Very few bird reports from Presqu'ile Provincial Park have come to my attention this week, perhaps because most birders have been wisely hibernating or otherwise occupied in traditional December activities. Only one sighting has brought local birders to come running.
With much of Presqu'ile Bay frozen over, waterfowl that remain are typical winter species. On Saturday four REDHEADS were still present and a female KING EIDER spent much of that day near the lighthouse. Three WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS were in Presqu'ile Bay on Sunday. The flock of WILD TURKEYS that has spent much of the fall at the west end of the calf pasture near Lilac Lane contained 17 individuals when counted on Sunday. Near the lighthouse a HORNED GREBE was seen on Friday and a late DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT on Saturday. Eleven SANDHILL CRANES flew over on December 11, a record late date for Presqu'ile. No unusual gulls have been sighted but the forthcoming Christmas Bird Count that will take place on Sunday may change that. On two previous iterations of that annual event single IVORY GULLS have shown up. A juvenile COOPER'S HAWK was seen hunting and catching a red squirrel today. Birders who ventured out to Gull Island today saw three ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS. SNOWY OWLS are still on the offshore islands and on the beach but in much reduced numbers. A single one of that species has been on the Salt Point lighthouse and the surrounding properties fairly regularly and another was seen elsewhere today. A BARRED OWL was seen on Monday.
Small flocks of AMERICAN ROBINS have been in various parts of the Park right up to the end of last week, but the first significant snowfall of the season brought an estimated 60 of them out into the open in the calf pasture. RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS and COMMON GRACKLES have been lingering at feeders on Bayshore Road.
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 not using a boat should be prepared to wade through water that is knee-deep when it is absolutely calm; this does not take into account any wave action. There is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven and slippery. Given recent low temperatures, the shorelines are also likely to be ice-covered. It should also be noted that, because duck hunting is given priority this Saturday, Owen Point, Gull Tombolo, High Bluff Island, and part of the calf pasture are not available for bird-watching on that day. 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 .