Finally, Presqu'ile Provincial Park has seen the arrival of good numbers of shorebirds, for which the Park is noted. Other interesting fall migrants are also beginning to show up.
Except for a family of WOOD DUCKS, a NORTHERN SHOVELER, six GREEN-WINGED TEAL, a REDHEAD, and a male scaup, there have been no exceptional waterfowl in the past week. A LEAST BITTERN was on the marsh boardwalk, GREAT EGRETS are as common as they have been all summer, and four BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS were sitting on the shore of Gull Island. The OSPREYS and NORTHERN HARRIERS that have been seen are likely local breeders, as are the COMMON GALLINULES in the marsh.
Twelve species of shorebirds, including an AMERICAN WOODCOCK, have been seen this week. The first SEMIPALMATED PLOVER was at Owen Point on July 24. A SOLITARY SANDPIPER was at the marsh boardwalk on July 23. The first SANDERLINGS appeared on July 22. On July 24 the first RUDDY TURNSTONE was on Gull Island, where the majority of the shorebirds, several dozen, were gathered. Among them on that date were a SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER still in breeding plumage (seen at Owen Point on the previous day) and a record early BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER, the first July record for Presqu'ile. An anonymous report of a LITTLE GULL was a surprise. Six breeding plumaged BONAPARTE'S GULLS were at Owen Point on July 25. A juvenile LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL there on July 22 was the first July record for Presqu'ile.
In three locations there were BLACK-BILLED CUCKOOS, one of which cooperated uncharacteristically for a photograph. On two consecutive days (nights?) a GREAT HORNED OWL was noted. Among the six flycatcher species in the Park this week were both ALDER and WILLOW FLYCATCHERS. It is not too early to be on the lookout for OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHERS. A WOOD THRUSH nest was discovered near one of the campsites. Since most of the resident warblers have gone silent, observers did well to find a PINE WARBLER and two AMERICAN REDSTARTS. A SCARLET TANAGER on July 25 was likely an early migrant. PURPLE FINCHES have become regular in recent 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