Birders visiting Presqu'ile Provincial Park in the past week have reported mixed results. Some, including a couple from Perth, Australia on a birding/bicycling tour across Canada, have found most of what they were looking for, while others had to content themselves with the profusion of run-of-the-mill birds that keep summer birding in the Park from being a dead loss. As always, however, there were one or two surprises.
WOOD DUCKS and MALLARDS continue to be the most reliable ducks, but a few GADWALLS and AMERICAN WIGEONS and a COMMON MERGANSER have also been present this week. A surprising RED-NECKED GREBE was found on August 1, and three were there the next day. LEAST BITTERNS are now more difficult to find than last month, but singles were seen twice. GREAT EGRETS are one of Presqu'ile's most reliable summer birds and continue to be seen daily. Among raptors, TURKEY VULTURES, OSPREYS, a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK, and two MERLINS were all seen this week, the latter being the first of that species in several weeks. Perhaps surprisingly, the shorebird migration yielded no new species this week, but two BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS were on the beach on July 30. One of the resident birders heard a BARRED OWL.
A visiting birder caught a brief but unmistakable glimpse of a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER in flight. RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS continue to frequent the feeders at 83 Bayshore Road. This is the month when OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHERS can sometimes be seen perched on elevated snags. An ALDER FLYCATCHER was heard on July 31. The spectacle of roosting swallows in the marsh (mostly PURPLE MARTINS, TREE SWALLOWS, BANK SWALLOWS, and BARN SWALLOWS) is phenomenal. One observer initially estimated the number at 10,000 but later revised it to 50,000.
BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS were seen by two observers today. Some warbler migration appears to have taken place this week, with sightings of NASHVILLE WARBLER, NORTHERN PARULA, MAGNOLIA WARBLER, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER, and BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER among others. The only other noteworthy birds in the Park this week were WHITE-THROATED SPARROW, PURPLE FINCH, and PINE SISKIN.
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.