At Presqu’ile Provincial Park, as at most other locations in Ontario, spring bird migration comes in waves, and there have been none of any significance for over a week. Instead, the expected migrants at this time of year have come as a slow steady stream.
WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, as many as 14, are easy to see off the lighthouse these days. Many of the male LONG-TAILED DUCKS are now in full alternate (breeding) plumage, while others remain in their basic plumage. A RED-THROATED LOON was barely within scope range in Popham Bay on April 19. HORNED GREBES are a daily sighting, and RED-NECKED GREBES were at the lighthouse for three consecutive days, including a count of 14 on April 19. GREAT EGRETS are on their nests on High Bluff Island, and can be seen from Owen Point. A BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON was viewed from the causeway leading into the Park. OSPREYS have been building a nest on the lighthouse that lies off Salt Point. A COMMON GALLINULE was in the marsh on April 22. A SANDHILL CRANE, the third of the season, was heard on April 19. An AMERICAN WOODCOCK was strutting across the road on April 18. An adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was seen from Owen Point on April 19 and 21, and a COMMON TERN was there on April 19, two days later than the first sighting of that species. There were two anonymous reports of FORSTER’S TERN, a rarity at Presqu’ile. The only owl reported was a BARRED OWL.
RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS are regular along Bayshore Road. Both BANK SWALLOW and CLIFF SWALLOW have now been added to the list or returned swallows. A CAROLINA WREN was heard on April 21. Another southern species, BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER, has been here daily since April 21, with three being counted on one day. An early BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER was found on April 23. Small numbers of PINE and YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS are now present in the Park. A few other species of warbler can be expected before the end of the month. On April 22, an EASTERN TOWHEE was heard and a SAVANNAH SPARROW was seen singing. RUSTY BLACKBIRDS, as many as eight in one day and five in one tree, have been present this week. Two PURPLE FINCHES were at 83 Bayshore Road.
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.