[Ontbirds]Presqu'ile Birding Report for Week Ending May 25, 2006.

Fred Helleiner fhelleiner at trentu.ca
Thu May 25 20:57:38 EDT 2006

While spring migration may be winding down at some of the birding "hot 
spots" in southern Ontario, there is little sign of that happening yet 
at Presqu'ile Provincial Park.  In fact, the past week has in many 
respects been the peak of migration.  Nevertheless, there are more 
reports of "late" birds that would normally have left by this date than 
there are reports of early arrivals.

The five Common Loons off the day use area on May 25 are not likely to 
continue migrating to some northern lake to breed.  Most of the regular 
species of herons, including Great Egrets, have been back for some 
time.  The last week of May, however, has in the past produced such 
rarities at Presqu'ile as Snowy Egret and Tricolored Heron.  The "moult 
migration" of Canada Geese has already begun.  Surprisingly, the only 
flock of Brant seen in the Park this week was one on May 22.  On May 20 
the two immature Trumpeter Swans were again at the calf pasture and 
should continue to be looked for.  Diving ducks of several species put 
in an unexpected appearance on May 25, perhaps because viewing 
conditions over Lake Ontario were ideal.  There were two flocks of 
White-winged Scoters and Long-tailed Ducks, as well as more Red-breasted 
Mergansers than had been seen recently.  In Popham Bay there were 
singles of Surf Scoter, Bufflehead, and Common Goldeneye, all of which 
were rather late for those species.

Raptor sightings of the past week have included Turkey Vulture, Osprey, 
Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, and, for the second time in as 
many weeks, a Peregrine Falcon at Owen Point, as well as a Barred Owl 
nearby on the same day (May 23).

A good selection of shorebirds can usually be found off Owen Point and 
along the beach, but the big concentrations are yet to come, perhaps in 
the coming week.  Only two Black-bellied Plovers were seen this week.  
Although the past weekend was billed as "Warblers and Whimbrels Weekend" 
at Presqu'ile, only one of the latter species could be found, and it or 
another of its kind has been seen sporadically since then. One or two 
Red Knots have been present off and on since May 20.  No bands could be 
seen on their legs.  Short-billed Dowitchers have been present for the 
past two days. Sanderlings are likely to be the next shorebirds to 
arrive.  A Lesser Black-backed Gull was sitting among the other gulls at 
Owen Point on May 22.  Caspian Tern numbers continue to build up, with 
several dozen in view at any one time at Owen Point.

The first Black-billed Cuckoo of the season in the Park was heard on May 
25.  A late Yellow-bellied Sapsucker has been frequenting the eastern 
end of the peninsula.  All of the regular flycatchers have now returned 
to Presqu'ile with the exception of Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, which 
should be back any day now.  For the third consecutive week, 
Yellow-throated Vireos have been seen, - single individuals on two 
different days.  Swallows were seemingly everywhere near the water on 
the cold days of the weekend, all six of the regular species being seen 
near the lighthouse.  A late Golden-crowned Kinglet was found on May 22, 
and several late Ruby-crowned Kinglets were still being seen daily up 
till May 24.  A Northern Mockingbird was near beach 1 on May 19.

After a slow start on Saturday, the other featured birds of the weekend 
did not disappoint those who came to see warblers.  Twenty-five species 
plus one hybrid were seen on at least one of the next two days, and that 
total omits a Hooded Warbler that was near the Park Store for much of 
Friday.  Two late Golden-winged Warblers were among them, as was a 
"Brewster's Warbler".  Another of that hybrid had been seen on May 19.   
Both Orange-crowned Warbler and Blackpoll Warbler were also seen then 
and subsequently.  Several late Palm Warblers were in the Park on the 
weekend, and one was still present on May 24.

Of the two Lincoln's Sparrows found this week, one co-operated by 
feeding beside a brush pile on three consecutive days, May 22-24.  
White-crowned Sparrows lingered in unusually high numbers for this time 
of year, half a dozen or more being seen daily up to May 24.  The 
biggest surprise of the week was a Yellow-headed Blackbird that stopped 
very briefly at the lighthouse on May 21 but left before most of the 
birders in the area could see it.  Orchard Orioles can be found in 
widely separated parts of the Park, where they have been present 
throughout the summer in recent years.  A Pine Siskin was seen as 
recently as May 21.

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.  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.

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