Presqu’ile Bird Report for Week of 6-12 April 2018

By Doug McRae

 Highlights this week include the reappearance of the male HARLEQUIN DUCK near 
the Lighthouse on 11 and 12 Apr, up to four RED-THROATED LOONS in Popham Bay on 
the 12th, and a lingering SNOWY OWL on the Salt Pt. lighthouse on 9 Apr.

 The big story this week is the very delayed state of spring migration.  There 
were a few breaks from the dominant northerly winds this week that allowed a 
trickle of migrants to push in, but it remains unseasonably slow with generally 
small numbers of new arrivals and many expected species still not reported.  
Even frogs have been slow to appear with Spring Peeper, Chorus and Wood Frogs 
being heard for the first time only on 11 Apr.  As soon as we get a substantial 
southerly air flow the migration flood gates should open.

 Waterfowl are scattered but still present in good numbers in Presqu’ile Bay.  
SCAUP (mostly GREATER) and REDHEAD dominate with several thousand of each 
present but most expected species are present.  30 GADWALL and 20 AMERICAN 
WIGEON could be seen with the mixed AYTHYA flocks off the Fingers (as seen from 
Harbour St. just outside the Park) on 8 Apr, and 65 CANVASBACK and 13 
WHITE-WINGED SCOTER were seen in the Bay the following day. The highlight was 
the reappearance of the male HARLEQUIN DUCK off the Lighthouse on 11 Apr and 
again on 12 Apr. after having been “missing” for over a week. 

 RUFFED GROUSE are now drumming regularly and can be heard in most wooded areas 
and WILD TURKEYS were also noted several times around the Calf Pasture field.  
Another highlight was the discovery of four RED-THROATED LOONS in Popham Bay 
off Beach 1 on 12 Apr, followed by a RED-NECKED GREBE there later the same day. 
 PIED-BILLED and HORNED GREBES were seen throughout the week in the marsh and 
Presqu’ile Bay respectively.

 The first and only AMERICAN BITTERN was noted on 11 Apr.  OSPREYS returned to 
their nest platform at Salt Pt. this week and a COOPERS HAWK was seen 
displaying.  The first two WILSON’S SNIPE were winnowing over the Main Rd. at 
Beach 1 on the 12th, joining AMERICAN WOODCOCK AND KILLDEER as the only 
shorebirds back so far. The first CASPIAN TERN was seen on 12 Apr on the beach.

 A late SNOWY OWL spent the day on the Salt Pt. lighthouse on 9 Apr, and BARRED 
OWLS were reported several times from Newcastle Woods and Jobes Woods.  
RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER is being found in Newcastle and Jobes Woods with 
regularity, although NORTHERN FLICKER, which should be common by now, remains 
scarce with just a few reports. Several pairs of MERLIN have been noted 
displaying and copulating.  The first EASTERN PHOEBE was reported on 5 Apr and 
only one more has been seen since on 10 Apr – another species that should be 
common by now. Similarly TREE SWALLOW is still scarce with the high so far 
being only 12 on 9 Apr.

 WINTER WRENS are becoming more frequent and one was seen gathering moss at 
Jobes Woods on 11 Apr. The only BROWN THRASHER so far was seen just outside the 
Park on 10 Apr. Even expected sparrows are scarce or absent with the only new 
migrants this week being two SAVANNAH SPARROWS on 12 Apr. A few EASTERN 
MEADOWLARKS have been seen around the Calf Pasture fields this week.  Finally a 
PURPLE FINCH was singing at Jobes Woods on 10 Apr.


Presqu’ile Provincial Park is located on the north shore of Lake Ontario, just 
south of the town of Brighton.  It can be reached from either Hwy. 401 or Cty. 
Rd. 2 and is well signed.  A Park map can be found in the information tabloid 
available at the Park gate.  Presqu’ile’s two offshore islands – Gull and High 
Bluff – support a large multi-species colonial bird nesting area and access is 
not permitted during the breeding season.

Doug McRae
P.O. Box 3010
Brighton, Ontario
K0K 1H0
613-475-5014 H
613-243-4161 C

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