Thanks largely to the efforts of participants in the Christmas Bird Count, over 60 species of birds have been seen within the Presqu'ile Provincial Park boundaries in the past week. Probably every one of those is still lurking somewhere in the Park or in the surrounding waters.
Two TUNDRA SWANS have been reliable finds off Bayshore Road and might remain in that area as long as there is open water, which is most unusual for this time of year. An AMERICAN WIGEON has also been in that area. Up to three NORTHERN PINTAILS have been in the open water beside the causeway leading into the Park. WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS remain in both Presqu'ile and Popham Bays. Ten BLACK SCOTERS were in the latter bay on Sunday. A cooperative (or attention-seeking) male BARROW'S GOLDENEYE chose to appear on Sunday morning, the day of the Christmas Bird Count, the only day it has been seen in the last two weeks. A surprising twelve HOODED MERGANSERS were seen on Sunday. One or two RED-THROATED LOONS have been spotted in Presqu'ile Bay on three of the past seven days. There was still a HORNED GREBE off Gull Island today. A GREAT BLUE HERON that was in the marsh on Sunday has not been seen since. The only remaining shorebirds were PURPLE SANDPIPERS, two on Sunday, one on Tuesday, and none today. A lone BONAPARTE'S GULL flew past on December 19, perhaps the last of the season. An ICELAND GULL was at Chatterton Point on Sunday. Three of the four IVORY GULL records for Presqu'ile were in the period between late December and the first week of January. Given the presence of one this week elsewhere in southern Ontario, birders should be on the lookout for one here. A GREAT HORNED OWL was near the Park gate on Sunday. SNOWY OWLS can still be found on the offshore islands, but lately only single birds.
Two RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS have been regular visitors to feeders on Bayshore Road: numbers 30 and 83. Five BROWN CREEPERS and 52 GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS were high numbers. BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS have been in the Park, at least until last weekend. A very late YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER was seen on December 14. A FIELD SPARROW, also very late, was seen on December 16. Four SONG SPARROWS were found on Gull Island. SNOW BUNTING flocks have been at both Salt Point and Gull Island. A few PINE GROSBEAK flocks have also been seen. Single HOARY REDPOLLS have been at feeders at 83 and 186 Bayshore Road.
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 able to walk across the gap without special footwear unless a wind change creates a gap of shallow water. 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.