OVERVIEW: There was a bit more coverage this week, in part due to the holiday and some bright sunny days. In general things are fairly static but the first Mallard in weeks and an influx of soon-to-be nesting Ring-billed Gulls show that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
TRUMPETER SWAN – 7 on 18 Feb was the only report.
MALLARD – 1 seen on 18 Feb is the first at Presqu’ile since early in the new year.
WHITE-WINGED SCOTER – 1 on 18 Feb was the only report.
RING-NECKED PHEASANT – 1 was reported by the gate on 14 Feb without any details. This species hasn’t been seen alive in the Park in decades, although dead birds wash up from pheasant hunting/farming operations on Nicholson Island occasionally. Any additional information about this sighting would be appreciated.
BALD EAGLE – birds continue to be seen daily, most often on the ice of Presqu’ile Bay but also around High Bluff Is. The high count was 5 on 18 Feb.
NORTHERN HARRIER – 1 on 14 Feb and an immature female on Gull Is. on 18 Feb were the only reports.
SHARP-SHINNED HAWK – 1 was seen on 14 Feb.
COOPER’S HAWK – singles on 15 Feb and 18 Feb were the only reports.
RING-BILLED GULL – 600 birds, most in immaculate breeding plumage, were gathered with 1400 Herring Gulls on the ice just off Gull Is. on 18 Feb. Tracks in the snow indicated they had earlier been walking around the island prospecting their future nesting site – it’s spring! Surprisingly a careful search through that flock revealed no other species.
SNOWY OWL – reports of single birds have come from High Bluff Is. and Presqu’ile Bay this week.
BARRED OWL – this owl was reported more often this week, and a very tame bird by the gate all day on 14 Feb and seen by many visitors.
NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL – 1 was photographed on 18 Feb. This species likely winters in small numbers but is rarely reported, in part due to an abundance of suitable roosting spots.
BROWN CREEPER – small numbers winter in the Park but a bird seen feeding on snow covered ground on 16 and 17 Feb displayed odd behavior.
WINTER WREN –1 seen on 18 Feb was a good find.
SNOW BUNTING – 13 on 14 Feb was the only report of a species that has been unusually scarce this winter.
SONG SPARROW – 4 seen together on the SE corner of Gull Is. were the only passerines seen on the island that day and are almost certainly the same 4 reported there over a month ago.
WHITE-THROATED SPARROW – the small number wintering at feeders peaked at 5 on 15 Feb.
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD – a male was seen at the Campground Office feeder on 12 and 17 Feb.
WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL – a flock of 35 on 12 Feb and a single on 17 Feb round out this week’s sightings of this nomadic species.
COMMON REDPOLL – small parties scattered around the Park all week with the biggest numbers being at feeders, peaking with 225 on 15 Feb.
HOARY REDPOLL – at least 1 of these rare sub-Arctic visitors was seen with Common’s at feeders on 14, 15 and 18 Feb.
Directions: Presqu’ile Provincial Park is located south of Brighton on the north shore of Lake Ontario. It is well signed from either Hwy. 401 or Cty. Rd. 2.