[Ontbirds] Presqu'ile Birding Report for Week Ending December 22, 2005.

Fred Helleiner fhelleiner at trentu.ca
Thu Dec 22 20:50:18 EST 2005

Now that it is officially winter, one could expect to find fewer birds 
at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, but the Christmas Bird Count last Sunday 
proved that there are more birds to be found in the Park than one might 
suspect, as long as there is a sufficient number of birders present to 
find them.

To the dismay of those who recognize Mute Swans as a significant 
environmental problem, the number of individuals of that species 
continues to grow.  This week, 320 were counted in Presqu'ile Bay.  The 
odd Tundra Swan can usually be found among them by scanning the flock 
carefully with a spotting scope.  Almost all the other waterfowl at 
Presqu'ile are diving ducks, including a dozen or more Redheads.  A 
Hooded Merganser was near the government dock on December 19, and four 
Red-breasted Mergansers were in various locations the day before.

Raptors, both diurnal and nocturnal, provided some interesting sightings 
during the past week.  At least two Bald Eagles and a Northern Harrier 
have been seen flying around.  On Sunday, a remarkable four species of 
owls were found, all of which are likely still present.  A Great Horned 
Owl was seen at dusk near the Park entrance, and a Snowy Owl was sitting 
on the ice off Owen Point.  That bird, or another like it, was on the 
ice of Presqu'ile Bay on three of the last seven days.  Two Barred Owls 
were located, one in Jobes' woods and the other across the road from 42 
Bayshore Road.  Another one was just outside the Park on Huff Road 
today.  The best find, certainly the most surprising, was a Long-eared 
Owl in the cedars beside the Park Store parking lot.  That bird was 
re-discovered on December 21.

On December 19, a Northern Flicker was sitting in the middle of the road 
near the marsh boardwalk entrance road.  A young Northern Shrike 
appeared near two feeders on Bayshore Road on consecutive days last 
weekend.  Three Winter Wrens were seen on December 18, perhaps the 
largest one-day count for any winter day at Presqu'ile.  A very late 
American Pipit at Owen Point on December 18 may be the same bird that 
was there a fortnight earlier.  Also on December 18, two Swamp Sparrows 
were behind the woodpile marsh, and, by a conservative estimate, six or 
seven Song Sparrows were on Gull Island.  Although proving somewhat 
elusive, a White-throated Sparrow has been at 83 Bayshore Road, where 
there are also two Common Grackles.  One Common Redpoll put in a brief 
appearance there on December 18.

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, plenty of heavy ice floes, and a substrate that is somewhat 
uneven.  The ice between Owen Point and Gull Island is considered unsafe 
at present. 

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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