The arrival of spring birds to Presqu'ile Provincial Park has been proceeding on schedule, with few early surprises.
Seven TUNDRA SWANS were still in Presqu'ile Bay near 18 Bayshore Road on March 31. A pair of WOOD DUCKS flew over the lighthouse, as they often do on April mornings. With AMERICAN WIGEONS being numerous this week, there is a chance that one or more EURASIAN WIGEONS will show up before the more common species moves on. Four NORTHERN SHOVELERS flew in to join the wigeons and other ducks on Tuesday. Twenty-four years ago, a TUFTED DUCK spent two weeks at Presqu'ile, one of only two local records of that species, the other being in late March twenty years ago. There are at least 12 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS in the vicinity of the lighthouse. Many of the LONG-TAILED DUCKS have assumed their summer (alternate) plumage. A RUFFED GROUSE was seen and another heard drumming this week, and the WILD TURKEYS continue to be seen periodically. A few COMMON LOONS have returned, and the early morning overhead migration will soon be evident.
For the first time since mid-December, no BALD EAGLES were reported. Two COOPER'S HAWKS in Jobes' Woods were behaving like a mated pair on territory. Some new woodpeckers have put in an appearance: the first RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER since early January; four YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS yesterday; a NORTHERN FLICKER on Tuesday; as well as yet another PILEATED WOODPECKER sighting. Yesterday behind the woodpile marsh, where the species nested some years ago, two (possibly three) MERLINS were squawking noisily. Two COMMON RAVENS were seen on Sunday. The first TREE SWALLOWS were also seen on that day. WINTER WRENS have been seen and heard in several places, including three that responded in song to an imitation of a BARRED OWL. GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS have been ubiquitous. A very early HERMIT THRUSH was near the lighthouse on March 29. The expected mid-April influx of sparrows has begun, with two SWAMP SPARROW sightings, an apparently migrant WHITE-THROATED SPARROW near the lighthouse, and hordes of DARK-EYED JUNCOES.
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 at this time of year 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.