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Birding Report

The long-awaited influx of early spring birds, to say nothing of milder weather, has made birding at Presqu'ile Provincial Park both pleasant and profitable this week.

Both TRUMPETER and TUNDRA SWANS have been in Presqu'ile Bay for much of the past week. The number of CANVASBACKS there has been increasing daily from one on Sunday to 3, 5, 20 and even more on the following four days. REDHEADS have also been increasing. A surprisingly large flock (about 40) of WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS made a couple of passes over that bay on Sunday. Birders hoping to see the male BARROW'S GOLDENEYE between the lighthouse and 186 Bayshore Road should not postpone their visit much longer. Last year that bird, if it was the same one, disappeared after February 24. In the meantime, it continues to be seen every day.

The hybrid duck at the lighthouse that somewhat resembles a HOODED MERGANSER was seen again on February 11. Any day now unadulterated HOODED MERGANSERS should be showing up.

BALD EAGLES have been seen on most days this week, with a total of four birds on Sunday. Also on Sunday, a NORTHERN HARRIER and a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK were seen. A COOPER'S HAWK was seen on Tuesday and a second-hand report was received of a NORTHERN GOSHAWK on February 11. Two species of gallinaceous birds were found this week, - a RUFFED GROUSE and a WILD TURKEY. Among the hundreds of gulls on the weekend there was a GLAUCOUS GULL. On four different days in the past week, BARRED OWLS were seen, including three on one day.

A NORTHERN SHRIKE was at the day use area on Sunday. AMERICAN CROWS, apparently absent from the Park for most of the winter, have re-appeared in good numbers. A COMMON RAVEN was seen on Sunday. Persistence paid off for those who spent time looking for the BOREAL CHICKADEE that has been hiding in the spruce trees at 72 and 73 Bayshore Road. It was seen on three of the last five days. The CAROLINA WREN is still appearing regularly at 186 Bayshore Road, rewarding those with the patience to wait for it to emerge from hiding. AMERICAN ROBINS, while present all winter, appeared to be on the move today. Two SONG SPARROWS have been seen recently at 102 Bayshore Road. Two WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS and a WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW are still benefiting from the food put out for them at 83 Bayshore Road, and the latter has also been seen as far down the road as #102 and #117. There is a flock of RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS in that same area, among which was a RUSTY BLACKBIRD on the weekend. Seven WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS paid a brief visit on Tuesday. COMMON REDPOLLS have been seen on most days, and a bird that had some of the features of a HOARY REDPOLL was with them today.

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 now ice-covered most of the time, but the ice, while appearing to be thick, might not support the weight of a human.

However, the water beneath the crust, if there is any, is only ankle-deep. The surrounding shoreline can be very slippery. At any time, it is wise to stay off the shore ice. According to the only birders known to have ventured to Gull Island recently, there are now deep drifts to be navigated. 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.

Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.

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Fred Helleiner