At Presqu'ile Provincial Park a rush of early spring migrants, both aquatic and terrestrial, has brought in most of the expected species at normal or extra early dates, as well as one that was truly phenomenally early.
Flocks of CANADA GEESE have been passing overhead for several days. A TUNDRA SWAN was seen on March 6 and a group of four was seen on the same day as a TRUMPETER SWAN was heard. NORTHERN PINTAIL and HOODED MERGANSER were among the waterfowl in Presqu'ile Bay. Birders are hoping for a repeat occurrence of a HARLEQUIN DUCK, an individual of which appeared last year on March 14, during the annual Waterfowl Weekend, which this year is on March 19-20. A RUFFED GROUSE was flushed on March 6 and two were heard drumming on March 8. After staying in hiding for a few weeks, the small flock of WILD TURKEYS at the calf pasture was seen on March 5 (8 birds). BALD EAGLES are still being seen regularly, with a high count of five on March 6. On March 8, the first AMERICAN COOT and the first three KILLDEER were seen. There were two sightings of BARRED OWL on March 6, one the result of chickadee scolding, and two SNOWY OWLS were on Gull Island on the following day.
Both RED-BELLIED and PILEATED WOODPECKERS are being seen. At least one COMMON RAVEN was present this week. Near Owen Point, four GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS on March 7 and an incredibly early BROWN THRASHER on March 4 were undoubtedly migrants, the latter being over a month earlier than the previous record. A SONG SPARROW has been singing from its favourite perch from last year for the past few days. There was an intriguing report of an EVENING GROSBEAK on March 6, the only one at Presqu'ile this winter. The HOUSE SPARROWS at 186 Bayshore Road have been joined by a third individual.
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 not using a boat will need to wade through water that is shin-deep when calm and will encounter a slippery coating of ice on the rocks. Ice cleats are recommended.
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.