The first place we visited was Owen Point. Deb and I decided to do this trail first because the light was much better in the morning; when we visited Presqu’ile a year ago, we had left it until last and found that we were looking into the sun most of the time. This time the morning sun was behind us, which made for a much better experience.
There weren’t a lot of birds along the trail itself, but we did encounter quite a few other creatures that were equally interesting. There were lots of flowers in bloom along the trail, particularly around each lookout. This meant lots of butterflies – Clouded Sulphurs, Orange Sulphurs, Eastern Tailed Blues, crescents, Least Skippers, a beautifully fresh Question Mark with a delicate pinkish-violet underside and, of course, Monarchs. Continue reading
On Sunday, September 11th Deb and I made the three-hour journey to Presqu’ile Provincial Park to check out the shorebird migration. It was another warm, beautiful day, and, as usual, we stopped to check out the little park at the foot of Harbour Street first. We saw a pair of Wood Ducks and three heron species in the marsh: a Great Blue Heron and a Great Egret standing out in the open, and an American Bittern just inside the cattails. Deb found him slowly moving among the reeds, which was an amazing feat considering how difficult they are to spot due to their excellent camouflage!
On August 27th, five members of the OFNC led by Roy John drove down to Presqu’ile Provincial Park to enjoy a day of birding on the shores of Lake Ontario. Except for a few large banks of fog, the drive was uneventful. We saw one Osprey, two Green Herons in flight, and a couple of Great Blue Herons standing motionlessly in roadside marshes. Although a few more OFNC members met us at the park, I was surprised how few people had signed up given how wonderful Presqu’ile can be this time of year for birds, butterflies and dragonflies. The weather, too, couldn’t have been any better – blue skies and warm sunshine in the morning, followed by cloudy periods in the afternoon to prevent it from becoming too hot.
I spent the following weekend at Shirley’s Bay and Mud Lake. On Saturday, Melanie and I went birding together and started off our morning with a trip to the Shirley’s Bay dyke to look for shorebirds. We were not disappointed – we tallied 13 species, and 41 species total! Although it was only the first week of August, shorebird migration was in full swing! Our first shorebird species was an American Woodcock in the woods about halfway to the dyke. There were a few puddles on the path, and I was busy watching these instead of the vegetation next to the path. I was taken completely by surprise when a bird flew up from my feet and disappeared into the woods! I got enough of a glimpse of it to see the really long bill, the shape (it was definitely a snipe or a woodcock) and rusty red colours on the underside. Given its location (i.e. the middle of the woods rather than open marsh or fields) and the rusty colouration, it was certainly an American Woodcock…my first lifer of the day!