To borrow an ornithological metaphor, birders have been as scarce as hen's teeth at Presqu'ile Provincial Park in recent days. Thus, the following observations come from a few hardy souls willing to brave some of the coldest days of the winter.
With almost 80 % of Lake Ontario frozen over, it is perhaps surprising that so many water birds have recently found their way into Presqu'ile Bay, which itself has most of the time only a few small patches of open water. It may be an awareness that a wind change can temporarily open things up even more, as has happened a few times this week. Although geese and swans have almost totally evacuated the bay, two TRUMPETER SWANS flew in on Tuesday. One or two REDHEADS can sometimes be spotted among the hundreds of GREATER SCAUP, a number that has been growing steadily. One might expect a HOODED MERGANSER to be among new arrivals, and one was seen nearby this week. Normally a HORNED GREBE would be a real surprise in February, there being no previous records at Presqu'ile in that month, but the freeze-up throughout the area makes the one that was at the lighthouse yesterday almost predictable. Both adult and immature BALD EAGLES have been seen repeatedly in the general vicinity of the ducks, whose sudden flight draws attention to the flying eagle.
A COOPER'S HAWK flew past near the lighthouse. Two eagle-eyed, nay, owl-eyed, observers spotted two BARRED OWLS along Bayshore Road on Tuesday, as well as a PILEATED WOODPECKER. They also encountered the wintering flock of AMERICAN ROBINS on that day.
The resilient PINE WARBLER keeps showing up at the feeder near the camp office, as do the two COMMON GRACKLES near the Bayshore Road/Langton Avenue intersection. COMMON REDPOLLS and the occasional HOARY REDPOLL have been devouring the seeds 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. Visitors to Gull “Island” can walk across the gap from Owen Point without special footwear. Ice conditions may make for slippery walking. 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.