A massive influx of passerine migrants, perhaps the largest of the year, showed up at Presqu'ile Provincial Park yesterday and continues today.
The number and variety of ducks remain essentially unchanged from last week. Among them were 55 AMERICAN WIGEONS on October 8 and both SURF SCOTERS and WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS on October 7. RUFFED GROUSE are showing up more frequently, including two today. Several dozen shorebirds of five species remain, mostly at Owen Point and the islands. One of them, a SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER that was banded on the shore of James Bay on September 7, appeared at Presqu'ile on September 30 and on at least three subsequent days. A late CASPIAN TERN was on the beach on October 9. As recently as Sunday, there were still six GREAT EGRETS roosting at the calf pasture. By this date there are probably several NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS in the Park, but until their presence is announced by chickadees or other birds the chances of finding one are slim.
BLUE-HEADED VIREOS are still being seen regularly. A COMMON RAVEN was present on Sunday. One of the commonest passerines in the Park these past two days has been RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS. If it were possible to count them, they might well outnumber the record 1,000 in the Park's database. HERMIT THRUSHES are also ubiquitous. Today a GRAY CATBIRD was at 83 Bayshore Road and an AMERICAN PIPIT was at 186 Bayshore Road. Seven warbler species were located in the past week, including ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER (October 10), NORTHERN PARULA (October 7), BAY-BREASTED WARBLER (October 11), and BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER (October 8). Any bird spotted near the ground in the past two days, if not a thrush, is almost certainly a sparrow, of which there are surely hundreds or thousands. Among them were three EASTERN TOWHEES together yesterday and one today. By far the majority are WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS.
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 thigh-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 given priority on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Gull Island, High Bluff Island, Owen Point, and part of the calf pasture are not available for bird-watching on those days. However, until the end of this month birders are allowed to go to Owen Point on hunting days as long as they do not pass the large sign indicating otherwise. 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.