HIGHLIGHTS: PEREGRINE FALCON, CAROLINA WREN, BROWN THRASHER
There was limited coverage this week but a number of new arrivals were seen and waterfowl numbers appear to be near peak with thousands of diving ducks in Presqu’ile Bay. The Marsh had started to open by weeks’ end but Popham Bay – off the beach – is still a broad mass of ice.
The full compliment of expected ducks was reported this week. Less common species included three TUNDRA SWAN on 24 Mar. Puddle ducks are mostly along the ice-edge and increasing numbers can be found in the flooded field at the south end of Huff Rd., just NW of the Park gate. Both REDHEAD and GREATER SCAUP are present in the thousands in Presqu’ile Bay with dozens to hundreds of many other species mixed in.
The first drumming RUFFED GROUSE was heard on 27 Mar. The first DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT was seen on 22 Mar and GREAT BLUE HERONS arrived on 28 Mar. BALD EAGLES were seen on and off through the week in Presqu’ile Bay. BARRED OWLS, some of which are likely winter visitors (as opposed to local nesting birds), continue to be seen at various sites. RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS were seen in increased numbers this week. Its not clear whether these are new migrants or resident birds becoming more vocal and conspicuous. A MERLIN flew past the gate on 25 Mar and a PEREGRINE FALCON was seen on 27 Mar.
Two EASTERN PHOEBES were just outside the park at the Harbour St. Parkette on 28 Mar. A NORTHERN SHRIKE has been frequenting the field behind the Birdhouse Nature Store by the Park gate since 24 Mar and is frequently singing. Imbedded within the song are clear imitations of Snow Bunting, House Sparrow, Tree Swallow and Eastern Bluebird. The first WINTER WREN of the spring was heard singing on 28 Mar. A CAROLINA WREN - likely the same one seen a few weeks ago - made a brief visit to a feeder on Bayshore Rd on 22 Mar.
A male EASTERN BLUEBIRD was seen at the Birdhouse Nature Store on 25 Mar. The overwintering BROWN THRASHER was seen through the week but is becoming much less regular at the feeder. Four CEDAR WAXWINGS – a species that has been unusually scarce this winter - were seen on 23 Mar. The first EASTERN MEADOWLARK was seen on Huff Rd., just outside the Park, on 28 Mar.
Ten COMMON REDPOLLS are still visiting one Bayshore Rd feeder and seven PINE SISKINS were also reported on 23 Mar. AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES are also increasing and starting to change into breeding plumage.
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).