[Ontbirds]Presqu'ile Birding Report for Week Ending March 2, 2006.

Fred Helleiner fhelleiner at trentu.ca
Thu Mar 2 17:48:30 EST 2006

The hoped-for break in the winter weather at Presqu'ile Provincial Park 
has not yet taken place, but a few clear signs of spring are evident in 
the bird world.

Given decent viewing conditions, birders looking out over Presqu'ile Bay 
from Bayshore Road or the calf pasture are almost certain to find both 
Mute Swans (the vast majority) and Tundra Swans, as well as a few 
Gadwalls and lots of Canvasbacks, Redheads, and Greater Scaup.  A 
Ring-necked Duck was spotted as recently as February 24, and there 
probably are still a few of them among the scaup.  Two White-winged 
Scoters were near Salt Point on March 2.  A few Red-breasted Mergansers 
have paired up in the open waters of Lake Ontario near Owen Point and 
Chatterton Point.

Although Presqu'ile is not noted for its raptor migrations, a few 
noteworthy sightings occurred this week.  An immature Bald Eagle was 
seen twice over Presqu'ile Bay, and a very early (perhaps record early) 
Merlin was at 111 Bayshore Road on March 2. On the same day, a Barred 
Owl was sitting directly over the main road in the Park just east of the 
bird sightings board parking lot.  Unquestionably the biggest surprise 
of the week was the smallest raptor, a Northern Saw-whet Owl hopping 
around in a deciduous shrub at the calf pasture on February 28, another 
early date.  

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Ring-billed Gulls are fully in 
possession of Gull Island these days.  A Glaucous Gull  was on the ice 
of Presqu'ile Bay on February 24.

A Northern Flicker was spotted outside the Park Superintendent's office 
this afternoon.  A few American Robins and Cedar Waxwings can usually be 
seen in or near a crab apple tree opposite the government dock (73? 
Bayshore Road). Perhaps they will be joined by Eastern Bluebirds in the 
next few weeks.  A Song Sparrow was on the beach east of Owen Point on 
March 2, and a White-throated Sparrow was in the thicket at the base of 
Salt Point on February 26.  Both of those birds were likely present all 
winter, as were the two Common Grackles around 116 Bayshore Road.  Again 
this week, the only finches found at Presqu'ile were small numbers of 
House Finches, Pine Siskins, and American Goldfinches, mostly at feeders 
between the government dock and Salt Point.

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 channel separating Gull Island 
from Owen Point is probably less than a metre deep but treacherous to 
wade across because of the swift currents.  If it is ice-covered, the 
ice is probably unsafe.  There is only one more week before Gull Island 
becomes off limits for the summer months (another sign of spring). 

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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