Water birds are by far the most plentiful birds at Presqu'ile Provincial Park these days, but the numbers since last weekend's storm (which caused the postponement of the Christmas Bird Count) are in stark contrast to the numbers that were present before that. On the other hand, land birds have settled in to their winter territories for the most part and are now fairly predictable, regardless of the weather.
Only a single Canada Goose remains in Presqu'ile Bay, the first in six days. Mute Swan numbers are approaching 300. As many as 30 Tundra Swans and one Trumpeter Swan have also been there this week. The two Ring-necked Ducks and the White-winged Scoter that were in Presqu'ile Bay up till last Friday have not been seen since. Three Harlequin Ducks have appeared in the past week, a male at the lighthouse last seen on December 14 and two females off Gull Island on December 20. An American Coot that has been at Salt Point for some time managed to survive the storm and the subsequent freezing of the bay and was still there on December 20. One or two Iceland Gulls appeared in Presqu'ile Bay when Herring Gulls gathered on the ice of the bay.
Bald Eagles, both adult and immature, have become regular around Presqu'ile Bay, one of the immatures perhaps being the basis of a report of a putative Golden Eagle. Both Sharp-shinned Hawk and Cooper's Hawk were located in the past week. A Barred Owl was found in the Hidden Valley campground. Surprisingly, not a single Snowy Owl has been seen at Presqu'ile this winter.
A Horned Lark was found on Gull Island on December 18. Carolina Wrens are visiting feeders at 85 and 115 Bayshore Road (probably the same bird) and at 186 Bayshore Road (likely a different bird). A Golden-crowned Kinglet at Salt Point on December 17 was far from the coniferous woods where they are known to spend the winters. A Song Sparrow and two White-throated Sparrows were at the feeder at 83 Bayshore Road, at least until the storm covered most of the seeds on the ground with snow. A flock of 25 or more Snow Buntings was on Gull Island on December 18. Two Rusty Blackbirds put in a brief appearance at a feeder late last week. Five Common Grackles are moving around from hour to hour from one Bayshore Road feeder to another, as are Common Redpolls, now the commonest finch at Presqu'ile.
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 no longer an island, the connection to the mainland having been established several months ago. The surrounding shoreline can be very slippery.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.