With over 80 species of birds seen in Presqu'ile Provincial Park this year before the end of February, it seems likely that a target of 100 species by the end of March is within reach. Already this month three more have been added and the migration, while somewhat delayed, will surely bring in many more. Expect some to arrive with the southerly winds that are forecasted for Saturday through Monday.
The first new bird this month was CACKLING GOOSE, of which a pair was swimming towards the lighthouse with a pair of CANADA GEESE on March 1. At least one TRUMPETER SWAN has been consorting with the MUTE SWANS in Presqu'ile Bay. The first AMERICAN WIGEON of the year was near the edge of the ice in Presqu'ile Bay this morning. Other ducks of several species number in the thousands there. Whether they are within easy viewing distance at the time of the annual Waterfowl Viewing Weekend on March 16-17 will depend on whether the ice margin has retreated by then.
One or two BALD EAGLES were present on five of the past seven days. A COOPER'S HAWK made an unsuccessful pass at a large group of MOURNING DOVES yesterday. Twice this week a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was at High Bluff Island. Other raptors this week include a SNOWY OWL on the ice of Presqu'ile Bay and an EASTERN SCREECH-OWL at the corner of Bayshore Road and Langdon Lane. The latter, the first at Presqu'ile in many years, was heard in broad daylight giving five or six renditions of its distinctive whinnying call. A COMMON RAVEN was at the lighthouse and another was on High Bluff Island, chasing and being chased by the aforesaid ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK.
A WINTER WREN that flew out from under a boardwalk off Paxton Drive was likely the same bird that has been seen on previous occasions this winter within a few hundred metres of there. A SAVANNAH SPARROW continues to feed daily under the feeders at 186 Bayshore Road, as does a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW at the corner of Bayshore Road and Langdon Lane. With some trepidation, those with feeders are anticipating the imminent onslaught of voracious RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS and COMMON GRACKLES. In the meantime COMMON REDPOLLS and at least one HOARY REDPOLL are doing their best to empty the feeders. Again this month, three PINE GROSBEAKS were found by one lucky observer.
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. Access to the offshore islands is restricted from March 10 onward 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.