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Presqu’ile Bird Report for 13-19 March 2020

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Ontario Government has closed all Provincial Parks as part of the response to Covid-19.  This includes day use facilities such as trails so there will be no further reports until the Park opens.  Unusual birds seen in the general area will be posted to Ontbirds as usual.

There has again been very little coverage in the Park so sightings are limited.

The ice is now out of Presqu’ile Bay so most ducks are either rafting in the middle of the Bay or scattered along shoreline edges and in the marsh.  For most of the week the best viewing has been from the small “parkette” along Harbour St. just outside the park, especially in evening light.  No unusual waterfowl have been reported but most species have now returned.  There are about 3000 diving ducks in the Bay with the bulk being REDHEAD.  Smaller numbers of both SCAUP, CANVASBACK, and RING-NECKED DUCK are mixed in.  A high count of 55 AMERICAN WIGEON was reported on 15 Mar, almost all feeding in the REDHEAD flocks.

RING-NECKED PHEASANT – a belated report from about 9 March was of a male was seen crossing Paxton Rd on.  This is the first record of a live pheasant (they wash up dead on the beach annually, probably from releases on Nicholson Is. next door in Prince Edward County) in the Park in decades. It almost certainly originates from captive stock. 

PIED-BILLED GREBE – the first was seen on 16 Mar.

BALD EAGLE – one was seen on 16 Mar. They are now harder to find since ice-out.

MERLIN – the only report was one over the gate on 18 Mar.

KILLDEER – The first was one on 16 Mar.

AMERICAN WOODCOCK – Twelve were heard displaying between Beach 2 and the Marsh Boardwalk on the evening of Mar 15.

ICELAND GULL – a first winter bird was seen on the Beach on Mar14 Mar.

COMMON RAVEN – Ravens are now regular but five on 16 Mar was a good count.

HORNED LARK – Two were seen flying over Popham Bay on 14 Mar.

WINTER WREN – One was seen on 14 Mar along the Owen Pt. trail, possibly the same on seen there about 6 weeks ago.

RUSTY BLACKBIRD – one was seen at the Birdhouse Nature Store by the gate on 15 Mar.

BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD – One was at a feeder on 14 Mar.

PURPLE FINCH – several were reported this week from Bayshore Rd. Feeders indicating some movement back into the area.

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).