[Ontbirds] Presqu'ile Birding Report for Week Ending September 7, 2006.

Fred Helleiner fhelleiner at trentu.ca
Thu Sep 7 20:00:17 EDT 2006

During the coming week at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, the Ontario Field 
Ornithologists will be visiting for their annual outing (on September 
10) and Gull Island will again be opened to the public (on September 
11).  For the first time in many years, it will be possible to reach the 
"island" without wading, unless a storm washes out the connecting bar 
between now and then. 

Dozens of Pied-billed Grebes are scattered around Presqu'ile Bay, and a 
spring-plumaged Horned Grebe has been in Popham Bay since September 4.  
Two Great Egrets were still present on September 1, and a Green Heron 
was also seen on that date.  Turkey Vultures flew over the Park on 
September 4 (two) and 6 (one).

Although there have been plenty of Canada Geese at Presqu'ile all 
summer, the flock that was southbound high in the sky on September 6 
probably came from further north.  It is time to begin watching for Snow 
Geese among them.  Except for Blue-winged Teal and Green-winged Teal, 
most of the ducks around Gull Island have probably been here all 
summer.  There are three Common Mergansers in Popham Bay, and two 
Red-breasted Mergansers were there on September 4.

A trickle of migrating hawks this week included an Osprey on September 5 
and several each of Northern Harrier and Sharp-shinned Hawk.  Merlins 
are being seen regularly at the calf pasture and along the beach.  On 
two consecutive days, Ruffed Grouse were flushed, after remaining out of 
sight all summer.

Although much below normal expectations for this time of year, there has 
been a good variety (16 species) and a reasonable number of shorebirds 
in the Park in the past week.  One of the most reliable ones is a fully 
spring-plumaged Black-bellied Plover that can almost always be spotted 
on the north shore of Gull Island.  There has also been a juvenile of 
that species and two American Golden-Plovers.  On September 5, a Greater 
Yellowlegs was calling in the marsh, where that species commonly gathers 
in late fall.  On September 3, on the heels of the weekend downpour, a 
flock of about 100 Lesser Yellowlegs, one of the largest concentrations 
ever seen at Presqu'ile, landed briefly on the beach before continuing 
on their way.  A lone Whimbrel has been frequenting Gull Island for most 
of the past week, remaining frustratingly hidden in the vegetation 
except for brief forays down to the water's edge on September  2, 4, and 
7.  Up to six each of White-rumped Sandpipers and Baird's Sandpipers and 
three each of Pectoral Sandpipers and Stilt Sandpipers have been seen.  
A Buff-breasted Sandpiper was seen on September 1 and 6, and a Wilson's 
Phalarope on September 4. 

The highlights of the week were an unidentified jaeger on September 
1(perhaps a Pomarine Jaeger) and an adult Pomarine Jaeger that 
co-operated very nicely for everyone on a scheduled Park bird walk on 
September 3.  Somebody was tempted to call it "pom Sunday".  Two Little 
Gulls later that day were also a good find, the first of that species at 
Presqu'ile this year.  Common Terns and Common Nighthawks were still 
present at the beach on September 6.

A Chimney Swift was at the beach on September 3,  and Ruby-throated 
Hummingbirds have been seen every day at feeders and often flying off 
the tip of Owen Point en route to Mexico or Central America.  A 
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher was seen on September 3 and a Great Crested 
Flycatcher on September 7.  Blue-headed Vireos and Philadelphia Vireos 
have appeared on several recent days.  A Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher was seen 
on September 3.  Since the first American Pipit of the season was 
located on August 31, their numbers have been increasing steadily.  At 
least twenty species of warblers have been at Presqu'ile this month, 
including most of the commoner ones, as well as Cape May Warblers and a 
report of an Orange-crowned Warbler.  Two Lincoln's Sparrow sightings 
and two different Dark-eyed Juncoes were a prelude to the hordes of 
sparrows that will soon descend on the Park.

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 until September 10 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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