Some unexpected duck sightings and a few observations of birds that are normally farther north at this season are the most interesting features of the past week's birding at Presqu'ile Provincial Park.
A pair of RING-NECKED DUCKS in the marsh on July 3 raises the question of whether they might be breeding in the Park, which has not been noted previously. Two male BUFFLEHEADS in the marsh on July 6 and singles earlier in the week are also the first July records at Presqu'ile. One of them has been present periodically in late May and early June. Three RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS, one male and two females, were off Sebastopol Island on July 5. An adult COMMON LOON with two chicks appeared on July 3 in the marsh. Three LEAST BITTERNS on July 4 are indicative of a healthy population of a bird that is seldom seen because of its largely inaccessible habitat. A few GREAT EGRETS are still on their High Bluff Island nests, but they are being seen more often now elsewhere in the Park. The possibility exists that one of the southern herons, or even an ibis, having finished breeding on the south side of the Great Lakes, might wander to this side of Lake Ontario in July and show up at Presqu'ile. Both OSPREY and COOPER'S HAWK were seen this week. COMMON MOORHENS are being seen more frequently this week than earlier in the season. The handful of BONAPARTE'S GULLS and the immature GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL have not been seen since July 3.
A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER continues to appear at 83 Bayshore Road. Most of the PURPLE MARTINS have left their houses along Bayshore Road. A CLIFF SWALLOW was seen on July 6. Among the birds that summer at Presqu'ile but are generally found farther north, several have been seen this week. They include BROWN CREEPER and both WINTER WREN and PINE WARBLER with young. Other more "northern" warblers seen this week are NASHVILLE (July 7), NORTHERN PARULA (July 1), CHESTNUT-SIDED, and BLACK-AND-WHITE. Some of them are appearing in places where they have not been seen all summer and may actually be fall migrants. More "southern" birds like BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER and ORCHARD ORIOLE have been present all summer and continue to be seen. A WHITE-THROATED SPARROW was seen with young on July 4, another bird that is here every summer but is associated with northern Ontario in many people's minds. A PINE SISKIN at a Bayshore Road feeder, the first since late May, is a species that bred in the Park in 1985 but is normally far north of here in summer. Given that small numbers were at Presqu'ile throughout May, that may have happened again this year.
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.