A late BRANT flew in and landed near Owen Point on Tuesday and was on Gull Island this morning. Ducks have thinned out a bit but GADWALLS and AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS have congregated in good numbers around the shores of the offshore islands. If one includes a dead SURF SCOTER on the beach, three scoter species were present this week, including a BLACK SCOTER near the lighthouse. HARLEQUIN DUCKS are among the remaining ducks that may be showing up soon. Two RUFFED GROUSE were seen on one day, and fifteen WILD TURKEYS holding up traffic on Bayshore Road this afternoon represented the highest count this fall, their numbers perhaps augmented by refugees from the American Thanksgiving. There were still three PIED-BILLED GREBES in the marsh on Tuesday, even after some of that area had been briefly frozen over. The only remaining shorebirds on Tuesday were two SANDERLINGS, over a dozen DUNLINS, and two WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS, none of which could be found today. A late PECTORAL SANDPIPER was on the beach on Sunday.
On Monday a late TURKEY VULTURE was present. Other hawks seen in the past week were NORTHERN HARRIER, SHARP-SHINNED HAWK, NORTHERN GOSHAWK, and ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK. Two SNOWY OWLS were on Gull Island this morning. Land birds are rather scarce, but some of those seen this week were RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER, NORTHERN SHRIKE, COMMON RAVEN, PURPLE FINCH, SNOW BUNTING, WHITE-THROATED SPARROW, and RUSTY BLACKBIRD.
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 when it is absolutely calm; this does not take into account any wave action. 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 given priority on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Gull Island, High Bluff Island, Owen Point, 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