The Arctic conditions that have recently solidified Presqu'ile Bay have forced the waterfowl mentioned in recent reports to disperse. Good numbers of ducks have now spread out into the open water south of Presqu'ile. Inland, passerines have rediscovered feeders and it is at these havens that most sightings occur.
Over 100 Mute Swans and two Tundra Swans were forced to vacate the Presqu'ile Bay area after January 12. Small numbers of Mallards and American Black Ducks have been seen along the Park's south shore between the Lighthouse and Gull and High Bluff Islands.
Small numbers of Redheads and Greater Scaup were seen about Salt Point on January 12. On January 14, approximately 75 each of Redheads and Greater Scaup were seen in an unusual place, the heavy surf immediately south of Gull Island. Long-tailed Ducks, apparently oblivious to heavy weather, continued to be the Park's most abundant bird. In a week of very poor observation conditions, the largest number of Long-tailed Ducks seen, 1130 birds, was counted off the Lighthouse on January 12. The next largest duck cohort, Buffleheads and Common Goldeneyes, were abundant in open waters to the south. Again on January 12, three Red-necked Mergansers and seven Common Mergansers were seen off the Government Dock.
A slow raptor week yielded only a male Northern Harrier on January 14 over the causeway leading to the Park.
The Red-bellied Woodpecker frequenting feeders at a residence west of the Park on Lakeshore Road became more confiding as the weather became colder and eventually took to hopping around on the deck looking for food. A Song Sparrow continued to frequent thickets near the same feeders. In the Park, American Tree Sparrows were generally seen, rather by accident, when flushed from low protected brush.
Four Snow Buntings walked about Gull Island looking for wind-swept seeds on January 14. Common Redpolls showed up intermittently at feeders along Bayshore Road during the week and the flock of about 30 tenacious redpolls continued to forage on Gull Island as of January 14.
To reach Presqu'ile Park, follow the signs from Brighton. Park locations are shown on a map at the back of a tabloid available at the Park gate. The tenuous ice bridge to Gull Island is probably becoming more substantial with the current cold weather. However, anyone considering this crossing should consider that the ice surface is uneven, unpredictable and slippery. Also worth remembering is what waits beneath the ice.