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Birding Report

Presqu'ile Provincial Park, like other parts of southern Ontario, has seen a rush of spring migrants this week, especially waterfowl, as the long-delayed southerly winds finally blew in.

The first flocks of CANADA GEESE have been moving over the Park in the past two days, including, in the first flock, five SNOW GEESE, a record early date. That species is uncommon at Presqu'ile, but should be looked for among the migrating goose flocks, especially in the first weeks of the migration. Twenty TUNDRA SWANS flew in on March 10 and rested on Presqu'ile Bay. Two were still present today. Several species of ducks made their first appearances this week: WOOD DUCKS on March 9, AMERICAN WIGEONS on March 7, NORTHERN PINTAILS on March 8.

Each of those has increased in number since first arriving. EURASIAN WIGEONS are rare but appear almost every year at Presqu'ile from mid-March onward. No loons or grebes have yet been reported, but both are expected soon.

An AMERICAN KESTREL appeared on March 7. The oft-reported WILD TURKEY was seen twice in the past week. The first KILLDEER of the year was on the beach on March 11. No one has yet noticed any AMERICAN WOODCOCKS here but they have undoubtedly arrived. Two record-early BONAPARTE'S GULLS were in Presqu'ile Bay on March 8, and a GLAUCOUS GULL was there on the previous day. The most recent sighting of a SNOWY OWL was on March 5, but BARRED OWLS continue to be seen almost every day, including one that flew in and sat mere feet from an astonished observer. A NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL was photographed on March 7.

Two of the resident PILEATED WOODPECKERS were found on March 7. A NORTHERN SHRIKE was seen on three consecutive days in two different parts of the Park. Two HORNED LARKS flew over on March 7. The wintering CAROLINA WREN appeared again at 83 Bayshore Road. A rather early EASTERN MEADOWLARK showed up today. Large numbers of migrating AMERICAN ROBINS, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS, and COMMON GRACKLES flew over the lighthouse this morning, augmenting the few that had arrived earlier in the week, along with a SONG SPARROW and a BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD. The 0ver-wintering WHITE-THROATED SPARROW at 83 Bayshore Road was still present this week.

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. Access to the offshore islands is restricted at this time of year to prevent disturbance to the colonial nesting birds there. 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