Muskoka Bird Board - Archived Reports from January - March 2006
 
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Spring Arrivals
Posted on March 31, 2006 at 11:05:10 PM by Bob Burton

From 11am to 1pm,Joan Paget and I checked Bluebird nestboxes and fields on Cedar Lane north of Taylor Rd.,Fraserburg Rd. and Roxbrough rd.At the pair of boxes just north of Dunlops new red board and batten house,a pair of Bluebirds checked out the boxes and fed on bugs spied from their perch on the box top or post.Two Phoebes chased through the alders below the fenceline.Robins were everywhere feeding in the fields. In the field in front of the horse riding barn three Killdeers ran and called,and a Redtail hawk soared overhead.At the end of Roxborough rd. several Song sparrows fed in the fenceline bushes along with two Tree sparrows.On arriveing home Joan saw two Chipping Sparrows in her front yard on Aubrey st. (Bracebridge)

 

 

cormorants
Posted on March 31, 2006 at 09:17:47 PM by Dawn Sherman

There were two cormorants on Hunter's Bay at the mouth of the river (Hunter's Bay trail, by the pipe plant) at approx. 5:30 pm today. (Huntsville)

 

 

Bluebirds
Posted on March 31, 2006 at 08:08:21 PM by Janice House

spoke to Moira this evening, her neighbours on the Houston Rd saw 2 bluebirds today checking out one of the boxes that had been used last year, hope they find food, still lots of snow on the ground there

 

 

March is Butterfly Month
Posted on March 31, 2006 at 01:46:45 PM by Ron Stager

Later than usual, but there were a Mourning Cloak and Gray Comma on Merkley Rd, Barkway today.

 

 

Least Weasel in Muskoka...more
Posted on March 31, 2006 at 11:00:20 AM by Al Sinclair

Least weasel in Muskoka...more
Ok Paul, you got me! There IS a record for least weasel in Muskoka. Since the possibility of this species occurring here was raised by a sighting of tracks west of Port Carling (see Emily Mortimers March 22 post) I have been looking for more information on the status of this species in Southern Ontario. There is a map of least weasel records from the Atlas of Ontario Mammals at this website:http://www.ontarionature.org/pdf/mammal_atlas_carnivores.pdf

I contacted the MNR's "Natural Heritage Information Center" to see what information they had and got the response below which I think tells it all. The NHIC Winter 2006 newsletter can be downloaded from their website. They are the experts on rare species in Ontario and have some interesting articles on what they have been doing in the last year.

From Donald Sutherland, zoologist at NHIC.
"Unfortunately, Least Weasel is a species of which we know next to nothing in Ontario. There are in the order of a dozen or so specimens for the province, scattered from the Hudson Bay coast near Fort Severn to Middlesex Co. near London, including one from Magnetawan (Parry Sound) and another from the vicinity of the old Leslie M. Frost Centre on the boundary of Muskoka and Haliburton. I've never been able to obtain the precise locality information (i.e., UTM) for this latter specimen, though I understand that the specimen was actually taken in a trap in the Margaret Lake Bog just south of the Margaret Lake Rd, which would be just inside the Lake of Bays Tp line. I also have a relatively recent sight record of one on Hwy 35 just north of Carnarvon, Stanhope Tp, Haliburton Co. This animal was observed alive on the road by an MNR employee quite familiar with weasel identification. So, it's not impossible that Least Weasel could occur near Port Carling, though I'm not sure I'd be confident in identifying the species on the basis of winter tracks Was this near a house or bird feeder? What was the surrounding habitat?

I've never seen a Least Weasel anywhere, but an MNR employee stationed in Moonsonee in the 1980s relayed to me that he occasionally caught Least Weasel in mouse traps set for mice inside his house, but never thought anything of it."

 

 

Re(2): Location?
Posted on March 31, 2006 at 11:55:38 AM by Lorena

Sorry, I was so excited I forgot to tell you I'm on the Southern shores of
Lake Simcoe(Willow Beach near Sutton)!! Lorena

 

 

Re(1): Location?
Posted on March 31, 2006 at 11:02:48 AM by Barbara Taylor

Lorena, and everyone, please include a location for your sightings - even the nearest town or major crossroads would be fine. Thanks.

 

 

TREE SWALLOWS ARE BACK!!!!!!!
Posted on March 31, 2006 at 10:23:59 AM by Lorena

THEY"RE BACK, THEY"RE BACK, THE TREE SWALLOWS ARE BACK!!!!!!! YIPPPEEE!!!!!!! I'm going to do the happy dance!!!

Lorena

 

 

Fox Sparrows
Posted on March 31, 2006 at 07:57:32 AM by Goodyear

This morning we had two beautiful Fox Sparrows in our yard.  (Bracebridge) Last year they first appeared in our yard April 9th. We also had 15 other species of birds:
Mourning Dove
Blue Jay
Crow
Black-Capped Chickadee
White-Breasted Nuthatch
Red-Breasted Nuthatch
American Robin
Tree Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Dark-Eyed Junco
Common Redpolls
Red-Winged Blackbird
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
Evening Grosbeak

 

 

Re(1): Gray Jay...location
Posted on March 31, 2006 at 12:06:36 PM by Al Sinclair

I contacted Geoff and he gave us directions to the Gray Jay location. See below. This is a good bird for this far south in Muskoka.

"It was on the snowmobile trail to the north side of Doe Lake Rd.-I believe I was only 100 to 200 yards off the road when I saw it. The trail is between the Tomingas road and the Conservation road-you'll see the snowmobile crossing sign just before the trail. A little muddy/wet so wear your boots and good hunting!"

