The fall bird migration, now in full swing at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, makes for much more interesting birding than the fairly static conditions of mid-summer. Whether checking out the shorebirds and waterfowl at the west end of the Park or scanning the treetops near the lighthouse or at the calf pasture for warblers, there is always the potential for something unusual to be discovered.
One of the biggest surprises was a record early BRANT, located on August 22 but not seen since then. The Park would appreciate a rare bird report for that observation. Two unmarked TRUMPETER SWANS have been on the shores of Popham Bay almost every day since August 17. On August 27, a WOOD DUCK was in the marsh and a GREATER SCAUP flew past Owen Point. COMMON LOONS have been both seen and heard during the week.
Three TURKEY VULTURES appeared on August 23. As many as four OSPREYS have been patrolling the waters of Presqu'ile Bay. An immature BALD EAGLE, the first of the fall, was seen off Owen Point on August 25 and between Salt Point and the calf pasture on August 27.
Shorebird numbers have been returning to normal since the weekend, but many of them are frequenting the shores of Gull Island, which will remain inaccessible for another fortnight. An early AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER was seen on August 22 but has not been seen since. A BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER has been on the beach and adjacent areas since August 23, and perhaps two different individuals have been involved. An additional twelve species of shorebirds, often seen at very close range from lookout #3 on the Owen Point trail, have kept things interesting.
A WHIMBREL was seen on August 22 and 23 and two were there two days later, along with a RED KNOT. A SANDERLING that had been banded and leg-tagged in Delaware last year was spotted at Presqu'ile on August 23 and 27. Both WHITE-RUMPED and BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS have been among the other shorebirds in the Park. BONAPARTE'S GULLS have been present for the past two days.
A ROCK PIGEON sitting on the shore of Gull Island was unusual. Two observers found a YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO along Paxton Drive on August 26, only the second of that species in the Park this year. A BARRED OWL was found in broad daylight in Jobes' woods. RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS continue to visit the feeders at 83 Bayshore Road. Two OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHERS at the calf pasture on August 26 were interacting with each other and a YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER was also there. While other flycatchers and vireos continue to be ubiquitous, swallows have suddenly thinned out since the weekend, when fairly large numbers were passing through. Brown-backed thrushes should be arriving soon. There has been a good variety of warblers and vireos this week, especially on Tuesday, but finding them is a bit of a challenge because they are concentrated in a few locations, and identifying them is even more daunting as they flit among the leafy tree-tops. A GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER on August 24 was mercifully at eye level. Others seen recently have included two PHILADELPHIA VIREOS and TENNESSEE, CAPE MAY, BAY-BREASTED, MOURNING, CANADA, and WILSON'S WARBLERS. At least two SCARLET TANAGERS have been identified.
Breaking news: the first WHIP-POOR-WILL of the season was calling, at the south end of the beach 1 parking lot, just as this report was going to press.
A PECTORAL SANDPIPER on the was also sighted on the beach.
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.