Muskoka Bird Board - Archived Reports from July - September 2005
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Coopers Hawk
Posted on September 30, 2005 at 06:53:08 PM by Janice House

Geoff and I first saw the hawk on the weekend chasing the blue jays in and out of the trees around my feeders. He was here again this morning around 7 when the dogs and I came back from our walk. 8 bluebirds in the yard today, 4 at once clustered on one of my bluebird houses.



Redhead - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on September 30, 2005 at 11:28:05 AM by Barbara Taylor

At 11:15 a.m. this morning at the Bracebridge Ponds in cell 3:

Redhead (1 male)
Lesser Scaup (1 male)
American Coot (5)
American Black Duck
American Wigeon
Blue-winged Teal
Wood Duck
Canada Goose

Along the edge of the woods to the west of cell 3:
Black-throated Green Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Dark-eyed Junco


Bracebridge Ponds - map



Re(1): Golden-crowned Kinglets, Bala
Posted on September 30, 2005 at 01:14:13 PM by Barbara Taylor

I've also noticed the chipmunks get very vocal this time of year. Perhaps it is a territorial warning call as they prepare to settle in for the winter and don't want any other chipmunks "stealing" their food. The tsuk tsuk call also seems common in early summer when the new crop of baby chipmunks are moving out into the world, and encroach on adult chipmunk territory.



Golden-crowned Kinglets, Bala
Posted on September 28, 2005 at 06:47:15 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Yesterday morning at 7:30 am several golden-crowned kinglets flitted quickly through the trees around my place. Ruby-crowned also but I have been seeing them for a couple of weeks.

Does anyone know what makes all the chipmunks do their tsuk, tsuk, tsuk calls for hours on end? Is it the time of year and if so why?



Re(1): Snow Geese - still in the area
Posted on September 26, 2005 at 12:25:26 PM by Barbara Taylor

At 12:15 p.m. today we saw the 3 adult Snow Geese with several Canada Geese and a few Mallards on the Muskoka Highland's driving range - west side of South Monck Dr. just north of Hwy. 118 W.



Snow Geese back on South Monk Dr. Bracebridge
Posted on September 25, 2005 at 01:37:24 PM by Al Sinclair

Via Wilf Yusek, the McNabbs at 1134 South Monk Dr reported that the 3 Snow Geese flew in to their field at about 1:30 p.m. today, Sun Sep 25.
South Monk Drive is off Hwy 118W just west of Bracebridge.



Rusty Blackbirds Henry Marsh
Posted on September 25, 2005 at 01:34:20 PM by Al Sinclair

Three Rusty Blackbirds were at Henry marsh yesterday afternoon near the "T" where the trails meet.
Henry marsh is at the end of Henry Rd off Beaumont Drive in Bracebridge.



Hermit Thrush, White-throats and White-crowned Sparrows, Bala
Posted on September 25, 2005 at 10:03:04 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

A hermit thrush worked its way through to the south this morning. Several white-throated and white-crowned sparrows busy feeding.



Woodcock, Horned Lark
Posted on September 25, 2005 at 08:01:38 AM by Mark McAnally

Flushed a Woodcock from my back woods in Huntsville today. Saw a Horned Lark in the Cache Lake parking lot in Algonquin Park.



Snow Geese, Coots, Gadwall
Posted on September 23, 2005 at 12:31:09 PM by Barbara Taylor

At 11 a.m. today there were 3 adult Snow Geese on the Muskoka River in front of Annie Williams Park in Bracebridge. Also several Canada Geese and ten Common Mergansers. The park can be accessed from Santa's Village Rd., just a short distance west of Wellington St.

The male Gadwall is still at the Bracebridge Ponds in cell 3. Three American Coots in cell 3.



Gadwall - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on September 20, 2005 at 07:48:00 PM by Barbara Taylor

This evening there was a Gadwall in cell 3 at the Bracebridge Ponds. Several American Wigeon still there too.  On the Muskoka River near the entrance to Kerr Park there were 32 Common Mergansers swimming slowly towards Lake Muskoka.



Posted on September 19, 2005 at 01:43:15 PM by mary willmott

Late posting Sept 15/ I enjoyed watching four Kestrels on the Falkenburg Rd. Then maybe 200 Canada Geese resting and eating bits of harvested corn at Brooklands Farm on the Butter and Egg Rd.



Lincolns, Palm, No Geese
Posted on September 17, 2005 at 06:12:15 PM by Dan Burton

After searching the fields on South Monck Dr and finding no geese. I went to the lagoons (which also had no geese) but did have a good assortment of sparrows, including a Lincoln's Sparrow near the bush pile between cell 3 and 1.
In the alder near cell 4 were several Palm Warblers. Cell 3 was loaded with Widgeon in eclipse plummage.



Re(1): Snow Geese Bracebridge
Posted on September 18, 2005 at 12:15:57 PM by Barbara Taylor

We went looking this morning but only found a few Canada Geese in the field south of #1134 South Monck Drive. But we eventually did find 3 adult Snow Geese along Santa's Village Rd. They flew across the road in front of us and continued on over the Muskoka River heading generally south-west. It looked like they had just taken off from a field east of #281 Santa's Village Rd. where there were several Canada Geese. The Canada's flew off shortly after we arrived at approx. 11 a.m.


Another place to look is Annie Williams Park. You can scan the park's riverfront from the entrance to Kerr Park on Beaumont Dr.   Last year five juvenile Snow Geese were seen there in early November along with large numbers of Canada Geese. (none there this morning)



Re(1): Snow Geese Bracebridge
Posted on September 17, 2005 at 04:04:55 PM by wilf Yusek

Correction to house address should be 1134 S. Monck



Snow Geese Bracebridge
Posted on September 17, 2005 at 11:04:29 AM by Al Sinclair for Wilf Yusek

Wilf just called to say there are 3 Snow Geese with a flock of Canadas on the east side of South Monk Drive past the golf course. Look to the right, well off the road before house number 1163?(I think), gray house with circular drive.
South Monk Drive is just west of Bracebridge off Hwy 118W.



Wigeons, Cuckoo, and more...
Posted on September 16, 2005 at 01:48:59 PM by Barbara Taylor

Around noon today at the Bracebridge Ponds there were eleven AMERICAN WIGEON in cell 3. Also some Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Wood Ducks, American Black Duck, and Mallards. A few warblers were seen to the north of cell 4, including Black-throated Green, Magnolia, Nashville, and Common Yellowthroat. Also a White-crowned Sparrow and White-throated Sparrows north of cell 4. Cedar Waxwings were feeding on the winterberry holly berries. The best sighting was an immature BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO at the intersection of the Trans Canada Trail and the snowmobile trail (near NW corner of cell 4). It had a faint buffy eyering, completely black bill, and its undertail had small whitish spots against a grayish background. In the same area there was an American Redstart and a Northern Flicker.

This morning at the Henry marsh there were two Ring-necked Ducks, a Pied-billed Grebe, a Red-shouldered Hawk, and a Great Blue Heron.

Bracebridge Ponds - map

Directions to Henry marsh: from traffic lights at Eccelstone Dr. and Wellington St., go west on Beaumont Dr. to Henry Rd., Bracebridge



Re(1): 30 Common Mergansers
Posted on September 16, 2005 at 01:18:43 PM by Wilf Yusek

Saw the 30 just east of Henry Road at approx 12 noon today they were heading toward the lake. Took a side trip on Stephens Bay Road saw a Harrier working the hay field just before Strawberry road



30 Common Mergansers
Posted on September 15, 2005 at 04:17:31 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon there were thirty Common Mergansers on the Muskoka River near #1061 Beaumont Dr., Bracebridge. They appeared to be females, but may have included young males in female-like plumage.



Re(1): Beaver trap - UPDATE
Posted on September 21, 2005 at 11:08:17 AM by Barbara Taylor

I've received confirmation from Rick Bolduc that the town of Bracebridge is responsible for the trapping. The town has arranged to have the traps set away from the main trail and the traps are removed on the weekends. I was told that Ron Walton (Public Works Engineer) made the decision to trap the beavers because of recurring flooding/damage to the trail. The town is trying to manage the water level in the marsh so that people can continue to use the trail. Trapping the beavers is currently part of this management process. The town did install two overflow pipes, but the beavers seem to have plugged them up. The town tried breaking down part of the beaver dam earlier in the year...but the beavers just rebuilt it.

Anyone who wishes to discuss this subject further can contact Ron Walton, or the Public Works Committee or the Trails Committee.



Re(6): Beaver trap at Henry marsh
Posted on September 18, 2005 at 04:11:18 PM by Ted gardner

I understand your thoughts and feelings in this regard, however the world is over populated by humans and we tend to take up alot of real estate. Because of this, viable territory for Beavers and such is limited, (and thats a shame)
and because of this it is a realty that for certain populations it is healthy for the species to be harvested.Not to mention that Bruce who commented earlier this practice is as old as Canada itself, and it has always been for commerce. We won't lose the Beaver in Ontario , unless Toronto spreads past the Black Spruce swamps of northern Ontario.



