Presqu’ile Bird Report for Week of 28 Dec 2018 – 3 Jan 2019
HIGHLIGHTS: CANVASBACK, GLAUCOUS GULL, HERMIT THRUSH, SONG SPARROW, PINE GROSBEAK
It was a quiet week with limited coverage. Although we are in ‘the dead of winter” there was evidence of some bird movement on the very warm day on 28 Dec proving that nothing is static.
Most of Presqu’ile Bay is frozen so ducks are less visible as they retreat to the open lake in those conditions. The only unusual waterfowl sighting was the three CANSVASBACK noted on 31 Dec near the lighthouse, and a single the following day. A handful of WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS are still floating around the mouth of the Bay. WILD TURKEY sightings have become routine. Single BALD EAGLES were seen on 1 and 2 Jan.
A large mass of HERRING GULLS has been collecting on Presqu’ile Bay but they are hard to see due to distance and their tight formation. Two GLAUCOUS GULL were noted flying over the gate on 30 Dec. SNOWY OWLS have been reported from the ice of Presqu’ile Bay and around the islands through the week, as have BARRED OWLS which are mostly being seen from the roadside. A NORTHERN SHRIKE was seen several times in the Calf Pasture field this week.
BROWN CREEPERS winter in small numbers in the conifer plantations each year but on 28 Dec (the mild day) one was feeding on an isolated cottonwood trunk at the Birdhouse Nature Store, just outside the gate where none have been seen since October. A HERMIT THRUSH was reported from the Group Campgrounds on 31 Dec. A roaming flock of AMERICAN ROBINS are frequenting the Calf Pasture with as many as 40 seen on 30 Dec. The long staying BROWN THRASHER put in another appearance this week but remains elusive. EUROPEAN STARLINGS have mostly bailed from the peninsula so one seen flying by the Lighthouse on 28 Dec (the mild day) may have been “moving”. It or another returned on 1 Jan.
Sparrows are scarce but a Song Sparrow showed up at the Birdhouse Nature Store feeder on 3 Jan after getting enough snow to cover the ground. A few WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS are still being seen at Bayshore Rd. feeders but the most reliable one is at the Camp Office feeder.
Between one and two RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS have been regular visitors at the Birdhouse Nature Store feeders but five there on 30 Dec was a surprise. Finches continue to confound. A flock of 11 PINE GROSEBEAKS was located by the Amphitheatre on 30 Dec. PINE SISKIN has been absent for a while, but a flock of five showed up at a Brighton feeder on 2 Jan so keep watching. AMERICAN GOLDEFINCH is around in small numbers and is the only predictable finch being seen. One bird on 3 Jan at the Birdhouse Nature Store feeders showed considerable yellow in the breast, shoulder and nape and had a patchy but well defined black crown patch.
Directions: Presqu’ile Provincial Park is located on the north shore of Lake Ontario, just south of the town of Brighton. It can be reached from either Hwy. 401, or Cty. Rd. 2 and is well signed. A Park map can be found in the information tabloid available at the Park gate. Presqu’ile’s two offshore islands – Gull and High Bluff – support a large multi-species colonial bird nesting area and access is not permitted during the breeding season (10 March-10 September).