Muskoka Bird Board - Archived Reports from January - March 2004
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Re(1): MFN meeting - Algonquin Park Yellow-rumped Warbler
Posted on April 2, 2004 at 12:45:43 PM by Barbara Taylor

At last night's meeting, Ron Tozer gave a very interesting talk about spring in Algonquin Park along with pictures and recorded sounds. He said that with the trend to warmer springtime weather in more recent years, several species of migrating birds are returning earlier in the season now on average. Data to support this has been collected over the past 30 years or so. Ron mentioned that a Yellow-rumped Warbler was seen at the Visitor's Centre yesterday. (I can't remember how much earlier than usual that was...anyone?)

[This post has been modified by an administrator below]

...just to add to my original post...

Here is an excerpt from an email I received from Kevin Clute about the arrival date:
"The average arrival date for Yellow-rumped Warblers in Algonquin Park between 1970 and 2000 was April 24. In recent years, like 1999, Yellow-rumped Warblers have been seen as early as April 2 (until yesterday)."



Muskoka Field Naturalists meeting this Thursday April 1... visitors welcome
Posted on March 31, 2004 at 07:13:05 PM by Al Sinclair

From the MFN newsletter the Wakerobin:
APRIL 1 THURSDAY MEETING 7:30 PM Calvary Baptist Church, Gravenhurst. Ron Tozer will illustrate "Sping in Algonquin Park", based on observation dates for birds, insects, reptiles, amphibians, flowering plants and mammals, and knowledge of overwintering strategies. Some phenological events occur earlier than in the past. Is this due to global warming? And remember--this could be CLIFFHANGER NIGHT, if an election is required for the top jobs in MFN at our 22nd Annual Meeting. Stay breathless!



Did anyone see this Grebe?
Posted on March 31, 2004 at 07:08:20 PM by Al Sinclair

A diving bird that looked like a Western Grebe was seen by John and Betsy Purchase Sunday March 28 on the Muskoka River along Beaumont Drive in Bracebridge just downstream from Henry Road. Since Western Grebe is rare in southern Ontario and to my knowledge has never been recorded in Muskoka, I'm wondering if it may have been a winter plumaged Horned Grebe. They look similar but are smaller. Did anyone else see this bird?



Bracebridge Ponds March 31
Posted on March 31, 2004 at 07:05:31 PM by Al Sinclair

At the Bracebridge Ponds today March 31:
Wood Duck 10
Mallard 6
Canada Goose 2
Ring-billed Gull many
Song Sparrow 2
The ponds are still frozen over except for a narrow ribbon along the sides.
The Bracebridge Sewage Treatment ponds are on the south side of town at the end of Lagoon Lane.



Winter Wren singing near Uffington
Posted on March 31, 2004 at 07:01:53 PM by Al Sinclair

A Winter Wren was singing at our place near Uffington this morning March 31. This is early by 13 days compared to the average for the previous 3 years.



Correction re: earliest Algonquin date
Posted on April 2, 2004 at 10:16:28 AM by Kip Daynard

My apologies, there was a small error in the previous posting. Ron Tozer confirmed that the earliest recorded spring arrival date for American Bittern in Algonquin Park is Apr. 8th (not Apr. 10th)



Re(1): American Bittern near Parry Sound
Posted on March 31, 2004 at 10:55:56 AM by Kip Daynard

Since yesterday I've learned that Black-Crowned Night Herons have been expanding in a couple of spots on Georgian Bay near Parry Sound (around Killbear P.P. and further south around Twelve Mile Bay) I thought I should answer to the possibility of a 1st year Black-Crowned Night Heron:

Because of the quick look I don't think I can be 100% sure, but I'm still reasonably certain that this was a Bittern. The bird I saw seemed to be a much heavier, less agile bird with strong neck markings and a head/bill which projected remarkably forward. The point count data collected to date also show a much higher abundance of AMBI even in squares with breeding evidence for BCNH. This fact seems to only support the likelihood that it was a bittern.

I still haven't confirmed early dates in this area, but Ron Tozer has confirmed the early record for Algonquin Park is Apr. 10th. Parry Sound's lower elevation does tend to yield earlier arrivals and Ron Stager has indicated that one was seen (Muskoka?) on 8 April 1999. He also said that on Tuesday morning his wife saw one on Doe Lake Rd about 10 km east of Highway 11 near Gravenhurst.

Does anyone know of any other early dates for this species?




American Bittern near Parry Sound
Posted on March 31, 2004 at 10:05:29 AM by Kip Daynard

I posted the following to Ontbirds yesterday and thought I should post it here as well:

At 6PM this evening (Mar 30th) I was amazed to see what could only be an AMERICAN BITTERN fly out across the road in front of my car on Hwy 124 north-east of Parry Sound.

Stocky and heron-like, it was a bit more than half the size of a Great Blue Heron and was distinctive due to its "hunched" flight shape, long head and pointed bill. In my amazement I slammed on the brakes and the bittern attempted to gain altitude above me showing its neck quite plainly. Twilight was beginning, but there was still plenty of light to make out reddish-brown, longitudinal neck stripes. I admit to having only seen an American Bittern fly on two occasions before, but based on what I saw here, what I know of these birds and given the alternatives I cannot see what else it could have been. I have of course seen thousands of Great Blues and had seen one flying several minutes earlier. The bittern's plumage and neck/head shape also brought to mind an immature Green Heron of which I have seen dozens, but this bird was clearly much too big to be either a Green Heron (or Least Bittern).

In any case the American Bittern is to my knowledge the only of the possible alternatives (save the Great Blue) to regularly migrate into this area. I suspect this sighting may be 1-2 weeks earlier than expected, but if anyone has information on exactly how early this sighting is please email me privately.

The Bittern was seen near the hamlet of Waubamik which is about 25 kms north-east of Parry Sound on Hwy 124. Continue about 2 kms past Hurdville Rd. to the first stream traversed by Hwy 124. The Bittern was last seen flying south-eastward toward a marshy area bordering this stream. I lost sight of the bird while turning the car around and could not relocate it.

Other notables this afternoon seen in the Parry Sound area are as follows:
EASTERN PHOEBE (x5) (Remy Bay Rd., Snug Harbour Rd.)
BELTED KINGFISHER (x2) (Snug Harbour Rd.)
PIED-BILLED GREBE (1) (Snug Harbour Rd.)
BUFFLEHEAD (x4) (Badger's Corners)
RING-NECKED DUCK (x12) (Remy Bay, Badger's Corners)
AMERICAN KESTRELs (x3) (Snug Harbour Rd., Sunny Slope)
GREAT BLUE HERON (Hwy 559 north of Killbear Prov. Park)

Kip Daynard
Emsdale, ON



Posted on March 30, 2004 at 10:09:36 PM by gerald willmott

Tonight there were three woodcocks flying through the darkening sky. THree is a record for us. There has been one each year for the past three, and last year we had a return of winter and the lone woodcock was not heard after the melt. Lets hope for good weather for them this year.

Gerald Willmott
Tondern Island



Juncos, Bala
Posted on March 30, 2004 at 08:44:10 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Juncos arrived late this afternoon. First I have seen this season.



Muskoka Beach Gravenhurst
Posted on March 30, 2004 at 08:12:47 PM by Janice House

Met Moira after work tonight, canada geese, mallards, buffleheads, common goldeneyes, common mergansers, possibly black ducks, at least 8 shorebirds on the ice, possibly yellow legs (too far out to id). Last night at dusk woodcock was calling in our yard.



Posted on March 30, 2004 at 09:02:05 AM by Doug Smith

A pair of otters were seen this morning playing on the ice on the backwater of the south branch of the Muskoka River, where it touches the 118 east, approx. 2.5 km from Hwy 11



Sparrow Invasion - Fox, Tree
Posted on March 30, 2004 at 07:42:24 AM by Goodyear

A large mixed flock of sparrows and others visited our yard (Meadow Heights) this morning:
Tree Sparrow - 25
Song Sparrow - 2
Fox Sparrow - 1
Juncos - 6
Common Redpolls - 10
Northern Cardinal - 1 male



Posted on March 29, 2004 at 08:00:55 PM by Brenda Clark

Saw my first phoebe this afternoon, as well as tree sparrows, juncoes, song sparrows, killdeer, a red-tailed hawk, and other welcome arrivals. I also saw a bufflehead on the Black River.



TVs, Kestrel, RB Nuthatch etc
Posted on March 29, 2004 at 06:16:17 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Observed two turkey vultures along Hwy 118 West of Bracebridge this afternoon. One male kestrel on wires near Hammonds on Hwy 118 West. At least 3 dozen hoodies Medora Lake Road and Cranberry Cove Marsh. Five male Wood Ducks and two females Medora Lake Road.

1 pair of red-breasted returned to my feeders yesterday at Bala and a Cooper's Hawk flew swiftly over the lake south to north.

Yea Spring!!!



song sparrow
Posted on March 29, 2004 at 04:42:32 PM by John Challis

I heard my first song sparrow at 10 a.m. today in a small field at the south end of Bethune Drive, Gravenhurst behind the Foodland plaza. Didn't see it, but that doesn't matter given that my skills at identifying sparrow field markings are virtually non-existent.



Re(2): Tree Swallow sightings?
Posted on March 30, 2004 at 09:03:48 AM by Terry Whittam

Thanks for the report Al.....this is getting exciting! Its been a lot of "fun" work as we built and distributed 51 boxes. No purple martins last year I suspect whatever is affecting the TSs and BSs is also decreasing all insect eaters. I hope this is a recovery year!



Re(1): Tree Swallow sightings?
Posted on March 29, 2004 at 08:41:37 PM by Al Johnston

Terry, tree swallows arrived this morning at my pond here in Whitchurch-Stouffville, just north of Markham so you should have them within a day or so. I have 30 nest boxes around the property for them. Good luck with your worthwhile TS project. Do you ever see any purple martins? Al



Tree Swallow sightings?
Posted on March 29, 2004 at 04:18:23 PM by Terry Whittam

Tree swallows (and barn swallows) have disappeared from our lake (Clearwater lake) for the past 2 summers. I have no explaination why but not a single nesting pair! As a winter project, a number of us have built over 50 boxes and literally "ringed" the lake with new cedar tree swallow boxes over the past month. The entire lake membership wait with great anticipation! I'd really appreciate news of any early tree swallow sightings in Muskoka. Thanks Terry



Wild Turkeys
Posted on March 29, 2004 at 02:28:58 PM by Lad Helde

7 a.m. this morning six turkeys under my bird feeders just a few feet from my kitchen picture window. What a show!! Six hens and two toms. The largest tom was huge and putting on a spectacular show for the longest time. The smaller tom was doing his best but could not quite compete with "Mr. Big".
It was delightful to observe. Hooray for spring!!



Re(1): Northern Flicker - Bay Lake
Posted on April 3, 2004 at 04:37:21 PM by Dan Burton

I also had a Flicker in Gravenhurst on the 28th of March



Northern Flicker - Bay Lake
Posted on March 29, 2004 at 12:16:15 PM by Kip Daynard

The last two days saw the arrival of several first-of-the-year visitors to my neck of the woods. This morning an early Flicker visited a large cedar tree in front of my house. At the same time I saw the first Tree Sparrow to visit our feeder this year. Yesterday saw Red-winged Blackbirds and Grackles arrive and today the woods are ringing with the blackbirds' cheerful 'screes'.

Bay Lake is east of Novar about 35kms NE of Huntsville.



Algonquin Birds, Beavers and Butterflies
Posted on March 29, 2004 at 08:56:56 AM by Craig S A McLauchlan

*This report originated on ONTBIRDS (Mar. 28, 2004) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

(Please Excuse my spelling ,I am Dyslexic
thank you for your understanding.)