Re(5): Beaver trap at Henry marsh
Posted on September 17, 2005 at 03:52:01 PM by Leslee Tassie

I'm sorry to those who might be in favor of trapping out there, but I really don't believe we have the right to play God. All life is sacred and it is our responsibility to treat it as such and set a good example for our children. Hunting and trapping out of necessity for survival is acceptable, but simply for money (and that's what it boils down to) and trying to justify one's conscience by saying we have to control them is not okay. Man's need to control is what gets us into trouble. We can either choose to kill an otherwise healthy animal (which in turn may cause the death of it's young), or to choose to walk in beauty and in balance with the animals.



Re(4): Beaver trap at Henry marsh
Posted on September 17, 2005 at 10:59:29 AM by Al Sinclair

From a photo taken by Barbara, the trap that killed the beaver was a Conibear, the type now used by professional (paid) trappers. The trap is set under water and the animal drowns after being caught. This is supposed to be the most humane trap available.

I would think that the town has paid someone to remove the beavers, an ill advised plan in my opinion. This location is on the Trans Canada Trail where the town recently built a bridge across the stream that flows out of Henry Marsh. The trail runs along a road allowance within the town of Bracebridge boundary. Beavers have been a "problem" at that location causing water levels to rise in the spring, flood the trail and wash out the former culvert, now a bridge. Perhaps they are trying to protect the bridge but I think we should ask some questions to find out what is going on.

Henry marsh is one of Muskoka's most productive wetlands, and home to a great diversity of plants and animals. In spring and fall it is an important migration stop for hundreds of ducks. The beavers are an important part of this wetland ecosystem and without their dam the marsh would not even exist.



Re(3): Beaver trap at Henry marsh
Posted on September 17, 2005 at 09:44:41 AM by Barbara Taylor

It's being looked into to - will post an update when I have more info.

The trap was positioned away from the main walking trail, so nobody should come upon it unexpectedly. But I would strongly advise all dog walkers to keep their animal on a leash.



Re(2): Beaver trap at Henry marsh
Posted on September 17, 2005 at 00:28:50 AM by Bruce

If, and I stress if, the ponds are being harvested by a licensed trapper, there are those of use on this board who do not view the 300+ year old way of life as "cruel and disgusting" let alone an "atrocity"! Without properly managed harvests, the number of deaths due to disease,starvation, vehicle collisions, etc, would be much greater. Is an animal being run over with a tractor trailer, or slowly starving to death more appealing?
If the trapping is being carried out by an un-licensed individual(s) or other un-approved harvester, then it is a criminal act that could, and should, be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Because one chooses to legally harvest wildlife, do not for one minute, think that they are necessarily less concerned about nature and/or wildlife!



Re(1): Beaver trap at Henry marsh
Posted on September 15, 2005 at 09:57:44 PM by Leslee Tassie

Does anyone know who owns the property? Unfortunately I guess the owner has a right to trap them, but that's still pretty cruel and disgusting. Hopefully a child won't witness this atrocity. Shame shame shame on whoever's doing this.



Beaver trap at Henry marsh
Posted on September 15, 2005 at 04:03:38 PM by Barbara Taylor

Who's trapping the Henry marsh beavers? Town of Bracebridge? Royal Muskoka? This afternoon we were very dismayed to discover a dead beaver in a trap/snare at the edge of the Henry marsh in Bracebridge.

On a brighter note, we saw a Hooded Merganser, Wood Ducks, and many Mallards splashing about, enjoying their afternoon bath. Also a Monarch, and a Mourning Cloak butterfly. At the Henry Rd. parking area there were several nice clumps of mushrooms growing on the wood chip pile.


Mourning Cloak:



Re(1): great horned
Posted on September 15, 2005 at 00:08:17 AM by Leslee Tassie

The Great Horned Owl is on Santa's Village Road near the pipeline. Heard twice this week so far, 6 am Monday and about midnight Tuesday. We've been hearing it here though off and on since the summer of 2004, and during the different seasons. Last summer a pair were calling back and forth and we think we may have heard young at one point. This year we've only heard one GH owl.



great horned
Posted on September 13, 2005 at 08:38:55 PM by todd white

hello,just wondering where the horned has been?



monarchs, great horned owl, hummingbirds
Posted on September 13, 2005 at 04:45:49 PM by Leslee Tassie

We have a lot of monarchs this year, it seems to be a good year for them. They sure love our butterfly bush.
I heard the great horned owl at our place here again last night. We still have hummingbirds, females for sure, and I suppose young males (no red throats).   (Bracebridge)



Re(1): monarchs everywhere
Posted on September 13, 2005 at 06:05:13 PM by Barbara Taylor

We've been seeing a few Monarch butterflies in our yard now that the Sedum Autumn Joy blooms are turning pink. The butterflies love it since they can just sit on top of the large flower heads and sip away...

n. pl. chrys·a·lis·es or chry·sal·i·des

Took this photo in our yard today (Bracebridge)



monarchs everywhere
Posted on September 13, 2005 at 12:59:24 PM by Challis-Carlyle

We let the milkweeds grow all over our front garden this summer -- the blooms smell wonderful, and the butterflies like it. And this year there have been many successful crysalises (crysallii? -- can anyone help?). At least nine adults have emerged over the last couple of weeks, and more to come. (Rocksborough Rd., Bracebridge)



Beausoleil Is. Sep 11...Black-bellied Plovers
Posted on September 12, 2005 at 10:34:31 PM by Al Sinclair

Jim Goltz, Joan & Al Sinclair were on Beausoleil Island from 9:00 to 5:00 on Sunday Sep 11. We hiked around the south half of the island, mostly on the shoreline looking for plants. We found some shorebirds on the sandy beach, west side south of the visitor centre. There were 3 Black-bellied Plovers, 1 Semipalmated Plover, 1 Pectoral Sandpiper, one Greater and a few Lesser Yellowlegs. We also found a Philadelphia Vireo in the Cedar Springs Campground and several American Pipits on the west side of the island.
To get to the island you can rent a boat or take the water taxi out of Honey Harbour. We took the taxi. Our complete bird list is below. I will post a list of some of the good plants later. Beausoleil is a limestone island that has many plants that are rare or absent in other parts of Muskoka.

38 seen
Double-crested Cormorant
Canada Goose
Turkey Vulture
Broad-winged Hawk
Black-bellied Plover
Semipalmated Plover
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Pectoral Sandpiper
Herring Gull
Rock Pigeon
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
American Pipit
Black-capped Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Blue Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
European Starling
Blue-headed Vireo
Philadelphia Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Magnolia Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Pine Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
////---- STATISTICS ----/////
Species seen - 38



Baby Turtles
Posted on September 11, 2005 at 02:44:09 PM by Peter Mills

Now that September is underway, baby Turtles are going to be hatching out and heading for water making this their most visible period. Any reports could help us determine what species hatch out when and where. Snapper and Painted are the most likey, however, Spotted, Blanding's and even Map are possibilities so keep an eye out!



Posted on September 11, 2005 at 07:33:45 AM by Janice House

Yesterday my brother saw 16 loons at the mouth of Beamans Bay in Skeleton Lake. Another year Mom & Dad counted 22 together.



American Pipits near Torrance
Posted on September 10, 2005 at 04:12:50 PM by Al Sinclair for Jim Goltz

On Sep 9, Jim Goltz reports seeing about 20 American Pipits (formerly Water Pipits) along the Devil's Gap Trail that runs from Sniders Bay Rd west of Gravenhurst to Torrance. They were in a dried up beaver pond close to Gullwing Lake.



16 species of Warblers...Sep 6/7
Posted on September 10, 2005 at 04:04:53 PM by Al Sinclair for Bruce Ripley

Bruce Ripley visiting here from the Kingston Area sent the following report:

Birded Henry Marsh on the 6th and located 13 species of warblers
at this location was a RED-SHOULDERED HAWK and 2 SCARLET TANAGERS. A Least
Skipper was also observed. On the 7th at Arrowhead P.P. 16 species of
warblers were seen including all of the previously mentioned and NORTHERN
GROSBEAK were seen as well . There were four MERLINS seen in the
Bracebridge/Huntsville area over the two days. Really enjoy birding your
peaceful and scenic part of Ontario.

Good Birding
Bruce Ripley



Windermere Lincoln's Sparrows & other migrants
Posted on September 10, 2005 at 11:55:48 AM by David Britton

I birded along Rostrevor Rd. outside of Windermere this morning and observed the following migrants: Least Flycatcher, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Nashville, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Yellow-rumped, Blackburnian and Palm warblers, as well as American Redstart and Common Yellowthroat.

The highlight was three unusually cooperative Lincoln's Sparrows just south of the bridge over the Dee River. This is only the second time I've recorded this species here.



