With air temperatures consistently well below freezing and snow drifts making walking difficult off the ploughed roads, birding at Presqu'ile Provincial Park is still typical of mid-winter. However, a few birds have begun to appear in parts of the Park where they have been absent up till now, and at least one species of spring migrant has re-appeared.
On four of the last seven days, there have been TRUMPETER SWANS (up to four) and TUNDRA SWANS (up to nine) in Presqu'ile Bay. Several dozen REDHEADS are also there. A LESSER SCAUP was seen off Gull Island. The best bet for finding one or more WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS is off Salt Point, but eight were seen off Gull Island. Every day for the past week, the BARROW'S GOLDENEYE that has been off the lighthouse for over two months has been present.
Four BALD EAGLES (three adults and an immature) were seen at one time on High Bluff Island, and three (one adult and two immatures) were near the lighthouse today. A COOPER'S HAWK was the only other raptor seen this week. RING-BILLED GULLS have begun trickling in, a sure sign of spring. About 20 were off the amphitheatre on February 6, and for the past two days about fifteen have been near the lighthouse, using the scaup to bring food up from below. Two GLAUCOUS GULLS were on the ice of Presqu'ile Bay on February 7, and one is there among three other gull species as this is being typed.
A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER was at two different feeders this week. Two COMMON RAVENS were flying around all one morning. The BOREAL CHICKADEE along Bayshore Road had not been reported for some time but was re-discovered this morning in the spruces at # 72 and 73. A BROWN CREEPER was seen near the lighthouse. The CAROLINA WREN at 186 Bayshore Road has been making frequent visits to the feeders every day. At 83 Bayshore Road, there are AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS, WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS, and a WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW. Thirty SNOW BUNTINGS were on Gull Island. The RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD flock on Bayshore Road reached a high count of 14 birds last weekend. Small flocks of COMMON REDPOLLS have been in various places this week. They bear watching for possible HOARY REDPOLLS.
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 narrow channel between Owen Point and Gull Island is now ice-covered most of the time, but the ice, while appearing to be thick, might not support the weight of a human.
However, the water beneath the crust, if there is any, is only ankle-deep. The surrounding shoreline can be very slippery. At any time, it is wise to stay off the shore ice. According to the only birders known to have ventured to Gull Island recently, there are now deep drifts to be navigated. 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.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.