reported on March 29 would be a record early date. One observer counted nine BROWN CREEPERS in one day. WINTER WRENS have begun singing. It is still early for warblers to arrive, but there are March records, and this has been an early spring so even those may be in the near-term forecast. Single PURPLE FINCH and PINE SISKIN have been in the lighthouse area, and the AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES are now well into molting into their alternate plumage, showing varying patches and amounts of yellow.
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. Access to the offshore islands is restricted from March 10 onward to prevent disturbance to the colonial nesting birds there.
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.