As January draws to a close, it is worth noting that 65 species of birds have appeared in Presqu'ile Provincial Park during the month, a respectable total for such a small area. That total does not include species like Rock Pigeon and House Sparrow, which are considered common elsewhere in the area. Most of those 65 birds are still present and can be found with a bit of searching and a bit of luck.
Fully one-third of the species seen here in January were waterfowl, and most of them were seen during the past week. A Trumpeter Swan, is among them, having made its fourth appearance of the month a few days ago. Tundra Swans can be found almost every day among the hundreds of Mute Swans. A few Canvasbacks and a few dozen Redheads are also reliable. The lone American Coot in Presqu'ile Bay has not been seen since January 26.
Four species of raptors were found in the past week. An adult Bald Eagle has been frequenting Presqu'ile Bay fairly regularly. A male Northern Harrier flew towards the lighthouse before turning back and heading up the peninsula. A Cooper's Hawk was seen on the main road near the beach 3 turn-off. Those participating in the Park-sponsored winter soup hike were treated to a view of a Barred Owl.
Two Brown Creepers were near the lighthouse on January 28. The resident Carolina Wren at 186 Bayshore Road has endeared itself to many observers by repeatedly staying uncharacteristically in plain view for as much as a minute or more at a time. Two American Robins were spotted on Paxton Drive. The Song Sparrow at 83 Bayshore Road put in an appearance earlier in the week. There is still a Common Grackle visiting the feeder at 186 Bayshore Road. Ten Pine Grosbeaks were in the south-west corner of the calf pasture on January 29. Common Redpolls have showed up infrequently this week at the feeders at 186 Bayshore Road, but among them on two occasions was a Hoary Redpoll (perhaps two). It is difficult to say when the spring land bird migration will get under way, so much depending on the weather, but the re-appearance of the latter two species after a week or two with very few gives us hope that other finches, perhaps Pine Siskins or Evening Grosbeaks, may again be showing up soon.
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.