As we approach the middle of August, the fall bird migration at Presqu'ile Provincial Park is gradually picking up steam, though the steamy weather has not helped move it along. Since the fall migration is typically a much more drawn out process than the spring rush, it is not surprising that most days are seeing only one or two newly returned species.
With the exception of thousands of DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS and dozens of CANADA GEESE and MUTE SWANS, water birds have been scarce in the past week, though a COMMON LOON was calling excitedly on a couple of mornings as it flew past and a RED-BREASTED MERGANSER with seven ducklings in tow was at Owen Point on August 11. Interesting as well was the sighting of HOODED MERGANSERS with ducklings opposite the first viewing area on August 12 . GREAT BLUE HERONS,GREAT EGRETS and BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS have all been regularly seen in the past week and OSPREY are now a daily sighting.
SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS and a COOPER`S HAWK have been seen in the last week and a PEREGRINE FALCON buzzed the shorebirds at dusk on Owen Point and Gull Island on August 11. A dozen or more species of shorebirds have been reported in the park the past week. They include a few BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS, both LESSER and GREATER YELLOWLEGS, a report without any details of an UPLAND SANDPIPER, a continuing WHIMBREL visible (with patience) on most days in the vegetation opposite lookout # 1 on the Owen Point trail, a RUDDY TURNSTONE at Owen Point on August 11 and the first two SANDERLINGS of the season on Owen Point. Two juvenile BAIRD`S SANDPIPERS were located at Owen Point on August 11 and an AMERICAN WOODCOCK on the Owen point trail.
BONAPARTE`S GULLS are being seen at various places with a high count of twelve over Presqu`ile Bay. BLACK-BILLED CUCKOOS were found on two different days. A BARRED OWL was heard calling from behind 83 Bayshore road.A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER was seen at 38 Bayshore road. A CAROLINA WREN is seen most days at 83 Bayshore road. BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS are being seen almost everyday and a WOOD THRUSH was heard calling on Paxton near the north end of the paved trail.
A sign of things to come is the influx of migrant warblers in recent days. Among the 18 species seen were a TENNESSEE WARBLER, several CAPE MAY WARBLERS, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, BLACKBURNIAN WARBLERS,OVENBIRD, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, MOURNING WARBLER, WILSON`S WARBLER, CANADA WARBLER, and the best of all, a PRAIRIE WARBLER seen coming to a drip bath at 83 Bayshore on August 11 and 12.
A SCARLET TANAGER was seen at 83 Bayshore on August 11 and ORCHARD ORIOLES in various plumages have been fairly easy to find in the park this past week week.
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.