As usual, Presqu'ile Provincial Park, with its diversity of habitat, has provided good birding for the many visitors in the past week, with about 100 species having been seen.
Because CACKLING GOOSE has only recently been recognized as a distinct species, there are few fall records from Presqu'ile. Thus it is not surprising that the one which flew in and landed with a group of CANADA GEESE on October 13 was the latest fall date on record. For the past nine days, at least one adult TRUMPETER SWAN or one or two young ones have been seen every day. The best place to look is from the camp office viewing deck. TUNDRA SWANS should soon be appearing. A good variety of ducks is present, though a scope is generally needed since the birds avoid the areas within reach of hunters. There have been sightings on most days of SURF and WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, and a male BLACK SCOTER was embedded in a raft of GREATER SCAUP in the outer reaches of Presqu'ile Bay late this afternoon. The first LONG-TAILED DUCKS, BUFFLEHEADS, and adult male COMMON GOLDENEYES have appeared this week. About 250 HORNED GREBES were in Popham Bay on Sunday. Three RED-NECKED GREBES were off the lighthouse on Tuesday. A GREAT EGRET was on the north side of Presqu'ile Bay on October 16, which would constitute a record late date for that species if it crossed the bay into the Park. A large flight of TURKEY VULTURES (150 birds) flew over the Park on October 12.
A rather late OSPREY flew over Gull Island this morning. SANDHILL CRANES are never common at Presqu'ile, but at least one flew over on October 13. AMERICAN COOTS are starting to appear in Presqu'ile Bay. Among the ten shorebird species seen in the past week are BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, a late SPOTTED SANDPIPER on October 14, a few WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS, a BAIRD'S SANDPIPER as recently as today, a PECTORAL SANDPIPER, and an AMERICAN WOODCOCK. Most common have been SANDERLINGS and DUNLINS. A lone BONAPARTE'S GULL was at Owen Point today, perhaps one of the 190 that were counted on Tuesday at the nearby Brighton sewage lagoon. Although RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS are not uncommon in the forests of Presqu'ile and at nearby bird feeders, the one that flew past a birder on the almost treeless Gull Island on Tuesday was unusual and offered further evidence that the species is migratory here despite its year-round presence. At least two each of MERLINS and PEREGRINE FALCONS have been seen this week.
A record early NORTHERN SHRIKE was seen and photographed on October 12. A BLUE-HEADED VIREO was still present on October 13. A COMMON RAVEN was at the lighthouse today. A SWAINSON'S THRUSH, a GRAY CATBIRD, and a MAGNOLIA WARBLER on October 12 were on the late side. There were sightings of both ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, both of which are well within the range of expected dates. Many sparrows have been in the Park this week, including AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS, FIELD SPARROWS, FOX SPARROWS, and LINCOLN'S SPARROW. LAPLAND LONGSPURS have been on the offshore islands on each of the three days on which access was permitted, with a high count of six on Sebastopol Island on October 14. PURPLE FINCHES and PINE SISKINS have been well fed at local feeders all week, but the six EVENING GROSBEAKS that dropped in on October 16 did not stay long.
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 ankle-deep, not taking into account any wave action,.in which 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. 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.