At Presqu'ile Provincial Park this week, in anticipation of the Waterfowl Viewing Festival on the next two weekends, all eyes have been on the location of the ice margin in Presqu'ile Bay, which is where the bulk of the waterfowl are concentrated. With southerly winds predicted for Friday afternoon and evening, there may well be an influx of both water birds and land birds this coming weekend.
The most recent sighting of a Trumpeter Swan, an adult, was on March 8 in Presqu'ile Bay with the ubiquitous Mute Swans. Several species of dabbling ducks have arrived, including Wood Ducks (two on March 7 and five on March 8), Gadwalls (first seen on March 7 and up to fifteen on most subsequent days), American Wigeons (maximum of four), and Northern Pintails (first seen on March 7 and 8 - five on each day). Ring-necked Ducks and Hooded Mergansers are also being seen in small numbers almost every day now. One or two White-winged Scoters have been spotted in Presqu'ile Bay from time to time. Two sightings of a Horned Grebe (March 7 and 12, at the government dock and at the calf pasture, respectively) were both earlier than the previous earliest spring arrival at Presqu'ile.
There were two sightings in the past week of the Cooper's Hawk that has been patrolling Bayshore Road for some weeks. A single American Coot was in Presqu'ile Bay on March 7 and 8 and may still be there but beyond the range of spotting scopes. The first American Woodcock of the season should be among the next new arrivals. A Glaucous Gull was on the ice of Presqu'ile Bay on March 9. The Snowy Owl seen near Owen Point may be a different bird from the one that has been seen repeatedly as recently as March 10 on the ice of Presqu'ile Bay.
A Northern Shrike was seen on March 7. A Brown-headed Cowbird appeared at 186 Bayshore Road on March 12. Hoary Redpolls in one's and two's have been at that address every day this month. Their appearance is sporadic, the redpoll flock is very flighty, and patience is required if one expects to see one of them.
To reach Presqu'ile Provincial Park, follow the signs from Brighton. Locations within the Park are shown on a map at the back of a tabloid that is available at the Park gate. Access to the offshore islands is restricted at this time of year to prevent disturbance to the colonial nesting birds there.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.
A very cooperative male Black Scoter was consorting with a pair of Redheads at the calf pasture on March 7.