Frequent high winds at Presqu`ile Provincial Park in the past week have made for difficult birding conditions, and sub-zero temperatures temporarily froze all of the ducks out of the marsh. Nevertheless, there have been a few good finds. A second printing of a book entitled For the Birds: Recollections and Rambles, by Fred Helleiner, is now available from the author (see below) for $20 plus $2.50 for postage. It is also being sold at the Lighthouse Gift Shop in the Park and at Out on a Limb in Brighton. All profits are being donated to the Friends of Presqu’ile’s 25th Anniversary Environmental Fund, which sponsors long-term projects like the eradication of invasive species. This message is authorized by the Ontbirds Coordinator.
The SNOW GOOSE that initially appeared over a week ago was still present on November 10. TUNDRA SWANS were present in the marsh and overhead yesterday, and 19 were counted in the marsh today. Thousands of ducks have been congregating in large rafts in Presqu`ile Bay, the majority being REDHEADS and GREATER SCAUP. Among others in those flocks were a single CANVASBACK on November 8 and four on the following day. Up to a dozen WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS are also there. There were two sightings of SURF SCOTER on November 8. A RUFFED GROUSE was seen on November 12. There are still a few COMMON LOONS in the Park and both PIED-BILLED and HORNED GREBE have been seen in the past week. A single DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT was still present on November 12. A ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was over High Bluff Island on November 9. The only shorebirds this week were DUNLINS and an AMERICAN WOODCOCK. A SHORT-EARED OWL at Gull Island on Sunday was being mobbed by gulls. Until today, a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER has made frequent visits to the feeders at 186 Bayshore Road. MERLINS were seen on November 8 and 12. At this time of year, the possibility exists of a GYRFALCON appearing, a species that tends to frequent the beaches and the offshore islands.
A NORTHERN SHRIKE was at the calf pasture on Tuesday. An AMERICAN PIPIT flew over on November 9. SNOW BUNTINGS were on Gull Island. A YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER was at the lighthouse on November 10. A WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW at 83 Bayshore Road today was late and might spend the winter there. Both RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS and COMMON GRACKLES keep showing up on Bayshore Road as well.
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 should be prepared to wade through water that is shin-deep, not taking into account any wave action,. In which there is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven and slippery. It should also be noted that, because of safety reasons on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Gull Island, High Bluff Island, Owen Point, and part of the calf pasture are not available for bird-watching on those days. 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