HIGHLIGHTS: Lesser Scaup, Hooded Merganser, Glaucous Gull, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird
OVERVIEW: The cold weather has frozen most of Presqu’ile Bay but waterfowl can be seen in numbers near the ice-edge and offshore from the picnic areas and around the islands, with Long-tailed Duck being the most abundant species. Away from feeders land birds seem pretty scarce.
Trumpeter Swan: One was reported on 8 Jan and two were seen on 13 Jan. These are likely birds that are primarily based in the Barcovan channel (just east of Presqu’ile) but wander into Presqu’ile Bay when ice conditions permit.
American Black Duck: A single on 13 Jan was the only report. Puddle ducks typically vacate Presqu’ile during the coldest part of winter.
Mallard: One noted on 12 Jan was the first since the shoreline froze.
Redhead: Numbers varied through the week with a peak of 175 on 7 Jan.
Greater Scaup: Numbers of this species also varied through the week with a high count of 1250 on 7 Jan.
Lesser Scaup: This is a rare find here in mid-winter so a single on 7 Jan was notable.
Hooded Merganser: Atypically four Hoodies were still hanging on in the open water near the Lighthouse on 7 Jan and one was seen off the picnic area the next day. This species normally departs once the calm, nearshore water freezes.
Bald Eagle: Sightings are more frequent now that Presqu’ile Bay has frozen with a peak of four birds on 7 Jan and 11 Jan.
Rough-legged Hawk: One was reported on 10 Jan.
Glaucous Gull: Gulls have been unusually scarce the past month or so but one of these Arctic breeders was picked out from the Herring Gulls on 10 Jan.
Snowy Owl: Singles were reported several times from the offshore islands and Presqu’ile Bay, now that the ice has covered much of the Bay.
Northern Saw-whet Owl: This species likely winters regularly in the Park but is rarely found, mostly because of the endless amount of suitable roosting spots making it very much a needle in a haystack sort of affair. Most surprising though was one heard singing on 13 Jan, over a month earlier than when they usually start singing.
Red-bellied Woodpecker: Up to three birds were visiting one feeder this week illustrating just how much more common this species has become here over the past few decades.
American Robin: Small numbers have been seen here and there but two larger flocks were encountered this week – 40 on 10 Jan and 60 on 13 Jan.
Song Sparrow: A bird was near the gate on 13 Jan.
White-throated Sparrow: Several birds are visiting Bayshore Rd feeders with a high of 4 at one feeder on 8 Jan.
Red-winged Blackbird: A small flock, peaking at five birds on 7 and 13 Jan have been seen all week at Bayshore Rd feeders.
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.