Highlights: SNOW GOOSE, STILT SANDPIPER, BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER, PRAIRIE WARBLER
It was a busy week with lots of migrants passing through, especially on 22 and 27 September.
Waterfowl diversity is good right now with most of the “summer” ducks still here and some migrants from the north/west coming in. A white morph adult SNOW GOOSE on Beach 1 on the 22nd was a good find. A BLUE-WINGED TEAL was still in the marsh on the 27th . REDHEAD has been seen all week with a high of 85 on 27 Sep. Nine LESSER SCAUP and a WHITE-WINGED SCOTER were seen at Salt Pt. on 22 Sep. Additionally 140 GREATER SCAUP and 2 WHITE-WINGED SCOTER were seen near Gull Is. on 27 Sep.
The twenty-one WILD TURKEY on 22 Sep may be the all time high for the park, further cementing the recent establishment of another introduced species. A RED-NECKED GREBE was seen near the islands on 27 Sep. Most expected herons were seen this week including a GREEN HERON on 23 Sep and an AMERICAN BITTERN on 27 Sep.
Raptors were moving on several days. Mixed species flocks included a high of 67 BROAD-WINGED HAWK along with 3 BALD EAGLE passing over the gate area on 22 Sep. Shorebirds were generally in low numbers but with reasonable species diversity. Most birds were seen on the beach or Gull Is. and included single BAIRD’S, STILT and BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER on Gull on 23 Sep. Gulls are mostly restricted to HERRING and RING-BILLED but a single BONAPARTE’S GULL was reported on 23 Sep, and up to 4 GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS of various ages were on the beach on 22 Sep.
A BARRED OWL was heard calling from the Newcastle woods on 22 Sep. Small numbers of RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS are still around and woodpeckers have been obvious, especially NORTHERN FLICKER and YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, which are migrating in numbers. MERLIN, AMERICAN KESTREL and PEREGRINE FALCON have been seen regularly through the park all week.
A GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER on 27 Sep may be the last of the year. Small numbers of EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE can still be found and EASTERN PHOEBE are migrating in earnest with 80 seen on 27 Sep. Five species of vireo were reported this week with a YELLOW-THROATED VIREO – a rare but annual migrant - on 22 Sep, and a somewhat late WARBLING VIREO on 27 Sep. Significant numbers of Blue Jays are migrating on some days with over 750 flying over the gate in one hour on 25 Sep. Wrens are well represented with four species seen, including at least one CAROLINA WREN that is being heard around the Lighthouse and Bayshore Rd.
Fifteen AMERICAN PIPIT were seen on 23 Sep. A good selection of the expected warblers has been seen all week with major pushes on 22 and 27 Sep. Lingering YELLOW WARBLERS were seen on 23 and 25 Sep. A PRAIRIE WARBLER – a rarely seen migrant - was found among more common species near the Lighthouse on 24 Sep.
Note that fall waterfowl hunting in now occurring in the Park which means park users cannot go to Owen Pt., the islands, the marsh (boardwalk is open), or Calf Pasture Pt. on Saturdays, Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays even if no one is hunting on those days. This restriction will last until mid December so plan your trip accordingly.
Presqu’ile Provincial Park is located on the north shore of Lake Ontario, just south of the town of Brighton. It can be reached from either Hwy. 401 or Cty. Rd. 2 and is well signed. A Park map can be found in the information tabloid available at the Park gate. Presqu’ile’s two offshore islands – Gull and High Bluff – support a large multi-species colonial bird nesting area and access is not permitted during the breeding season.