Muskoka Bird Board - Archived Reports from October - December 2002
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Boreal Chickadees in Algonquin Park
Posted on December 31, 2002 at 10:02:49 PM by Ken Williams

*This report originated on ONTBIRDS (Dec. 31, 2002) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

On Sunday we hiked the Mizzy Lake Trail (took 7 hours) and found 40 white
winged crossbills, 4 a. goldfinches, 16 b.c. chickadees, 9 r.b. nuthatches,
1 each downy and hairy woodpecker, 1 ruffed grouse, 1 g.c. kinglet, several
ravens, one of which was being chased by 7 w.w. crossbills near wolf howl
pond, which is at about km. 5 of the hike. It was about 4 km. into the trail
where we saw 5 boreal chickadees as a group. They came within 1 meter of us
before moving on! Then 3 banded gray jays told us it was lunch time. I have
the color and silver band patterns recorded for whoever is interested.
Unfortunately, we did not find the Boreal Owl that was reported the same day
(near our lunch spot) on the visitor centre board.

Monday was very quiet, with just three dozen w.w. crossbills along the
highway 60 corridor, also 6 unidentified finches, 1 pine siskin. 3 more
ruffed grouse, and 4 evening grosbeaks were at the visitor centre, but we
had missed a showing of 40 of the e. grosbeaks earlier that day. Also missed
the N. hawk owl reported at the cache lake bog...looked 3 times.

Today, we found 2 more boreal chickadees at the Spruce Bog trail, 3 purple
finches, 1 brown creeper, and lots of grouse tracks. Two more banded Canada
Jays with new band patterns. Please respond privately if you need the band
patterns for your research. The red crosbills and spruce grouse still elude
us but what a nice holiday escape! (Do the 4 moose count?)

Overall impression: the White Winged Crossbills are flying in matched pairs
or evenly sexually distributed small groups right into the relative interior
of the park, and are being very vocal and territorial /hated my small owl
impressions. Surprised to see no redpolls; lots of Canada (gray) jays (more
reported at Mew Lake along with skads of blue jays).

Directions to Algonquin Park: take highway 11 to highway 60 at Huntsville.
Go east on 60. Strongly recommend getting trail guides at the first visitor
centre where you may get your park pass as you enter from the west.

Happy New Birding and Hiking Year



Posted on December 31, 2002 at 08:22:00 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

A non-bird note to mention that I still have at least 2 very active chipmunks around my birdfeeders. Seems very late for them!



Red-tailed Hawk
Posted on December 31, 2002 at 12:22:13 AM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there was a Red-tailed Hawk along South Monck Dr., Bracebridge. Go short distance north of #1100 where the road dips down. The hawk was in the trees backing on the field to west side of the road.

No Great Gray Owl...    :(



Hawk Owl in Algonquin Park
Posted on December 29, 2002 at 06:09:20 PM by Ron Tozer

*This report originated on ONTBIRDS (Dec. 29, 2002) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

At 3.45 pm today (Sunday, December 29), Doug Tozer and I found a Northern
Hawk Owl perched on a dead stub in the Cache Lake Marsh at km 23 on Highway
60 in Algonquin Park.

Algonquin Provincial Park is three hours north of Toronto, via Highways 400
and 11 to Huntsville, and then east on Highway 60. Get a tabloid at the gate
when you purchase your permit. The tabloid has a map for locating sites
mentioned above. Kilometre signs along Highway 60 in Algonquin Park go from
km 0 at the West Gate to km 56 at the East Gate.

Ron Tozer



Boreal Owl, N. Goshawk: Algonquin
Posted on December 29, 2002 at 06:07:10 PM by Geoff Post

*This report originated on ONTBIRDS (Dec. 29, 2002) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Posting for Todd Pepper
At 3:15 p.m. there was a Northern Goshawk, a Boreal Owl and a pair of
White-winged Crossbill on the south side of Highway 60 approximately 300
metres west of Minnesing Road in Algonquin Park seen by Todd and
Jeanette Pepper of Leamington.

Geoff Post


Posted on December 29, 2002 at 12:31:17 AM by Ted Gardner

A large flock (30 to 40) of Cedar Waxwings danced in my maple ravine for about 1 hour today.(aprox 11 am) always an enjoyable sight. (120 meadow hieghts Bracebridge)



Beaumaris Wildlife
Posted on December 27, 2002 at 10:59:51 AM by Gerald Willmott

This Friday morning on Beaumaris we had a great diversity of wildlife.
We have:
 50+ Goldfinches, with no Pine Siskins, feeding quite regularly
 4-6 Starlings adding their wide vocabulary to the sounds
 4-6 Blue Jays, which seem to come and go as they please, but at this time are staying for the peanuts and compost.
 Some Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers and one Pilated Woodpecker

Also of note were some animal tracks:
 While watching the goldfinches a snow-white ermine bounded into my binoculars! FUN!
 Also on the lake are two sets of otter tracks, complete with slides
 Around the house are plenty of fox and deer tracks



Re(1): Cedar Waxwings - Bracebridge
Posted on December 30, 2002 at 08:41:17 AM by Barbara Taylor

Several Cedar Waxwings are currently (8:30 a.m.) in some White Pines at the SE corner of Kevin Cres. and Glendale Rd.



Re(1): Cedar Waxwings - Bracebridge
Posted on December 28, 2002 at 08:48:10 AM by Barbara Taylor

They were around again this morning in small tree in front of #103 Glendale Rd. (on west side).



Cedar Waxwings - Bracebridge
Posted on December 26, 2002 at 02:18:31 PM by Barbara Taylor

Twenty-six Cedar Waxwings in a birch tree in front of 95 Glendale Rd. around 1:25 p.m. today.

Has anyone seen any Bohemian Waxwings yet this winter?



Re(1): Carolina Wren
Posted on December 26, 2002 at 11:25:47 AM by Bob Healey

update: This bird returned one hour later and fed on a suet cake closer to the ground for 10 minutes.



Carolina Wren
Posted on December 25, 2002 at 10:51:18 AM by Bob Healey

The Carolina Wren was seen briefly on my deck at 10:40 this morning. It seemed to be searching for food on the deck, below feeders with peanuts and fresh suet, but I did not see it feed. Location: 55 Westvale Drive, Bracebridge



Re(1): Great Gray Owl...not posted
Posted on December 22, 2002 at 06:42:20 PM by Tony Beck

It might be impossible to tell, for certain, the owl species in this photo.
I have tried enlarging the image, and tinkering with tones.

I'm not sure if the bird has eye colour or not.
However, the bird does have the appearance of a short tail (lacking the "more elongated" look of a Great Gray, as mentioned by Barbara). It also appears to lack the white "bow tie".

Therefor, Barred Owl would be a good bet.

Once again, more photos could possibly help.

Merry Christmas All




Re(1): Great Gray Owl...not confirmed
Posted on December 22, 2002 at 05:38:06 PM by Barbara Taylor

Looks more like a Barred Owl to me too. Always nice to see an owl, especially when it's right in your own yard.

We tried a couple of times to relocate the owl we saw on South Monck, but so far no luck. The bird we saw was larger, and appeared more elongated, not "chunky" like a Barred Owl. Would be nice to refind it for a confirmation...we even checked out Butter & Egg Rd./Falkenburg area...but nothing. We will definitely take binoculars everywhere we go now!



Re(1): Great Gray Owl...not posted
Posted on December 22, 2002 at 03:19:29 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Looks like a barred owl to me!



Great Gray Owl...not posted
Posted on December 22, 2002 at 11:44:49 AM by Al Sinclair


The photo was taken by the Kosela's daughter with a small camera on Dec 15, 2002 on Moreland Crt. in the Meadow Heights subdivision in Bracebridge. Although the image is not too clear I believe that this owl is most likely a Barred Owl. The proportions and posture of the bird and the eyes which appear dark are more like Barred than the other species expected. Also to my knowledge there have been no confirmed reports of Great Gray Owls in southern Ontario so far this year.



Bald eagle
Posted on December 20, 2002 at 02:04:31 PM by Brian Pfrimmer

Today at 1:15 pm there was a mature Bald Eagle working the open water on the north shore of Fairy Lake in the Town of Huntsville. Specifically the eagle was on the south side of highway 60 at the second set of lights just east of Huntsville, immediately behind the restaurant Three Guys and a Stove.



Algonquin Park finch update
Posted on December 19, 2002 at 11:24:35 AM by Ron Tozer

*This report originated on ONTBIRDS (Dec. 19, 2002) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Winter finches have continued to be numerous along Highway 60 in Algonquin
Provincial Park, since the increase in numbers first noted in early
December. Birders travelling to and through the area during the coming
holiday season may wish to note the sightings below. Please report your
observations to me ( for our Park records, if you do
visit. Thanks.

Pine Grosbeak: one sighting to date, an adult male at km 43 on December 13

Purple Finch: flocks are being observed along Highway 60, and at the Visitor
Centre feeder (km 43)

White-winged Crossbill: numerous along Highway 60, including some singing

American Goldfinch: flocks are being observed along Highway 60

Evening Grosbeak: some are being seen along Highway 60, and a flock of over
50 has been coming to the Visitor Centre feeders daily

Algonquin Provincial Park is three hours north of Toronto, via Highways 400
and 11 to Huntsville, and then east on Highway 60. Get a tabloid at the gate
when you purchase your permit (required if you are going use trails or go to
the Visitor Centre). The tabloid has a map for locating sites mentioned

Feeders at the Algonquin Visitor Centre can be observed during weekdays (8
a.m. to 4.30 p.m.) by entering the building through the staff entrance and
asking permission from staff in the adjacent Friends of Algonquin Park
office. The Visitor Centre will be open to the public from December 27 to
December 30, and on weekends throughout the winter (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.).

Ron Tozer
Dwight, Ont.



9th Huntsville Christmas Bird Count
Posted on December 18, 2002 at 06:09:11 PM by Ron Tozer

*This report originated on ONTBIRDS (Dec. 18, 2002) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Eighteen field observers and 10 feeder watchers conducted the 9th Huntsville
CBC on Tuesday, December 17. Despite the good viewing conditions (sunny and
calm, but cold), only 31 species were tallied, well below the count average
of 38. There were 2,664 individuals, a little above the average of 2,471.

A few species that were observed just prior to the count could not be found
on Tuesday, and others often present (e.g., gulls) were gone this year due
to significant snow cover, ice on most lakes, plus previous very cold
temperatures. Many area feeders have had relatively few birds to date,
probably because cones, seeds and fruit are so plentiful. For the first
time, no new species for the count were found. However, everybody enjoyed a
beautiful winter day outdoors in Muskoka, and saw some interesting birds.


