Among the more active local birders who frequent Presqu'ile Provincial Park, two have been away on holiday in the past week, two have had to reduce their birding for medical reasons, and another has been hiding from the cold while catching up on some writing. Visiting birders have also been scarce. Partly for that reason, reports of bird sightings have been few, but not without at least one of particular interest. Despite persistent below-normal temperatures, there has been much open water in Presqu'ile Bay during the week, largely because of steady westerly winds. The temporary shift on Wednesday to a southerly component to the winds was accompanied by an influx of ducks that had left for a couple of weeks.
Over 300 each of Canada Geese and Mute Swans were in Presqu'ile Bay on February 7, accompanied by a possible Trumpeter Swan (a sleeping swan with a yellow tag on its back) and two Tundra Swans, of which four had been present on the day before. Also on February 7, a single Canvasback, a couple of dozen Redheads, and a couple of hundred Greater Scaup were in the bay, the highest count of any of those species in almost two weeks. Searches for the previously reported Barrow's Goldeneye were sporadic and unsuccessful except for two sightings at the lighthouse, the most recent being on February 7. Visitors to Presqu'ile should be aware that the staging of migrant diving ducks in Presqu'ile Bay usually begins early in February and continues to build up during the next month or more. Two different Bald Eagles, an adult and an immature, were seen this week.
Only one Golden-crowned Kinglet was found this week, although the species is likely present wherever there are extensive conifer stands. A few American Robins continue to show up in various parts of the Park, including one that appeared in the morning of February 7 with the southerly wind. It was near the lighthouse, where migrants first make landfall and where the species is usually absent in winter. A Northern Cardinal, probably responding to a lengthening photoperiod, was heard singing on February 6, one of the coldest mornings of the year. During a raging snowstorm on February 3, a male House Sparrow gorged itself on a feeder at 186 Bayshore Road. No others of that species have been reported at Presqu'ile this winter.
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 channels separating Gull Island from Owen Point are no longer considered safe to cross.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.