Today Bev and I spent a great day in Algonquin Park, all though we mist out
on the some of the common Alg. birds we still had a great time .

Birds seen wear C Red Poll 270 + , Hoary Red Poll 1 ,C Grackle 3, Red winged
blackbird 4, Starling 5 , W.B. Nuthatch 1 , Hairy woodpecker 2 , Downy
woodpecker 1 , Blue Jay 1 , B.H. Blackbird 1 , Haring Gull 1 , Raven 9 ,
Crow 12 , B.C. Chickadee 22 , Gray jay 2, Black Duck 4 , Eagle species 1 ,
Coppers Hawk 1,

Also seen . Beaver 1, wolf 1 , W.T. Dear 1. Compton Tortoiseshell 2

Still a great day away from the city

Craig & Bev McLauchlan



First moth...The
Posted on March 28, 2004 at 10:25:57 PM by Al Sinclair


First moth here (near Uffington) this year was The Half-wing, Phigalia titea, 1 found tonight March 28.



more butterflies, saw-whet
Posted on March 28, 2004 at 09:26:48 PM by Challis-Carlyle

There were two or three Compton tortoiseshell butterflies around our house today, and while hiking at Fawn Lake, Port Sydney, Gayle saw a Mourning Cloak.
Heard a saw-whet owl around 7:45 am Friday morning, but haven't heard from it since.



Killdeer, Kestrel, butterflies
Posted on March 28, 2004 at 01:09:05 PM by Barbara Taylor

We went on a "circle tour" this morning looking for birds in parts of Bracebridge and Gravenhurst.

At the George Rd. launch ramp (off Golden Beach Rd.) there were 2 pair Hooded Merganser, 1 pair Common Merganser, 2 pair Mallards, 1 pair Canada Goose and a Mourning Cloak butterfly. At the mouth of the Hoc Roc River along Muskoka Beach Rd. there was less open water than expected. Only one male Mallard along with several Canada Goose. In the wet fields to the east of still frozen Doe Lake there were many Canada Goose, a few Hooded Mergansers, and some Mallards. An American Kestrel was hovering over the field for a few minutes, but never attempted to pounce on whatever had caught its interest. Killdeer were heard but not seen. Along Germania Rd., we saw 3 Compton Tortoiseshell butterflies and a Ruffed Grouse. Water was across Germania Rd. in a couple places, but still passable. On reaching home, 5 Common Redpolls were in the back yard - hadn't had any here all winter!



Butterfly and Flock of Herons
Posted on March 28, 2004 at 12:05:38 PM by Ron Stager

A butterly ( a Compton Tortoiseshell) was flying around the yard (Barkway area) this morning. Only three months until the Muskoka Butterfly Count on 27 June.

Rosemarie and Naomi saw a flock of 7 Great Blue Herons flying over Doe Lake Rd. this past Thursday or Friday.

See ya



Trailing Arbutus, Turkey Vulture, Moth
Posted on March 28, 2004 at 08:16:22 AM by sylvia and jim maguire

Sparrow Lake, Canning Road/Wenona Lodge Road: Turkey Vulture: March 27
Trailing Arbutus: in tight buds on east facing slope on The Point; Wooly Bear moth and caterpillar, Canning Road; Am.Robin; Grackles;



G.B. Heron and House Finch
Posted on March 27, 2004 at 10:31:03 PM by Goodyear

A lone male House Finch in our backyard today on Meadow Heights Drive and a very patient G.B. Heron at Henry Road marsh - watching and waiting for the ice to thaw!



Posted on March 27, 2004 at 08:14:06 PM by gerald Willmott

Today we had a Sharp-shinned Hawk take an unsuccessful pass at several redpolls and chickadees on our feeders - very thrilling!

Also, there were a pair of Canada Geese in Brandy Creek (118W by Brandy Lake) and a Turkey Vulture flying over Ziska Road, 118W.

Oh, one Red-winged Black Bird at our feeders.

Spring is on its way!



Algonquin Park - March 27th
Posted on March 27, 2004 at 08:03:06 PM by Cheryl Edgecombe

*This report originated on ONTBIRDS (Mar. 27, 2004) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Today a group of 9 birders from the Hamilton/Burlington area descended on
Algonquin Park and had a very successful day. Here are the highlights:

Barred Owl - at side of the road at the west entrance to the park
Ruffed Grouse - side of Hwy 60 & Visitors Centre
Spruce Grouse - Spruce Bog Trail - 1 male 25 ft away
Boreal Chickadee - Spruce Bog Trail - several
Northern Shrike - KM 23
Snow Bunting - Visitors Centre
Hoary Redpoll - Visitors Centre
Gray Jay - several places
Bald Eagle - 1 juvenile Sunday Creek (carcass)
American Robin - probably a migrant

Missed - Black-backed Woodpecker - seen at km 8
Pine Grosbeaks - 6 still coming in to West Entrance feeders

Mammals Seen

Wolf - Back of Nature Centre walking on ice
Beaver - 2 Opeongo Road
Otter - Arowhon Road
Snowshoe Hare - Opeongo Road
Red Fox - Hwy 60
White-tailed Deer - Hwy 60

Thanks to Ron Tozer for suggesting some spots. We did fulfill our promise
to him and found a grackle at the nature centre feeders.

Cheryl Edgecombe

*ONTBIRDS mailing list:



Hoodies & Black Ducks, Medora Lake Road
Posted on March 27, 2004 at 08:00:29 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

About noon today I saw at least 4 pairs of hooded mergansers and 2 pairs black ducks in the creek along Medora Lake Road.

First robin seen at my place, Bala, yesterday.

Down to about 25 common redpolls. Only had to refill the tube feeder once!



Saturday Birding
Posted on March 27, 2004 at 07:51:43 PM by Janice House

Moira and I went out today looking, she has 2 chipmunks at her house. Starting at 118 East and on to river road at Mattiasville we saw 1 male mallard, a pair of courting common mergansers, crows flying with nesting material, 2 canada geese, we saw the otter with a fish in his mouth, herring gulls, and a robin. After lunch we went to the George Rd launch ramp and saw 4 canada geese, 2 male mallards with 1 female, a pair of hooded mergansers and several pileated woodpeckers were calling. On Beaumont Rd we counted 27 canada geese, 1 pied-billed grebe, a pair of hooded mergansers by the Nichols corner



Turkey Vulture
Posted on March 27, 2004 at 03:36:49 PM by Barbara Taylor

Just saw my first Turkey Vulture of the year. It was heading north along the TransCanada Pipeline right-of-way, last seen near McCrank Dr., Bracebridge. Also saw our first Chipmunk of the year today.



Barred Owls
Posted on March 26, 2004 at 11:31:25 PM by Gerald Willmott

At 11pm my friend Heri and I were owling on the Butter'n Egg road, Milford Bay (118West from Bracebridge). We were using a CD for Owl calling. As we waited during the first two minutes of silence, we heard a Barred Owl calling in the distance. The CD began to play a Barred call, and as we waited in the following silence, we were startled by the sound of wings and something heavy settling in the trees. The CD played again and we heard a Barred call just behind us. We were surprised even more when another called from just a few yards away. For the next 10 minutes we enjoyed two Barred Owls calling back and forth, and flying from perch to perch mere yards in front of us.

The particular spot where we were was close to the beginning of the Butter'n Egg along the fist swampy bit.

Gerald Willmott



Muskoka Bird Guide
Posted on March 26, 2004 at 05:39:48 PM by Ken Walton

"A Birder's Guide to Muskoka and Parry Sound Area" (with maps, checklist and bird migration chart) By Ken Walton will be out this summer.

Also out now, "An Annotated Bibliography of Canadian Ornithology Vol. 1. By Ken Walton.



Wild Turkeys Calling
Posted on March 26, 2004 at 05:11:05 PM by sylvia purdon

Wild Turkey chatter was heard in the bush near Wenona Road/Rockwood on Wednesday March 24 at 3:30p.m.



Posted on March 25, 2004 at 06:48:37 PM by Janice House

Heard several killdeer today at noon in our yard, and last night Geoff saw what he thinks were three sandhill cranes crossing over the Doe Lake overpass on hwy 11.



Re(1): bobcat?
Posted on March 30, 2004 at 10:30:22 PM by John Challis

I'm convinced it was a cat, but whether wild or domestic remains a mystery to me. The best barn owl recording I have found is on our own Stokes CD, and even the prolonged scream on it doesn't approximate the varied, drawn-out series of yowls and screams that were produced that night.
However, the bobcat recordings I've come across are lower in pitch than what I heard. I'm growing gloomily skeptical about the call; it might, in the long run, have been a pair of domestic cats gone feral, duking it out. Nice to have inspired such a protracted string of submissions, though.



Re(8): barn owl
Posted on March 28, 2004 at 05:00:35 PM by Al Johnston

Speaking of barn owls, check this out Al



Re(7): barn owl
Posted on March 28, 2004 at 10:37:17 AM by Ron Stager

Keep looking for Barn Owls

I spent some time looking into barn owls this winter. Just after dusk on Christmas day, my son heard what sounded like the barn owl's "blood-curdling" scream which he recognized when I played him owl and raptor calls from a CD.

A long-time resident down the road, near Barkway, said that he had barn owls in his barn in the past. I looked into the Barn Owl recovery website: Barn Owls were confirmed in Huntsville many years ago. I recall that another person mentioned that they were in Muskoka recently but I don't know who that person was.

This past monday, after 9:00 pm, a large very light coloured ("ghostly") bird flew across the road. Could have been a Barn Owl but could have been another species as well. This was driving up Housey's Rapid Rd from the Black River.

Doug Smith had an interesting point: I will probably phone up the Wildlife Centre people to see if they have any information on this. They have had a Barn Owl there and I wonder whether they give it an occasional night on the town or if it attracts wild birds.

Good Luck with a local sighting (and the lottery!).



Re(6): barn owl
Posted on March 28, 2004 at 09:28:20 AM by Barbara Taylor

Well, it's really up to you Paul. If you don't see the value, don't worry about it. But from my point of view, if the sighting of a "rare" bird like the Barn Owl does not get reported, then how can anyone take steps to protect its habitat if they don't know the bird even exists? (perhaps a good example would be the steps taken to protect the Spotted Owl in areas where reports were submitted) Also, by documenting a sighting you help to increase the general knowledge about that species and its overall distribution. I have never seen a Barn Owl except in pictures, but I think they are a very interesting and beautiful bird. My "wow" was simply the excitement felt in considering the possibility that I might actually come face-to-face with a Barn Owl in Muskoka. Until I read your post I had thought my chances were about the equivalent of winning the lottery and getting struck by lightning on the same day. ; )

In case you're interested, there is an Ontario Barn Owl Recovery Project for part of southern Ontario.

I'd rather not get into a discussion about what terminology should be used as to "endangered", "rare", "uncommon", etc. It's not really an appropriate subject to be discussed here on the Bird Board. Please email me privately if you want to follow up on the subject.

So now, back to birding...this is such a great time of year with spring migrants on the move!



Re(5): barn owl
Posted on March 27, 2004 at 09:50:24 PM by Paul Smith

Barbara, I had a look at the link in your note, but I (don't get mad) just don't see the relevance or value in concerning oneself with 'rare' bird sightings. How does that info help the preservation of all birds ??

I send my observations these days to the Audubon/Cornell eBird site, which wants you to submit ALL the birds you've seen during a particular day. Please check it out and sign up.

On your 'Wow' note re the Barn Owl, here's a quote from the Environment Canada site - 'Because it is so secretive and nocturnal, the bird may be more numerous than supposed'. I'm aware that it's listed as endangered in a number of places because of habitat destruction, but is 'endangered' synonymous with 'rare'. Here in Florida, the Scrub Jay is endangered because of habitat destruction and is only found in the Ocala National Forest - but in the Ocala National Forest, they're a dime a dozen !!!

