Birders who regularly visit Presqu'ile Provincial Park have commented that no mega-rarity has been spotted for quite some time. That may have changed in the past week, as a bird whose identity is still under investigation spent a day at Presqu'ile. Other than that, the past week has been quite ordinary, and birding has not been exciting.
The BRANT that has been on the beach recently was still present on Monday. Both SURF SCOTERS and WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS are being seen on most days. A WILD TURKEY was in the day use area on Friday and seven were in the calf pasture on Saturday. The highlight of the week was a hummingbird that spent all day on Friday feeding on flowers at 83 Bayshore Road. At first it was suspected of being a record late RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD, but careful study at close range led to suspicions that it might have been the much rarer BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD, which is very similar to that other species in the plumage represented by this bird. Photographs and videos were taken and they have been sent to various experts for their opinion as to its identity. Eight shorebird species were seen in the past week. SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS had been gone for a couple of weeks, but were back on Friday (3 birds), Saturday, and Sunday. A GREATER YELLOWLEGS, perhaps the first in over a month, was on the beach this morning. A SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER on Sunday and a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER on Friday were the only ones of those species remaining, at least for now. PECTORAL SANDPIPERS were on Gull Island on Sunday. A BALD EAGLE sat on High Bluff Island all morning on Sunday, and a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK flew past the calf pasture on Friday. A BELTED KINGFISHER and a NORTHERN FLICKER, while not unexpected, were among birds most of whose conspecifics abandoned Presqu'ile some weeks ago. A PILEATED WOODPECKER was at the calf pasture on Tuesday. MERLINS are still being seen. If a hummingbird can appear in late October and a WHITE-EYED VIREO can appear on October 27 (2015), who knows what other rarities might be present even at this late date? COMMON RAVENS are now almost a daily sighting. A GRAY CATBIRD was still present on Saturday. AMERICAN PIPITS were on Gull Island on Sunday.
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 when it is absolutely calm; this does not take into account any wave action. 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 given priority on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Gull Island, High Bluff Island, Owen Point, and part of the calf pasture are not available for bird-watching on those days. However, until the end of this month birders are allowed to go to Owen Point on hunting days as long as they do not pass the large sign indicating otherwise. 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.