Presqu’ile Bird Report for 18-24 Oct 2019
The week was characterized by a strong passerine flight on the 18th, and a solid week of waterbirds and shorebirds. Gull Island remained the best place to see shorebirds but for the first time in several weeks they also came back to the beach.
Eighty BRANT on 18 Oct and a single on Gull Is. on 20 Oct were the first of fall. Waterfowl numbers are building in both Popham Bay and Presqu’ile Bay. SCAUP and REDHEAD are most abundant but other species are mixed in. Five SURF SCOTERS were seen off the Lighthouse on 19 Oct . The first BUFFLEHEADS and COMMON GOLDENEYES of fall were six on 19 Oct and 12 on 19 Oct respectively. The first LONG-TAILED DUCKS were eight on 20 Oct.
AMERICAN COOTS are building in the marsh by the causeway with 17 there on 24 Oct. Shorebirds this week included BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER all week with a high of five on 20 and 24 Oct. A single AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER on 20 Oct was the first in several weeks. SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS were present all week with a high of nine on 19 Oct with eight still present on 25 Oct . SANDERLING and DUNLIN were also present all week with high counts of 17 on 24 Oct and 12 on 20 Oct respectively. Rounding out shorebirds was a PECTORAL SANDPIPER on 20 Oct and two WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS, including a late adult, on 20 Oct.
Loons arrived in numbers this week with a high count of 185 COMMON LOONS on 20 Oct. RED-THROATED LOONS included one on 18 Oct, three on 20 Oct, one on 22 Oct, one on 25 Oct. Small numbers of PIED-BILLED GREBES were in the marsh throughout the week. Similarly HORNED GREBES were in open water all week with a high count of 75 on 20 Oct. A single RED-NECKED GREBE was seen on 23 Oct. A small grebe photographed off the woodpile marsh on 21 Oct shows many features consistent with EARED GREBE but better looks are needed. DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS, which are abundant breeders, had largely thinned out but surged again this week as they capitalized on schooling fish. The high count was 800 on 24 Oct.
A JAEGER, likely a PARASITIC, was seen briefly before disappearing behind High Bluff Island on 20 Oct. BONAPARTE’S GULLS also arrived in numbers this week with a high count of 450 on 23 Oct. The bird of the week was a 2nd winter CALIFORNIA GULL photographed on Beach 1 on 23 Oct. The bird has not been seen since but gulls are constantly coming and going from the beach so observers should keep a careful watch out. This is only the second record of this western gull at Presqu’ile. The first LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL of fall was an adult on Beach 1 on 20 Oct. Three BLUE-HEADED VIREOS were still present on 19 Oct. WINTER and MARSH WRENS were reported through the week. Two EASTERN BLUEBIRD were seen on 23 Oct. HERMIT THRUSHES moved through in numbers but a report of a late SWAINSON’S THRUSH on 19 Oct was notable.
Warblers have thinned out with only YELLOW-RUMPED being regularly seen. A late NASHVILLE WARBLER was seen on 19 Oct. PALM WARBLER reports included three on 20 Oct, and one on 20 Oct. Sparrows continue to move through with large numbers of DARK-EYED JUNCOS, WHITE-THROATED and SONG SPARROWS especially. A late CHIPPING SPARROW was noted on 18 Oct, and a late FIELD SPARROW was seen the next day.