OVERVIEW: In the two weeks covered by this report we seemed to have gone from dead of winter to the beginning of spring. Waterfowl and gulls are building up in numbers and offer chances to find unusual species in the mix. Landbirds are still pretty static but that should change as soon as a warm system arrives. Birding is about to get busy!
MUTE SWAN – While hundreds are massed in Presqu’ile Bay, 2 birds were seen flying low together over the frozen marsh on 19 Feb in what looked like territory prospecting behavior.
TRUMPETER SWAN – 1 on 20 Feb and 2 on 3 Mar were the only reports.
MALLARD – a pair on 25 Feb was only the second sighting of 2021.
REDHEAD – numbers are building with 1000 on 24 Feb, building to 3500 by 28 Feb.
GREATER SCAUP – Numbers of this species are also building with a high count of 2500 on 28 Feb.
LESSER SCAUP – 2 on 28 Feb were the only report.
RING-NECKED DUCK – 1 on 25 Feb may have been the bird wintering at nearby Barcovan, or potentially an early migrant.
WHITE-WINGED SCOTER – the small wintering flock has started to build with a high count of 11 on 3 Mar.
BARROW’S GOLDENEYE – although not in the Park, an immature male Barrow’s was photographed just east of here at the Barcovan channel on 28 Feb but it has not been relocated despite searches. It should also be looked for in Presqu’ile Bay.
HOODED MERGANSER x COMMON GOLDENEYE – this rare and striking hybrid was seen on 25 Feb. One was seen here several years ago, and a male has been wintering on the Trent River in Frankford for the past 3 winters.
GREAT BLUE HERON – although not in the Park, a Great Blue was seen standing on Huff Rd (just NW of park) by the railway tracks on 21 Feb. To my knowledge this is the first report since November, but more likely involves an undetected wintering bird than a migrant.
BALD EAGLE – several birds continue to frequent the Park, especially around Presqu’ile Bay.
COOPER’S HAWK – 1 was reported on 4 Mar.
SANDHILL CRANE – 5 birds were seen flying over Brighton (just north of Park) on 1 Mar.
LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL – an adult was picked out among the growing number of Ring-billed and Herring Gulls on 28 Feb.
NORTHREN SAW-WHET OWL – chickadees once again assisted birders in locating a roosting bird on 25 Feb.
NORTHERN FLICKER – a bird on 28 Feb was interesting since I know of no winter reports from the Park yet it seems too early to be a migrant.
MERLIN – 1 seen on 28 Feb was the only report.
WINTER WREN – singles on 25 Feb and 28 Feb were the only reports of this scarce winter bird.
EASTERN BLUEBIRD – 2 birds on 24 Feb just outside the Park on Huff Rd. did not winter at that site so have either moved from somewhere else nearby or possibly are early migrants.
WHITE-THROATED SPARROW – 1 at Owen Pt. on 20 Feb was the first report away from feeders in some time.
HOUSE SPARROW – 2 on 28 Feb was the first report in months for a species that seems to blink in and out of existence at Presqu’ile.
Directions: Presqu’ile Provincial Park is located south of Brighton on the north shore of Lake Ontario. It is well signed from either Hwy. 401 or Cty. Rd. 2.