Today being the 33rd anniversary of the discovery of one of North America's rarest birds at Presqu'ile Provincial Park (a Lesser Sand-Plover), those of us with long memories have been out all week looking for something to surpass that. No such luck, but lots of consolation prizes. Minor surges of incoming migrants occurred on at least two days.
With most of the ducks having left, even some fairly common species that have been seen this week are worth noting: 3 NORTHERN PINTAILS today; a male CANVASBACK on April 28 and 29 and May 3; two REDHEADS; four RING-NECKED DUCKS; up to seven WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS; a HOODED MERGANSER today. There have been two WILD TURKEY sightings. Two HORNED GREBES were found today. The first RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD showed up yesterday. In addition to continued observations of VIRGINIA RAILS and a SORA in the marsh, two COMMON GALLINULES have also been present, perhaps more visible than in other years because of the high water in the marsh. Despite the limited amount of beach, there have been several sightings of the lone PIPING PLOVER, including one today. Three DUNLINS were present for two days, and two GREATER and one LESSER YELLOWLEGS were present on one of those days. An ICELAND GULL was on the beach this morning, and the first two COMMON TERNS also showed up today. A LEAST BITTERN was calling in the south end of the marsh last Saturday, eclipsing the previous early date for that species. The easiest place to observe GREAT EGRETS these days is near the entrance to the marsh boardwalk, where six were feeding this morning.
An immature BALD EAGLE, the first in several weeks, soared overhead on May 2. The first PEREGRINE FALCON of the year appeared today. Most of the other excitement of the past week has involved the return of many passerine species, too many to enumerate. Among the highlights were higher than usual numbers of BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS and a HERMIT THRUSH (not unusual but one of only a very few of that species this spring, in sharp contrast to other years). Thirteen warbler species, including an early AMERICAN REDSTART on May 1 and NORTHERN PARULAS, have appeared in the past week. The first BOBOLINK of the season was on High Bluff Island on May 1, and another was seen today. A few RUSTY BLACKBIRDS have been near the lighthouse for much of the week. Both ORCHARD ORIOLES and BALTIMORE ORIOLES have been present since April 28.
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 at this time of year 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.