Anyone living within 100 kilometres of Presqu'ile Provincial Park and experiencing the same frigid weather conditions as the Park is experiencing will understand why the spring bird migration of the past week has been less than spectacular. Most of the expected species have been detected but in very small numbers (with one noteworthy exception).
Standing out like a sore thumb, a male NORTHERN SHOVELER was embedded in a flock of GREEN-WINGED TEAL on and around the shore of Popham Bay near Owen Point. The previously reported RED-THROATED LOON was still in Presqu'ile Bay on April 17, swimming near the shore. HORNED and RED-NECKED GREBES are still present, a group of four of the latter swimming in the reeds at the outer edge of the marsh. Up to three GREAT EGRETS have been seen in the marsh. There was a sighting of an early DUNLIN on April 19. One can expect GREATER YELLOWLEGS on the beach, as a few have been seen this week not far from the Park. A build-up of BONAPARTE'S GULLS occurred off the lighthouse, reaching a rough count of ~550 swimming birds on Tuesday, with another ~150 in the air, swirling around in spectacular, shorebird-like fashion. Nary a LITTLE GULL could be detected among them. Again this week, someone saw a BARRED OWL.
A COMMON RAVEN was seen on the weekend. Masses of swallows are attempting to cope with the cold by seeking insects on the surface of the lake water. Every regular species except CLIFF SWALLOW has been detected among them, and the PURPLE MARTINS are beginning to occupy the nest box at 192 Bayshore Road. Other insectivorous birds have been scarce, with no BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS and only a few warblers (PINE and YELLOW-RUMPED) being seen. An EASTERN TOWHEE at the visitor centre bird feeder was the first of the season. A FIELD SPARROW showed up at 186 Bayshore Road. A RUSTY BLACKBIRD was at the calf pasture. Three PURPLE FINCHES at 186 Bayshore Road were the first of the season, and a male HOUSE SPARROW continues to frequent the feeders 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.