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 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.
Coverage in the Park remains low, especially with the lock down. The Lake Ontario Mid-Winter Waterfowl Survey was conducted on 10 Jan with the Presqu’ile section covered by 7 birders surveying from the Wicklow Boat Launch in the west to the Barcovan channel in the east. The large flock of Redhead and Greater Scaup continue to attract less common species within their flock.
The crossing to Gull Is. is still quite easy being only 6” deep but be careful when crossing shallow water sections if ice has formed along the edges as it can be slippery.
HIGHLIGHTS: RING-NECKED DUCK, BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD, WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL, HOARY REDPOLL
MUTE SWAN – the waterfowl survey revealed only 469 (371 in Presqu’ile Bay), an artificially low number likely due to ice issues on the day of the survey. The Christmas Bird Count, which covers more or less the same area, recorded 775 birds wintering in the area.
TRUMPETER SWAN – 23 were recorded on the waterfowl survey at Barcovan, just east of Presqu’ile Bay but a few of those birds wandered into the Park this week with 3 on 9 Jan, 7 on 11 Jan.
CANVASBACK – a few Canvasbacks turned up this week mixed in with the on-going Redhead flock in Presqu’ile Bay with 1 on 10 Jan, and 3 on 11 Jan.
REDHEAD – a large flock continues in Presqu’ile Bay near the edge of the ice with a peak count of 2750 on 11 Jan.
RING-NECKED DUCK – a male was seen on 13 Jan, likely the same bird seen at nearby Barcovan during the waterfowl survey.
LESSER SCAUP – 2 were seen on 13 Jan, likely the same 2 noted at Barcovan during the waterfowl survey.
WHITE-WINGED SCOTER – small numbers continue in outer Presqu’ile Bay with a peak of 9 on 10 and 14 Jan.
LONG-TAILED DUCK – the waterfowl survey yielded an impressive 5077 birds in Park waters, with the biggest grouping around Gull and High Bluff Is.
BUFFLEHEAD – on the other end of the spectrum the 14 birds seen on the waterfowl survey was unusually low.
HOODED MERGANSER – 2 were seen on 11 Jan and 1 was noted on 13 Jan.
COMMON MERGANSER – 2 females on 11 Jan were the first in several weeks.
BALD EAGLE – at least 3 birds were frequenting the Bay most of the week.
NORTHERN HARRIER – 2 were seen on High Bluff Is. on 10 Jan, and 2 on 14 Jan.
COOPER’S HAWK – singles were seen on several dates through the week.
ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK – a dark morph individual was on High Bluff Is. on 10 Jan.
MERLIN – 1 was seen on 10 Jan.
EUROPEAN STARLING – more birds than usual seem to be wintering in the area possibly explaining a large group of 450 gathering to roost on 11 Jan by the gate.
SNOW BUNTING – small numbers seen through the week, mostly on the beach or Gull Is.
SONG SPARROW – 3 birds were reported from Gull Is. on 10 Jan.
WHITE-THROATED SPARROW – small numbers reported through the week at feeders with a high of 4 on 14 Jan.
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD – 1 made an appearance at the Camp Office feeder on 10 Jan.
BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD – a flock of 30 seen on 11 Jan within a large European Staring flock at the gate was unexpected.
WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL – a flock of 12 seen on 11 Jan was the only report.
COMMON REDPOLL – seen through the week, usually in small numbers, with a high of 100 on 10 Jan.
HOARY REDPOLL – this rare species was reported on 10 Jan when 2 were seen in a Common Redpoll flock.
HOUSE SPARROW – last and least is the non-native House Sparrow, which is frequently quite rare in the Park in winter. 1 was seen near the gate on 10 Jan, the first is many weeks.
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