To no one's surprise, the spring-like weather of the past week has brought an influx of migrant birds to Presqu'ile Provincial Park. In fact, on February 27, even a somewhat lethargic woolly bear caterpillar was seen crawling across Bayshore Road, surely a record early date, if anyone keeps track of these things.
In the bird world, a Great Blue Heron was spotted from two different locations on March 3 as it flew past over Presqu'ile Bay. Waterfowl continue to be the focus of attention, with a few newly arrived species being among the ever-increasing numbers (20,000?). After an absence of over a week, American Wigeons have re-appeared and can be seen regularly from the new, wheelchair-accessible viewing platform at the calf pasture. Northern Pintails have also been seen from there this week. Canvasbacks and Redheads are there in the hundreds, as well as a few Ring-necked Ducks, especially between the government dock and the foot of Langdon Avenue. Lesser Scaups and all three species of mergansers have also been seen in that area this week, precursors of the 25 species of waterfowl that the Park's publicity suggests may be found during the two weekends of the Waterfowl Festival (March 13/14 and 20/21).
The latest sighting of a Bald Eagle in the Park, and the only one of the past week, occurred on February 29.
The first American Coot of the season appeared at the end of Langdon Avenue on the rather early date of March 3, and two birds were there on the following day.
Glaucous Gulls continue to spend part of the day, at least as recently as March 3, on the ice of Presqu'ile Bay. On March 4, conditions were too hazy to allow satisfactory views of either the gulls on the ice or the majority of the ducks.
This week, Red-winged Blackbirds have become commonplace sightings in the Park, with the first arrivals, a flock of 42, appearing on March 2. Common Grackles and Eastern Meadowlarks will certainly be arriving at Presqu'ile soon, especially if the mild weather and southerly winds persist.
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. In any case, after March 9, Gull Island will be off limits until September.