It has been an unspectacular week of spring birding at Presqu'ile Provincial Park. To be sure, the ducks have continued to provide enjoyment for many visiting birders, but even among those, we are still awaiting the arrival of species that normally appear before the end of March. At least half a dozen species of land birds that normally arrive in small numbers by this date have yet to be seen this year.
Two EURASIAN WIGEONS were seen together on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, but only one was present on Tuesday and none since then. It may be a little early for the first BLUE-WINGED TEAL to show up, but NORTHERN SHOVELERS should have been here before now. The first COMMON LOON was in Presqu'ile Bay on March 29, and on the following day a RED-THROATED LOON was far off shore in Popham Bay.
Two TURKEY VULTURES were over the Park gate on March 29, and an immature BALD EAGLE was observed feeding on a dead fish. A RUFFED GROUSE was out on one of the roads in the Park, where the details of its plumage could be observed. An AMERICAN WOODCOCK was flushed at Owen Point. One ICELAND and up to three GLAUCOUS GULLS were seen on the remaining ice of Presqu'ile Bay. One of the birds expected to arrive by now but overdue is the CASPIAN TERN, which is a common breeding bird at Presqu'ile.
For almost two weeks now, a NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL has been heard from various vantage points in the vicinity of the bird sightings board. It could be heard from the woodpile marsh and, for those with good hearing, even from the marsh boardwalk on a calm night.
Single RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS were found on each of the past two days, including one at the lighthouse, where they normally are not seen until late April. Where are the EASTERN PHOEBES that we normally see in late March? Even TREE SWALLOWS, except for one almost two weeks ago, are still missing. Single GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS, apparently just arrived, were near the lighthouse on the past two mornings. The latest COMMON REDPOLL sighting was on March 26.
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.