There wasn’t much coverage this week, or much to see it seems so this is a quick report.
Presqu’ile Bay is half frozen so most ducks are near the ice-edge, best viewed from the Municipal Dock on Bayshore Rd. MUTE SWANS are obvious with 275 seen in a quick scan on 12 Dec. Numbers of most ducks seem unusually low with GREATER SCAUP and COMMON GOLDENEYE being the only species present in any numbers – 275 and 215 respectively on 12 Dec. The high count of REDHEAD for the week was only eight on 12 Dec. LONG-TAILED DUCKS are also common in the open Lake, especially around the islands. Three WHITE-WINGED SCOTER were also in the Bay on 12 Dec.
A COMMON LOON flying over Bayshore Rd calling on 9 Dec was odd, and likely the last one till spring. BALD EAGLES continue to be seen, especially on the ice of Presqu’ile Bay with a high count of four on 8 Dec. Both SHARP-SINNED and COOPER’S HAWKS were seen this week along Bayshore Rd feeders. There is a huge collection of gulls that move between the Brighton Dump (on Cty Rd 26 north of Brighton and the 401) and the Park. HERRING GULLS make up the bulk with 900 seen on 12 Dec. Once at Presqu’ile they often sit far away making spotting “goodies” in the flock difficult. The only white-winged gull seen at Presqu’ile was an ICELAND GULL on 7 Dec but as many as three GLAUCOUS GULL and four ICELAND GULL were seen the same day in a field just north of the dump so they will also be in the Park.
SNOWY OWLS were seen both near Gull Is. and in Presqu’ile Bay this week, which is the normal pattern for this species. Single WINTER WRENS on 7 and 10 Dec remind us that some fun birds may still be tucked away undetected. A couple of WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS are coming to Bayshore Rd feeders but otherwise sparrows seem pretty quiet with only AMERICAN TREE and DARK-EYED JUNCO reported. Finally a few RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS and COMMON GRACKLES were seen earlier in the week at the Birdhouse Nature Store feeders (just outside the park gate) and at Bayshore Rd. feeders.
This Sunday is the annual Christmas Bird Count so hopefully the increased coverage will result in some interesting finds.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Presqu’ile allows waterfowl hunting on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and the public is not permitted in hunting areas on those days. The areas affected are the marsh, Calf Pasture Point, Gull and High Bluff Is., High Bluff Campground and Owen Pt. The hunt will continue until 21 December.
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).