At this time of year, though many birds have already left Presqu'ile Provincial Park for points south, there are others which can be expected only for a few weeks in late fall, and some of those have shown up during the past week.
A few waterfowl of interest have appeared, including a lone BRANT at the lighthouse on October 5 and a TRUMPETER SWAN with two young in tow that have been present for the past two days. They can be seen from Bayshore Road between the private homes at numbers 8 to 16. In the marsh the most plentiful ducks are WOOD DUCKS and GREEN-WINGED TEAL. Both SURF and WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS as well as COMMON GOLDENEYES have been seen off Gull Island. Close to a dozen RED-NECKED GREBES were there today. An AMERICAN BITTERN was seen on October 6 and single GREAT EGRETS have been in the marsh almost every day. Four TURKEY VULTURES were scavenging on the beach this morning. The shorebirds that remain are almost all SANDERLINGS and DUNLINS, but AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS were at Owen Point on October 7 and 11. Three SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS were still there on October 9. A late SPOTTED SANDPIPER was reported on October 7. Other sandpipers of note were a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER and a very early PURPLE SANDPIPER on October 9. An AMERICAN WOODCOCK was near Owen Point. RED PHALAROPES do not appear every year but most occurrences have been in late October. Eight BONAPARTE'S GULLS, the first in over a month, flew past Gull Island this morning. Both MERLINS and at least one PEREGRINE FALCON continue to be seen.
The most recent vireo sighting was of a BLUE-HEADED VIREO on October 7. HORNED LARKS have been on Gull Island. While most thrushes in the Park now are HERMIT THRUSHES, single SWAINSON'S THRUSHES were still present on October 9 and 10. A GRAY CATBIRD was seen today, perhaps the last of the season. Eleven species of warblers were found in the Park in the past week. Late TENNESSEE and BAY-BREASTED WARBLERS on October 5 were two of them. Others seen this week that will soon be gone are ORANGE-CROWNED, NASHVILLE, MAGNOLIA, BLACK-THROATED BLUE, BLACK-THROATED GREEN, and BLACKPOLL WARBLERS and NORTHERN PARULAS and AMERICAN REDSTART. Sparrows of many stripes (and some with very few) have been abundant all week, the most obvious omission from the list being FOX SPARROWS, which should be appearing any day. A LAPLAND LONGSPUR was on the north shore of Gull Island this morning. A late ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK was at the lighthouse on two consecutive days. COMMON GRACKLES have been absent from the Park for over a month, but one flew over today, perhaps seeking a well-stocked feeder for the winter. PINE SISKINS remain by far the most abundant finch.
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. Visitors to Gull Island not using a boat should be able to walk across the gap without special footwear.as the water is only a centimetre or so deep in places. It should also be noted that, because duck hunting is given priority on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Gull Island, High Bluff Island, Owen Point, and part of the calf pasture are not available for bird-watching on those days. 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.