Birding conditions are excellent at Presqu'ile Provincial Park these days, with open water in much of Presqu'ile Bay as far inland as the calf pasture. There are several vantage points along Bayshore Road from which concentrations of waterfowl may be observed with minimal disturbance to the birds. Judging from the long-range weather forecast, hundreds of new migrants should appear this weekend.
The first GADWALLS of the spring arrived on March 1 and have been present ever since then. AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS and MALLARDS are also increasing in number and NORTHERN PINTAILS should be next. RING-NECKED DUCKS are being spotted daily. The most reliable location for finding WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS these days is immediately east of the Salt Point lighthouse. There have been no recent reports of BARROW'S GOLDENEYE, which is roughly consistent with their departure date in 2008 and 2009.
Thousands of noisy RING-BILLED GULLS have re-occupied their breeding grounds on Gull Island. On the ice of Presqu'ile Bay, there have been sightings in the past week of ICELAND, LESSER BLACK-BACKED, and GLAUCOUS GULLS.
A single SNOWY OWL sits on the ice of Presqu'ile Bay on most days, but today it could not be found there. Instead, it or another one like it was at Owen Point. BARRED OWLS remain a daily sighting in various parts of the Park and can be heard calling at night. A NORTHERN SHRIKE was seen along Bayshore Road. The elusive CAROLINA WREN that has appeared at various feeders periodically all winter was at 85 Bayshore Road today. The flock of SNOW BUNTINGS that has spent the winter at Gull Island has not yet left. The RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD on Bayshore Road will soon be joined by its conspecifics. On several recent days there was a HOUSE SPARROW visiting the feeder at 186 Bayshore Road.
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 after March 9 to prevent disturbance to the colonial nesting birds there. In the meantime, caution in crossing the short, ice-covered gap to Gull Island is advised. Birders are encouraged to record their observations on the bird sightings board provided near the campground office by The Friends of Presqu'ile Park and to fill out a rare bird report for species not listed there.