Most of the birds at Presqu'ile Provincial Park this week are the same ones that have been present all summer, but a smattering of newly arrived fall migrants is beginning to make birding more interesting for those who are willing to spend time in the heat.
A TRUMPETER SWAN flew in and landed near the lighthouse, but was promptly chased off by a motorboat. The WOOD DUCKS in the marsh are now best seen from the viewing tower at the south end of the marsh boardwalk, since the aquatic vegetation largely obscures them from other vantage points. Most of the ducks have vacated the north shore of Gull Island, but a few days ago there were still a few GADWALLS, two AMERICAN WIGEONS, MALLARDS, and a REDHEAD. A RED-BREASTED MERGANSER was at Owen Point yesterday. It was in late July a few years ago that an AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN was on the shores of Gull Island, so a quick scan of the hundreds of DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS on the offshore islands might be worthwhile. GREAT EGRETS continue to be seen on their nests on High Bluff Island and flying to and from the island to forage in nearby wetlands. An OSPREY was flying over Presqu'ile Bay on two days this week. Two NORTHERN HARRIERS were doing aerobatics over "the fingers?. One or two COMMON GALLINULES were seen on four of the last six days in the marsh. A GREATER YELLOWLEGS at Owen Point on July 16 was the first of that species this fall. Two days later there were about 30 shorebirds there, including three LESSER YELLOWLEGS and a few SEMIPALMATED and LEAST SANDPIPERS. The rest were summer residents and their young. An AMERICAN WOODCOCK was at a campsite on two consecutive mornings, and another was flushed from the Owen Point trail. Two BONAPARTE'S GULLS were at Owen Point on July 14 and a juvenile was on the beach this morning. Many of the over 130 CASPIAN TERNS lounging off Owen Point are also juveniles. The COMMON TERN colony on Gull Island was depredated and only one or two juveniles are known to have fledged.
BLACK-BILLED CUCKOOS were heard in two different parts of the Park. Some interesting woodpecker sightings this week include juvenile RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER and YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER at 83 Bayshore Road and three PILEATED WOODPECKERS together at the calf pasture this morning. An EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE near the lighthouse yesterday and a LEAST FLYCATCHER at 83 Bayshore Road today may be the first migrant flycatchers to appear. A BROWN CREEPER at the latter location on July 13 and a BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER there yesterday on the heels of a "cold? front were clearly not where they had been breeding. ORCHARD ORIOLES are regular visitors there. PURPLE FINCHES showed up at two local feeders today, and PINE SISKINS visited one of those feeders on two days this week. A male HOUSE SPARROW, never common at Presqu'ile, visited another of them on four of the last six 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. 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.Fred Helleiner