By Doug McRae
Photo: Doug McRae
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: Baird’s Sandpiper, Red-headed Woodpecker, Northern Parula
OVERVIEW: Fall migration is picking up with a few more shorebirds and the first migrating Bobolinks reported this week. Most nesting birds are busy feeding fledged young now swelling the population making for some productive birding.
Mute Swan: Numbers of this damaging non-native species continue to swell with 300 in a small part of Presqu’ile Bay on 18 Jul.
Hooded Merganser: The young bird that has been hanging around Gull Is./Owen Pt. was seen again on 21 Jul, then flew off to the east when it joined a Common Merganser that flew past.
Common Merganser: A female flew east past Gull Is. on 21 Jul.
Least Bittern: The Camp Office Viewing Platform was again the place to see this tiny heron. One was seen in flight there on 21 Jul. The best technique seems to be go to the platform (early is better than mid day) and look toward the marsh boardwalk trail then wait, watching for one to fly by on a feeding run.
Common Gallinule: The same observer who saw the Least Bittern also had a gallinule from the Camp Office Viewing Deck. This species was once common in our marsh but has declined significantly over the past few decades, quite possibly in part due to the introduction of the “Giant” Canada Goose as a breeding bird to southern Ontario in the 1960’s (first Presqu’ile nesting was in 1982) and Mute Swan (first Presqu’ile nesting was 1986). Both are now abundant and nest in the marsh, where they are very aggressive and hostile to other marsh birds.
Baird’s Sandpiper: An adult was seen on 21 Jul along the Owen Pt. trail. While young birds are regular in small numbers later in the fall, adults are rarely encountered.
Greater Yellowlegs: Two on 18 Jul and one on 21 Jul were the only reports.
Lesser Yellowlegs: One was seen on 18 Jul and 5 were present on 21 Jul.
Bonaparte’s Gull: Five first summer birds were at Owen Pt. on 21 Jul.
Red-headed Woodpecker: After last week’s comment about no reports of young birds yet, a pair began to bring a single young into feeders along Bayshore Rd on 18 Jul. This is the third year in a row that this species has nested successfully at Presqu’ile!
European Starling: Eight hundred birds were seen leaving the marsh night roost early on 21 Jul.
Northern Parula: A singing male, likely the one reported last week, was seen on 19 Jul and remained till 22 Jul.
Pine Warbler: A young of the year was seen in an atypical situation on 18 Jul – sitting on a power line in the open Calf Pasture field.
Bobolink: Two fall migrants were seen just outside the gate on 21 Jul.
Orchard Oriole: One was at the Calf Pasture field on 18 Jul.
Purple Finch: A very young bird (i.e.: raised locally) was killed by a car near the Beach 2 road entrance on 18 Jul. This is a scarce but regular nesting species here.
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