In a normal year, the many competent and aspiring birders who visit Presqu'ile Provincial Park during the annual Waterfowl Festival are able to find several newly returned spring birds in addition to the waterfowl. This year, however, persistent northerly winds, while keeping the winter storm well to the south where it belongs, have also almost completely stalled the bird migration. With a few exceptions, the only birds seen in the Park in the past week have been the same species that have been here for weeks. Once the dam breaks, as expected next week, there will surely be a massive influx of species that are normally here by mid-March, as well as perhaps some TREE SWALLOWS and EASTERN PHOEBES.
There are still hundreds of ducks in Presqu'ile Bay, often favouring the receding ice margin, but no new species were recorded. The HARLEQUIN DUCK that was present for a week was last seen on Saturday. RUFFED GROUSE were seen on two different days, and one was observed drumming. WILD TURKEYS continue to be seen regularly. The first AMERICAN WOODCOCK of the spring was flushed from a trail. This afternoon a "white-winged" gull, either ICELAND GULL or GLAUCOUS GULL, was soaring over Presqu'ile Bay. The only BALD EAGLE seen in the past week was on Saturday. COOPER'S HAWKS were seen twice. At least two SNOWY OWLS were present this week, including one that sat atop a vault toilet in plain view of passersby. BARRED OWLS have become almost a daily sighting.
RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS are putting in more frequent appearances, and one PILEATED WOODPECKER was seen. A MERLIN was seen on Friday, a NORTHERN SHRIKE on Sunday, and a COMMON RAVEN on Saturday. A male PURPLE FINCH was at a feeder on Monday.
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.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA. Regular readers of these weekly reports will note a change in next week's report.