In any event, I'm back in Muskoka next weekend for the season and look forward to spring bird watching.



Re(4): barn owl
Posted on March 27, 2004 at 09:56:56 AM by Barbara Taylor

Wow! Paul, I hope you submitted an account of your Barn Owl find to the Ontario Bird Records Committee.

Did you actually see the bird, or just hear its call?



Re(3): bobcat?
Posted on March 26, 2004 at 09:50:58 PM by Paul Smith

I'm not sure that 'really rare' would be accurate - maybe 'uncommon'. A number of references suggest the Barn Owl is the world's most widely distributed bird species. Others show it's northern range to include Wisconsin, Michigan, New York and the New England states - and us, north to around the edge of the shield. To paraphrase the gold prospector's adage, 'birds are where you find them' ...

I'm aware that the BBS map shows it almost absent from eastern North America, but with only 2500 people covering over 6 million square miles, well, that's hardly science. Mind you, I'm not knocking the BBS - it's a good general interest project and introduces a lot of people to bird watching. And much better than a bird-a-thon, or a birding poker run, or whatever the competitive types might come up with next ...

I suggest a Barn Owl because J Chalis described exactly what a Barn Owl sounds like, and after he's checked out the various sites that were suggested he'll probably let us in on his conclusion.


ps - we encountered a Barn Owl here in Glen Orchard on a late fall night two years ago ....



Re(2): bobcat?
Posted on March 26, 2004 at 12:08:53 PM by Doug Smith

Gayle -- the 2 websites below may be of help -- try the first one for a porcupine's sounds, and the 2nd one for a bobcat and

It would be nice to think it might be a Barn owl, (they do have an unearthly scream) but it would be a really rare occurrence, unless one escaped from the Muskoka Wildlife Centre.



Posted on March 25, 2004 at 06:19:10 PM by Al Sinclair

I heard a tape of porcupines screeching that was given to Bob Bowles. It was made by someone in the Orillia area. It was something like you describe.
I found this quote below on a website.
"North American porcupines produce a variety of sounds, such as moans, coughs, whines, sniffs, grunts, barks, shrieks, and wails."



Re(1): bobcat?
Posted on March 25, 2004 at 04:09:05 PM by Paul Smith

Maybe it was a barn owl. Their call can give you the shivers. This site has a .wav file of their call you can download if you've got a sound card ...



Re(1): bobcat?
Posted on March 27, 2004 at 09:49:11 AM by Barbara Taylor

I can't find any online samples of bobcat "shrieks" for you, but since it is probably mating season about now and you did have a bobcat in your yard sometime in the past...could be you were hearing a bobcat. Bobcats are known to kill domestic cats - any of your neighbour's cats missing since the night you heard the shrieks?



Posted on March 25, 2004 at 01:15:09 PM by J. Challis

Last night around 8:30 or 9 something set up an unearthly shrieking. We have foxes often here, and it wasn't a vixen. It lasted about three minutes. While it may have been domestic, the barn cats are usually close to their barn in the other direction; this was beside an open field on the Rocksborough Road. The call was high and drawn out, like your made-for-TV movie eagle call, lasting about two or three seconds. Sometimes it rose in frenzy to a pure shriek like fighting cats. Does anyone know of a website that has bobcat calls?
We had a bobcat in the yard once before, about six years ago.



White Throated Sparrow
Posted on March 24, 2004 at 07:12:05 AM by Janice House

We have heard the white throated sparrow calling for over a week. A string of at least 20 geese flew over the house this morning. Hubby was in Gowganda last weekend and saw a Bohemian Waxwing and huge flocks of snow buntings. Moira watched a shrike take a redpoll in mid air on Monday in her yard.



Flying Squirrel
Posted on March 22, 2004 at 08:42:48 PM by Barbara Taylor

Just happened to look out at the hanging tube feeder and there was a Flying Squirrel perched on it. He's been there for about twenty minutes - looks like he doesn't want to leave until every last sunflower seed is gone. Until now our feeder had been "squirrel proof". This is the first time we've seen a Flying Squirrel in our back yard, Bracebridge.



Ravens and pileated woodpecker
Posted on March 21, 2004 at 07:10:20 PM by Carlyle/Challis

Sun. Mar. 21
John and I were out for a walk along an old concession road now used as a snowmobile trail down at the end of our road. Thankfully no sleds.
Anyway, we saw two pileated woodpeckers although it may have been just the one that flew about a km along the trail behind us. Nice to see the large birds.
We also observed a raven tending to its nest perched on the hydro tower just north of the Andrews farm on Rocksborough Rd.
This same location has been used for several years now.



Re(1): Wild Turkey Attacks!!
Posted on March 22, 2004 at 11:15:49 PM by Challis

No help here, but you make me remember a fellow on Sparrow Lake who reported to the MFN that he had vultures doing the same thing to his porch doorway. They tore the screening out of the door and left one godawful mess on the decking (vultures being the kind of bird they are).



Wild Turkey Attacks!!
Posted on March 21, 2004 at 11:44:35 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

My basement windows that is! A male turkey that has begun to follow the flock of females has started to peck and claw at his reflection in all my basement windows and french doors. This started yesterday afternoon and continues today. He goes around looking for the windows that are reflecting and goes to another when he no longer sees the reflection.

I have shooed him away several times and wonder if I am going to have to put plywood over the lower sections of the windows until his hormones slow down.

Any suggestions?



Re(1): hawk
Posted on March 20, 2004 at 03:50:51 PM by Barbara Taylor

A few Northern Harriers have already been observed at Beamer (Niagara Peninsula Hawkwatch), so it's not too soon to be seeing them. I did a quick search of the Bird Board archives and there was a Harrier seen in your general area last spring on March 27 and on March 29 the year before not too far out of line.



Posted on March 20, 2004 at 12:59:07 PM by Carlyle /Challis

Sat. am., Rocksborough Rd.
Through the driving snow I watched a hawk fly over the road and into the trees behind our house. I tried to get a look at it in the tree where it landed but it took off.
My hawk i.d. skills need work but it looked like a male harrier. Is it too early for a harrier?
This bird was large with a wide square wing shape (not pointed) It flew with steady even wing beats.
It was very white underneath although it may have had streaking; very hard to tell in this miserable weather.
The back was a grey colour. I didn't get a chance to note any banding on the tail.
It was being pursued by a group of small birds, maybe chickadees.
My overall impression was that it was not an owl.
Anyone have any ideas on the i.d.?



Algonquin Park Wed-Fri.
Posted on March 20, 2004 at 09:11:17 AM by Dave Milsom

**This report originated on ONTBIRDS (Mar. 19, 2004) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Those toying with an Algonquin trip this weekend should be aware that few birds are available but there are still some interesting finds, as well as some rare mammals.
There are road-killed deer and moose carcasses in the bog below the Visitor Centre which have been attracting up to 4 wolves, a Fisher and a Red Fox over the past few days along with many Ravens and a Red-tailed Hawk. Yesterday at 4.30 pm a helicopter dropped 2 deer and a moose carcass over the remains of a moose deposited last week.
A small flock of Pine Grosbeaks are daily visitors to the Visitor Centre feeders and the window feeder at the West Gate. Up to 50 Common Redpolls visit the VC daily, with an occasional Hoary. Also found are both Nuthatches, Downy and Hairy woodpeckers, Blue Jays, Gray Jay, 3 Red-winged Blackbirds, BC Chickadees.
At the Spruce Bog each day, a male Spruce Grouse fed high up in Balsam Firs behind the first register. Also here was a small group of WW Crossbills feeding on Spruce cones, and one Boreal Chickadee ( also seen on Lake of Two Rivers trail and Oxtongue River trail nr. register ).
A male BB Woodpecker has been seen early in the day at Km. 8 at telegraph pole opposite.
A Barred Owl sat on a tree stump just off Highway # 60 today at Km. 4.5 where a sign points to "Peck/ Finlayson Townships".
Two Pileated Woodpeckers worked on trees on Arrowhon Rd. at 1.5 kms. Look for "arrow" and signs on west side of road.
A Northern Shrike was at roadside near Canisbay Lake. Two Ruffed Grouse fed on the grass close to Canoe Lake.
A mink was seen near the Sanitary Station. Over 50 White-tailed Deer fed by the roadside between Ox! tongue Lake and Huntsville at dusk.
Dave Milsom



Re(1): Pine Marten, Hooded Mergansers and more
Posted on March 19, 2004 at 08:57:20 AM by Al Johnston

Nice sightings, Ted. Is it fairly easy to differentiate between a marten and a mink? Al



Pine Marten, Hooded Mergansers and more
Posted on March 18, 2004 at 12:40:56 PM by Ted Smith

Hi folks,

I was out for a kayak this morning on the South Branch near Rocky Narrows. Sighted the following:
an otter fishing just off shore, 3 hooded mergansers (2 male and 1 female), a pair of Canadian Geese, pair of mallards and a pine marten loping across a frozen marsh about 50' away from me. When I came home there were 6 evening grosbeaks in a tree checking out my feeders. It was a good morning.



Golden-crowned Kinglets
Posted on March 17, 2004 at 03:49:00 PM by Barbara Taylor

Earlier today there were Golden-crowned Kinglets along Trans Canada Trail just west of the Henry Rd. marsh, Bracebridge. First we've seen this year.



Trumpeter Swan-Sparrow Lake
Posted on March 14, 2004 at 08:20:13 PM by sylvia purdon

One Trumpeter Swan at the mouth of the Severn River on Sparrow Lake; 12 Canada Geese; 4 Common Merganser; Common Goldeneye - 2



grebe at Matthiasville, others
Posted on March 14, 2004 at 06:45:02 PM by challis-carlyle

Sunday afternoon, in the wet spring snow, a pied-billed grebe (we think) was working its way along the bank of the Muskoka River off the Matthiasville Road. It didn't have the white patch on its rump ... there was some light beige in its rear quarters ... but all other markings seemed right. Two Canada geese flew overhead further upstream.
And at the Rocksborough Road, a barred owl has taken up residence once again.



Re(1): Partly albino Redpoll...Eleanor's photos
Posted on March 20, 2004 at 11:22:02 AM by n beal

Love the photos, Eleanor! and I've never seen that bird before - great close up!



Partly albino Redpoll...Eleanor's photos
Posted on March 14, 2004 at 02:26:33 PM by Al Sinclair


Eleanor Kee Wellman took these photo's at her feeders near Bala on March 12, 2004. Note the pink legs!



Three-toed Woodpeckers in Algonquin Park
Posted on March 14, 2004 at 09:32:57 AM by Ron Tozer

*This report originated on ONTBIRDS (Mar. 14, 1:52 a.m., 2004) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

An American Three-toed Woodpecker, the fourth here this winter, was reported
near Post 8 on the Beaver Pond Trail (km 45.2 on Highway 60) today. A
Black-backed Woodpecker was noted on some dead tamaracks along the highway
just outside the East Boundary of the park, as well.

Algonquin Park is about three hours north of Toronto, via Highways 400, 11
and 60. Sites along Highway 60 through the Park can be located by kilometre

Ron Tozer



Hoary Redpoll and wolves in Algonquin
Posted on March 13, 2004 at 03:46:07 PM by Kevin Clute

*This report originated on ONTBIRDS (Mar. 13, 2004) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

On Friday, March 12, 2004 a single Hoary Redpoll was observed by Ethan Meleg and Carol Norris mixed in with approximately 30 Common Redpolls at the Algonquin Visitor Centre.

