Muskoka Bird Board - Archived Reports from July - September 2001
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Bohemian Waxwing et al. in Algonquin PP

 Burke Korol

 9:02 am thursday september 27, 2001


Wednesday, 26 September, was a drizzly, but productive day in
Algonquin Proviincial Park.  Blake Mann and I birded the Old
Airfield and the Bat Lake Trail and found about 40 species of
birds.  Here are the highlights:

1 BOHEMIAN WAXWING - Old Airfield, north side about 100 m west
of Lake of Two Rivers

The Old Airfield also hosted a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK, a COOPER'S
HORNED LARKS were also present.  About 5 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS and a
LINCOLN'S SPARROW were at the east end.

The best warblers of the day were ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS at the
Bohemian Waxwing spot and also at the Oxtongue River Picnic
Site, which is where there was a male CAPE MAY WARBLER.

BOREAL CHICKADEES were heard on the south side of the airfield
along the Madawaska River and near Bat Lake on the Bat Lake

Algonquin Park is about 45 km east of Huntsville on Hwy. 60.  
Bat Lake Trail is on the north side of Hwy. 60, 30.0 km east of
the west gate.  The Old Airfield is about 30.6 km east of the
west gate.  The airfield can be reached by the Mew Lake
Campground access road, south of Hwy. 60.  Follow this road past
the campground gate and a woodyard to the parking lot (on the
left) bordering the airfield.  The Oxtongue Picnic site is 3 km
east of the gate, on the north side of Hwy. 60.

Burke Korol
Huntsville, ON

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barred owls


 10:19 pm sunday september 23, 2001

For the last week or so, we have had several barred owls calling
back and forth through the evening. Autumn conversations between
these birds is nothing short of astounding. Wolf howls, yee-
haws, chuckles... it's quite a show.
Anyone who'd like to enjoy a performance is welcome to call us
and sit in our driveway after dark -- 1028 Rocksborough Road,
off Fraserburg Road, 3.5 km east of Highway 11. Our number is


White-throated Sparrows

 Barbara Taylor

 6:55 pm saturday september 22, 2001

Had several White-throated Sparrows today at Browning Island on
Lake Muskoka.  Also a Blue-headed Vireo hanging around with the


 Pipits at Equidome

 Doug Smith

 10:10 am saturday september 22, 2001

Saw a flock of approx. 25 Pipits at the Equidome at 9:45 this
morning. They were in the front fields, near the Fraserburg Rd.

To get there take the Fraserburg Rd. out of Bracebridge, go over
Hwy #11 and and the Equidome riding stables are on the right
just over the highway.


Buff-breasted Sandpiper Bracebridge Pond

 Al Sinclair

 10:57 am wednesday september 19, 2001

A Buff-breasted Sandpiper was found by Wilf Yusek this morning
Wed Sep 19 at the Bracebridge Ponds (Sewage lagoons). It was on
the mudflat halfway down the east side of cell 2(the one in
front of the viewing platform).


horned larks

 Carlyle Challis

 11:10 am monday september 17, 2001

Sat. Sept. 15 approx. 4:30
Just as John and I were about to leave the fall fair in
Bracebridge, I noticed three small birds hopping about in a
grassy area near the parking lot.
closer inspection revealed them to be Horned Larks (John figured
this out first)
We managed to get close to them as they pecked in the dirt for
food.  Then a flock of gulls spooked them off into deeper grass.

*Sorry for the earlier mis-entry.  This entry form automatically
enters your info if you hit the enter key; which I do frequently
when I'm typing.
Most frustrating.


re: Migrants etc

 Barbara Taylor

 4:46 pm tuesday september 18, 2001

Hadn't seen any juncos around Bracebridge yet until today.  Huge
flock visited the yard this morning (they seemed to like my
recently sown grass seed).  Also large numbers of Chipping
Sparrows and variety of warblers, mostly Yellow-rumped and Pine.


Migrants etc

 Eleanor Kee Wellman

 11:18 pm sunday september 16, 2001

For the past three days a small flock of Juncos has been seen
feeding in the trees along the road into my cottage at Bala.