Re(1): Ducks on the move
Posted on September 10, 2005 at 10:00:30 AM by Barbara Taylor

Very early this morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there were 9 American Wigeon (cell 3), 20 Blue-winged Teal (cell 1), 80 Wood Ducks, 40 Mallards, and 2 American Black Ducks. Many of the ducks had already left by the time I returned at 8:30 a.m. Two Gray Catbirds were "mewing" loudly near the Lagoon Lane gate.
Bracebridge Ponds - map



Ducks on the move
Posted on September 9, 2005 at 09:17:06 PM by Barbara Taylor

This evening between 7:30-8:30 p.m. there were lots of ducks coming in for the night at the Henry Rd. marsh in Bracebridge. There were also large numbers that kept on flying past the marsh, heading somewhere further west. Most appeared to be Mallards and Wood Ducks, but then with the fading light, it became impossible to tell. The biggest group we saw flying over was about 70 birds.

Other birds seen: Pied-billed Grebe, Indigo Bunting, two very plump Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and several White-throated Sparrows.



Re(1): Loosestrife? - a second look, could be L. alatum
Posted on September 9, 2005 at 09:45:37 AM by Al Sinclair

Our friend Sue Bennett was with us yesterday and she emailed this morning saying she thought it was L. alatum, Winged Loosestrife. As I found this morning it is better illustrated in The Peterson Field Guide to Wildflowers than in Newcomb (where I looked). I checked the sample I took and it does have " slight wings" on the stalk and the leaves and stalk are hairy not smooth as in virgatum. V. alatum is a native plant and is ranked as S3 in Ontario, rare to uncommon, 20 to 100 locations. Jim Goltz, Muskoka's flora expert and an excellent field botanist is visiting here from New Brunswick this week and I will ask him to confirm it. Stay tuned.



Re(1): Loosestrife? - ID help please...
Posted on September 9, 2005 at 08:25:37 AM by Leslee Tassie

An interesting note: For my birthday a couple of weeks ago, someone who is fairly new to gardening gave me a lovely bunch of perrenials in a pot. There were 6 perrenials and she included the identification tags. Lo and behold, here's a purple loosestrife plant she purchased at one of the local "cheaper" stores that sell plants. The tag reads "Lythrum salicaria" and "Morden's Gleam" on the front and "Purple Loosestrife" in smaller print on the back. Isn't it illegal to sell the stuff? I didn't plant it, we disposed of it properly, but we live on a creek that so far has escaped it, and if I hadn't noticed, I'd be responsible for it popping up next year. It was purchased locally! Beware of what you buy.



Re(2): Loosestrife? - ID help please...
Posted on September 8, 2005 at 10:10:19 PM by Barbara Taylor

I was really hoping it was one of the native loosestrifes. Lythrum virgatum doesn't sound much better than the beastly Purple Loosestrife, which we've noticed in a few spots at the Henry Rd. marsh this year.



Re(1): Loosestrife? - ID help please...
Posted on September 8, 2005 at 09:20:16 PM by Al Sinclair

I checked it out this afternoon, interesting plant. I think it is Lythrum virgatum an escaped cultivated species. A Google search turned up the following. It forms clumps, does not spread like Purple Loosestrife, and is apparently sterile unless pollinated by wild Purple Loosestrife (then 80% of the seeds are viable). Like Purple Loosestrife it has been banned from sale by many states in the US because of the damage it does to wetlands. It is considered safe to plant by some if Purple Loosestrife is not growing nearby. It goes by the common names Morden's Pink or European Wand Loosestrife. The Readers Digest encyclopedia of garden plants names a couple of varieties, Red Rocket and Rose Queen.



Loosestrife? - ID help please...
Posted on September 8, 2005 at 08:48:35 PM by Barbara Taylor

In an earlier post Ted Gardner asked for help identifying purple plants at the Bracebridge Ponds. Turns out there is a lot of pink-flowered Smartweed all around the edges of the ponds, but only one "purple plant". Ted sent me directions (the plant is in the NW corner of cell 2, near the entrance to the lagoons from Kerr Park) and I took a few photographs today. This plant doesn't have the typical spike of flowers that I've seen on Purple Loosestrife, but it does have hairy stems and leaves and is woody at the base. The plant appears to be too tall (about 6') to be Winged Loosestrife. I'm hoping it is a native Loosestrife instead of just a strange looking Purple Loosestrife. Does anyone know which species it is?

Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
Swamp Loosestrife (Decodon verticillatus)
Winged Loosestrife (Lythrum alatum)

The first photo was taken by Ted Gardner a few days ago when the plant had more flowers open. The next five photos were taken by me today. The pink flowers in the woodybase photo are Smartweed.



Palm Warbler - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on September 8, 2005 at 04:04:03 PM by Barbara Taylor

Earlier today at the Bracebridge Ponds, Janice House, Bob Burt and I saw the following...

In the shrubbery to the north of cell 2 there was a Red-eyed Vireo, Palm Warbler, and some Common Yellowthroats. In cell 4 there were at least 2 Pied-billed Grebes, and a probable Hooded Merganser. Three American Wigeon were in cell 3. A few Green-winged Teal in cell 1 along with several Wood Ducks. The only shorebird seen was a Spotted Sandpiper at the east side of cell 1. To the north of cell 4 we saw many chickadees but no warblers were travelling with them. At the Lagoon Lane gate there was a young male Rose-breasted Grosbeak.  Bracebridge Ponds - map



Re(1): Barred Owl
Posted on September 6, 2005 at 08:13:55 AM by Brenda Clark

Several years ago my husband and I went camping on the Labour Day weekend on crown land near the border of Muskoka/Haliburton and heard a barred owl hooting as we prepared dinner at 6pm. in broad daylight.



Barred Owl
Posted on September 5, 2005 at 06:53:52 PM by Terry Whittam / Marion Whittam

Barred owl calling Friday Sept 2, 3am to 5am outside our bedroom window on Clearwater Lake east of Washago!
"Who cooks for you...... who cooks for you .....(all)". This bird has forgotten the "all" ??? Seems like a strange time to hear a Barred owl calling? Any comments on this?

This picture was taken in the spring on the Owl census near Big Chute on the Severn river.
Barred Owl



Barred Owl
Posted on September 5, 2005 at 09:29:44 AM by Leslee Tassie

Steve and I were camping with friends at Pittman's Bay (on Mary Lake between Bracebridge and Huntsville). We heard a barred owl about 6 a.m. Sunday morning (Sept. 4). Also heard a loon and flocks of geese after dusk.



Posted on September 4, 2005 at 01:40:40 PM by Wilf Yusek

This morning at approx. 11.45 there was a Whimbrel on the Muskoka Highlands Golf course, I saw it on the 16th fairway, it then flew off to the pond near th 6th fairway, I did not see it again as there were many golfers and the bird will probably be flushed a few times.



Geese Migrating
Posted on September 3, 2005 at 03:47:03 PM by Brenda Clark

Two days ago and yesterday I heard geese, but today I saw them...4 strings so far, numbering about 500 birds altogether.
The adult male hummers have been gone for quite some time, just young males and females.
All this together with the loose flocks of warblers tells me something about the time of year. I hope they don't hit any hurricanes on the way south, as the hummers already were dealt a blow on the way up here with those snow storms!



Re(1): Lagoons
Posted on September 6, 2005 at 10:11:38 AM by Janice House

Moira and I were at the lagoons at 8 am and saw the wigeons. We also saw 2 pied-billed grebes in cell 4, adult and baby. In the corner of cell 4 near Muskoka Transport there were 2 otters playing.



Posted on September 3, 2005 at 01:54:32 PM by Wilf Yusek

In cell 3 I saw 2 American Wigeons approx noon today along with all the other usual ducks.



Windermere Warblers
Posted on September 3, 2005 at 10:57:15 AM by David Britton

This morning there was a nice movement of warblers on Rostrevor Rd. just outside of Windermere. Most of the birds were in the vicinity of the bridge over the Dee River, about 500m N of the intersection of Rostrevor and Windermere Rd.

Species included Blackpoll, Palm, Blackpoll, Black-and-White, Yellow-rumped, Yellow, Chestnut-sided, Nashville, Black-throated Green, Magnolia, Common Yellowthroat, Ovenbird and American Redstart.

Also present in the same area were Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Baltimore Oriole, Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak and Indigo Bunting. Probably that last of these guys that I'll see until next May!



Re(2): Wild Plant @ lagoons
Posted on September 3, 2005 at 06:10:37 PM by Ted gardner

Thanks , but i don't think thats them as the leaves on these plants are much smaller and the blooms are bigger and spread out along the stock. I'm not a technical wizard and cant seem to figure out how to attach the picture.
i live on Meadow hieghts(were veritable nieghbors) and would love to show you the picture as they are quite spectacular not to mention that i'd like to meet the caretaker of my favorite web site. Ted



Re(1): Wild Plant @ lagoons
Posted on September 3, 2005 at 08:50:40 AM by Barbara Taylor

I think I know which plants you mean - they are growing all along the water's edge and have purple-pink flowers. I believe it is one of the Smartweeds...possibly Swamp Smartweed (Polygonum coccineum).

