Birders have been attracted to Presqu'ile Provincial Park this week by the continued presence of a bird that should be much farther south at this time of year. Persistent winds with a westerly component have kept some open water in Presqu'ile Bay even on the coldest days.
On Monday a swan that was either a TRUMPETER SWAN or a TUNDRA SWAN flew past, and on Tuesday two of the former were swimming in a small patch of open water at the calf pasture. Diving ducks have thinned out since a week ago, but two CANVASBACKS were still present on January 2 and five REDHEADS on January 4. Single WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS were seen on January 3 and 4. A BALD EAGLE was at the calf pasture on January 5 and four were there this morning. A COOPER'S HAWK paid a visit to a feeder on January 5. A GLAUCOUS GULL was in Presqu'ile Bay on January 6. SNOWY OWLS and BARRED OWLS are being seen with some regularity, though the latter are somewhat elusive.
A NORTHERN SHRIKE was at the calf pasture on two consecutive days. COMMON RAVENS were seen on January 2 and 5. Three AMERICAN ROBINS were seen on January 4. A small flock of SNOW BUNTINGS was on Gull Island on January 2. The highlight of the week was/is a PINE WARBLER that was first discovered and photographed on January 3 and has been in the same location ever since: the bird feeder opposite the bird sightings board. There is no previous record of that species at Presqu'ile between November and March. Single WHITE-THROATED and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS continue to visit feeders at 83 and 85 Bayshore Road. A single RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD and a few COMMON GRACKLES continue to be seen in that vicinity. COMMON REDPOLLS have been at Gull Island and at local feeders, but a redpoll that has been a regular visitor to the feeders at 186 Bayshore Road has been variously identified as a COMMON REDPOLL and a HOARY REDPOLL since it shows features of both species. One bird that has not yet appeared at local feeders this winter but may be expected soon is EVENING GROSBEAK, a species that is being seen regularly not far away
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 water that is knee-deep, not taking into account any wave action, in which there is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven and 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.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA