[Ontbirds] Presqu'ile Birding Report for Week Ending October 4, 2007.

Fred Helleiner fhelleiner at trentu.ca
Thu Oct 4 21:43:41 EDT 2007

The bizarre summery weather of the past week has made for pleasant 
birding conditions at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, and does not seem to 
have slowed down the bird migration.  It has taken place in waves, 
notably last Saturday and, to a lesser extent, today.  The Park has been 
awash with sparrows on those days.  After each wave, many of the new 
arrivals remain for a day or two afterwards but in diminished numbers 
with each passing day.

The largest concentration of waterfowl is in Popham Bay, but without a 
scope it is impossible to identify all but those few that are close to 
shore.  The majority of the ducks are Greater Scaup, but there are also 
a few Gadwalls, American Wigeons, Northern Pintails, Redheads, a 
Ring-necked Duck, a few Surf Scoters, dozens of Whiote-winged Scoters, 
two Hooded Mergansers that have been present for several weeks, and 
numerous other more common species.  Soon the first Canvasbacks and 
Black Scoters should be appearing.  Along with the ducks there are large 
numbers of Horned Grebes (probably 200 or more) and a few Red-necked 
Grebes, but most of the latter have been dead birds recently washed up 
on shore.

An American Bittern was seen on September 30, an Osprey on October 1, a 
Bald Eagle on September 29, a Merlin almost every day, and at least five 
Peregrine Falcons on October 2.  American Coots should soon be appearing 
opposite 38 Bayshore Road.  Black-bellied Plovers are still present in 
good numbers around Owen Point and Gull and Sebastopol Islands.  
American Golden-Plovers reached a high of about ten birds on September 
30, but they appear to have moved on.  Thirteen other species of 
shorebirds have appeared in the past week, including a rather late 
Spotted Sandpiper on October 2, a handful of Whimbrels that have been on 
Gull Island for over three weeks, a White-rumped Sandpiper, three 
Baird's Sandpipers on October 4, and two Pectoral Sandpipers on October 
2.  Although three Long-billed Dowitchers were briefly at the 
constructed wetland in Brighton on Sunday morning, none of that species 
has yet been detected at Presqu'ile.  Two Parasitic Jaegers off Gull 
Island on October 2 and a freshly dead Sabine's Gull at Owen Point on 
the same day were probably the rarest birds of the week.

Among the land bird observations, a few stand out because they are 
unusually late in the season.  An Eastern Wood-Pewee was seen on 
September 29 and a Great Crested Flycatcher on the following day.  A 
Common Raven repeatedly giving its "cuckoo" call across the bay from the 
calf pasture on September 29 could not be located.  When a Tufted 
Titmouse spent the winter of 2004-2005 near the lighthouse, it first 
appeared on October 9.  That and a couple of recent reports from 
elsewhere in the province suggest that it might be worth watching for a 
repeat performance. Failing that, the continued presence of a Carolina 
Wren in the same area promises to be an acceptable substitute.  Three 
other species of wrens have also been present in the Park during the 
past week: House Wren, Winter Wren, and Marsh Wren.  Four species of 
thrushes (five if you include American Robins) have also been present: 
Gray-cheeked Thrush (several), Swainson's Thrush, Hermit Thrush (a good 
number last Saturday), and a Wood Thrush on September 29 (apparently a 
record late date).  A Brown Thrasher was at the calf pasture today.  
Among the ten species of warblers present during the past week were a 
few Orange-crowned Warblers, which typically appear this late in the 
season.  A late Scarlet Tanager was eating buckthorn berries near the 
lighthouse parking lot on October 4.  Two Eastern Towhees were at the 
calf pasture on September 29 and another has been visiting the feeders 
at 191 Bayshore Road for several days.  There were two sightings of 
Field Sparrows among the hundreds of other sparrows that have descended 
on the Park.  A Lapland Longspur was on Gull Island on October 4.  A 
surprising 15 Eastern Meadowlarks were reported there on October 2.  The 
first three Rusty Blackbirds of the season were at the woodpile marsh on 
September 27.  Pine Siskins have been irregular visitors to the feeders 
at 186 Bayshore Road.  A male House Sparrow (rare at Presqu'ile) was in 
a bush beside the lighthouse on September 28.

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. It should be noted that, because 
duck hunting is given priority on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and 
Saturdays, Gull "Island", High Bluff Island, and part of the calf 
pasture are not available for bird-watching on those days.  Again this 
year, birders and others will be permitted at Owen Point on hunting days 
for the first few weeks of the hunting season.

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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