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Birding Report Since Presqu’ile Bay and Popham Bay have been frozen over for most of the past week, birding at Presqu’ile Provincial Park has consisted of searching for land birds, a pursuit that has had limited success except near feeders.

There were still ducks in the remaining patches of open water on Monday.  In addition to the two CANVASBACKS that were off the government dock on January 17, there was a RING-NECKED DUCK there on that day and again at Salt Point on Monday.  WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS numbered 12 birds before the freeze-up, but not one has been seen since Monday.  The only BALD EAGLE of the past week was an adult that sat briefly on the ice near the lighthouse this afternoon.  A SNOWY OWL was on the ice of Presqu’ile Bay on Tuesday.  The highlight of the week was a NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL that was discovered on Sunday at the height of a cold and windy snowstorm (birders!!!).  Daily searches of the same grove of cedars since then have not borne fruit.

A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER continues to patronize the feeders at 186 Bayshore Road.  An intriguing observation of a brown bird flushed from a berry-laden buckthorn bush on Monday raised suspicions that it might have been the same HERMIT THRUSH that was seen twice in December at precisely the same location on Atkins Lane.   One of that species wintered half a kilometre from there last year, but conditions this winter have been more challenging for birds seeking to survive (to put it anything but mildly).  AMERICAN ROBINS and CEDAR WAXWINGS have been frequenting the calf pasture and neighbouring areas.  A SONG SPARROW and a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW have been at 186 and 83 Bayshore Road, respectively, and a COMMON GRACKLE at the latter address. 

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 exercise extreme caution. The entire approach to the island is covered with glare ice, and footing is dangerous.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: HELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.  

Fred Helleiner