The continued mild conditions have made for comfortable and productive birding at Presqu'ile Provincial Park for most of the past week. In particular there are more waterfowl, and a greater variety, than one can usually expect at this time of year.
The two TRUMPETER SWANS that were near the government dock last week were at the end of Langton Lane on Tuesday. A pair of GADWALLS was at the calf pasture this morning. A single NORTHERN PINTAIL was near Salt Point on Sunday, and three more were at Owen Point on Monday but have not been reported there since. CANVASBACKS and REDHEADS are increasing in number in Presqu'ile Bay every day, accompanied for the past three days by one or two RING-NECKED DUCKS. WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS are also there. Two male BARROW'S GOLDENEYES were near the lighthouse on January 27, but only one has been seen each day since then. It is not too early to expect the first HOODED MERGANSERS to show up since the record early date in the Park is February 2 and there is plenty of open water in the bay.
Two BALD EAGLES were squabbling over some prey on the ice of Presqu'ile Bay yesterday. NORTHERN HARRIERS were seen on January 29 and February 1. A pair of WILD TURKEYS spent several months in the Park last winter but have not been reported since until one was found on January 27. A SNOWY OWL has been seen twice recently on High Bluff Island and another on Gull Island.
Yesterday A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER was at 83 Bayshore Road and a NORTHERN SHRIKE was on Lilac Lane. The long-staying CAROLINA WREN at 83 Bayshore Road was still present on January 29. The flock of AMERICAN ROBINS that has been wintering near the south-west corner of the calf pasture numbered about 50 birds today, and single individuals and pairs along Bayshore Road in the past few days may be new arrivals. There have been several sightings of the wintering SAVANNAH SPARROW in the past week at 83 and 85 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. Visitors to Gull Island not using a boat should be prepared to wade through knee-deep, ice-choked water, in which there is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven and slippery. Moreover, there is a great deal of ice on the surrounding shore. 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.