 

 

Gray Jay
Posted on March 30, 2006 at 09:40:46 PM by Janice House

Geoff and our youngest lab Casey went for a walk on the snowmobile trail from the entrance by the drive-in and came out close to the north end of Doe Lake this morning, 21 canada geese flew over, a gray jay was scolding, lots of chickadees and at the drive-in end of the trail evidence of pileated woodpecker activity.  (Gravenhurst)

 

 

Eastern Screech-Owl heard near Lake of Bays
Posted on March 30, 2006 at 12:23:20 PM by Al Sinclair

Peter Goering reported hearing an Eastern Screech-Owl calling at 4am on March 27 beside his cottage on the west side of Lake of Bays near Britannia. This is the first report of this species in Muskoka in several years. Peter says he is familiar with their call because he hears them in a ravine behind his house in Toronto. He also checked his owl tape in the morning to be sure.

 

 

Buffleheads
Posted on March 30, 2006 at 12:15:40 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there were five Buffleheads and a Common Merganser on the Muskoka River near #1051 Beaumont Dr. Three Hooded Mergansers on the river near the Kerr Park entrance. (Bracebridge)

 

 

Bald Eagle...Aspdin Rd Huntsville
Posted on March 30, 2006 at 12:09:17 PM by Al Sinclair

Bruce Wilson reports that on March 28 Jim Demaine saw an adult Bald Eagle feeding on a deer carcass beside the railway crossing on Aspdin Rd, Muskoka 3. There was another eagle report from there about 3 weeks ago, seems the deer are getting hit by the train.

 

 

Muskoka Field Naturalists - next meeting April 6
Posted on March 30, 2006 at 08:28:14 AM by Barbara Taylor

 


from the Wakerobin, Newsletter of the Muskoka Field Naturalists:
APRIL 6, ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING, THURSDAY 7:30 PM GRAVENHURST
"Life is Tough Being a Bird" with Alex Mills. He studied ornithology at Carleton University (the influence of moonlight on whip-poor-wills) and at U of T (shifting habitat relationships of insect-eating birds). He wrote "Birds of Muskoka & Parry Sound" in 1981.

Meetings from February through June will be held at Calvary Baptist Church in Gravenhurst, corner of First and Brock Street (across from Giant Tiger). Visitors welcome to attend the meeting.

Membership Information & Program Updates: MFN website

 

 

Hooded Mergansers
Posted on March 30, 2006 at 08:27:55 AM by Don Clement

First pair of Hooded Mergansers arrived this morning around 8AM on upper Kahshe River, near Germania. Several mating pairs were active around our beaver ponds last season - counted eight chicks.

 

 

Robin
Posted on March 29, 2006 at 05:45:37 PM by Todd White

Today i have seen three robins,two red wing blackbirds, blue heron, two red tail hawks, an otter, and two moose.all in Algonquin Park.

 

 

Re(1): Bald Eagles near Windermere, Muskoka
Posted on March 30, 2006 at 12:16:05 PM by Al Sinclair

There is always a few eagle sightings in Muskoka during the winter, usually at deer kills. There are more reports every year as the Ontario population recovers from the affects of DDT. The birds we see here are likely from breeding areas further north. In the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas 5 year data collection period that just finished last year, there was no Bald Eagle breeding evidence found in Muskoka.

 

 

Bald Eagles near Windermere, Muskoka
Posted on March 29, 2006 at 02:45:29 PM by Lois Wilson

One week ago I saw three bald eagles including a young one,a turkey vulture and several ravens feasting on a deer carcus in a field beside Dawson Road. Can anyone tell me where the eagles nest in this area? Have there been other sitings nearby?

 

 

first song sparrow
Posted on March 29, 2006 at 09:22:46 AM by John Challis

Heard my first song sparrows this morning around 7:30 at the Green River, north side of Washago. Also about eight hooded mergansers, a pair of common mergansers, great blue heron and some extremely noisy Canada geese. A pair of brown creepers were trying to out-sing each other further back at the edge of forest as well. Great morning for birds -- which of course made me late for work.

 

 

Canada Geese, Lk Muskoka
Posted on March 28, 2006 at 08:51:28 PM by Kate

Several Canada Geese spotted on open water where river meets the lake, Muskoka Beach Rd, just south of Taboo Resort (old Muskoka Sands.)

 

 

American Woodcock
Posted on March 28, 2006 at 07:28:33 PM by Janice House

After work today I heard the woodcock peenting. We had a song sparrow singing from the cedar hedge Sunday morning. (Doe Lake Rd)

 

 

Re(1): MFN Owl Prowl results...March 25
Posted on March 29, 2006 at 07:44:32 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Last evening at about 6 pm 2 barred owls were calling and answering each other on Wyldewood Rd. off Hwy 118 w.

 

 

MFN Owl Prowl results...March 25
Posted on March 28, 2006 at 03:51:47 PM by Al Sinclair

MFN Owl Prowl results...March 25
The Muskoka Field Naturalists had an Owl Prowl as their March outing last Saturday night. At 8 pm about a dozen owlers in a car convoy started at Bracebridge and played recorded owl calls at several locations until after 10 pm.

We first tried to get a response from the Great-horned Owl on Santa's Village Rd. near the gas pipeline crossing. It was calling earlier this year but we couldn't get a reply. We went around to Lagoon lane on the south side of the sewage ponds and tried again. Here we had a distant reply from a Barred Owl, probably west of the ponds and south of the Trans-Canada Trail. It only answered once and most of us missed it.

