The spring bird migration at Presqu'ile Provincial Park appears to be slightly ahead of schedule, which is not surprising, given the recent weather and the fact that Presqu'ile Bay is almost totally ice-free and that there is next to no snow on the ground.
CANADA GEESE have been migrating overhead all week. Among the flocks there is always the possibility of finding SNOW GEESE, especially early in the season. Dabbling ducks are returning in good numbers, including AMERICAN WIGEONS, NORTHERN PINTAILS, and GREEN-WINGED TEAL. It seems likely that somewhere among them there is already a EURASIAN WIGEON.
There are thousands of diving ducks in Presqu'ile Bay, sometimes on the south side, where they can easily be seen from Bayshore Road, but often much farther out. The majority are CANVASBACKS, REDHEADS, and GREATER SCAUP, but among them are RING-NECKED DUCKS, WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, and HOODED MERGANSERS. All in all, the prospects are good for seeing many ducks on March 17/18, when the annual Waterfowl Viewing Weekend takes place, but the majority may not be within easy viewing distance.
For several days an adult BALDEAGLE was perched in the willow trees at the outer tip of the "fingers". NORTHERN HARRIER and RED-TAILED HAWK are the only other hawks found in the past week in the Park. An AMERICAN COOT was in the marsh on March 6. An AMERICAN WOODCOCK was flushed near Owen Point on March 7. Both SNOWY and BARRED OWLS were seen today. Birds seen this week that have been present all winter include RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER, NORTHERN SHRIKE, BROWN CREEPER, and SAVANNAH SPARROW. A few PINE SISKINS have been around this week.
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 of unknown depth, in which there is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven and slippery. Access to the offshore islands is restricted after March 9 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.