The fall bird migration is well under way at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, and birders who have stayed home throughout the breeding season are also migrating to the Park in increasing numbers. A few interesting sightings have resulted.
A TRUMPETER SWAN was seen a week ago. Among dabbling ducks, singles of AMERICAN BLACK DUCK and NORTHERN PINTAIL have been around for a few days, the first of those species in some time. 42 REDHEADS and 6 LONG-TAILED DUCKS were the highest counts of both species this summer. A WHITE-WINGED SCOTER was also seen. A few COMMON LOONS and a HORNED GREBE were of interest. Fewer than a third of the DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS remain on the offshore islands. At the end of last week, 12 GREAT EGRETS were still visible on High Bluff Island, but by today most had dispersed and are being seen sporadically elsewhere in the Park. A GREEN HERON today was the first in several weeks. There appears to have been a slight movement of hawks this week, including TURKEY VULTURES, a BALD EAGLE, and SHARP-SHINNED and COOPER'S HAWKS.
A slight drop in water levels has exposed algae mats all along the natural beach north of Owen Point. Along with that, several dozen shorebirds of eleven species have been regular in the past few days. Included among them were a BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, GREATER and LESSER YELLOWLEGS, and WHITE-RUMPED and BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS. A BONAPARTE'S GULL and four different GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS have been on the beach.
Two BARRED OWLS were heard a week ago and an EASTERN WHIP-POOR-WILL was heard on August 22. Seventeen RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS today represented a high count. Two observers found six woodpecker species on one day, including RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER, YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, and PILEATED WOODPECKER. Both AMERICAN KESTREL and MERLIN have been seen this week, and PEREGRINE FALCONS are likely to be attracted to the shorebird flocks in the next few weeks. Flycatchers are going to be the centre of attention in the next week, not only because eight species have been seen this week (including two OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHERS, 12 EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES and YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER) but more significantly because a THICK-BILLED KINGBIRD created a sensation by paying a visit to Presqu'ile three years ago. PHILADELPHIA VIREO, COMMON RAVEN, and BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER were uncommon birds on this week's list. The first SWAINSON'S THRUSH of the fall arrived today. Warbler flocks are appearing in every corner of the Park. Most consist of regular species, but there have also been sightings of a very early ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, TENNESSEE WARBLER, CAPE MAY WARBLER, NORTHERN PARULA, and BAY-BREASTED, MOURNING, WILSON'S and CANADA WARBLERS. FIELD SPARROW, SCARLET TANAGER, and PURPLE FINCH were all seen this week.
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.