The first of the two consecutive Waterfowl Festival weekends at Presqu'ile Provincial Park provided many observers the opportunity to see about twenty species of water birds under cool but otherwise pleasant conditions. The cool weather has persisted since then, putting a temporary halt to the spring migration, but the wind has shifted to the south-west as this report is being written, offering the promise of an influx of migrants overnight.
On March 15 and 16, there was a Pied-billed Grebe at the calf pasture, and Horned Grebes can be expected next in that part of the Park. There are increasing numbers of dabbling ducks appearing, as the ice melts farther into the bay. Gadwalls, American Wigeons, Northern Pintails, and a Green-winged Teal have all been seen at the calf pasture since March 15. Among the diving ducks, Ring-necked Ducks, White-winged Scoters (up to five, near the lighthouse), and all three species of mergansers have been seen regularly. Hooded Mergansers, in particular, are in good numbers at the calf pasture today (March 18). There are, of course, thousands of other diving ducks in Presqu'ile Bay. Depending on the wind direction, the majority may or may not be within easy viewing distance of the viewing station at the calf pasture, but there are always enough close in to satisfy anyone hoping to obtain good views.
An adult Bald Eagle was seen by a number of observers around Presqu'ile Bay on March 16 and 17, renewing hopes that the species may be nesting nearby.
American Coots have been seen on most days between Langdon Avenue and the calf pasture.
Most of the land birds being seen at Presqu'ile during the past week are the same ones that have been present through most of the winter, including two Brown Creepers and two Song Sparrows at 186 Bayshore Road, but the flock of Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles between Langdon Avenue and Salt Point contains far more individuals than it did a week ago. A Pine Siskin at 83 Bayshore Road on March 18 is apparently a new arrival.
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 at this time of year to prevent disturbance to the colonial nesting birds there.