Presqu'ile Birding Report for Week Ending August 1, 2002.

Fred Helleiner fhelleiner at
Thu Aug 1 20:56:52 EDT 2002

Although summer weather continues to dominate, with a vengeance, every
aspect of life at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, in the bird world the
signs of impending autumn are unmistakable.  Newly fledged young birds
are taking longer and longer flights, and newly arrived migrants are
once again providing a bit of spice to birders who like to add variety
to their daily lists.

Outside the Park, a Cattle Egret was reportedly standing among some
gulls at the west end of the Murray Canal on July 31, an area that is
not easily accessible except by boat.

On the beach, where most of the interesting bird life is to be found
these days, a Turkey Vulture was consuming a dead fish on July 30, much
to the consternation of Great Black-backed Gulls standing nearby,
presumably awaiting their turn, which came when a passer-by disturbed
the larger bird.

Between July 26 and 28, there were several sightings of a female
Long-tailed Duck between the nature centre and the lighthouse and around
the corner towards the bay.  Also on July 28, a female Common Merganser
began the day on a raft at 174 Bayshore Road, but swam off into the bay
shortly afterwards.

It came as a surprise this week to discover that a pair of Merlins has
been nesting, hitherto undetected by birders, directly above one of the
washrooms in the Park (at "The Pines" campground).  The birds have been
vociferous since at least July 28, and a fledged young bird was observed
on July 30.  With the recent build-up of migrating shorebirds at
Presqu'ile, there may be opportunities in the days to come for watching
this species and its congenitor, Peregrine Falcons, in action pursuing
prey along the beach.

The only new shorebird species to arrive since last week's report was a
Ruddy Turnstone on Gull Island on August 1, but on the natural beach
(formerly "beach 4") at the north end of the Owen Point trail, dozens of
shorebirds can be seen almost every day, including Semipalmated
Sandpipers (the most numerous), Semipalmated Plovers, Pectoral
Sandpipers, Sanderlings, Least Sandpipers, and Greater and Lesser
Yellowlegs.  A few Bonaparte's Gulls have also been frequenting that
area, but generally a bit farther north (beach 3).

A Black-billed Cuckoo is still making its presence known at the calf

The first pocket of apparent fall migrants to appear at the lighthouse,
on July 31, contained a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, a Pine Warbler, a
Northern Waterthrush, and more Yellow Warblers than have been present in
that area during the summer.  It will be worth keeping an eye on that
part of the Park in coming weeks.

A White-throated Sparrow was still in full song at the Park store on
July 30, despite stifling heat late in the morning.

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.

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>

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