Ring-necked Duck 1 (a female at Port Sydney; present for weeks)
Winter Wren: 1 (at a seepage area along the Etwell Road)
American Robin: 40 (at two locations, eating Winterberry Holly fruit)
Northern Cardinal: 1 (at a feeder in Huntsville)

Record High Counts:

Mallard: 487 (with 439 of these in open water near the bridge in Huntsville)
Mourning Dove: 183
Pileated Woodpecker: 9 (including one eating Winterberry Holly fruit)
American Crow: 81
American Robin: 40


Purple Finch: 36
Red Crossbill: count week (2 at a feeder)
White-winged Crossbill: 49
American Goldfinch: 137
Evening Grosbeak: 3


House Sparrow: count week (2 in downtown Huntsville; the only ones detected
in Muskoka this winter?)

Directions: Huntsville is 2.5 hours north of Toronto, via Highways 400 and

Ron Tozer
Dwight, Ont.


Great Gray Owl - South Monck Dr.
Posted on December 18, 2002 at 04:40:22 PM by Barbara Taylor

Just before 3 p.m. today, Great Gray Owl in trees behind #1094/#1100 South Monck Dr., Bracebridge (where the Northern Hawk Owl could be found 2 years ago). It flew north across field. We went home for binoculars and returned but could not relocate by 4 p.m.

Even though we didn't have binoculars with us, we are sure the bird was a Great Gray from general elongated shape, size, colouring, and flight pattern. Meadow Heights area, where a probable Great Gray was seen on Sunday, is just across Beaver Creek on far east side of that field.

Go west of town on Hwy 118 and about 1 km. north on South Monck Dr. and look on right-hand side.



Gravenhurst-Bracebridge Christmas Bird Count Summary
Posted on December 16, 2002 at 04:04:04 PM by Al Sinclair

The 23rd Gravenhurst-Bracebridge Christmas Bird count was held on December 15, 2002.
34 observers in 10 groups covered the 24 km circle in weather not good for counting birds. Steady snow most of the day meant most birds were not moving making them difficult to find.

2471 individual birds were found of 33 species, slightly below the previous 10 year averages of 2949 individuals of 36.7 species. The lower numbers were probably due to the early onset of winter conditions this year combined with a poor day for counting. The snow cover was 38 cm. and there were few areas of open water except for Lake Muskoka. Fewer than usual birds were at feeders but more were in the rural areas. Wild food was plentiful.

We had one new species this year (not found on any of the previous counts), Wild Turkeys (8) were found on Taylor Rd in Bracebridge. A Bobwhite found at a feeder on Cedar Lane was also new but was not counted as it was certainly an escaped captive raised bird.

The most common birds were European Starling 446, Rock Doves (aka pigeons) 431, and Black-capped Chickadee 414. The Chickadee numbers were slightly lower than last years 568 but Blue Jays at 294 were at their highest number since 1986. American Crows numbers were about average at 88 so it appears that West Nile virus is not yet affecting bird numbers noticeably in the Muskoka area. The most common finch this year was the American Goldfinch at 222. Other finches recorded were Purple Finch 4, Evening Grosbeak 11, and White-winged Crossbill 5.

On count day we missed 3 Bald Eagles that were frequenting a Deer kill near the Muskoka Sands on Saturday. Also on Saturday, an American Robin seen on Glendale Rd in Bracebridge, a Canada Goose on Spence Lake Drive, and a Sharp-shinned Hawk on Muskoka Beach Road.

The team competition results:
Bracebridge 28 species
Gravenhurst 26 species

Other interesting birds:
1 Northern Goshawk
2 Red-tailed Hawks (at the Bracebridge Landfill)
2 Greater Black-backed Gulls (at the Gravenhurst Landfill)
1 Barred Owl ( at Finches gravel pits Fraserburg Rd)
4 Pileated Woodpeckers
2 Brown Creepers
8 Golden-crowned Kinglets
8 Northern Cardinals (3 in Gravenhurst and 5 in Bracebridge)
1 White-throated Sparrow
31 Snow Buntings



Bald Eagle in Bala
Posted on December 16, 2002 at 10:57:17 AM by Dinny and Neil Nimmo

At 8.30am Lorne Jewitt reported a bald eagle feeding on a small animal on the ice on the Moon River between Hurlings Point and the Bala Falls.Only stayed a short time then flew off with the remains.



great gray owl
Posted on December 16, 2002 at 09:23:32 AM by Kosela

In the Meadow Heights subdivision, backing on Beaver Creek, probable sighting of a great gray owl on Sunday, Dec. 15 around 3:00 p.m. It hung around for about 25 minutes.



Back yard birds
Posted on December 15, 2002 at 08:20:13 PM by Barbara Taylor

Where were all the birds hiding out today? Except for the usual bunch of chickadees, not much action here. No woodpeckers, finches, kinglets, or juncos.

In our Bracebridge yard today:
Northern Cardinal (1 female)
Mourning Doves (2)
Red-breasted Nuthatch (2)
American Crow (2)
Blue Jay (5)
Black-capped Chickadee (10)



Red-tailed Hawk, Bracebridge Dump
Posted on December 14, 2002 at 03:38:54 PM by Al Sinclair

Today Dec 14 at 3pm, there was a Red-tailed Hawk sitting on a dead tree along the road north of the gate at the Bracebridge dump. Also about 60 Herring Gulls and 2000 Starlings in the dump. No white-winged gulls.



Carolina Wren..seen again this week
Posted on December 14, 2002 at 12:35:55 AM by Al Sinclair

Bob Healy reported that the Carolina Wren was seen again at his feeder very briefly on Monday Dec 9. That's the only time it has been seen since the first sighting Nov 23.

I noticed that the location was not given before. It is at a feeder on Westvale Dr where it backs onto Tamarack Trail on the west side of Bracebridge. Interestingly Barbara Taylor heard one singing near there on Glendale Rd last summer. Also last winter one was seen at a feeder on Wellington Street north.

All these sightings are within a few blocks of each other. Has the same bird been here since last winter? Where is its favourite feeder? Someone probably has it every day but doesn't know that this species is rare in Muskoka.



Re(1): Gravenhurst-Bracebridge Christmas Bird Count
Posted on December 14, 2002 at 02:03:27 PM by Dave Hawke

A bald Eagle was observed at mouth of Hoc Roc River today (Sat).



Gravenhurst-Bracebridge Christmas Bird Count
Posted on December 14, 2002 at 12:23:00 AM by Al Sinclair


Below is a map showing the count circle used by the Gravenhurst-Bracebridge Christmas Bird count. It is 24 kms (15 miles) in diameter centred at Reay Lake. Count day is Sunday Dec 15/2002.

If anyone would like to participate you can meet the groups at 9am at the parking lot behind the Post Office in Bracebridge or the MacDonalds parking lot in Gravenhurst.

If you live in the circle and can't get out on the count tomorrow you can count the birds at your feeder and email or telephone the results to me. Count the maximum number of each species seen at one time and keep track of how many hours you spent watching the feeder.

If anyone sees any good birds in the circle (like a Carolina Wren) on count day or count week please let me know. Species found in count week but not count day are listed but numbers are not counted. Count week is 3 days before and 3 days after the count day.



Windermere Area Birds (House Sparrow and others)
Posted on December 14, 2002 at 10:47:29 AM by David Britton

I birded along Windermere Road between Dee Bank Rd. and Rostrevor Rd. today.

I'm not sure if Windermere is in either of the South Muskoka or Huntsville CBC areas, but there were a number of House Sparrows around the farms along Windermere Road between Dee Bank and Rostrevor Rds. While the buildings are set well back from the road along this stretch, the sparrows were easily audible from the road.

Along Rostrevor Rd., the Dee River is still open, but there were no lingering ducks this morning.

Further down the road, north of the bridge there were fresh Wild Turkey tracks in the snow by the side of the road, but no birds were seen.

Where Rostrevor Rd. takes its first corner, about a kilometre north of Windermere Road, there were two Golden-crowned Kinglets amongst numbers of Black-capped Chickadees and White-breasted Nuthcatches. Also in this area, two White-winged Crossbills were heard and seen flying overhead.



Pine Grosbeak in Algonquin Park
Posted on December 13, 2002 at 07:37:04 PM by Ron Tozer

*This report originated on ONTBIRDS (Dec. 13, 2002) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Algonquin Park has seen a massive influx of "winter finches" during the past
week. Numerous flocks of Purple Finches, American Goldfinches, White-winged
Crossbills and Evening Grosbeaks are being seen along the Highway 60
Corridor. Many are on the highway, seeking sand and/or salt. This is one of
the larger and more rapid arrivals of finch species that I have observed in
over 30 years of studying winter bird populations in Algonquin Park.

Today, a single male Pine Grosbeak observed on the highway near km 43
(Algonquin Visitor Centre) was the first representative of that species seen
here this fall. Perhaps it is the vanguard of more to come.

Interesting questions arise from the arrival of so many birds like this.
Will they stay? Where did they come from? Why are they moving in now? Where
might they be going, if they are passing through? Just some of the things to
ponder as we head into another fascinating winter season.

Algonquin Provincial Park is three hours north of Toronto, via Highways 400
and 11 to Huntsville, and then east on Highway 60. Get a tabloid at the gate
when you purchase your permit. The tabloid has a map for locating sites
mentioned above.


Ron Tozer
Dwight, Ontario


White-winged Crossbills in Algonquin Park
Posted on December 12, 2002 at 04:39:39 PM by Ron Tozer

*This report originated on ONTBIRDS (Dec. 12, 2002) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

During the last week in Algonquin Park, birders have been reporting
significantly increased numbers of White-winged Crossbills all along the
Highway 60 Corridor. Many sightings involve males in song.

In addition, there have been reports of Purple Finch flocks and some
sightings of small groups of Pine Siskins in Algonquin. A few Evening
Grosbeaks are visiting feeders at the Algonquin Visitor Centre (km 43
on Highway 60).

These observations may reflect recent real increases in the numbers of
these species, and/or snow and weather conditions that have made these
birds more obvious to observers now.

Algonquin Provincial Park is three hours north of Toronto, via Highways 400
and 11 to Huntsville, and then east on Highway 60. Get a tabloid at the gate
when you purchase your permit. The tabloid has a map for locating sites
mentioned above.

Ron Tozer
Dwight, Ontario



Northern Shrike at Arrowhead PP
Posted on December 11, 2002 at 11:20:39 AM by Burke Korol

I just saw an adult NORTHERN SHRIKE around 11:15 a.m. at the Ontario Parks Zone office in Arrowhead Provincial Park. The park is about 5 km north of Huntsville, just east of Hwy. 11.

