Since Presqu'ile Provincial Park has been closed until today, there are very few birds to report, not because the birds have been aware of the closure but because birders have been staying away. In fact, the absence of human traffic in some areas such as the flooded beach has enabled large numbers of birds to become accustomed to that undisturbed environment. This morning, slogging through muddy areas that were recently under water allowed one birder to encroach on the margins of what, it is hoped, will eventually become a beach again and to discover numerous roosting ducks, gulls, and terns, as well as egrets.
Well over 50 adult MUTE SWANS were in Popham Bay this morning. The absence of any evident juveniles may reflect the high water levels that may have brought about nest failures. Both GADWALLS and NORTHERN SHOVELERS were among several dozen MALLARDS occupying a sheltered pool where beach 3 used to be. For the second consecutive week, a female HOODED MERGANSER was observed flying over the north end of the marsh. Again this week three or four BONAPARTE'S GULLS have been at the north end of the beach, often sitting on the poles that, in a normal season, would support volleyball nets. Close to 200 CASPIAN TERNS were loafing off beach 2 this morning. A COMMON LOON was near the lighthouse yesterday. A LEAST BITTERN has been frequenting the north-west corner of the marsh, near the Park gate. In addition to the GREAT EGRETS that can be seen on their nests on High Bluff Island, individuals are regularly being seen around the mainland, including the three that were at the edge of the erstwhile beaches 2 and 3 this morning. On Monday a RED-TAILED HAWK was over the Park and two MERLINS were found along Bayshore Road. Since many passerine birds are not visible in the foliage at this time of year, it takes birders able to identify them by ear in order to locate them. Now that the Park is open again, perhaps some birders will detect unusual ones, like the PRAIRIE WARBLER that was discovered that way on June 20, 2005.
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.