Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December 7, 2010 Birding Presqu'ile P.P.

Bruce Di Labio and I took a "brisk and refreshing" walk around Gull
Island, Presqu'ile Prov. Park this morning and, in spite of the cold
and wind, had several nice birds:

King Eider - 1 - female south of the gap between Gull Is. and High
Bluff Is. The limestone shoals of Presqu'ile and adjacent Prince
Edward Co. were once considered the best places in southern Ontario to
see this species until the late 1980's, but since then - about when
Zebra mussels came in to play - eiders have become quite rare in our
area. I used to see between 1-7 per year here, and by contrast this
bird is only my third in the past 15 years. Nice to see again!
Harlequin Duck - 2 - male and female in surf between Gull Is. and
Sebastopol Pt. (the small island with the single large willow shrub on
Purple Sandpiper - 1 - feeding on moving slush-ice (!) over-top
limestone on the north side of Sebastopol Pt.
Dunlin - 1 - uninjured bird first seen in the channel between Owen Pt.
and Gull Is., then seen again at the south-west corner of Gull.
Barrow's Goldeneye - 1 - male off the Lighthouse, by Bruce after we
split up.
Am. Coot - 43 - one with Canada's in the marsh east of the causeway
into the park, and 42 near the ice-edge in Presqu'ile Bay
Bald Eagle - 1 - immature bird flying from High Bluff Is. to mainland,
roughly coming in around Beach 2.
Red-bellied Woodpecker - 1 - Bruce saw one at the Pioneer Trail
parking lot feeder (where the Rose-br. Grosbeak was last winter).
Snow Bunting - 1 - Gull island - our only passerine on the island.

You can get to Gull island with just rubber boots but if you want to
get to Sebastopol, you will need waders and I would not attempt it if
the waves are high. Mostly it is knee deep with a few slightly
deeper sections. However if you go off the high ridge (marked by
several metal posts) you could be over you waders quickly leaving you
prone to being washed deeper by a strong wave/current so be
conservative when attempting a crossing. At this season that is no
joke and besides, what good is seeing a Purple if you don't live to
share the joy!

Directions: Presqu'ile Prov. Park is on the north shore of Lake
Ontario, located south of the town of Brighton. Take Hwy 401 and exit
at the Brighton/Presqu'ile exit (signed) then follow the park signs
once in town. Maps are available at the park gate showing locations
for Gull Is., the Lighthouse etc.


McRae (Brighton, Ontario)

Directions: To reach Presqu'ile Provincial Park, exit Hwy. 401 south at exit 509 and
follow the signs through Brighton.

Locations within the Park are shown on a map at the back of a tabloid
that is available at the Park gate. Visitors to Gull Island not using a
boat should be prepared to wade through shin-deep water in which there
is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven and
slippery. It should also be noted that on waterfowl hunting days
(Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays), Gull Island, High Bluff
Island, Owen Point, and part of the calf pasture are not available for
bird-watching on those days. Birders are encouraged to record their
observations on the bird sightings board provided near the campground
office by The Friends of Presqu'ile Park and to fill out a rare bird
report for species not listed there.

Late lingering Dunlin "on ice" at Gull Island.

A imm. male and female harlequin duck was one of many surprises off Gull Island.

Doug McRae crossing from Gull Island to Sebastopol Point.

The Purple Sandpiper is our latest shorebird to migrate through eastern Ontario. Presqu'ile P.P. is the best location to observe this species.

A Red-bellied Woodpecker feeding on sunflower seeds while a Red-breasted Nuthatch and Black-capped Chickadee take turns on the suet.

Close-up of the Red-bellied Woodpecker.

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