Here are a few links to photos of Smartweed:



Wild Plant @ lagoons
Posted on September 2, 2005 at 08:30:01 PM by Ted Gardner

There are an abundance of tall purple plants growing around the edges of the Bracebridge lagoons. They are not Loosestrife and are rather pretty. Anyone have an idea what they are?



Pied-billed Grebes
Posted on September 1, 2005 at 12:15:09 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there were two Pied-billed Grebes in the NE corner of cell 4. One was an immature, still showing a bit of striping on its face.

To the north of cell 4 there were three young Indigo Buntings, one still begging for food when the adult female was near. Two Yellowlegs were wading in shallow water on the east side of cell 3. Water levels in all the ponds are quite high, so no mudflats for any shorebirds.
Bracebridge Ponds - map



Bird Board update
Posted on September 1, 2005 at 09:27:39 AM by Barbara Taylor

Thanks to everyone for all your reports. All posts for July and August are now available in the Archived Reports.

There have recently been a few spam posts on the Bird Board. Please ignore any obvious off-topic messages. Such posts will be removed as soon as possible.

Need help posting photos?
Find out how to post your digital photos and give it a try on the Ontario Nature Photos board.

New to the Bird Board?
The Muskoka Bird Board is a place to share reports of any bird sightings or other nature sightings in Muskoka and surrounding areas. You don't have to include an email address in your post. See the Posting Guidelines for more information, including several tips on using the message board.

Barbara Taylor



Flicker in dogwood
Posted on September 1, 2005 at 08:53:08 AM by Gayle Carlyle

Wed. Aug. 31 7:00 pm
We watched, with delight, an adult flicker gorging him/her self on ripe berries from our huge thicket of red-osier dogwoods.
I've never seen this species eat berries before but I'm very pleased that our planting of native tree and shrub species is providing such a bounty to the local wildlife.



Algonquin Birds
Posted on August 29, 2005 at 08:58:25 PM by Bruce Ripley

*This report originated on ONTBIRDS (August 29, 2005) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Birded today with my nephew Justin to look for what we called the "fab four"
specialty birds of Algonquin. We first arrived at the Spruce Bog Boardwalk
at 7:00a.m. before the crowds gathered and easily found 6 SPRUCE GROUSE.
Next stop was the north end of the Mizzy Lake Trail where we had 6+ BOREAL
CHICKADEES and 1 male BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER. We enjoyed long and close
looks at all three of these species. The one species that eluded us was the
GRAY JAY, but it certainly wasn't from a lack of trying as we checked all
the best locations. YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS were the most abundant bird
species of the day. They were everywhere in good numbers. A moose was
heard in the distance and 11 butterfly species were observed.

Good Birding
Bruce Ripley

Km. 42.5 Spruce Bog Boardwalk

Km. 15.4 Arowhon Road
Take Arowhon road north off of Hwy 60 for about 5 km. Where the
road branches in three (old rail line) at the large Arowhon Resort sign,
take the right
branch and drive about 100m along the old rail bed until you reach the chain
across the road and park there. The rail bed can then be walked. After
about 15 minutes it joins up with the upper part of the Mizzy Lake trail
and passes by Wolf Howl Pond and West Rose Lake. Return on same route
from West Rose Lake.

*ONTBIRDS is presented by the Ontario Field Ornithologists - the provincial
birding organization. For instructions to join or leave ONTBIRDS visit



Re(2): Nighthawks in Bracebridge
Posted on August 31, 2005 at 09:24:43 AM by Dave Hawke

I observed and photographed an immature Nighthawk at Taboo Resort Parklands on August 27. This was the first seen in about 3 years. It was sleeping on an open granite area, flew up and settled on a lichen covered oak branch. 300mm lens provided good pics.



Re(1): Nighthawks in Bracebridge
Posted on August 29, 2005 at 07:10:29 PM by Ted Gardner

At Aprox 7 pm in advance of the aproaching thunder, up really high i would estimate conservativly 100 plus Common nighthawks the most at one time in a long time!! they stayed ahead of the aproaching storm taking advantage of the flying insects being hurded by the storm. Quite a sight!!



Re(1): Nighthawks in Bracebridge
Posted on August 29, 2005 at 06:52:15 PM by Barbara Taylor

I just went outside to check on the approaching thunderstorms and couldn't believe my eyes. At least 30 Common Nighthawks are presently circling over Glendale Rd. just south of Kevin Cres., Bracebridge.



Nighthawks in Bracebridge
Posted on August 29, 2005 at 06:34:44 PM by Bob Healey

At 5:15 today, I saw 5 nighthawks flying single-file over the 9th hole at SMC&GC heading west. It was the first time I have seen them in the area in two years.



Re(1): Bald Eagle at The Ponds Aug
Posted on September 3, 2005 at 11:08:54 AM by Marlene Walker

I observed an adult Bald Eagle this morning on Bella Lake.This was the first one I've seen here ever.



Bald Eagle at The Ponds Aug
Posted on August 27, 2005 at 03:18:33 PM by Al Sinclair for Wilf Yusek

Wilf Yusek took this photo of a large bird flying over the Bracebridge Ponds on Aug 24/05. I increased the brightness a bit to see the markings on the underside better. Looks like a juvenile (1st yr) Bald Eagle. No nest records for Muskoka yet so must be a migrant from further north. This may be the first sighting of Bald Eagle at the Ponds, anybody recall a previous one?  photo



Beautiful - Virginia Meadow Beauty!
Posted on August 25, 2005 at 09:16:08 PM by Terry Whittam / Marion Whittam

Our local patch of Virginia Meadow Beauty has once again flourished!
A real Muskoka beauty!  Virginia Meadow Beauty



Cecropia Moth Caterpillar
Posted on August 25, 2005 at 08:46:26 PM by Terry Whittam / Marion Whittam

Hyalophora cecropia: I found this beauty under some leaves behind the cottage! Thanks to Al Sinclair for helping to identify!  Cecropia Moth Caterpillar



19 nighthawks
Posted on August 24, 2005 at 09:23:38 PM by Leslee Tassie

At about 8 p.m. tonight we counted 19 common nighthawks flying high over our house (near the pipeline on Santa's Village Road in Bracebridge). About 3 nights ago we heard the Great Horned Owl again, we haven't heard it for awhile. Another sighting a couple of weeks ago that Steve and I had was over towards the Hockley Valley. A mama wild turkey and her 6 young crossed the country road in front of us and let us get a good look at them. She was hesitant to leave the road for the security of the bush. We understood why when the slowpoke of the bunch she must have been patiently waiting for scooted across the road to join them finally.



Wilson's Warbler - Henry Rd.
Posted on August 24, 2005 at 08:57:12 PM by Barbara Taylor

This evening we saw our first Wilson's Warbler of the year. It was in some willow thickets where the Henry Rd. trail leaves the woods and you step out into the open area. A male American Redstart was nearby. (directions: from traffic lights at Eccelstone Dr. and Wellington St., go west on Beaumont Dr. to Henry Rd., Bracebridge)

Earlier today in our backyard there was a Bay-breasted Warbler, a Philadelphia Vireo, and a Nashville Warbler. (Bracebridge)



Posted on August 22, 2005 at 04:56:01 PM by Challis

This morning, the first redstart I've seen all year popped out of the bushes on Rocksborough Road, Bracebridge. There was great bird activity around a creek, and when I pished it flew out, fanning its tail and making a great fuss.



hawk - need ID help
Posted on August 22, 2005 at 04:53:09 PM by Challis & Carlyle

On Sunday we were hiking the Monsell Road, which winds north of the Purbrook Road from Fraserburg Road, and cuts west to become the Taylor Road extension. All dirt, single lane. On a small lake/large pond, we saw a hawk sitting on a beaver lodge, watching something, likely a mouse, or noises inside the lodge, beneath its feet. It was far enough away that we couldn't identify it, but it had a rusty breast (no striping visible from that distance), with buff coloured leg feathers. Its face was fairly light coloured as well. A red-shouldered, perhaps?



Wilson's Falls trail - warblers
Posted on August 22, 2005 at 02:35:47 PM by Barbara Taylor

Thanks Janice for your earlier post which mentioned "lots of warblers" - we found them!

This morning we walked along part of the Wilson's Falls trail, starting at the falls (bit of a misnomer since only a rivulet of water is coming over the rocks right now) and heading towards Wilshier Blvd. Just after crossing the river we heard a Northern Flicker calling, and saw a Red-eyed Vireo feeding its offspring. After a steep climb, the trail goes down into a ravine, and from about half way down you can see a stick nest high up in a maple tree some distance off to the left side of the trail. I wonder if the fisherman who saw "owls" might have seen Broad-winged Hawks. We couldn't get a very good look at the nest, but there was no activity nearby. We did see two juvenile Broad-wings near the dam a couple years ago.

