For birders at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, as elsewhere, this is an exciting time of year, with new arrivals appearing every day, and lots of bird song, some of which is enjoyed even by those who no longer have the full range of frequencies in their hearing.
For the first time in weeks, waterfowl are no longer the centre of attention, with only a few dozen ducks remaining. There still has been no sighting of a Ruddy Duck in the Park this year. Interest has shifted to the loon/grebe family. Red-throated Loons are now regular in Popham Bay, and single Common Loons have been seen there since March 27 and in Presqu'ile Bay as well. Pied-billed Grebes have become very vocal in the marsh, cooing loudly to each other. Double-crested Cormorants are around in good numbers, though not yet in the thousands that are expected soon. The first two Great Egrets appeared in the marsh on April 2.
The first Turkey Vulture of the season flew over the Park on March 30. An Osprey flew over on the record early date of March 28. Both Sharp-shinned Hawk and Cooper's Hawk were visiting feeders on Bayshore Road in the past week. A Merlin was at the calf pasture on April 1. The first drumming Ruffed Grouse was heard on March 31. A Wild Turkey was seen on April 1.
A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker appeared on April 2 and an Eastern Phoebe on April 1. Two different adult shrikes were seen on March 27. The one at the calf pasture, which was still there on the next day, was definitely a Northern Shrike, but the other, near the Owen Point trail could not be definitely identified as to species since the two are almost indistinguishable. If it was a Loggerhead Shrike, as one observer speculated, it would be the first at Presqu'ile in many years. The first of several Tree Swallows around the lighthouse in recent days was noted on March 30. Both Brown Creepers and Winter Wrens have been singing in Jobes' Woods. An Eastern Bluebird was near the lighthouse on March 27. A Fox Sparrow was at 85 Bayshore Road on March 31. Other sparrows may soon be joining the Dark-eyed Juncoes that have begun lining the roadways.
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.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.