At this time of year, it is difficult or impossible to differentiate between newly arrived migrants (for which birders are always hoping) and birds of the same species that have over-wintered. At Presqu'ile Provincial Park there is sometimes circumstantial evidence of the former when individual birds show up at places like the lighthouse or Owen Point where those species have been absent all winter.
With ice conditions in Presqu'ile Bay fluctuating on an hourly basis, the comings and goings of waterfowl have been erratic, but almost always a few patches of open water can be found by birders and birds alike. At least two TRUMPETER SWANS were present on March 1. Three CANVASBACKS and several REDHEADS were at Salt Point today, and a RING-NECKED DUCK and a few WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS continue to appear there on most days. A female HOODED MERGANSER was there on March 1, as well as both COMMON and RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS. A WILD TURKEY walked across Bayshore Road on March 2. For the second time in a fortnight, a wayward grebe made its way to Presqu'ile, this time a RED-NECKED GREBE on March 1, probably frozen out of some other body of water. It has not re-appeared. BALD EAGLES are still prominent around Presqu'ile Bay, with several being seen on most days. A COOPER'S HAWK flew past yesterday. Several BARRED OWL sightings were of interest, especially one that was around the Park office for a couple of days, even posing overhead for patrons coming and going to the office. Exceptionally keen spotting revealed a NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL this morning.
On Friday a PILEATED WOODPECKER flew across Bayshore Road. On consecutive days, two different NORTHERN SHRIKES were found, an adult and an immature. Whether the AMERICAN CROWS and AMERICAN ROBINS that are being seen almost daily are newly returned migrants is not known. CEDAR WAXWINGS are being seen from time to time. AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS have been present all winter, but the one near the lighthouse on March 1 was the first in that part of the Park in several months and was probably newly returned. Two over-wintering COMMON GRACKLES were seen again. COMMON REDPOLLS continue to frequent feeders here and there.
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 from March 10 onward 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.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.