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Birding Report

Despite the extreme cold of the past few days, which has limited, but not eliminated, the amount of birding activity at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, there is an increasing amount of bird song from a few species, and some movement has occurred among birds that have been sedentary for weeks.

This morning there were at least two TRUMPETER SWANS and several TUNDRA SWANS off Salt Point. REDHEADS have re-appeared today for the first time in almost a week, but not yet in the numbers that can soon be expected. Three WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS were off Salt Point today. During the extreme cold weather, fog rising over the small areas of open water made it impossible to see the male BARROW'S GOLDENEYE at the lighthouse, but it has been easily visible both yesterday and today. An interesting hybrid duck discovered at the lighthouse on January 25 has been present on both days since then. It has obvious HOODED MERGANSER genes, but the other part of its heritage is in dispute, some saying that its parentage is BARROW'S GOLDENEYE while others attribute it to COMMON GOLDENEYE.

According to one source, the breeding range of the latter overlaps that of the HOODED MERGANSER while that of the former does not.

On several days this week one or two BALD EAGLES have been within a kilometre of the lighthouse. A fly-by ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was the only other diurnal raptor seen this week. There have been at least four BARRED OWL sightings in the past week. On January 26 a NORTHERN FLICKER was at the feeder at the group campground parking lot. Two NORTHERN SHRIKES were spotted on January 21. It may seem premature to be on the lookout for newly returned HORNED LARKS, but in previous years early migrants of that species have occurred in late January and early February, but the long-range forecast is not promising. I am not aware of any recent sightings of the BOREAL CHICKADEE that was present around the middle of the month, but that may be a function of limited birder activity combined with the bird's secretive habits. The CAROLINA WREN is making more frequent appearances at the feeders at 186 Bayshore Road. The RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD flock visiting feeders between 83 and 102 Bayshore Road has grown to about ten birds and has been augmented by a COMMON GRACKLE on January 25 and two BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS. A PINE SISKIN was among the AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES at 186 Bayshore Road on January 23.

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. The narrow channel between Owen Point and Gull Island is now ice-covered most of the time, but the ice, while appearing to be thick, might not support the weight of a human.

However, the water beneath the crust, if there is any, is only ankle-deep. The surrounding shoreline can be very slippery. Birders are encouraged to record their observations on the bird sightings board provided near the campground office by The Friends of Presqu'ile Park and to fill out a rare bird report for species not listed there.

Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.


Fred Helleiner