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Birding Report

Birds and birders have been returning to Presqu'ile Provincial Park this week, the former in anticipation of spring and the latter to see the returning birds, most of which are waterfowl.  Both will likely increase in number between now and the first of the two waterfowl viewing weekends, which will take place on March 14 and 15.

After noting in last week's report that three Trumpeter Swans, including one with a silver leg band, had arrived at Presqu'ile on February 13, I received a comment from Clive Goodwin that resulted in the following correspondence (which Mark Cranford agrees might interest Ontbirds subscribers):

Hi Fred: I thought you'd be interested to know that the three Trumpeters that were here since the New Year were last seen on the 12th.

Thanks, Clive.  Yes, I'm definitely interested and I'm sure it's more than a coincidence.  Were yours an adult with two young? - Fred.

Yes. Originally there were 3 young from time to time. I didn't see any band, but that doesn't mean much.  Latterly the adult was making up with a Mute, which made me wonder if it was the Wastewater lagoon bird.

Fred Helleiner wrote:
One other point of interest is that on Dec. 30 I saw the three individuals here at Presqu'ile and Peter Kyne and Micha Jackson saw the adult with three young.  That date seems to be just before they showed up at Cobourg, if I am correctly interpreting your initial comment.  I would not be surprised if it were the wastewater lagoon bird, but I guess we'll never know.

Yes, my date was Jan 2.  I wonder what a TRSW x MUSW would look like?! Clive

These swans were still present in Presqu'ile Bay on February 26, having been seen off and on for the past week.  Diving ducks have been the star attraction, by virtue of their numbers, which include dozens of Canvasbacks and thousands of Redheads and Greater Scaup.  There have been no Tufted Duck sightings at Presqu'ile for fourteen years (and in fact only two ever, in March and April) but it is worth examining the duck flocks on the off chance that another might show up.  There have been small numbers of White-winged Scoters in Presqu'ile Bay and a lone male Hooded Merganser on February 26, the first of the season.

The only hawk seen this week was a Red-tailed Hawk that was in the Park all winter, but three of the bird feeders along Bayshore Road have had splashes of blood on them recently, suggesting that the Cooper's Hawk which was also present during the winter may still be patrolling the area.  A Ruffed Grouse seen in Jobes' woods on February 23 was one of very few since last fall.  A Snowy Owl has been on the ice of Presqu'ile Bay for the past two days.

For the second consecutive week, two visiting birders saw two Pileated Woodpeckers on February 26.  A Brown Creeper was at 72 Bayshore Road on February 25.  American Robins have been widespread, vocal, and territorial in the past few days, though it is likely that they are birds that wintered in the Park rather than newly arrived migrants.  Twenty Snow Buntings were on Gull Island on February 24.  A Purple Finch was at the feeder opposite the bird sightings board on February 23.  Common Redpolls and Pine Siskins are ubiquitous these days, and Hoary Redpolls are sometimes found at the feeders at 186 Bayshore Road, including two on February 26.

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.  The ice between Owen Point and Gull Island was described by one intrepid birder as ?very treacherous?, but the island itself is largely free of snow.
 
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.
 
 
Addendum:
Two more sightings in the Park today (February 26):
Surf Scoter - just east of the calf pasture
Sharp-shinned Hawk - on the roadside near the Park entrance