Today, while out in my kayak on Porter Lake, Bala, I found the
remains of a female Mallard which had been somethings snack.  
The head had been picked clean and some of the back.  Many
feathers had been plucked but none of the breast touched.  I
found it out in a shallow marshy area along the shore.  I saw an
unidentified large hawk earlier in that area.  I know there are
still Broadwings and Red-shoulders in the area but did't think
that they would kill an adult duck.


 Birds of Arrowhead PP

 Burke Korol

 10:29 pm sunday september 16, 2001

Hi Everybody,

Today, Sunday 16 September I found 31 species of birds in
Arrowhead Provincial Park.  Highlights were 2 White-crowned
Sparrow, 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk, 1 Blue-headed Vireo, a few Black-
throated Green Warblers and a Red-tailed Hawk.  It was nice to
see Dark-eyed Juncos and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, which do not
summer in Arrowhead.  My records indicate that the hawks were my
100th and 101st species observed in this park.


New messages on Bird Board


 9:15 pm sunday september 16, 2001

There has been a technical change made to the Bird Board beyond
my control.  If you choose the 'Index by date' view of the Bird
Board, all messages posted since Sept. 15 will appear in order
at the bottom of the list instead of at the top like they used


Golden-crowned Kinglets

 Barbara Taylor

 8:22 pm sunday september 16, 2001

Large flock of Golden-crowned Kinglets passed through our
Bracebridge yard this morning.


Trumpeter Swan seen at Wahta

 Al Sinclair

 1:42 pm sunday september 16, 2001

A single Trumpeter swan was seen Sep 12 by Jim Goltz and Al
Sinclair on Lafarce Lake in Wahta. This is the lake beside the
Hydro Tower line where it passes over Muskoka Rd 38 west of
Bala. Wondering, has anyone else seen this bird and how long has
it been there?


Red-necked Grebes seen on Gull Lake

 Al Sinclair

 1:35 pm sunday september 16, 2001

This morning Sept. 16, 2 Red-necked Grebes were seen by Wendy
Hutchings who has a cottage at 1212 on North Shore Drive on Gull
Lake at Gravenhurst.


Belted Kingfisher

 Barbara Taylor

 1:07 pm saturday september 15, 2001

Yesterday there was a Belted Kingfisher working the shoreline of
Browning Island at the south end of the island.  Also many Blue
Jays were seen high in the oak trees trying to find acorns but
the seed crop looks very poor this year.  Many oaks and maples
have already dropped about fifty percent of their leaves and the
leaves that are left on the maples are already starting to turn


Dr. J. Murray Speirs (1909-2001)

 Kenneth Walton

 10:04 am monday september 3, 2001

I would like to thank Barry K. MacKay for information on the
passing away peacefully on Sunday Sept. 2, 2001 of Dr. J. Murray
Speirs. I knew Murray for over 35 years along with his wife
Doris and I must say that I never knew a more knowledgeable and
cautious birder.I looked forward to his Ontario Birds coming out
and ask if he was going to revise it and he told me no and that
he would be happy to help me in anyway with my book on Ontario
Birds. I thank Murray for his acknowledgment of me in his book
for Toronto. We have all lost one of the greatest birder's to be
in Ontario and he will be sadly missed.  


 Sandhill Cranes at Barkway

 Al Sinclair

 5:45 pm saturday september 1, 2001

A pair of Sandhill Cranes has spent the summer in the Barkway
area. Bruce Stephenson at 1596 Barkway Rd first reported seeing
them in his field on June 17 and was able to get a photo. After
that they were heard and seen occasionally until mid-July in the
fields and bog on the opposite side of the road. Then they moved
over to Hopkins Farm on Gartersnake Rd off Merkley Rd east of
the Barkway Corner. In mid August they moved back to the first
location which is across the road from Fire Hall No. 3 and the
Ryde Public School. Dan Burton and Bruce Ripley saw them there
around noon on Aug 31. They were not seen today Sep 1. After 5
attempts I have not seen them yet! We assume that they spend
most of their time in the Lewisham Wetlands which are east of
there. No young were seen so if they did nest it was not
Barkway is east of Gravenhurst. Off Hwy 11 at Gravenhurst go
east on Muskoka 6(Doe Lake Rd) to Muskoka 20. Follow 20 to
Barkway Rd and turn south. Follow Barkway Rd through Barkway to
Firehall No 3.


