With the exception of one family of birds, the avifauna at Presqu'ile Provincial Park has changed very little this week from the week before.
The arrival of an AMERICAN WIGEON on February 20 and two on the following day marked the first sighting of this species since early January. A GADWALL and seven MALLARDS were also in Presqu'ile Bay on Saturday. A male RING-NECKED DUCK had been present through all of January but had disappeared after February 1. Thus the one that showed up on February 21 may have been a returning migrant. Otherwise, there has been little change among the waterfowl from the previous week. BALD EAGLES have taken advantage of dead swans, with up to five of the raptors being seen on one day. A ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was on High Bluff Island on February 19. A BARRED OWL was heard in Jobes' Woods.
There have been several sightings of single RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS. Up to three COMMON RAVENS have been seen, including a pair doing an aerial courtship dance. Two years ago, after a bitterly cold winter, a CAROLINA WREN showed up at a feeder on March 1, so birders are wondering what may be lurking undetected in the Park this year. The number of AMERICAN ROBINS seen on February 19, almost 50 in one group, was so much higher than had been seen all winter that one suspects some of them to have been newly arrived migrants. A few CEDAR WAXWINGS were accompanying that flock. The only major change this week was the sudden appearance of finches, other than AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES and HOUSE FINCHES, that had been virtually missing all winter. There are now PURPLE FINCHES at three different feeders, a COMMON REDPOLL showed up on two different days at 186 Bayshore Road, and a flock of PINE SISKINS was behind the Park store, as well as a single bird at a feeder.
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 may need to wade through water that is knee-deep when calm and is usually obscured by a layer of ice in winter. They may also encounter a slippery coating of ice on the rocks. 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.