Today (Saturday), as visitors watched Common Redpolls (~30) and Pine Grosbeaks (~12) at the Algonquin Visitor Centre, two Eastern Wolves fed on a dead Moose located in the bog below the Visitor Centre for over an hour and a half. Since Wednesday, when the road killed Moose was placed in the bog, American Crow, Common Raven, Fisher, Red Fox have all been observed at the carcass. Bald Eagle observations may also be likely in upcoming days. Please note: Visitors are not permitted in the bog below the Algonquin Visitor Centre since it would disturb wildlife. Visitors should observe the carcass from the Visitor Centre observation deck.

Winter conditions still persist in Algonquin with substantial hard crusted snow, making for easy walking with snowshoes. With a low temperature last night of -17C little open water exists for migrating waterfowl. Recent spring arrivals include European Starling (March 3), Mourning Dove (March 5), and Red-winged Blackbird (March 11).

Algonquin Park is located about three hours from both Toronto and Ottawa. The Algonquin Visitor Centre is located 43.0 kilometres from the Park's West Gate (or 13.0 kilometres from the East Gate) and is open from 10:00am to 5:00pm until March 21. Anyone using Algonquin Park facilities (Visitor Centre, trails, etc.) must have a valid permit. Permits can be purchased at the Algonquin Visitor Centre, West Gate or East Gate. Birder are encouraged to record their observations in the Bird Sightings Book and Wildlife Sightings Board in the Algonquin Visitor Centre.

Kevin Clute

P.S. As I write this at 1:15pm on Saturday a wolf has returned to the Moose carcass.

Kevin Clute
Group Education Program Coordinator
The Friends of Algonquin Park
Box 248
Whitney, Ontario K0J 2M0

Phone: (613) 637-2828
Fax: (613) 637-2138



Hawk and Geese
Posted on March 13, 2004 at 03:37:35 PM by Barbara Taylor

Earlier today there was a Red-tailed Hawk sitting in a tree overlooking the Muskoka Highlands golf course (along South Monck, north of Hwy. 118W.)

Ten Canada Goose on open water near the public docks at the end of George Rd. (off Golden Beach Rd.). No ducks seen along Muskoka River - just a couple gulls and a Canada Goose. Several Herring Gulls on Bracebridge Bay.



Posted on March 13, 2004 at 09:15:12 AM by Brenda Clark

On March 11 at our home just south of Gravenhurst there was one grackle. It was in league with 2 red winged blackbirds. Later in the day a small flock of Canada Geese scouted the area.



Re(1): Redpolls, Bala
Posted on March 13, 2004 at 11:17:03 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

The male partially white bird seen at my feeders yesterday and today is said to be a partial albino common redpoll by Al Sinclair and Ron Tozer.

It has no dark mask around its beak, mostly white head with a red cap, white breast with red and only a couple of side stripes. Its legs and feet are pink.

Quite striking amongst the other redpolls.



Redpolls, Bala
Posted on March 12, 2004 at 04:39:41 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I had a huge influx of redpolls at my feeder this morning. They went through a whole tube feeder of finch seed and a full platform of finch seed by noon today.

There is one redpoll that appears to be a partial albino, as it has pink legs. Al Sinclair is evaluating a few images I sent him.



Robins x 4
Posted on March 11, 2004 at 04:46:25 PM by Ted Smith

Hi folks,

Saw 4 robins as I was heading into work this morning (March 11th) at 7:00 a.m. All 4 were sitting in a tree on Cedar Lane right at Hwy 11. They looked awesome in the morning sun.



Springs here...a Robin!!
Posted on March 10, 2004 at 04:28:27 PM by Ted Gardner

Spring is really here....i hope!! Saw my 1st Robin of 04 sitting high in a maple @ 8 am this morning. 120 meadow hieghts.



Coopers Hawk
Posted on March 9, 2004 at 02:35:49 PM by Mary Willmott

Enjoyed a Coopers Hawk hanging out at the bird feeder. Nice fat Red Polls for it as they have eaten about 200 pounds of niger food. One Red Wing Black on the weekend.



Re(1): Common Mergansers on the Muskoka River
Posted on March 8, 2004 at 08:36:06 AM by sylvia purdon

Also on the Severn River, Saturday March 6.



Common Mergansers on the Muskoka River
Posted on March 7, 2004 at 07:24:23 PM by Al Sinclair

I saw a Male and Female Common Merganser today on the south branch of the Muskoka River beside Hwy 118E 2.5 km east of Hwy 11. Some spring migrants!




Common Merganser
Posted on March 7, 2004 at 05:13:01 PM by Mark McAnally

Common merganser male and female just south of Severn Bridge in water west side of Highway 11.
Flock of at least 10 Wild turkeys in open field opposite the Oro Centre building(originally Fuda Foods) west side of Highway 11. They were all spread out feeding, quite an exciting sight.




Bird Board Update
Posted on March 7, 2004 at 12:22:38 PM by Barbara Taylor

All reports from January through February are now available as a single file in the Archived Reports. Thanks to everyone for all your posts.

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Carolina Wren
Posted on March 7, 2004 at 08:59:44 AM by Frank LeVay

Another report of Carolina Wren(March 6-7) at 106 Crescent Ave., (off Pinedale, off Pinecrest) in Gravenhurst




Wooly Bears and Canada Geese-Sparrow Lake
Posted on March 6, 2004 at 05:42:27 PM by jim maguire & sylvia purdon

Friday March 5 at 4:00 p.m.

2 Wooly Bear caterpillars after the rain stopped on the pavement on Canning Road (formerly Sp.Lake Rt.#3)

Canada Goose: pr. m and f Male is quite large and in display: At the mouth of the Severn River at Sparrow Lake:




Red-winged Blackbird at Barkway
Posted on March 4, 2004 at 01:31:22 PM by Ron Stager

A red-winged blackbird was singing its spring song in our backyard this morning.

I was hoping that the many evening grosbeaks and redpolls in our backyard would have moved on before the blackbirds arrived since they are eating about 5 pounds of black oil sunflower seeds a day. When the blackbirds come they also come in large numbers.

Rose heard a pileated woodpecker this morning.



great horned owl, etc..
Posted on March 4, 2004 at 08:49:20 AM by Leslee Tassie

Thursday Feb 26 - Steve heard a great horned owl out back of our house on Santa's Village Road, in the evening. He'd gone out to see the 4 planets that were all visible in the evening. This may have been the one we heard almost daily back in the summer and fall.
Saturday, Feb. 28 - we observed 2 partridges out back in our yard.
Monday, March 1st - 7:45 a.m. strong odour of skunk at the front of our house.



Snowy Owl
Posted on March 3, 2004 at 07:47:34 AM by Brenda Clark

My brother was driving southbound on highway 11 past the southern entrance into Gravenhurst yesterday afternoon around 3 and spotted a snowy owl in the marshy area at the north side of the interchange. If this is the same owl as seen in Orillia recently, it seems to like hanging out near shopping areas and highways!



Posted on March 2, 2004 at 10:31:47 PM by Challis


MUSKOKA FIELD NATURALISTS MEETING, THURSDAY MARCH 4 Paul Goleck, a graduate student at U of T's Forestry Faculty, will discuss his research on Pine Marten habitat in the Great Lakes-St Lawrence forests, and the impact of forestry management practices on this indicator species.

Calvary Baptist Church, Gravenhurst (across from Giant Tiger), 7:30 p.m.

Information on how to become a member



cardinals in song
Posted on March 2, 2004 at 10:21:33 PM by Challis

March 1, in Gravenhurst's Pineridge subdivision and the older houses immediately north of it, two cardinals were in full song around 10 am.



Escaped domestic duck at
Posted on March 2, 2004 at 06:47:18 PM by Al Sinclair

Eleanor Kee Wellman took the photo at the link below yesterday at the bridge in Huntsville where all the ducks hang out. Ron Tozer and Ron Pittaway agree that it is a domestic breed. Anybody recognize it?

Unknown Duck



Bird Board downtime
Posted on March 2, 2004 at 06:31:01 PM by Barbara Taylor

If you found you could not access the Bird Board over the past two days, it's because the hosting service was having technical difficulties with one of their servers. This caused the Bird Board to go offline temporarily. Everything appears to be back to normal now.

If you have not done so already, please bookmark the Bird Board back-up webpage. If there is ever a major problem with the Bird Board hosting service, that is the only place you will be able to find updated information. I did post "Important Notices" there yesterday and further updates today.



Posted on February 29, 2004 at 07:18:05 AM by Janice House

A robin was on the ground beside our garage this morning when Geoff and one of the dogs came back from their walk, approx 7:07. (Doe Lake Rd)



Cardinal mate-feeding
Posted on February 28, 2004 at 01:52:05 PM by Barbara Taylor

Today the male Cardinal has started to carry food from the feeder up to the female where she waits in a nearby pine tree. We've seen him make several trips so far, gently passing the seed to her. Haven't heard any countersinging/duet yet, but the male has been singing on territory since Thursday morning.



Carolina Wren
Posted on February 27, 2004 at 11:19:22 AM by Frank LeVay

Dorothy St.Clair calls to say she has a CAROLINA WREN at her house, 106 Crescent Road (off Pinedale Rd.,)Gravenhurst-- February 26 & 27, 2004
Her phone is 687-2793



Re(1): Pileated drumming, Blue Jays, Crows
Posted on February 27, 2004 at 03:51:34 PM by Joan Daynard

That really sounds like spring might be coming. Can't wait to come up there and see for myself !!!!



Pileated drumming, Blue Jays, Crows
Posted on February 27, 2004 at 10:22:47 AM by Kip Daynard

In the span of 5 minutes standing on my frontstep of my Bay Lake home (east of Novar) this morning I observed several firsts for the year and apparent harbingers of spring. A Pileated Woodpecker gave a territorial call followed by several renditions of its powerful drum. A handful of American Crows were calling from the woods. Blue Jays could be heard calling for the first time this year. Mourning Doves were cooing (arrived yesterday)... all this amidst a moving chorus of 100+ Common Redpolls rattling and trilling their wiry tones. Add to that the ever-present Nuthatches (both), Hairies/Downies and Chick-a-dees and it almost felt, to my now spring-fevered ears, like a migrant wave.



Re(1): website query
Posted on February 27, 2004 at 09:45:43 AM by Barbara Taylor

I think many of the NEXRAD radar and other tracking projects were only done to establish important migration flight paths and stop-over points in order to try and improve environmental protection of those areas. Looks like most tracking projects were completed in 2000-2001. I only know of 2 currently updated migration maps (urls below) and these are dependent on birdwatchers' observations. I find the best way to monitor spring migration is to read the ONTBIRDS posts and some of the regional U.S. email lists (you don't have to register to read the posts).

Websites with Migration Maps:

Hummingbird Migration:

Purple Martin Migration:

Other Sources of Migration Info:

Canadian Migration Monitoring Network:

Niagara Peninsula Hawkwatch (aka Beamer - open house April 9 this year):

Continental Migration Project:

Journey North:

Recent Posts from ONTBIRDS:

Other Regional Email Lists:



Re(1): website query
Posted on February 27, 2004 at 09:20:05 AM by Lorena

Try this website



website query
Posted on February 26, 2004 at 11:45:24 PM by Challis-Carlyle

Can anyone recommend any websites that track the movement of migrants on their way north? A couple of years ago, I found several, but the only one I bookmarked was, which is a fundraiser/awareness site for whooping crane rehab.



Posted on February 26, 2004 at 07:58:23 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there were 2 Swans on the river along west side of Hwy. 11, just north of Washago exit and south of Severn bridge. Only caught a quick look at the birds but did note the bills were black. Perhaps these are 2 of the 6 birds seen earlier in the month by Joan Paget, as reported by Bob Burton. Thanks for the "swan alert" Bob and Joan, or we probably would have missed them.



