HIGHLIGHTS: CACKLING GOOSE, RUDDY DUCK, RED-NECKED GREBE, BONAPARTE’S GULL, PEREGRINE FALCON, BROWN THRASHER
Like last week, waterfowl was the big story with a smattering of other interesting finds and new arrivals.
Two CACKLING GEESE were reported on 17 Mar and another was seen on Huff Rd., just NW of the park gate. Two TRUMPETER SWANS were noted on 17 Mar. Also among the hoards of MUTE SWANS were two TUNDRA SWAN on 20 Mar. New arrivals in the duck department were an early BLUE-WINGED TEAL on 15 Mar and a RUDDY DUCK on 16 Mar. Some high counts were also noted this week including 90 AMERICAN WIGEON, 40 GADWALL and 160 NORTHERN PINTAIL all on 20 Mar. LESSER SCAUP have also picked up with 150 noted among the much more common GREATER SCAUP on 20 Mar. REDHEAD is now the most common diving duck in Presqu’ile Bay with 5000 estimated on 20 Mar.
Three species of grebe were reported this week. A single RED-NECKED GREBE was off the Lighthouse on 20 Mar and a single HORNED GEREBE on 20 Mar joined the handful of PIED-BILLED GREBES that arrived last week. BALD EAGLES frequented the Bay all week. Other raptors included a NORTHERN HARRIER on 16 Mar and a COOPER’S HAWK on 15 Mar. Our second shorebird of 2019 – AMERICAN WOODCOCK - was first seen on 15 Mar and again on following days. The only gull of interest was a somewhat early BONAPARTE’S GULL that flew past the lighthouse on 20 Mar. BARRED OWLS were once again seen at various sites.
A NORTHERN FLICKER on 19 Mar was the first of the year. Two falcons were seen this week: a MERLIN on 17 Mar and a PEREGRINE FALCON that dined on a MALLARD along the causeway on 16 Mar and seen by many. The NORTHERN SHRIKE that has been frequenting the Calf Pasture field for a few weeks was seen again on 17 and 20 Mar. Three HORNED LARK were reported on 20 Mar. EASTERN BLUEBIRDS were seen several times with one on 16 Mar and 2 on 17 and 18 Mar at the gate, and two at Calf Pasture on 20 Mar. The overwintering BROWN THRASHER started singing on 19 Mar. CEDAR WAXWINGS, which have been almost absent this winter, were reported several times with 8 on 15 Mar, 3 on 16 Mar and 35 on 19 Mar.
Single WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS were reported on 17 Mar and 19 Mar. Blackbird numbers continue to build and the first RUSTY BLACKBIRDS of spring were seen on 17 Mar when two were at the Camp Office feeder. A flock of 4 PINE GROSBEAKS was noted at Calf Pasture on 17 Mar. Small numbers of COMMON REDPOLLS visited Bayshore Rd feeders but a flock of 150 on Huff Rd on 17 Mar was noteworthy. Single PINE SISKINS were seen at Bayshore Rd feeders on 18 and 21 Mar.
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).