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Birding Report While winter persists meteorologically at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, the gradually increasing photoperiod appears to have stimulated some bird behaviour that is normally associated with February or later, while birders continue to anticipate the inevitable, but overdue, mid-winter thaw. Meanwhile, the outer half of Presqu'ile Bay alternates between being totally frozen (when the wind is from the east) and being almost ice-free (when it is from the west).
Before the bay froze over, the flock of Mute Swans numbered well over 100. Since then, only two or three dozen have returned. No dabbling ducks have been seen in the Park for over a week. However, a few Greater Scaup have been trickling in during the past three days, one on January 27, three on the 28th, and about eight on the 29th. Two White-winged Scoters found a bit of open water near the lighthouse at the peak of this week's storm, when most of the other ducks were out of sight in the blowing snow. The courtship display of the male Common Goldeneyes in recent days gives hope that there will indeed be a spring.
At least two immature Bald Eagles have been patrolling the shores and waters of the Presqu'ile peninsula, occasionally resting on the ice of the bay.
The drumming of Downy Woodpeckers on several recent mornings has been a welcome sound of spring, one of very few as yet. A Northern Shrike was seen in the vicinity of one of the Park's two active bird feeders on January 26. Although flocks of American Robins can be found here and there in the Park, generally where there is buckthorn, a much more unusual sighting on January 28 was of a single misguided bird flying along the shore near the lighthouse, an area that is generally regarded as a migrant trap and seldom harbours any land birds in mid-winter. Two each of Song Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncoes, and Common Grackles are regularly patronizing feeders towards the end of Bayshore Road. A lone Common Redpoll briefly visited the feeder at 186 Bayshore Road, where American Goldfinches appear every day, but the only other finches anywhere near Presqu'ile were several Evening Grosbeaks at Goodrich-Loomis Conservation Area, north of Brighton.
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. Although the channel separating Gull Island from Owen Point appears to be frozen over, the thickness of the ice is probably unreliable because of the underlying currents.