By Doug McRae
Photo: Andrea Kingsley
This report is primarily based on sightings gleaned from eBird, and those reported directly to me. I would be grateful to hear of any interesting sightings. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your observations are very much appreciated. If you are reporting something rare, please provide some details (exact location, ID features noted) or photographs if possible. Finally in order to try and keep the database as accurate as possible, eBird accounts submitted under false names or pseudonyms will not be used unless I know who the actual observer is.
HIGHLIGHTS: Whimbrel, Stilt Sandpiper, Sedge Wren
OVERVIEW: Despite oppressive tropical heat making fall seem like a far away concept, birds are right on cue with lots of migrants streaming through the park. The waterfowl flock around Gull Is. is both building in numbers and species diversity and is best viewed with a scope from Owen Pt. early, while the sun is behind you and the lake hasn’t become rough. Shorebirds have started to arrive in moderate numbers as well but unfortunately, the vast majority is foraging along the north shore of Gull Is. making viewing from Owen Pt. difficult. That said birds are regularly making trips to the natural beach as well, but high shoreline vegetation is making viewing difficult there as well. Once Gull Is. is open to the public on 11 Sept. the viewing will improve. Migrant songbirds are also in evidence with lots of warblers, vireos and flycatchers being seen on some days. Most expected warblers, including those that breed well to the north, have now been reported and their numbers will only increase over the next few weeks.
Mute Swan: Numbers of this harmful non-native species are building as broods gather in Presqu’ile Bay – 224 were counted from the Calf Pasture Lookout alone on 25 Aug.
American Wigeon: One was seen in the Gull Is. mixed duck flock on 24 Aug.
American Black Duck: At least two birds frequented the Gull Is. duck flock and were last seen on 24 Aug.
Blue-winged Teal: A few birds have appeared in the mixed duck flock, peaking with six on 14 Aug.
Northern Shoveler: One was seen in the mixed duck flock on 13 Aug.
Green-winged Teal: A few seen around the islands throughout the period with a high of six on 18 Aug.
Mergansers: All three mergansers were reported from the islands on and off through the period.
Wild Turkey: An adult with three young was seen on 15 Aug.
Bald Eagle: Over the past two weeks sightings have become regular again with reports of both adults and sub-adults from Presqu’ile Bay and the Islands.
Semipalmated Plover: The first juv. of fall was reported on 18 Aug.
Whimbrel: A single juv. landed briefly on Gull Is. then flew off south-east on 24 Aug.
Stilt Sandpiper: A juv. was seen at Owen Pt. on 26 Aug.
Baird’s Sandpiper: The first young of the year arrived on 21 Aug when 14 were found, mostly near the north end of the natural beach, and have been regular in small numbers since.
Short-billed Dowitcher: A single was seen on 21 Aug followed by two on 26 Aug.
Black-billed Cuckoo: One was reported on 14 Aug.
Sedge Wren: One was reported from dense within the smartweed patch at the Owen Pt. viewing station on 23 Aug.
Please Note: Access to Gull and High Bluff Island is closed to visitation between 10 March and 10 September to protect the thousands of colonial birds that nest on the islands.
Directions: Presqu’ile Provincial Park is located south of Brighton on the north shore of Lake Ontario. It is well signed from either Hwy. 401 or Cty. Rd. 2.
Doug McRae Shrew Solutions Inc. 240 Presqu’ile Parkway Brighton, Ontario K0K 1H0 613-475-5014 H 613-243-4161 C