Pre-occupation with other seasonal activities has meant that very few birders have been active in Presqu'ile Provincial Park during the past week. Nevertheless, a few interesting birds have been spotted, mostly in or around the water, which remains atypically totally unfrozen, even in the marsh.
A few Redheads have been accompanying an unseasonably large flock of Greater Scaup off Gull Island, and a few have also been in Presqu'ile Bay. Four probable Ring-necked Ducks and a Lesser Scaup flew over the bay on December 28. The Harlequin Duck at the west end of High Bluff campground has been seen each time anyone has gone looking for it, according to my information. Several dozen White-winged Scoters are apparently going to spend the winter off the lighthouse. Red-breasted Mergansers, usually scarce at this time of year, are easy to find off Owen Point and elsewhere. The 20 American Coots off 38 Bayshore Road will likely stay until the bay freezes over (if that ever happens again!). Another species that is usually gone long before this date is Bonaparte's Gull, of which at least one is still present over Presqu'ile Bay.
A Northern Shrike can often be found around the calf pasture. American Robins are also there from time to time, but move around in adjacent areas. Snow Buntings are usually present on Gull Island. Up to five Common Grackles are wintering at 83 Bayshore Road.
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. Gull Island is once again an island, the connection to the mainland having been severed during a recent storm. Visitors to Gull Island should be prepared to wade through knee-deep water in which there is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven. Hip waders are essential, even when the water is calm, and are inadequate when the water is rough. The surrounding shoreline can be very slippery.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.