[Ontbirds] Presqu'ile Birding Report for Week Ending January 25, 2007.
fhelleiner at trentu.ca
Thu Jan 25 19:16:35 EST 2007
In some respects, birding at Presqu'ile Provincial Park has been more
interesting than in any previous week this winter. At least one rarity
and three species of owls have broken the spell which has made birding
reports repetitive for several weeks. As part of the Brighton
Winterfest activities, birders and others wanting to visit the Park will
be admitted free this Sunday.
Three species of swans were at the calf pasture at the end of last week,
including two Tundra Swans on January 19 and a Trumpeter Swan on the
following day. At least 200 Mute Swans are around the Park almost every
day. Three Gadwalls were at Salt Point on January 23. There are
hundreds, perhaps thousands, of ducks of the genus /Aythya/ that move
into Presqu'ile Bay to feed whenever there is open water and then
retreat to the open water of Lake Ontario at dusk to avoid being frozen
in overnight. The vast majority are Greater Scaup but there are also a
few Canvasbacks and plenty of Redheads, prompting the Park naturalist
(actually "Natural Heritage Education Leader") to remark, "It's as good
as Waterfowl Festival there now!" On January 19 there were at least
four Lesser Scaup and a Ring-necked Duck at Salt Point. There is no way
of knowing whether the latter was a newly returned migrant or one that
had been undetected in the area since the fall, but last year an
extremely mild spell in January brought one back to Presqu'ile on
January 13 after several weeks of real winter. The highlight of the
week for rarity-seekers was a Barrow's Goldeneye that showed up near the
lighthouse on January 22 and was re-discovered east of Chatterton Point
on January 24. Hooded Mergansers are occasionally seen at Presqu'ile in
winter, but no one has reported seeing any since December 30. A Common
Loon was still in Presqu'ile Bay on January 19, the latest date on
record for the Park. Another record late date was set on January 23,
when a Great Blue Heron flew past 94 Bayshore Road. There were still
four American Coots present on January 24. This may prove to be the
first winter in which that species successfully over-winters at Presqu'ile.
An immature Bald Eagle flew past the lighthouse on January 24, and
another of that species, perhaps the same one, was at the Nature Centre
on the following morning. A Rough-legged Hawk flew over the calf
pasture on January 24. A birder on an off-trail trek through the woods
on January 20 spotted first a Great Horned Owl catching some warming
rays while perched in a tree in Newcastle Woods and half an hour later a
Barred Owl doing the same thing in Jobes' Woods. A Snowy Owl was seen
on High Bluff Island two days later.
Since the discovery of a Black-backed Woodpecker and an American
Three-toed Woodpecker in "the fingers" in November, a number of birders
have hunted unsuccessfully for either of those /Picoides/ woodpeckers
there but have never conceded that the birds are no longer there. On
January 23, after a snowfall the night before, fresh spruce scalings
that were unmistakably from one of those species were found on the snow
near the shed in the woods. It might pay to keep searching. The
tapping of two Pileated Woodpeckers nearby gave one birder hope of
finding the rarer ones. After an apparent absence of almost three
weeks, the Northern Shrike at the calf pasture was seen again on January
24. A Brown Creeper was seen near Salt Point on that day.
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 channels separating Gull Island
from Owen Point are no longer considered safe to cross.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be
directed to: FHELLEINER at TRENTU.CA.
186 Bayshore Road,
Brighton, Ontario, Canada, K0K 1H0
VOICE: (613) 475 5309
If visiting, access via Presqu'ile Provincial Park.
More information about the ONTBIRDS