As the waterfowl migration at Presqu'ile Provincial Park winds down, attention has shifted to land birds, that keep on arriving on suitable winds, which have been few in recent days.
A CANVASBACK still present on April 14 was on the late side, but reasonable numbers of WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS remain. RUFFED GROUSE are more evident than earlier in the year. As many as a dozen HORNED GREBES were counted on one day. Single AMERICAN COOTS were present on April 15 and 19. An early DUNLIN and about 100 BONAPARTE'S GULLS appeared on the beach on April 18. RED-THROATED LOONS are a Presqu'ile specialty in late April, and a maximum of five were off the beach on April 14. A GREAT EGRET put on a surprise showing at the lighthouse on April 14, evidently having just dropped in at this unusual location from a flight across the lake. Other GREAT EGRETS, as many as five, can now be seen with a scope on their nests on High Bluff Island. The first BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON of the year was also detected there yesterday.
A surprising LONG-EARED OWL was playing hard to get in a thicket off Paxton Drive on April 16. PILEATED WOODPECKERS and MERLINS are being seen regularly, as is the injured COMMON RAVEN that has been patrolling Bayshore Road for over two months. Up till Tuesday of this week, PURPLE MARTINS have been checking out the nest boxes at the end of Bayshore Road, but a change of ownership has resulted in the removal of several of the boxes that have been occupied for a number of years, and the birds appear to have moved on. The first NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS of the year appeared this week, but there has been no sign yet of the BANK SWALLOWS returning to their colony at the day use area. Two MARSH WRENS were singing on April 15. An EASTERN BLUEBIRD was seen on April 18, and a HERMIT THRUSH on April 19. One of this week's highlights was a NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD that obliged many viewers for one day. BROWN THRASHERS are now singing in traditional locations. More PURPLE FINCHES are being seen these days. PINE WARBLERS continue to be seen and YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS have been seen every day since April 15, but others of the expected late April warbler arrivals have yet to appear. At least three FOX SPARROWS showed up in the past week. Several blackbird species take over most of the bird feeders every year in March and April, but frustrated birders expecting to find other birds displaced by the blackbirds should be aware that on at least one occasion a few years ago, a YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD was among them.
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. Access to the offshore islands is restricted at this time of year to prevent disturbance to the colonial nesting birds there.
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.