Presqu’ile Christmas Bird Count and Weekly Bird Report for 24 – 30 Dec 2021
By Doug McRae
Presqu’ile Christmas Bird Count Summary
The Presqu’ile CBC was held on Sun., 19 Dec, a day after the first snow fall. Twenty-seven observers covered the nine subregions locating 75 species. An additional nine species were seen during the count week (CW).
No new species were found but several notable birds were located including Wood Duck (2), Northern Pintail (6), Northern Shoveler (CW), American Coot (2), Purple Sandpiper (CW), Double-crested Cormorant (CW), Peregrine Falcon, American Pipit, Marsh Wren, Carolina Wren, Hermit Thrush, White-crowned Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, and Eastern Towhee. Unusually high counts were noted for Hooded Merganser (118), Bald Eagle (9), Red-bellied Woodpecker (17), and Eastern Bluebird (25).
Many thanks to the core of die-hard volunteers that took part, many of whom have done this count for years.
Weekly Report for 24-30 Dec 2021
This report is primarily based on sightings gleaned from eBird, and those reported directly to me. I would be grateful to hear of any interesting sightings. You can reach me at email@example.com. Your observations are very much appreciated. If you are reporting something rare, please provide some details (exact location, ID features noted) or photographs if possible. Finally in order to try and keep the database as accurate as possible, eBird accounts submitted under false names or pseudonyms will not be used unless I know who the actual observer is.
HIGHLIGHTS: King Eider, Black Scoter, Purple Sandpiper
OVERVIEW: Increased coverage helped turn up a few excellent birds to end the year off with.
American Black Duck: The high count was 35 on 25 Dec.
Mallard: Present through the week with a high of 40 on 25 Dec.
Canvasback: A male was seen near Salt Pt. on 26 Dec.
King Eider: A female was discovered on Christmas day near the lighthouse but when other observers arrived searching for it, an immature male was found. The male was seen again on 26 Dec. Then on 28 Dec the male was seen with what looked like a female but the observers were not certain on the second bird. The sightings have been in the lighthouse area and often in company of White-winged Scoters.
White-winged Scoter: Present throughout, mostly between Salt Pt. and the lighthouse with a peak of 26 on 27 Dec.
Black Scoter: A female was seen at Gull Is. on 25 Dec. Although normal in the west end of Lake Ontario at this season, it is quite rare here after early Dec.
Horned Grebe: Tardy birds included a single on 25 Dec at Gull Is., two at the Lighthouse on 26 Dec, and a single was still at the lighthouse on 28 Dec.
Double-crested Cormorant: A very late bird was seen on 25 Dec.
Bald Eagle: Seen throughout the week with a maximum of two on 28 Dec.
Northern Harrier: Birds are regularly seen, especially around High Bluff Is. with a peak of two on 25 Dec.
Cooper’s Hawk: There has been an uptick of sightings with several reports of adults and immatures this week.
Rough-legged Hawk: Several sightings throughout the week, mostly on High Bluff Is.
Purple Sandpiper: A very tame and obliging bird was discovered at Owen Pt. on 26 Dec, perhaps the same one seen there on 17 Dec. It was seen subsequently on 28 Dec and again on 30 Dec, about 150m N of Owen Pt along the natural beach. Presqu’ile is arguably the best place to see this rare late fall migrant in southern Ontario, but this year they have been unusually scarce with the Dec 17 bird being the first report of fall.
Snowy Owl: Seen throughout the week, mostly on the offshore islands with a maximum of 3 on 25 Dec.
Winter Wren: One was seen at the base of Owen Pt. on 26 Dec.
Song Sparrow: One was at Owen Pt. and another on Gull Is. on 25 Dec.
White-throated Sparrow: Small numbers are visiting Bayshore Rd. feeders, and a few are still being seen in “wild” circumstances.
Please Note: Reservations are still required for entry to Presqu’ile, regardless of whether you have a seasonal pass or not. These can be made online at the Ontario Parks website.
Directions: Presqu’ile Provincial Park is located south of Brighton on the north shore of Lake Ontario. It is well signed from either Hwy. 401 or Cty. Rd. 2.