Indicative of the diversity of bird life at Presqu'ile Provincial Park at this time of year is the tally of 145 species in the past two weeks by a single birder who has been camping in the Park. Almost all of those were within the Park boundaries. Inevitably, there are several uncommon birds among them, as indicated below.
A SURF SCOTER put in a brief appearance in Presqu'ile Bay and a BLACK SCOTER was seen twice in Popham Bay. Hearing a RUFFED GROUSE drumming at this time of year is unusual, but that did happen yesterday, perhaps stimulated by the summer-like weather. HORNED GREBES in Popham Bay have been increasing in numbers all week, and a few RED-NECKED GREBES have also been spotted. GREAT EGRET just outside the Park gate was the first in several weeks. A few GREEN HERONS appeared this week, including one at Salt Point this afternoon that displayed signs of being injured. Single late OSPREYS were seen on September 22 and 23. BALD EAGLES were seen on two different days. Other hawks included COOPER'S HAWK, BROAD-WINGED HAWK, and PEREGRINE FALCON.
Seventeen shorebird species were seen this week. AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS are now a daily presence, especially, but not exclusively, on Gull Island. It has been almost two weeks since a HUDSONIAN GODWIT was discovered at Presqu'ile, and the species is being seen every day on Gull Island, often in the company of a WHIMBREL. RED KNOTS (two or three) were present up till September 21. There have been no reports of WESTERN SANDPIPER since last weekend except for a report of three individuals (two adults and a juvenile) at Owen Point this morning. WHITE-RUMPED and BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS are being seen on most days in small numbers, but PECTORAL SANDPIPER and DUNLIN numbers have been increasing steadily. The first LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL of the season was on Gull Island on September 21. Two CASPIAN TERNS and three COMMON TERNS on September 24 were on the late side.
A BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO was near the lighthouse on September 22. On September 19, a GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER was found. An anonymous report of a shrike on September 22, apparently identified as a NORTHERN SHRIKE, would require documentation because the date is much earlier than any previous record at Presqu'ile. A PHILADELPHIA VIREO was seen on September 22. There were several sightings of COMMON RAVENS this week. The first HORNED LARK of the season was on Gull Island on September 23. GRAY-CHEEKED, SWAINSON'S and HERMIT THRUSHES have all been seen this week. The first two LAPLAND LONGSPURS were on the beach yesterday. On Monday a group of birders counted 18 species of warblers in the vicinity of the lighthouse. Several ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS have been sighted this week. EASTERN TOWHEE and DARK-EYED JUNCO were among the sparrow species seen this week. PURPLE FINCHES and PINE SISKINS that appeared on Monday may be precursors of the winter finch picture.
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. Visitors to Gull Island not using a boat should be prepared to wade through water that is knee-deep, not taking into account any wave action, in which there is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven and slippery. It should also be noted that, because duck hunting is on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Gull Island, High Bluff Island, and part of the calf pasture are not available for bird-watching on those days after tomorrow. 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