Bird migration has been in full swing at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, with a litany of new arrivals, and birders have been taking full advantage of it, with considerable success.
In a case of being in the right place at the right time, one observer on March 25 spotted a GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE as it came in with a flock of other geese and landed out of sight in the marsh. In a similar case on March 26, a few observers were at the lighthouse when two flocks of SNOW GEESE totalling an estimated 200 birds flew past heading east into a strong headwind. That total is an order of magnitude greater than any previous sighting of that species at Presqu'ile, which is further west than their usual flight line. Probably the persistent easterly wind had blown them off course. It is possible that the flock of 150 seen landing in a field across from Presqu'ile on March 27 represented the same birds. Yesterday, in addition to the regular MUTE SWANS, there were two TRUMPETER SWANS and five TUNDRA SWANS off 26 Bayshore Road. There were no surprises among the many ducks spotted during the waterfowl festival on the weekend, but two SURF SCOTERS were seen off the lighthouse yesterday. Nor weas it a surprise that ten WILD TURKEYS were seen twice in the past week. On the other hand, grebes have been of interest. PIED-BILLED GREBES have taken up residence off the camp office viewing platform, three HORNED GREBES were out in Lake Ontario off the day use area, and at least five RED-NECKED GREBES were off the lighthouse yesterday. Two AMERICAN COOTS arrived on Friday. Separate independent sightings oF a SANDHILL CRANE on March 25, never common at Presqu'ile, were likely of the same bird. The first BONAPARTE'S GULL of the year was over the marsh on March 25 and again on March 29. No CASPIAN TERNS or RED-THROATED LOONS have yet been reported, but both are expected soon. Single COMMON LOONS were sighted on March 26 and 29. A few DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS and GREAT BLUE HERONS have been back for several days.
A TURKEY VULTURE flew over yesterday, but the highlight of the weekend for many Park visitors not initiated into serious birding was an adult BALD EAGLE that flew around in front of a group of birders and then spent most of the rest of the weekend perched in the same distant tree for anyone to observe through a spotting scope. Among other raptors seen this week were NORTHERN HARRIERS, two ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS, a SNOWY OWL, a BARRED OWL, an AMERICAN KESTREL, and two MERLINS. BELTED KINGFISHERS have been seen in three different parts of the Park in the past few days, and PILEATED WOODPECKERS continue to be seen. EASTERN PHOEBES have been present since March 28. Two COMMON RAVENS, perhaps a mated pair, flew past on March 28. There has been an uptick in BROWN CREEPER sightings, and the first WINTER WREN since December was in Jobes' Woods this week. Yesterday two EASTERN BLUEBIRDS were in the calf pasture and two EASTERN MEADOWLARKS were near the picnic shelter in the day use area.
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.
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.