The unusual extent of open water in Presqu'ile Bay has provided opportunities for observing waterfowl that are normally anticipated as February progresses. Land birds remain concentrated around bird feeders.
CANADA GEESE have begun feeding on lawns and on Gull Island, which is devoid of snow. Four TRUMPETER SWANS and three TUNDRA SWANS were present on January 13, and two of the former were seen yesterday. With the exception of a single MALLARD, dabbling ducks have not yet shown up in Presqu'ile Bay. GADWALLS are often among the first to do so and might appear before the end of this month. The large numbers of diving ducks are mostly REDHEADS, GREATER SCAUP, LONG-TAILED DUCKS, and COMMON GOLDENEYES. Among them a male CANVASBACK has been seen on four of the last five days. One or two RING-NECKED DUCKS and LESSER SCAUP have also been detected. WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS are generally near the lighthouse. A female HOODED MERGANSER was at the calf pasture on January 13. A RUFFED GROUSE was seen on Sunday, and the flock of WILD TURKEYS continues to cross Bayshore Road periodically, but otherwise manages to stay hidden. Two observers found an AMERICAN COOT off the government dock on Sunday. Large flocks of HERRING GULLS rest on the remaining ice of Presqu'ile Bay during the day. With a scope it has been possible to pick out as many as three ICELAND GULLS, four GLAUCOUS GULLS, and up to eight GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS.
Both adult and immature BALD EAGLES have been patrolling Presqu'ile Bay all week. A SNOWY OWL was on Sebastopol Island on Sunday and on Gull Island yesterday. PILEATED WOODPECKERS were seen in two different locations. COMMON RAVENS were seen on two different days. The flock of HORNED LARKS that has been wintering on Gull Island was still present yesterday. A GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET near the lighthouse was at a location where the species is not expected until late in March. AMERICAN ROBINS usually winter at Presqu'ile but seldom in the numbers seen this year (45 by one estimate and 30 by another). SNOW BUNTINGS continue to be seen at Owen Point. The wintering WHITE-THROATED SPARROW (perhaps two) at 83 Bayshore Road is easily seen feeding on the ground.
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 (a few metres of water with a depth of a few centimetres separated it from Owen Point recently) may encounter a slippery coating of ice on the rocks and drifts of snow obscuring water below. Ice cleats are recommended.
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.