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Birding Report

There has not been an ornithological mega-rarity at Presqu'ile Provincial Park for some time, but the arrival of a moderately rare duck has precipitated an influx of birders hoping to find it. Other than that, the composition of the avifauna has not changed much from the past few weeks, which means that there still is a good variety of birds to be found, even though land birds are not plentiful in number.

MUTE SWANS are somewhat fewer than earlier in the month, but a small number of TRUMPETER and TUNDRA SWANS can usually be found among them.

A couple of dozen REDHEADS are among the GREATER SCAUP in Presqu'ile Bay, but the huge build-up that often accompanies a January thaw has not been evident since late December. WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS are present there every day. The rare duck mentioned above is a BARROW'S GOLDENEYE, which was first noticed on January 8 and has been highly co-operative ever since then, even if it takes some patience to locate it between dives and occasional two-metre swells. To my knowledge, every one of about thirty attempts to find it has been successful. It remains consistently in an area of water around a red marker buoy off 186 Bayshore Road that can also be seen from the lighthouse.

An immature BALD EAGLE flew over the "fingers" on January 8, and an adult has been seen here and there since then. Several observers have found a COOPER'S HAWK recently. A MERLIN was reported on January 10. A RUFFED GROUSE flushed along a ski trail was the first seen in the Park since December. Also the first since December, an AMERICAN COOT was among the scaup off Langton Avenue on January 14. Single ICELAND and LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were sitting on the ice of Presqu'ile Bay this week. GLAUCOUS GULLS usually show up at this time of year. BARRED OWLS continue to attract birders and photographers from far afield. The latter are advised to consult a posting on the bird sightings board before proceeding.

Several NORTHERN SHRIKE sightings from the calf pasture eastward almost to the lighthouse are probably of the same individual. A BROWN CREEPER was at the lighthouse on January 10. A CAROLINA WREN appears to be spending the nights under the cottage porch at 83 Bayshore Road, but has made only occasional appearances during the day. GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS have been seen along the trail that runs north from the group campground. Feeders are still hosting a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW (83 Bayshore Road), a ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK (group campground parking lot), and at least one RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (85 Bayshore Road and places nearby).

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 narrow channel between Owen Point and Gull Island is ice-covered, but the ice, while appearing to be thick, might not support the weight of a human. However, the water beneath the crust is only shin-deep. The surrounding shoreline can be very slippery. 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.

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Fred Helleiner