 re: Evening Grosbeak

 Barbara Taylor

 8:04 pm friday august 31, 2001

We had several immature Goldfinches at our feeder yesterday and
again today.  Look for the beige/tan wingbars instead of usual
white.  Also have seen Purple Finch male and females or


Evening Grosbeak

 Virgoinia Pray

 5:01 pm friday august 31, 2001

Friday Aug. 31, 4:30 pm. A male Evening Grosbeak is at a feeder
at our neighbours next door on Bailey St in Port Carling. A cou-
le of weeks ago we had trouble I-D-ing 3 imature grosbeaks. From
all the books we have we decided they were fall Rose Breasted
Grosbeaks. Are there imature Goldfincher around now? We seem to
have a great no. of them that look like winter plumage.


 New to the Bird Board?

 Barbara Taylor

 8:31 pm saturday august 25, 2001

New to the Bird Board or haven't posted a message yet?

Iíve set up a test website so you can see how the bulletin board
works.  Just go to the following website and post some test

Give it a try!

Barbara Taylor

P.S. - Thanks to everyone for all their reports!


Evening Grosbeaks - Bracebridge

 Barbara Taylor

 11:11 am saturday august 25, 2001

Two Evening Grosbeaks at our feeder in Bracebridge this
morning...a male and probable juvenile female.


re: black headed grosbeak

 susan goltz

 1:16 pm saturday august 25, 2001

We also had two evening grosbeaks at our feeder yesterday.
I am very sure that I saw the black headed grosbeak as I had
reported.  If It returns I will check out the upper mandible.  
Thanks for reporting that you could possibly have seen one too.
I haven't seen it for two days now.


 re: black headed grosbeak

 Barbara Taylor

 11:09 am saturday august 25, 2001

Thought I saw a Black-headed Grosbeak female at our feeder last
week, but it was only there for a brief time so I didn't get a
second look.  It flew down to the feeder next to a definite
female Rose-breasted Grosbeak and was noticeably larger and had
much less streaking on the breast.  I didn't get a good look at
the bill, so I couldn't tell if the upper mandible was darker
than that of the Rose-breasted (which I understand is one
characteristic difference between the two?).  Since there was
already this Rose-breasted Grosbeak present, I shrugged off the
possibility of a Black-headed Grosbeak, but I wonder.....


re: black headed grosbeak

 Al Sinclair

 2:44 pm thursday august 23, 2001

Hope you get a picture but it might not help as they are very
similar to some plumages of Rose-breasted. There is a possibility
of confusion with 1st fall male and fall female Rose-breasted
which are variable, often not as distinctly marked as shown in
the books. Some 1st year males I have seen have very little red
underneath. Check out the new Sibley Guide to Birds for more info
on the differences/similarities.


 black headed grosbeak

 susan goltz

 8:15 am thursday august 23, 2001

Have seen a black headed grosbeak(female) at our feeder Aug,17-20
Have checked all the markings, including the yellow under the
wings in flight.  There is not mistake. Have not seen the male.
Why is it so far out of its region??? Can some one give me any
clues???Still hoping to get a picture.


 re: Bracebridge Ponds

 Wilf Yusek

 9:30 pm monday august 20, 2001

Forgot to add to prior message that there were also 2
Semipalmated Sandpipers


 re: Bracebridge Ponds

 Wilf Yusek

 9:27 pm monday august 20, 2001

To add to David Britton's post; at noon today there were 3
Baird's Sandpipers and 3 Semipalmated Plovers plus the birds he
reported. The Stilts have left.


