With the songbird migration not yet in full swing at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, most of the attention has been focused on shorebirds and water birds. Nevertheless, there have been one or two other interesting reports.
The first BLUE-WINGED TEAL in many weeks was at Owen Point on July 31, and a NORTHERN SHOVELER has been there fairly consistently lately. Of particular interest was a female COMMON GOLDENEYE that was patrolling the near shore waters between Salt Point and the Lighthouse on July 29 and 30, when normally the species is absent from May to October. An AMERICAN BITTERN was seen on July 27, and GREAT EGRETS are being seen in even greater numbers every day. On July 29 a TURKEY VULTURE and an OSPREY were soaring together over the calf pasture. The most interesting raptor of the past week was a young PEREGRINE FALCON that harassed the gulls and terns on Gull Island before flying off. A second bird of this species, as well as a MERLIN, was seen later in the week. Although RUFFED GROUSE are known to be present throughout the year, summer sightings like the one on July 27 are uncommon.
The shorebird season is certainly here, with twelve species and good numbers being reported. Included among them were RUDDY TURNSTONE, SANDERLING, WHITE-RUMPED, BAIRD'S, and PECTORAL SANDPIPERS, and an unusual report of a WILSON'S SNIPE near the lighthouse. The rest of the month has the potential for rare birds to show up among them, especially given the extensive good habitat at Owen Point and nearby shorelines. Up to three GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS are now in this area. Over 300 CASPIAN TERNS are at Owen Point these days.
The COMMON NIGHTHAWK migration should soon be under way. RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS are appearing regularly at 83 Bayshore Road. Both YELLOW-BELLIED and WILLOW FLYCATCHER have been encountered in the past week. The former, undoubtedly a returning migrant, was among several species seen today that seemed to be in that category. The two BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS are more likely to have been local breeders. A record early AMERICAN PIPIT flew over Owen Point on July 31. Recently observed warblers include BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER (August 2), BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER (August 2), NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (July 30 and August 1), and MOURNING WARBLER (July 27 and August 2). More can be expected soon. A juvenile EASTERN TOWHEE showed up at the lighthouse. There was an anonymous report of a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW. An ORCHARD ORIOLE was at 83 Bayshore Road on July 27 and August 2. A young male ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK visited a feeder at 186 Bayshore Road, where PURPLE FINCHES have also been appearing.
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.Fred Helleiner