Winter conditions continue to prevail at Presqu’ile Provincial Park, and signs of any change are deceptive and transitory, including spring songs from two species of birds. Despite that, at least one intriguing bird report surfaced this afternoon.
With Presqu’ile Bay almost totally frozen over on most days, waterfowl have been few in number and confined to a few patches of open water, some of which are beyond the range of even a spotting scope. Among them are up to five CANVASBACKS, eight or ten REDHEADS, and a male RING-NECKED DUCK that has been off Salt Point on three of the last four days. WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS are also present. There was only one BALD EAGLE sighting in the past week, but there were two sightings of COOPER’S HAWK and one of a NORTHERN GOSHAWK. Normally by this date RING-BILLED GULLS are descending on Gull Island in huge numbers to stake out their territories, and if that has not yet begun, it should be expected by this time next week. SNOWY OWLS have been seen on the ice of Presqu’ile Bay four times in the past week, including one that was perched atop the Salt Point lighthouse.
The over-wintering RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER at 186 Bayshore Road has been making fewer visits to the feeders there this week. This afternoon an unconfirmed but fairly convincing report was received of a male and female AMERICAN THREE-TOED WOODPECKER at 14 Bayshore Road. They were in an apple tree close to, but not on, two suet feeders. The birds could not be located subsequently. The only WINTER WREN sighting since the ice storm in late December was on February 10 at the entrance to Jobes’ woods. A few AMERICAN ROBINS have been seen. The SONG SPARROW at 186 Bayshore continues to visit daily.
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 should exercise extreme caution. The entire approach to the island may be covered with glare ice, and footing is likely dangerous. 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