From here we went east out of town and tried at a few spots along Germania Rd. and Waters Rd. We played Barred, Great-horned and Saw-whet calls and at an open area by a stream on Waters Rd. we also played Screech-owl. We were able to get two more Barred Owls but neither would come out so we could have a look. One continued calling several times but was well back off the road.

So we weren't that successful and the conclusion was that it was not a great owling night. The owls were not responding well, either the weather was wrong or the Barred Owls at least were nesting later this year perhaps because there was still lots of snow in the woods.

 

 

Northern Cardinal
Posted on March 28, 2006 at 03:44:28 PM by Don Clement

Sighted at treetop, 9:20 AM, Pinedale & Muskoka Rd. S, Gravenhurst. Repeated calls of both types by young male, answered by one or more nearby Cardinals. Confirmed by video close-up recordings.

 

 

Red-shouldered Hawks - Matthiasville
Posted on March 28, 2006 at 03:31:14 PM by Barbara Taylor

At 2 p.m. today there was a pair of very vocal Red-shouldered Hawks soaring above the south branch of the Muskoka River near #1160 Matthiasville Rd. No sign of the Trumpeter Swans. Matthiasville Rd. is east of Bracebridge off Hwy 118E.

 

Listen to a Red-shouldered Hawk:
http://wildspace.ec.gc.ca/media/sounds/rsha.wav

 

 

Song Sparrow
Posted on March 28, 2006 at 08:52:59 AM by jim griffin

A Song Sparrow was warming up his song on the river at Port Sydney at about 8:15 this morning, took him a while to get it up to recognizable form.

Location is just south of muskoka road 10 bridge over the muskoka river (north branch)

 

 

Killdeer
Posted on March 28, 2006 at 08:47:31 AM by Barbara Taylor

Early this morning there was a Killdeer calling and circling over Henry marsh. It then headed north, probably in search of some open ground. There were many Red-winged Blackbirds staking out territories at the marsh, which is still iced in. (Bracebridge)

 

 

Re(1): Trumpeter Swans on Muskoka River
Posted on March 28, 2006 at 12:10:28 PM by Doug Smith

Neither of these swans had any tags or bands.

 

 

Trumpeter Swans on Muskoka River
Posted on March 27, 2006 at 04:30:16 PM by Doug Smith

There is a pair of Trumpeter Swans on the south Muskoka River, about halfway along the Mathiasville Road, (formerly River Road). We watched the pair for several minutes this afternoon while they dabbled and foraged.

 

 

Turkey Vulture and more, from Washago
Posted on March 27, 2006 at 03:29:34 PM by Gayle Carlyle

Saw my first TV this morning soaring way up high above our place on Green River Drive.
Last week I saw two pairs of Hooded Mergansers on the Green River.
We too have lots of Redppolls; going through Niger seed like never before.
We have lots of woodpeckers and are quite thrilled to see and hear Pileateds every day. I guess that's the up side to have plenty of dead trees.

 

 

Weekend report from East of Washago!
Posted on March 26, 2006 at 09:24:01 PM by Terry Whittam / Marion Whittam

Still lots of Redpolls... 50+ at the Nyger feeders... Both Nuthatch's Downys and Hairys, lots of Crows, Chickadees and 2 Chipmunks. Herring Gulls out on the ice with a few rouge Canada Geese. Winter still has a "lock" on the lake!

 

 

Great Blue Heron
Posted on March 25, 2006 at 05:28:43 PM by Goodyear

While out for a late afternoon walk today we saw a lone Great Blue Heron at the back end of Henry Marsh, waiting patiently for the ice to melt!  (Bracebridge)

 

 

Barred Owl calling...first time this year
Posted on March 25, 2006 at 03:10:54 PM by Al Sinclair

We had a Barred Owl calling near our house yesterday evening at about 6:15 (still light out). This is the first time we have heard one calling this year, a sign that they are nesting in the area. We live 8 km east of Hwy 11 on Hwy 118E (east of Bracebridge).

 

 

Red-winged Blackbirds and Hooded Mergansers
Posted on March 25, 2006 at 12:07:47 PM by Bob Burt

Today at about 10:00 we observed two Red-winged Blackbirds just east of Stephens Bay Road (Bracebridge) opposite the parking area for Strawberry Bay. Also, along the Muskoka River, near where Stephens Bay Road meets Beaumont Drive, there were four male Hooded Mergansers and one female. The males were displaying by tossing their heads back and giving loud nasal frog-like sounds as they competed for the attention of the female. As well, there were many Canada Geese along that section of the river.

 

 

Re(4): Loggerhead Shrike
Posted on March 29, 2006 at 03:03:04 PM by Don Clement

Thanks for the link, Barbara. Positive identification seems a bit more complex than my bird books suggest. I still have a sense I was looking at a young male loggerhead, based on markings, body shape and behaviour. If this migrant returns, I'll try for a shot. Could be the habitant around our house that is attractive: twenty acres open fields, stream and ponds with lots of shrub thickets. I'm hoping the mixed forest on our property might also be a suitable nesting area.

 

 

Re(3): Loggerhead Shrike
Posted on March 28, 2006 at 09:09:32 AM by Barbara Taylor

The OFO website has a good article about identifying shrikes at http://www.ofo.ca/shrike.htm.  I hope the bird returns so you can confirm it with a photo - a great sighting for Muskoka! Thanks for your post.

 

 

Re(2): Loggerhead Shrike
Posted on March 28, 2006 at 08:11:56 AM by Don Clement

I am aware that the Loggerhead is rare in Muskoka, hence the posting. Both my wife and I observed the bird from a window about 8 feet away for several minutes, discussing details and comparing to photos. Next time, I'll try for a shot.

