[Ontbirds] Presqu'ile Birding Report for Week Ending January 25, 2007.

Fred Helleiner 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.


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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