Favourable weather conditions and input from a number of observers have contributed to a good number of sightings in Presqu'ile Provincial Park in the past week, especially among returning shorebirds.
The count of WOOD DUCKS in the marsh continues to rise, with 16 seen today. On two consecutive days, a pair of GREEN-WINGED TEAL was in Popham Bay. REDHEADS and GREATER SCAUP have also been there this week.
Two HOODED and one COMMON MERGANSER were there late last week. One of the former flew past the lighthouse this afternoon. About 30 PIED-BILLED GREBES were in the marsh on August 15. LEAST BITTERNS were seen twice in the past week. On the basis of several photographs, a sketch, and detailed descriptive notes, a consensus has been reached that the rare ibis that was seen several times on Gull Island in the past two months was a WHITE-FACED IBIS, the first ever in Presqu'ile Park.
Several species of raptors were noted in the past week: OSPREY, BALD EAGLE, NORTHERN HARRIER, SHARP-SHINNED and COOPER'S HAWK, MERLIN.
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS were present on August 12 and 13. As many as 10 LESSER YELLOWLEGS were counted on one day. A WILLET on August 14 was photographed before it flew away. A WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER today and a BAIRD'S SANDPIPER two days ago were among a large number of other "peeps". The first PECTORAL SANDPIPER of the season was found yesterday. A SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER was on Gull Island on August 15.
All told, there were 13 species of shorebirds, with more to come in the next few weeks. Three BONAPARTE'S GULLS and two GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS have been in the Owen Point area. Birders visiting the beach in the evening for the next week or two should be on the alert for COMMON NIGHTHAWKS.
In addition to the RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS that continue to frequent the feeders at 83 Bayshore Road, other woodpeckers of interest this week were a juvenile YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER and at least two PILEATED WOODPECKERS. A PHILADELPHIA VIREO near the Park office on August 14 was early. BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS are being seen more frequently this week than earlier in the summer. Warblers have been slow to appear but a NORTHERN PARULA was seen yesterday. Two EASTERN TOWHEES at Lilac Lane and one near the Park office suggest that at least two pairs spent the summer in the area. Although FIELD SPARROWS have been present all summer in the calf pasture area, the one seen at Owen Point on Sunday may have been an early migrant. A WHITE-THROATED SPARROW seen yesterday was the first in several weeks. A PURPLE FINCH was seen on August 16.
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.