Spring bird migration at Presqu'ile Provincial Park is proceeding largely as expected, but a few spicy items were included this week.
There are several MUTE SWAN nests in the marsh, TUNDRA SWANS were heard on April 13 and were also reported on April 15. A EURASIAN WIGEON was off the calf pasture on April 13 but could not be found on subsequent days. A BLUE-WINGED TEAL and two NORTHERN SHOVELERS were present on April 11, and one of the latter on April 14. Except for RING-NECKED DUCKS, which are in unusually high numbers, many of the diving ducks have departed. Seven RUDDY DUCKS were present on Monday, and three were still off Salt Point on Tuesday. RUFFED GROUSE have begun drumming. On Monday and Tuesday, a RED-THROATED LOON was in the inner part of Presqu'ile Bay, not in Popham Bay where the species usually appears at this time of year. (None could be spotted today.) HORNED GREBES are still present, and a RED-NECKED GREBE was in Presqu'ile Bay for three days earlier this week. AMERICAN BITTERNS and GREAT EGRETS are showing up in the marsh, and BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS should be expected soon.
OSPREYS are again nesting on a lighthouse off Salt Point. NORTHERN HARRIERS may also be planning to nest in the marsh, as both male and female were there on April 12. Other hawks present in the past week include SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS, COOPER'S HAWK, AMERICAN KESTREL, and MERLIN. BONAPARTE'S GULLS have been back since April 13. On the weekend an ICELAND GULL was on Sebastopol Island. Two observers flushed a GREAT HORNED OWL in Newcastle woods. BARRED OWLS were also seen on the weekend. The most reliable location for finding RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS these days is in the south end of the Jobes' woods trail, where two were chasing each other around. A COMMON RAVEN was heard this morning. An EASTERN BLUEBIRD was seen on April 12. Other recently returned birds include PURPLE MARTINS, RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS, HERMIT THRUSHES, BROWN THRASHERS, PINE and YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, CHIPPING, FIELD, FOX, and SWAMP SPARROWS, and RUSTY BLACKBIRDS. As long as HOARY REDPOLL continues to be regarded as a species distinct from COMMON REDPOLL, the sighting on April 11 will go into the record books as a late date for Presqu'ile. The latter species was still present in small numbers on April 14. An unconfirmed anonymous report of an EVENING GROSBEAK on April 13 is of interest, as was the presence of a HOUSE SPARROW for two days.
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 from March 10 onward 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.