If anyone is coming to use the winter facilities in the park (i.e., X.C. skiing, skating, tubing, snow-shoeing) and finds any birds, I'd appreciate hearing about it. The park opens for the winter season on 20 December.



Pileated Woodpecker
Posted on December 7, 2002 at 03:12:45 PM by Sylvia Brown

A pileated woodpecker was eating the small fruits in the flowering crabapple tree in our front yard on Dec 4. Sometimes one feeds at the suet feeder but never before at the crab fruit. Also heavy feeding at our feeders--goldfinches, dark eyed juncos, tree sparrows, chickadees, blue jays, mourning doves, hairy and downy wookpeckers. Saw several golden-crowned kiglets foraging in a hemlock stand near Dwight on Nov. 28th.



Re(2): Christmas Bird Count/Has anyone seen House Sparrows?....Anyone???
Posted on December 7, 2002 at 02:45:08 PM by Regan Goodyear

I saw some not long ago at the feeders in the Monck Public School inner courtyard.



Re(1): Christmas Bird Count/Has anyone seen House Sparrows?....Anyone???
Posted on December 6, 2002 at 12:12:40 AM by Doug Smith

The Equidome just over the Hwy#11 on Fraserburg Rd. usually has a small flock of House Sparrows



Re(1): House Sparrows - disappearing in the U.K. too
Posted on December 5, 2002 at 04:33:04 PM by Barbara Taylor

Apparently House Sparrows and Starlings are disappearing at a rapid rate in the U.K. No one seems to have the answer why. Maybe the lack of House Sparrows in the Muskoka area is a first sign of a similar population decline starting in Ontario...

See link below for U.K. story from a couple years back.

Disppearing House Sparrows



Re(1): Christmas Bird Count/Has anyone seen House Sparrows?....Anyone???
Posted on December 5, 2002 at 03:40:02 PM by Ron Tozer

Last year's Huntsville CBC did not locate any House Sparrows, and none have been seen in Huntsville recently either, to my knowledge. If anybody knows of a location for House Sparrows in or near Huntsville now, I would like to know about it.

The Huntsville Audubon Christmas Bird Count will be held on Tuesday, December 17, by the way. Feeder operators are encouraged to report their birds to me, via e-mail. Thanks.



Christmas Bird Count/Has anyone seen House Sparrows?....Anyone???
Posted on December 5, 2002 at 02:45:39 PM by Al Sinclair

The Gravenhurst/Bracebridge Christmas Bird count will be on Sunday Dec 15. Every year we are having more and more difficulty finding House Sparrows. Does anyone know where there are any in the Bracebridge or Gravenhurst area, perhaps on a farm around a barn? They have disappeared from Bracebridge, are hard to find in Gravenhurst.
Also, we can always use more counters, contact me for more details.



Re(1): White-winged Crossbills
Posted on December 11, 2002 at 02:30:20 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there were a few White-winged Crossbills along the snowmobile trail between Henry Rd. and Stephens Bay Rd. in Bracebridge.

Also a Brown Creeper, White-breasted Nuthatch, Blue Jays, and lots of chickadees.



White-winged Crossbills east of Bracebridge
Posted on December 5, 2002 at 02:30:45 PM by Al Sinclair

Today Dec 5 at about 11am 9 White-winged Crossbills flew over our yard from south to north. These are the first I have seen this winter. We live 8km east of Hwy 11 on Hwy 118E.



Sharp-Shinned Hawk, goldfinches, Bald Eagle
Posted on December 4, 2002 at 08:31:30 AM by Gerald Willmott

This a.m. a fast moving blur shot through a crowd of 40 goldfiches at our feeders; we get up to 50. This blur stopped and perched for 15 min in a nearby birch tree for a leisurely viewing opportunity - I believe it was a Sharp Shinned Hawk. After a rest the sharpy shot back through the since returned goldfiches and was gone. Not sure if the hunt was successful.

Also of note, a bald eagle was seen over Milford Bay about November 27th.



Few Winter Finches in Algonquin Park
Posted on December 3, 2002 at 09:05:28 AM by Ron Tozer

Originally posted on ONTBIRDS (Dec. 2, 2002)*
*This report originated on ONTBIRDS and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Hello Ontbirders:

I thought that "winter listers" might be interested in the current status of
"winter finches" in Algonquin Park. Basically, we have a big cone crop and
virtually no finches. Perhaps more will arrive later in the winter, but for
now it is not worth a visit -- at least not for finches!

Pine Grosbeak: no observations so far this fall.

Purple Finch: very scarce or absent. Large flocks moved through in October.

Red Crossbill: not reported in October or November.

White-winged Crossbill: A few singing males were occasionally observed
during October and November in areas of extensive black spruce (e.g., Wolf
Howl Pond, Opeongo Road). Some may still be there.

Common Redpoll: no observations so far this fall.

Pine Siskin: only two observations (involving 1 or 2 birds each time) during
October and November. A few have been seen recently seeking sand and/or salt
on highways near Algonquin Park (e.g., Highway 35 near Dorset).

American Goldfinch: scarce in October; a few large flocks during November.
Some are now visiting feeders in communities near Algonquin Park (e.g.,

Evening Grosbeak: Occasional small groups, mainly at feeders, but scarce. As
with siskins, a few have been seen recently on highways near Algonquin Park
(e.g., Highway 35 near Dorset).

If you do finally tire of Tropical Kingbirds and Ross's Gulls in the south,
and decide to wander north to Algonquin, please let me know what you see.

Algonquin Provincial Park is three hours north of Toronto, via Highways 400
and 11 to Huntsville, and then east on Highway 60. Get a tabloid at the gate
when you purchase your permit. The tabloid has a map for locating sites
mentioned above.

Ron Tozer
Dwight, Ont.

Brown Creepers
Posted on December 2, 2002 at 10:19:57 AM by Barbara Taylor

Two Brown Creepers this morning in our back yard in Bracebridge. Also two Dark-eyed Juncos.



Bald eagle
Posted on November 28, 2002 at 05:08:21 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

At 1:30 pm today I saw an adult bald eagle in a large tree off Sherwood Rd.,near Hwy 169 at Glen Orchard. I watched it for about 5 minutes before it took off and flew toward Lake Joseph by Sherwood Inn.



Re(1): Yard birds...Tree Sparrows, Goldfinches etc.
Posted on November 29, 2002 at 12:01:56 AM by Doug Smith

Al -- had one of your Golden-crowned Kinglets at my place this morning, cheering me on while I shoveled the driveway.



Yard birds...Tree Sparrows, Goldfinches etc.
Posted on November 28, 2002 at 02:17:55 PM by Al Sinclair

For about 2 weeks, we have had 1 or 2 Tree Sparrows at the feeders here near Uffington. Today there were 7 in the yard at the top of a Yellow Birch tree feeding on the birch seeds, could be why they are called "Tree" Sparrows. Later they all visited the feeders.
We also have about 20 Goldfinches and 1 Purple Finch. It looks like some Goldfinches may stay this winter.
We also had some Golden-crowned Kinglets around the yard all fall. They were hanging out with a group of Chickadees but we haven't seen them for 2 days now.



Purple Finches
Posted on November 27, 2002 at 05:21:34 PM by Barbara Taylor

Large flock of Purple Finch this afternoon along the TransCanada Trail between Henry Rd. and Bracebridge Ponds.



photo link 2
Posted on December 5, 2002 at 01:02:38 AM by Tony Beck

Compare these images to Andre's photos and to the images provided by the other links.

To see good examples of rectricies almost as light as the undertail, go to the bottom of the page and click on "Fall Male".
But, dont stop there. This site is full of lots of juicy warbler identification information.

(By the way. . .thanks Barbara. . .the links work!)


More Tennessee Warblers



photo link 1
Posted on December 5, 2002 at 00:54:13 AM by Tony Beck

Here is the first link that shows a series of Tennessee Warbler images.
The last frame shows one side of the rectricies appearing as pale as the undertail.


Tennessee Warbler 1



Re(2): whatBird - grabs
Posted on December 5, 2002 at 00:47:39 AM by Tony Beck

And I thought this was put to bed. . .

I believe there is much with Andre's bird that is not typical for Tennessee.

The facial pattern is at an extreme. I would expect much more definition and contrast to the various facial marks. My experience dictates that the supercillium and eyeline are seperated by a much greater tonal range (even in first fall plumages) than what Andre's bird shows.

The double wing bars in only one image is also very odd.

But, there seems to be enough variability within the species to justify calling it a Tennessee, especially since the identification is supported by several consistencies seen throughout the series of Andre's photos.

See the photos in the link provided below. It includes several facial patterns, including one that has very little definition (at the extreme).

I agree that the tail feathers in the lower centre image ("grabs" posting) are odd. However, what I see is that the left rectrix is paler than the right.
In Andre's original post, the left frame shows all visible tail feathers the same colour as the undertail. Very odd indeed (compare to images in link below).

However, we seem to be plagued by photos taken in sunlight (a single light source). The sun appears to be shining from the side. This tells me that the sun was low to the horizon and probably emitting less from the blue end, and more from the red end of the colour spectrum. This low light also provides heavy contrast (dark, long shadows).

Having said all that. . .the bottom line is that we cannot rely on only two images revealing any consistent rectrix colour or tone, especially since light conditions are contrasty and inconsistent. As with the other plumage characters, we would need to see more images revealing this part of the bird.

Besides that, there is evidence that there can be some variability in this character, at least in perception.

I found a site on the net that shows a series of Tennessee Warbler images where the final frame shows a similar rectrix combination to Andre's lower centre photo in the "grabs" series (one side of tail is very pale, giving the impression of being the same colour as undertail):
(I will create a link to this site in my next posting).

Check out the tail in the images of study skins provided by the following sites (again I will provide a link in another message):

The rectricies in the images for "fall male" are almost the same tone as the undertail.

OK. . .I think I'm done with this bird. . .Please. . .no moreeeeee. . .
(Well. . .OK more, but how about a different challenge this time. Can someone photograph a Brambling at their feeder?)


Various Warblers



Re(1): whatbird - grabs
Posted on December 4, 2002 at 07:30:31 PM by Bob Bowles

My guess was Tennessee Warbler from the first set of photos but now I have a question? The bottom centre photo in grabs shows the undertail patterns well. If you check these against Plates 31 & 32 of Dunn & Garrett in "Warblers" - Peterson Field Guides it does not agree with those shown for Tennessee Warbler. Andre's bird has very pale under spots, white compared to the yellow vent. "Warblers" show the female Tennessee as having a very dark undertail pattern and the male as having a white pattern in the centre with dark borders. I see extensive white areas in Andre's photo with no dark borders. Both Blackpoll and Bay-breasted have more white on the undertail pattern like that shown in Andre's photo. Everything else fits for Tennesse Warbler except the tail spots. How come?



