[Ontbirds] Presqu'ile Birding Report for Week Ending December 29, 2011.

Fred Helleiner fhelleiner at trentu.ca
Thu Dec 29 18:27:36 EST 2011

In the aftermath of the Christmas Bird Count excitement at Presqu'ile 
Provincial Park, birding has slowed down a bit, not because there are 
fewer birds but likely because most birders have been pre-occupied with 
holiday festivities.

Apart from the usual winter build-up of MUTE SWANS in Presqu'ile Bay, no 
other swans have been reported in the Park in the past week, but a pair 
of TRUMPETER SWANS was present for at least two days and photographed on 
the north shore of Presqu'ile Bay at Gosport.  There was still a 
NORTHERN PINTAIL off Gull Island on December 27 and a few REDHEADS and 
WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS in Presqu'ile Bay, much of which froze over last 
night.  The drastically altered ice conditions of the past twelve hours 
may be responsible for an influx of a few dozen COMMON GOLDENEYES where, 
unlike in Popham Bay, only a few have been present in recent weeks.  
This morning, before the wind cleared a lot of the ice out of the outer 
bay, a small patch of open water contained a few dozen ducks, including 
a male BARROW'S GOLDENEYE that was still there in mid-afternoon.  It is 
over a month since that species was last seen at Presqu'ile, but now it 
seems to be occupying the same patch of water near the lighthouse where 
one has spent three of the last four winters.  A COMMON LOON, a HORNED 
GREBE, and a DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT on December 27, 25, and 26, 
respectively, may not be around to see the new year in if ice conditions 
force them out.  The small flock of AMERICAN COOTS that remained on 
December 27 may also be the last of the season. 

A BALD EAGLE and a COOPER'S HAWK were the most interesting hawks of the 
past week.  Without venturing out to Gull Island, three observers were 
able to pick out six PURPLE SANDPIPERS and an ICELAND GULL from the tip 
of Owen Point on December 26.  No BONAPARTE'S GULLS have been reported 
since December 23.  Two of the four IVORY GULL records for Presqu'ile 
have occurred within the coming seven-day calendar period, and it may 
just happen that the current cold snap will have driven another of that 
species into the Park from some point further north.  As many as three 
SNOWY OWLS could be seen from Owen Point at one time, one on the beach, 
one on Gull Island, and one on Sebastopol Island.

A BELTED KINGFISHER flew past the government dock on December 27.  A 
RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER keeps visiting the feeders at 83 Bayshore Road.  
One observer found three PILEATED WOODPECKERS in the space of a couple 
of hours.  A NORTHERN SHRIKE has been fairly reliable in the calf 
pasture.  The occupants of the cottage at 83 Bayshore Road have 
repeatedly noticed the CAROLINA WREN that resides in that area.  The 
most recent sighting of the SAVANNAH SPARROW that was discovered at that 
address on the Christmas Bird Count was on December 24.

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.  Visitors to Gull Island not using a 
boat should be prepared to wade through  knee-deep water in which there 
is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven and 
slippery. Birders are encouraged to record their observations on the 
bird sightings board provided near the campground office by The Friends 
of Presqu'ile Park and to fill out a rare bird report for species not 
listed there.

Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be 
directed to: FHELLEINER at TRENTU.CA.

Fred Helleiner

186 Bayshore Road,
Brighton, Ontario, Canada, K0K 1H0
VOICE: (613) 475 5309
If visiting, access via Presqu'ile Provincial Park.

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