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Birding Report

Not surprisingly, given the persistent northerly winds, evidence of spring bird migration at Presqu'ile Provincial Park has been limited.

Ice conditions in Presqu'ile Bay have not been the deterrent to the arrival of ducks that they often are at this time of year, most of those ducks that are present having been wintering in the bay. Away from the bird feeders in the Park and on Bayshore Road, land birds have been very scarce.

An AMERICAN BLACK DUCK, the first since early January, was off Gull Island on February 16. A few CANVASBACKS and a lone REDHEAD have been easily seen every day from the government dock, and four more of the latter flew in this morning, probably the vanguard of much larger flocks. A SURF SCOTER was off the lighthouse on February 17, and WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS have been regular there and elsewhere. Except for Saturday and yesterday (when snow reduced visibility), the BARROW'S GOLDENEYE has been seen every day for the past week.

On February 13, an adult BALD EAGLE flew over Presqu'ile Bay and a NORTHERN HARRIER was at Gull Island today. A WILD TURKEY put in two more appearances in the past week. ICELAND, LESSER BLACK-BACKED, and GLAUCOUS GULLS have been seen this week off Gull Island, and one of the latter was in Presqu'ile Bay today. A SNOWY OWL was perched on the ice north of Gull Island on Tuesday. BARRED OWLS continue to be found with little difficulty. People photographing them or simply enjoying the sight have found PILEATED WOODPECKERS here and there as a bonus. This morning an AMERICAN CROW, apparently migrating, flew past the lighthouse. A COMMON RAVEN was at Owen Point on February 16. BROWN CREEPERS and AMERICAN ROBINS have been seen several times this week near the lighthouse. A few SNOW BUNTINGS are regular off Owen Point.

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 normally ice-covered at this time of year, but the ice, while appearing to be thick, might not support the weight of a human. However, the water beneath the crust is only ankle-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