[Ontbirds] Presqu'ile Birding Report for Week Ending February 18, 2016.

Fred Helleiner fhelleiner at trentu.ca
Thu Feb 18 15:47:01 EST 2016

A decidedly wintry week at Presqu'ile Provincial Park has delayed the 
start of the spring bird migration, which often shows signs of life by 
mid-February.  As well, only a few hardy birders ventured out.  To 
paraphrase a well-known philosophical question: if birds arrive at 
Presqu'ile and no one is there to see them, do they really emit light 
waves?  Or perhaps: if birds arrive at Presqu'ile and no one is there to 
see them, will Canadians still say they are sorry? I'm sorry to have 
taken up too much space here.

Even on the coldest days and when Presqu'ile Bay is solidly frozen, one 
can always count on MUTE SWANS being around, but the six TUNDRA SWANS 
photographed at Owen Point on February 15 were the first since 
mid-January and may have been newly arrived migrants.  The REDHEADS and 
GREATER SCAUP that congregated by the thousands in Presqu'ile Bay for 
the first ten days of the month have dwindled to fewer than a dozen of 
the former and only hundreds of the latter.  CANVASBACKS disappeared 
altogether until today, when a few were at Salt Point, where 
WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS can also be seen on most days.  Yesterday at least 
seven RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS were there, the most this year.

The five WILD TURKEYS that have been spotted at the calf pasture 
occasionally all winter were seen again on Sunday.  If some of the 
inland waterways freeze up, a few RED-NECKED GREBES might be forced to 
move to Presqu'ile, as they have done in previous years when February 
conditions have necessitated that.  After disappearing for over a week, 
BALD EAGLES have returned with a vengeance.  At least four adults and 
two immatures have been present since the weekend. Two different 
observers were able to see five of them at once.  A birder who was 
determined to get out on Saturday despite the frigid wind was rewarded 
by seeing not only five eagles but also an ICELAND GULL.  SNOWY OWLS 
have been seen at two different locations, and a BARRED OWL was seen 
today.  There have been at least two sightings of RED-BELLIED 
WOODPECKER.  Up to three COMMON RAVENS have been scavenging on dead 
ducks.  A few AMERICAN ROBINS have been spotted on even the coldest days.

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 may need to wade through water that is knee-deep when calm and
   is sometimes obscured by a layer of ice.  They may also encounter a
  slippery coating of ice on the rocks.  Ice cleats are recommended.
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

Fred Helleiner
186 Bayshore Road
Brighton, Ontario
K0K 1H0
If visiting, access via Presqu'ile Provincial Park

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