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Birding Report It seems unlikely that even intrepid birders will have been at Presqu’ile Provincial Park in the past week, at least until today, because of the weather conditions.  The welcome change today has revived interest in birding here, and has generated some interesting results. 

Despite the cold temperatures, strong westerly winds have kept much of Presqu’ile Bay open.   Although only a few REDHEADS have re-occupied the bay, they were accompanied today by a male CANVASBACK and a male RING-NECKED DUCK.  Today there were also more WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS and RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS than there have been in recent weeks. 

In keeping with the tradition of predicting what might appear in the coming week, I reflected on a discussion that took place about a decade ago when, after extremely cold weather, RED-NECKED GREBES began showing up in rivers and other open waters throughout southern Ontario in February, when they are least expected.  One of the explanations offered at the time was that they had been frozen out of some of the smaller lakes.  Thus, my prediction of the week was going to be that the species might show up at Presqu’ile because of the extreme cold of the past week, but that plan was scuttled this afternoon when two RED-NECKED GREBES appeared near the edge of the ice in Presqu’ile Bay.  Can anyone suggest an alternative prediction for the coming week? 

The only two raptors of the week were a RED-TAILED HAWK and a SNOWY OWL, the latter sitting on one of the "ice volcanoes” that line the south shore of the peninsula.   A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER is a daily visitor to the feeders at 186 Bayshore Road, and two PILEATED WOODPECKERS were seen today.   A SONG SPARROW at 186 Bayshore Road seems to be surviving.   

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. Visitors to Gull Island should exercise extreme caution. The entire approach to the island may be covered with glare ice, and footing is likely dangerous. 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.


Fred Helleiner