Although the annual Waterfowl Viewing Festival at Presqu'ile Provincial Park is still over four weeks away, the mild temperatures of the past week have been accompanied by a huge influx of waterfowl. Other spring birds can't be far behind, as long as the weather is favourable.
Among the thousands of ducks in Presqu'ile Bay are several dozen Canvasbacks and a few hundred Redheads, larger numbers of both of those species than we have seen since last spring. Most of the other ducks are Greater Scaup. Two White-winged Scoters have been regular near Salt Point. It would not be a surprise to see a Hooded Merganser within a few days.
An immature Bald Eagle made several passes over the lighthouse on February 6. The Red-tailed Hawk that has been wintering in the Park has been seen this week in a number of locations. Ring-billed Gulls are not back in "full force" but their numbers are already in the hundreds. A Snowy Owl was sitting on the ice near the lighthouse for much of the day on February 10. On the preceding day a Barred Owl was discovered in
Jobes' woods, the usual haunt of that species. For at least four
consecutive days, a Northern Shrike, apparently absent for a few weeks, was back at the calf pasture.
Two Brown Creepers were on the same tree at 186 Bayshore Road on February 7. A Golden-crowned Kinglet was seen on February 9. American Robins have found plenty of exposed grass on which to forage. A dozen Snow Buntings were on Gull Island on February 9. There are still plenty of Common Redpolls and Pine Siskins at various 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. The ice between Owen Point and Gull Island may be unsafe depending on recent wind and temperature conditions. Beware of hidden ice patches.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.