Not surprisingly, birds, and especially birders, have been keeping a low profile at Presqu'ile Provincial Park this week, most sightings taking place from inside heated buildings.
Despite extremely cold weather, favourable winds have periodically moved some of the ice out of the outer parts of Presqu'ile Bay, allowing waterfowl to return from the open lake to feed in shallower water. The species composition has been limited to typical winter birds. Even GREATER SCAUP have been few in number and REDHEADS totally absent. Two RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS on December 24 were an exception. Three WILD TURKEYS strolled across Bayshore Road on Sunday, as they and others have been wont to do lately. Gulls have also been scarce on most days, though 222 HERRING GULLS were counted on the ice of Presqu'ile Bay on Sunday. The only other gull seen in the past week was a single GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL. At least four BALD EAGLES have been present (two adults and two immatures), but no more than two at a time. A male NORTHERN HARRIER flew over on Friday and again on Sunday. A SHARP-SHINNED HAWK and one larger accipiter were seen. The only owls seen this week were SNOWY OWL and BARRED OWL. One wonders what other owls are lurking in the woods. Perhaps there is a BOREAL OWL somewhere: one of the two Park records of that species was on January 2 twenty-five years ago.
RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS have shown up at two different feeders on Bayshore Road. A WINTER WREN on Paxton Drive was a good find, and AMERICAN ROBINS are still to be found there. Among the numerous other birds regularly patronizing the feeders at 83 Bayshore Road are three WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS, and two COMMON GRACKLES.