Presqu'ile Provincial Park continues to harbour a good variety of winter birds, but no exceptional rarities have appeared recently. Who knows what surprises lie in store when an exhaustive search takes place this Sunday during the Christmas Bird Count?
A TUNDRA SWAN was among the many MUTE SWANS in Presqu'ile Bay on December 5. WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS are present in small numbers, including a flock of six on Tuesday. Two HOODED MERGANSERS were in Presqu'ile Bay on Friday. Twice this week a RUFFED GROUSE was flushed close to Owen Point. A group of five WILD TURKEYS was seen on Friday. The first December record of TURKEY VULTURE was established today when one flew over 83 Bayshore Road. Other raptor sightings include a NORTHERN HARRIER today, two separate COOPER'S HAWKS, several RED-TAILED HAWKS, and a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK. A PURPLE SANDPIPER with "a gimpy leg" was reportedly sighted on Gull Island on Sunday and was still there on Tuesday. Single BONAPARTE'S GULLS were seen on Saturday and Tuesday. Both ICELAND GULL and GLAUCOUS GULL were seen twice in the past week. The high count of SNOWY OWLS was six last Friday and lesser numbers have been seen every day this week. A BARRED OWL spent at least three days near the lighthouse and another was seen elsewhere.
At least two COMMON RAVENS were in the Park on Monday. The WHITE-THROATED and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS and RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS and COMMON GRACKLES mentioned in last week's report were still present today, including an unusual fifteen of the latter. A COMMON REDPOLL was photographed on Sunday and PINE SISKINS continue to visit feeders, though not as many as in recent weeks.
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