Presqu'ile Provincial Park is again living up to its reputation as a birding hot spot in mid-May, especially for the variety of warblers and other colourful migrants that pass through. One particularly rare bird was spotted but left the observer frustrated.
The BRANT migration continues with a flock swimming off Sebastopol Island as recently as this morning. Most of the other waterfowl have moved on. A late RED-THROATED LOON was found on May 15. Both AMERICAN and LEAST BITTERN have been noted in the marsh. GREEN HERONS have appeared twice at the lighthouse. A rare GLOSSY IBIS was seen twice on May 13, both times in flight under conditions that prevented a definitive identification as to which of the two similar species was involved. There were at least two sightings each of MERLIN and PEREGRINE FALCON in the past week. Birders are anxiously awaiting the main shorebird migration, which is likely imminent. The only new species were 23 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS at Owen Point and an early WHIMBREL that flew past the lighthouse, both on May 14. A FORSTER'S TERN was reported on May 14 and two BLACK TERNS flew over on that day.
A BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO on May 13 and a YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO on the next day were the first of those species seen this year. A BARRED OWL and WHIP-POOR-WILLS were heard by a birder camping overnight. A RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was near the lighthouse on May 17 and 18. RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS are seen on most days. The fact that a YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER was seen and heard today suggests that OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHERS will soon appear. The five species of vireos seen this week included two YELLOW-THROATED and several PHILADELPHIA VIREOS. BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS are being seen every day. Single NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRDS were seen on May 13 at the day use area and on May 15 and 16 at the lighthouse, probably the same bird. There has been no problem finding lots of warblers this week, and the cool, wet, and windy weather has kept many of them at eye level or lower. There were both BLUE-WINGED and GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLERS as well as the hybrid "BREWSTER'S WARBLER".
A few ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS were seen, as well as an early MOURNING WARBLER on May 14. A HOODED WARBLER was reported on May 13. As many as seven SCARLET TANAGERS were seen at one time. A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was heard on May 13. LINCOLN'S SPARROWS have been more plentiful than usual. A late DARK-EYED JUNCO and a late RUSTY BLACKBIRD were at the High Bluff campground on May 17. ORCHARD ORIOLES are here in good numbers. PURPLE FINCHES and PINE SISKINS were still present earlier this week.
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.