Presqu'ile Provincial Park, like so many other places, has experienced some wild weather this week, which has curtailed the birding activity. The marsh and some of Presqu'ile Bay are now frozen over. Before that set in, however, a few birders found a good selection of birds.
Until Monday an AMERICAN WIGEON and a few GREEN-WINGED TEAL were still in the marsh. REDHEADS are by far the most abundant duck at Presqu'ile these days with several thousand in Presqu'ile Bay. Patient scanning of the flocks has revealed a CANVASBACK and a RING-NECKED DUCK. A few WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS are still around and a HORNED GREBE was near the lighthouse on November 15. A birder walking the Newcastle trail yesterday was surprised to flush a GREAT BLUE HERON from deep in the woods. Another was at the causeway outside the Park gate on Saturday. A NORTHERN HARRIER and a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK today (as well as two on Saturday) and a MERLIN on Sunday were the only hawks seen this week. An AMERICAN COOT and two GREATER YELLOWLEGS were in the marsh on Sunday. Also on Sunday a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER and a PURPLE SANDPIPER were on Gull Island, in addition to SANDERLINGS and DUNLINS which were also there today. A SNOWY OWL was also there on both of those days.
A WINTER WREN was heard on Sunday and two EASTERN BLUEBIRDS were seen on Saturday. AMERICAN PIPITS continue to be seen at Owen Point and on Gull Island. WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS are numerous at 85 Bayshore Road and a WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW has spent the past six days at 186 Bayshore Road. RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS and COMMON GRACKLES are regular at one or both of those addresses. PINE SISKINS are present in good numbers, but no one has yet reported any REDPOLLS, which should be expected imminently.
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 water that is knee-deep, not taking into account any wave action, in which there is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven and slippery. It should also be noted that, because duck hunting is on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Gull Island, High Bluff Island, and part of the calf pasture are not available for bird-watching on those days. 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