 

 

Re(1): Loggerhead Shrike
Posted on March 26, 2006 at 10:31:39 PM by Paul Smith

 

These southern birds seem to move further north every year - cardinals, mockingbirds et al.

The map above is from www.shrike.ca, showing their known Ontario locations.

Cornell's range map http://content.ornith.cornell.edu/UEWebApp/images/lani_ludo_AllAm_map.gif shows us on the edge of their northern limit.

 

 

Re(1): Loggerhead Shrike
Posted on March 25, 2006 at 10:32:00 AM by Al Sinclair

Many Northern Shrikes spend the winter in southern Ontario and are seen frequently in Muskoka. Loggerhead Shrikes on the other hand are endangered in Ontario and also migrate south in the winter not normally returning until mid-April at the earliest. They are not expected in Muskoka at any time of the year and are considered very rare here. In Sibley's Guide to the Birds it states "Identification of shrikes depends on an assessment of size and bill shape and careful study of face pattern".
However birds often turn up where they aren't supposed to be, so your ID can't be ruled out on that basis. If it returns try to get a photo that will confirm its indentification.

 

 

Loggerhead Shrike
Posted on March 24, 2006 at 07:52:10 PM by Don Clement

Observed Fri Mar. 24 @ 3pm at bird feeder for several minutes. Not feeding, but scanning territory for rodents, as my cat was earlier. Distinguished from Northern Shrike by call and proportions. Sighting near Germania, Town of Bracebridge.

 

 

Leucistic Goldfinch
Posted on March 24, 2006 at 05:41:27 PM by Ted Gardner

The Leucistic Goldfinch we reported a couple of weeks ago was spotted again
on my sister inlaw's nyger feeder 2 days ago at 53 Kimberley ave.
Thanks to Al Sinclair he is now not an aberrant Goldfinch.

 

 

Robin
Posted on March 24, 2006 at 11:34:28 AM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there was an American Robin perched on the roof of #11 Meadow Heights Dr. - first one we've seen this year. (Bracebridge)

 

 

Re(1): Blue Jays, Bala
Posted on March 24, 2006 at 10:35:55 AM by J. Gardner

The blue jays here in Hurdville have been displaying this kind of behaviour for a number of weeks. Nothing better to do?

 

 

Blue Jays, Bala
Posted on March 24, 2006 at 09:39:50 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I have been seeing chases going on between male and female Blue Jays for several days and saw feeding behaviour today.

 

 

Re(4): Mink & turkey update
Posted on March 27, 2006 at 09:50:34 PM by Leslee Tassie

Ted;
I'm afraid I don't think of myself as naieve .... where's theres one mink there's ALWAYS more.
Leslee

 

 

Re(4): Mink & turkey update
Posted on March 27, 2006 at 02:43:52 PM by Brian Shulist

I shouldn't get involved but....You made your point but had to use some pretty insulting words to do it. Chill out. Personally, I know several trappers who are the salt of the earth, but like every other class of people there are bogus, unethical types who will jump at the chance for that one mink.

Enjoy the spring,

Brian Shulist

 

 

Re(3): Mink & turkey update
Posted on March 27, 2006 at 11:10:02 AM by Ted Sykes

How could you be so naieve to believe that a trapper would persue a single mink? Come on get real. There are thousands of mink in Muskoka and all trappers with established trap lines do trap them. One mink does not a trap line make. Nobody least of all a trapper cares where he came from or where he went.

 

 

Re(2): Mink & turkey update
Posted on March 23, 2006 at 06:33:27 PM by Leslee Tassie

Hi Doug,
It was too far from there, but it was north of the old Reay Road turnoff. I'm hesitant to say exactly where, because of the possibility of local trappers finding out. It was a beautiful animal. Was the one you saw dark brown or black?

 

 

Re(1): Mink & turkey update
Posted on March 23, 2006 at 12:00:00 PM by Doug Smith

Leslie -- interesting about the Mink. I saw one cross in front of me at Hwy 11 and Hwy 118 east, on March 21st, on the way into work. Wonder if it was the same individual?

 

 

Re(2): Turkey update - found them!
Posted on March 28, 2006 at 08:42:26 AM by Barbara Taylor

The large flock is still nearby but they are moving around more now that the snow is disappearing. Early this morning there were at least 25 Wild Turkeys at the front of Monck Public School on Wellington St. (perhaps eating fallen crabapples?  grit?)

 

 

Re(1): Mink & turkey update
Posted on March 23, 2006 at 10:13:08 AM by Sam

I believe the wintering 'Tassie Turkeys' are the rafter that was hanging about further up the Beaver Creek behind us on Dill Street. They were not seen since Boxing Day until about 10 days ago. They first re-appeared as l6 and now two smaller rafters of 11 and 4. Clearly dispersing for the new season. It would be interesting to know where the remainder of the original group headed.

 

 

Mink & turkey update
Posted on March 22, 2006 at 10:02:28 PM by Leslee Tassie

About 4:40 today, a (black) mink ran across the highway in front of us between Bracebridge and Gravenhurst.
Our rafter of 32 turkeys we've been reporting on since December have moved on. During the coldest part of winter we were supplementing their diet, giving them a small amount of black sunflower seed daily (only enough to amount to a snack). They seemed to do quite well. Once bare patches began appearing on the hill behind us,and food was becoming more readily available, we stopped giving them the seed. We also made noise and "shooed" them away, they were too accustomed to us and we want them to remain wary of humans. They continued to come off and on for a few days, but for the most part seemed to have moved on. (Bracebridge)

 

 

Re(2): Mammals, various
Posted on March 28, 2006 at 04:54:52 PM by Al Sinclair

I think that the range map that Paul posted is for least weasel not gray fox. It is a general map that doesn't show the gaps in its range that occur in southern Ontario and Quebec.

