[Ontbirds] Presqu'ile Birding Report for Week Ending October 6, 2005.

Fred Helleiner fhelleiner at trentu.ca
Thu Oct 6 21:04:59 EDT 2005

"Static" is probably the best word to describe the bird life of the past 
week in Presqu'ile Provincial Park.  While there are plenty of birds and 
a good variety, with a few exceptions the same birds are being seen in 
the same places day after day.  With a significant change in weather due 
to arrive tomorrow, there is likely to be a much greater turnover in the 
bird life as the fall migration resumes.

In a deliberate but understandable exaggeration, one observer stated 
that there were "millions" of Horned Grebes in Popham Bay on October 2.  
Certainly the number was very large. A Great Egret has been an easy bird 
to find all week as it feeds in the marsh opposite the bird sightings 
board, disappearing only occasionally into the reeds.  With the duck 
hunt in full swing, the birds are more easily spooked than before, but 
the variety of ducks is rewarding, including Wood Duck, Northern 
Shovelers, Northern Pintails, and, on September 30, the first Bufflehead 
of the season.  Surprisingly, there has been not a single Ruddy Duck 
sighted in the Park this year, as far as I know.

There has been almost no hawk migration in evidence this week, but a 
Merlin was at Denson cottage on October 2 and a Peregrine Falcon flew 
over Gull Island on October 6.  On October 2, two observers found nine 
species of shorebirds, and an additional four species were also in the 
Park this week, not including an American Woodcock that someone 
reported.  Among them were two American Golden-Plovers and Ruddy 
Turnstones on two different days.  A Semipalmated Sandpiper and a Least 
Sandpiper on October 6 were rather late in the season.  There have been 
no phalarope sightings at Presqu'ile this year, but this is the time of 
year when a Red Phalarope might be expected.  A Little Gull at beach two 
on October 6 was the first since the spring.

A Black-billed Cuckoo at Owen Point on October 2 is the first October 
record of that species in the Park, according to Birds of Presqu'ile 
Provincial Park (1993).  Nearby, the same two observers heard a Barred 
Owl over their campsite at 2 a.m. that night.  A very late Common 
Nighthawk was reported on October 5.  Two apparently record late dates 
for Ruby-throated Hummingbirds were established at Presqu'ile: one on 
September 30 at 191 Bayshore Road and another the next day at 83 
Bayshore Road. A late Eastern Wood-Pewee was still present on September 
30.  October 9 will mark the anniversary of the date last year when two 
cottagers found a Tufted Titmouse, which then stayed for the next five 
months.  They are hoping for a repeat performance.  A Marsh Wren was 
still on Gull Island on October 4.  Warblers have been staying at 
Presqu'ile in good numbers.  Although the vast majority are 
Yellow-rumped Warblers (which can be found almost everywhere these 
days), at least thirteen other species were recorded during the past 
week.  An Orange-crowned Warbler and Northern Parulas were among them. A 
late Bay-breasted Warbler on October 6 was seen to investigate a feeder 
on which there were only seeds.  A Scarlet Tanager was at the lighthouse 
on September 30.

A Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow was again seen on Gull Island on October 
2.  Single Lapland Longspurs were seen on September 30 (on the beach 
with American Pipits) and October 4 on Gull Island.  A Dickcissel  flew 
over on October 5.  A Purple Finch spent most of October 4 at a feeder 
at 186 Bayshore Road, and eighteen of them appeared elsewhere in the 
Park on the next day, along with a dozen Pine Siskins, the first in the 
Park since mid-June.

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 should be 
prepared to wade through shin-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, High Bluff Island, Owen Point, and 
part of the calf pasture are not available for bird-watching on those 
days.  High Bluff Island was re-opened to the public on October 2.

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.

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