POSTED | December 4, 2014 - Fred Helleiner
With temperatures vacillating above and below freezing, the bird life at Presqu'ile Provincial Park has also been somewhat unpredictable in the past week. In general, however, it has been a fairly productive week.
A GADWALL was seen on November 30. A male SURF SCOTER stayed around the lighthouse for two days, and a flock of eight WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS flew past there today. There was also an anonymous report of a BLACK SCOTER. RUFFED GROUSE, a continuous presence at Presqu'ile, are not often seen, but one strutted across Paxton Drive on Saturday. There was a third-hand report of two DUNLINS, but no other shorebirds have been seen for almost a fortnight. The four Presqu'ile records of IVORY GULL have all occurred between late November and early January, two of which were on Christmas Bird Counts, which suggests that this might be another year when that species shows up. The presence of an adult LITTLE GULL this week not far from Presqu'ile indicates that that species might also show up. Other than that, two separate GLAUCOUS GULLS on consecutive days were the first of the season. A SNOWY OWL on a duck blind in the marsh and two on the offshore islands were the only remnants of the "flock" that was present for at least one day last week. Several people saw BARRED OWLS in different parts of the Park on at least three different days. A MERLIN was seen on November 30.
A flock of AMERICAN ROBINS feasting on buckthorn berries along Paxton Drive was accompanied by a late HERMIT THRUSH on November 28 and 30. The robins have been seen since then, so the thrush might also be still around. Both WHITE-THROATED and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW have been at 83 Bayshore Road. Small numbers of COMMON GRACKLES and COMMON REDPOLLS and dozens of PINE SISKINS have patronized feeders along Bayshore Road.
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