Bracebridge Ponds

 David Britton

 8:20 pm monday august 20, 2001

I visited the Bracebridge Ponds at about 6:00 p.m. tonight.  It
seems that shorebird numbers and diversity were lower than in
reports from the weekend, and I coulnd find neither Baird's nor
Stilt Sandpipers.  The following were in the NW cell:

Killdeer (15)
Semipalmated Plover (2)
Lesser Yellowlegs (4)
Solitary Sandpiper (1)
Pectoral Sandpiper (3)
Least Sandpiper (2)
Spotted Sandpiper (2)

The Boneparte's Gull mentioned in the previous posting was still
there.  In addition, 3 Green Herons flew overhead and an
immature Northern Harrier was also seen.  Mallards and Wood
Ducks are present in good numbers, along with a few Green-winged
and Blue-winged Teal.


Tree Swallows

 Brenda Clark

 4:30 pm sunday august 19, 2001

In late July I returned from living in the far north of Ontario,
and am concerned because I have yet to see one of these fellows.
I have been on canoe trips to their haunts.  Did something
happen over the winter.  (I have seen few of any of the other
swallows, as well.)


Baird's, Stilt Sandpipers, Bonaparte's G

 Wilf Yusek

 2:41 pm saturday august 18, 2001

Two Stilt Sandpipers and the one Baird's were there this a.m.
and a Bonaparte's Gull flew in. The gull was alternating between
cell 1 & 2. There were no Pectorals but the rest in Al Sinclairs
post were there.  


Stilt and Baird's at the Brace. Ponds

 Al Sinclair

 2:03 pm friday august 17, 2001

Two regionally rare sandpipers were found by Wilf Yusek this
morning, Fri Aug 17, in cell 2 at the Bracebridge Ponds. They
were also seen by Al Sinclair, Sarah Sinclair, and Bruce Ripley.
The easiest way to get to the ponds is to park at the end of
Lagoon Lane and walk in past the electric gate. Lagoon Lane is
just south of Bracebridge beside Cavalcade Ford. Cell 2 is the
one with low water level.

Regionally Rare:
Stilt Sandpiper 4
Baird's Sandpiper 1
Also seen:
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Solitary Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Semiplamated Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Semiplamated Plover


re: Hummers? Have we got hummers...

 Paul Smith

 11:22 pm friday august 17, 2001

be kind to your hovering friends,
a buzzing bird may be someones mother ...


 Hummers? Have we got hummers...


 7:16 pm thursday august 16, 2001

The brawls have been mighty over the hummingbird feeder this
dry, nectar-starved summer.
It's difficult to count them, but it appears as though there are
as many as 16 or 17 hummingbirds vying for a moment at the
feeders by our house. We're going through about three cups of
sugar water daily.
On several occasions we have watched hummers chase away
goldfinches, flying in demonstrative arches back and forth ove
them when the finches perch at the other end of the yard.
They've even buzzed one or two chipping sparrows.


re: Purple Martins

 Barbara Taylor

 3:48 pm tuesday august 14, 2001

I don't have any recent news for you, but scroll down the Bird
Board page and see Al Sinclair's message dated May 22, 2001.  If
the message has rolled off the page (only 3 months of messages
are shown), you can find it at the Bird Board back-up page:


Purple Martins

 Al Johnston

 8:12 pm saturday august 11, 2001

Hi all,  I'd be interested in knowing if anyone in the Muskoka
area or lower Georgian Bay area is having success in attracting
Purple Martins. Thanks for any participation.   Al


Bracebridge Lagoons

 Wilf Yusek

 3:03 pm thursday august 9, 2001

Yesterday Aug. 8 The following sandpipers were in cell #2
1-G. Yellowlegs
17- L. Yellowlegs
4- Solitary Sandpipers
3- Spotted     "
50+ - Least    "
3- Pectoral    "
12- Semi-palmated Sandpipers.


Wild Turkey on the run

 Bob Burton

 9:42 pm monday august 6, 2001

While returning from a trip on the Seguin out of Windemere,a
Wild Turkey crossed the Deebank road just south of Mel Smith's
gravel pit.It was my first sighting although there have been


Northern/Baltimore orioles


 2:30 pm monday july 30, 2001

I shouldn't be doing this at work, but at lunch today I saw the
first northern orioles I've seen in Muskoka this year. About
four or five were on the bank of the Muskoka River on the
Wilson's Falls trail.
I have seen them often in the willows in the vacant lot next to
Annie Williams Park, and on Front Street, but haven't seen much
evidence of them this year.
Their spring plumage has dulled quite a bit already.



