A brief respite from the wintry conditions that have prevailed at Presqu’ile Provincial Park occurred last weekend when somewhat milder weather was accompanied by an influx of hundreds of ducks, many of which are still present in the open water of Presqu’ile Bay. Another very brief interlude of slightly warmer weather and southerly winds is expected to take place on Saturday, and the continued absence of easterly winds will keep the bay open as far inland as the government dock, where most of the ducks have congregated.
Dabbling ducks have usually begun to return well before this date in previous years, but so far there has been only a trickle: an AMERICAN BLACK DUCK on February 20 and 21, 2 to 4 MALLARDS on February 22-24, a NORTHERN PINTAIL on February 22. GADWALLS can be expected next. About 40 CANVASBACKS and several hundred REDHEADS have been around since the weekend, many times more than at any previous time this year. On four of the past seven days, a RING-NECKED DUCK has been in the Salt Point vicinity, where up to 14 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS can also be seen. A HOODED MERGANSER was near the lighthouse on February 22.
There were two RUFFED GROUSE sightings in the past week. A BALD EAGLE was consuming a duck on the ice off the government dock today. Large numbers of RING-BILLED GULLS are around Gull Island. A GLAUCOUS GULL was on the ice of Presqu’ile Bay for two days. A ROCK PIGEON seen flying past was an unusual species for Presqu’ile. SNOWY OWLS continue to be seen, but a late report from earlier this month, accompanied by photographs, of an aggressive interaction between one of those owls and a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was of interest.
RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS, present all winter, have been seen at least twice. A COMMON RAVEN was at the calf pasture. AMERICAN ROBINS and CEDAR WAXWINGS have also been present all winter and both have been seen this week. A SONG SPARROW and a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW have both survived the winter at least until this week. On three different days, a HOUSE SPARROW, never common at Presqu’ile, has been seen at 83 Bayshore Road.
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. 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.