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Presqu'ile Birding Report 8-14 Nov 2019


There was a significant difference in birdlife between the start of the period and the end thanks to a deep freeze/snow event that hit on 11-12 Nov.  The marsh is mostly frozen, ponds are frozen, and there is 10+ cm of snow on the ground.  It looks and feels more like January than mid November. Coverage was limited this week as well.

Two TRUMPETER SWANS were with a lone TUNDRA SWAN on 10 Nov. Two more TUNDRA SWANS were seen the next day.  Three WOOD DUCKS were at Calf Pasture Cove on 13 Nov.  The only other waterfowl of note was a SURF SCOTER off the Lighthouse on 9 Nov.  A PIED-BILLED GREBE on 11 Nov was the last report.  Single DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS were noted on 11, 12 and 14 Nov.

BALD EAGLES were seen more frequently this week with some birds clearly migrating and others hanging around the shoreline.  One imm. on 11 Nov, two (1 ad., 1 imm) seen on 12 Nov, at least 3 imm. passing the gate on 13 Nov. Another distant eagle passing the gate on 8 Nov was suspected of being a GOLDEN but was too far to be certain.  A single RED-SHOULDERED HAWK passed the gate with 20 RED-TAILED HAWK on 8 Nov in just 30 minutes.

The twenty plus AMERICAN COOTS that were in the marsh at the start of the week have relocated to the inner bay in response to the freezing of the marsh.  A few shorebirds were still around at the start of the period but sadly there has been no coverage of Gull Is. again this week or on the beach since the storm when access to the parking areas was closed.  Hopefully Beach 1 will open again when the snow melts.  Two BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER on 9 Nov is the last report for that species and a late KILLDEER was on the beach on 11 Nov.  A late PECTORAL SANDPIPER was on the Beach on 11 Nov.  DUNLIN and SANDERLING were on the beach in small numbers till 11 Nov when 13 and 5 were seen respectively.

An adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL with pink legs was photographed on the Beach on 8 and 9 Nov.  EASTERN PHOEBES were seen regularly until the cold hit. Two seen on 12 Nov were the last reports.  Two HORNED LARKS were on the beach on 11 Nov.  An EASTERN BLUEBIRD flew over the gate on 12 Nov and five were in Calf Pasture the next day. Two HERMIT THRUSHES on 11 Nov and one the next day were the last reported.

EUROPEAN STARLINGS remain common during dawn and dusk flights with 1000 in trees around the Birdhouse Nature Store on 12 Nov.  Five AMERICAN PIPITS dropped down into bushes along the main road at Beach 2 in the height of the snowstorm on 11 Nov.  A single SNOW BUNTING flew over the gate on 12 Nov.  A YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER came to a Bayshore Rd feeder from 11 to 13 Nov but was believed to have been killed by a COOPER’S HAWK CHIPPING SPARROWS appeared at one Bayshore Rd. feeder starting on 11 Nov and another came to the Camp Office feeder on 13 Nov.  A FIELD SPARROW was at Calf Pasture on 8 Nov.  A FOX SPARROW was in the Pioneer Parking Area (between the east and west picnic areas) on 13 Nov. A few SONG and WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS were also reported through the week with the more common AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS and DARK-EYED JUNCOS.

RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS were reported through the week, with most sightings by weeks’ end being from feeders.  A RUSTY BLACKBIRD was with other blackbirds at the Birdhouse Nature Store on 13 Nov.  A small number of COMMON GRACKLES were also at area feeders through the week.  Two BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS at a Bayshore Rd. feeder on 13 Nov were the first in weeks. Finches are almost non-existent with only a small number of AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES and a few HOUSE FINCHS around.