HIGHLIGHTS: TUNDRA SWAN, ICELAND GULL, BELTED KINGFISHER, BROWN THRASHER
There was some light at the end of the winter tunnel this week with a few new arrivals noted plus several species bursting into song in response to longer days! Waterfowl numbers and diversity increased a little as well with the mid week warm-up.
Waterfowl picked up this week with most new birds being found in Presqu’ile Bay off Calf Pasture and the Government dock. All three swans were seen with up to six TUNDRA and TRUMPETER on 5 and 4 Feb respectively. One of the TRUMPETER’S (K29) is a tagged individual that had been wintering at the Barcovan channel, about 5 km east of the Presqu’ile lighthouse. A female MALLARD on 5 Feb was the first in weeks. CANVASBACK and REDHEAD joined the flock of up to 600 GREATER SCAUP with high counts of 9 and 75 on 4 and 5 Feb respectively. A high count of 14 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS was made on 5 Feb indicating some new arrivals. Three COMMON MERGANSER were also noted mid-week.
BALD EAGLES have picked up with at least 3 imm. and one adult on 5 Feb. A NORTHERN HARRIER – the first in weeks – was seen on Gull Is. on 1 Feb. Single RED-TAILED HAWKS were reported on 2 and 5 Feb. The first RING-BILLED GULLS of the year arrived on 4 Feb when 5 were spotted among HERRING GULLS. An adult ICELAND GULL was seen on 2 Feb followed by 2 on 5 Feb. A few GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS were seen mixed in with the HERRING GULL flock loafing on Presqu’ile Bay. SNOWY and BARRED OWLS continue to be seen periodically.
Unexpected was a BELTED KINGFISHER – the first since the CBC - seen at Salt Pt. on 4 Feb. A sign of spring was a PILEATED WOODPECKER heard drumming on 7 Feb. Migrant AMERICAN CROWS arrived this week with 1 on 1 Feb and 3 more on 4 Feb. The overwintering BROWN THRASHER was seen most days at a Bayshore Rd feeder. EUROPEAN STARLINGS have returned to the Park with small numbers of birds being seen most days. A flock of 35 SNOW BUNTINGS was found on Gull Is. on 1 Feb. The overwintering WHITE-THROATED SPARROW burst into song this week as did the first NORTHERN CARDINAL on 1 Feb. Spring is coming.
Directions: Presqu’ile Provincial Park is located on the north shore of Lake Ontario, just south of the town of Brighton. It can be reached from either Hwy. 401, or Cty. Rd. 2 and is well signed. A Park map can be found in the information tabloid available at the Park gate. Presqu’ile’s two offshore islands – Gull and High Bluff – support a large multi-species colonial bird nesting area and access is not permitted during the breeding season (10 March-10 September).