Not surprisingly, a number of spring migrant birds arrived at Presqu'ile Provincial Park this week (as well as a skunk and a chipmunk). In particular, waterfowl are now abundant, which bodes well for the forthcoming Waterfowl Viewing Weekend, taking place on Saturday and Sunday.
A male WOOD DUCK was present for three consecutive days. The first two GADWALLS appeared on March 9. A record early NORTHERN SHOVELER, normally one of the latest dabbling ducks to return, arrived on March 8, a record early date, and two were present on March 10. A NORTHERN PINTAIL showed up yesterday. Within the next day or two, we might expect AMERICAN WIGEONS and GREEN-WINGED TEAL, which are usually among the first dabblers to return. Diving ducks are by far the most abundant, especially REDHEADS and GREATER SCAUP, but RING-NECKED DUCKS, LESSER SCAUP, WHITE-WINGED SCOTER, and HOODED MERGANSER have all been present in small numbers, in addition to all of the normal winter ducks. A record early RED-THROATED LOON was off the government dock yesterday and today, and someone heard a COMMON LOON today. At least two RED-NECKED GREBES were also present yesterday. The first GREAT BLUE HERON of the spring was seen on the ice of Presqu'ile Bay this afternoon.
After a run of seven consecutive days with BALD EAGLES (six on Sunday), no one has reported any for the past three days. A COOPER'S HAWK sat watching a bird feeder on Tuesday. The first AMERICAN COOT of the season was at the government dock this morning. RING-BILLED GULLS are back en masse on Gull Island. A GLAUCOUS GULL sat among HERRING GULLS off the government dock on Monday. Again this week, a BARRED OWL was perched beside Paxton Drive.
PILEATED WOODPECKERS were seen on four different days, and NORTHERN SHRIKES on two. Three AMERICAN CROWS were dive-bombing a COMMON RAVEN today, perhaps one of the two seen yesterday. GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS are known to winter in the Park but are difficult to find, the two on Sunday being the first found since December. Individual AMERICAN ROBINS are back (not to be confused with the overwintering flock). A dozen SNOW BUNTINGS were on Gull Island on Sunday. A RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD was present on two days, and a COMMON GRACKLE was heard on one day. Single HOARY REDPOLLS were at 83 Bayshore Road on Tuesday and today. A HOUSE SPARROW was also 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.