2023-06-01 Presqu’ile Park, Ontario

Raccoon - Procyon lotor
Before leaving Oakville for Presqu’ile Provincial Park, I could not resist getting a picture of this sleeping Racoon.
Great Crested Flycatcher - Myiarchus crinitus
When I reached Presqu’ile Provincial Park on the northern shore of Lake Ontario on the last days of May 2023, the spring migration was nearly complete. I believe all the birds I met during my visit were there to raise babies on these grounds.

Swamp Sparrow - Melospiza georgiana

It had been three weeks since I crossed into Canada near Detroit. In that time, I have squeezed in many memories. Point Pelee was my first stop, but it was brief. From there, I headed to spend time with my friend Judy in Oakville. We only knew each other from emails, Facebook and a few phone calls. But we hit it off, and I enjoyed meeting her friends and family as well. My visit included a week at her Tiny Beaches cabin, where birds and people made the stay a genuine pleasure. 

Tuesday (2023-05-30), I began my exit from Ontario. I booked two nights at Presqu’ile Provincial Park. From there I planned to visit Judy’s eldest son in Ottawa where I would spend a night or two before pushing on to Nova Scotia. After several hours of hard freeway driving, I reached my destination at the Provincial Park in the afternoon. 

By the time I got settled at my campsite, I was tuckered out, so I settled in and tried catching up with the storytelling of my recent adventures. Looking and listening for local birds, there was not much evidence of birds I had not met before. I weighed my options, and I chose to spend all day Wednesday working on my stories. But on my last day here (Thursday), I broke camp and explored the grounds as I drove away from the park.

While using the park’s facility for flushing my holding tanks, I heard an unfamiliar flycatcher calling from the nearby trees. It was my first ever meeting with a Great-Crested Flycatcher, a close relative of the more familiar Ash-Throated Flycatcher. I was compelled to fetch my camera gear and attempt getting a picture or two. I don’t think I got any prize winners, but I gave it the ‘old college try’.

There is a well-known marsh boardwalk at this park, so I resolved to spend the rest of the morning visiting it. I walked out to the nearby tower and platform. But after looking over the bird-life for a while, I found the birds in the trees next to the marsh more interesting than what I saw out on the sea of reeds. The boardwalk seemed very popular with folks visiting here. But with a fairly narrow floating walkway, and the shifting weight of feet ambling by, I thought it a better plan to work with the birds in the trees between the marsh and the parking lot. When I finished, I had captured images of American Goldfinches, Baltimore Orioles, Gray Catbirds, Great Crested Flycatchers, Least Flycatchers, and Swamp Sparrows.

Canada has provided many great experiences for me. Last year’s tour of the Western Provinces provided me with a lot of cherished memories and bird encounters. This year’s explorations of Canada’s eastern Provinces, though still underway, has already been a success.


During my stay at Presqu’ile Provincial Park, I learned about the devastating fires folks in Nova Scotia were experiencing. Hundreds of homes were lost, and there were no signs that containment was coming soon. So, I faced a choice. I could carry on with my plans to visit the Maritimes, and risk becoming part of the problem. Or I could abandon my hopes of reaching the destination I have so long looked forward to. 

Being from San Diego, I have a lifetime of experiences with wildfires and the heartbreak that comes with them. I knew it was time to formulate a “Plan-B” for the rest of this expedition. I looked at the map, and the Appalachian Highway called to me. So I turned south, crossing the international border in New York and followed Interstate 81 south. I drove hard for two days, suffering single lane traffic for miles of highway construction.

One of my oldest and dearest friends and his wife lives a few miles west of Reading PA, so I shouted out and was welcomed for a visit. After two days of hard driving, I looked forward to spending quality time with my friends. But that story will have to wait until my next yarn is spun.

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