Presqu’ile to Toronto Trip Report

Saturday/Sunday, March 10-11, 2018

Our birding group headed to the north shore of Lake Ontario to take in the excellent gull and waterfowl scene there at this time of year. We began our birding trip by birding Presqu’ile Provincial Park. Only one hour into our birding day, I spotted an adult drake Harlequin Duck among Long-tailed Ducks, about 500 m out from the lighthouse. Locating a rare bird during a regularly-scheduled tour is always a sweet treat. Drake Harlequins, in particular, are stunning ducks, as well. Throughout our morning, we enjoyed excellent looks at bay, or Aythya, ducks while birding Presqu’ile, including 215 Canvasback from Calf Pasture to Government Dock! It was amazing to view a near-pure raft of Canvasback only 400 meters out from the dock. On the gull front, we hit our targets where I had hoped we would; Oshawa Harbour. We observed two Kumlien’s Iceland Gulls, one adult and one 2nd winter, resting with Ring-billed and Herring on the beach. We wrapped our first day up with a visit to Whitby Harbour; after that, we were off to dinner at Kelsey’s in Whitby.

Photo: Kumlien’s Iceland Gull, adult. Oshawa Harbour. 10 March 2018.

We started Day 2 at Whitby Harbour, then made our way to Rotary Park in Ajax. This site was excellent, and we racked up nearly 30 species (great for a waterfront site in early March), with great species’ variety. We had plenty of grebes there, with both Horned and Red-necked showing well, and also had 4 Cackling Geese:

Photo: Cackling Goose close-up, Ajax Rotary Park. 11 March 2018.

Photo: Cackling Geese (below) with Canada Geese (above). Ajax Rotary Park. 11 March 2018.

From there, we moved along to Frenchman’s Bay, where we had good views of all sorts of gull species. Waterfowl were showing well here, too. Next up was Bluffer’s Park, where we had reach-out-and-pet-it views of Iceland Gulls; it was outstanding. We tallied seven Iceland Gulls here, including this striking second winter bird:

Photo: Kumlien’s Iceland Gull, second winter. Bluffer’s Park in Scarborough. 11 March 2018.

From Bluffer’s Park to Unwin Street Bridge, we tallied an additional 16 Iceland Gull (15 Kumlien’s and 1 Thayer’s). Many of the gulls provided great study and photographic opportunities! All in all, it was a great trip with excellent birding and wonderful company, as usual.

eBird checklists


Presqu’ile Park, general area:

Presqu’ile Park, Salt Point:

Presqu’ile Park, Lighthouse:

Presqu’ile Park, Government Dock:

Presqui’ile Park, Calf Pasture:

Presqu’ile Park, Lilac Lane:

Cobourg Harbour:

Oshawa Pier:

Whitby Harbour:


Whitby Harbour, Pringle Creek:

Whitby Harbour:

Ajax Rotary Park:

Frenchman’s Bay:

Bluffer’s Park:

Ashbridges Bay Park:

Unwin Street Bridge: