Up till last weekend, beach 3 at Presqu'ile Provincial Park was definitely worth a visit, but human and avian disturbance has resulted in reduced bird activity there. Probably the anticipated cold front of the forthcoming weekend will bring the first significant surge of passerine migrants.
Two vocal TRUMPETER SWANS, the first in months, flew over on August 1. Three REDHEADS and a RED-BREASTED MERGANSER were on Gull Island on July 31. A PIED-BILLED GREBE in the marsh was accompanied by three young ones on August 30. A BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO was heard on July 28. A rather early BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER in full alternate plumage, the first WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER of the season, and a SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER were present on July 28. One of the STILT SANDPIPERS that had been present for over two weeks was still present on July 29 but has not been seen for at least four days. An adult GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL was on Gull Island on July 29 and another of that species was on the beach two days later. Since then, the numbers of gulls, terns, and especially shorebirds have plummeted. In part this may be attributed to a MERLIN (one of two seen in the past week) that flew past the beach and to a PEREGRINE FALCON that made several unsuccessful passes at a BONAPARTE'S GULL hiding in the willows (and ducking!) on the rather early date of August 2.
Few land birds have been reported this week other than those which have summered here, but it is not too early for an OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER or a YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER to show up since there are late July records for both species. A COMMON RAVEN was at the calf pasture on July 28. BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS are normally seen regularly in summer at Presqu'ile, but the one that appeared on July 30 was the first encountered this year for about two months.
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.