Once again, it has been shown that a concentrated effort by numerous birders, as on the recent Christmas Bird Count, reveals the presence of more birds at Presqu'ile Provincial Park than one would suspect from casual birding.
Between 400 and 500 MUTE SWANS as well as a few TRUMPETER SWANS and TUNDRA SWANS have been present in Presqu'ile Bay through much of the week. Most dabbling ducks have left but an AMERICAN WIGEON was found on Sunday. In contrast, a good variety of diving ducks is present, including REDHEADS, a RING-NECKED DUCK, WHITE-WINGED and BLACK SCOTERS, a HOODED MERGANSER, and a late RUDDY DUCK on December 21. Up to four AMERICAN COOTS have also accompanied some of the ducks that feed at the edge of the ice off the government dock. On Sunday, a long-staying DUNLIN with an injured leg and a PURPLE SANDPIPER were on Gull Tombolo. Three BONAPARTE'S GULLS were seen on Tuesday. Both ICELAND GULL and GLAUCOUS GULL have been seen. A few BALD EAGLES have been feeding on the ice of Presqu'ile Bay, including four adults this afternoon. There have been a few sightings of NORTHERN HARRIERS, ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS, and SNOWY OWLS, as well as one GREAT HORNED OWL.
RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS have been scarce at Presqu'ile this season, unlike other places near and far, but one was found on the Christmas Bird Count. A NORTHERN FLICKER was near the Park entrance on Monday. On Friday a PEREGRINE FALCON was one of several species feeding off a dead bird on the ice of Presqu'ile Bay. A surprising count of 37 HORNED LARKS on Gull Tombolo was made on Sunday. On Saturday two observers found a WINTER WREN at 94 Bayshore Road. An AMERICAN PIPIT and about 90 SNOW BUNTINGS were on Gull Tombolo on Sunday. A SAVANNAH SPARROW with no tail has been a regular visitor to the feeders at 186 Bayshore Road, a late SWAMP SPARROW was on Gull Tombolo on Sunday, and WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS have been at 83 Bayshore Road (3) and at 30 Bayshore Road (1). Although the days are getting longer (has anyone noticed?), now that winter has begun, other sparrows and blackbirds may be converging on 83 Bayshore Road, where there are about 30 RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS, or other places where there are feeders.
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 Tombolo may encounter a slippery coating of ice on the rocks. Ice cleats are recommended.
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.