Presqu’ile Bird Report for 26 Apr-2 May 2019
HIGHLIGHTS: RUDDY DUCK, RED-THROATED LOON, SANDHILL CRANE, PIPING PLOVER, LITTLE GULL, ICELAND GULL, FORSTER’S TERN
Like last week there have been a number of new arrivals but still no big push of songbirds. The Beach is partially flooded with lots of standing pools – conditions that the gulls, terns and shorebirds love. The water level of Lake Ontario is rising rapidly and is starting to flood low-lying areas including parts of the Owen Pt. trail and others – rubber boots are recommended.
Small numbers of puddle ducks remain, mostly along the beach and include GADWALL, AMERICAN WIGEON, NORTHERN SHOVELER and GREEN-WINGED TEAL. Diving ducks are becoming scarce and are mostly in Presqu’ile Bay. A male BLACK SCOTER was off the Lighthouse on 2 May. At least 3 RUDDY DUCKS were still at the Price St. Canoe Launch on the north side of Presqu’ile Bay from 30 Apr-2May. One RED-THROATED LOON was seen off Beach 1 on 2 May. A RED-NECKED GREBE was in the same spot on 1 May. A number of SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS were noted migrating through during the week. The first SORA was noted along Presqu’ile Parkway on 30 Apr and several VIRGINIA RAILS were heard along the Marsh Boardwalk (which is starting to flood).
A SANDHILL CRANE flew past the gate on 30 Apr. A PIPING PLOVER showed up on Beach 1 on 1 May and remained for the next day. The band combination and number on a black band indicate it was raised on Toronto Island in 2018! Whether there will be any suitable nesting habitat left above water will become apparent in the next few weeks.
Small numbers of BONAPARTE’S GULLS were seen through the week with the largest number being 35 at Beach 2 on 2 May. Within that flock was a beautiful adult LITTLE GULL. A late sub-adult ICELAND GULL was at various sites on the beach over 1-2 May. Two COMMON TERNS were on the beach on 2 May. Much rarer were the two FORSTER’S TERNS seen off Owen Pt. on 29 Apr.
The first EASTERN KINGBIRD touched down near the lighthouse on 2 May. All six expected swallows were seen, often in mixed feeding flocks over the Lake. On a cold 26 Apr up to 150 BARN SWALLOWS were off the lighthouse along with 200 TREE, 40 BANK and 10 CLIFF. The first MARSH WRENS were reported on 28 Apr. Three BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS were seen on 30 Apr. The on again/off again EASTERN BLUEBIRD pair continue to periodically check nest boxes at the Birdhouse Nature Store just outside the gate.
Warblers are beginning to show up in spite of the cool weather. Apart from YELLOW-RUMPED, PINE and PALM which have been seen previously, new arrivals included NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH on 30 Apr, BLACK AND WHITE WARBLER on 2 May, NORTHERN PARULA on 30 Apr, and YELLOW on 2 May. The first WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW showed up on 28 Apr and the first ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK appeared on 2 May. A PINE SISKIN on 28 Apr may be the last of winter.
Directions: 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 (10 March-10 September).