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Birding Report

As an indication of the birding potential of the relatively small area covered by Presqu'ile Provincial Park, five observers were able to find 49 species last Sunday. Although the days are getting longer (!), it is unlikely that those numbers will be increasing soon, at least for a few weeks.

Three species of swans were in Presqu'ile Bay on Sunday and a TRUMPETER SWAN was still there today. If one can locate a flock of GREATER SCAUP (whose location on any given day depends on the wind direction and the resultant ice cover in Presqu'ile Bay), a careful scan will reveal a smaller number of REDHEADS among them. A flock of WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS that has been off the west end of the day use areas for several days numbered close to 100 on Sunday.

A BALD EAGLE was off Owen Point on Sunday and two (an adult and an immature) flew over Presqu'ile Bay on Monday. A NORTHERN HARRIER was again seen on Gull Island. An ICELAND GULL was near the lighthouse on Wednesday. Another "white-winged" gull was identified as a "NELSON'S GULL" after being examined at close range and photographed.
Analysis of the times and locations of the 14 or more BARRED OWL sightings on Sunday indicated that there were at least eleven individuals. Just outside the Park, a NORTHERN FLICKER came to a feeder on December 24. Perhaps it will find its way to Presqu'ile, where there often is one in winter.

Four PILEATED WOODPECKERS were in the Park on Sunday, and two were seen today. Two NORTHERN SHRIKES were found on Sunday, one at the beach 3 entrance road and one at the calf pasture, which is a favoured spot for them in winter. Three HORNED LARKS were on Gull Island on December 20.

The somewhat elusive CAROLINA WREN has visited feeders at 83 and 115 Bayshore Road within the past five days. A count of 31 GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS indicates that this species winters in good numbers in the Park. Single WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS visited two feeders this week, one at 83 Bayshore Road and the other at the Park office. SNOW BUNTINGS continue to be plentiful on Gull Island. The most recent sighting of the ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK at the feeder at the group campground parking lot was on December 23. A RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD was on Bayshore Road on Sunday. Two PINE SISKINS were found among the dunes near the marsh boardwalk entrance.

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 knee-deep water in which there is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven. Hip waders are essential, even when the water is calm, and may be inadequate when the water is rough. Most recently, the channel was ice-covered, but the ice, while appearing to be thick, does not support the weight of a human. The surrounding shoreline can be very slippery. With hip waders one can walk to Sebastopol Island from Gull Island, but wading to High Bluff Island is not possible. Birders are encouraged to record their observations on the bird sightings board provided near the campground office by The Friends of Presqu'ile Park and to fill out a rare bird report for species not listed there.



Fred Helleiner