Most of the bird migrants that pass through Presqu'ile Provincial Park in spring have already done so. Birders are now in a "mopping up" mode, searching out those few that are still lingering and trying to sort out which are going to stay and which are going to move on. The shorebird movement, which is still quite active, is clearly in the latter category.
Five Brant were on Sebastopol Island on May 30, and one individual has been on the beach for each of the last four days. Three Long-tailed Ducks, eight Redheads, and two Red-breasted Mergansers, all in Popham Bay, are the only diving ducks still around, but Common Loons are here in small numbers. Four of the five resident species of herons and their allies (including Great Egrets) can be found on any given day with little difficulty. Only Least Bitterns are more elusive. Ruffed Grouse were still drumming, albeit infrequently, as late as May 31.
After a lull of a few days when fewer than 100 shorebirds were present, a minor resurgence took place on June 4. Among the species that arrived on the beach that morning were a few Black-bellied Plovers, a Red Knot (three of which were seen on May 30 but not since), a White-rumped Sandpiper, and fifteen Short-billed Dowitchers. Away from the beach, a noisy Willet drew the attention of a birder who was reading on his deck near the lighthouse as it flew past, a welcome addition to his yard list. On May 30, a Wilson's Phalarope stopped briefly on beach 1 before disappearing. On the same day, an adult Franklin's Gull in alternate plumage flew past Owen Point, never to be seen again in the area. Up to ten Bonaparte's Gulls have been resting on the beach this week, and a Great Black-backed Gull, formerly a nesting species at Presqu'ile, was also on the beach on May 29.
The only regularly occurring land bird that has not yet appeared in the Park this year is Yellow-billed Cuckoo. On several evenings in the past week, Common Nighthawks have been migrating overhead, and a Chimney Swift was seen on two evenings. Blue Jays were still migrating over the lighthouse on May 30 and 31. On May 29, there were more Swainson's and Gray-cheeked Thrushes in Newcastle woods than on any day earlier in the month. Among the late migrant warblers that were still present up till at least June 1 was a very late Palm Warbler on May 29. For the first time in five years, the month of May passed without any reports of Hooded Warblers in the Park. They have been known to occur in June.
There are apparently two pairs of Orchard Orioles in the lighthouse area. A Purple Finch (or perhaps two) was at the lighthouse on June 1.
Up to six Pine Siskins are in that area on most days.
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.