Persistent cold weather has delayed the influx of early migrant birds that often occurs in mid-February. However, the westerly winds have cleared out much of the ice in Presqu'ile Bay, where a variety of waterfowl offers the nearest thing to a guarantee of good birding.
A TRUMPETER SWAN and about ten TUNDRA SWANS can be found in Presqu'ile Bay on some days. A few CANVASBACKS are also there, along with hundreds of REDHEADS. Singles of RING-NECKED DUCK, LESSER SCAUP and HOODED MERGANSER were found on February 15, with one RING-NECKED DUCK today. With the annual waterfowl festival barely three weeks away, one can expect the vanguard of dabbling ducks to appear soon. Single BALD EAGLES were seen on four consecutive days this week. A NORTHERN HARRIER flew past the lighthouse this morning. On February 15, both ICELAND and GLAUCOUS GULLS were on the ice of Presqu'ile Bay. A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER continues to put in appearances. On February 18, a PEREGRINE FALCON sat on a tree at Salt Point and made periodic forays out over the bay. A COMMON RAVEN flew over the bay last week.
A flock of CEDAR WAXWINGS was at the lighthouse on February 16. The SAVANNAH SPARROW reported last week continued to forage for the next two days on the windswept grass at 188 Bayshore Road before disappearing for two days. Three days ago, however, it discovered the feeders at 186 Bayshore Road and has been devouring the nyjer seed spilled by COMMON REDPOLLS every day since then, replacing the WHITE-THROATED SPARROW that disappeared over a week ago.
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. Visitors trudging to Gull "Island” need to exercise extreme caution as ice conditions may make for slippery walking: large, tilted blocks of ice are treacherous, especially when buried in snow. 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.