Birding Report | Birding Report

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Birding Report

Until today the recent weather has kept most birders away from Presqu'ile Provincial Park, with the result that sightings have been more sparse than usual. Nevertheless a few good birds have been seen.

Three species of swans were in Presqu'ile Bay this morning, including a lone but vocal TRUMPETER SWAN and twenty TUNDRA SWANS. Up to five of the latter have been in the marsh area all week. The male EURASIAN WIGEON that has delighted many birders recently was last seen on November 30. This morning a skim of ice covered part of the area where it has been feeding, which perhaps has led it to leave, along with the majority of the AMERICAN WIGEONS. A female wigeon that has been feeding in close proximity to the male EURASIAN WIGEON and that was the target of some head bopping on the part of the male, suggestive of courtship, had plumage characteristics consistent with those of a female of the rarer species. Other ducks of interest seen recently include a NORTHERN PINTAIL with MALLARDS at beach 1, the second female KING EIDER in recent weeks on November 25 off 186 Bayshore Road, a SURF SCOTER in Popham Bay this morning, two female BLACK SCOTERS off Salt Point on November 25 and another in Popham Bay on the next day, and a female RUDDY DUCK off Salt Point on November 25, the first of that species this year at Presqu'ile, where it is never common. In regard to the BARROW'S GOLDENEYE that has become an annual fixture at the lighthouse, and which has not been seen this week, the pattern last year was that a male appeared on November 22 and 23 and then not again until December 8, after which it remained until mid-March. It is worth watching for this month. Two RED-THROATED LOONS were in Popham Bay this morning. COMMON LOONS and HORNED GREBES continue to be seen in small numbers, including one of the latter this morning. A few DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS are also lingering, mostly between the calf pasture and Salt Point.

The only noteworthy hawks in the past week were a COOPER'S HAWKK and a dark morph ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK that flew over the calf pasture on November 25. There are still over 100 AMERICAN COOTS in the marsh. Shorebirds have become increasingly scarce: three BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS on November 26 and at least one on the next day. A SANDERLING and three PURPLE SANDPIPERS were on Gull Island on December 1 and November 27, respectively. A search by several birders today revealed no PURPLE SANDPIPERS, but the season for them is not yet over. They often appear on the Christmas Bird Count. SNOWY OWLS are being seen regularly on all three of the offshore islands and on a duck blind off 38 Bayshore Road.

RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS have become a regular year-round bird at Presqu'ile and this week has been no exception. A late NORTHERN FLICKER on November 26 might over-winter if it discovers one or more of the feeders nearby. NORTHERN SHRIKES have been along Bayshore Road twice this week. Two COMMON RAVENS were in the Park on November 28. A CAROLINA WREN continues to visit feeders at 83 Bayshore Road and will likely remain in the area all winter. The first SONG SPARROW in several weeks was in the marsh this morning. At least one COMMON GRACKLE remained in the Bayshore Road area up to November 26. A PURPLE FINCH has visited two of the Bayshore Road feeders this week, and a WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL flew over one of them.

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. Visitors to Gull Island not using a boat should be prepared to wade through shin-deep water in which there is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven and slippery. It should also be noted that, because duck hunting is given priority on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Gull Island, High Bluff Island, Owen Point, and part of the calf pasture are not available for bird-watching on those days. 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.

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. Visitors to Gull Island not using a boat should be prepared to wade through shin-deep water in which there is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven and slippery. It should also be noted that, because duck hunting is given priority on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Gull Island, High Bluff Island, Owen Point, and part of the calf pasture are not available for bird-watching on those days. 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