Although the birds don't seem to have noticed, there are a few signs of spring at Presqu'ile Provincial Park: a lengthening photoperiod and the arrival of the first T4 income tax slips in the mail. Even some of the die-hard birders have not yet come out of hibernation. Most of the bird life that warrants a visit to the Park is in or around the bodies of water that are not frozen. Even in mid-January, rarities can show up, as a NORTHERN FULMAR did 27 years ago.
A TUNDRA SWAN on Saturday and two TRUMPETER SWANS on Sunday were of interest, and one of the latter was still off the government dock this afternoon. Ducks of the/Aythya/ genus can be seen there almost every day, mostly GREATER SCAUP and REDHEADS, but one or two CANVASBACKS can usually be picked out with a scope. A male RING-NECKED DUCK has been regular there, and two were seen today. On Sunday two LESSER SCAUP and a WHITE-WINGED SCOTER were there.
A RUFFED GROUSE and three WILD TURKEYS were seen on Sunday. One or two BALD EAGLES have been frequenting Presqu'ile Bay, most recently on Wednesday. On Sunday a group of three NORTHERN HARRIERS made their way westward overhead as if in migration, and four were seen by another party, as well as a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK. A GLAUCOUS GULL was on the ice of Presqu'ile Bay on both Saturday and Sunday. If GREAT HORNED OWLS are still occupying territory in "the fingers", as they have for years, they might soon begin vocalizing. One of the two SNOWY OWLS seen on Sunday has been seen on at least two subsequent days, often perched on a duck blind at the outer edge of the marsh. On Tuesday a BARRED OWL was photographed at Jobes' Woods.
RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS continue to be seen at feeders along Bayshore Road, and a PILEATED WOODPECKER was found on Sunday. There were four different sightings of BROWN CREEPERS this week. AMERICAN ROBINS are always around the Park in small numbers in winter, and this week has been no exception. One of the few signs of spring was a singing male NORTHERN CARDINAL. One or two HOUSE SPARROWS continue to be seen around Bayshore Road feeders.
To reach Presqu'ile Provincial Park, follow the signs from Brighton.
Locations within the Park are shown on a map at the back of a tabloid that is available at the Park gate. Visitors to Gull Island not using a boat may need to wade through water that is shin-deep when calm and may be obscured by a layer of thin ice. They may also encounter a slippery coating of ice on the rocks. Ice cleats are recommended.
Birders are encouraged to record their observations on the bird sightings board provided near the campground office by The Friends of Presqu'ile Park and to fill out a rare bird report for species not listed there.