Re(1): whatbird - grabs
Posted on December 3, 2002 at 07:06:38 PM by Tony Beck


What a difference. This is a clear example of where bad images (grabs) are sometimes better than more aesthetically pleasing images to identify some difficult birds.

Although these images suffer from some blurry movement (slow exposure/hand tremor) there is sufficient information (combined with the first images) to support identification.

Here is a list of obvious:
1) Hardly any indication of wing bars (very slight pale edges to greater coverts only - especially visible on upper middle, upper right, and lower middle frames).
2) Very short tail (especially visible on upper middle frame)
3) Uniformly olive colouration on mantle, no hint of streaking.
4) Lack of streaks on sides.
5) Vent & undertail is paler than belly.

Lack of wing bars & mantle streaks can help rule out Bay-breasted and Blackpoll.

Lack of streaks on underparts & pale vent area help rule out Orange-crowned.

Well. . .all this is very supportive of Tennessee Warbler.
The shape of the bird in the upper middle & upper right frame is very front heavy and short ended.

The lack of facial markings in the first images is very odd. It is possible that foraging activity may have caused discolouring. There is one image on Barbara's link that shows a bird like this:

Most puzzling are the white wing bars in the first image. Especially since there is hardly a hint of any bars in these new images.

I guess I better follow the crowd on this one and strongly lean toward Tennessee Warbler.

These new images, combined with the originals, leave very little doubt in my mind to the birds identification.




whatBird - grabs
Posted on December 3, 2002 at 01:18:45 PM by andre


Here are some more details:



Re(1): whatBird
Posted on November 30, 2002 at 10:31:10 PM by Frank Zapruder

I suspect more pics will be forthcoming. Note how the bird has reversed position between frames B and C. It's obvious that it was startled by camera clicks coming from the grassy knoll ...



Re(1): whatBird
Posted on November 30, 2002 at 07:26:42 PM by Tony Beck

Unless more photos come forth, I promise. . .this will be my last post on this subject.

I find it very odd that several very respectable naturalists lean toward calling this bird a Tennessee Warbler. Especially when it never entered my mind until this discussion. Although I am not certain what species it is, I have some suspicions. Regardless, I am mildly opposed to it being called a Tennessee.
Here are a few more reasons why:

The wingbars in the central frame are WHITE, not olive (or pale) as is illustrated by Crosby (and others) for first fall Tennessee.
It is also very important to note that the wingbars are not overexposed in this photo since there is a strong contrast between the dark coverts and the bars. I believe the exposure to be fully accurate for all parts exposed by sunlight in this particular frame. (If this area was overexposed, the dark olive would appear much lighter, reducing contrast.)

I tried looking for all Tennessee Warbler photos in my references, and on the internet, and I couldn’t find any with pure white wingbars. The closest I could find was in frame “J” of the link provided by Barbara.

Here. . .the covert tips are pale, but broken and not well defined (creating a bumpy, broken bar).

This same link is a source of much valuable information. Note the strong facial pattern on all individuals (hatch year birds). Each bird that shows this area, has a very clear supercillium, thick at the lores, and extends behind the eye. In frames A, B & C, the facial pattern is clearly obvious with thick yellow lores. These characters are lacking in Andre’s images.

Also note the extent of the undertail coverts, almost reaching the tail tip. Compare these to Andre’s photos.
In all the Tenessee Warbler images, the birds appear front heavy while being very narrow and short in the tail end.
The bird in Andre’s photo is much more of a regular warbler shape, appearing small headed in proportion to the body (a long and slim warbler), unlike what I would expect from Tennessee (short and front-heavy). As is clearly illustrated in the link, Tennessee Warbler is a BIG headed bird compared to the rest of its body.

As a final note, Andre's bird just doesn't have Tennessee "Jiz" for me. But, one last time. . .the photos are inconclusive.

I would like to see more images from Andre. Or at least, these same images showing the entire tail. Unless we see this bird from a different perspective, we will never know its true identity.




Re(1): whatBird
Posted on November 30, 2002 at 05:13:46 PM by Ron Tozer

An additional reference on Tennessee Warbler brought to my attention by Ron Pittaway involves John Crosby's illustration of an autumn immature on Plate 61 in The Birds of Canada (Godfrey 1986), which is particularly instructive with respect to wingbars. Godfrey (page 462) notes that some first autumn Tennessee Warblers "show a poorly defined light wing bar".

I thought Bird Board readers might find this reference interesting.



Re(2): whatBird
Posted on November 29, 2002 at 08:21:24 PM by Tony Beck

Look very carefully at the photo Paul has provided. You can clearly see a pale supercillium (eyebrow) that extends from the bill, over the eye and behind it. Note also the dark eyeline (through the eye). Now compare the crown/eyeline colour to the yellowish chin, cheek and throat. This bird appears to have a dark cap. Overall, there is a distinct facial pattern on this bird that is lacking on Andre's bird. In Andre's photos the bird has a more uniform colour throughout its face, most visible on the middle picture. The crown is almost the same colour as the cheek. The eyebrow is not distinct and stops over the eye (in the middle pic, it looks more like an eye crescent than an eyebrow).
Notice also the complete lack of wing bars on Paul's photo.



Re(1): whatBird
Posted on November 29, 2002 at 07:32:14 PM by Paul Smith


I think it's a toss-up between a Tennessee Warbler and a Bay Breasted Warbler (though i'd lean toward the Tennessee Warbler from this pic from the web)



Re(3): whatBird
Posted on November 29, 2002 at 06:01:06 PM by Tony Beck

In addition to my last message:

A first fall female Bay-breasted Warbler can lack any sign of buffyness. This plumage is not uncommon and the source of much identification error, especailly when compared to fall Blackpoll.
Also, the undertail, although never pure white, can look very pale and almost white.

As I mentioned, check illustrations in various books, especially National Geographic Field Guide (I have third edition) and Peterson's "Warblers".

The Sibley Guide is also excellent, especially where it shows the distribution of the buffy (olive) tones on the first winter female Bay-breasted. This however, does not show the extreme olive variants that can (and often do) occur for this species.

On the issue of tail length, the photos do not show the complete tail. In my opinion, apparent length suggested by these images is not short enough for Tennessee. But, still consistent with Bay-breasted/Blackpoll.

Whew. . .am I finished yet?



Re(3): whatBird
Posted on November 30, 2002 at 12:27:48 AM by Ron Tozer

I agree with Tony that these photos, especially given their apparent distortion and framing , provide real limitations on what we can determine about this bird's true appearence. They may even preclude certain identification. However, I can't add anything to my earlier analysis which concluded that this bird is a first fall Tennessee Warbler.

For what it is worth, Michel Gosselin (National Museum) and Ron Pittaway independently identified this whatBird as a Tennessee Warbler, in e-mails forwarded to me.



Re(2): whatBird
Posted on November 29, 2002 at 04:19:43 PM by Tony Beck

I love a lively debate.

But, we may never know exactally what this bird is without more images to analyze.

The photos provided by Andre supply some detail. Unfortunately, they suffer from contrasting sunlight, and digital distortion.

The digital resolution makes those dark lines through the edges. And the sunlight creates dark shadows with some areas of overexposure.

Taking these imperfections into account:

I still strongly believe that colour is relatively accurate.

With all due respect Ron. . .

In my opinion, the facial marks are not strong enough for Tennessee. There is no clear supercilium, dark eyeline, or contrast between face & olive cap.
My perception of bill size is consistent with Bay-breasted/Blackpoll. I do not think it is small or thin enough for Tennessee.
In the central image, the bird shows a strong contrast between olive coverts and white tips (white wing bars). I do not recall any Tennessee with white wing bars, in any plumage (some Tennessees may show pale/olivy edges, but the wingbars in the central image show a strong contrast between white and dark olive).
I must acknowledge that the undertail does appear white, especially in the third image. However, if you examine very closely, you will notice an olive tone to this area in the first image (the one on the left). Notice also, the distribution of the olive tones on the underside of this image. In the right image, it is possible that over exposure may exaggerate brightness of this area. Even so, it does show darker, olivy flanks.

I would go for Blackpoll before Tennessee. But, I'm still leaning toward first fall female Bay-breasted, mainly based on the facial markings and distribution of olive tones.
I urge all to compare these characters to the photos and illustrations in the Peterson Warbler guide by Dunn & Garrett.

It would be nice to have more images to look at. This is a perfect example of how photography can both hinder and assist in identification. Unfortunately, the medium has limitations.
The ideal situation is to see the same field marks from different angles under different light conditions.

And who said birding was easy?
Tony Beck



Re(1): whatBird
Posted on November 29, 2002 at 09:19:12 AM by Ron Tozer

In my opinion, this is clearly a first fall Tennessee Warbler. Important determining field marks are: white undertail coverts, short tail, bright green back, and thin conical bill (typical of Vermivora warblers). Unfortunately, the images may have some distortion which makes identification more difficult. However, in addition to the Tennesse features noted above, the lack of more conspicuous wingbars and underparts streaking would preclude Blackpoll; and the lack of more conspicuous wingbars and any buff or bay colour on the underparts would eliminate Bay-breasted, in my judgement. I think Orange-crowned Warbler (also a Vermivora warbler) had to be considered here, but it has a longer tail, usually shows underparts streaking, and always has yellowish undertail coverts.



Re(4): whatBird
Posted on November 29, 2002 at 08:51:40 PM by Tony Beck

The "clickable link" in your message ( clearly shows several facial patterns of Tennessee Warbler. Compare these to Andre's photos.

Also note that in Andre's images, the throat in the central pic is covered by shadow. The image on the left, the bird is twisting its neck while it reveals its underside (the head is straight while the underparts are on one side). These factors may mask the true tones of the chin.



Re(3): whatBird
Posted on November 29, 2002 at 08:02:33 PM by Barbara Taylor

Well, here goes my two cents worth…
The first time I looked at the photos, I immediately thought "Tennessee Warbler". Then I read Tony Beck's discussion which mentioned wing-bars. I hadn't really noticed them and thought the lines were just the way the camera had caught errant light on feather tips perhaps. But after reading up a bit, I found that indeed, fall Tennessee Warblers can show thin wing bars. I've reviewed several online photos and fieldguide pictures of the various "candidates". And after all that, I've decided that there is so much colour variability in these fall birds that I can't rule out anything based on André's 3 photos alone. But I would point out the first fall female Bay-breasted Warbler supposedly shows a "whitish" throat whereas the mystery bird's throat was more yellowish according to André's follow-up post.

