[Ontbirds] Presqu'ile Birding Report for Week Ending April 23, 2009.

Fred Helleiner fhelleiner at trentu.ca
Thu Apr 23 20:08:51 EDT 2009

A variety of avian families was represented among the migrant birds that 
surged into Presqu'ile Provincial Park at the end of last week.  At 
least one unexpected migrant was among them.

Wood Ducks have settled in at the Park and are being seen in the depths 
of the woods almost every day.  Other dabbling ducks seen in the past 
week include a single American Black Duck and a pair of Northern 
Pintails in the marsh and a flock of Green-winged Teal along the beach.  
A few White-winged Scoters are around and a diminishing number of Common 
Goldeneyes.  Hooded Mergansers were seen twice on the weekend.  The 
Red-throated Loons which are a Presqu'ile specialty are visible (barely 
and through a scope) in Popham Bay whenever the waves and other 
distorting factors permit it.  On April 17, two Horned Grebes and a 
Red-necked Grebe were swimming close to shore at the lighthouse.  With 
the aid of a scope, Great Egrets are visible on a nest on High Bluff 
Island and are sometimes seen elsewhere in the Park.  As many as five 
Black-crowned Night-Herons are using the bush on Sebastopol Island as a 
perch during the day and may be considering re-establishing that as a 
nesting site after a hiatus of a couple of years.  A Turkey Vulture 
soared over the calf pasture on April 19, and an Osprey was eating a 
fish there on April 23.

A call of the first Virginia Rail of the season was heard on April 22 
off the new viewing tower at the marsh.  A Dunlin appeared on the beach 
on April 19 and was joined by five others on April 21.  All six have 
been present every day since then.  Although these dates are not the 
earliest on record at Presqu'ile, a group of this size is unusual in 
April, the peak migration of that species occurring around the beginning 
of June.   While a few Bonaparte's Gulls flew by in the past week, 
including eleven in one flock, the big numbers (and perhaps an 
accompanying Little Gull) have yet to arrive.

Although Red-bellied Woodpeckers are uncommon winter birds in the area 
around Presqu'ile, there are no known winter records for the Park, and 
spring arrivals usually occur late in April.  This year, the first two 
were found on April 17, one just inside the Park gate and the other in 
Newcastle Woods, where it was still present on the following day.  The 
only regular swallow that has not yet returned to the Park is Cliff 
Swallow.  Mid- to late April is when most of the few spring records of 
Tufted Titmouse have occurred, and feeder watchers should be alert for 
that possibility.  A very early House Wren was on High Bluff Island on 
April 21.  A Ruby-crowned Kinglet has been in the same clump of trees 
near the lighthouse on four of the past five days.  Not unexpectedly, 
Hermit Thrushes have been seen in various parts of the Park all week.  
The biggest surprise was a Northern Mockingbird near the lighthouse on 
April 17, that was heard again on the following day.  A Brown Thrasher 
was also there and singing.  The first warbler of the spring was a Pine 
Warbler (predictably in "The Pines" campground) on April 18 and 
repeatedly since then in the same location.  Two days later, the first 
of several Yellow-rumped Warblers and a Palm Warbler were at the 
lighthouse.  At least ten of the former were on High Bluff Island on 
April 21.  An Eastern Towhee was also there.  What may be the last 
American Tree Sparrow until October was at the lighthouse on April 18, 
along with two Field Sparrows.  Chipping Sparrows have also returned on 
time.  Numerous Fox Sparrow sightings have been noted in various parts 
of the Park all week, but especially in "The Pines" campground.  The 
only Rusty Blackbird this spring was found in Newcastle Woods on April 
17.  Some of the highest counts of Pine Siskins since mid-winter have 
been recorded at 186 and 187 Bayshore Road in recent days:  21 on April 
21 and 20 on April 22. 

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,
Brighton, Ontario, Canada, K0K 1H0
VOICE: (613) 475 5309
If visiting, access via Presqu'ile Provincial Park.

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