Given the wintry conditions both on land and on the "water" and the paucity of visiting birders, Presqu'ile Provincial Park has been remarkably productive in the past week.
As has been the case off and on all winter, MUTE SWANS by the hundreds, a TRUMPETER SWAN, and a few TUNDRA SWANS have all been seen or heard in the past week. Although there have been close to 1,000 ducks in Presqu'ile Bay when there was sufficient open water, on other days the numbers have been fewer than half that. Among others, there were one CANVASBACK, two REDHEADS, and a RING-NECKED DUCK on January 14. A WHITE-WINGED SCOTER was present on January 15, and the male BARROW'S GOLDENEYE at the lighthouse continues to be found with little difficulty when conditions are favourable. There have been only two days in the past 44 when no one reported it.
One, or sometimes two, BALD EAGLES have been seen fairly frequently patrolling over Presqu'ile Bay. The previously reported PEREGRINE FALCON was doing the same thing on January 16 and 19, occasionally resting on the ice. One member of the WILD TURKEY pair that had been a regular along Bayshore Road appears to have disappeared. Two GLAUCOUS GULLS were among the HERRING and GREATER BLACK-BACKED GULLS on the ice of Presqu'ile Bay on January 18.
A COMMON RAVEN was at the Park office on January 14. On at least three days in the past week, most recently on January 18, several birders with lots of patience and/or good ears have managed to see the BOREAL CHICKADEE that was first noticed at 83 Bayshore Road on January 13. As well as being re-located there, it has also been frequenting the spruces beside the government dock and across the road from there. It is surprisingly adept at remaining concealed in the upper branches of the trees. The CAROLINA WREN at 186 Bayshore Road has appeared on each of the past ten days, most regularly shortly after dawn but increasingly throughout the day. There probably are also WINTER WRENS hiding in the Park, but no one has reported seeing one lately. Twenty BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS were just west of Atkins Lane today, and a CEDAR WAXWING was with some AMERICAN ROBINS two days ago. Both WHITE-THROATED and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS are at 83 Bayshore Road. SNOW BUNTINGS were on Gull Island yesterday. Up to four RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS have been visiting feeders along Bayshore Road. A few COMMON REDPOLLS and a single PINE SISKIN were the only finches of note this week.
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.