So on to actions speaking louder than colours…
According to info from the Peterson Warbler guide, the Tennessee Warbler seems the likely choice due to André's description of the bird's movement. However, the migration dates tend to favour the other two choices since the photo was taken in early October. Of course activity and migration dates always depend on the weather to some degree, as well as the bird's own personality. : )

Anyone wanting to read about and view photos of "confusing fall warblers" should take a look at the link below this message. There are several good photos of the three candidates for André's mystery bird.

Peterson Field Guides - Warblers of North America, by Jon Dunn/Kimball Garrett
1997 - first edition (terrible colour plates, hopefully have been improved to more true-to-life colours in newer editions)

Bay-breasted Warbler:
--Bay-breasted Warblers are sluggish and deliberate in their movements. P. 377
--Most have departed the northern states by the first half of October, with a few stragglers to the end of the month. P.379
--First Fall Female: Throat whitish… p. 382

Blackpoll Warbler:
--A rather sluggish and deliberate warbler, … p.385
--The peak fall movement for most northern states is in mid- to late September; birds have almost completely departed the Great Lakes region by the second week of October,... p. 388

Tennessee Warbler
--A quick, nervous, and active species… p. 147
--Most birds have left the far north by early September. The peak fall movement is prolonged, from late August to mid-September in the northern U.S. … p.150
--Male: On average, first fall birds are yellower than fall adult females, with slightly more distinct thin yellowish wing bars. P. 153

The clickable link at the bottom of this message is one of the pages from the website "Around the Ponds Online Edition" at

Identification tips and photos



Re(2): whatBird
Posted on November 27, 2002 at 01:53:09 PM by André Jas


Thanks for all the reactions so far.
I filmed it in the 1st week of october on Manitoulin island (ontario).
I remember it as being more yellowish at the throat than on the film and it gradually fades into white on the belly. The back was greenish gray(?). It was hopping about from twig to twig very fast. It wasn't shy at all and I don't think it made any sound at all. Hope this will fill some of the gaps



Re(1): whatBird
Posted on November 27, 2002 at 10:59:49 AM by Barbara Taylor

André, could you please let us know when you saw this bird since that might help in determining what plumages to consider. Also, as others have suggested, more pictures might be helpful. Or perhaps you might describe the bird's main features and colours as you remember them since photographs can give much different colours from reality.

P.S. - I see your picture link is on a Netherland's website. Hope you enjoyed your trip to Ontario!



Re(2): whatBird
Posted on November 27, 2002 at 07:35:20 AM by Tony Beck

Al, you have a point concerning wingbars. However, the angle of the bird in these images makes bar thickness an inconclusive factor.

Take careful note of the following:

The undertail is not white on this bird. But, slightly tinged olive. Compare this to photos and illustrations of both Bay-breasted and Blackpoll in "Warblers" by Dunn & Garrett (Peterson series).

The bird also appears absent of any streaks on sides (marks on flanks of bird in centre photo appear to be shadows from individual feathers, compounded by the "line edges" of digital images - compare the flanks to bird in frame 1).

The bird appears to lack a distinctive eyebrow/eyeline (compare again to "Warblers" by Dunn and Garrett).

Although still not 100% conclusive, these characters lead me to believe it is a first winter female Bay-breasted which can lack all buffy tones, and is very easily confused with fall Blackpoll.

Andre, if you have more images for us to analyze, it would help tremendously.




Re(1): whatBird
Posted on November 26, 2002 at 10:54:18 PM by Al Sinclair

I'm thinking Blackpoll Warbler, see Sibley page 443. The bird lacks buffy tones, undertail coverts look whiter than Bay-breasted, wing bars narrow, possible faint breast streaks in the centre photo, too green for Pine warbler. But I'm not sure as photos can be deceiving.



Re(1): whatBird
Posted on November 26, 2002 at 08:58:49 PM by Tony Beck

Hi Andre

Unfortunately, the quality of the images are not great. Both the lighting and poses prevent enough detail to make identification 100% certain.
However, the bird is definately a warbler. I suspect the image was taken in September.
I strongly believe it is a first fall female Bay-breasted Warbler.
The olive colour overall, with paler underside is consistent with many species. In addition, the olive extends slightly to the undertail (visible in frame 1). The bird appears to have thin wing bars (visible in frame 2). The eye has a slight pale eyebrow, less than what I would expect in an immature Blackpoll Warbler (visible in frame 2).

Do you have any other photos of this bird that you can post? Even bad images can help.




Re(1): whatBird
Posted on November 26, 2002 at 08:25:20 PM by Paul Smith

It's hard to tell when the birds are in their winter coats - maybe a warbler or vireo. How big was it and how was it behaving ?? Was it as green as it appears in your pics ??

Cheers !!



Posted on November 26, 2002 at 11:31:47 AM by andre

Can you tell me what kind of bird this is?

I spotted it on Manitoulin island (Ontario, Canada) near the ferry.
Thanks in advance.

Best regards,
André Jas



Re(1): Northern Goshawk
Posted on November 26, 2002 at 12:07:51 AM by Barbara Taylor

This morning the goshawk was being chased by three crows in the vicinity of #62 and #65 Meadow Heights Dr. It went out of sight for a while and then landed in a tall pine tree to north side of Meadow Heights at Kevin Cres. intersection. Two crows continued to dive on the hawk until it flew north.



Northern Goshawk
Posted on November 24, 2002 at 02:57:01 PM by Barbara Taylor

Thanks to a Blue Jay's warning call I just saw a Northern Goshawk glide through our back yard in Bracebridge. It looked down at the platform feeder which by that time was vacant. A couple minutes later the chickadees, jays and the pair of cardinals showed up for a quick snack.



Wren photo taken by Bob yesterday
Posted on November 24, 2002 at 09:14:13 AM by Al Sinclair


Go to:



Carolina Wren
Posted on November 23, 2002 at 09:13:54 AM by Bob healey

While checking out my feeders this morning, I was pleasantly suprised to find a Carolina Wren at tube feeder containing sunflower seeds, and then to the suet ball. I moved my scope to get some better pictures, but must have frightened it off. I got some fair digiscope images through the window. If he comes back, I'll try again outside.

Send me your e-mail address if you want a look.



Algonquin week-end Nov 16-17
Posted on November 18, 2002 at 06:29:27 PM by Alberto Marcone

Originally posted on ONTBIRDS (Nov. 18, 2002)*

My wife and me just spent our first week-end at Algonquin Park, enjoying
very much the scenery and both the sunshine on Saturday and the snowfall on Sunday.
Thanks to all Ontbirds subscribers who gave me suggestions on birding in the park.

My bird highlights were BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER (the very first bird I saw
in the park, 100m on the road leaving Hwy 60 at Km8) and RUFFED GROUSE (both
days some were feeding just below the balcony at the Visitor Center,
including a male in disply, and on Sat two more were in trees at the parking
lot of Spruce Bog trail). We saw also BLUE and GRAY JAYS, RAVENS, both

My wife saw a SPRUCE GROUSE on the highway (she was driving and I was
looking at the map!), and I had a fleeting view of (presumably) another at
the start of Spruce Bog trail. I am not going to count it on my list :-(
I also dipped on boreal chickadee (but plenty of black-headed around).

We also saw three wonderful moose bulls, which are surely one of the
highlights of the trip.

Best wishes,

Alberto Marcone

*This report originated on ONTBIRDS and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.



Leonid meteors overnight (if skies clear)
Posted on November 18, 2002 at 06:16:50 PM by Barbara Taylor

The wee hours of tomorrow morning (Nov. 19) between 5 and 6 a.m. should be the best time for observing the Leonids this year. Look east towards the constellation Leo.

According to the above graph from NASA, there could be 10-20 meteors per minute at the peak.

Unfortunately it looks like cloudy skies, but you never know...I'm setting my alarm clock anyway. There is a possibility of seeing meteors around 11 p.m. tonight (Monday), but don't expect much since that is the best time for observers in Europe.

More info at link below.

Leonids 2002



Snow Buntings
Posted on November 17, 2002 at 10:38:37 AM by sylvia purdon

Monday November 11, 2002; A flock of 12+ Snow Buntings at Sparrow Lake near the old lodge open space, at 1230hr.



Re(3): Heron / Starling ...
Posted on November 17, 2002 at 07:52:45 PM by Al Johnston

Great to hear of your involvement. I'll
look forward to progress reports. I
guess I kind of enjoy martins
vicariously through the Glen Orchard
colony. I've had very limited success
attracting them here in Whitchurch-
Stouffville. Al
Good luck in relocating Sternus Vulgaris



Re(2): Heron / Starling ...
Posted on November 17, 2002 at 07:02:22 PM by Paul Smith

Yes, I recall that. The houses are usually taken down and stored by now but Dennis is down in Flordia for a while. I'll have a word with the other guys at the store and see when they're going to be taken down - and give them a hand if needed.

The old house was full this year and it appeared that only one martin was in the new one. I'm hopeful that the new house will be populated more next year, and I suspect it will.

I'll let you know when the houses are safely put away for the winter - and give that starling a one way ticket back to Europe ...

Cheers !!



Re(1): Heron / Starling ...
Posted on November 17, 2002 at 12:54:37 AM by Al Johnston

Hopefully the starling will be gone
by April or May when the martins
return. I have more than a casual
interest as I donated that house when I
learned that the original one was
smashed on lowering it the previous fall.
. Thanks for the post.
Al Johnston, Whitchurch-Stouffville



Heron / Starling ...
Posted on November 16, 2002 at 07:49:19 PM by Paul Smith

A Great Blue Heron is still hanging around here at Butterfly Lake - I thought he would have left by now.

A lone starling seems to have taken up residence in the new martin house at the Glen Orchard general store.



Bracebridge Ponds - buntings, buffleheads and beavers
Posted on November 16, 2002 at 04:04:40 PM by Barbara Taylor

At the Bracebridge Ponds today there were several Buffleheads and a few Scaup in cell 4. There was no ice yet on cell 4, but cell 1 and 2 were completely iced over. Cell 3 had sections of ice, and the only birds present were 5 Mallards.

Two Snow Buntings were on the dirt road along the west side of cell 2.

The beavers have been very busy felling small trees along the roadway by cell 4. There are several paths now leading up out of the swampy ditch and across the road to cell 4. The beavers have constructed a small dam which has raised the water level in the swampy area where they are cutting down trees. It was deep enough that the beaver slapped its tail and dove when we got too close.

The Bracebridge Ponds (aka sewage lagoons) can be accessed from Kerr Park along Beaumont Dr.



Re(1): Cardinals
Posted on November 23, 2002 at 07:42:57 PM by Barbara Taylor

The pair made a return visit to our platform feeder today at noon. We haven't seen either one since my previous post, though I did hear one singing briefly a couple days ago nearby.



