[Ontbirds]Presqu'ile Birding Report for Week Ending March 23, 2006.

Fred Helleiner fhelleiner at trentu.ca
Thu Mar 23 20:47:07 EST 2006

Normally at this time of year, new spring birds would be arriving at 
Presqu'ile Provincial Park almost every day, but for the past ten days 
or more, unfavourable winds have delayed migration.  For the past few 
hours, however, a change has occurred, with winds coming from the 
south-west.  That raises the prospect of a large influx of birds 
overnight tonight and into the morning (if the winds continue in that 
direction), as birds that have been held back suddenly begin to move in.

Up to this point the only members of the loon and grebe family that have 
shown up at Presqu'ile are a  few Pied-billed Grebes.  Before the end of 
the month,  there should be a few loons and other grebes, most likely in 
Popham Bay.  There have been only three reports this spring of Great 
Blue Herons in the Park, but they too, along with Double-crested 
Cormorants, will soon be here in numbers.  When flocks of Canada Geese 
resume their flights overhead, there could be a Snow Goose among them. A 
few Tundra Swans have been with the conspicuous Mute Swans in Presqu'ile 
Bay this week.

Since the ice has cleared out of Presqu'ile Bay, the ducks, still 
numbering over a thousand, are widely scattered and often out of range 
of binoculars.  It is almost two weeks since a male Eurasian Wigeon was 
discovered at the calf pasture, and throughout that time speculation has 
continued as to whether that bird had left the area or was merely out of 
sight somewhere in the bay.  There have been hardly any days in that 
period with ideal viewing conditions: no wind, no waves, no distortion 
by "heat haze".  Today, March 23, was one such day, and indeed a male 
Eurasian Wigeon was spotted far out in the bay off 42 Bayshore Road, 
barely within range of a good spotting scope.  This species is a rare 
but regular (almost annual) visitor to Presqu'ile in late March and 
early April, so that bird may well be seen again, especially if it moves 
closer to one of the viewing lookouts along Bayshore Road.  Only 16 
other species of ducks were present in the past week, down by three from 
the week before.  White-winged Scoters can be found at various locations 
on most days.

Two Northern Harriers over the marsh on March 23 and a Barred Owl along 
Lighthouse Lane on March 22 were the only two raptor species reported 
this week.  However, a pseudo-raptor, a Northern Shrike, was still at 
the calf pasture on March 17 or 18.  Most of the bird feeders along 
Bayshore Road have been taken over by blackbirds, including a 
Brown-headed Cowbird on March 23.  A few Pine Siskins, and, regrettably, 
two female and one male House Sparrow have been frequenting the area 
near the end of Bayshore Road.  If the latter species stays to breed, it 
would be an unfortunate addition to the resident Presqu'ile avifauna.

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.  Access to the offshore islands is 
restricted at this time of year to prevent disturbance to the colonial 
nesting birds there.

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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