(no subject)
Posted on February 26, 2004 at 06:56:36 PM by Mark McAnally

Mourning dove cooing in my area (Huntsville-Britannia Road)this morning and this evening. The woodpeckers are very actively drumming each morning now. Yesterday I saw four hairy woodpeckers in my back woods in a 100 square metre area. The snow fleas were everywhere yesterday. Spring is definitely on its way.



Three-toed Woodpecker- Algonquin Park
Posted on February 25, 2004 at 09:33:15 PM by Anne Anthony

*This report originated on ONTBIRDS (Feb. 25, 2004) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Tony Bigg, Doug Sadler and myself birded Algonquin Park today. We arrived
at the gate across the Opeongo Rd, immediately past the junction with the
Cameron Lake Rd (logging in progress, no vehicle access) shortly after 10:00
am. This is approxiately half way down Opeongo Rd.. Here we met another
birder (Peter ? ) and while talking a woodpecker flew from the east side of
the road to the west. Peter assured us it had yellow on the head. Tony and
I, needing Black-backed Woodpecker for our winter list, waited patiently as
snow was waist deep in the ditch between the snow bank and edge of trees,
frustrated because we could hear it tapping. Eventually, it reappearred
directly across (on the west side of the Opeongo Rd.) from the Cameron Lake
Rd.and all four of us got great looks at a THREE-TOED WOODPECKER. The
unexpected rewards of birding. Other birds at this point were 3 Gray Jays,
Black-capped Chickadees, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Hairy Woodpecker and small
flock of White-winged Crossbill (flypast).

Visitors Centre -Pine Grosbeaks, Common Redpolls, Gray Jays (2) Downy
Woodpecker, B-C Chickadees. One of the MNR staff told us that the marten
was at the back feeders yesterday and a fisher today earlier in the morning.
(I had gone in to tell someone about the three-toed.)

Spruce Bog Trail - 3 or 4 Gray Jays and lots of Black-capped Chickadee and
Red-breasted Nuthatches eating out of our hands -bring food. (The Gray Jays
preferred Peter's plump raisins over our bread and the bread over seed.)
Lots of fresh grouse tracks on both sides of the bog but we could only find
Ruffed Grouse. White-winged Crossbills on the side closest to the road.

No Boreal Chickadees, Spruce Grouse or Black-backed Woodpeckers were seen by
us today, and we tried hard. We were told there have been Hoary Redpolls at
the feeder but we could only find one frostier looking one with a few bars
on its flanks but it had a streaked rump, so I'm not going to call it.

Algonquin Park is east of Huntsville on Hwy 60. Park entrance fee is $12.00
per vehicle. Opeongo Rd, the Visitors Centre and the Spruce Bog Trail are
accessed off Hwy 60 and are closer to the east gate than the west gate on
Hwy 60. The Visitors Centre is only open on weekends in the winter and the
back feeder can only be viewed from the deck which is only accessible when
the centre is open.

Just north of Maynooth, we had a Common Raven carrying nesting material.
Atlassing season will soon be upon us.

Anne Anthony



Re(3): Cardinal Note ...
Posted on February 26, 2004 at 10:14:14 AM by Al Johnston

Paul, don't expect to get the boat in the water anytime soon. Bring some warm weather with you. Al



Re(4): Cardinal Note ...
Posted on February 27, 2004 at 01:28:49 AM by Paul Smith

Barbara - Your male Cardinal 'lunged' at his mate, but are you sure his motive was to chase her away ?? - it's been almost a year since the last breeding season !!

However, I'm glad they're getting along now - a promise of a new nest or something probably brought her around ...

ps - spring is coming as I saw a few neo-tropical warblers here in Fla for the first time Wednesday ..



Re(3): Cardinal Note ...
Posted on February 26, 2004 at 08:33:23 PM by Barbara Taylor

We've observed this particular pair of cardinals to feed alongside one another during spring and early fall. In the summer they usually feed separately since one is always tending the nest or the fledglings. During the winter months the male will not tolerate the female on the feeder when he wants to feed. He will actually lunge at her to chase her off the feeder.

But he must have heard me talking about him...something's changed. This morning we heard him singing loudly and for the first time all winter, he didn't chase the female off the feeder.



Re(2): Cardinal Note ...
Posted on February 26, 2004 at 00:16:08 AM by Paul Smith

I take issue with your thought that the male cardinal is mistreating his lady friend !! Shame ...

What I've seen since I was a kid in Hamilton is that they always feed seperately, but the mate is always nearby keeping six for his or her respective mate ...

It's great to hear your springtime reports and look forward to getting back to Muskoka from Fla in a few weeks ...



Re(1): American Crow ... and other signs of spring
Posted on February 25, 2004 at 09:28:35 AM by Barbara Taylor

Yes, looks like the crows are moving north. We've heard a few cawing around the neighbourhood here in Bracebridge over the past week or so.

Another sign of spring has been the chickadees' renewed interest in last year's nesting site...the street light at the end of our driveway. Seems a strange location for a chickadee nest, but they were successful raising young there last summer.

The nuthatches and woodpeckers are starting to feed on the suet in pairs instead of singly. Until recently the female bird would usually show up when the male wasn't nearby, or else risk being chased away. Not any more...spring is definitely in the air. The male cardinal still won't let the female feed alongside him on the feeder. But I did hear him softly singing four notes of his song, so it probably won't be long before he treats her better.



Re(2): American Crow sighted
Posted on February 26, 2004 at 07:55:54 PM by Al Johnston

Mary, I believe it's a "murder" of crows. Al



Re(1): American Crow sighted
Posted on February 26, 2004 at 06:03:55 PM by mary willmott

last week I counted 25 crows flying across lake muskoka at beaumaris.What is the proper name for a group of crows?



American Crow sighted
Posted on February 25, 2004 at 07:47:32 AM by Ted Smith

Spring is coming... Yesterday morning (Feb. 24th) on my way to work I observed an American Crow on Hwy 118 a few kilometers east of Hwy 11. It was sitting on top of a snowbank on the shoulder of the road looking for a meal. Only one was seen.

Take care,



Feeder Report
Posted on February 22, 2004 at 09:14:13 AM by Janice House

One female evening grosbeak here this morning, haven't seen any in a while. Small flock of snow buntings have been here for weeks, like to sit on our t.v. antenna. (Doe Lake Rd near Laycox Rd)



Posted on February 21, 2004 at 03:52:28 PM by fred lusignea

*This report originated on ONTBIRDS (Feb. 21, 2004) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists. note: the "martin" referred to in this post is a Pine Marten, not the bird.

Three birders from Dundas, Agonquin report, Feb. 18/19th:

Visitors center:
hundreds of Common Red Polls and numerous Pine Grosbeaks and a handfull of Blue Jays but no Hoary Red Polls.

Though the visitor center is closed during the week days the ladies in the office invited us in to view the feeders at the rear of the center from the balcony where we were able to watch the Martin eating seed from the feeder and suet from the large suet feeder. Not to detract from the Martin sighting but the Martin actually lives in the foundation of the visitors center and can be seen goin in and out of the two ventilation holes below the feeders.

Mew Lake: "perimiter of the abandoned air field"
-8 ruffed grouse, numerous Grey Jays, a female White-winged Crossbill, a few Pine Grosbeaks and to everyones delight a male Evening Grosbeak.
We also observed a fox frolicing on the trail.

Spruce Bog Boardwalk:
-the parking lot was quite a treat as we were swarmed by Chickadees, Gray Jays, White and Red Breasted Nuthatch'es all looking for a hand out. Numerous Pine Grosbeaks and a few Blue Jays were observed from the parking lot also.
- a few meeters from the parking lot we observed a Black Backed Wood Pecker and a couple of Downy's the rest of the trail through the forest no birds were seen other than a Raven or two passing overhead.
- after crossing the board walk the trail veers back toward hiway 60, there is an Otter slide about 50 yards long , comming down the hill and crossing the trail.
-after completing the loop and returning to the parking lot we stopped to chat with two birders from Ohio, they were kind enough to direct us back into the forest where we observed a half dozen or so Boreal Chickadees(a new one for the list)

*The strange thing was the absents of raptors throughout the park?

"Happy Birding" Fred Lusignea "E.Stems Naturalist Club" Dundas Ontario



Bracebridge Western Bypass - public meeting
Posted on February 21, 2004 at 12:21:46 PM by Barbara Taylor

The next Public Meeting has been scheduled as follows. More information about the meeting and planned routes can be found at

Date: Thursday March 4, 2004
Time: Open House: 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Presentation and Discussion: 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Location: St. Dominic Separate Secondary School Cafeteria
955 Cedar Lane, Bracebridge
(Second driveway south of Taylor Road)



Barred Owls - Bay Lake
Posted on February 20, 2004 at 11:31:13 AM by Kip Daynard

Muskoka Birders,

At about 9PM last night while walking my dog on Bay Lake Rd. near Kirk Lane I called up a pair of Barred Owls. The two owls launched into quite a chorus of barking and cackling. At least one more could be heard in the distance. Conditions were mild (-1C) with only a slight breath of wind. The owls were heard very close to a territory used last year.

Directions: Bay Lake Rd. can be accessed by taking Hwy 11 N. out of Huntsville to Novar. Then follow Hwy #592 N. about 5 minutes to the green mailboxes. The owls were heard near the end of Bay Lake Rd. (about 10 minutes drive)



Re(2): redback voles & pileated
Posted on February 23, 2004 at 04:42:08 PM by Challis-Carlyle

We bought some of the plastic live traps that were on the market a few years ago. They were too small.
By the time we got to the traps, the mice were half-dead from exhaustion, condensation was soaking the inside of the traps and the mice, and they would have died if we'd released them. We don't use those any more, but if you have one of the metal traps with the wind-up trap door that MacNaughton's Home Hardware sells, maybe you could bring it to the March MFN meeting....



Re(1): redback voles & pileated
Posted on February 20, 2004 at 07:37:16 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

How about trying a live trap? I have one you could borrow if you would be interested.



redback voles & pileated
Posted on February 19, 2004 at 08:19:34 PM by Challis-Carlyle

While skiing on the Hahne Farm Trail, Gravenhurst, on Wednesday, a pileated woodpecker flew by.
I'm in quite a quandary, as the mouse-traps in the basement have been coming up with boreal redback voles (Chlethrionomys gapperi) all winter. Given that these fairly shy animals have a population density of 10 per acre we should have extirpated them weeks ago. There's no mistaking the chestnut coloured fur along their backs. It's kind of sad, though, to find another in the trap.



Re(1): Seen again Feb 19
Posted on February 20, 2004 at 09:05:56 PM by Al Sinclair

The Snowy Owl was on the south side of the interchange on Feb 19. It was sitting on the Walmart sign at one point.



Snowy Owl at Orillia
Posted on February 18, 2004 at 07:14:45 PM by Al Sinclair

At 3pm today, Feb 18, Joan and I looked for the Snowy Owl at the Hwy 11 and Coldwater Rd interchange at Orillia, as reported by Bob Bowles on the Ontbirds email list yesterday. We found it in the same location as reported, inside the north-west corner of the cloverleaf sitting on the shoulder snowbank of the southbound ramp. It was alert and flew about 100 feet when we approached on foot so we concluded it is still reasonably healthy. Given the unusual location, a busy intersection with cars streaming by 10 feet away, we were concerned that it might be in trouble, however it seems to be OK for now.

Directions posted on Ontbirds:
In Orillia hunting along the exit ramp to highway 11 from highway 12
(Coldwater Road). The bird sits on the snow bank on the inside of the
cloverleaf and flies short distances within the circle. This is the exit that has the Highway Inn on the east side and Orillia Wal-Mart on the west side. The owl is just north of the
highway 12 overpass bridge on the west side of highway 11 in Orillia.