As another comment on gray fox, they have been reported before in our area but I believe what people are seeing is the "cross fox" a grayish colour variation of the red fox that Banfield says in "Mammals of Canada" occurs in 20 to 44% of the red fox population.

By the way, I found all your reports interesting and hope you will continue to let us know what you are seeing in your area. My comments should not be taken as criticism but as an attempt to learn more and share knowledge and appreciation of nature in Muskoka.

 

 

Re(1): Mammals, various
Posted on March 26, 2006 at 08:00:15 PM by E. Mortimer

It has been very interesting to read all the replies about the Gray fox. Thank you Mr. Smith for posting the map etc. I have researched the Gray fox range as well and am convinced it is quite possible for this species to inhabit the Glen Orchard area. It appears as though there have been a number of independent sightings of it or its kin.

We identified this animal in the early winter by sight and lately, by tracks.

An aside to the discussion surrounding range: although the Gray fox is widely considered a threatened species, it was still possible to obtain a permit to hunt it from the Prov of Ont in 2005(cost: $18.50).

Regarding the Least weasel: that is documented by footprints only - a difficult task_ and certainly it is possible that it is a different (larger) weasel. The prints, however, are very small. We recently saw a larger weasel and were able to compare the prints. The first set is much smaller ... it is not the same animal.

 

 

Re(4): Mammals, various
Posted on March 26, 2006 at 08:58:36 AM by Paul Smith

 

Yes - same species as per your description. This girls' report would be the 5th or 6th independent sighting of this oddball critter around Glen Orchard in the last two years.

Dan is incorrect in saying it is not expected in this area. Dozens of government / university web sites show it's range as almost all of Canada and from Montana thru New York and well south into the Appalachians.  range map

 

 

Re(3): Mammals, various
Posted on March 25, 2006 at 11:50:20 AM by Al Sinclair

Are we talking about the same species? The Least Weasel, Mustela nivalis rixosa, is about 200 mm (8")long or less including the tail and is the smallest carnivore in Canada. Its body is about the thickness of your thumb. The tail is very short with no black tip. Dan is correct in saying it is not expected in this area. "The Mammals of Canada", Banfield, shows its range in Ontario as being north of a line above Lake Superior.

The weasels we see here normally are either Long-tailed Weasels, M. frenata, or Short-tailed Weasels (Ermine), M. erminea. They are twice as big as the Least Weasel. I have checked the ID of a few road-kills and examined photos of other weasels found in Muskoka and my conclusions were that they were all Long-tailed. I know of no other reports of Least Weasel.

However this is not to say there are not Least Weasels here that have been overlooked, they do occur in Michigan and are mostly nocturnal and rarely seen. If anyone catches one in a trap or gets a photo they should freeze the specimen and report it to the Natural Heritage Information Centre in Peterborough. To my knowledge there are no records of Gray Fox for Muskoka either.

 

 

Re(2): Mammals, various
Posted on March 23, 2006 at 08:59:43 PM by Paul Smith

A number of people, including myself, saw / encountered a Least Weasel in the Highway 118/169 area in 2004.

By the way, your note says you have a 'couple of questions', but there doesn't appear to be any questions. What are the two questions ?

 

 

Re(1): Mammals, various
Posted on March 23, 2006 at 02:15:29 PM by gord benner

How do you differentiate between the tracks of a red fox and a grey fox?
And, as previously stated by Mr. Stuckey, what's a grey fox doing in Muskoka? Could it have been a small grey coyote? (or wolf, as some people like to call them)

 

 

Re(1): Mammals, various
Posted on March 23, 2006 at 09:25:39 AM by dan stuckey

Interesting sightings but I have a couple of questions - Gray Fox is exceptional rare in Ontario, and generally associated with SW Ontario, and the Least weasel is generally associated with Ontario's boreal region, replacing the short-tailed or ermine in the northern portions of the province - the reason I place this response is that these records could be important to provincial data bases if they can be confirmed.

 

 

Mammals, various
Posted on March 22, 2006 at 09:04:51 PM by Emily Mortimer

Gray fox, Least weasel and Eastern Cottontail rabbit, all identified by fresh tracks, 17 March.

Two Eastern chipmunks: first sightings of 2006 on 14th March and now here every day.

Northern Short-tailed shrew - 16 March.

Four Red squirrels: two here regularly since last fall. There are now four, including two young newcomers observed since about March 12th.

River otter observed in November just before freezeup.

White Tail deer: a mature buck with full rack, reclining. The doe was feeding on nearby trees. Observed in December.

Two Black squirrels overwintered but this is not an urban area.

Location: Hwy 169 and 118.

 

 

Evening Grosbeaks
Posted on March 22, 2006 at 08:34:21 PM by E. Mortimer

The first scouts (two males and a female) arrived in the first week of March. The flock now visits regularly and numbers in excess of 30 individuals. Some beaks are turning "spring green". Location: conifers with mixed woodland and riparian areas nearby. Hwy 169 and 118.

 

 

Re(2): Brown Creeper
Posted on March 27, 2006 at 02:49:04 PM by Brian Shulist

I heard my first singing Brown Creeper on March 25. After the long winter, what a glorious melody! Short but sweet.

