In anticipation of the Ontario Field Ornithologists' outing to Presqu'ile Provincial Park this Sunday, birders are keeping a close eye on the weather forecast. At the moment, the prospects look auspicious, given the continuing southerly winds that have slowed the fall migration and the anticipated cold front and westerly winds on the weekend.
The flock of REDHEADS in Popham Bay has grown to about 30, and a GREATER SCAUP was among them yesterday. A WHITE-WINGED SCOTER swam past the lighthouse on Monday. Fifteen COMMON MERGANSERS were on Gull Island this morning. GREEN HERONS have been frequenting Salt Point. While OSPREYS are no longer reliable at Salt Point, they are being seen elsewhere in the Park. A BALD EAGLE was seen two days ago, but a GOLDEN EAGLE reported anonymously on September 1 is questionable because of the unprecedentedly early date. For the third time in just over a week, a BROAD-WINGED HAWK soared over the lighthouse on August 29. MERLINS are chasing the shorebirds at Owen Point on most days.
The shorebirds at lookout #3 on the Owen Point trail are often obligingly close, as they gorge themselves on the algae flats. At least 15 species have appeared in the past week, highlights being BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS, an AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER, RUDDY TURNSTONES, a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER, several BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS, a PECTORAL SANDPIPER, an early DUNLIN, and a SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER. At least three different GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS have been present in recent days. Only a very few CASPIAN TERNS remain.
An OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was seen on the weekend. The last of the PURPLE MARTINS were seen on August 30. Since MARSH WRENS, like most other songbirds, have gone silent, the sighting of one on Saturday was of interest. One can expect the first of the AMERICAN PIPITS and perhaps LAPLAND LONGSPURS to appear any day now. Warblers have been passing through, with isolated pockets showing up, including NORTHERN PARULA and BAY-BREASTED, PALM, and YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS in the mix. A SCARLET TANAGER was found today.
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 until after September 10 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.