Muskoka Backyard Count Totals...19 species, 413 birds
Posted on February 17, 2004 at 08:53:22 PM by Al Sinclair

Muskoka Backyard Bird Count 2004
Sum of maximum counts of each
species at 6 locations Feb 13 to 16

Hawk Species(Redtailed?) 1
Wild Turkey 14
Mourning Dove 22
Downy Woodpecker 7
Hairy Woodpecker 11
Black-capped Chickadee 79
Red-breasted Nuthatch 5
White-breasted Nuthatc 8
Brown Creeper 2
Blue Jay 23
American Crow 5
Common Raven 1
American Tree Sparrow 3
Dark-eyed Junco 2
Snow Bunting 35
Northern Cardinal 2
Common Redpoll 125
American Goldfinch 3
Evening Grosbeak 65
Totals 413

Species Totals 19

count locations:
Clearwater Lake (north of Coopers Falls)
Uffington (2)



winter swans
Posted on February 15, 2004 at 10:28:02 AM by Bob Burton

Relaying a message from Joan Paget,of her NO.Ont.bus passage along side the Severn River between Severn Bridge and Washago,6 swans floating like icebergs.Bus would not stop,species unknown?morning sat 14.



Monday Backyard Bird Count near Uffington
Posted on February 16, 2004 at 06:48:37 PM by Al Sinclair

Home 1852 Hwy 118E Checklist - 7 species
5 Mourning Dove
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Hairy Woodpecker
5 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
1 Brown Creeper (not at the feeders)
7 Common Redpoll (7 flying over, maybe after visiting the Smiths)

Birds missed this weekend that were seen recently
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Common Raven
Pileated Woodpecker



Re(1): Backyard Bird Count
Posted on February 16, 2004 at 06:02:12 PM by Barbara Taylor

At 5:35 p.m. with just moments to spare in the Great Backyard Bird Count, the neighbourhood pair of Northern Cardinals decided to show up at our feeder! Also 2 Blue Jays and 1 Common Raven to add to our Saturday list.



Re(1): Backyard Bird Count
Posted on February 16, 2004 at 12:30:52 PM by Doug Smith

Our feeder in Uffington entertained the following;
6 Black-capped chickadees
10 Common redpolls
1 white-breasted nuthatch
1 Hairy woodpecker
Sunday was approx the same, but with a Brown creeper in the yaer, too.
A neighbour's feeder had 3 Blue jays and a red-breasted nuthatch as well.



Sunday Backyard Bird Count at Clearwater Lake
Posted on February 15, 2004 at 06:56:51 PM by Terry Whittam

2 Hairy & 2 Downy woodpeckers
40-50 BC Chickadees
10 Common Redpolls
2 Mourning doves
1 Red breasted and 1 white breasted nuthatch
12 Blue Jays
35+ Snow buntings
5 Turkeys
3 Crows
My neighbour reports 2 Evening Grosbeaks....
1 Raptor unidentified....quite white 5 flaps then a 5-8 sec glide....



Re(1): Backyard Bird Count
Posted on February 15, 2004 at 04:44:24 PM by Ron Stager

2 Hairy Woodpecker
1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
2 White-breasted Nuthatch
5 Mourning Dove
3 Blue Jay
63 Evening Grosbeak
75+ Common Redpoll
10+ Chickadees
3 Red Squirrels



Re(1): Saturday Backyard Count near Bala
Posted on February 15, 2004 at 07:53:35 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

2 pairs Hairy Woodpecker
2 pairs downy woodpecker
1 pair white-breasted nuthatches
12+ black-capped chickadees
20+ common redpolls
3 goldfinches
3 tree sparrows
9 turkeys
2 blue jays

1 red fox
1 fisher
2 flying squirrels



Saturday Backyard Bird Count at Clearwater Lake
Posted on February 15, 2004 at 10:18:16 AM by Terry Whittam

35+ Chickadees...constant motion!
2 Hairy + 2 Downys....always together
1 RB nuthatch & 1 WB nuthatch
6 Common redpolls
2 Mourning doves (late at sunset!)
1 Blue Jay!
2 Red squirrels (fighting all day)
3 Flying squirrels....very late
No owls heard???



Saturday Backyard Count near Uffington
Posted on February 14, 2004 at 06:57:12 PM by Al Sinclair

1 Hairy Woodpecker
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
2 White-breasted Nuthatch
5 Black-capped Chickadee
7 Mourning Dove
Uffington is 10 km east of Bracebridge on Hwy 118E



Backyard Bird Count
Posted on February 14, 2004 at 06:44:11 PM by Barbara Taylor

Sure hope tomorrow is better. Not very many birds around here today (Bracebridge).

1 Hairy Woodpecker (male)
1 Red-breasted Nuthatch (female)
1 White-breasted Nuthatch (male)
2 Dark-eyed Junco
11 Black-capped Chickadee
8 Mourning Dove
2 American Crow



Re(1): Backyard Bird Count...this weekend
Posted on February 13, 2004 at 07:13:53 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

It is 7:15 am Friday and I'm ready to start counting!



How about a Muskoka Backyard Bird Count?
Posted on February 12, 2004 at 07:14:02 PM by Al Sinclair

It would be fun and enlightening to have a Muskoka bird count this weekend too. Post your results from Muskoka on the Bird Board. We would find out how widespread Evening Grosbeaks and other species are this winter.



Backyard Bird Count...this weekend
Posted on February 12, 2004 at 07:02:08 PM by Al Sinclair

The Great Backyard Bird Count takes place this weekend from Friday to Monday, Feb 13-16. The website to report to is



Re(1): No Evening Grosbeaks at Uffington
Posted on February 12, 2004 at 09:48:29 PM by Terry Whittam

A neighbor of mine on Clearwater Lake east of Washago must have a "favorite feeder" for Evening Grosbeaks as he has a flock visit multiple times per day! I'm less than 1/4 mile away and nothing...nada..not a Grosbeak to be found! I even use the exact same oiled sunflower seed he does! Go figure!



No Evening Grosbeaks at Uffington
Posted on February 12, 2004 at 06:56:28 PM by Al Sinclair

I haven't seen any this year! A few small flocks must be sticking together around a few favourite feeders. It would be interesting to hear who else has them.



feeder report
Posted on February 12, 2004 at 04:45:36 PM by Challis-Carlyle

We have had a flock of about 25 evening grosbeaks as regulars at the feeders for the last few weeks. (Rocksborough Road off Fraserburg Rd). Folks seem surprised to hear this when we mention it -- are they back in Muskoka big time or do we have a gang of stragglers?



Re(2): Dodo's Live ?
Posted on February 9, 2004 at 06:13:09 PM by Nick

Thanks for the clarification, Barbara and Al, kinda threw me for a loop. I didn't think dodo's were warblers :)



Re(1): Dodo's Live ?
Posted on February 9, 2004 at 03:02:32 PM by Al Sinclair

I suppose "DODO" is now used to refer to any long extinct bird as in "Dead as a Dodo", "not dead as a DODO" = "No DODO". The Dodo was actually a large flightless pigeon, not a warbler.



Re(1): Dodo's Live ?
Posted on February 9, 2004 at 12:11:21 PM by Barbara Taylor

Afraid not. Don't know why Macleans headlines the article with "no dodo" (maybe they were hoping to find one), but there was a great find of a long-lost warbler. Here's an excerpt from the website link below:
Nov. 28, 2003 - "Researchers from BirdLife have rediscovered the Long-legged Warbler Trichocichla rufa, a small bird from the Fijian island of Viti Levu, not seen since 1894 and previously feared extinct."

Here's a link to the Dec. 8, 2003 Macleans news page with the story at the very bottom:



Dodo's Live ?
Posted on February 9, 2004 at 11:33:29 AM by Nick Bartok

I just wanted to post something that was found for me and cut out of Maclean's Magazine regarding Dodo's being found alive in Figi.

Quote "NO DODO: the long-lost, long-legged warbler, given up to the extinction list more than a century ago, has turned up alive and well in Fiji. Astonished ornithologists documenting Fiji's destinctive birds found 12 pairs of the reclusive songbird after hearing its haunting call in a remote valley" end Quote (Maclean's Magazine, unknown date)

I was curious to see if anyone else has heard about this amazing discovery??



KFN Algonquin Trip
Posted on February 8, 2004 at 09:18:24 PM by Bruce Ripley

*This report originated on ONTBIRDS (Feb. 8, 2004) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Twelve KFN members travelled to Algonquin Park for the day and observed the
following birds.

Spruce Bog Boardwalk (km. 42.5)

Feeders at Visitor Centre (km. 43)
- there was a PINE MARTIN visiting the feeder periodically throughout the
day, which our group missed.

Mew Lake Campground (km. 32)
6 GRAY JAYS - campsite #43

Arowhon Road (km. 15.4)
1 GRAY JAY, 5 WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS - near old rail line about 5 km. along
Arowhon Road.

Good Birding
Bruce Ripley

Algonquin Park is located on Hwy. 60, east of Huntsville. Maps showing
specific locations are available at the entry gates.



Beaumaris Birds
Posted on February 7, 2004 at 11:36:21 AM by mary willmott

Im feeding 4 litres of niger seed to approx 100 Common Redpolls daily. They seem to be everywhere, very excited flying about. My neighour had two Wild Turkeys at his feeders this am . We hear the Barred Owl at night. Also we have racoons and deer visit the feeders at night.



Northern Shrike - Bay Lake
Posted on February 4, 2004 at 11:57:45 AM by Kip Daynard

About 15 minutes ago I saw an adult Northern Shrike from my window. It was perched in a small tree overhanging the edge of the lake. This is the first I've seen around our property in this the 3rd winter I've been here. I live on the south side of Bay Lake which is north-east of Huntsville just outside Muskoka (in Perry Township - Parry Sound district).



Barred Owl
Posted on February 2, 2004 at 01:04:23 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning we saw a Barred Owl just a short walk west of Henry Rd. marsh, Bracebridge. Follow the snowmobile trail until you reach the "haunted house" on your right (where the trail enters the clearing after passing under cedar tree canopy). We've seen a Barred Owl in this area several times.



New Bird Quiz
Posted on February 2, 2004 at 08:57:41 AM by Barbara Taylor

I've just uploaded a new Bird Quiz. If you want to try it out, click here.



Golden Crowned Kinglets
Posted on February 2, 2004 at 06:36:35 AM by Mark McAnally

I had two golden crowned kinglets in spruce trees near our house today. First time I have seen them this winter.



Five Philadelphia birders visit Muskoka
Posted on January 31, 2004 at 02:08:13 PM by Al Sinclair

Last week five Philadelphia birders took their annual trip through Ontario, including Muskoka and Algonquin, looking for good birds. They have posted a diary of their trip, including pictures, on a nicely crafted website. The address is



Re(1):Trumpeter Swan #586
Posted on January 30, 2004 at 03:02:25 PM by Al Sinclair

Trumpeter Swan #586 was originally released at Lake Scugog near Port Perry as part of the re-introduction program. The "8" is missing on one side of the tag. It has been in Muskoka for 2 years seen mostly around Dwight on Lake of Bays and Huntsville on Vernon and Fairy Lake. It was also in Algonquin Park briefly. I am expecting some more info on its travels that I will post later.



Swan & Hoodie, Huntsville
Posted on January 29, 2004 at 09:09:55 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

This morning I went to Huntsville to check out the mallard population on the river. Along with a couple hundred mallards was a male hooded merganser and a tagged swan. The swan hept its head under its wing the whole time so have no further ID. I sent a photo to Al Sinclair to see if he could figure out the tag.



