Presqu'ile Birding Report for Week Ending February 19, 2004.
fhelleiner at trentu.ca
Thu Feb 19 20:00:30 EST 2004
In most parts of Ontario, the time when winter birding becomes
transformed into spring birding is some time in March, but at Presqu'ile
Provincial Park that transformation occurs much earlier, with the
arrival of ducks and other water birds. Even before the end of
February, almost 60 species of birds have been sighted at Presqu'ile
since the beginning of the year, and several of those are returned migrants.
At present, the greatest concentration of waterfowl can be viewed from
the government dock on Bayshore Road. Among the many Mute Swans visible
from that point, there was another swan on February 19 which appeared
from a distance to be a Trumpeter Swan. With the mild weather of the
past 24 hours, a few dabbling ducks have re-appeared, including several
Gadwalls and American Wigeons. Canvasbacks, as many as four at a time,
have been present since February 12. In addition to the three or four
White-winged Scoters that have been lingering in Presqu'ile Bay for the
past few weeks, a surprising flock of 22 individuals flew westward past
Gull Island on February 19.
One or two Bald Eagles can occasionally be seen harassing the ducks in
the bay. For over an hour on February 18, an adult was observed on a
drifting ice floe as it tore apart and consumed what was presumably a
duck.Another adult was perched on High Bluff Island the next morning.
Both Rough-legged and Red-tailed Hawks and a Northern Harrier were seen
in the Park on February 19.
There has been a build-up in the past few days of gulls, including
several hundred Ring-billed Gulls in the vicinity of Gull Island,
presumably waiting for the first bare patches of ground to be revealed.
A Glaucous Gull was also there on February 19. Lest anyone question
whether a February birding trip to Presqu'ile is worthwhile, bear in
mind that, three years ago, an American Woodcock arrived at the
lighthouse on February 26.
While the number and variety of water birds are significantly different
from what they were a week ago at Presqu'ile, the land birds are much
the same as they have been all winter, though aspects of their behaviour
indicate the imminence of spring. A large owl was flushed in the woods
alongside Lighthouse Lane, most likely a Barred Owl, but its identity
could not be confirmed.
A Northern Flicker seen near the government dock was the second of that
species seen at Presqu'ile recently. Pileated Woodpeckers are being
discovered more frequently these days, perhaps because they are more
vocal than before. For the second time in as many weeks, Golden-crowned
Kinglets were in the spruces next to the government dock on February
19. American Robins are flying around the Park, sometimes high above
the trees in which they have been sheltering all winter. On a very cold
but bright morning last weekend, a Northern Cardinal was singing as if
it were spring. The seven Red-winged Blackbirds and the Common Grackle
that have been seen periodically throughout the winter near Langdon
Avenue have re-appeared after an absence of over two weeks and are
becoming more vocal. As yet, the two Song Sparrows wintering at 186
Bayshore Road have not been heard attempting to sing.
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. Although the channel separating
Gull Island from Owen Point appears to be frozen over, the thickness of
the ice is probably unreliable because of the underlying currents.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be
directed to: FHELLEINER at TRENTU.CA.
186 Bayshore Road,
Brighton, Ontario, Canada, K0K 1H0
VOICE: (613) 475 5309
If visiting, access via Presqu'ile Provincial Park.
Fred Helleiner <fhelleiner at trentu.ca>
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