Presqu'ile Birding Report for Week Ending October 23, 2003.

Fred Helleiner fhelleiner at
Thu Oct 23 22:18:50 EDT 2003

Although there are still plenty of migrants at Presqu'ile Provincial 
Park, especially water birds, the avifauna is taking on an increasingly 
wintry aspect.  This is the time of year when unexpected surprises 
sometimes occur, and Presqu'ile gets more than its share.

Both Red-throated and Common Loons are being found daily, with Salt 
Point being the most reliable spot to find the former, and good numbers 
of the latter occurring offshore in Lake Ontario.  Red-necked  Grebes 
are also out in the lake, with sightings on October 18 and 23. 

Among the dabbling ducks in the marsh, five Northern Shovelers on 
October 20 were one-day visitors.  Canvasbacks (2 on October 19 and one 
on October 23) and Redheads (up to five at a time) are mixed in with the 
growing flock of Ring-necked Ducks and American Coots off 38 Bayshore 
Road.  Large numbers of scoters far out in Lake Ontario were largely 
unidentifiable, but a few were clearly White-winged Scoters.  
Buffleheads in good numbers and a few Common Goldeneyes are winter ducks 
that are just arriving back, but the commonest duck this week is still a 
migrant:  Red-breasted Mergansers, which are here in the hundreds or 
even thousands.

A Northern Goshawk and a Merlin on October 18 and a Cooper's Hawk on 
October 22 were interesting raptors.  A Ruffed Grouse at Owen Point on 
October 23 was in an unusual location.

There was still at least one Common Moorhen in the marsh on October 18.  
The variety and numbers of shorebirds are much more limited than they 
have been in recent weeks, an American Golden-Plover being the 
highlight, but the time is ripe for one of the Presqu'ile specialties, 
Purple Sandpipers to begin appearing.  A search of Gull Island today 
yielded none of that species, but a Little Gull was a good consolation 
prize.  A bird that flushed near the lighthouse on October 21 was almost 
certainly an American Woodcock.

As recently as October 20, an Eastern Phoebe, a Blue-headed Vireo, and a 
late Gray Catbird at the calf pasture were still present in the Park.  
At least five species of warblers were sighted this week:  a  late 
Nashville Warbler at the calf pasture on October 20, two late Northern 
Parulas at the lighthouse on October 19, an astounding Cape May Warbler 
on top of a television antenna at 191 Bayshore Road on October 23, the 
ubiquitous Yellow-rumped Warblers, and a Palm Warbler on October 20.

Snow Buntings first appeared at Gull Island on October 19, and by 
October 23 they were "all over the island".

An Eastern Meadowlark stopped briefly on a lawn near the lighthouse on 
October 17.  Purple Finches, up to six at a time, have been patronizing 
the feeders at 186 and 191 Bayshore Road, and a Pine Siskin was at the 
former address for the second time in just over a week on October 23.

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 knee-deep water in which there 
is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven.   It 
should also be noted that, because duck hunting is given priority on 
Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Gull Island, Owen Point, 
and part of the calf pasture are not available for bird watching on 
those days.

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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