With no exceptional rarities found at Presqu'ile Provincial Park this week, the focus has been on unusually large numbers of a few species.
Hundreds of MUTE SWANS continue in Presqu'ile Bay, where there is open water from between the calf pasture and the marsh, though that may change with tonight's predicted low temperature unless the wind keeps blowing the newly formed ice out towards the lake. A few TRUMPETER SWANS, as many as four on December 30, can usually be found among them. There was a report of a CANVASBACK on January 1. REDHEAD numbers were building up gradually throughout the week, reaching a peak of about 1,200 yesterday. A male RING-NECKED DUCK was among them on January 1 and 4. With duck hunting scheduled to end on January 10, those two species may become more predictable as to their feeding location. A female KING EIDER that was seen on Monday at nearby Barcovan may turn up at Presqu'ile. WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS continue to be seen almost every day off the lighthouse.
Seven WILD TURKEYS were seen on December 30. When HERRING GULLS are resting on the ice of Presqu'ile Bay, as they do when not flushed by an eagle, with a scope one can sometimes find other gulls. Two ICELAND GULLS and three GLAUCOUS GULLS have been detected there in the past week. A few BALD EAGLES are often feeding there on the ice. NORTHERN HARRIER and SHARP-SHINNED HAWK are the only other hawks seen in the past week. A SNOWY OWL has been on Gull and Sebastopol Islands and another on the ice of Presqu'ile Bay, and a BARRED OWL was seen in the woods. There were two sightings of COMMON RAVEN on January 1. Nine HORNED LARKS were on Gull Island on December 30. There seemed to be a movement of AMERICAN ROBINS on Sunday, as they were being seen in flocks of a few dozen in many locations both in the Park and beyond, some of them flying westward. Relatively few remained in subsequent days. A PINE SISKIN paid a brief visit to a feeder on Monday. SNOW BUNTINGS, numbering about 275 (!), were at Owen Point and Gull Island on December 30. WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS and BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS have been at 83 Bayshore Road, the latter on only one occasion.
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 (a couple of metres of water with a depth of a centimetre or two separated it from Owen Point ecently) may encounter a slippery coating of ice on the rocks. Ice cleats are recommended.
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.