Posted on November 15, 2002 at 07:31:58 PM by Barbara Taylor

Earlier in the week we had a pair of Northern Cardinals visit our platform feeder here in Bracebridge. Tonight the male returned on his own at dusk. It sure would be nice if they became regulars.



Red-headed Woodpecker: Pecking Order
Posted on November 15, 2002 at 11:43:01 AM by Ron Stager

We have had an immature Red-headed Woodpecker around the feeder for most of the morning (East of Barkway in former Ryde Township now Gravenhurst). It got along well with the Blue Jays but the female Hairy Woodpecker was not impressed. The Hairy did much posturing, spreading of wings and pecked the Red-headed on the head a few times. The Red-headed was nonchalant about this.

Later the Hairy Woodpecker would leave the feeder when the Red-headed Woodpecker returned.



November Moths
Posted on November 10, 2002 at 10:35:10 PM by Al Sinclair

The warm weather has brought out a few late fall moth species. I have uploaded pictures of 6 species I observed recently at my MV light near Uffington. Click on the link below.

November Moths



Mourning Cloak butterfly
Posted on November 10, 2002 at 01:01:11 PM by Barbara Taylor

Yesterday's Indian Summer weather brought a Mourning Cloak butterfly to our back yard in Bracebridge.

Mourning Cloak info and pictures:

See link below for fast loading photo.

Mourning Cloak photo



Barrow's Goldeneye ...
Posted on November 8, 2002 at 03:14:18 PM by Paul Smith

There's what appears to be an immature male Barrow's Goldeneye here on Butterfly Lake yesterday and today - black head and crescent shaped spot in front of the eye (but very dull). There's groups of Common Goldeneyes around too but this guy keeps well to himself - always alone ...



Re(2): Ruffed Grouse Drumming
Posted on November 8, 2002 at 08:29:23 AM by Tony Beck

Hi All

Although Ruffed Grouse occasionally drum outside the breeding season, it is believed that many birds perform migration, territorial and mate-attraction activities based on the "photoperiod" (the period of daylight in every 24 hours). Right now, the photoperiod is similar to that in early March. One theory is that birds are tricked into thinking its the beginning of spring because of the duration of sunlight. Therefore, male Ruffed Grouse drum a tiny bit more persistently in late October than at other times of year (of course, with the exception of spring when other conditions detemine suitable breeding conditions).
This effect is more obvious during fall migration when songbirds are inspired to sing, usually only half heartedly, or less emphatically than in spring.




Re(1): Ruffed Grouse Drumming
Posted on November 7, 2002 at 12:02:57 AM by Barbara Taylor

We had a Ruffed Grouse visit our backyard this morning. It was nibbling on some birch tree catkins. I had heard some drumming nearby about two weeks ago.

The Ruffed Grouse male will drum throughout the year to defend his territory and let other males know the area is already taken. The springtime drumming is more often heard because it is mating season and the males are trying to attract females in addition to defending their a lot more drumming going on.

See link below for more info on Ruffed Grouse.

Ruffed Grouse



Re Ruffed Grouse Drumming
Posted on November 7, 2002 at 11:00:03 AM by Sylvia brown

Andrew Keaveney reported Ruffed Grouse drumming ---Algonquin Park--Oct.26-27. My husband has seen and heard them drumming in woods around Huntsville and near Temagami the past three weeks. I didn't know they did this in the fall. I will look forward to further information about this.



horned larks, hooded mergansers
Posted on November 6, 2002 at 04:49:31 PM by John Challis

A pair of horned larks was feeding in the grass at Deerhurst Resort this afternoon.
There was also a small flock of what appeared to be hooded mergansers (it was quite a distance) in the ponds beside the golf course.
Much more interesting than the workshop I was attending...



Huntsville Sightings
Posted on November 5, 2002 at 10:21:26 AM by Burke Korol

This morning (Tuesday, 5 NOV 02) I found a female GREATER SCAUP, a pair of HOODED MERGANSERS and two COMMON MERGANSERS on the south side of Hunter's Bay in Huntsville, right beside Hwy. 11.

In Arrowhead Provincial Park (foot access only), at Mayflower Lake there was a RUSTY BLACKBIRD, a COMMON LOON, 10 PURPLE FINCHES and 5 AMERICAN ROBINS.



Northern Shrike
Posted on November 3, 2002 at 11:10:37 PM by Ted Smith

Hi folks:

After a bit of research, I'm going to go out on the limb and say that I spotted a Northern Shrike this morning. I was out photographing chickadees at a feeder set up along the South Branch of the Muskoka River by Rocky Narrows when the shrike swooped down from across the river and perched on top of a small pine. I was quietly sitting about 20' away and snapped off about 5 shots before it took off 3 seconds later. Obviously it was only a brief look, but the hooked beak was obvious. So was the fear in the poor chickadees. Anyways, when my slides are processed in a week or so I'll find out if I'm any kind of birder! Take care... Ted



fox sparrow
Posted on November 3, 2002 at 10:37:45 PM by Challks-Carlyle

Single fox sparrow showed up among the juncos to dine under the crabapple tree. Juncos and fox sparrows don't get along well together, by the look of it...



Wild Turkeys
Posted on November 3, 2002 at 03:46:27 PM by Janice House

We saw 10 turkeys November 2nd at 10:30 on the Chamberlain Timbr Mart road in Gravenhurst. They were walking through the gravel pit on the right hand side as you drive in.



Re(2): Franklin's Gull pos.sp  (replying to a Sept. 17 post)
Posted on November 3, 2002 at 07:30:11 AM by sylvia purdon

The bird was not seen again. There is some doubt about the sighting because the pattern of the white markings on the wings was not identified.



Re(1): White Winged Scoter...directions
Posted on October 30, 2002 at 06:56:39 PM by Al Sinclair

Paul sent me some more info on where to find the scoter.
"The best place would be the dock behind the glen orchard general store. He's come by 2 or 3 times a day for the last week or so, usually mid-morning - always alone and never seems to get < 100' from shore ..."



White Winged Scoter
Posted on October 30, 2002 at 08:06:58 AM by Paul Smith

There's been a lone white-winged scoter staying at butterfly lake for about the last week ...



Algonquin Birds weekend 26-27, Red-necked Grebe*
Posted on October 29, 2002 at 07:56:02 PM by Andrew Keaveney

*This report originated on ONTBIRDS (Oct. 29, 2002) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Hi all. A non-birding trip to Algonquin produced some
interesting weather conditions and a new species for
my park list.

Friday evening there was a snowfall that left the park
in a blanket of a few inches.

Lake of Two Rivers/Mew Lake campground/Old Airfield

Red-necked Grebe (1)-rare in park! and new for my list
Common Loon (2)
Horned Larks (20+)
Purple Finch (3)
Evening Grosbeak (20+)
Ring-necked Duck (25+)
Hooded Merganser (30+)
Great Blue Heron (1)
Hermit Thrush (1) - this bird was along the Spruce Bog
Boardwalk and looked on the verge of freezing to
Winter Wren (1)
Ruffed Grouse (drumming)
Sharp-shinned Hawk - incredibly close looks at this

Also there were 3 OTTERS at the mouth of Two Rivers,
seen from the Old Air Field. They were playing around
in the reeds, catching medium-sized fish and munching
on them (u could hear them eat!)

Algonquin Park is accessed from the west gate along
hwy 60 out of Huntsville. Two Rivers and Mew Lake are
on the south side and next to the campgrounds bearing
the same names.


Andrew Keaveney

juncos, brown creeper
Posted on October 29, 2002 at 05:01:55 PM by Challis-Carlyle

We have had a large flock of slate-coloured juncos around the house since the weekend -- first this season.
Have also had a brown creeper around since Monday.



Birding and Nature Links - new additions
Posted on October 29, 2002 at 10:26:58 AM by Barbara Taylor

I have recently added several websites to the "Birding and Nature Links" page. (see link near top)

All links have been tested to ensure that the websites are currently active. In the future if you encounter a "dead link" please notify me so that I can keep the links page up-to-date.




Hermit Thrush & otters
Posted on October 27, 2002 at 08:29:37 PM by Ted Smith

Hi folks. While out snapping some pictures this past Thursday (October 24th) morning I observed a pair of Hermit thrush and three otters on the South Branch of the Muskoka. I was set up in the Rocky Narrows area on the river. The pair of Hermit thrush were seen first and only from about 15' away. Later, the three otters were seen feeding. It was a great day. The otters have been in the area for the past few days. I did get a few quick shots of each species, but the film is not processed yet. Take care...Ted



black-backed woodpecker
Posted on October 26, 2002 at 07:16:33 PM by Dave Hawke

A female black-backed woodpecker is chipping bark off hemlock trees along Muskoka Beach Road (Gravenhurst) just north of the Muskoka Sands Resort exit gate.



Ring-necked ducks
Posted on October 25, 2002 at 07:56:10 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

While driving up Peninsula Rd.-Muskoka Rd. 7, today I saw more than 100 ring-necks in a small lake on the east side of the road just south of the road into Crossley Nature Reserve. Also about 6 dozen in the little lake on the left of Stanley House Rd.



Hermit Thrush
Posted on October 25, 2002 at 05:15:07 PM by Barbara Taylor

Just saw a Hermit Thrush in our backyard in Bracebridge. Haven't seen one for a while - thought they had all gone south already. Amazingly the bird is still finding some caterpillars in our garden.



Posted on October 24, 2002 at 11:53:25 AM by janice house

four blue birds feeding in Dennis Hay's field today on Doe Lake Road. They are sitting on the hydro wires and tops of the spruce trees.



Re(1): Beaver - two
Posted on October 26, 2002 at 05:40:06 PM by Barbara Taylor

Got a good look at two beavers in cell 4 today. They are dragging branches across the road into cell 4.

Twelve American Pipits on the freshly plowed and gravelled roadway.



Beaver at the Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on October 23, 2002 at 04:53:05 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon Bob and I saw a beaver swimming along the edge of cell 4 beside the roadway that leads towards Henry Rd. You can see a clear path the beavers have made up from cell 4, across the roadway and down into the swampy ditch on the other side. Other evidence such as recently felled trees near their path.

The two American Coots were still in cell 4 along with many Buffleheads which were splashing about quite vigorously. Twelve Pectoral Sandpipers in cell 2. A Pileated Woodpecker was in the trees near the X-country ski trail by cell 2.

A pair of Mallards in cell 2 were "head bobbing" for a while and then mated. The male then swam away quickly for a short distance with his neck stretched out along the surface of the water. According to Stokes Guide to Bird Behavior this is called "Nod-swimming" and is a common behaviour of male Mallards after mating.



