[Ontbirds] Presqu'ile Birding Report for Week Ending December 9, 2004.

Fred Helleiner fhelleiner at trentu.ca
Thu Dec 9 20:06:25 EST 2004

Although there is generally a let-down in the birding world at the tail 
end of a migration season, there is still enough of interest to birders 
at Presqu'ile Provincial Park to attract day-trippers from various parts 
of the province.

Both Red-throated and Common Loons have been seen during the past week, 
the former off the woodpile marsh causeway on December 5 and the latter 
off the beach on December 9.  The dabbling ducks that had been 
frequenting the marsh have largely been frozen out, with only American 
Black Ducks and Mallards remaining.  White-winged Scoters were at Gull 
Island on December 5 (3) and 9 (1).

A Ruffed Grouse near the tip of Owen Point was in an unusual location.  
The flock of American Coots off 38 Bayshore Road has dwindled to five 
birds on December 8 and four on December 9.  The flock of 13 Purple 
Sandpipers and one Dunlin was re-discovered on December 5 on Gull 
Island, but by December 9 only seven Purple Sandpipers could be found.  
On both of those dates, two Glaucous Gulls were at Owen Point, as well 
as a few Bonaparte's Gulls. 

Two Snowy Owls were on Gull Island on December 9.  On December 6, a 
group of recreational walkers on Paxton Drive (including one birder) saw 
a Barred Owl at the western edge of Jobes' woods.

A Northern Flicker appeared on two different days this week along 
Bayshore Road between Langdon Avenue and the end of the road.

Only one sighting of a Northern Shrike was drawn to my attention this 
week, but the location (north of Owen Point) is where sightings were 
made in late November, suggesting that there is a bird wintering there.  
At the calf pasture on December 9, a Common Raven was being mobbed by 
American Crows.  Sightings of this species are rare at Presqu'ile, but 
there have been several this fall.  Perhaps all of them relate to the 
same bird, which manages to stay hidden much of the time.

Today (December 9) marks the beginning of the third month that the 
Tufted Titmouse has been present at Presqu'ile.  Although there was a 
recent sighting of this bird at 85 Bayshore Road, most of the 
observations have been made at 186 and/or 191 Bayshore Road, where, 
after a nerve-wracking absence of three days this week, it continues to 
make regular and frequent visits to the feeders.  In forty years of 
Presqu'ile and area Christmas Bird Counts, there has never yet been a 
Tufted Titmouse encountered.  It seems likely that this year on December 
19, that void will be filled.  The hiatus of several weeks without 
American Robins in the Park came to an end on December 8, when a dozen 
were spotted at the calf pasture.  The feeders at the back of 85 
Bayshore Road have been very active, with, among other things, two 
White-throated Sparrows, a Red-winged Blackbird (as recently as December 
3), and two Evening Grosbeaks also on that date, the first of that 
species to be found at Presqu'ile this year.  Pine Siskins were still 
present at 186 Bayshore Road on December 4, but they and the American 
Goldfinches that have been a fixture there since spring appear to have 
vacated the area.

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 should be 
prepared to wade through shin-deep water in which there is often a swift 
current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven. 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.

Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be 
directed to: FHELLEINER at TRENTU.CA.

Fred Helleiner

186 Bayshore Road,
R.R. #4, 
Brighton, Ontario, Canada, K0K 1H0
VOICE: (613) 475 5309 
If visiting, access via Presqu'ile Provincial Park. 

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