One is tempted to gush over birding opportunities in Presqu'ile Provincial Park, but with both Presqu'ile Bay and Popham Bay largely frozen over, one has to curb those tendencies. Until there is another thaw, any gushing will have to be suspended.
The waterfowl situation in Presqu'ile Bay fluctuates according to the availability of open water, which, in turn, fluctuates with the wind direction. On January 23, when there was open water almost to the calf pasture, there were a dozen noisy Tundra Swans. The numbers of Canvasbacks (12), Redheads (90), Ring-necked Ducks (1), Greater Scaup (600), and White-winged Scoters (3) were all lower on that date than they had been on January 19. To my knowledge, no one has recently found the Harlequin Duck or the Barrow's Goldeneye that were off Gull Island earlier in the month, but few people have ventured out there. The American Coot was still with the ducks on January 19.
An immature Bald Eagle was present on three consecutive days, and an adult soared over Gull Island on January 24. A Sharp-shinned Hawk and a Red-tailed Hawk were the only other raptors noticed in the Park this week.
Two Carolina Wrens were observed on January 19, one at 83 Bayshore Road and the other at 186 Bayshore Road, where it has been seen every day since then (in fact, on most days since mid-October). The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, but almost devoid of bird life these days. No doubt there are owls and grouse lurking therein, but no one has reported seeing any for some time. A Song Sparrow and a White-throated Sparrow that have been wintering at 83 and 85 Bayshore Road were both seen during the past week. Nine Snow Buntings were at Owen Point this afternoon. The lone remaining Common Grackle (down from five in mid-December and three in early January) spends much of its time at the feeding tray at 186 Bayshore Road. A flock of two dozen or more Common Redpolls has been making sporadic visits there 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. Gull Island is no longer an island, the connection to the mainland having been established several months ago.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.