With one notable exception, land birds have been rather scarce at Presqu'ile Provincial Park this week. Compensating for that, however, has been a wealth of water bird sightings.
A flock of geese flying overhead on November 4 contained five CACKLING GEESE and three CANADA GEESE. The former were the largest group ever seen at Presqu'ile, as well as the latest ever in the fall. The past three days have been TUNDRA SWAN days. Apart from the 52 that were in the water and on the shore of Popham Bay on Tuesday, flock after flock have been flying overhead, mostly headed eastward and some very high. Exact numbers are impossible to tally since so many observers were watching them, but the total must certainly greatly exceed the estimated 100 that passed over on November 13, 2012, which was the previous high number in 8 to 11 flocks, far fewer than those seen on Tuesday alone (perhaps 20? flocks). Not to be outdone though overshadowed by the swans, ducks have also been plentiful. One observer reported five NORTHERN SHOVELERS and twelve CANVASBACKS near Sebastopol Island yesterday. Others were seeing thousands of REDHEADS and GREATER SCAUP, as well as 20 SURF SCOTERS, 85 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, and 20 BLACK SCOTERS, among others. Two or three RUDDY DUCKS were off the calf pasture on Tuesday. The tally of 115 HORNED GREBES on that day was also a rather high count. A RED-NECKED GREBE was off the beach on Saturday and Sunday. Only three shorebird species were seen this week (four if one counts the AMERICAN WOODCOCK flushed on November 7): RUDDY TURNSTONE, SANDERLING, and DUNLIN. The first ICELAND GULL of the season was on Gull Island on Sunday. Two observers scanned Popham Bay looking for a possible PACIFIC LOON, which would be a new bird for Presqu'ile. Although none could be found, they did see a record number of RED-THROATED LOONS, 50, and an astonishing 275 COMMON LOONS.
Though not as late as the December bird seen two years ago, the GREAT EGRET seen on November 4 was a late sighting. On Tuesday evening a LONG-EARED OWL was calling opposite the beach 2 entrance road. Two PILEATED WOODPECKERS were at the calf pasture. MERLINS and COMMON RAVENS are still being seen regularly. Three HORNED LARKS flew over Gull Island. A HERMIT THRUSH and a YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER on November 3 were the most recent sightings of those species. A late GRAY CATBIRD was at 83 Bayshore Road on November 2. Several dozen SNOW BUNTINGS were on Gull Island. A male BALTIMORE ORIOLE surprised two observers on the very late date of November 3.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.