The trail follows a little stream through the ravine, where we found several warblers in a mixed flock along with many Black-capped Chickadees. They were in an area of blackberry brambles and honeysuckle? shrubs full of ripe fruit. The grosbeaks were eating the red berries. For anyone trying to see warblers at this time of year, the secret is to listen for the sounds of chickadees since most warblers won't be singing now. Quite often you will find several species of warblers travelling along with the chickadees. 

Here's the list of birds seen in the ravine:
Canada Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-throated Sparrow
Black-capped Chickadee
American Goldfinch

directions: From Hwy. 11 take Taylor Rd. exit into Bracebridge. Turn right on River Rd. immediately after crossing the river. Stay right and continue along Wilson's Falls Rd. which follows the river to the parking lot at the end of the road up the hill, and pick up the trail from there. Once you walk across the river on the metal walkway, turn left. After a brief walk, take the trail branching off to your right - it immediately goes up a very steep hill into the woods. You eventually descend into the ravine where we found all the warblers.  If you want to avoid the very steep hill, there is a slightly more gentle hill if you approach the ravine from the Wilshier Blvd. end.



Re(1): Bracebridge Lagoon Sandpipers
Posted on August 20, 2005 at 02:40:21 PM by Wilf Yusek

Should have added that they were all in cell 1 east side near the south end



Bracebridge Lagoon Sandpipers
Posted on August 20, 2005 at 02:38:12 PM by Wilf Yusek

Saw at the lagoons this morning
4-Lesser yellowlegs
3-Solitary Sandpipers
1- Spotted "
1- Least "
1- Pectoral "



Warblers, Shorebirds, and more...
Posted on August 20, 2005 at 02:35:40 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there were a few shorebirds in cell 1, once again along the eastern shoreline near the south end. We saw Solitary Sandpipers, a Least Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs, and a Spotted Sandpiper. There was also a Solitary Sandpiper in the muddy ditch north of cell 4. Many swallows were flying over cells 3 and 4, including Tree, Cliff, Bank, and Barn. A Hooded Merganser was in cell 4. Several Wood Ducks were in cells 1 and 4.


To the north of cell 4 we saw Philadelphia Vireos, juvenile Yellow-rumped Warblers, Yellow Warblers, an Ovenbird, a Mourning Dove, Eastern Kingbirds, a Downy Woodpecker, and Cedar Waxwings. We followed the sounds of Black-capped Chickadees and Red-breasted Nuthatches near the north-west corner of cell 4, and were delighted to find many warblers in a large mixed flock, including both adults and juveniles -- Black-and-White, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, American Redstart, Black-throated Green, Black-throated Blue, and Nashville. We also saw two Green Herons, a Great Blue Heron, and a Belted Kingfisher.

There wasn't much activity at the Henry Rd. marsh this morning. A Belted Kingfisher, a young Pied-billed Grebe and a family of Common Yellowthroats were the highlights.

Bracebridge Ponds - map



Snakes, Bala
Posted on August 18, 2005 at 05:58:24 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I haven't seen any snakes at around my place since the beginning of July. Yesterday, while cleaning out my basement, I found a milk snake in a box of clothes. Have to assume it has been too hot for them outside and they have decided to seek the cool of the inside.

This was the first milk snake I have ever seen around my place.



WCSP back
Posted on August 18, 2005 at 12:05:36 PM by Dan Burton

Yesterday I saw a juvenile White Crowned Sparrow on the gas pipeline in Gravenhurst. Today's bird was an Ovenbird in my front yard.



Re(3): Owls, Wilsons Falls
Posted on August 21, 2005 at 06:39:28 PM by Janice House

Moira and I parked at the end of River Rd on Saturday around 1:30 and walked across the bridge, we turned left and followed the trail towards Wilshire Blvd. In the ravine bottom on the trail beside the creek we saw several trees that looked like likely spots for owls to sit and watch. We did not spot any owls, late afternoon might be a good time to go for a walk. There were lots of warblers and a phoebee where we parked our cars.



Re(2): Owls, Wilsons Falls
Posted on August 21, 2005 at 01:41:56 PM by Barbara Taylor

From Hwy. 11, take the Taylor Rd. exit into Bracebridge. There is a map of the trail and all the entrance points described on the Town of Bracebridge trails webpage.

Here is an excerpt with directions for the Wilshier trailhead: "When coming from Hwy 11 turn on to Pine Street from Taylor Road at the lights by the Baptist Church. Follow Pine Street and turn right on to Wilshier Blvd. Proceed to follow this road all the way to end where you will find the trail at the turnaround."

If you want to drive all the way to the falls, stay on Taylor Rd. until you cross the river and immediately turn right onto River Rd. Follow the river all the way to the end of the road. There is a trailhead there too.



Re(1): Owls, Wilsons Falls
Posted on August 21, 2005 at 10:10:00 AM by todd white

hello janice,could you tell me wher wilson falls is? how to get there?todd



Owls, Wilsons Falls
Posted on August 18, 2005 at 07:50:32 AM by Janice House

Two owls have been seen over a 2-3 week period at the falls. The fisherman has gone to the falls via the Wilshier Blvd path. The spot was described as the green area (swampy section ?) The first time he came face to face with the owl and the second owl swooped over his head, he thought he would be hit. No description on the owls.



Merlin's nesting
Posted on August 17, 2005 at 11:06:09 PM by Terry Whittam / Marion Whittam

For nearly 2 weeks now mother Merlin and father have been diligently feeding 2 young! I found the nest just off our driveway at Clearwater Lake east of Washago! Every morning in May and June as we have gone atlasing we have passed the nest by! The unending screeching of the 2 young really was what caught my attention. The young fly around the cottage for short distances incessantly calling for mom and dad...only food quiets them for a few minutes. Feeding starts about 5:10am and ends after sunset! Quite amazing! They seem to ignore us and regularly perch nearby! Seems like a late brood but I understand Merlins incubate for about 30 days and stay near the nest for 35 days. Pictures to follow!
Note neighbors report finding piles of feathers and a distinct drop in Mourning doves!



Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Posted on August 16, 2005 at 06:50:44 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I have seen a couple of juvenile yellow-bellied sapsuckers around my place in Bala for a couple of weeks now. This morning I saw one hanging on the peanut feeder. The juveniles did this last year too. They came in to the peanuts for several weeks.

I guess they haven't learned about sap yet or maybe there isn't much sap at this time of year and they eat lots of other things!?



Re(1): Henry marsh
Posted on August 15, 2005 at 10:28:02 AM by Al Sinclair

Butterfly: Bronze Copper, right, found around wetlands like Henry Marsh, good sighting!
Mushroom: Looks like Crumble Cap, Coprinus disseminatus, common on old stumps and buried wood.



Henry marsh
Posted on August 14, 2005 at 02:51:21 PM by Barbara Taylor

Before heading over to the Ponds this morning, we checked out the Henry marsh. There was a small mixed flock of birds feeding in the shrubbery at the edge of the woods. We had great looks at a male Golden-winged Warbler, a female American Redstart, Nashville Warblers, three Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, and several Black-capped Chickadees.

There were two otters swimming near the beaver dam. A Green Heron flew overhead, and 14 Canada Geese came in from the north and landed on the pond. Several Ruby-throated Hummingbirds were feeding at the Jewelweed flowers and many American Goldfinch were flying about. There were a few Monarch butterflies, a White Admiral, and a pretty little butterfly we've never seen before - a Bronze Copper? (see photo). Several wee mushrooms were growing in the wood chips along the path - they looked like tiny parachutes (see photo). Click on thumbnail photos to see larger picture.



Shorebirds at the Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on August 14, 2005 at 01:37:10 PM by Barbara Taylor

At the Bracebridge Ponds this morning there were several sandpipers in cell 1. They were spread out along the east shoreline, mostly near the south end. Then some flew over to the floating mats of vegetation near the north-west corner. With the much appreciated identification skills of Wilf Yusek and his spotting scope, we found the following:

Lesser Yellowlegs (1)
Spotted Sandpiper (3)
Least Sandpiper (9)
Solitary Sandpiper (6)
Semipalmated Sandpiper (2)

Wilf also saw a Lesser Scaup in cell 4.

Bracebridge Ponds - map



Re(1): Turkey vultures way way up north
Posted on August 21, 2005 at 02:57:46 PM by Barbara Taylor

Turkey Vultures have been expanding northward, but I don't think anyone has come up with a definitive reason why. I've seen suggestions that it is due to generally warmer climate or even increased food supplies (roadkill) due to more traffic on our highways.

