The major change in the bird life of Presqu'ile Provincial Park during the past week has been in the composition of the waterfowl flocks.
The Mute Swan flock in Presqu'ile Bay now numbers close to 200. On two days, a single Mallard was observed, the first in several weeks. Beginning on January 30, when there were about 25, Redheads have been increasing in number almost every day. Now there are about 100, along with a similar number of Greater Scaup. A White-winged Scoter was also in the bay on two days this week.
There were only two sightings of Bald Eagles in the Park since the last report. There were two interesting owl reports from Presqu'ile this week, both from individuals who might be classed as non-birders but whose descriptions sound convincing. The first concerns a Great Gray Owl seen at very close range just south of where the yellow ski trail crosses Paxton Drive (south-west of the south-west corner of the calf pasture). Although this is an area where Barred Owls are regularly seen, the observers had no hesitation in describing the colour of the eyes as yellow with dark pupils. On February 4, a snow white bird with rounded wingtips and an unusual, bouncy flight flew past near the lighthouse, headed towards the bay. The description strongly suggested that it was a Snowy Owl, though none of that species has been seen at Presqu'ile this winter. The observer is familiar with gulls and immediately recognized this bird as different.
On February 4, a Northern Shrike pursued one of the two Song Sparrows that have been wintering at 186 Bayshore Road. A Brown Creeper was also at that address on two consecutive days, feeding on a greasy mixture that had been placed in the bark of a tree. Two Golden-crowned Kinglets accompanied the flock of Black-capped Chickadees and Red-breasted Nuthatches in the spruces north of the group campground. There are still several flocks of American Robins in the Park, one numbering about 40. A Cedar Waxwing was with one such flock along Paxton Drive on February 4. Three days earlier, a group of perhaps 15 Bohemian Waxwings was feeding on juniper berries south of the beach 1 access road. The only icterid seen during the week was a Red-winged Blackbird on January 31 on Langdon Avenue. A small number of Common Redpolls visited the feeder at 186 Bayshore Road on February 1 and 2.
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. Although the channel separating Gull Island from Owen Point appears to be frozen over, the thickness of the ice is probably unreliable because of the underlying currents.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: