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Birding Report

The outer half of Presqu'ile Bay remains open and is a haven for a variety of water birds. Other birds at Presqu'ile Provincial Park include several species that do not always linger this far north in winter.

Along with the hundreds of MUTE SWANS, there were four TRUMPETER SWANS and seven TUNDRA SWANS today. As often happens in mid-winter, the mild spell that has just begun has been accompanied by an influx of a thousand or more GREATER SCAUP and a smaller number of REDHEADS. The male BARROW'S GOLDENEYE has been present continuously since December 8, but it can take patience to find it, especially when there is a heavy swell or when the bird is far out in the water or is diving frequently, which it does most of the time.

A few BALD EAGLE sightings involving at least two different birds are normal for this time of year. Two NORTHERN HARRIERS were at Gull Island, and a COOPER'S HAWK was seen along Bayshore Road. A lone AMERICAN COOT was at the edge of the ice on December 29. Despite the best efforts of photographers and others, BARRED OWL sightings have been scarce.

Observers spending a day in the Park stand a good chance of locating one of the RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS that have been wintering at Presqu'ile.

PILEATED WOODPECKERS are also present but not always cooperative. There have been two NORTHERN SHRIKE sightings in the past three days. COMMON RAVENS have also re-appeared in the past three days. The CAROLINA WREN at 186 Bayshore Road manages to stay hidden more often than not, but is still a daily sighting. Two flocks of BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS have appeared in the past three days, 30 at 187 Bayshore Road on December 28 and 50 just outside the Park gate, along with some CEDAR WAXWINGS, on December 29. The FOX SPARROW at 83 Bayshore Road was last seen on December 28.

Three WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS and a WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW have also been at that address in recent days, as well as up to five RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS. COMMON REDPOLLS are appearing in increasing numbers.

Birders should be on the alert for a possible HOARY REDPOLL.

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. The narrow channel between Owen Point and Gull Island is now ice-covered most of the time, but the ice, while appearing to be thick, might not support the weight of a human.

However, the water beneath the crust, if there is any, is only ankle-deep. The surrounding shoreline can be very slippery. 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.

Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.

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Fred Helleiner