[Ontbirds] Presqu'ile Birding Report for Week Ending September 14, 2006.
fhelleiner at trentu.ca
Thu Sep 14 21:35:04 EDT 2006
At Presqu'ile Provincial Park, the past week has provided many sights of
interest for the visiting birders, who have come from as far away as
California. For westerners and young birders, the opportunity to add
birds to the life list makes a visit to Presqu'ile worthwhile. For the
rest of us, migration season is never humdrum here.
The commonest water birds in Presqu'ile Bay these days are Pied-billed
Grebes, numbering in the dozens. The spring-plumaged Horned Grebe that
first showed up in Popham Bay ten days ago was present again today,
along with two others. Both American Bitterns and a Black-crowned
Night-Heron were seen recently. Two Northern Shovelers were at Owen
Point on September 11. A flock of Redheads and a flock of Greater Scaup
can usually be found in Popham Bay, sometimes coalescing into a single
Several consecutive days last weekend provided what for Presqu'ile would
be considered a good hawk migration. The majority were Sharp-shinned
Hawks, but there was also an Osprey and at least five Bald Eagles,
including one adult on September 8 and four sub-adults seen in the air
at one time on the following day. A Northern Goshawk perched in a tree
at the lighthouse on September 9, and one or two Merlins are seen on
most days. The raptor highlight, however, was a Peregrine Falcon that
put on a great show on Saturday for a number of people right beside the
main road. It had caught a banded Rock Pigeon and ate it on the road
and, after tiring of vehicular interruptions, carried it up to an
adjacent utility pole, where it posed for photographs. Surprisingly,
not only the prey but also the predator was banded. On the left leg,
there was a red band above a blue band, while the right leg sported a
conventional aluminum band. Readers of this account, especially those
who witnessed the event, would likely want to know the provenance of the
falcon. Can anyone help?
One observer flushed a threesome of Ruffed Grouse. The first American
Coot of the fall appeared opposite 38 Bayshore Road on September 9.
Fourteen species of shorebirds were at Presqu'ile since the weekend,
most of them on "Gull Tombolo" (a.k.a. "Gull Spit", the erstwhile Gull
Island). The constantly changing dynamics of that part of the Park make
it a classic laboratory for studying shoreline processes as well as
birds. There have been several single sightings of an American
Golden-Plover and one or two Black-bellied Plovers. Up to four
Whimbrels have been on the tombolo almost every day this week, and one
was still there on the afternoon of September 14. A Ruddy Turnstone was
on Sebastopol Island (formerly Sebastopol Point) for at least two days.
A Buff-breasted Sandpiper, perhaps the rarest shorebird of the week, was
on the beach on September 12 and 13. A Wilson's Snipe, flushed on the
new Gull Tombolo on September 11, was one of very few seen at Presqu'ile
this year. Within the next few weeks, some lucky observer may find a
Long-billed Dowitcher or a Hudsonian Godwit, both of which occur
periodically in the Park at this time of year. A Forster's Tern was
flying around Gull Tombolo on September 13 and 14, together with a
Common Tern on the latter date.
The latest sighting of a Common Nighthawk was on September 8, just
before the arrival of a cool front that overnight changed the whole
complexion of Presqu'ile's land birds. A Pileated Woodpecker that was
disturbed on High Bluff Island was observed in the unusual behaviour of
flying directly from that offshore island towards the mainland. Two
other birds seen in an unlikely location were a Carolina Wren and a
House Wren on the treeless Gull Tombolo on September 14. A late
Olive-sided Flycatcher was at the calf pasture on September 9. Several
species of migrating thrushes and American Pipits have been present
through much of the past week. Warblers have been and still are
ubiquitous. Over twenty species failed to produce any rarities but
Northern Parulas have been exceptionally abundant, appearing in almost
every flock and often several at a time. A few Scarlet Tanagers have
been among the warblers. Although the anticipated influx of hundreds of
sparrows has not yet materialized, that may change with the next cold
front. The advance guard has included Savannah Sparrow (September 14),
Lincoln's Sparrow (September 11), and an early White-crowned Sparrow
that has been at 83 Bayshore Road since September 11. Perhaps the best
location for finding sparrows is Gull Tombolo, where the lush vegetation
provides ample shelter - and frustratingly difficult viewing. Nelson's
Sharp-tailed Sparrows and Lapland Longspurs often show up there in late
September. Two Rusty Blackbirds on September 9 may be the earliest on
record at Presqu'ile.
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.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be
directed to: FHELLEINER at TRENTU.CA.
186 Bayshore Road,
Brighton, Ontario, Canada, K0K 1H0
VOICE: (613) 475 5309
If visiting, access via Presqu'ile Provincial Park.
More information about the ONTBIRDS