Go to the link below for recent Ontario Breeding Bird maps - choose Turkey Vulture as the species and you will see a few observations near the area where you saw the vultures.
BBS maps



Turkey vultures way way up north
Posted on August 13, 2005 at 09:51:53 PM by Ted Smith

Hi folks,

I just returned this past Wednesday from a week long photography assignment way up north near Pickle Lake. Pickle Lake is about 7 hours north of Thunder Bay. I saw and photographed numerous eagles and several very elusive fishermen! What I thought was interesting spotting four turkey vultures circling the area in their typical gliding fashion. I didn't realize they would be that far north.



Re(2): frogs
Posted on August 18, 2005 at 08:39:53 PM by Barbara Taylor

Your description sounds like they might be the brown version of a Green Frog. See if this picture matches what you have:

You can find more pictures and a description at:

If you can get a digital photo of your frog, I'd be happy to post it for you. I thought Mink Frogs were mottled on their back, not solid brown, but they do have some green by their mouth, so could be.  If you can catch one, a Mink Frog has a distinctive musky odor, which I've seen described as "rotten onions".
 By the way, what is the general location (town?) of these frogs. Thanks.


UPDATE: In an email from Frank, he says "I now agree that our little visitors are probably brown version of green frogs."



Re(1): frogs
Posted on August 17, 2005 at 07:39:30 PM by Frank & Jane LeVay

In our garden pond we have hosted for the last month or so 4 frogs which appear to be mink frogs (?) They vary in size but all have solid brown backs & green moustaches. (No kidding!)
Opinions?         (Gravenhurst)



Posted on August 12, 2005 at 10:30:55 AM by Dawn

I have a small decorative pond in my garden. The dry summer had brought two Green frogs to it a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday, three more joined them and I was surprised to also find a large Northern Leopard frog.
Huntsville  photo



Re(1): Huge caterpillar - ID? (photos)
Posted on August 18, 2005 at 08:40:04 PM by Janice House

I left Barb a phone message, I think it was Monday, found a squashed caterpillar on the Laycox Rd, hope it wasn't my bug, tonight I found another one on the opposite end of the road, this one was dark green. I am guessing there are a few in the neighbourhood.



Re(1): Huge caterpillar - Adult photo
Posted on August 12, 2005 at 06:33:30 PM by Al Sinclair

This Imperial Moth was photographed by Eleanor Kee Wellman in Jaspen Park in Bala on July 10, 2004. photo



Re(1): Huge caterpillar - ID? (photos)
Posted on August 12, 2005 at 05:46:29 PM by Bob Bowles

This is an Pine Imperial Moth caterpillar, Eacles imperialis pini. I had not found this species in Muskoka for many year but a friend told me that he had one at his cottage near Gravenhurst about 15 years ago. The in 2002 I had several adults visit my moth light on the Magnetawan River in Parry Sound. That same year I received photos from two friends in Muskoka who had found a large caterpillar which I identified as an Imperial Moth caterpillar. It seems that this species which feeds on conifers as opposed to the Imperial Moth which feeds on maples, oaks, baswood, birches, elms and walnuts as well as pine and cedars.



Re(1): Huge caterpillar - ID? (photos)
Posted on August 12, 2005 at 03:27:50 PM by Ruthann Smith

Hi... I also found one of these creatures.. the size is astounding.. found on Cedar lane in Bracebridge.. in the garage!!



Re(1): Huge caterpillar - ID? (photos)
Posted on August 12, 2005 at 12:08:38 PM by Al Sinclair

I think it is an Imperial Moth caterpillar (Eacles imperialis). They are very variable in appearance and color(green, red, brown, charcoal, etc). According to Wagner (Caterpillars of Eastern North America): "always recognizable by its long silky setae and prominent white spiracles...Caterpillars feed by locking onto vegetation with their powerful anal prolegs and pulling leaves and needles back over the body". The armoured plates edged with yellow at the back end also appear to be distinctive.
seta: hairlike outgrowth from head or body
spiracles: lateral oval to round openings of respiratory system found on first thoracic and first eight abdominal segments



Re(1): Huge caterpillar - ID? (photos)
Posted on August 12, 2005 at 11:55:20 AM by Garth N. Baker

Hi Barbara;

Just a guess(going by size) I would think it was perhaps a Larval Stage Cecropia Moth.

Real Neat looking creature!

Cheer's Garth/Innisfil



Huge caterpillar - ID? (photos)
Posted on August 11, 2005 at 09:53:29 PM by Barbara Taylor

Janice House found another one of those "huge caterpillar like things" today, this time on the Laycox Road, Gravenhurst. I took a few pictures. Does anybody know what it is?

The underside was green with light orange tips on its legs - it didn't like being flipped over and squirmed about, so I couldn't get a good shot. When I put a piece of grass stem near one end, it raised up and grabbed on.  Click on thumbnail photos to see larger picture.




Ivory-billed woodpecker raps on...recording silences critics
Posted on August 7, 2005 at 10:16:43 AM by Al Sinclair

Cornell released recordings on July 31/05 that have caused a critical review of the video to be withdrawn. See the link below for more info. (Thanks to Virginia Pray for alerting me to this story.)

Sound tapes convince critics of the bird's survival.



Grackles on the move
Posted on August 6, 2005 at 10:13:16 AM by Barbara Taylor

Over the past few days I've noticed several small flocks of Common Grackles passing through the neighbourhood. This morning there was a lone Red-winged Blackbird travelling with the grackles.

There are a few adult and juvenile Purple Finch coming to our bird feeder and a newly fledged batch of Chipping Sparrows (they seem to breed like rabbits!) A pair of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and their two offspring are no longer regular visitors. The pair of Northern Cardinals are carrying food to their second brood now - the first brood threesome are still hanging around. There are a few "bald" Blue Jays already - as they go through their molt, several birds always lose all their head feathers. (Bracebridge)

Here's a website with some pictures of bald birds:



Re(1): Story on Moths...Muskoka Magazine
Posted on August 11, 2005 at 11:28:05 AM by dawn

I was reading the article just yesterday and I wanted to compliment you on the great pictures!



Story on Moths...Muskoka Magazine
Posted on August 6, 2005 at 09:10:40 AM by Al Sinclair

Anyone interested in moths should check out Doug Smith's story in the August issue of Muskoka Magazine. Titled "Mysterious Moths" it contains a lot of interesting facts about these amazing creatures that are an important part of the food web that supports our diverse and abundant population of birds.



Re(1): New Field Guide for Caterpillars
Posted on August 17, 2005 at 10:48:20 PM by Terry Whittam / Marion Whittam

Just got my copy! What a great guide! Took about 1 week to come.
Have already identified a CRECOPIA moth caterpillar Pg 245!
Well worth the money!



New Field Guide for Caterpillars
Posted on August 4, 2005 at 05:22:51 PM by Al Sinclair

A new field Guide to the Caterpillars of Eastern North America has just been published, got my copy yesterday. It is very good! 512 pages, good pictures, many species, lots of additional information. Check this link for more info. It can be ordered directly from Princeton Press, only takes a few days to get it.



phoebe teens
Posted on August 4, 2005 at 04:55:16 PM by Challis & Carlyle

A late-nesting pair of phoebes (frightened off an earlier nest in the back of our gazebo) have been successfully raising three young in a nest built over top of a year-old robin's nest under the eaves of our house on Rocksborough Road, Bracebridge. The three young are now teens, demanding food constantly, stretching their 3/4 grown wings and flapping vigorously. We anticipate they will fledge by the weekend or maybe even tomorrow.



Re(4): harrier chicks!!
Posted on August 2, 2005 at 08:21:47 PM by todd white

sorry sylvia,it was a reed marsh backing on to land.almost walkable.broken tree stumps near by for posting,



Re(3): harrier chicks!!
Posted on August 2, 2005 at 05:43:54 PM by sylvia purdon

Just want to know what kind of marsh, and was it adjoining a field of some kind..was it a reed marsh, or a swamp or fen..

sylvia purdon



Re(2): harrier chicks!!
Posted on August 2, 2005 at 09:19:59 AM by todd white

hello sylvia,both where in the marsh,in a vegation hole ,so to speak.



Re(1): harrier chicks!!
Posted on August 2, 2005 at 08:35:06 AM by sylvia purdon

Hi Todd: Can you tell me the habitat where you saw the harrier and bittern nests? i.e. field, wet or dry, reed marsh etc.




harrier chicks!!
Posted on July 31, 2005 at 06:54:40 PM by todd white

my freinds and i where photographing a bittern,when we came across a northern harrier"s nest.four chicks in it.amazing.we also found the bitterns nest!



Huge Caterpillar like Thing
Posted on July 30, 2005 at 10:48:02 AM by Janice House

This thing was huge, about the size of a small cigar, medium-chocolate brown with uniform small white dots and a set of chompers like a beaver. He was making his way across the grass, I was scooping dog land mines at the time and was about to pick it up in the shovel. Anybody know what is was? I took a few pictures.



Re(1): Pied-billed Grebe, Cuckoo
Posted on July 29, 2005 at 12:25:12 PM by Bob Burt

As of 11:30 this morning the Pied-billed Grebe was still in cell four (in the NE corner). There was also a young Green Heron sitting in a tree on the north side of cell four.



