There has been little change in the bird life at Presqu'ile Provincial Park in the past week, though some species are less plentiful than before.
The two SNOW GEESE that many people saw this month were still present on November 21. At least two groups of TUNDRA SWANS were seen on that date. Although part of the marsh was briefly covered with a skim of ice, most of the dabbling ducks there are still present. Among them have been a few GADWALLS, a NORTHERN SHOVELER, and two NORTHERN PINTAILS, one of which was still present today. The thousands of REDHEADS that had been in Presqu'ile Bay last week have virtually disappeared. A RING-NECKED DUCK was seen on Sunday. A few WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS can be seen on most days. Two HOODED MERGANSERS were in the marsh for a couple of days. Stragglers of COMMON LOON and GREAT BLUE HERON have been taking advantage of the open conditions, as have a few AMERICAN COOTS. A NORTHERN HARRIER was dive-bombing a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK that was on High Bluff Island on two consecutive days. A large accipiter, perhaps a NORTHERN GOSHAWK, was near the lighthouse yesterday. A few DUNLINS and a late SANDERLING (today) were the only remaining shorebirds. With good numbers of BONAPARTE'S GULLS along the beach and at Owen Point these days, the possibility exists that they may be joined by a rarer gull such as LITTLE GULL. Although there has been no record of ROSS'S GULL at Presqu'ile, that might be the time and place to find the first one. The SNOWY OWL first discovered over two weeks ago was still on Gull Island on Tuesday.
A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER was seen on Saturday and a PILEATED WOODPECKER today. SNOW BUNTINGS and HOUSE SPARROWS continue to be seen in appropriate places. Otherwise, passerines have been limited to what one might expect in mid-winter.
Moments after finishing the weekly report, I received word that a long-awaited PURPLE SANDPIPER was on Gull Island today
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. It should also be noted that, because duck hunting is on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Gull Island, High Bluff Island, and part of the calf pasture are not available for bird-watching on those days. 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