Updated: a day ago
By Doug McRae
Photo: Northern Shrike - Andrea Kingsley
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. 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, Surf Scoter, Winter Wren
OVERVIEW: The first shoreline freeze happened this week and will undoubtedly influence where waterbirds will be found looking ahead. There is still a pretty good selection of waterfowl around but landbirds seem generally scarce.
Trumpeter Swan: Four were seen off the causeway on 1 Jan and five the next day at Gull Is. (RDM)
Canvasback: Two were seen in Presqu’ile Bay on 1 Jan.
Redhead: Numbers fluctuated greatly through the week but peaked at 1750 on 1 Jan.
Greater Scaup: This species also fluctuated through the week with a 1 Jan peak of 750.
Lesser Scaup: A lingering bird was reported on 1 Jan.
King Eider: A female was seen off the lighthouse on 2 Jan. The immature male seen last week may also be in the area so a careful search on a calm day might be rewarding.
Surf Scoter: This species is quite rare here after early December so a single at Salt Pt. on 6 Jan was noteworthy.
White-winged Scoter: Present throughout the week with a high count of 75 at the Lighthouse on a very calm 31 Dec.
Hooded Merganser: One was seen on 6 Jan.
Horned Grebe: One was still off the Lighthouse on 31 Dec.
Bald Eagle: Several reports of singles through the week.
Northern Harrier: A male was seen flying from Owen Pt. to High Bluff Is. on 2 Jan.
Sharp-shinned Hawk: An immature was seen in the picnic area on 2 Jan.
Cooper’s Hawk: One was seen on 31 Dec.
Snowy Owl: Seen throughout the week on the offshore islands with a high of two on 2 Jan.
Northern Shrike: A bird was seen at Calf Pasture on 31 Dec and 4 Jan.
Winter Wren: One flushed out from under a boardwalk section of the Jobes Woods trail on 31 Dec.
American Robin: This species has been scarce this winter with just a few sightings this week and a high of only three on 3 Jan and 6 Jan.
Snow Bunting: A trip to Gull Is. on 2 Jan yielded 14 in a single flock.
Song Sparrow: Three were reported on 1 Jan and a single on 6 Jan.
White-throated Sparrow: Up to three were visiting feeders along Bayshore Rd. through the week.
Red-winged Blackbird: Small numbers present through the week at Bayshore Rd. feeders with a high of seven on 1 Jan.
House Finch: A high of 11 seen on 1 Jan. is a large number for recent times. Since first establishing in this area in the early 1980’s this species has gone from rapidly becoming very common to being rather scarce and local now.
Purple Finch: This species has been virtually absent this winter so five seen at a feeder on 1 Jan was notable.
Please Note: Presqu’ile still requires reservations for entry regardless of whether you have a seasonal pass or not. These can be made online at the Ontario Parks website, or in person at the gate when staffed.
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.