While not yet at a complete halt, the spring bird migration at Presqu'ile Provincial Park has slowed right down. With one or two exceptions, the birds seen in the past week are species that should be expected at the tail end of the migration.
Along the north shore of Gull Island there is usually a small gathering of summering ducks. Those present this week have included GADWALLS, AMERICAN WIGEONS, and NORTHERN SHOVELERS. A RUFFED GROUSE was observed doing a distraction display, accompanied by "shrieking". There has been no significant change among herons and their allies since last week, which raises the question of whether LEAST BITTERNS have failed to return to the marsh. The most obvious vestige of the spring migration has been the observation of eight species of transient shorebirds, in addition to the continuing presence of nesting PIPING PLOVERS and other summer residents. Among them were up to 12 WHIMBRELS on May 27 (with another heard flying over on the next morning), and five species as recently as June 1, including a BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, 15 or more DUNLINS, and two SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS. Three BONAPARTE'S GULLS were still present on May 31.
A BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO was calling yesterday. A YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER on May 29 was the only one of that typically late-migrating species found this spring. A COMMON RAVEN was near the lighthouse on May 28, and an EASTERN BLUEBIRD was at the calf pasture on the same day. The most notable warbler was a PRAIRIE WARBLER on May 29 that sang three times before disappearing. That another was in the same location in July of last year and one was not far away in late June 11 years ago raises speculation that the species may breed in the Park. ORCHARD ORIOLES are known to have nested at Presqu'ile and are being seen again this year beyond their normal migration date.
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.