Every day, new species of birds are returning to Presqu'ile Provincial Park, making this an exciting time to go out and build up one's year list.
A lone CACKLING GOOSE stood out plainly in one of the many flocks of CANADA GEESE that passed over Presqu'ile in the past week. While most of the MUTE SWANS have moved out to their nesting sites, there were still 70 in Presqu'ile Bay yesterday. We can only hope that they are not going to breed. A surprise this week was a flock of 24 TUNDRA SWANS resting far out in Popham Bay on April 4. The first BLUE-WINGED TEALS of the season were there yesterday and today. The GREEN-WINGED TEAL flocks along the beaches numbered about 100 birds on April 4, and a number of NORTHERN PINTAILS were also there. To date, the only scoters seen in the waters around the Park have been WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, but SURF and/or BLACK SCOTERS should be found soon. Up to three RED-THROATED LOONS have been seen almost daily in Popham Bay, and today three more were off the day use area, where there were also HORNED and RED-NECKED GREBES. One of the latter was in Presqu'ile Bay on April 2.
There was a report of an AMERICAN BITTERN on April 3. OSPREY, AMERICAN KESTREL, and MERLIN have all been seen in the Park this week. WILSON'S SNIPE can be heard winnowing in the general area of the pannes. Single BONAPARTE'S GULLS were over Popham Bay yesterday and in Presqu'ile Bay today. Both ICELAND and GLAUCOUS GULLS continue to be seen regularly, the latter as recently as today on Gull Island, where two were seen on Friday and Saturday. The first CASPIAN TERN was at Gull Island on April 4, and since then they have been seen over the marsh and along the beach. An errant and very fat ROCK PIGEON with a blue band on the right leg visited two of the feeders along Bayshore Road today, never a common bird at Presqu'ile (mercifully). BARRED OWLS were seen twice in the past week.
A BELTED KINGFISHER has been in the Salt Point area for the past two days. RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS were seen on Friday and Saturday. The first YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER appeared this morning. A few EASTERN PHOEBES have been present since April 1. There have been three sightings of COMMON RAVENS. Within the next few days, at least three other species of swallows are likely to join the TREE SWALLOWS that are now plentiful. A WINTER WREN appeared yesterday. The sparrow movement is expected to build up significantly in the next few days, including FIELD, SAVANNAH, FOX, and SWAMP SPARROWS. Two late SNOW BUNTINGS were at the beach on April 1. PINE SISKINS were still present on April 4.
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.