Not only has the spring waterfowl migration begun in earnest at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, but various other species of birds have also been moving into and around the Park to a much greater extent than in the past few weeks.
On February 13, the first three Trumpeter Swans of the season flew in from Lake Ontario and landed among the Mute Swans in Presqu'ile Bay. There was one adult with no evident bands or wing tags and there were two young birds, one of which had a silver band on the left leg. All three were seen two days later, and the adult continued to be seen, and sometimes heard, for the next three days. Also in Presqu'ile Bay are several thousand Redheads and Greater Scaup and a few dozen Canvasbacks.
The government dock on Bayshore Road provides a good vantage point, but the main concentration of ducks and swans is at the edge of the ice, wherever that may happen to be on any given day. With continued westerly winds, the calf pasture may prove to be an even better viewing point. As yet there have been no sightings of Ring-necked Ducks since early January, but a patient scan of the huge flocks may prove fruitful.
A Cooper's Hawk has made two recent appearances along Bayshore Road, where possible victims of its attacks are concentrated at bird feeders. Two Wild Turkeys have been spotted twice in the past week just inside the entrance to the Park. There were two Glaucous Gulls on the ice of Presqu'ile Bay on February 15, both visible at once within the field of a spotting scope. A Snowy Owl was also seen there on February 18 and another was reported on February 14. Three visiting birders saw two Pileated Woodpeckers on February 14. Two Northern Shrikes were seen on February 12. A Common Raven flew high over Jobes' Woods on February 14 and was heard a few minutes later near the lighthouse. Also on that date, a flock of eight Pine Grosbeaks was seen and photographed at High Bluff campground. Another flock of about the same size was at 191 Bayshore Road three days later. Among the many Common Redpolls and Pine Siskins patronizing the feeders at 186 Bayshore Road on a regular basis were single Hoary Redpolls on February 16 and 17.
Not mentioned in my previous report but always of interest at Presqu'ile, where the species has been rare historically and uncommon in the past year or two, were two House Sparrows, one at 85 Bayshore Road on February 15 and the other at 186 Bayshore Road two days later. These are the first at Presqu'ile for several months.
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 ice between Owen Point and Gull Island may be unsafe depending on recent wind and temperature conditions. Beware of hidden ice patches.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.