Re(2): White throated sparrow
Posted on January 29, 2004 at 12:26:00 PM by Dave Hourie

We are in Huntsville, Muskoka, on Lindgren Rd East, about 2.5 kms off Highway 11, surrounded by forest. Between us and the highway is a large wetland.I first saw it about mid December picking away underneath a spruce tree where the chickadees sit cracking the sunflower seeds. Since then, I have seen it right in the feeder, sometimes just sitting there, but have not seen it since last weekend. I believe there is only one.



Re(1): White throated sparrow
Posted on January 28, 2004 at 09:24:32 PM by Al Sinclair

Interesting sighting! In winter they do turn up at feeders in Ontario occasionaly and in Muskoka rarely. White-throated Sparrow has been reported on 3 Gravenhurst-Bracebridge Christmas Bird Counts, 1980, 1997, and 2002. Do you live in Muskoka, nearest town? Can you give the approximate date it was first seen?



White throated sparrow
Posted on January 28, 2004 at 06:23:15 PM by Dave Hourie

We have had a white throated sparrow at our bird feeder (sunflower seed) over the last few weeks, something I have never seen at this time of year before. It sits in the tray of the feeder and rummages around amongst the seed shells, and is obviously getting something to survive on, although I have not seen it since this last cold weekend.



Robin in Gravenhurst...Believe it or Not!
Posted on January 27, 2004 at 03:21:52 PM by Al Sinclair

Dan Burton reports that on Jan 18 an American Robin was seen by Gord Lochlin on the trail crossing the Lorne St cliffs in Gravenhurst. It was making the typical Robin scolding calls and there are many Sumacs in the area that it may have been feeding on. This is an unusual sighting considering the -30C weather lately.
Lorne Street is in the north end of town running east and west and ending at the lake. Take Winewood west from the main street to Austin, then north to Lorne, then west to the lake. The trail runs south near the end of the street.



Bird Board Updates - new feature
Posted on January 24, 2004 at 02:48:42 PM by Barbara Taylor

The Muskoka Bird Board is a place to share reports of any bird sightings or other nature sightings in Muskoka and surrounding areas. See the Bird Board Guidelines for more information, including several hints and tips on using the message board. Please bookmark the back-up webpage since notices will be posted there in the event of any major problems with the Bird Board hosting service. I try to monitor the Bird Board on a regular basis. If you have questions or want to bring my attention to something, please send an email. I will answer you as soon as possible.

*** New Feature ***
I've added a new download link on the Archived Reports webpage. You can now download all of the archived reports as one small compressed file. It should take 1-2 minutes download time with dial-up internet access or about 2 seconds with dsl/cable. Go to the Archived Reports and click on the "" link near the bottom of the page. Choose to save the file. When offline, you can then open the compressed file on your computer and read any of the quarterly archived reports without having to download each separately.

Barbara Taylor



Redpolls, Cardinals
Posted on January 23, 2004 at 05:08:22 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon there were 6 Redpolls near corner of Glendale Rd. and Daleman Dr., Bracebridge.

After more than a week of no-show, the neighbourhood pair of Cardinals visited our feeder several times yesterday. But today, no sign of them. This seems to be their pattern in the winter months, disappearing for days on end, then stopping by just long enough to let us know they're still ok. Guess they like to sample the smorgasbord of feeding stations in the area. During the summer, when they're nesting and raising their young, we see them at our feeder just about every day.



Bohemian Waxwings & Pine Grosbeaks in Haliburton County
Posted on January 22, 2004 at 06:26:36 PM by Al Sinclair

At noon today, Jan 22, Peter & Susan Bennett found 2 Bohemian Waxwings and 7 Pine Grosbeaks feeding in a crabapple tree in Minden, Ontario. Later at 5:30 the Waxwings were still there, and the tree has lots of fruit left.
Follow Hwy 35 to Haliburton County, at Minden take Main street to the bridge, go east on the first street north of the bridge, the tree is beside the river across the street from the Wild Orchid Restaurant.



Re(2): Scrub Jays ...
Posted on January 22, 2004 at 11:33:18 PM by Paul Smith

Yes, this is the optimistic time of the year.

Days getting longer - in about a week, the average temps begin to rise - two months today is the equinox - and as you say, about three months to when the martins return (I remember a couple of years ago Dennis putting up the houses and watching the martins trying to get in them while they were still on the ground).

Some Forster Terns and about a dozen Gannets off the beach in St Augustine today. Tons of birds down here ...



Re(1): Scrub Jays ...
Posted on January 22, 2004 at 12:37:49 PM by Al Johnston

Nice sightings, Paul! And yes, It's a little brisk up here but, on the bright side, only 3 months untill the purple martins are back at Glen Orchard.
Al Johnston



Scrub Jays ...
Posted on January 21, 2004 at 11:21:38 PM by Paul Smith

Sandhill Cranes, Wood Storks and Florida Scrub Jays on a drive through the Ocala National Forest yesterday. The Scrub Jays are endangered, but quite common in the little area where they live.

Looks like it's chilly up there. Brrrrrrrrrrrrr ...



Golden-crowned Kinglets...Not Gone
Posted on January 21, 2004 at 09:35:52 PM by Al Sinclair

We had 2 GC Kinglets visiting our backyard trees daily before Christmas but they disappeared. Then today 2 were back again, I think likely the same birds. They must be well adapted to stand this cold weather.
They bring my Muskoka 2004 year list to 13 species.



Beaumaris Birds
Posted on January 21, 2004 at 06:13:45 PM by mary willmott

We are entertained by 50 or so Common Redpolls. No Hoarys seen. My Mom has 6 Juncos plus many Common Redpolls plus a few Goldfinchs. A Starling with one leg. She lives in Port Carling.



Re(1): Northern Hawk Owl on Hwy 117...Gone?
Posted on January 23, 2004 at 01:37:40 PM by Burke Korol

Hi Al,

I looked for the NHOW on Wednesday, 14 January early in the morning and late in afternoon, without success.



Re(1): Northern Hawk Owl on Hwy 117...Gone?
Posted on January 22, 2004 at 08:38:29 AM by Gerald Willmott

Yesterday evening (jan 21) i drove around the area looking for the Hawk Owl, didn't see it. The time of day was 5:15-5:30, maybe too late in the day. But our days are getting longer!



Northern Hawk Owl on Hwy 117...Gone?
Posted on January 20, 2004 at 09:23:24 PM by Al Sinclair

The Bakers last saw the Northern Hawk Owl at the Bracebridge Golf Club about a week ago, Jan 13 or 14. Others including myself have looked for it last Saturday, Monday and today. Has anyone seen it lately?



Algonquin Park
Posted on January 20, 2004 at 08:10:19 PM by John Keenleyside

*This report originated on ONTBIRDS (Jan. 20, 2004) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Birding Algonquin Park today with Dan Salisbury (Tues. Jan. 20) produced
a few interesting birds, (and failed to produce 2 or 3 others which
might have been expected).

Black-backed woodpecker (1 male). South side of # 60 opposite Bat Lake
Trail (Km 30). Working a dead white pine just off the road.
Bohemian waxwing (1), perched at the top of a tall tree near Km 9.
Northern shrike (1). Opeongo Rd.
Grey jay (5). 2 Opeongo Rd., 3 Spruce Bog Trail.
Pine grosbeak (3). 2 locations.
Common redpoll (50). several locations.
Hoary redpoll (1) with Common redpolls, at Visitor's centre feeder.
White-winged crossbill (40). 4 different locations, largest flock 20

We looked for the Northern hawk owl near Bracebridge, without success. I
note that the last posting was Jan.10, (which of course doesn't prove
that the bird is gone).

John Keenleyside



Boreal Chickadees & Hoary Redpoll - Algonquin Park
Posted on January 19, 2004 at 08:38:54 AM by Mike Boyd

*This report originated on ONTBIRDS (Jan. 18, 2004) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Dear Fellow Birders
I was up in Algonquin Park this weekend with the University of Guelph's
Wildlife Club. The highlight this weekend were 6-7 Boreal Chickadees on part of
the Mizzy Lake trail, 5-6 were in a flock with Black-capped Chickadees. Also on
this trail were 3 Gray Jays and a Ruffed Grouse, and on the road in were about
30 or so White-winged Crossbills. The Visitor Centre feeders were quite active
with a 100+ C. Redpolls, and a Hoary Redpoll mixed in as well, also present
were a few Pine Siskins, and a Pine Grosbeak. Also of note a Great Grey Owl was
reported to the Visitor Centre sightings board for Jan 17 around km20.
Directions: To A.P. follow the 400 north, then take Hwy 11, then go east on Hwy
60. For the Boreal Chickadees around km15 go north on Arowhon Rd then near the
end of the plowed section park on the right hand side and there should be a
path along a abandoned railway corridor, follow this for approx 2km until there
are many trees falling over the path. One chickadee was seen here, the others
were approx 500-800m back on the south side of the trail. The Visitor Centre is
around km43.

Mike Boyd
Guelph, Ontario



Northern Shrike near Uffington
Posted on January 18, 2004 at 10:53:32 AM by Al Sinclair

We saw our first Northern Shrike this year near our house yesterday, Jan 17. A group of agitated Chickadees led me into the bush about 50 meters behind the house. A Shrike was sitting on the top of a tree while the Chickadees were bouncing around and scolding on the tree underneath it. It sat there quietly for about 15 minutes before disappearing over the trees.
We live 8km east of Bracebridge on Hwy 118E.



Barred Owl
Posted on January 15, 2004 at 07:05:35 PM by Janice House

Moira was driving back from Gravenhurst to Bracebridge on the Muskoka Beach Rd at approx. 4 p.m. when she spotted the owl. She figured she was about mid way through. Are we keeping track of the owls in our neck of the woods?



Northern Goshawk and Pine Grosbeaks at Barkway
Posted on January 14, 2004 at 05:26:23 PM by Ron Stager

There was a Northern Goshawk perched on a tree by our house on Merkley Road today. An incoming flock of Evening Grosbeaks headed for our feeder spotted it and veered off.

There was a group of about 10 Pine Grosbeaks (maybe more) that flew across Barkway Road (about 1162 Barkway) and perched in some trees on the roadside.

Many redpolls were at the feeder today including at least one Hoary. There is certainly a lot of variation in colouring and some variation in size. Does anyone know a resource for identifiable forms of redpolls?

Yesterday, Rose and Erik saw and heard a small flock (more than 4) of White-breasted Nuthatches yanking away and making a general racket.



Re(1): Junco
Posted on February 1, 2004 at 05:28:56 PM by Dave

Last year we had several Junco's around our house in Huntsville all winter. We had never noticed any in prior years, and none this year



Posted on January 9, 2004 at 11:38:16 AM by Barbara Taylor

A single Dark-eyed Junco appeared at our feeder this morning in Bracebridge. Haven't seen or heard any around the neighbourhood since early November.



Redpoll spp. in Arrowhead Park
Posted on January 8, 2004 at 08:32:01 PM by Burke Korol

On Thursday, 8 January, Brian Pfrimmer and I saw one each of a HOARY REDPOLL and a COMMON REDPOLL at the Central Zone office in Arrowhead Provincial Park. The office is the first left after you enter the park, which is about 5 km north of Huntsville on Hwy. 11. The birds came to a feeder around 2 pm and were seen sporadically for the rest of the day.



N. Hawk Owl update Jan 10
Posted on January 10, 2004 at 06:27:18 PM by Al Sinclair

The Northern Hawk Owl continues to be seen daily at the same location, along Hwy 117 at the Bracebridge Golf Course. As well as being seen around Baker's farm, it now has been see on all sides of the golf course and on a spruce tree out in the middle. Today and yesterday it was found on the north and east side of the golf course, best observed from Bonnie Lake Rd which runs north from Hwy 117. At 3 pm today, Sat Jan 10, I was one of six birders that watched it at close range on a pine tree on the east side of Bonnie Lk Rd just south of the 2nd house. It flew and disappeared into some spruce trees along Hwy 117 east of the corner.

