Monday, March 16, 2015

Waterfowl Festival at Presqu'ile Provincial Park

This weekend marked the 39th Annual Waterfowl Weekend at Presqu'ile Provincial Park near Brighton.  This weekend is full of children's activities, vendors (such as Bushnell and Henry's!) and, of course, waterfowl viewing.

A group of us from Trent carpooled together to volunteer for the event and it definitely did not disappoint!

Walter Wehtje and I were stationed together at the Lighthouse Blind for most of the morning. Thankfully there was a little blind there as it was a pretty miserable day!  The rain was a constant mist and the wind wasn't strong...but it definitely wasn't still either.  We had a number of visitors despite the weather, some even travelling as far from Burlington, Ottawa, and Parry Sound for the event!

At the lighthouse there were quite a few ducks, but not the best variety.  Throughout the morning we watched Long-tailed Ducks, Greater Scaup, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, and every-so-often a White-winged Scoter would pop up.  There was still quite a bit of ice on the bay and lake, however it didn't seem to be AS bad as last year and some of the ducks were able to come up a little closer to give visitors a great view.  There were quite a few dead ducks on the ice (of course with no head...) so it made us think that there must be some owls around!

We then all met back up after our shifts and took one last look out at the Lighthouse area.  Nothing two new showed up...but we did hear some talk about a Harlequin Duck that showed up earlier in the day, as well as the Red-throated Loon that had been around for a few days. 

We drove over to the Government Dock where a second set of scopes were set up.  There was definitely a lot more ice in this area, however further into the bay where it was open were a crap ton of ducks!!   The photo below doesn't even do it justice.
Ducks flying in Presqu'ile Bay
It was difficult to get every species of duck that was sitting out there on the ice, although the variety was superb!  Greater (and likely some Lesser) Scaup and Redhead were the most populous at this spot.  There was also a decent number of Canvasback, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, Long-tailed Ducks and also a dappling of Hooded, Red-breasted and Common Mergansers!  We even had an appearance by the Red-throated Loon, which was a lifer for me!   Unfortunately, the Harlequin Duck wasn't there anymore by the time we arrived...but hopefully I'll see one sometime!

Overall, it was a fantastic day of birding!  Even with the misty rain and fog we were still able to see a great variety of ducks and a lifer. Best of all, it was a nice day away from the books where I got to spend time with some awesome fellow bird nerds!

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