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Birding Report

Apart from the well-publicized nesting of an endangered species, the birding highlights of the past week at Presqu'ile Provincial Park have for the most part been birds that are fairly common at other times of the year but not in mid-June.

A TRUMPETER SWAN was spotted in Popham Bay yesterday.  A few REDHEADS can usually be seen near Gull Island or resting on its north shore.  Diving ducks of various species are known to summer far offshore in Lake Ontario, but are seldom seen unless viewing conditions are exceptional, as they were yesterday when a raft of 42 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS was seen.  A RED-BREASTED MERGANSER flew past the lighthouse on June 10.  LEAST BITTERNS were seen a few times this week, in two different locations, most frequently near the south viewing tower on the marsh boardwalk.  GREAT EGRETS and BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS continue on High Bluff Island, where they nest.  The OSPREY nest on the Salt Point lighthouse appears to have at least one young bird in it.  Two COMMON GALLINULES were in the woodpile marsh.

The nesting PIPING PLOVERS are attracting viewers from not only the birding community but also other interested persons, some of whom may end up volunteering to act as guardians once the eggs hatch (expected around June 28).  Other shorebirds of a surprising eight species have appeared on the beach and on Gull Island in numbers that have exceeded expectations for this late date.  Two BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS were on the beach yesterday.  One or two SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS were present for six days but could not be found by at least one observer this morning.  Three GREATER YELLOWLEGS that showed up yesterday were yet another example of shorebirds that might be attributed to either spring or fall migration.  An alternative explanation of this anomalous date for that species is that these birds, like the summering diving ducks, have simply chosen not to migrate further north to their normal breeding grounds.  On June 10, ten or more RUDDY TURNSTONES on Gull Island and 15 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS on the beach were unusually large numbers for that late date.  A WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER was on the beach on Monday and Tuesday.  A single BONAPARTE'S GULL was on the beach on June 10 and at Owen Point on June 16.

A BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO was calling at the beach 2 parking lot.  A MOURNING WARBLER was singing yesterday and a very late NORTHERN PARULA was singing on Tuesday.  EASTERN TOWHEES are a regular summer bird at Presqu'ile, but the only one found this month was heard on Saturday.  Another regular but rare summer bird, a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was singing yesterday in an unexpected location, among the beach dunes.  Also uncommon in summer was a singing WHITE-THROATED SPARROW.  An ORCHARD ORIOLE was seen on June 13.