[Ontbirds] Presqu'ile Birding Report for Week Ending January 5, 2006.

Fred Helleiner fhelleiner at trentu.ca
Thu Jan 5 16:09:43 EST 2006

After a couple of days when the wind blew ice into Presqu'ile Bay, 
temporarily clearing most of the waterfowl out, mild weather returned, 
even enticing a chipmunk out of its winter quarters.  Perhaps the first 
avian sign of spring in Presqu'ile Provincial Park was a woodpecker 
(probably a Hairy Woodpecker) doing a drumroll on January 2, something 
we don't usually hear except in spring.  Although it is a quiet time of 
year for birding, one unaccompanied observer has managed to locate 40 
species of birds at Presqu'ile in the first five days of this year, 
which is exceptional for such a small area (about 10 square 
kilometres).  In the town of Brighton and across the bay at Barcovan, he 
found an additional six species, including urban specialties like Rock 
Pigeons, European Starlings, and House Sparrows, which one would be hard 
pressed to find at Presqu'ile in winter.

Four Tundra Swans were in Presqu'ile Bay on December 30 but have not 
been since.  Three Canvasbacks were at the end of Langdon Avenue with 
Redheads and other ducks on January 5.  The number of Redheads plummeted 
after the bay iced up, from several hundred to half a dozen, but almost 
100 have returned.  Common Mergansers experienced a similar 
disappearance/re-appearance, albeit in numbers barely reaching two 
digits.  Red-breasted Mergansers, on the other hand, were unaffected by 
the freeze-up since they typically stay in the open water of the lake.

Bald Eagles have been seen on four of the past seven days, usually 
cruising over Presqu'ile Bay.  Both Sharp-shinned Hawk and Northern 
Goshawk have also been seen this week.  A Ruffed Grouse was flushed in 
the woods, and the fresh tracks of three other birds were spotted in 
widely separated parts of the Park.  Among the hundreds of Herring Gulls 
on the ice of Presqu'ile Bay there were at least two Iceland Gulls.  A 
Snowy Owl was spotted on the ice of the bay.

A Northern Shrike can often be found at the calf pasture.  Both Brown 
Creeper and Golden-crowned Kinglet have been seen in flocks of 
Black-capped Chickadees along Paxton Drive.  Two Song Sparrows were at 
Owen Point, a White-throated Sparrow was at 83 Bayshore Road, and an 
unidentified sparrow, perhaps a Swamp Sparrow, skulked away from the 
observer near the pump house.  A flock of Snow Buntings was on Gull 
Island.  A lone Common Grackle that had not been seen for a week has 
re-appeared twice near Langdon Avenue.  Four species of finch have been 
present during the past week, the commonest being Common Redpolls at 
several locations.  House Finch, Pine Siskin, and American Goldfinch are 
the other three.

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.  The ice between Owen Point and Gull 
Island may be unsafe depending on recent wind and temperature 
conditions, but was not a problem a few days ago.

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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