Almost all of the birds seen at Presqu'ile Provincial Park in the past week were also seen the week before and were duly reported a week ago. The implication is not that birding has slowed down for the winter, but that there are still plenty of interesting birds around for those who go looking for them. Indeed a good many birders (more than usual for mid-winter) have done just that this week, with varying success.
Again this week, plenty of swans are in Presqu'ile Bay, including one Trumpeter Swan and 12 Tundra Swans on January 16. The first Gadwall of the season appeared on January 11 and the first American Wigeon on January 17, both at Gull Island. Although these dates are very early for spring migrants, they are not entirely unexpected, given the recent weather conditions and the amount of open water in the area. Will Green-winged Teal be next? Canvasbacks, Redheads, and a few Ring-necked Ducks reward birders who are prepared to scan carefully the thousands of ducks off the calf pasture and the government dock. The anticipated cold weather will likely cause Presqu'ile Bay to freeze over again, as it did on one day this week, but as soon as a wind change creates open water again, the flocks return by the thousands. A Harlequin Duck and a Barrow's Goldeneye were seen at least three times in the past week around Gull Island, most recently on January 14. Whether the latter, a male, is the same individual that was around the lighthouse until January 8 is a possibility. A female Black Scoter was at Gull Island on January 13. The most recent sighting of the American Coot in Presqu'ile Bay was on January 12, before the bay froze over.
Only one Bald Eagle sighting was reported in the past week. Both Sharp-shinned Hawk and Cooper's Hawk were seen near the east end of Bayshore Road. A Glaucous Gull flew over today near the Park gate. Barred Owls were seen at two widely separated parts of the Park on January 12. A Northern Shrike was at Gull Island on that date.
Feeder birds have included a Carolina Wren at 186 and 187 Bayshore Road, Song Sparrow and White-throated Sparrow at 83 Bayshore Road, and Common Grackle at 83 and 186 Bayshore Road. Cedar Waxwings and Bohemian Waxwings were found near the lighthouse and just outside the Park gate.
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.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.