In addition to the waterfowl that have been flooding into Presqu'ile Provincial Park for some time now (and which may be peaking during the next two weekends, which are the Waterfowl Viewing Festival), other birds have also finally begun to move into the Park, with a noticeable influx on the past weekend.
The expected arrival of dabbling ducks has not yet occurred, except for a few Mallards. However, Ring-necked Ducks and Hooded Mergansers first appeared on March 6 to join the thousands of Canvasbacks, Redheads, and Greater Scaup which have congregated in Presqu'ile Bay. About ten to fifteen thousand of the latter near the lighthouse as I look out over my computer may have arrived just this afternoon. Two White-winged Scoters were at Salt Point on March 7.
On March 7, when the wind shifted to the south, a small falcon came in off Lake Ontario, following the trajectory that migrant hawks normally take in spring.
The colony of Ring-billed Gulls on Gull Island has become a maelstrom of wings with accompanying noise. On March 5, an Iceland Gull was on the ice nearby. Two Snowy Owls have been present during the past week, one on the ice of Presqu'ile Bay and a much darker bird (presumably the same bird that has been present from time to time all winter) on Gull Island.
With patience one can still count on finding the Tufted Titmouse at the feeders at 186 Bayshore Road. On at least one sunny morning recently it was singing persistently not far away. On two mornings recently, single American Robins near the lighthouse behaved as migrants do when they first arrive there, unlike the wintering birds that are still around in some numbers. Although there have been up to three European Starlings on the Presqu'ile peninsula all winter, a few dozen arrived earlier this week and have since been making a nuisance of themselves at the feeders. Uncharacteristically, there have as yet been no reports of Red-winged Blackbirds or Common Grackles in the Park this year. With the current south-west wind, it seems more than likely that a few will arrive overnight. A small flock of Common Redpolls passed through the lighthouse area on March 5, and one or two have lingered since then.
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.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.