Brian

 

 

Re(1): Brown Creeper
Posted on March 26, 2006 at 02:45:26 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning we heard some Brown Creepers singing for the first time this spring. One was at the Henry Rd. parking area and two others along the snowmobile trail that heads east before you reach Henry marsh. Pretty little song. (Bracebridge)

Listen to a Brown Creeper:
http://wildspace.ec.gc.ca/media/sounds/brcr.wav

 

 

BrownTree Creeper
Posted on March 22, 2006 at 08:21:53 PM by E. Mortimer

Brown Tree Creeper sightings: first seen December 2005, once during January 2006 and again 22 February. Observed creeping up maple and hemlock 21 and 22 March. General location: riparian/mixed woodland. Hwy 169 and 118.

 

 

Saw-whet Owl
Posted on March 22, 2006 at 08:10:51 PM by Emily Mortimer

Adult Saw-whet owl closely observed perching (hunting) for almost 1 hour between about 6:50 p.m and 7:45 p.m. this evening. Location: mixed woodland with swamp/creek/lake nearby. Hwy 169 and Hwy 118.

 

 

Red-tailed Hawk
Posted on March 22, 2006 at 05:50:35 PM by C. Boettger

Red-tailed Hawk spotted today along Highway 60 between Huntsville and Dwight.

 

 

American Robin
Posted on March 22, 2006 at 05:48:50 PM by C. Boettger

Good sign of spring seen March 16 along the Fairy Vista Trail near the water treatment plant one kilometre east of Highway 60 Muskoka Rd. 3 North intersection.

 

 

Re(2): Wolves
Posted on March 23, 2006 at 02:16:32 PM by Barbara Taylor

Gray Wolves. Sometimes wolves have run down deer on Lake Muskoka in the winter. The location where we saw them is very close to the lake, so they may have been returning to the forest after a hunt...might explain the limp.

 

 

Re(1): Wolves
Posted on March 22, 2006 at 03:23:10 PM by Gord Benner

Wolves (grey, red, timber) or Coyotes?

 

 

Wolves
Posted on March 22, 2006 at 01:23:29 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there were two Wolves at the Royal Muskoka property east of Stephens Bay Rd., just south of Strawberry Bay Rd. One was limping. They headed south-east and went up the hill into the woods.

We saw a RUFFED GROUSE along the snowmobile trail that heads east from Strawberry Bay Rd. It was at the first group of Pine trees you come to, on the north side of the trail where there's a bit of bare ground. We've seen grouse at that spot quite often in the spring.

At the big bend in the Muskoka River near Santa's Village there was a lone male COMMON GOLDENEYE. Several pairs of CANADA GEESE along the river. At the Henry Rd. parking area there were two PINE SISKINS and a male HAIRY WOODPECKER near last year's nestsite.

(Bracebridge)

 

 

Meadowlark reported
Posted on March 22, 2006 at 09:17:01 AM by Bob Burton

Derrick Mason on hwy141, s.e.of Raymond, has seen a Meadowlark on neighboring fields since the mild weekend.

 

 

Saw-Whet Owl calling
Posted on March 21, 2006 at 11:51:21 AM by Doug Smith

A Saw-Whet Owl was calling in our backyard in Uffington early this morning, for about 5 minutes.

 

 

Re(2): Pine Siskins, Anyone?
Posted on March 22, 2006 at 05:15:13 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Thanks for the responses! Barb, it would seem you are right. There are still many in the Coldwater/Barrie area but few in Muskoka. One person in Gravenhurst still has 5 - 10 coming and Jim Griffin with 2.

One set of feeders in the Mt. St. Louis area has more than 30, south east end of Barrie there are 54, south west end a couple and another group near Orillia.

I now have a couple of good spots for photography!

 

 

Re(1): Pine Siskins, Anyone?
Posted on March 22, 2006 at 01:29:28 PM by Barbara Taylor

The Pine Siskin flocks seem to have dispersed over the past couple weeks - only seeing them in pairs now. There are still a few scattered around the Meadow Heights area, but none have visited our feeder for a while. (Bracebridge)

 

 

Re(1): Pine Siskins, Anyone?
Posted on March 22, 2006 at 09:15:21 AM by jim griffin

There were 2 siskins at my feeder this morning, not much of a predictable photo op!

(Port Sydney)

 

 

Re(1): Pine Siskins, Anyone?
Posted on March 21, 2006 at 08:55:16 AM by Mark McAnally

I haven't seen a Pine Siskin or Purple Finch all winter.

(Huntsville)

 

 

Pine Siskins, Anyone?
Posted on March 21, 2006 at 06:10:12 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I need to do some Pine Siskin photography. If anyone has them coming to their feeders I would really appreciate your contacting me.
Thanks!

