By Doug McRae
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
HIGHLIGHTS: Ruddy Duck, Long-eared Owl, Red Crossbill
OVERVIEW: Migration steams ahead mostly on schedule but despite there being a lot more birds around, there were few unexpected finds. Most of the waterfowl are still present but diving ducks are dropping in numbers rapidly. The islands (scope required) and marsh have been where most of the puddle ducks have been seen. In addition to the Park, the Brighton waterfront along Harbour St., and the Price Street Canoe Launch at the east end of Price St. in Gosport have been good locations for duck watching. Most of the expected land birds have been arriving more or less on schedule and the various habitats in Presqu’ile seem just a little richer with new songs and lots of activity.
Tundra Swan: Five were seen just outside the Park at the Price St. Canoe launch on 3 Apr.
Ruddy Duck: Two birds continued through the week in the cove north of the Price St. canoe launch.
Ruffed Grouse: Birds are now drumming in earnest and can be heard thinly scattered in most wooded habitats.
Horned Grebe: The high count was 12 on 5 Apr.
Great Egret: The nesting birds are back and easily visible with a scope in their nesting trees on High Bluff Is. If standing on Owen Pt. look near the right side of High Bluff and look for the white birds in the cedars. They are also being seen regularly in the Park marshes as well as nearby wetlands.
American Coot: Two birds were in the marsh on 7 Apr.
Wilson’s Snipe: Two displaying over the marsh on 7 Apr were the first reported.
Bonaparte’s Gull: The only report was 5 seen on 5 Apr.
Snowy Owl: One seen along Harbour St. just outside the park on 6 Apr is getting late and in an odd location.
Long-eared Owl: One was spotted roosting in a cedar hedge on 5 Apr. This species, although a breeding resident, is very rarely encountered in part due to its pretty secretive and nocturnal nature as well as an abundance of dense conifer areas to roost in making luck the main key to finding them.
Barn Swallow: Four on 2 Apr were the first of year. That said, through the week there seemed to be a general dearth of all swallows which is alarming since this is when we should be seeing large numbers starting to migrate through and take up residence.
House Wren: One was reported without details on 3 Apr which is very early. If more details are available they would be appreciated.
Field Sparrow: Birds have arrived on territory at the Calf Pasture field but one seen near the Lighthouse on 8 Apr was a migrant.
Fox Sparrow: One on 8 Apr was the first of spring.
Eastern Meadowlark: The first migrant noted was on 5 Apr.
Red Crossbill: Numbers seem to be dying down but a singles were seen near the Lighthouse on 4 Apr and at Paxton Dr. and Atkins Lane on 8 Apr.
Please Note: Access to Gull and High Bluff Island is closed to visitation between 10 March and 10 September to protect the thousands of colonial birds that nest on the islands.
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.
Doug McRae Shrew Solutions Inc. 240 Presqu’ile Parkway Brighton, Ontario K0K 1H0 613-475-5014 H 613-243-4161 C