The month of May has so far upheld its reputation for being the most interesting month of the year at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, including some rarities, even though the expected peak of the songbird migration normally occurs after the middle of the month. Perhaps the forthcoming Warblers and Whimbrels weekend that starts on Saturday will confirm that.
The TRUMPETER SWAN bearing wing tag number K29 has been seen three times in the past week. It was originally banded in Burlington and spent most of last winter near Kingston. None of the expected BRANT flocks have appeared yet. A female HOODED MERGANSER was in Popham Bay on May 8. WILD TURKEYS were both seen and heard in the Park. At least as recently as last weekend, RED-THROATED LOONS were in Popham Bay, at least one of which was in full alternate (breeding) plumage. A surprising 18 BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS were counted on May 8. The shorebird migration is well under way, including the following species (with the date when the highest number was seen): BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (May 9 - 1 bird), PIPING PLOVER (May 8 - 1 bird), LESSER YELLOWLEGS (May 11 - 2 birds), RUDDY TURNSTONE (May 14 - 1 bird), SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER (May 13 - 2 birds), DUNLIN (May 14 - 3 birds), SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER (May 10 - 2 birds). Larger numbers of the more common species were/are also present, but at this early date it would be surprising to see any WHIMBRELS, despite the publicity that they will be getting this weekend. An AMERICAN WOODCOCK flushed from the cedars at the lighthouse parking lot on May 8 was too late in the season to have been one of the summer residents in the Park and was likely a very late migrant. The hundreds of BONAPARTE'S GULLS that were present for the past two weeks have apparently moved on, the latest individual being seen on May 10.
Both BARRED OWL and EASTERN WHIP-POOR-WILL were heard from 83 Bayshore Road. A RED-HEADED WOODPECKER put on a good show all weekend around the lighthouse, along with the ever-present RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS. A YELLOW-THROATED VIREO was seen today, and several PHILADELPHIA VIREOS have been present since May 11. COMMON RAVENS remain in the news. In a departure from previous years, only one BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER was found this week. A late EASTERN BLUEBIRD was seen on May 12. Two AMERICAN PIPITS flew over the beach on May 8. Both GOLDEN-WINGED and BLUE-WINGED WARBLERS and the hybrid BREWSTER'S WARBLER were seen. A large group of birders saw an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER. There were two sightings of CERULEAN WARBLER. BAY-BREASTED, BLACKPOLL, and CANADA WARBLERS were among the traditionally late-arriving warblers that have shown up. CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS have taken up residence in the calf pasture, which is actively being managed for open country birds. LINCOLN'S SPARROWS were seen on at least three consecutive days. A SUMMER TANAGER was reported on May 11 and SCARLET TANAGERS are widespread. BOBOLINKS and EASTERN MEADOWLARKS have been in the calf pasture, and the former were also spotted at the lighthouse. ORCHARD ORIOLES, a fairly common nesting bird at Presqu'ile, are easy to find these days, especially around the lighthouse. PURPLE FINCHES and PINE SISKINS were still present at least as recently as May 8.
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 from March 10 onward 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.