Directions: Follow Hwy 11 north of Bracebridge to Hwy 117, go east on Hwy 117 towards Baysville. The Bracebridge Golf Course and Baker's farm is 2.5km from Hwy 11.



Re(1): Northern Hawk Owl at Bracebridge
Posted on January 10, 2004 at 05:00:58 PM by Ron Tozer

*This report originated on ONTBIRDS (Jan. 10, 2004) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Kevin Clute and Lee Pauze reported the Northern Hawk Owl at 1.15 p.m. today.
The bird was perched in a pine near the green barn on the Baker farm, south
side of Highway 117, opposite the golf course.

Ron Tozer

Directions: Follow Hwy 11 north of Bracebridge to Hwy 117, go east on Hwy
117 towards Baysville. The Bracebridge Golf Course and Baker's farm is
2.5km from Hwy 11.



No luck today Jan 10, 10:45am to 11:30am
Posted on January 10, 2004 at 05:47:54 PM by Terry Whittam

No luck this morning observing the hawk owl....talked to a number of local residents walking near the golf course about the owl(did not see the Bakers). Hopefully it is still around! Cheers Terry Whittam



Seen again today Thur Jan 8
Posted on January 8, 2004 at 02:34:44 PM by Al Sinclair

Baker's reported seeing the Hawk Owl today, Jan 8, on a hydro pole beside Hwy 117 opposite their driveway.



N. Hawk Owl - Bracebridge
Posted on January 7, 2004 at 08:20:34 PM by Thom Lambert

*This report originated on ONTBIRDS (Jan. 7, 2004) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

I went to check out the N Hawk Owl previously reported just north
of Bracebridge. I located the bird on a hydro pole right at the end of
the Baker's driveway, across the road from the Golf course. The
bird flew after about 10 minutes, moving to the top of a tall tree next
to the Baker's house.

Directions: Follow Hwy 11 north of Bracebridge to Hwy 117, go east on Hwy
117 towards Baysville. The Bracebridge Golf Course and Baker's farm is
2.5km from Hwy 11.

Thom Lambert
Haliburton, ON


[This post has been modified by an administrator]--just an additional note: The bird was seen between 11:30 a.m. and noon today, Jan. 7.

Posted on January 6, 2004 at 08:13:17 PM by MFN - Challis


Due to influenza prevention measures, The Pines will not be available for this Thursday's meeting of the Muskoka Field Naturalists (Jan. 8). It will take place at the Calvary Baptist Church in Gravenhurst instead. Same time, 7:30 p.m.



Northern Shrike - another one
Posted on January 6, 2004 at 02:14:06 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning we saw an adult Northern Shrike along Stephens Bay Rd., Bracebridge. It was perched high in a tree overlooking the open fields, just south of Beaumont Dr.

The shrike we reported seeing on Jan. 1 further down Stephens Bay Rd. was a young bird with brown/tawny plumage. Today's bird was gray. There seem to be quite a few sightings of Northern Shrikes recently - is this an irruption year?



Re(1): photo of raven and hawk owl
Posted on January 6, 2004 at 09:35:32 AM by Barbara Taylor


This photo of a Common Raven harassing the Northern Hawk Owl was taken Jan. 5 by Bob Bowles. (You can see it was snowing at the time.)



Re(1): Hawk Owl update...more
Posted on January 5, 2004 at 09:10:00 PM by Al Sinclair

I posted our Northern Hawk Owl on the Ontbirds Rare Bird email list yesterday. Dave Wright saw the bird at 1:30pm today and later was told by the Bakers that someone from Lindsay had been up and saw it this morning.



Hawk Owl update
Posted on January 5, 2004 at 05:18:16 PM by Barbara Taylor

Bob Bowles found the Hawk Owl this morning and took some photos. I'll post a follow-up link to the pictures once I get them uploaded. Here's one photo to start with.

Here is Bob's report:
I drove to Bracebridge this morning to see the Northern Hawk Owl that was found last Friday near the Bracebridge Golf Course on Baysville Road. I found it this morning flying over the golf course then it disappeared for about half an hour then appeared at its favourite roost in a small elm trees over a small ravine beside the home of Wes and Doris Baker. I was able to get some photos through my telescope but it started to snow and the snowflakes did not help. There were also a pair of Common Ravens thinking about nesting nearby and the one raven was harassing the hawk owl and trying to drive it away. I am attaching some photos of the hawk owl and one the raven and hawk owl that you can use on your web site or Muskoka Nature Board.



Bald Eagle near Port Sandfield
Posted on January 5, 2004 at 09:46:36 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

At 9:35 am today an adult bald eagle flew east along the channel toward Cox Bay, Port Sandfield on Lake Joseph.



Posted on January 5, 2004 at 09:34:57 AM by Dave Wright

I've had approx. 50 to 70 redpolls at my feeder since early December. The last few days I'm down to about 20 or so (Jan 5/04)



Algonquin Park CBC
Posted on January 4, 2004 at 01:23:27 PM by Ron Tozer

*This report originated on ONTBIRDS (Jan. 3, 2004) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Sixty-eight observers conducted the 30th annual Algonquin Provincial Park
CBC on Saturday, January 3. Preliminary results showed a total of 30 species
(average is 28) and 3,010 individuals (average is 5,111).

Unusual Species:
Mallard (1)
Rough-legged Hawk (1)
Herring Gull (2)
Great Horned Owl (1)
American Three-toed Woodpecker (1)
Hoary Redpoll (2)

Unusual Number of Individuals:
Ruffed Grouse (116) - high
Blue Jay (68) - low

Pine Grosbeak (47)
Red Crossbill (24)
White-winged Crossbill (149)
Common Redpoll (217)
Hoary Redpoll (2)

Ron Tozer



Snow Buntings, Doe Lake Rd
Posted on January 4, 2004 at 11:58:39 AM by Janice House

Just now as drove into our driveway, 17 snow buntings were circling our yard and landed on the gravel bank of the road.



Northern Shrike
Posted on January 4, 2004 at 11:49:00 AM by Ted Smith

Happy new year folks. This morning at around 10:00 a.m. I was fortunate to look out my window at the right time. A Northern Shrike landed on a branch near my feeders to check out what was on the menu! It stuck around for a few minutes and then left without stirring the flock. It was a pleasure to see and I've only seen one other in my neck of the woods last fall. I live on Rocky Narrows Rd on the South Branch off of Hwy 118 east of Uffington.



Re(1): Northern Hawk Owl...saw a photo
Posted on January 4, 2004 at 12:13:04 PM by Al Sinclair


I saw the Hawk Owl and took this photo at 10:30 this morning and watched it until 11:30. It was moving around quite a bit. First somewhere behind Baker's Farm opposite the golf course, then in a poplar on the south side of 117 opposite the Golf Course entrance, then on a hydro pole beside the Hwy at the west side of the golf course, then in a line of poplars going north on the west side of the golf course, then flying across the field west of the golf course.
Bakers report first seeing the owl on Friday Jan 2nd, so it has settled in for a few days at least and may stay for a while.
Directions: North of Bracebridge, go east from Hwy 11 on Hwy 117 towards Baysville. The Bracebridge Golf Course and Baker's farm is 2.5km from Hwy 11.



Northern Hawk Owl
Posted on January 4, 2004 at 09:13:10 AM by Janice House

Moira Payne just phoned me on her cell phone, at 117 and Bonnie Lake Rd there is a hawk owl sitting on the wires. She stopped and walked under the wires and the bird did not fly off. Yesterday we were heading to Stouffville and on the 23rd sideroad near Pefferlaw we saw an immature eagle just sitting on top of a fence post right alongside of the road.



Gravenhurst-Bracebridge Christmas Bird Count - Full report posted
Posted on January 3, 2004 at 10:24:29 PM by Al Sinclair

The full report on the bird count has been posted on Muskoka Nature News. A link to the species list and numbers is in the body of the report.



Re(1): Bald Eagle - still there!
Posted on January 4, 2004 at 12:47:54 PM by Barbara Taylor

Thanks for the tip Mary! This morning (Jan. 4) at 11:30 a.m. we saw an adult Bald Eagle circling over Hwy. 118 at Beaumaris Rd.



Re(1): Bald Eagle
Posted on January 3, 2004 at 09:24:30 PM by Virginia

A little late, but my neighbour here in Port Carling saw a Bald Eagle on Dec 21st flying across 118 near the turn off to the IGA. Could it be the same bird?



Bald Eagle
Posted on January 3, 2004 at 12:36:27 PM by mary willmott

I was very excited this am to see an adult bald eagle at the small lake near Milford Bay on 118 west It did two fly pasts and landed in a tree, all the time being bothered by crows. Also saw a beaver sitting on the ice near open water at Beaumaris bridge.



chickadee, owl calls & otter
Posted on January 1, 2004 at 11:10:16 PM by Challis-Carlyle

New Year's Day dawned with a chickadee on our feeder singing a courtship call. And tonight, two barred owls held a brief calling session.
We also saw an otter fishing in a marshy area west of McKay Lake on Staunton Road off Purbrook Road this afternoon. There may be scant snow, but the return of silence without snowmobiles more than makes up for it!



Wild Turkeys
Posted on January 1, 2004 at 07:48:23 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

After watching 21 red polls at my new feeder set-up at Bala I repaired my suet feeder that an enterprising fisher had dragged about 100 ft from the base of my deck. When I put it back out 6 wild turkeys flew out from underneath the deck where they had been feeding on dropped sunflower seeds.

They returned about 1/2 hr later and two of them flew up onto the small(10x12) deck on my second level and fed on sunflower seeds there. They stayed around for more than an hour.

The fisher has been climbing up the 6"x6" post to get to the second level.



Northern Shrike
Posted on January 1, 2004 at 02:40:11 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there was a Northern Shrike near the entrance to the Royal Muskoka property along Stephens Bay Rd., Bracebridge.



2003 Highlights

Posted on January 1, 2004 at 02:26:34 PM by Barbara Taylor

The year began with the sighting of a Robin, giving us hopes of an early spring. A Red-necked Grebe was a little too hopeful in late February when it "crash-landed" on an ice-covered lake near Novar. The bird was rescued and released in open water at Huntsville. When spring finally did arrive, it was not an easy one for early migrants. A sudden late blast of winter weather made survival too difficult for many Bluebirds and Tree Swallows, but hardier birds like the Robins seemed to get by.

The Wild Turkey population appears to be doing just fine judging from the increased number of sightings. The Bracebridge Ponds continued to provide an amazing diversity of bird species, including the brief visit of a White Pelican! Perhaps just as surprising was the almost completely white Hummingbird that was photographed at a feeder in Bala. There were very low numbers of Blue Jays on Christmas Bird Counts, probably because many birds migrated south due to a lack of food. Hopefully their low numbers are not due to the impact of West Nile virus. As the year came to a close, there were some reports of large numbers of Common Redpolls and Evening Grosbeaks. With "winter finches" on the move it may be time to stock up on that sunflower seed!

Some of the other birding highlights of 2003 included Great Egret, Carolina Wren, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Sandhill Crane, Upland Sandpiper, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Northern Mockingbird, Red-headed Woodpecker, Black-backed Woodpecker, Horned Grebe, Green Heron, Virginia Rail, Northern Pintail, Caspian Tern, and Osprey. Other nature sightings included descriptions of dragonflies and butterflies, caterpillars and moths, bears, moose, turtles, frogs, flying squirrels, and wildflowers. The complete set of postings for 2003 can be found in the Archived Reports. Thanks for all your reports.

Happy New Year,