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 email@example.com. 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: Piping Plover, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Black Tern, Red-throated Loon, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher.
OVERVIEW: Migration is well underway with many First of Years (FOY) reported, although there has still been no huge push of birds yet. Several rarities – especially the continuing Scissor-tailed Flycatcher – brought lots of birders to the Park this week.
Blue-winged Teal: A male was off Owen Pt. on 4 May.
Green-winged Teal: 35 on 4 May was a high count this late in spring.
Whip-poor-will: A migrant was heard on 4 May.
Virginia Rail: The first of year was reported on 5 May.
Sandhill Crane: One was over the Marsh Boardwalk on 5 May.
Piping Plover: A banded bird was seen on 3 May, and again the following day. This species is highly endangered so it would be great if birders and photographers could please give it space, as they have nested at Presqu’ile in the past and may well again.
Solitary Sandpiper: Two on Beach 4 on 4 May were the FOY.
Bonaparte’s Gull: This species has been rather scarce this spring so 150 off the lighthouse on 2 May is notable.
Lesser Black-backed Gull: One was reported at Owen Pt. on 2 May.
Black Tern: Once a common breeding bird, this species is now a very rare migrant. One was reported on 3 May.
Red-throated Loon: Birds were off the beach all week with a peak of four on 1 May.
Least Bittern: The FOY was a single on 3 May.
Great Egret: This species nests on High Bluff Is. and can be seen with scopes from the beach. A high count of 32 was recorded on 5 May.
Black-crowned Night-Heron: The FOY was a single spotted in the egret colony on 30 Apr.
Red-headed Woodpecker: A bird was seen near a past nesting site on 30 Apr plus a few migrants were also noted through the week.
Eastern Kingbird: The FOY was a single on 1 May.
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher: This spectacular rarity, which showed up on 27 Apr (but was not known to the birding community until the next day), stayed one more day and was seen by many through 29 Apr.
Warbling Vireo: The FOY was a single on 2 May.
Bank Swallow: The FOY was a single on the beach on 4 May.
Rough-winged Swallow: The FOY was a single on the beach on 4 May.
Cliff Swallow: The FOY was a single on the beach on 4 May.
Marsh Wren: One on 30 Apr was the first of the year.
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher: Seen through the week with two on 29 Apr and 30 Apr.
Wood Thrush: The FOY was a single seen on 1 May.
American Pipit: One was on the beach on 4 May.
Golden-winged Warbler: A male was seen at Calf Pasture on 5 May.
Blue-winged Warbler: The FOY was a single seen on 2 May.
Nashville Warbler: The FOY was a single on 1 May.
Common Yellowthroat: One heard on 4 May was the first of year.
Cape May Warbler: A single on 2 May was the FOY.
Northern Parula: Several were reported this week with the first on 3 May.
Chestnut-sided Warbler: One seen on 1 May was the FOY.
Black-throated Green Warbler: The first of the year were two on 1 May.
Savannah Sparrow: Single migrants were seen near the lighthouse on 30 Apr and 4 May.
White-crowned Sparrow: The FOY were two birds on 29 Apr.
Baltimore Oriole: The FOY was one on 1 May.
Rusty Blackbird: One was still remaining on 5 May.
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.
Please Note: Gull and High Bluff Island are closed to visitors from 10 March to 10 September. Large numbers of colonial nesting birds breed there and are greatly disturbed when people go into the colonies.
A seasonal or daily permit is required when visiting Presqu’ile. You can purchase a daily vehicle permit online in advance of your visit online or by phone. Ontario Parks recommends you make a reservation during periods of high visitation to guarantee entry. Reserve here: https://reservations.ontarioparks.com or by calling 1-888-668-7275