[Ontbirds] Presqu'ile Birding Report for Week Ending August 17, 2017.

Fred Helleiner fhelleiner at trentu.ca
Thu Aug 17 20:35:43 EDT 2017

Rare birds always make for excitement, but the discovery of two in one 
week at Presqu'ile Provincial Park has been a bonus.

Two BLUE-WINGED TEAL and a few REDHEADS, as well as an AMERICAN COOT, 
were spotted by Park staff visiting High Bluff Island.  A BLACK-BILLED 
CUCKOO was at the lighthouse on Monday and another was found yesterday.  
Shorebirds have been somewhat erratic, showing up in good numbers and 
variety on at least two days and being virtually absent on other days.  
Some of the more interesting ones were a BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, a RED 
KNOT (last seen on August 11), two STILT SANDPIPERS yesterday, up to 
DOWITCHERS on High Bluff Island, several AMERICAN WOODCOCKS flushed from 
the roadside before dawn, a SOLITARY SANDPIPER, and single WILSON'S 
PHALAROPES in two different locations.  In August mega-rarities (defined 
here as birds that have been recorded only once at Presqu'ile) have been 
known to show up. Examples are a CURLEW SANDPIPER that stayed for ten 
days in 1985, a LONG-TAILED JAEGER on August 22, 2001 (the only jaeger 
that often visits Lake Ontario in August), a RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD on 
August 4, 2012, and a THICK-BILLED KINGBIRD less than a month later.  A 
LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was on the beach on August 12.  While at least 
three dozen COMMON TERNS were present throughout last week, they 
suddenly disappeared on the weekend. The most recent sighting of the 
CATTLE EGRET that pleased so many birders for much of last week was on 
Friday morning.

Both RED-BELLIED and PILEATED WOODPECKERS were seen this week.  A 
PEREGRINE FALCON flew over 83 Bayshore Road on August 12 and another was 
at High Bluff Island on August 15.  The first OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER of 
the season appeared this morning.  A CAROLINA WREN was heard on Atkins 
Lane on Sunday.  At least one BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER was seen in the past 
week.  The first SWAINSON'S THRUSH of the season was at the lighthouse 
on August 14.  A good variety of the more common species of warbler has 
been in the Park this week, including two sightings of not-so-common 
BLUE-WINGED WARBLERS.  The rarity of the week, along with the 
aforementioned CATTLE EGRET, has been an elusive (at least to this 
observer) PROTHONOTARY WARBLER, first photographed at the calf pasture 
on August 13 and still present there this morning.  This is only the 
second fall record for that species at Presqu'ile.  Among other things, 
the buzz about that bird has included discussions about how its name 
should be pronounced.  A mediaeval scholar once pointed out that a 
high-ranking notary of that era was expected to wear a golden hood, and 
that the bird was clearly named for that reason and should be pronounced 
"pro  tho notary", with the accent on the antepenult ("no").

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 
restrictedat this time of year to prevent disturbance to the colonial 
nesting birds there.  Birders are encouraged to record their 
observations on the bird sightingsboard provided near the campground 
office by The Friends of Presqu'ile Parkand to fill out a rare bird 
report for species not listed 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
K0K 1H0
If visiting, access via Presqu'ile Provincial Park

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