 Mary Willmott

 5:19 pm sunday july 29, 2001

By boat , a osprey nest with two ospreys,not sure if they were
adults or the young waiting for food. Located on a hydro pole on
the tracts on the way into Bala.Lots of boat traffic but they
stayed in their very large nest.  Took my scope and had a great


 re: Hummingbird on the ground

 Martin Arnett

 8:10 am sunday july 29, 2001

I had an interesting  experience with a Ruby-throat last week. At
first I thought the hummer was doing its familar arch pattern.
Closer examination revealed that the hummer was darting in and
out the water droplets falling from the overhead down pipe of the
roof gutter shortly after a rain fall. My wife and I watched for
several minutes at this kinda unique bath.

Marty Arnett
West Gravenhurst.


Hummingbird on the ground

 Barbara Taylor

 10:47 am saturday july 28, 2001

Yesterday I saw a Ruby-throated Hummingbird fly down to the
ground at a sunny spot in the garden and just sit there for a
moment.  Then she spread her wings and tilted her head back with
her beak partly open and aimed up at the sky.  I have never seen
a hummingbird do this before although many times I've seen
flickers, blue jays and robins carry out this "heat treatment".  
After about five minutes in this pose, the hummingbird flew off
to feed at some beebalm.

(Also about a week ago, I saw two Monarch butterflies which
decided to mate, with one hanging beneath the other, still
fluttering about the yard.  They stayed attached for a very long
time before continuing on their separate journeys.  Another
first for me...never seen butterflies mating, just dragonflies.)


common tern colony on Sparrow Lake

 sylvia purdon

 10:14 pm monday july 23, 2001

By boat:  July 22, 2001.   8 Common Tern adults at far northerly
tip of Long Island.  3-4 nesting in the crevices. Adults
carrying food.

Time: 7:00 p.m.  common terns have been feeding on the bays
since mid June and more persistently in early July.

The main activity on Long Island is ring-billed gull nesting in
the hundreds of pairs.  



 Carlyle Challis

 3:56 pm thursday july 19, 2001

Wednesday, july 11  8:50 p.m.
We heard three different whipoorwills calling across the "flats"
at the end of Rocksborough Rd.  It was amazing to hear the calls
overlap, almost like spring frogs.
Sorry for the error in the last message, I hit the enter key by
mistake at the wrong time.


Bracebridge Ponds

 Wilf Yusek

 2:46 pm wednesday july 18, 2001

I saw a Northern Waterthrush in the woods on the right just
before the gate to the ponds. Also saw in cell #2, W. side near
the South end, 4 L. Yellowlegs, 1 Solitary Sandpiper, 1 Pectoral
Sandpiper and 4 Least Sandpipers. East of cell #4 there is a
swamp, in it there were 2 American Bitterns and 1 Green Heron.


vesper sparrow


 10:47 pm tuesday july 17, 2001

We're late posting this. But on Sunday, July 15 we were at
Torrance Barrens searching for blueberries (slim pickings; we
were beaten by everyone else by the look of things).
Saw a junco-like tail on a sparrow, and later confirmed it to be
a vesper sparrow.
There are a good many eastern towhees around the trails on the
barrens as well.



 Eleanor Kee Wellman

 8:38 pm monday july 16, 2001

Today I watched some rather bizarre behaviour with the loons on
Porter Lake, Bala. This morning at about 9:20 am I heard a loon
start its running take-off but did not hear it fly over as I
usually do.  Fifteen minutes later I heard a bit of noise and
went down to the shore to see what was going on. One loon was
chasing another around the lake.  This went on for over 1/2
hour. The month old chick was nowhere in sight.  It appeared
that one loon was trying to keep the other out of a small bay
where the chick is usually stashed.  The chasee attempted to
take off 4 times and when it finally did it circled the lake 3
times.  Within 10 minutes it must have returned because the
chase began again.  It continued sporadically until 11:30 am
when I took out my kayak for a look.  The chick was out of sight
but again there were two loons.  I left at 1 pm.  When I got
back at 5 pm there was only one adult in view and it had the
chick in tow.  The adult was a male who gave to yodel call a
couple of times.  At 5:30 pm there were 3 adults. I had to leave
again so do not know what happened after that.

