The first significant influx of spring migrants other than waterfowl took place at Presqu'ile Provincial Park beginning at the end of last week. Waterfowl have also built up their numbers and variety in anticipation of the forthcoming Waterfowl Viewing Weekend.
There has been a single TRUMPETER SWAN in Presqu'ile Bay, but the passage of several flocks of TUNDRA SWANS on March 13 (numbering from 11 to 30), some of which also landed in Presqu'ile Bay, was of greater interest. Four WOOD DUCKS on March 12 were the first of the season. GADWALLS, AMERICAN WIGEONS, AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS, MALLARDS, NORTHERN PINTAILS, and GREEN-WINGED TEAL were all present on March 12 and 13. Of those ducks, MALLARDS and AMERICAN WIGEONS are the most numerous, and the latter were noisily giving their three note whistle at the calf pasture. So far no one has reported finding a EURASIAN WIGEON, a species which often shows up in the latter half of March. The most interesting diving ducks were a pair of BLACK SCOTERS that were seen and photographed at fairly close range over a period of several hours at the calf pasture on March 11. Two BALD EAGLES were on the ice of Presqu'ile Bay on March 8, and an adult flew over the calf pasture this morning. Four AMERICAN COOTS were in Presqu'ile Bay yesterday. A GREATER YELLOWLEGS was heard at the calf pasture on March 12, a record early date for Presqu'ile. On March 11 and 12, an AMERICAN WOODCOCK was hunkered down beside a patch of open water near the lake shore. A GLAUCOUS GULL was near the lighthouse yesterday. A surprising four SNOWY OWLS were on the beach on March 8, and singles were on the ice of Presqu'ile Bay twice this week. A few minutes of owling on a calm night yielded at least one and perhaps two BARRED OWLS.
The WINTER WREN that has been hiding under a boardwalk at the east end of the Newcastle trail was seen again on March 9. Newly arrived spring migrants have included AMERICAN ROBINS, SONG SPARROWS, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS, and COMMON GRACKLES. At the feeder at 186 Bayshore Road, the SAVANNAH SPARROW has been less regular in its appearances (though still present today), and a HOARY REDPOLL re-appeared today.
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. Access to the offshore islands is restricted at this time of year to prevent disturbance to the colonial nesting birds there. 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.