There is still plenty of open water around Presqu'ile Provincial Park, and that has served to concentrate most of the waterfowl in Presqu'ile Bay. Likewise, most of the land birds are now concentrated around the various feeders in the Park and along Bayshore Road.
The annual assembly of Mute Swans has built up to over 260 birds, and two Tundra Swans were among them on December 6. Two American Wigeons, a few dozen Redheads, and a Ring-necked Duck were in Presqu'ile Bay on December 6. A female Harlequin Duck was seen repeatedly in the vicinity of the lighthouse on December 4. A few White-winged Scoters can usually be found off the lighthouse. A few lingering Hooded Mergansers were present this week, including four at Salt Point on December 6. A Red-necked Grebe was in Presqu'ile Bay on December 4.
Only three species of raptors were found at Presqu'ile this week: Bald Eagle, Sharp-shinned Hawk, and Red-tailed Hawk. Another eagle, unidentified as to species, was seen today. Two Wild Turkeys flew over the Park office. Although only two species of shorebirds were seen in the Park this week, that is twice as many as one would expect in December. The most surprising is a Ruddy Turnstone that was still seen on Gull Island today. Although as many as five Purple Sandpipers were on Gull Island as recently as December 4, only three could be found there today. Footing is treacherous there since the ice storm on the weekend. November 30 was the latest date on which Bonaparte's Gulls were still observed. An Iceland Gull was among the Herring Gulls on the ice of Presqu'ile Bay on December 6. Perhaps a Glaucous Gull will be the next arrival.
For the first time in several weeks, not a single Northern Shrike was reported in the past week. On the other hand, American Robins have re-appeared after going into hiding for a while, and Hermit Thrushes were spotted in two different parts of the Park on December 4 after a hiatus of almost a month. The Carolina Wren continues to make daily visits to the feeders at 186 Bayshore Road. The most frequent visits are at dawn. Two American Pipits at Owen Point and Gull Island on December 4 and 6 were very late.
A Swamp Sparrow and a White-throated Sparrow were at the Park office on November 30. Snow Buntings have been seen in a few locations in the south-western area of the Park. The Rusty Blackbird at 83 Bayshore Road was still there on December 4, and a small group of Common Grackles has been patronizing several feeders along Bayshore Road. Most of the crab apples on the tree across the road from the government dock have been consumed, with only the crimson stains remaining on the ground, but the flock of Pine Grosbeaks that has been there for over a week (maximum of 22 birds) continues to visit in considerably reduced numbers. Small numbers of Common Redpolls and American Goldfinches can sometimes be found.
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. It should be noted that, because duck hunting is given priority on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Owen Point, Gull Peninsula, Sebastopol Island, High Bluff Island, 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.