I have heard reports of bachelor loons attacking other loons.  
Has anyone heard of anything like this?

The adult I assume was an intruder would have had a difficult
time taking off from anywhere but the small bay because of the
wind but that does not account for the fact that it returned
several times.


Limestone Islands

 Eleanor Kee Wellman

 10:14 pm sunday july 15, 2001

On Saturday, July 14, I helped to lead a trip to the Limestone
islands in Georgian Bay.  We saw 13 Black-crowned Night Herons
flying around the South Limestone island.  Three-four hundred
Common Terns were seen as well.  Many were carrying food and
landing on the South Limestone with it.  The Common Terns used
to nest on this island but moved to the North island a number of
years ago.  Also saw many Caspian Terns on the knoll where they
have nested for many years.  Due to lack of spotting scope was
not able to count young.  Several hundred young Ring-billed
gulls but no Herring Gulls seen.  Tow Greater yellow-legs and
one Solitary Sandpiper.


re: Sedge Wren...Beatrice Town Line Rd

 Cheryl Edgecombe

 12:24 pm thursday july 12, 2001

Thanks to Al Sinclairs directions I also visited this site and
saw at least one if not two of the wrens when they were flushed
up into the air and then immediately descended.  I was there on
Tuesday morning about 7:00 a.m..  The location mentioned above
was the exact location I spotted them.  Sorry for the late
posting but access to the internet is sporadic up here.

Thanks for the directions Al.

Good Birding
Cheryl Edgecombe


Sedge Wren...Beatrice Town Line Rd

 Al Sinclair

 9:51 am thursday july 12, 2001

Bruce Ripley found a Sedge Wren recently on Beatrice Town Line.
Joan and I were able to confirm it Mon evening July 9 at about
8:30pm. I wren responded to taped calls and we were able to see
it briefly. There may be more than one bird as there is at least
40 acres of suitable habitat.

Take highway 118 from Bracebridge, roughly half way to Port
Carling, turn right at Butter and Eggs Road, to Falkenburg Road,
turn left to Beatrice Townline, follow Beatrice Town Line to the
bridge(less than 1 km). One Wren responded to taped calls from
the wet Orchard Grass meadow on the right at the first hydro
pole past the bridge.


 re: Cerulean Warbler ...


 5:04 pm tuesday july 10, 2001

Hi.  Was in the Bigwind Prov. Park area this past weekend (July
7/8th)east of Bracebridge.  Heard what I guessed to be the song
of a cerulean warbler.  Song was approx. 5-10 seconds long,
seemed to match the song I.D in my bird book.  Bird was high in
the hardwood canopy, so, needless to say I couldn't get a visual
match.  Seemed fairly shy too.  Beautiful song!  Any bird C.D's
you could reccomend would be appreciated.  Tried to find the song
of the cerulean warbler on the internet to no avail!
Also, what I thought was a Merlin and Red Shouldered Hawk.  
Finally, July 8/01, driving home (afternoon)a rather large owl
flew about 10 ft. in front of my vehicle being chased by a small
bird, what I thought to be a sparrow.  The owl was a tan/beige
colour, no ears, round head, conical eyes, some white spots on
the breast.  From what I can tell it was a Barred Owl?  Any
thoughts would also be appreciated.  Thanks!


Northern Harrier at Bracebridge SL

 Burke Korol

 11:56 pm saturday july 7, 2001

Today, Saturday, 7 July, around 1 p.m. there was an adult male
Northern Harrier flying over the Bracebridge Sewage Lagoons.  It
was being harassed by blackbirds and did not stop in the area.  
It flew in a northwesterly direction.