Until the recent cold snap shut down the migration, a number of uncommon birds were still passing through Presqu'ile Provincial Park. For the past two days, birding has been reminiscent of winter birding without the snow.
Some of the dabbling ducks that had been frequenting the marsh have been forced to move on as the marsh froze over. Apart from the AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS, MALLARDS, and GREEN-WINGED TEAL, which usually remain along the shores well into the winter, the only others still present last weekend were GADWALL and NORTHERN PINTAIL. In contrast, there are good numbers of wintering diving ducks offshore, including REDHEADS, a few SURF SCOTERS, and BLACK and WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS. Two female HOODED MERGANSERS have been in Popham Bay, and two RUDDY DUCKS were still in Presqu'ile Bay on November 2. A RED-THROATED LOON was seen on November 4. The most recent DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT sighting was on November 3. A BALD EAGLE was seen on November 3 and a NORTHERN GOSHAWK on November 2, 3 and 6. A RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, a few ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS, and a GOLDEN EAGLE also appeared. A WILD TURKEY was in the Park on November 6. Shorebirds have been surprisingly scarce in the usual places around Popham Bay, with only single WHITE-RUMPED and PECTORAL SANDPIPERS being seen despite searches for the expected PURPLE SANDPIPERS. On the other hand, the mudflats along the causeway leading into the Park (technically within the Park boundaries) have been replete with KILLDEERS, PECTORAL SANDPIPERS, and WILSON'S SNIPE. Two each of BARRED and SHORT-EARED OWLS were noteworthy. Two MERLINS and a PEREGRINE FALCON were seen in the past week. There are at least two NORTHERN SHRIKES in the area, an adult and an immature.
Single BOREAL CHICKADEES were located in two different places. EASTERN BLUEBIRDS and two HERMIT THRUSHES were present on November 4. Despite the late date, five species of warblers were found in the past week: NASHVILLE WARBLER on November 6, BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER on November 4, several YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, a record late BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER on November 2, and a COMMON YELLOWTHROAT on November 6. CHIPPING, FIELD, FOX, SONG, WHITE-THROATED, and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS were all in the Park this week. SNOW BUNTINGS are common on the beach and elsewhere. Two BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS visited a feeder. We are still waiting for the first PINE GROSBEAKS to show up, but there have been many other winter finches, including WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL, COMMON REDPOLL, PINE SISKIN, and EVENING GROSBEAK.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 unless a wind change creates a gap of shallow water. 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.