Although there is generally a let-down in the birding world at the tail end of a migration season, there is still enough of interest to birders at Presqu'ile Provincial Park to attract day-trippers from various parts of the province.
and Common Loons have been seen during the past week, the former off the woodpile marsh causeway on December 5 and the latter off the beach on December 9. The dabbling ducks that had been frequenting the marsh have largely been frozen out, with only American Black Ducks and Mallards remaining. White-winged Scoters were at Gull Island on December 5 (3) and 9 (1).
A Ruffed Grouse near the tip of Owen Point was in an unusual location. The flock of American Coots off 38 Bayshore Road has dwindled to five birds on December 8 and four on December 9. The flock of 13 Purple Sandpipers and one Dunlin was re-discovered on December 5 on Gull Island, but by December 9 only seven Purple Sandpipers could be found. On both of those dates, two Glaucous Gulls were at Owen Point, as well as a few Bonaparte's Gulls.
Two Snowy Owls were on Gull Island on December 9. On December 6, a group of recreational walkers on Paxton Drive (including one birder) saw a Barred Owl at the western edge of Jobes' woods.
A Northern Flicker appeared on two different days this week along Bayshore Road between Langdon Avenue and the end of the road.
Only one sighting of a Northern Shrike was drawn to my attention this week, but the location (north of Owen Point) is where sightings were made in late November, suggesting that there is a bird wintering there. At the calf pasture on December 9, a Common Raven was being mobbed by American Crows. Sightings of this species are rare at Presqu'ile, but there have been several this fall. Perhaps all of them relate to the same bird, which manages to stay hidden much of the time.
Today (December 9) marks the beginning of the third month that the Tufted Titmouse has been present at Presqu'ile. Although there was a recent sighting of this bird at 85 Bayshore Road, most of the observations have been made at 186 and/or 191 Bayshore Road, where, after a nerve-wracking absence of three days this week, it continues to make regular and frequent visits to the feeders. In forty years of Presqu'ile and area Christmas Bird Counts, there has never yet been a Tufted Titmouse encountered. It seems likely that this year on December 19, that void will be filled. The hiatus of several weeks without American Robins in the Park came to an end on December 8, when a dozen were spotted at the calf pasture. The feeders at the back of 85 Bayshore Road have been very active, with, among other things, two White-throated Sparrows, a Red-winged Blackbird (as recently as December 3), and two Evening Grosbeaks also on that date, the first of that species to be found at Presqu'ile this year. Pine Siskins were still present at 186 Bayshore Road on December 4, but they and the American Goldfinches that have been a fixture there since spring appear to have vacated the area.
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 be prepared to wade through shin-deep water in which there is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven. It should also be noted that, because duck hunting is given priority 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.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.