Snow Bunting
Posted on October 23, 2002 at 01:59:25 PM by Wilfred Yusek

Saw 2 Snow Buntings on Mathiasville Road at approx 12.45 p.m. today. they were in the sand on the side of the road between #'s 1210 and 1140



Lake Muskoka - grebe, yellowlegs
Posted on October 21, 2002 at 06:43:41 PM by Barbara Taylor

Today there was a Red-necked Grebe on Lake Muskoka near the mouth of the Muskoka River. In the same general area, there were 3 Lesser Yellowlegs at the shoreline near St. Elmo. Also a female Common Merganser near Browning Island.



Richardson's Canada Goose at the Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on October 21, 2002 at 09:39:46 AM by Al Sinclair

Brian Pfrimmer reported a Richardson's Canada Goose at 1:20pm yesterday Oct 20 in cell 2. It is about the size of a Mallard and Brian described its call as a high pitched squeak.This race of Canada Goose nests in the high arctic and are uncommon this far east.



Hummingbird admitted to Wing and a Prayer
Posted on October 21, 2002 at 09:29:35 AM by Al Sinclair

A Hummingbird with no tail feathers was captured at a feeder in Parry Sound yesterday, Oct 20. After it had stayed there for several days it was assummed that it would not continue migrating. It will be transported by car to the southern states with some orphaned nestlings that Janice raised this summer. She was sure that the hummingbird was a Ruby-throated not one of the disorientated Rufous Hummingbirds that are sometimes found in Ontario in late fall.



Re(1): Grackles moving south in large numbers (replying to a Sept. 6 post)
Posted on October 20, 2002 at 02:09:37 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at least four thousand (that's right, 4000) Grackles were congregating in the beech and oak trees along the Stephen's Bay Rd. entrance to the Royal Muskoka Properties. We were able to get a fairly good count of their numbers as they moved across an open field.

And I thought 100 in our back yard was a large number...whew...



Strange Scoter?...NOT
Posted on October 19, 2002 at 03:12:28 PM by Al Sinclair

After consulting with some experts (Ron Tozer and Ron Pittaway), checking the reference books and doing some internet searches, it turns out that the strange scoter at the Bracebridge Ponds is an adult male Surf Scoter and its lack of white on the nape and crown, although not show in any of the field guides, is not unusual in fall adult males with worn plumage. This is mentioned in the book Waterfowl: An Identification Guide to the Ducks, Geese & Swans of the World.



Re(1): Hooded Mergansers
Posted on October 28, 2002 at 04:33:34 PM by Barbara Taylor

Four male and five females on the Henry Rd. swamp/beaver pond this morning.



Hooded Mergansers
Posted on October 18, 2002 at 10:19:42 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

This afternoon there were 7 male and 2 female hooded mergansers on Leech Lake, Bala.



Re(2): plover photo
Posted on October 19, 2002 at 03:32:26 PM by Barbara Taylor

In case the Golden Plover returns and you are trying to find it, here is what it looked like. I've uploaded a photo courtesy of Wilf Yusek.

Here's the url:



Re(1): Bracebridge Ponds update - coots, scoter, NO plover
Posted on October 19, 2002 at 01:41:40 PM by Barbara Taylor

In between rain showers this morning we managed to find two coots in cell 4 and also the Surf Scoter. The bill on this scoter did appear yellowish when looking through binoculars, although some white was also visible today. Most likely this is the scoter we thought might be a Black Scoter in an earlier post, but you never know. With the help of Wilf Yusek's scope (thanks Wilf - you made our day), we could clearly see the bill was typical of a male Surf Scoter. When the bird turned its head I could barely see a few wisps of grayish-white at the back of its head, but no white patches on the bird.

In cell 1 there was one Dunlin. No other sandpipers and no plover seen this morning.

Still lots of Ring-necked Ducks, Bufflehead, Mallards, Green-winged Teal and a few Wood Ducks. A Great Blue Heron flew over as well as a Pileated Woodpecker. There was a Merlin chasing jays and crows near the viewing stand.



Bracebridge Ponds today - coots, surf scoter, golden plover
Posted on October 18, 2002 at 10:10:08 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Ponds, Wilf Yusek reports finding a scoter in cell 4 - it was the same "strange" Surf Scoter that was seen in cell 1 earlier in the week. Two coots were also in cell 4.

The Golden Plover was still there in cell 2 along with the Pectoral Sandpipers.



Re(1): Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on October 17, 2002 at 05:14:13 PM by Barbara Taylor

No scoter this morning, "strange", "black", or otherwise. : )

Lots of Bufflehead, Mallards, a couple Common Goldeneye, Ring-necked Duck, Scaup, Hooded Merganser, Green-winged Teal, few Wood Duck, and a male Common Merganser. Also what looked like a Mallard-American Black Duck hybrid.

Wilf Yusek had seen two Coots in cell 4 before we arrived, but we couldn't relocate them. Also the female Ruddy Duck was still there and Wilf had found a Northern Shoveler. Two muskrats were in the reeds at the east side of cell 4.

In cell 2 near the viewing stand, several Pectoral Sandpipers, at least 3 Dunlin, and a Golden Plover. Thanks to Wilf for the id's and thanks to David Goodyear for passing along some helpful tips.



Re(1): phoebe (replying to a Sept. 12 post)
Posted on October 16, 2002 at 08:52:36 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon an Eastern Phoebe was using our back deck as a good perch to look for insects. It must have made at least ten flights out into the yard and back. Seems a little late for a phoebe here in Bracebridge...going down to minus 4C. tonight...brrrr.



Henry Rd. bluebirds & Bracebridge Ponds black scoter?
Posted on October 16, 2002 at 02:14:59 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning around 11:30 a.m. at the Bracebridge Ponds:

Most of the birds were concentrated at the south end of Cell 4. Large number of Buffleheads, few Green-winged Teal, Scaup, Canada Goose, a Common Goldeneye, and what looked like a Black Scoter (all black except for yellowish bill and was diving frequently).

Fifteen Cedar Waxwings briefly landed in dead tree to west side of cell 4. Also many White-crowned Sparrows and Ruby-crowned Kinglets in the weedy patches. Four Turkey Vultures heading south.

Along the TransCanada trail towards Henry Rd. there were many Golden-crowned Kinglets and a Sharp-shinned Hawk.

At the open area where the trail meets up with Henry Rd. there were 2 Eastern Bluebirds.

Take Beaumont Dr. to Kerr Park or go a bit further along to Henry Rd. It's a nice walk from Henry Rd. over to Cell 4. Fall colours still look great.



Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on October 16, 2002 at 01:46:59 PM by Wilfred Yusek

There is 3 Dunlin and 24 Pectoral Sandpipers in cell 2 at the ponds this a.m. In cell 4 there is a Common Goldeneye along with many Ring Necks and Buffleheads. Did not see the Scoter today.



Posted on October 14, 2002 at 08:18:51 PM by Ron Stager

Great Thanksgiving weather! The golden sun brought out some golden birds.

A juvenile Golden Eagle was soaring this morning on the Housey's Rapid Rd. about I km north of Black River. It was soaring ever higher without a wingbeat until I lost it in the sun.

A flock of the 10 or 15 Golden-crowned Kinglets that were very vocal in call note and song were in our bush this morning.

Adult Yellow-rumped Warblers moving through.



Bracebridge Ponds today..Strange scoter, Golden Plover, Ruddy, Pintails
Posted on October 14, 2002 at 07:22:49 PM by Al Sinclair

Today Oct 14 at the ponds,Wilf Yusek found a Strange Scoter, possibly Surf/White-winged hybrid. Photos at the link below. After Joan Sarah and I arrived we also saw the Ruddy Duck cell 1(it was back today), 2 female Pintails cell 1, an American Golden-Plover flew in a low circle calling but did not land. Also 4 Pectoral Sandpipers cell 2 and a large flock of American Pipits flying over, 1 seen in cell 2.

Strange Scoter



Bracebridge Peregrine Photos
Posted on October 14, 2002 at 07:13:41 PM by Al Sinclair

I posted some photos courtesy of Wilf Yusek at the link below. It appears to be ssp tundrius, the northern race, not the reintroduced ssp anatum. Narrow mustache and unstreaked upper breast.

Bracebridge Peregrine Photos



LeConte's Sparrows and Great Black-backed Gull in Algonquin Park
Posted on October 13, 2002 at 08:08:01 PM by Ron Tozer

Originally posted to ONTBIRDS (Sun, 13 Oct 2002) *

Dear Ontbirders:

Southern Ontario birders may wish to search long grass and sedge habitats
now for the passage of Le Conte's Sparrows. Three birds were found at the
Old Airfield near Lake of Two Rivers on Friday (October 11) and two more at
Odenback (an overgrown clearing) beside Radiant Lake on Saturday (October
12), in Algonquin Park. Le Conte's Sparrows are detected here each fall by
walking through long grass and sedge areas to flush the birds. Only through
detailed searches at peak fall migration time (September 19 to October 13 in
Algonquin Park) is this species likely to be observed here.

An adult Great Black-backed Gull perched on a log at Radiant Lake during the
afternoon of October 12 (Saturday) was only the fourth record of this
species for Algonquin Park. However, it was the second Park record this
fall, reflecting the increasing numbers in Ontario (including the Ottawa


The Old Airfield is located along the Mew Lake Campground access road at km
30.6 on Highway 60 in Algonquin Park (with km 0 being at the West Gate). The
Highway 60 Corridor of Algonquin Park can be reached from Toronto by driving
north on Highways 400 and 11 to Huntsville, turning right (east) there onto
Highway 60, and proceeding to the Park. Radiant Lake (a swelling on the
Petawawa River) is located in the Park Interior on the East Side of
Algonquin, and is not accessible by vehicle to the public. Observations
noted above at Radiant Lake were made by Algonquin Visitor Centre staff.

Ron Tozer
Dwight, Ontario

*This report originated on ONTBIRDS and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.    (


Re(2): West Nile virus or pesticides?
Posted on November 9, 2002 at 06:15:22 PM by Barbara Taylor

Or are pesticides partially to blame? I can't find anything more recent to update these articles from last year. Certainly the amount of mosquito spraying must have been higher in 2002 in response to increased human sickness and death due to West Nile virus.

Article from June, 2001

Article in Oct., 2001 Audubon Magazine:



Re(1): West Nile virus - chickadees
Posted on November 9, 2002 at 05:08:59 PM by Barbara Taylor

Here is a link to a story about disappearance of chickadees in the Chicago area.

Vanishing Chickadees



Re(1): West Nile virus kills 5 Loggerhead Shrikes at Toronto Zoo
Posted on October 14, 2002 at 07:06:29 PM by Al Sinclair

The link below has some info on what happened this summer at the Owl Foundation at Vineland. West Nile killed many of their resident owls, mostly northern species.

