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: Lesser Black-backed Gull, Snowy Owl, Red Crossbill, White-winged Crossbill
OVERVIEW: Coverage was low this week so the report is a bit slim. Scoping around Gull Is. when calm has been productive for seeing waterfowl, especially puddle ducks and gulls. The Lake and Presqu’ile Bay still has most of the diving ducks but numbers are dwindling fast for most species. Land bird migration has been progressing more or less on schedule but there hasn’t been a big push of migrants yet.
American Black Duck: Present through the week, mostly around Gull Is./Owen Pt. with a high of 4 on 13 Apr.
Bufflehead: This species was unusually scarce this winter but migrants have swelled numbers again with a high of 160 on 10 Apr.
Horned Grebe: This species seems unusually scarce this spring with just one report of a single on 13 Apr.
Great Egret: For the past two decades Great Egrets have nested with other colonial birds on High Bluff Is. and can usually be scoped up from the Beach or Owen Pt. when conditions are good. A high count of 39 birds was made on 13 Apr.
Black-crowned Night-Heron: Four birds on 9 Apr were the first of the year. Like the egrets, these birds nest on High Bluff Island and can sometimes be spotted with a scope by scanning the right-most cedar clump on the right side (as seen from Owen PT.) of High Bluff Is. Please remember that the islands are closed to visitation so as to not disturb the colonial birds, which are very sensitive to disturbance.
Killdeer: Normally several pairs nest along the beach but so far only one bird has been seen, on 13 Apr. No other shorebirds (apart from resident woodcock and snipe) have been reported yet.
Lesser Black-backed Gull: A first-summer bird was photographed sitting on rocks near Sebastopol Is. (small rock shelf to north of Gull Is.) on 13 Apr.
Snowy Owl: A late bird was perched on a tree-top on High Bluff Is. on 13 Apr.
Northern Flicker: In a thirty minute period on 12 Apr, 32 flickers were seen passing a fixed point on Bayshore Rd. including a flock of 25 moving together.
Purple Martin: The first bird arrived at a nest box near the Lighthouse on 11 Apr. So far the swallow situation in general seems alarming with almost no birds around when all six species should be back by now.
Pine Warbler: Always one of the first warblers back – Pine’s were first detected on 11 Apr when a single was found.
Purple Finch: This species has been essentially absent since November so several reports of singles on 10 Apr indicate the return flight has started.
Red Crossbill: Reports continued through the week with most centered around the Paxton Rd./Atkins Lane area but they are mobile and most often detected calling as they fly overhead. This week’s reports include 5 on 10 Apr, 3 on 11 Apr, and at least 12 on 14 Apr.
White-winged Crossbill: At least 2 were heard calling overhead in the fog on 14 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