Presqu’ile Bird Report for 29 Mar – 4 Apr 2019
HIGHLIGHTS: BLACK SCOTER, RUDDY DUCK, RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, LONG-EARED OWL, BROWN THRASHER
The cool weather and northerly winds have kept migration somewhat at bay but new birds continue to trickle in in spite of opposing winds. The ice is now gone from the bays and marsh and waterfowl have scattered, mostly heading for the north side of Presqu’ile Bay where they can be best viewed from Gosport in the south end of Brighton.
Most of the expected waterfowl are present, with several species being seen in large numbers. Two TUNDRA SWANS flew past the gate on 2 Apr. Puddle ducks have scattered but some big groupings are being found in flooded fields near the base of Huff Rd just outside the park. On 2 Apr a flock of 88 NORTHERN PINTAIL was seen here. REDHEAD and GREATER SCAUP remain the most common ducks with up to 5000 of each, often very close to shore, at Gosport. Quite early was a BLACK SCOTER seen on 29 Mar. Up to 15 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS can often be seen off the Lighthouse. Another good find was 6 RUDDY DUCKS on 29 Mar.
The first COMMON LOON was seen on 29 Mar and has been regular in small numbers since. PIED-BILLED and HORNED GREBES were reported in small numbers throughout the week. DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS have been seen throughout the week in small numbers. The first AMERICAN BITTERN was noted on 3 Apr. GREAT BLUE HERONS have also returned with one on 29 Mar with more as the week went on. Raptors picked up a bit with a slightly early OSPREY checking out a nest in Presqu’ile Bay on 30 Mar. A few BALD EAGLES continue to frequent Presqu’ile Bay through the week. The resident NORTHERN HARRIERS have returned. Two SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS were seen on 29 Mar. A rare spring sighting of a sub-adult RED-SHOULDERED HAWK on 31 Mar was a treat just outside the park on Huff Rd. AMERICAN COOTS have been strangely scarce with the first report being one on 29 Mar and only a few since.
KILLDEER and AMERICAN WOODCOCK remain the only shorebirds reported to date. BARRED OWLS continue to be seen at various sites but not as frequently, suggesting some of the wintering birds (as opposed to resident breeders) may have left. A rarely seen treat was the LONG-EARED OWL that flew right past the observers at dusk on the Marsh Boardwalk Trail on 29 Mar. The first migrant BELTED KINGFISHER was noted on 4 Apr. Woodpeckers are becoming more obvious as they drum. NORTHERN FLICKERS, while present, remain scarce but should explode when the weather pops. An AMERICAN KESTERL was at the gate on 2 Apr and MERLINS were seen at multiple sites throughout the week. The NORTHERN SHRIKE that was singing behind the Birdhouse Nature Store last week remained until 30 Mar. No TREE SWALLOWS have been seen in the Park yet but two were on Huff Rd. on 31 Mar. BROWN CREEPERS have picked up with presumed migrants augmenting the wintering population as evidenced by sightings of 13 and 18 on 3 Apr by different observers. WINTER WRENS are starting to appear as well with singles on 31 Mar and 3 Apr. Like creepers, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS have become more obvious with suspected migrants joining the resident birds. EASTERN BLUEBIRDS have been seen several times checking out nest boxes at the Birdhouse Nature Store with 3 on 29 Mar and 2 the following two days. The wintering BROWN THRASHER is making infrequent visits to a Bayshore Rd feeder and was most recently reported on 4 Apr.
A slightly early FIELD SPARROW was singing on 2 Apr. The first FOX SPARROW was reported on 31 Mar. EASTERN MEADOWLARKS were seen on 29 and 31 Mar near the park gate. The only RUSTY BLACKBIRD report was of one by the gate on 2 Apr. Finches remain scarce. A small flock of up to 7 COMMON REDPOLLS frequented a Bayshore Rd feeder and was joined by 2 PINE SISKIN on 4 Apr.
Directions: Presqu’ile Provincial Park is located on the north shore of Lake Ontario, just south of the town of Brighton. It can be reached from either Hwy. 401, or Cty. Rd. 2 and is well signed. A Park map can be found in the information tabloid available at the Park gate. Presqu’ile’s two offshore islands – Gull and High Bluff – support a large multi-species colonial bird nesting area and access is not permitted during the breeding season (10 March-10 September).