Presqu'ile Birding Report for Week Ending April 25, 2002.

Fred Helleiner fhelleiner at trentu.ca
Thu Apr 25 21:01:04 EDT 2002


During most of the past week at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, migrating
birds have been trickling in steadily, the absence of massive waves
reflecting generally cool conditions and northerly winds.  The
expectation is that a logjam of birds is building up somewhere to the
south which will be released when the wind shifts to the south and
warmer temperatures return.

Popham Bay is developing a reputation as a staging ground for loons and
grebes, with both Red-throated Loons and Horned Grebes still present in
good numbers on April 24.  Anyone scanning the bay with a telescope
should also point it at the clump of bushes off the north-west tip of
Gull Island (Sebastopol Point), where several Black-crowned Night-Herons
and their nests can be seen.

Though the numbers continue to dwindle, the waterfowl migration for
which Presqu'ile is famous in the early spring is far from over.  Among
the remaining species that are unlikely to remain and breed are Gadwalls
(20 on April 23), Northern Pintails (3 on April 20), Canvasback (1 on
April 20), Greater and Lesser Scaup, dozens of Long-tailed Ducks and
Buffleheads, 2 Common Goldeneyes on April 24, and Common and
Red-breasted Mergansers.

In addition to the resident Northern Harrier, Northern Goshawk, and
Red-tailed Hawk, there were sightings this week of other hawks that were
probably migrants: Osprey, Cooper's Hawk, and Merlin.

Unquestionably, the biggest surprise of the week occurred when the
residents of 186 Bayshore Road opened their curtains on the morning of
April 22 to find a huge Wild Turkey standing in the middle of their
diminutive lawn underneath a bird feeder, where it fed contentedly for a
few minutes before marching off down the road and into the Park, where
it was seen twice later in the day.

A bugling Sandhill Crane circled high over the marsh on April 20.  On
the same day, two Greater Yellowlegs paused on the beach near Owen
Point.  The first Common Terns of the season flew by the lighthouse on
April 25.

A Snowy Owl that spent the day beside the Salt Point lighthouse on April
19 was by far the latest date on record at Presqu'ile.

Three different individual Red-bellied Woodpeckers were in the Park
during the period of April 18-20.  Except when vocalizing, they can be
difficult to spot, and it seems likely that one or more may still be
present.

An Eastern Kingbird seen a few kilometres west of the Park on April 23
was an early arrival.  A few Cliff Swallows have accompanied the large
flocks of other more common swallows in the lighthouse area.

The first House Wrens arrived on April 19, and Marsh Wrens shortly after
that. Several Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers were present in the lighthouse area
and along Paxton Drive on April 24 and 25.  A Northern Mockingbird was
singing near the Park entrance on April 23 and 24.

Six or seven species of warblers and one species of vireo have been in
the Park on April 24 and 25, including a possible Louisiana Waterthrush
seen late on April 25, whose identity remains to be confirmed if it is
still present on April 26.

A Clay-colored Sparrow was reported on April 20.  Other sparrows of
several species have been abundant, especially Chipping, Swamp, and
White-throated on April 25.  No doubt the first White-crowned Sparrow
will appear within the next week.

A Snow Bunting seen near Owen Point on April 20 was exceptionally late.
Finch sightings at feeders on April 25 include several Purple Finches
and a Pine Siskin.


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 normally 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.  ALSO, PLEASE NOTE THAT, AS A RESULT OF A
STRIKE BY THE ONTARIO PUBLIC SERVICE EMPLOYEES UNION, GOVERNMENT
SERVICES AT PRESQU'ILE PROVINCIAL PARK ARE TEMPORARILY INTERRUPTED.

Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be
directed to:  FHELLEINER at TRENTU.CA.




--
Fred Helleiner

186 Bayshore Road,
R.R. #4,
Brighton, Ontario, Canada, K0K 1H0
VOICE: (613) 475 5309
If visiting, access via Presqu'ile Provincial Park.


Fred Helleiner <fhelleiner at trentu.ca>



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