The presence of many experienced birders at Presqu'ile Provincial Park during the Waterfowl Viewing Weekend resulted in a plethora of interesting bird sightings, especially early arriving spring migrants.
Flocks of CANADA GEESE were flying north overhead this morning, the first movement of that sort this spring. Dabbling ducks have been slow to arrive, but among them were a WOOD DUCK, a few GADWALLS, a NORTHERN SHOVELER, and a few NORTHERN PINTAILS. Among the thousands of diving ducks, the highlights were a male HARLEQUIN DUCK that stayed for a couple of hours on March 14 and two RUDDY DUCKS, one of which was still present this morning. Two RED-THROATED LOONS were in Presqu'ile Bay on Saturday, and one was still there on three of the past four days, including this morning. There was one sighting of a HORNED GREBE yesterday, and two RED-NECKED GREBES have been seen repeatedly, including one this morning. A GREAT BLUE HERON flew past on Sunday.
Several BALD EAGLES were seen on the weekend, but none since then. On Sunday, a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK and a MERLIN were seen. NORTHERN HARRIERS should be the next hawks to arrive. An AMERICAN COOT was on the shore of Presqu'ile Bay on Sunday. Both ICELAND and GLAUCOUS GULLS were seen in the past week. This writer apologizes to those birders to whom he showed a SNOWY OWL that later proved to be a chunk of ice doing a superb imitation. As usual, BARRED OWLS were seen by several people.
NORTHERN SHRIKES were seen on Sunday and Monday. A COMMON RAVEN was seen on Sunday, and two were patrolling the RING-BILLED GULL colony on Gull Island this morning. A few HORNED LARKS have been flying overhead. The first SONG SPARROW arrived on Tuesday. A wintering WHITE-THROATED SPARROW was still lingering at 83 Bayshore Road on the weekend. RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS, COMMON GRACKLE, and BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS have all found feeders on Bayshore Road. Among the COMMON REDPOLLS at 83 Bayshore Road, a HOARY REDPOLL has been seen a few times.
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 from March 10 onward 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.