For most of this spring, migrating birds have arrived at Presqu'ile Provincial Park more or less on schedule. Such arrivals are welcome, of course, and have continued this week, but do not really surprise anyone familiar with the chronology of bird migration in this area. On the other hand, this week a bird arrived that was both endangered and unexpected.
Several pairs of CANADA GEESE have been trailing goslings this week. A RED-THROATED LOON was in Popham Bay on Tuesday. One observer counted four AMERICAN BITTERNS in the marsh. LEAST BITTERNS and perhaps YELLOW RAILS should be there soon. There were three different GREAT EGRET sightings in the past week, one in the marsh, one at the calf pasture, and one on one of the offshore islands. COMMON GALLINULES are back in the marsh. The highlight of the week was a PIPING PLOVER that was discovered on Monday evening and seen by a number of birders on Tuesday. The bird, a female, was hatched and banded in 2011 on the shore of Lake Michigan and has been breeding there ever since. Although local birders would have wanted her to stay and perhaps find a mate here, her mate of the past two years, a 14-year-old male, has been awaiting her return since April 13, when he returned to that site. Other shorebirds that have been seen this week include SPOTTED SANDPIPER, GREATER and LESSER YELLOWLEGS, LEAST SANDPIPER, DUNLIN, and WILSON'S SNIPE. The first COMMON TERN was spotted on May 3.
Both GREAT HORNED OWL and BARRED OWL were found this week. The first RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD showed up today. Several sightings of MERLIN and one of PEREGRINE FALCON have been of interest, including evidence of possible breeding of the former. LEAST FLYCATCHER and EASTERN KINGBIRD both have been seen. An unconfirmed report of a GRAY JAY on April 30 would be the first spring record of that species in 45 years at Presqu'ile. A rare bird report should be submitted to the Park office. At least one COMMON RAVEN was at the lighthouse today, being mobbed by local blackbirds. There have been several sightings of MARSH WREN and one of BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER. Throughout the month of May, it would be tedious to list all the warbler species that pass through Presqu'ile each week. Only a few noteworthy ones will be mentioned, but the following is a list of all twelve species that have been identified to date this spring: OVENBIRD, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, BLUE-WINGED WARBLER, BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, NORTHERN PARULA, YELLOW WARBLER, CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER, PINE WARBLER, PALM WARBLER, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER. EASTERN TOWHEES have been seen at two or more locations. A rather late AMERICAN TREE SPARROW was seen on April 30. WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS, and BALTIMORE ORIOLES have been around in good numbers in recent days.
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.