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Presqu’ile Bird Report for 20-26 Dec 2019

There wasn’t much coverage this week so sightings are sparse.  Waterfowl picked up a bit with more CANADA GEESE feeding in the Bay plus varying numbers of diving ducks moving in and out depending on ice conditions. There have not been any puddle ducks for several weeks now.  GREATER SCAUP is the common diving duck but mixed in was a LESSER SCAUP on 25 Dec, up to 40 REDHEAD on 22 Dec and a CANVASBACK on 23 Dec. Small numbers of WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS are in the Bay with maximum of eight on 25 Dec but a BLACK SCOTER on 22 Dec was much more unusual.

BALD EAGLES continue to be seen on the ice of Presqu’ile Bay or around the islands.  On 25 Dec two adults were seen sitting beside each other in a tree on High Bluff Is.  This is a historical nesting site and it seems long overdue that they might reclaim it.  Time will tell.  A SHARP-SHINNED HAWK was hunting the feeders at the Birdhouse Nature Store on 21 Dec and COOPER’S HAWKS were seen several times this week.  A dark morph ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK continues to frequent High Bluff Island.

The DUNLIN reported previously remained through the week at the tip of Owen Pt., keeping company with three PURPLE SANDPIPERS, providing stunning views of this Presqu’ile specialty. Two ICELAND GULLS were seen on 22 Dec and a GLAUCOUS GULL was noted on 24 Dec among the large numbers of HERRING GULLS that congregate on the ice of Presqu’ile Bay. Two GREAT HORNED OWLS were heard calling in late afternoon near the Park Store on 24 Dec.  At least two SNOWY OWLS are frequenting the Park, mostly around the islands but sometimes on the ice of Presqu’ile Bay.  A MERLIN was just outside the Park on 21 Dec, the first in several weeks.

A NORTHERN SHRIKE was seen again at the east end of Presqu’ile Parkway on 22 Dec.  In general this seems to be a very quiet winter so it was most unexpected to see a BROWN THRASHER fly across the road just south of the Park Office on 23 Dec.  A WHITE-THROATED SPARROW appeared for one day only at the Birdhouse Nature Store feeders on 25 Dec.  A SONG SPARROW was also seen at the Birdhouse Nature Store on 21 and 22 Dec.  After being missed on the Christmas Bird Count, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS appeared at the Birdhouse Nature Store feeders regularly with one male all week, joined by a second on 26 Dec.  Two COMMON GRACKLES are also frequenting these feeders.

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).