There still is little manifestation of spring in the bird life at Presqu’ile Provincial Park. The exceptions are the abundant waterfowl and the noticeable increase in bird song. One totally unexpected species was observed on Sunday and a hybrid on Monday but both have failed to re-appear.
There has been little change in the composition of the thousands of ducks in Presqu’ile Bay, probably because the ice margin, where ducks tend to congregate, has not yet retreated to the shallower parts of the bay. In fact, it has been advancing overnight before re-opening during the afternoons. Among the masses of other ducks, one was initially identified as a male BARROW’S GOLDENEYE, since it showed most of the features of that species. Subsequently, it was determined to have genes of COMMON GOLDENEYE as well. A female RUDDY DUCK was also embedded among the GREATER SCAUP and REDHEADS. Two WILD TURKEY hens were in the Park on Saturday. The first PIED-BILLED GREBE of the season was spotted on Monday. A RED-NECKED GREBE was seen on Saturday. Last year, DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS had already returned by this date. The first two GREAT BLUE HERONS of the spring were single birds on Sunday and Monday.
A TURKEY VULTURE was seen on Saturday. One or two BALD EAGLES were present on four consecutive days. A male NORTHERN HARRIER flew over the calf pasture on Monday. An AMERICAN WOODCOCK was probing in the mud on Tuesday. Up to three GLAUCOUS GULLS were on the ice of Presqu’ile Bay from Saturday to Monday. The most surprising bird of the week was a PARASITIC JAEGER that harassed the gulls there on March 23 before flying off. Two SNOWY OWLS were off the beach on Saturday, and on Monday another was sitting on the shoulder of the road before being flushed. RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS continue to be seen. PILEATED WOODPECKERS are sufficiently common at Presqu’ile that sightings are seldom reported here, but it was unusual that a female of the species paid several visits to a bird feeder. The CAROLINA WREN at 40 Bayshore Road has become increasingly vocal. With all the snow on the ground, it is hard to imagine that FOX SPARROWS are due to arrive before this time next week. Two EASTERN MEADOWLARKS were at the calf pasture on March 21. Both male and female PURPLE FINCHES have visited feeders in the past 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. Access to the offshore islands is restricted at this time of year to prevent disturbance to the colonial nesting birds there.
DESPITE THAT, TWO BIRDERS OR PHOTOGRAPHERS WERE PHOTOGRAPHED WALKING OUT TO GULL ISLAND ON SUNDAY, PASSING BY TWO PROMINENT SIGNS INDICATING THE RESTRICTION AND THE REASON FOR IT. SUCH IRRESPONSIBLE BEHAVIOUR JEOPARDIZES THE GOOD RELATIONS THAT EXIST BETWEEN THE BIRDING COMMUNITY AND THE PARK AUTHORITIES.
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.