[Ontbirds] Presqu'ile Birding Report for Week Ending February 16, 2012.

Fred Helleiner fhelleiner at trentu.ca
Thu Feb 16 16:13:02 EST 2012

Two annual events of possible interest to birders are taking place at 
Presqu'ile Provincial Park in the next few weeks.  The first is a winter 
soup hike this Saturday afternoon.  The price is $2 or $5 per family and 
includes admission to the Park.  The second is the waterfowl viewing 
weekend on March 17-18.  With most of Presqu'ile Bay already free of 
ice, birders seriously interested in finding masses of ducks, albeit of 
limited variety, might find it worthwhile to visit sooner than those 
dates.  It will take some serious freeze-up to concentrate the ducks 
closer to shore than they are now.

A TRUMPETER SWAN was at the calf pasture earlier this week, offering 
ideal viewing opportunities. This morning the first GADWALL in two weeks 
was mingling with the thousands of GREATER SCAUP in Presqu'ile Bay, but 
other dabbling ducks have been scarce.  With most of the ducks far out 
in the bay, it has been a challenge to spot the RING-NECKED DUCK that is 
present.  Optimistic birders at this time of year carefully scan the 
flocks for a possible TUFTED DUCK, which has appeared twice before at 
Presqu'ile, though not in the past fifteen years.  The BARROW'S 
GOLDENEYE at the lighthouse continues to appear every day, but on a more 
erratic schedule.  In previous years, it has departed in March, but with 
phenological conditions occurring earlier this year it may leave sooner.

An immature BALD EAGLE was seen twice this week.  Two NORTHERN HARRIERS 
were seen on Sunday.  Two different COOPER'S HAWKS are being seen from 
time to time.  A PEREGRINE FALCON killed and ate a duck on the ice of 
Presqu'ile Bay on Tuesday and was there again today.  Two WILD TURKEYS 
were at the calf pasture this morning, raising the question of whether 
they have been present but undetected for several months or whether they 
have returned after spending a few months elsewhere.  Only one SNOWY OWL 
is known to have been seen this week, far out on the ice of Presqu'ile 
Bay.  Probably the ones on the beach and the offshore islands are still 

The same wintering birds that have been seen regularly remain:  
Bayshore Road, and NORTHERN SHRIKE at the calf pasture.  A COMMON RAVEN 
was seen last Friday and another or the same one was at the calf pasture 
this morning.  A BROWN CREEPER was seen last weekend and the first CEDAR 
WAXWING since early December was seen today.  A WHITE-THROATED SPARROW 
was at 83 Bayshore Road on February 10 and 11.  Ten PINE SISKINS were 
seen on February 13.  HOUSE SPARROWS are never common at Presqu'ile but 
a female appeared at a feeder on February 12.

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   ice-choked water of unknown 
depth, in which there is often a swift current and a substrate that is 
somewhat uneven and slippery. Moreover, there is a great deal of ice on 
the surrounding shore.  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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