Birders have been kept busy at Presqu'ile Provincial Park this week searching for oceanic birds that may have been blown inland by the hurricane. Though that search has not yet yielded the expected results, the effort did produce a rare bird yesterday which brought an influx of birders today in hope of re-locating it.
Several flocks of BRANT flying past and two singles on the shore have been spotted in the past week, including one flock this morning. A NORTHERN SHOVELER on October 27 was somewhat unusual. There have been sightings almost every day of SURF, WHITE-WINGED, and BLACK SCOTERS. Three RUDDY DUCKS were off Salt Point this morning. A few RED-THROATED LOONS have been seen, but undoubtedly more will be found when viewing conditions improve. A RED-NECKED GREBE was present on three different days. Twice on the same day an immature BALD EAGLE was seen, perhaps the same bird albeit in different parts of the Park. Both RED-SHOULDERED and ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS have been seen in the past week.
Both BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER and AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER have been on the shores of Popham Bay in the past week. A remarkable 100 GREATER YELLOWLEGS and three LESSER YELLOWLEGS and a late LEAST SANDPIPER were in the Gull Island area on Sunday. There are still WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS on Gull Island, with about 16 there yesterday. As expected, a November specialty for which Presqu'ile is noted, PURPLE SANDPIPER, has arrived, with several having been seen, including two this morning. A WILSON'S SNIPE was seen in two different locations this week, Gull Island and the calf pasture.
A SHORT-EARED OWL was flushed from Gull Island on Sunday. SNOWY OWLS can be expected this month. Of the four falcon species known to have occurred in Ontario, only AMERICAN KESTRELS have not been reported at Presqu'ile this week. MERLINS on three different days, a PEREGRINE FALCON on Saturday, and, the highlight of the week, a GYRFALCON, were the other three. GYRFALCONS have appeared on the shores of Popham Bay on four of the last ten years, all between October 25 and November 12, and none staying for longer than a few hours.
The most recent EASTERN PHOEBE sighting was on October 28. A NORTHERN SHRIKE has appeared a few times at the calf pasture, where the species often winters. There were several COMMON RAVEN sightings, including five on October 26. An intriguing and frustrating four swallows were bucking an east wind out over Lake Ontario on October 30. Had it been possible to identify them as CAVE SWALLOWS, they would have been the first on record for Presqu'ile. A BOREAL CHICKADEE was with a few BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES at the "fingers” on October 26. The four species of warblers in the past week were ORANGE-CROWNED on October 26, NASHVILLE on October 27, YELLOW-RUMPED still present in good numbers, and a record late BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER on October 27. A few FOX SPARROWS have been present all week. A LAPLAND LONGSPUR was reported today among the many SNOW BUNTINGS that have been the most plentiful passerines on Gull Island all week. Two EASTERN MEADOWLARKS and a RUSTY BLACKBIRD were seen this week. A COMMON REDPOLL was reported today, and hundreds of PINE SISKINS have been depleting the seed supplies at local bird food outlets.
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 able to walk across the gap without special footwear unless a wind change creates a gap of shallow water. 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. 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.