The past week has seen a number of newly returned migrants reaching Presqu'ile Provincial Park, including one at a record early date.
Earlier this week, three flocks of CANADA GEESE that appeared to be in migration passed overhead. Beginning on Sunday, TUNDRA SWANS appeared in Presqu'ile Bay in larger numbers than during the winter. The few dabbling ducks in Presqu'ile Bay include GADWALLS and AMERICAN WIGEONS.
We can expect the first WOOD DUCKS soon. Most of the diving ducks have been far out in the bay, but there has been a good variety in close to shore, including CANVASBACKS, REDHEADS, RING-NECKED DUCKS, LESSER SCAUP, and HOODED MERGANSERS, the latter arriving only today at Salt Point.
The over-wintering BARROW'S GOLDENEYE has not been seen for over a week. A PIED-BILLED GREBE at the calf pasture on February 27 was about two weeks earlier than the previous Presqu'ile record.
An adult BALD EAGLE has been seen for several consecutive days on the ice and in the trees around Presqu'ile Bay. Other hawks in the past week included a NORTHERN HARRIER, a COOPER'S HAWK that made a quick pass at a local feeder, a RED-TAILED HAWK, and a PEREGRINE FALCON eating something on the ice. The only owls seen in the past week were a SNOWY OWL on the beach and a BARRED OWL, both on February 26.
As in many recent weeks, there have been sightings of RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER, NORTHERN SHRIKE, COMMON RAVEN, CAROLINA WREN, and SAVANNAH SPARROW. The first SONG SPARROW and RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS returned on the weekend, and numbers of the latter increased significantly today.
Apart from HOUSE FINCHES and AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES, there have been few finches of any kind all winter, but this week five PINE SISKINS and two male WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS in full song were found.
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 ice-choked water of unknown depth, in which there is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven and slippery. 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.