A variety of weather conditions from cold to record warm has created concomitantly varied ice conditions around Presqu'ile Provincial Park in the past week. Efforts to find water birds have therefore had mixed results, while land birds remain concentrated around bird feeders.
Until yesterday, CANVASBACKS, REDHEADS, RING-NECKED DUCKS, and WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS have been scarce for the past week, but all three species have returned to Presqu'ile Bay, though not in the numbers seen earlier in the month. The BARROW'S GOLDENEYE at the lighthouse continues to reward visiting birders. Based on last year's experience, it will be departing in about three weeks (a sure sign of spring!). BALD EAGLES are being seen regularly. This morning a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK buzzed the feeder at the Park office without producing any casualties. An AMERICAN COOT was still present on January 25. There has been one SNOWY OWL sighting and several BARRED OWL sightings.
A COMMON RAVEN flew over Gull Island this week. AMERICAN ROBINS have been scarcer than in most winters, but three were seen last weekend. A WINTER WREN was at the staff house two days ago, hiding in the stone hedge. A flock of SNOW BUNTINGS was on the beach. A WHITE-THROATED SPARROW at 186 Bayshore Road has appeared twice in the past week. A group of PINE GROSBEAKS was along Paxton Drive. Among the COMMON REDPOLLS visiting the feeders at 186 Bayshore Road there was one HOARY REDPOLL on Saturday. When EVENING GROSBEAKS were more plentiful in days gone by, February was often the peak month for seeing them at feeders. Perhaps those that passed through Presqu'ile last fall will be dropping in again soon.
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” can walk across the gap without special footwear. Ice conditions may make for slippery walking. 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.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.