Pied-billed Grebe, Cuckoo
Posted on July 27, 2005 at 09:36:16 PM by Barbara Taylor

Around noon today at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a Pied-billed Grebe in cell 4 and a Green Heron flying overhead. A Cuckoo was to the north of cell 4. It didn't have the red rimmed eye like a Black-billed, more of a buffy colour. The bill didn't seem to have any yellow colour like a Yellow-billed, but I only got a quick look before it moved out of sight. Perhaps it was a juvenile. Several Yellow Warblers and Common Yellowthroats were in the shrubbery near the NE corner of cell 4. Nearby there was a young Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Very few Red-winged Blackbirds now.

At the Henry Rd. marsh there was a male Northern Harrier, an Alder Flycatcher calling, Belted Kingfisher, Cedar Waxwings, a pair of Indigo Buntings with their young, Common Yellowthroats, Song Sparrows, Purple Finch, and a Wood Duck.

Bracebridge Ponds - map

directions to Henry marsh: from traffic lights at Eccelstone Dr. and Wellington St., go west on Beaumont Dr. to Henry Rd., Bracebridge



white-throated sparrows, beaver
Posted on July 26, 2005 at 04:41:52 PM by Challis & Carlyle

Last Thursday, on a walk around what will one day become the Clearbrook subdivision (which may or may not be trespassing but we did it so I guess we'll go to hell), we were rewarded with what must have been a dozen white-throated sparrows in full song. A very industrious beaver has also dammed up a low-lying section of the property, making a wonderful habitat for flycatchers and kingbirds. The white-throats were singing again last night (Monday), but fewer in number. A wonderful dusk walk, for those willing to risk damnation for trespassing.



Re(2): Caspian Tern
Posted on July 27, 2005 at 10:09:09 PM by Barbara Taylor

For the Caspian Tern, think Herring Gull with a large reddish-orange bill. Common Terns are much smaller. The relative size should be enough, but here are a few more differences that might also be useful.

Caspian short notched; Common long deeply forked

Caspian large chunky; Common slender pointed

Caspian black; Common reddish-orange

Caspian hint of crest at back of head; Common smooth rounded head without crest

Underside of Wing:
Caspian large dark patch at tip; Common dark edging around tip but no patch



Re(1): Caspian Tern
Posted on July 26, 2005 at 04:43:30 PM by Challis

Can you, or anyone, spell out some good identifying marks that distinguish common from Caspian terns? Something that can be used in the field, that is.



Caspian Tern
Posted on July 25, 2005 at 06:37:03 PM by Bob Burt

This afternoon there was a Caspian Tern flying along the east side of Browning Island, Lake Muskoka. It dove into the lake and came up with a fish.



Re(2): Silver Lake Beaver Pond
Posted on July 28, 2005 at 07:41:58 AM by Janice House

Eleanor: doe lake rd, turn right just past old Dinsmore Sheep Farm, Laycox Rd and stay right if you go left you do a circle and end up back on the doe lake rd



Re(1): Silver Lake Beaver Pond
Posted on July 25, 2005 at 11:39:19 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Janice, Where is Silver Lake Beaver Pond?



Silver Lake Beaver Pond
Posted on July 24, 2005 at 10:25:52 AM by Janice House

This am we walked the dogs to the pond and a bittern was sitting in the same spot as 3 weeks ago. Could the bird be on a nest. Last time I watched 2 birds for approx an hour but saw no little ones. Have also seen pair of pied billed grebes there, great blue heron, kingfisher canada geese, mallards, wood ducks, king bird etc etc.



Re(2): Butterfly...ID? - photo
Posted on July 25, 2005 at 06:26:15 PM by Barbara Taylor

Thanks Al. There was another butterfly in our yard today which also had many bits of its wings missing. It was rather camera shy, but I managed to get a couple close-ups. It appears to be a Northern Pearly Eye (Enodia anthedon).  (location: Bracebridge)  photo1  photo2



Re(1): Butterfly...ID? - photo
Posted on July 22, 2005 at 01:09:29 PM by Al Sinclair

This is likely a male Northern Crescent. I say likely because the old Pearl Crescent has be split into two species, Northern Crescent is found throughout Ontario and the Pearl Crescent only in south-western Ontario and the USA (current wisdom). Glassberg says they are "probably not separable". I assume he means from photos or through binos. There are some features like the color of the antenna club tips of males, black or orange, have been suggested as a way to tell, but this apparently varies geographically. It is said that it can been done by sight if you have lots of experience with both. Currently I'm calling all the ones in Muskoka Northerns.



Butterfly...ID? - photo
Posted on July 21, 2005 at 10:18:44 PM by Barbara Taylor

I found this butterfly in our garden today. It looks like a few birds have tried to catch it since pieces of its wings are missing. The only butterfly that looks like it in my rather poor field guide is Pearly Crescentspot (Phyciodes tharos). Does anyone know what it might be? (location: Bracebridge)  photo1  photo2



Black-Crowned Night Heron, Sparrow Lake
Posted on July 21, 2005 at 03:56:19 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Sylvia Purdon, Jim Maguire and I saw a juvenile black-crowned night heron perched in a dead tree on Long Island where the gull/tern colonies are on Sparrow Lake. It flew and I got recognizeable pictures of it.

We counted at least 22 Caspian Terns on Long Island and Margaret Island.

We were in search of juvenile and adult common terns. We saw 5 adult common terns and not one single juvenile.

As there are no juveniles for the adults to feed the others may have migrated already. I was out to Long Island in my kayak yesterday and saw 5 or 6 flying around the island and then flying extremely high in pairs.



Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on July 20, 2005 at 09:52:47 AM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a Monarch and Heron bonanza! Nine Great Blue Herons were flying around cell 4 and there were so many Monarch butterflies I couldn't begin to count them all. There was a Great Horned Owl calling from the north of cell 4 (about three quarters of the distance towards the west end). Several young birds were being fed by their parents at the edge of the woods to the west of cell 2 and cell 3 including Chestnut-sided Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Nashville Warbler, Song Sparrow, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue Jay, Red-winged Blackbird. At the entrance to Kerr Park there was a family of Northern Flickers.



Merlin and Swallow "Dogfight"...near Fraserburg
Posted on July 19, 2005 at 11:05:22 AM by Al Sinclair

On the week-end I observed an aerial "dogfight" between a Merlin and a family of 5 Barn Swallows. It lasted for about a minute until the Merlin retired exhausted to a dead branch. The Swallows went after the Merlin as it approached over a large open marsh. They chased the Merlin and then the Merlin chased the swallows, steep dives and climbs and sharp turns. Very impressive display on the part of both species. The swallows continued to scold until the threat disappeared into the woods a few minutes later.
Afterwards I was thinking about the decline in the number of swallows and other aerial foragers that everyone is seeing, could it be partly due to the recovery of the Merlin population? In the last breeding bird atlas 20 years ago, they were not found here, now they are common. In the last issue of American Birds it was suggested that the recovery of the Cooper's Hawk was the reason for the decline in American Kestrels. Interesting! It could be that the increasing number of Merlins are having an effect on the population of other birds particularly aerial foragers like swallows. Merlins catch their prey by surprising small birds that try to fly across an open area, swallows do this all the time while feeding. The Barn Swallow family I observed certainly treated the Merlin as a threat.



Covell's Moth Field Guide Republished
Posted on July 19, 2005 at 10:41:31 AM by Al Sinclair

Covell's Field Guide to the Moths of Eastern North America has found a new publisher and is now available according to this website.
It was dropped from the Peterson Field Guide series several years ago but remains the best guide to identifying moths in our area and includes interesting information on most species such as their food plant, flight time, range and abundance.



Re(1): fledglings, bear
Posted on July 20, 2005 at 10:09:43 AM by Barbara Taylor

We've been seeing a lot of fledglings lately too, but I think it's just a peak time for them to be appearing. Last year I noted July 23 seemed to be the day we had the most variety of young birds in our yard here in Bracebridge - so pretty much on schedule.

Yesterday at Browning Island we saw two Brown Creeper fledglings. A Winter Wren was singing, but we couldn't spot any young wrens nearby.



fledglings, bear
Posted on July 18, 2005 at 09:12:51 PM by Leslee Tassie

It seems to be quite a year for fledglings. Has anyone noticed more around than usual? Our cardinal couple has 3 and they all seem to be now feeding themselves. We have at least two families of blue jays, still a couple of them are squaking for food and waving their wings saying "feed me, feed me". It was quite funny one day. The parent blue jay was refusing to feed the squaking young one, so it went after the nearby grackle (who was not about to share) and tried to take food from it's beak. We also caught a bear demolishing one of our feeders on Monday morning at 5 a.m. At 10:45 when I went out to survey the damage done to the feeder, the bear was just below the hill and hoped into the creek and swan along the edge on our side. Quite a sight from a close but safe elavated vantage point. Now our feeders are elevated way out of reach or else we bring them inside for the night.



