Most of the bird sightings at Presqu'ile Provincial Park in the past week have been made during the one-day Christmas Bird Count on Sunday, with few reports on other days.
Periodic freezing of most of Presqu'ile Bay has restricted the number of ducks, which are now all typical winter species. Despite that, three GREAT BLUE HERONS flew in on Friday and hunkered down for the rest of the day at Salt Point before disappearing the next morning. At least three BALD EAGLES, two adults and an immature, were present for four consecutive days, sitting on the ice of the bay and flying around. An unidentified hawk, perhaps a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK, picked off an AMERICAN TREE SPARROW at a feeder. There was an anonymous report of a RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, a rarity in winter. SNOWY OWLS continue to attract attention, including one in a residential back yard and another, or perhaps the same one, perching regularly atop the Salt Point lighthouse. Seven of that species were in the Park on Sunday, as were five RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS. Three HORNED LARKS were on Gull Island on Sunday. WINTER WRENS are regular in the Park at this season but rarely seen until a systematic search such as the Christmas Bird Count reveals them, as was the case on Sunday, when two were found. Two WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS, the first of the season, flew over on Sunday. A SONG SPARROW, three WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS, and COMMON GRACKLES appear to be over-wintering at Bayshore Road feeders.
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 sometimes obscured by a layer of ice that may or may not support the weight of a human. 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.