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Birding Report

There was one day this week when another wave of newly arriving ducks appeared at Presqu'ile Provincial Park. Because of almost continuous ice cover on much of Presqu'ile Bay, there is a delay in the return of the masses. Other spring migrants are slow to appear, compared to some years, when even AMERICAN WOODCOCKS have been back by this date.

On March 1, three TRUMPETER and two TUNDRA SWANS were in Presqu'ile Bay, and the latter were still there today. Among the thousands of ducks that arrived on the first two days of the month were three GADWALLS, five RING-NECKED DUCKS, and two HOODED MERGANSERS. The BARROW'S GOLDENEYE at the lighthouse remained out of sight on March 1 for the first time since early February but was seen again yesterday and today.

The hybrid duck discovered there on January 25 was seen again on February 26, for the first time since February 11.

A BALD EAGLE was sitting on High Bluff Island on March 1. The only other raptor seen in the past week was a PEREGRINE FALCON, likely the same bird that has been around through much of the winter, that was seen again on two days this week. RING-BILLED GULLS by the tens of thousands were all over Gull Island and the surrounding ice on March 1.

A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER is visiting a feeder at 40 Bayshore Road (not visible from the road) on most days. A COMMON RAVEN heard on March 1 has led to speculation that the species might nest in the Park again this year. The first HORNED LARK of the season flew from Owen Point to Gull Island on March 1, accompanied by a small flock of SNOW BUNTINGS.

CAROLINA WREN sightings occur at the rate of at least one a day at 186 Bayshore Road. COMMON REDPOLL numbers appear to have peaked on the weekend, during which a HOARY REDPOLL was seen at least twice.

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. Access to the offshore islands is restricted after March 9 to prevent disturbance to the colonial nesting birds there. 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