In late fall Presqu'ile Provincial Park seems to attract rare birds, and this week has been no exception.
Four TUNDRA SWANS flew over Owen Point on October 25. The tally of GREEN-WINGED TEAL in the marsh reached 220 birds on October 27. Two SURF SCOTERS were seen on October 25 and one on the next day. Female BLACK SCOTERS have been regular in Popham Bay (up to four birds) and opposite 186 Bayshore Road (two birds). Six BLACK-BELLIED (October 26) and nine SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS (October 25) have been seen. Three GREATER YELLOWLEGS were in the marsh on October 27. A rather late SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER and four WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS were present on October 27. Among the hundreds of BONAPARTE'S GULLS there were two LITTLE GULLS on October 25 and 26. Although there have been no recent owl reports, the possibility exists for one of the rarer species to show up: the most recent sighting of a NORTHERN HAWK-OWL in the Park was on October 30, 2000.
Both RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS and MERLINS have been seen regularly this week. One birder saw found single PILEATED WOODPECKERS in three widely separated parts of the Park in one afternoon. There was still an EASTERN PHOEBE present on October 27. The highlight of the week was a WHITE-EYED VIREO that was discovered and photographed near the lighthouse visitor centre on October 27. During the rest of the day it was re-located three times and seen by at least six other birders. Given the wild weather of the past two days, the bird may still be present. Three of the previous five records of that species at Presqu'ile have been between October 13 and November 3. The BROWN THRASHER seen on October 27 was rather late, there being no November records from Presqu'ile. A LAPLAND LONGSPUR was found on Sunday, as well as a flock of SNOW BUNTINGS on Gull Island, which was still there on Monday and Tuesday. There were two sightings of YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS this week. Two WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS were on Gull Island on Tuesday. A male PURPLE FINCH came to a feeder last Friday, and two PINE SISKINS flew over on Tuesday. Two HOUSE SPARROWS are now regular at 186 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. Visitors to Gull Island not using a boat should be prepared to wade through water that is knee-deep, not taking into account any wave action, in which there is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven and slippery. It should also be noted that, because duck hunting is on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Gull Island, High Bluff Island, 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