In terms of both weather and bird life, it has been like early spring at Presqu'ile Provincial Park until this morning. Birds have arrived back much earlier than usual and open water extends over much of the area that is normally frozen until at least mid-March.
A TRUMPETER SWAN was seen on February 28. TUNDRA SWANS are uncommon at Presqu'ile, but a flock of 42 flew over on February 26 and one was in Presqu'ile Bay on February 27. GADWALLS and AMERICAN WIGEONS have been present in good numbers this week. An interesting duck at the edge of the marsh had the markings of a male MALLARD on the front two-thirds of its body and those of a male NORTHERN PINTAIL on the rear one-third. Diving ducks, especially REDHEADS and GREATER SCAUP, are present by the thousands in Presqu'ile Bay. However, on some recent days they have been so far away from accessible parts of the shoreline that identification of species is difficult to impossible, even with a scope. On Monday and Tuesday, the female SURF SCOTER first seen a week ago was still off the Salt Point lighthouse, and the female BLACK SCOTER was there on Sunday and Monday.
A RUFFED GROUSE was found on Tuesday, and WILD TURKEYS continue to wander occasionally onto Bayshore Road. In a normal year, AMERICAN COOTS would be showing up when the ice begins to break up, but there have been no recent sightings yet. At least four AMERICAN WOODCOCKS were performing their ritual mating display in two different parts of the Park on the remarkably early date of February 27. Up until Tuesday, two or three BALD EAGLES could be seen almost every day. A PILEATED WOODPECKER was seen on Monday, and a MERLIN on Tuesday. Two COMMON RAVENS sitting shoulder to shoulder at the calf pasture were not the only ones seen in that area this week. Perhaps they will be nesting in the area, as they did once before in the Park. Three observers heard a bird singing in the marsh that, later in spring, would have been identified as a MARSH WREN, but they could not see the singer to confirm its identity. On the weekend, two PINE SISKINS were again visiting the feeders at 186 Bayshore Road. Single WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS were seen in two different parts of the Park, undoubtedly over-wintering individuals rather than migrants. RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS and COMMON GRACKLES are now widespread.
Locations within the Park are shown on a map at the back of a tabloidthat is available at the Park gate.
Visitors to Gull Island will have to wade through water more than a few centimetres deep on approach.
Birders are encouraged to record their observations on the bird sightings board provided near the campground office by The Friends of Presqu'ilePark 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.