Re(1): Purple Martins...could not confirm...please contact me
Posted on July 17, 2005 at 04:53:51 PM by Al Sinclair

I was out to Leech Lake today and found the Martin house but it was unoccupied. The owners said there was some birds in it earlier in the summer but didn't know what they were. The neighbour didn't know either but said he thought they were small compared to Martins he saw at a friend's place down south. He also said they looked the same as some birds he saw nesting in woodpecker holes somewhere else on the the lake. From the sounds of that the birds could be Tree Swallows not Martins.

Purple Martins are getting very rare in the region with only one colony still active that we know about. I don't know how to contact you Al so if you read this message could you contact me? I would be interested to know when you saw the birds and how you identified them as Purple Martins. This information would be very useful to the Breeding Bird Atlas project which is finishing this year.



Purple Martins
Posted on July 14, 2005 at 05:01:30 PM by Al Ferguson

We have seen Purple Martins on Leech Lake which is east of Bracebridge. There is a cottage by the boat launch that has a house up that they are using.



more fledglings
Posted on July 12, 2005 at 11:34:52 PM by Leslee Tassie

It appears our cardinals have 2 fledglings, not one as we thought. It is SO loud around our place with the cardinal fledglings and also a whole lot of blue jay fledglings squawking for food from mom and dad. Our male cardinal is still hitting our windows over and over daily and waking us all up. He's hitting it a little less since his young'uns are keeping him busy. I just hope he doesn't teach them his bad habits...that would not be good!



rose-breasted grosbeaks
Posted on July 12, 2005 at 04:40:28 PM by Challis & Carlyle

I think there were two juvenile grosbeaks following behind their parents the day before yesterday at our home on Rocksborough Rd., Bracebridge. They had a call I didn't recognize and they looked much like the female. In the back yard, a juvenile robin was raising hell, begging for food from its mom. But the phoebe is still roosting on her nest under the eaves -- she abandoned an earlier nest in the gazebo some weeks ago.



Fledglings at Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on July 11, 2005 at 09:55:09 AM by Barbara Taylor

Early this morning at the Bracebridge Ponds we saw some fledglings being fed at the edge of the woods to the west of cell 3. They were Indigo Bunting, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, and Yellow Warbler.

Bracebridge Ponds - map



crazy cardinal has one fledgling
Posted on July 10, 2005 at 05:44:22 PM by Leslee Tassie

The overly aggressive male cardinal I reported a few days ago and his mate do seem to have one fledgling that we've seen as of yesterday. Barbara, I tried the balloons with eyes on them on the windows and it sort of worked, but he just found new windows to hit ... it's still going on, still as aggressively. I gave up though both because of him finding new ones and the balloons wouldn't stay inflated in the heat and the sun. Thanks for the tip though. We had a male baltimore/northern oriole briefly last Thursday.



Re(1): Northern Cardinal fledglings
Posted on July 16, 2005 at 08:30:02 PM by Barbara Taylor

Yesterday the male cardinal began "attacking" the fledglings when they flew to him begging to be fed. Today he was even more serious about it, actually forcing one of the fledglings to go to the ground. Once there, the young bird began finding lots of bugs on its own - it just needed a little push to get started. I suppose the male now has to switch his attention to his mate and the soon to be hatched second brood.

Two Rose-breasted Grosbeak fledglings were in our yard today, being fed by both parents.



Northern Cardinal fledglings
Posted on July 8, 2005 at 09:30:43 AM by Barbara Taylor

This morning I was able to confirm a total of 3 cardinal fledglings being attended to solely by the male adult cardinal. It seems the pair have decided to try for a second brood. The male began singing a few days ago, and the female is now visiting the feeder only briefly at dusk and dawn without any fledglings following her. (Bracebridge)



Todays birds- Blue-Headed Vireos, Magnolia Warblers, Pileated Woodpeckers
Posted on July 6, 2005 at 07:40:56 PM by Dan Burton

On Northshore Rd in Gravenhurst-

Pair of Blue-headed Vireos
Pair of Mourning Warblers
Pair of Pileated Woodpeckers



Re(1): butterfly?
Posted on July 5, 2005 at 11:16:59 PM by dawn

I found it in my garden (in town, Huntsville) about two weeks ago. I thought it was a butterfly because it folded it's wings up. I don't think I have any Touch-me-nots in my yard, but could be close by.



Re(1): butterfly?
Posted on July 5, 2005 at 10:29:50 PM by Al Sinclair

It's a moth; White-striped Black, Trichodezia albovittata. Usually found around its food plant, in our area Jewelweed aka Spotted Touch-me-not.
Where and when did you find it?



Posted on July 5, 2005 at 09:09:37 PM by dawn

I was wondering if anyone could identify this very tiny butterfly — or is it a moth?  photo



Indigo Buntings - Henry marsh
Posted on July 5, 2005 at 08:31:07 PM by Barbara Taylor

I don't know how we've missed them all season, but today we saw a pair of Indigo Buntings at the Henry Rd. marsh. The male was singing from the top of a dead tree in the middle of the open area to the east of the trail.

(directions: from traffic lights at Eccelstone Dr. and Wellington St., go west on Beaumont Dr. to Henry Rd., Bracebridge)



Bird Board update
Posted on July 4, 2005 at 03:41:17 PM by Barbara Taylor

All reports for April through June are now available in the Archived Reports. Thanks to everyone for all your posts.

Just a reminder to bookmark (save to your favourites list) the back-up webpage. All recently posted reports are copied and stored there. In the event of any major problems with the Bird Board hosting service, important notices will also be posted there.

New to the Bird Board?
If you're new to the Bird Board you might want to review the Posting Guidelines. Several features of the Bird Board are explained in the Hints and Tips section.

Please include the location of the sightings in your report. Even the nearest town or major crossroads would be interesting, and will help increase our knowledge of the distribution of species in our area. Thankyou.

I try to monitor the Bird Board on a regular basis. If you want to bring something to my attention, just send me an email and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.

Barbara Taylor



Georgian Bay Animals
Posted on July 4, 2005 at 10:51:13 AM by Peter Mills

This past weekend while on a canoe trip on Georgian Bay we spotted some cool stuff. Among the birds were Loons, Merlins and a family of Barred Owls. Also, a Fox Snake and Brown Snake dead on road. While at Henvey Inlet we also spotted a Rattlesnake.



Re(1): Nesting Loon
Posted on July 5, 2005 at 10:11:34 AM by Bob Bowles

I have been asked to answer the question how far away is far enough when photographing nesting birds in order not to distrub the birds. Bruce was 65-70 feet away and using two large hemlock trees as a blind when he took these photos it appears to me. You can see that the bird is aware of his presence but not stressed in these photos. We once had a loon narrow along a narrow boat passage on the way to the cottage. When the birds built the nest in the spring there were few boats but by late June and early July when the birds were still on the nest there were many boats passing through the channel since it is the only way to the Magnetewan River and several cottages. The bird would lay out flat to the ground when we passed within 5-6 feet and was very stressed with each passing boat but never left the nest resulting in two young being hatched that summer when we were at the cottage. So birds do become stressed when you approach the nest so this should be avoided but from 60 feet away and behind a tree I do not think this is a problem. Bruce owns a 400mm lens so without either a 300mm or 400mm you should not attempt to take bird photos of birds on nest since you would have to be too close to obtain your shot. The new lenses like Canon have image stabilization which allows you to hand hold the lens so you would not need a tripod and setup time. This would cut down on the time that you are near the nest. Also keep in mind that you do not want to alert predators to the presence of the nest so you need to take your photos quickly. In the case of the loon, the wake from passing boats seem to be their biggest problem when nesting since they do not want on land well so build nests close to the shore.



Nesting Loon
Posted on July 3, 2005 at 11:35:22 PM by Bruce

Here are some pictures of a nesting loon which I took today. This is the bird that was posted to the board on 23 June 2005 by Virginia Pray.
The last 3 are a series to give an idea of how far away from the nest I was.

How far from the nest is far enough so as not to disturb the birds?


What a beautiful bird.....         Photo1    Photo2  Photo3   Photo4

By the way, I am about 65-70ft back in the trees, when I made these photos.
Canon Digital Rebel, 400mm IS Sigma



Re(1): bird species
Posted on July 1, 2005 at 08:28:28 PM by Al Johnston

Sean, I believe it's a Baltimore Oriole. Question --- how the heck did you manage to check out the eggs at 40' up? Al



bird species
Posted on July 1, 2005 at 07:02:58 PM by sean

We have a bird with a bright orange body and black wings which is nesting in our back yard. The female is a much lighter orange than the male. The nest hangs on a tree branch about 40 feet up. There are 5 eggs that are white with black lines through them (look somewhat like marble). The eggs just hatched 3 or 4 days ago. Just wondering if anyone knows the name of the species of bird this is? Thanks, Sean