The most interesting bird sightings at Presqu'ile Provincial Park these days are at the various bird feeders located in the Park and at private residences and cottages along Bayshore Road. In terms of numbers, however, the feeder birds can not come close to rivalling the masses of ducks and other water birds in the surrounding waters, a few of which are sufficiently uncommon to have attracted visitors this week.
Four TRUMPETER SWANS flew in on November 2 and two TUNDRA SWANS were spotted on October 30. A good variety of dabbling ducks is always present in the marsh opposite the bird sightings board. Among others there is a pair of GADWALLS, a EURASIAN WIGEON that has been there every day since October 27, several AMERICAN WIGEONS, a NORTHERN SHOVELER on November 3, and a few NORTHERN PINTAILS. Unfortunately, most of the diving ducks, estimated at over ten thousand, remain far off shore.
When viewing conditions are good, the majority can be identified with spotting scopes as REDHEADS, GREATER SCAUP, and RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS. SURF, WHITE-WINGED, and BLACK SCOTERS have also been seen.
RED-THROATED LOONS have been seen on three different days. A GREAT EGRET that flew over a cottage on October 30 was a new record late date for that species at Presqu'ile.
As was the case in November a few years ago, an OSPREY continues to frequent the calf pasture and vicinity. BALD EAGLES were seen on three of the past five days. A NORTHERN GOSHAWK was in the Park on November 1 and ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS on each of the past three days. Two MERLINS were moving together up and down Bayshore Road on November 2. Several people have seen two WILD TURKEYS together at various points along Bayshore Road.
The four shorebird species that have been regularly seen this week are BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS, SANDERLINGS, WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS, and DUNLINS. Singles of SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, GREATER YELLOWLEGS, and LEAST SANDPIPER (November 2- rather late) were also seen. Two WILSON'S SNIPE in the marsh and an AMERICAN WOODCOCK on High Bluff Island were also worth noting. A LITTLE GULL on November 1 and a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL on October 30 were of interest. This is the time of year when BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES occasionally appear at Presqu'ile. The only owl of the past week was a BARRED OWL, a species that invaded the Park last winter, beginning at about this date. A repeat performance is not expected, to the disappointment of many who have been asking.
RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS are being sighted with some regularity. An EASTERN PHOEBE was still present today. The first NORTHERN SHRIKE of the season was at the calf pasture yesterday. A BLUE-HEADED VIREO on High Bluff Island on November 1 was very late. COMMON RAVENS have been seen on several occasions this week. Single CAROLINA WRENS are regular both at 83 Bayshore Road and at 186/191 Bayshore Road. A HOUSE WREN on October 29 was exceptionally late. An EASTERN BLUEBIRD was at the lighthouse on November 1. On October 31 and November 3 and 4, a late GRAY CATBIRD was at the lighthouse, and a late BROWN THRASHER was at 83 Bayshore Road on October 31. At the same address was a record late TENNESSEE WARBLER on November 2. An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER and a few YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS were the only others of that family. EASTERN TOWHEES, FIELD SPARROWS, FOX SPARROWS, SWAMP SPARROW, and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW were all seen in the past week but have thinned out considerably. LAPLAND LONGSPURS and RUSTY BLACKBIRDS seen in the Park this week are always welcome finds. Large flocks of PINE SISKINS are being seen daily, but the flock of 10-16 EVENING GROSBEAKS at the feeder near the bird sightings board was there for only a short while on November 1.
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 shin-deep water 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.