Presqu'ile Birding Report for Week Ending September 19, 2002.

Fred Helleiner fhelleiner at
Thu Sep 19 20:29:11 EDT 2002

Shorebirds and warblers have been the main attractions for birders at
Presqu'ile Provincial Park this week.  Nineteen species of shorebirds
and eighteen species of warblers were reported, along with a good
variety of other birds, a reflection of the exceptional habitat
diversity in the Park.

In the lake just west of the nature centre, a Red-throated Loon was seen
on September 13 and 15, and two Common Loons on September 15.  Outside
the Park but still in Presqu'ile Bay, a Red-necked Grebe was sighted on
September 16.

Great Egrets are feeding regularly in plain view in the marsh, and the
Cattle Egret that has been roosting on Sebastopol Point was still doing
so on September 13.  Excellent views of Wood Ducks can be had from the
viewing stand near the bird sightings board.  A Northern Pintail was
seen at Gull Island on September 16.  White-winged Scoters, as many as
five at a time, have also been seen flying past there.  In Popham Bay,
several dozen Scaup have been gathering in a raft far offshore.  There
is only one more weekend before the commencement of the waterfowl hunt
in the Park, after which ducks, now present in the hundreds, will be
much more difficult to find.  Restricted access to Owen Point and Gull
Island will also be in place for four days out of seven during the
hunting months.

Up to a dozen Common Moorhens can be seen from the road opposite the
marsh, and almost as many American Coots can be seen from Bayshore Road,
opposite #38.  A Sora was also seen in the marsh on September 13.

This week there have been sightings of uncommon shorebirds almost every
day at Owen Point and Gull Island.  These include three American
Golden-Plovers, two Stilt Sandpipers, three Buff-breasted Sandpipers,
and two Long-billed Dowitchers, the first of which appeared on September
16.  That sighting, plus a Western Sandpiper on Sebastopol Point on
September 13, and the appearance of increasing numbers of Dunlins,
brings to 27 the number of shorebird species seen at Presqu'ile this
fall.  Also this past week, there were single observations of a Whimbrel
(September 13) and a Red Knot.  There are few species of shorebirds left
to expect, but Red Phalarope and Hudsonian Godwit remain possibilities.

Larid sightings during the past week have included a Little Gull on
September 13 and a Forster's Tern on September 18 and 19, both in the
Owen Point/Gull Island area.  This is the time of year when rare small
gulls have appeared at Presqu'ile in previous years.  Laughing Gull,
Franklin's Gull, and Black-headed Gull are all potential vagrants, from
the south, the west, and the east, respectively.

Blue-headed and Red-eyed Vireos are the two vireo species now being seen
most frequently, but a singing Warbling Vireo and a Philadelphia Vireo
were also reported.

A small migration of Blue Jays past the lighthouse took place on
September 18.  The first Horned Larks of the season, seven birds, were
spotted on September 15 on Gull Island, where American Pipit numbers
have been building up day by day to about twenty on September 19.
Birders are scanning the flocks closely in hopes of finding some early
Lapland Longspurs or perhaps even the first ever Northern Wheatear for
the Park.

Warblers have been passing through the lighthouse area in loose flocks
of a few dozen for the past several days.  With leaves still on the
trees, a great deal of patience is needed to spot them, let alone
identify them.  A possible Cerulean Warbler was the only unexpected
species among them.  A Swainson's Thrush (or perhaps several) also took
advantage of the foliage to remain largely hidden, as did two Scarlet
Tanagers and at least two Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.

Within the next week, the sparrow migration should begin in earnest.
One of the target species is a specialty of Presqu'ile found almost
annually in the tall grass on Gull Island: Nelson's Sharp-tailed
Sparrow.  They generally arrive during the last week of September.

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.  Visitors to Gull Island
should be prepared to wade through knee-deep water in which there is
often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven.

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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