 

 

Barred Owl
Posted on March 20, 2006 at 06:25:05 PM by Andrew Galbraith

 

Well, I'm pretty shabby when it comes to ID'ing birds, but I'm pretty sure this little fellow is a barred owl that has decided to camp out on my birdfeeder. Kinda slowed the activity of the other birds, but it's neat to have him/her here... photo

 

Andrew G (I live in Huntsville out Ravenscliff past Tawingo)

 

 

Re(1): Weekend Birding Trip to Algonquin
Posted on March 20, 2006 at 04:08:32 PM by B. Griffin

Here is a link to some photos taken by a person in our group (Andrew Don), enjoy them:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrew-don/sets/72057594085517198/

 

 

Weekend Birding Trip to Algonquin
Posted on March 20, 2006 at 04:00:57 PM by B, Griffin

Eight determined members of the PBC ventured north on Friday to try and locate some boreal specialties in the Algonquin Provincial Park area. One of our first stops upon arriving was the Visitor Center at km 43 where we found many Common Redpolls and a Hoary as well at the feeders. A few Pine Grosbeaks were also seen here but not in large numbers as we have found in the past. A visit next to the Spruce Bog trail was very productive as we did not have to travel far to find Boreal Chickadees. Someone had left a few piles of birdseed at the trailhead near the parking area where Black-capped Chickadees were making regular forays. All of the excitement must have also attracted at least 3 different Boreal Chickadees at eye level (and below!) as we were rewarded with our best looks ever of this often hard to view northern species. Hopefully Andrew will provide some photographic evidence of this as well as a few other good finds while we were here. Considerable effort was spent here in the afternoon trying to locate a Spruce Grouse but we were initially unsuccessful. One of the most interesting non-bird discoveries was the brilliant Red Fox which loitered around us while we were at the Spruce Bog trail, he was obviously very hungry to be so bold as he approached to within about 10 feet of us on several occasions.

A drive to the gated end of Opeongo Road provided close views of only one Gray Jay that came in close to investigate our group while we were there. It was banded so we knew that it was the same individual returning on multiple occasions. On the drive back to Highway 60 we looked for Black-backed Woodpeckers but to no avail. We did spot an Otter sunning itself along the unfrozen creek near the road, it watched us for a few minutes before it slipped back into the water. The next day we returned to this area but it was colder and overcast on Saturday and the same stretch of water was now frozen over again so we did not relocate the otter. An early evening drive on the Friday into Dorset gave us several looks at White-tailed Deer and two (not so?) Wild Turkeys foraging under a bird feeder in the front yard of a house near the road (Highway 35).

On Saturday it was much colder and we spent most of the early morning looking for both Black-backed Woodpeckers and Spruce Grouse without success. We met at the Visitor center at 10am when it opened and our timing was fortunate as we met a couple who had just found a Spruce Grouse on the Spruce Bog trail. We thanked them profusely and then scooted off to find the displaying male bird not far from the trailhead at the parking area. It provided us with many good views as it was preoccupied with either rival males or semi-interested females that were not seen by us in the immediate vicinity. We left after a short visit so as not to disturb its efforts to locate a reproductive partner and/or defend its territory from other birds. Another flock of about 13 Pine Grosbeaks was seen at the 25 km marker as we drove back through the park but the highway 60 corridor was fairly quiet in terms of birds. The west gate gave a few birders good looks at a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers but we headed home in the early afternoon without having found any Black-backeds but nonetheless feeling good about the results of our early spring visit north.

Brete Griffin- breteg@yahoo.ca
Peel Birding Class- peelbirding@yahoo.ca
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PBC/ and
http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/BreteGriffin/

 

 

Sharp Shinned Hawk, RW Blackbirds, Chipmunks and Wild Turkeys
Posted on March 19, 2006 at 04:39:31 PM by Anne Lewis

The pestky sharpie finally got close enough for me to get a picture. It is not a good shot but at least I can id the hawk as a male sharp shinned.
The RW Blackbird flock is up to 50 today. 15 arrived on Mar.11. The last 2 years they have not arrived until 25-27 of March
This poor chippy is busy storing peanuts.....him confused!
The wild turkeys are still here. This is a picture of the 8 in a line for the water course. (Six Mile Lake)

http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f106/sixmiler/chippy3.jpg

http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f106/sixmiler/chippy1.jpg

http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f106/sixmiler/wtdrink2.jpg

http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f106/sixmiler/wtline.jpg

http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f106/sixmiler/sshawkmar12.jpg

 

 

Turkeys, Trumpeter Swans
Posted on March 18, 2006 at 05:36:01 PM by Mark McAnally

Saw 5 Turkeys at 1096 Taylor Road this morning at 11:00 a.m. Saw another 5 at Veitch's farm on Windermere Road around 3:00 p.m.
At Port Severn, saw 2 Trumpeters on the east side of the 400 and 5 on the west side. One Robin in Port Severn also. Lots of Goldeneyes, Canada Geese and a few Hooded Mergansers.

 

 

Migration Maps and Nestbox WebCams
Posted on March 17, 2006 at 01:42:05 PM by Barbara Taylor

I found another migration map - for Chimney Swifts. Here's a link to my earlier post with more Spring Migration websites.

Live WebCams of active nests:
Peregrine Falcon in Etobicoke
http://www.peregrine-foundation.ca/Web_Cams/Etobicoke/index.htm
(at 3 p.m. today there was an adult Peregrine perched on the nest tray - they come and go, so you might have to check a few times to see one, until the eggs are laid)


Barn Owl, Bluebird, Osprey
http://www.birds.cornell.edu/birdhouse/nestboxcam/

Great Blue Heron, Bald Eagle, etc.
http://www.wdfw.wa.gov/wildwatch/

 

 

Re(1): Sibley says Ivory-billed Woodpecker video shows a Pileated
Posted on March 18, 2006 at 08:45:44 AM by ron tozer

Articles in Science, including Sibley's and a response from Fitzpatrick et al., can be seen at the folllowing under Technical Reports:
http://www.sciencemag.org/current.dtl

 

 

Sibley says Ivory-billed Woodpecker video shows a Pileated
Posted on March 17, 2006 at 01:06:53 PM by Al Sinclair

David Sibley author of the Sibley Guide to Birds, has come out against the conclusion that the video proves the Ivory-billed Woodpecker still exists. He was interviewed on As it Happens last night. To hear the interview click on the link below and select Part 1, move the slider forward to about 2/3 of the segment. You must have Real Player installed on your computer. It works OK on a 56k modem, just a few gaps.
As it Happens March 16

 

 

Re(1): Herring Gulls at the Bracebridge Landfill
Posted on March 18, 2006 at 10:56:53 AM by jim griffin

have had 3 herring gulls at port sydney on the river south of road 10 bridge for the past week, male common mergansers(4) are here as well.

