After a pleasantly mild New Year's Day at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, with lots of birds to be seen, conditions became decidedly less comfortable for anyone choosing to go birding during the following five days. Hence, most of the sightings worth reporting came on January 1, with only a sprinkling since then.
Among the hundreds of MUTE SWANS in Presqu'ile Bay, two each of TUNDRA SWAN and TRUMPETER SWAN have been seen. There were still two CANVASBACKS in Presqu'ile Bay on January 1, but none thereafter, and only a few REDHEADS. WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS seem unaffected by the cold weather, having been seen on at least four of the past seven days. A male HOODED MERGANSER and two RUDDY DUCKS that were off the government dock on January 1 have not been seen since then.
Both adult and immature BALD EAGLES have been present off and on for the past week. A NORTHERN HARRIER was again on Gull Island today. Other hawks seen this week include both SHARP-SHINNED and COOPER'S HAWK. The only sign of the WILD TURKEY that has been here since October was a fresh set of tracks in the snow at 83 Bayshore Road. An ICELAND GULL seen on January 1 was among the 40 species of birds in the Park on that day. BARRED OWLS are a daily sighting, with one couple finding eight different individuals in one day.
Two NORTHERN SHRIKES appear to have taken up residence, one just inside the Park gate and the other around the calf pasture and points east. A HORNED LARK on Gull Island on January 1 could not be found today. The CAROLINA WREN that has been patronizing feeders on Bayshore Road was at 83 Bayshore on January 1. For the second consecutive week, a WINTER WREN was flushed from under one of the boardwalks on the Jobes' Woods trail (between numbered posts 4 and 5). When the supply of juniper berries beside Huff Road not far from the Park is exhausted, we can hope that the flock of EASTERN BLUEBIRDS that has been there for a few days will move to Presqu'ile and join the flock of AMERICAN ROBINS that for a few weeks has been attracted to the area just inside the Park gate, where there are plenty of junipers.
A WHITE-THROATED SPARROW was at 83 Bayshore Road for at least two of the past seven days. The long-suffering ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK at the group campground parking lot has survived the recent cold spell and, like the rest of us, just might be dreaming of warmer days ahead. Every day this year, a male RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD, never common here in winter, has been in the area around the junction of Bayshore Road and Langton Avenue, and a female was also seen. A PINE SISKIN was at the feeders at 83 Bayshore Road on January 2.
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. The narrow channel between Owen Point and Gull Island was ice-covered today, but the ice, while appearing to be thick, might not support the weight of a human. However, the water beneath the crust is only shin-deep. The surrounding shoreline can be very slippery. 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.