No matter the season, Presqu'ile Provincial Park is always a good place to find birds, but the migration times are the most exciting. In anticipation of the fall migration, more birders are already visiting the Park, and the results shown below seem to justify that.
A high count of 14 WOOD DUCKS in the marsh was recorded both yesterday and today. REDHEADS and GREATER SCAUP were regularly seen in Popham Bay last month, but the only sightings of these two species this month were on August 6 and 7. COMMON LOONS and PIED-BILLED GREBES are being seen in Presqu'ile Bay. The same six species of herons and related waders that have been present all summer were seen again this week, including AMERICAN and LEAST BITTERNS, many GREAT EGRETS, GREEN HERON, and BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON. The IBIS that has been sporadically present on Gull Island on at least five different days since July 15 was seen again and studied closely on August 8. Its specific identity has still not been confirmed, and its whereabouts when it is not in its usual location are still unknown.
The appearance of seven species of hawks this week indicates an influx that is probably related to the onset of migration among smaller birds.
Among others, the total includes OSPREYS, BALD EAGLE, SHARP-SHINNED and COOPER'S HAWKS, and PEREGRINE FALCON, the latter seen carrying prey from the islands to the beach and consuming it there undisturbed.
A SORA and a COMMON MOORHEN were seen from the marsh boardwalk. Until today, the migrant shorebird situation was stable, with similar numbers throughout the week of SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS and SEMIPALMATED and LEAST SANDPIPERS. A GREATER YELLOWLEGS appeared on August 7. Today there was a spike, with a sizeable (~ 30-40) flock flying around Gull Island, unfortunately too far to be identified. The only BONAPARTE'S GULLS were two seen on Sunday. Since BLACK TERNS abandoned the marsh over a decade ago, the best opportunity to see that species at Presqu'ile is in migration, and this is the time to be watching for them.
Single ROCK PIGEONS were seen twice this week, an unexpected, if unwelcome, increase. A CHIMNEY SWIFT seen today was the first since the spring. RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS were seen daily at 83 Bayshore Road, and a young one was at the calf pasture. Among the eight species of flycatchers seen or heard this week were three of the Empidonax
genus: YELLOW-BELLIED, WILLOW, LEAST. A BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER was seen on two different days. Perhaps the biggest change in the Presqu'ile bird life in the past week has been the arrival (or discovery) of 15 species of warblers, several more than the number believed to nest in the Park. Among others, TENNESSEE, NASHVILLE, CHESTNUT-SIDED, MAGNOLIA, BLACK-THROATED GREEN, BLACKBURNIAN, MOURNING, and CANADA are of interest. Four BOBOLINKS flew over the Park gate on August 7. An ORCHARD ORIOLE was at 83 Bayshore Road today, the first in a couple of weeks.
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.