The return of winter conditions to Presqu'ile Provincial Park has limited the amount of day-to-day change in bird life as well as the amount of birder activity. On the bright side, the return of ice cover to much of Presqu'ile Bay bodes well for the annual Waterfowl Viewing Weekend scheduled for March 25-26, as ducks have so far shown no sign of thinning out as seemed likely only a week or two ago.
No dabbling ducks were reported in the Park once the marsh froze over, but two WOOD DUCKS were able to find a patch of open water just outside the Park on Monday and one was still there on Tuesday, along with a RING-NECKED DUCK. In addition to the thousands of diving ducks of about eight species that have been present for the past few weeks, one female SURF SCOTER and three WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS were seen on March 11 and 13, respectively. Three and four HOODED MERGANSERS were also seen on those days. Other water birds such as loons, grebes, and cormorants will have to wait for the arrival of southerly winds, which are expected on a few of the coming days.
It seems unlikely that most of the AMERICAN WOODCOCKS that arrived in late February will have survived the recent unseasonably cold weather, but one was seen as recently as March 14. On both Sunday and Monday three BALD EAGLES were seen, but no more were reported until this afternoon, when a single adult flew past the lighthouse. A BARRED OWL was the only other raptor seen. Even on the coldest days, the drumming of woodpeckers resounded through the woods.
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.
Birders are encouraged to record their observations on the bird sightings board provided near the campground office by The Friends of Presqu'ile Parkand 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