Pleasant birding conditions have prevailed for most of the past week at Presqu'ile Provincial Park. While that has generated no rush of newly arrived migrants, there has been a steady trickle with a few interesting birds thrown in to keep the birders alert.
Yesterday there were four BRANT on and around Gull Island. Today three were still there and a fourth was on the beach. In addition to the ducks that have been present for a few weeks, which have included SURF SCOTERS and WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS that were seen as recently as today, there were two newly arrived species that will certainly become more common soon: LONG-TAILED DUCK and COMMON GOLDENEYE. BLACK SCOTERS are expected imminently. Both RUFFED GROUSE and WILD TURKEY continue to be seen off and on. Several dozen shorebirds representing six species have been patrolling the beaches as far south as Owen Point, taking advantage of extensive algae flats. The majority are SANDERLINGS and DUNLINS, but there are also a few BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS, two WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS on October 14, several PECTORAL SANDPIPERS, and a single SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, the latter two as recently as yesterday. A GREAT EGRET has been in the marsh on five of the past seven days. Someone has relayed to me that a young BARRED OWL was in Jobes' woods.
RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS and PILEATED WOODPECKERS are always of interest and both have been seen this week. MERLIN and PEREGRINE FALCON were both seen in the past week. The first NORTHERN SHRIKE of the season appeared in the calf pasture this morning. Single COMMON RAVENS are being seen periodically. Seven HORNED LARKS were on the beach yesterday, and the next cold front will likely be accompanied by SNOW BUNTINGS. The only unusual warbler for this late date was a BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER on October 17, not quite a record late date. A RUSTY BLACKBIRD was also seen on that day.
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 thigh-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 given priority on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Gull Island, High Bluff Island, Owen Point, and part of the calf pasture are not available for bird-watching on those days. However, until the end of this month birders are allowed to go to Owen Point on hunting days as long as they do not pass the large sign indicating otherwise. 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.