Owl foundation letter



West Nile virus kills 5 Loggerhead Shrikes at Toronto Zoo
Posted on October 12, 2002 at 06:21:29 PM by Barbara Taylor

Story in the Globe & Mail:
Zoo loses rare birds to West Nile
Saturday, October 12, 2002 – Page A23

See link below

Globe & Mail story



New features added
Posted on October 10, 2002 at 09:05:13 PM by Barbara Taylor

The Bird Board Guidelines webpage has been updated to include a collection of "Bird Board Hints and Tips".

Two new features have been added to the Bird Board as described below:

1.All messages posted to the Bird Board within the past 24 hours will have their time and date information highlighted in white. This will help you quickly find any new reply messages as you scroll down the page.

2.You can choose to receive an automated email notification whenever someone posts a reply to one of your messages. Just make sure you have entered your email address in the posting form, and check off the box at the bottom of the form to request the email. You won’t receive any notification unless you request it when you post your message.



Re(1):Peregrine Falcon - Not seen PM Oct 10
Posted on October 10, 2002 at 10:00:21 PM by Al Sinclair

I looked for it this afternoon for a couple of hours with no luck. If it is hanging around early tomorrow might be the best time to look.



Peregrine Falcon..Bracebridge Ponds Oct 10
Posted on October 10, 2002 at 01:33:02 PM by Al Sinclair

At 8:30am Oct 10, Wilf Yusek found a Peregrine sitting on the hydro wire along the west side of cell 2(cell in front of viewing stand). He photographed it before it flew into the woods on the west. Also present were 2 female Shovelers and the Ruddy female.



Re(1):Ruddy Duck  - Photos posted
Posted on October 10, 2002 at 09:57:19 PM by Al Sinclair

The Ruddy was still there today. Link to photos below.

Rudy Duck Photos



Ruddy Duck..Bracebridge Ponds Oct 9
Posted on October 10, 2002 at 10:19:38 AM by Al Sinclair

Dan reported a female Ruddy duck at the Bracebridge ponds in cell 1 at 4:30pm yesterday Oct 9. Cell 1 in in front of the treatment plant. The ponds can be accessed from Lagoon Lane south of town or from Kerr Park off Beaumont Drive.



Re(1): rusty blackbirds? Help
Posted on October 9, 2002 at 07:49:21 AM by Gerald Willmott

Your description sounds like rusty blackbirds, which are around now. An easy way to tell, providing you are close enough, is the pale eye that the rusty has and the cowbird doesn't.



rusty blackbirds? Help
Posted on October 8, 2002 at 11:03:07 PM by challis

I came across six or seven birds that I thought at first to be brown-headed cowbirds at the intersection of Maple and Dudley streets in Bracebridge today at noon. But the brown seemed to extend too far down the back of the males. And what I assumed to be the females, at the time, showed a smart, pale beige breast and some distinctive changes in colour around the eye. Would these have been rusty blackbirds (the male being the lighter of the two), mistaken for cowbirds?



Eastern Bluebirds at Bracebridge
Posted on October 6, 2002 at 09:24:48 PM by

At 6pm today Oct 6 we had a good look at 5 Eastern Bluebirds on a hydro wire just south of the Scandura factory on the south entrance to Bracebridge.



Browning Island birds
Posted on October 6, 2002 at 05:14:59 PM by Barbara Taylor

Heavy seas today! But after a fierce battle with several rollers, we finally got ashore and found a few birds still hanging around the island.

Many crows were gathering up at the south end of the island, probably stuck there because of the strong SSE winds.

Other birds seen:
Dark-eyed Juncos
White-throated Sparrows
Ruby-crowned Kinglets
Blue-headed Vireo (two)
White-breasted Nuthatches
Pileated Woodpecker
and the usual happy bunch of Black-capped Chickadees and resident Blue Jays.

A Common Loon was near the mouth of the Muskoka River, and a Double-crested Cormorant was flying over Alport Bay.



Re(1): Beaumaris Barred Owl
Posted on October 8, 2002 at 10:57:38 PM by Challis

Your mimicking jay reminded me of a coffee break walk I took last week on Cedar Lane.
First I heard a robin singing a territorial song. Then I heard a mockingbird bang out two or three series of notes. Then I heard the rusty gate "weeduck-weeduck" that gave away the real songster's identity.



Beaumaris Barred Owl
Posted on October 6, 2002 at 04:35:55 PM by Gerald Willmott

Today wandering around Beaumaris I focused on trying to find old Great Horned Owl nests and other miscellaneous nests. No nests are yet apparent through the diminishing foliage. However, of note were: 5-6 blue Jays mobbing 1 Barred Owl, one Hermit Thrush still hanging around with 2-3 Blue Jays trying to mimic it, several pipits casually walking up the 14th fairway, and one gun-shy doe.



Re(2): First visit - Barred Owl
Posted on November 3, 2002 at 11:04:19 AM by Barbara Taylor

Hi John,
Welcome to the Bird Board. Barred Owls are readily found in and around Muskoka, including Gravenhurst. With the trees losing their leaves it seems the owls are a lot easier to find at this time of year too.

The clickable link at the bottom of this message will take you to a checklist of birds found in Muskoka. The checklist page is part of Al Sinclair's website Muskoka Nature News (

Muskoka Checklist



Re(2): First visit to the Bird Board? - click here
Posted on November 3, 2002 at 07:26:50 AM by sylvia purdon

Barred Owl is a resident species of the Gravenhurst area.



Re(1): First visit to the Bird Board? - click here
Posted on November 3, 2002 at 00:27:45 AM by John Twist

First time visitor. I would like to know if barred owls have been sighted in the Gravenhurst area. I sighted what looked like one last week (Oct. 27). Please advise.



First visit to the Bird Board? - click here
Posted on October 6, 2002 at 09:23:52 AM by Barbara Taylor

Welcome to the Muskoka Bird Board!

The Muskoka Bird Board was originally set up about four years ago as a place to share reports of bird sightings in and around Muskoka. Recently the horizons have been expanded to include other nature sightings as well.

To read a posted message simply click on the subject line as you have just done now. You can then choose to post a reply by filling out the form below the message. Or to report on a new subject, return to the main page and click on “Post a New Message” and a form will open for you to fill out.

If this is your first visit to the Muskoka Bird Board, please read the “Bird Board Guidelines” (link near top of page). The guidelines page contains my email address in case you have any questions about the Bird Board. You will also find archives of older reports posted to the Bird Board going back to October, 2000. Earlier reports were not saved.

As you scroll down to the bottom of the Bird Board’s list of messages you’ll find a post entitled “Welcome to the new Bird Board”. This was posted when we switched to a different hosting service and a new website address. The message contains a few tidbits about how the new Bird Board works.

If you want to explore many other nature related websites that I’ve found over the years, just click on the “Birding and Nature Links” near the top of the Bird Board. Under the nature section there is a link to Al Sinclair’s Muskoka Nature News and Muskoka Field Naturalists.

Hope you enjoy the Bird Board!

Barbara Taylor



Varied Thrush - Montana follow-up
Posted on October 5, 2002 at 01:42:11 PM by Barbara Taylor

Thought some of you might be interested in this follow-up story.

This past winter there was a female Varied Thrush visiting feeders on Meadow Heights Drive in Bracebridge. Ted Gardner was very kind to invite birders to drop by for a look. Then on Feb. 28, "Terri" posted a message to the Bird Board asking what to feed a Varied Thrush since it was cold and snowing.

Initially there was a burst of excitement since this might mean a second thrush sighting in Bracebridge. But after an exchange of emails, Al Sinclair learned that the second thrush was actually in Montana. Terri had found the Bird Board with its recent posts about Varied Thrush through a search engine.

Today I received a follow-up email from Terri which I reprint here:
Hi Barb:

Al was under the impression that I live in your area however I live in the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana at an elevation of 4,000 feet. I was very thrilled and excited when a thrush appeared in February, 2002, under the tree where I have feeders hanging for the various birds that winter here. The Thrush tried repeatedly to get worms out of the frozen ground to no avail. The bird stayed around about 1 1/2 days and then left.

In all my years in Montana this is the first Thrush I've ever seen. It was quite exciting.

Thanks for writing.





Lincoln's Sparrow..south of the Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on October 3, 2002 at 09:43:00 AM by Al Sinclair

Yesterday Oct 2 I had a Lincoln's Sparrow along the gas pipeline about 700 meters south of the Bracebridge Ponds(next gully over the hill). Also lots of White-crowned (adults and immatures), White-throated, and Song.



White-crowned Sparrows
Posted on October 2, 2002 at 08:10:34 PM by Barbara Taylor

Several White-crowned Sparrows arrived in our back yard in Bracebridge yesterday, with more appearing today. But they are all immature, no adults seen yet.



Re(2): beaumaris- mysterious hole
Posted on October 9, 2002 at 08:00:26 AM by Gerald

Hi. According to Ehrilch, Paul, Dobkin, David, & Wheye, Daryl. "The Birders Handbool", I am not sure if either the Winter or House Wren would be excavating a ground nest in an open field. The sandy field is dotted with many holes, all with a fine woven type "flange" of grass surrounding each hole. Could it be a snake, or even a Door Spider - which a friend suggested to me but of which I have never heard.



Re(1): beaumaris- mysterious hole
Posted on October 8, 2002 at 11:21:06 PM by challis

Is it possible this might have been a winter wren's nest? Our nest book says the male will build several dummy nests before the female settles on which she'd like for home (typical!) They're on the ground, made with mosses and grasses and only have small openings to the inside nest. Is the forest dense enough around it to be good habitat?



Re(1): beaumaris mystery - vole?
Posted on October 2, 2002 at 10:07:55 PM by Barbara Taylor

Perhaps a Meadow Vole?



beaumaris- mysterious hole
Posted on October 2, 2002 at 07:45:51 PM by Gerald Willmott

This afternoon Mary and I went out to see what was flying around Beaumaris and Milford Bay. We discovered a small flock of Amr. Pipits, 8-10 yellow-rumped warblers, 3-4 palm warblers, phoebes, 4 rusty blackbirds, and claimed the booty of one 5 inch long snapping turtle shell (empty with one good tooth mark in it) and a serviceable 5 gallon gas can! TREASURE! Also we saw several holes in the ground that seemed to be the entrance to some small animals home. Can anyone crack this one? :

In a sandy grassland dotted with cherry trees, juniper bushes, and lichens there were to be seen several small holes. Each hole was an absolute circle 1-1/2inch, stitched at the opening with grasses woven together like a flange 1/2-1 inch above the ground. Any guesses?



Scoters at Lagoons
Posted on October 1, 2002 at 02:26:35 PM by Wilf Yusek

At 1.30 p.m. today the Surf Scoters, all 3, were still in cell 4