Birding continues to be productive throughout Presqu'ile Provincial Park, but most of the attention has been focused on Gull Island, where the best sightings of the week have occurred.
Two waterfowl species have been of particular interest this week: a flock of four geese, three of which were CACKLING GEESE, flying past Gull Island on Sunday; and four flocks of SURF SCOTERS around Gull Island, numbering from three to fourteen individuals. There were also three WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS on October 2 and a COMMON GOLDENEYE on September 30. COMMON LOONS and HORNED GREBES are numerous in the offshore waters. A RED-NECKED GREBE was in Popham Bay. GREAT EGRETS are being seen daily in the marsh and other places around Presqu'ile Bay. Among the twelve shorebird species seen in the past week were four AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS, a GREATER YELLOWLEGS, two RUDDY TURNSTONES, three BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS, and, best of all, a very late BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER on September 30. All except the yellowlegs were on the shores of Popham Bay. We are expecting an influx of BONAPARTE'S GULLS, perhaps accompanied by a rarer gull, later this month.
A ROCK PIGEON was near the lighthouse on two consecutive days. A BARRED OWL was heard on September 28. A late RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD continues to frequent the feeders and flowers at 83 Bayshore Road.
A late OSPREY flew over Gull Island this morning. At least one and probably two immature BALD EAGLES have been seen in the past week. Both MERLINS and PEREGRINE FALCONS have been around during much of the week. A record late OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was reported at the calf pasture on September 29. A PHILADELPHIA VIREO was near the lighthouse on September 28. There were two COMMON RAVEN sightings in the past week. A BARN SWALLOW over Gull Island on September 30 was surprisingly late. MARSH WRENS have been seen on Gull Island on each of the non-hunting days. GRAY-CHEEKED, SWAINSON'S, and HERMIT THRUSHES have been seen in the past week, as well as a BROWN THRASHER. Fourteen warbler species have been in the Park, including TENNESSEE, ORANGE-CROWNED, and CHESTNUT-SIDED, the latter being rather late on September 30. There were three sightings of EASTERN TOWHEE. Two of the much-sought-after NELSON'S SPARROWS were seen on Gull Island on September 30, but subsequent searches have proved unsuccessful, likely because they can hide so well in the lush vegetation on the island rather than because they are actually absent. LINCOLN'S SPARROWS and many other commoner sparrows have been seen in the Park. A LAPLAND LONGSPUR was on Gull Island on September 30. A ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK on September 30 was rather late, as was an INDIGO BUNTING on September 28. An EASTERN MEADOWLARK was flushed on Gull Island. The first RUSTY BLACKBIRD of the season was on September 29. PINE SISKINS have become abundant this week. A female HOUSE SPARROW, uncommon at Presqu'ile, appeared at a feeder.
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.