 

 

Herring Gulls at the Bracebridge Landfill
Posted on March 16, 2006 at 09:48:07 PM by Al Sinclair

Checked the dump today and found 30 Herring Gulls foraging there, #23 on my Muskoka year list.

 

 

Wild Turkeys on Taylor Rd...all OK
Posted on March 16, 2006 at 09:45:05 PM by Al Sinclair

There was some concern last fall when Arlene Corbett was asked by her landlord to stop feeding the turkeys at her feed store in Bracebridge. I checked out the flock today and talked to a lady further down Taylor Rd. She said they are doing well, there are now about 40 of them and two people are feeding them at 1097 and 1106 Taylor Rd. east of Hwy 11. I didn't see them today but there was fresh tracks everywhere. The lady said they didn't bother her except in the summer when they dig up the flowers in her garden.

 

 

Hooded Mergansers, Common Goldeneye
Posted on March 16, 2006 at 12:15:00 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there were six Hooded Mergansers on the Muskoka River near the docks by Santa's Village. A bit further along at the big bend in the river there were three Common Goldeneye. Also a pair of Canada Goose. The birds could all be seen from Beaumont Dr., Bracebridge.

 

 

Aberrrant Goldfinch
Posted on March 14, 2006 at 04:03:58 PM by Ted Gardner

Just a while ago noticed a small flock of Common Redpolls on the nyger feeders
and amongst them was a very white one..
no not a Hoary as this bird was very white with black wings and tail and yellowish hints an the shoulders and the odd minor black in the back of the neck and it was defintely the perfect shape for a Goldfinch , bill and all.
Keep an eye out in the Meadow Hieghts area as this wee fella is very identifiable. "I'd like to call him Whitey , Beaver" (Bracebridge)

 

 

Chipmunk
Posted on March 14, 2006 at 02:23:24 PM by Barbara Taylor

First time we've seen a Chipmunk this year. After all the warm days we've had, I wonder why it waited to come out today in the middle of a snowsquall?! He seemed awfully hungry - must have sat there eating for about fifteen minutes. (Bracebridge) photo

 

 

Mating Red-spotted Newts
Posted on March 13, 2006 at 08:22:27 PM by Peter Mills

Spent the weekend at Magnetawan, Parry Sound. Using snowshoes, I took a few walks into a medium sized beaver pond. It was largely frozen but there were a few small rivulets along the shore which were open. I happened to peer into one of them and spy two Red-spotted Newts mating on the bottom, near a submerged oak leaf. The male had the female tighlty in his clasp and wasn't letting go. They rolled and flipped about in their weightless world before they disappeared under the leaf together.  This is them, upside down, in a mating clasp. I apologize for the poor photos, the lighting was bad.
 photo

This shows how isolated the small opening was were they were.  photo

 

 

Re(1): Canada Geese
Posted on March 17, 2006 at 10:16:21 AM by Ron Tozer

These two Canada Geese may well be the two that were observed on the Huntsville CBC, 14 December 2005, in the Muskoka River opposite Huntsville High School. They may have spent the winter in open areas along the river. Of course, they could be early migrants. If so, they are likely Giant Canada Geese (maxima) that will breed locally.

 

 

Canada Geese
Posted on March 12, 2006 at 04:41:59 PM by Mark McAnally

Two Canada Geese in Muskoka River below locks on Brunel Road, Huntsville.

 

 

Re(1): barred owl - location?
Posted on March 12, 2006 at 06:59:45 PM by Barbara Taylor

Ivy, could you please give a general location for your owl...just the nearest town or major crossroads would be fine. It is interesting to know where the birds are being seen, and also helps give us a better idea of their distribution in our area. Thanks.

 

 

barred owl
Posted on March 11, 2006 at 04:39:48 PM by Ivy Steele

There has been a barred owl sitting in the tree close to the house since 0730hrs. today.It simly flew to another tree closer by a short time ago.The owl appears to be looking for mice and voles, as it keeps looking down.Our movement about he tree trying to good a good look does not seem to disburb him.It is now late afternoon and he remains still.

 

 

Re(1): Red-winged Blackbird
Posted on March 11, 2006 at 06:29:07 PM by Mark McAnally

Friday evening when I left work in Huntsville I saw a blackbird (not a starling) in a tree on Hanes Road. I can't say for sure if it was a Grackle, or one of the blackbirds, it was too high up, but definitely a migrant.

 

 

Red-winged Blackbird
Posted on March 11, 2006 at 10:06:40 AM by Per Jensen

When I came back from my walk this morning on the Brackenrig Centre Rd, , there was a red-winged blackbird on my feeder.

 

 

Algonquin Park Birding Report: March 9
Posted on March 9, 2006 at 12:27:53 PM by Ron Tozer (on ONTBIRDS)

*This report originated on ONTBIRDS (March 9, 2006) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.


About 20 Pine Grosbeaks and up to 60 Common Redpolls are regular
at the Visitor Centre (km 43) feeders, with the redpoll numbers
apparently increasing now, perhaps as birch seed crops diminish in the
north. Yesterday (March 8), there were at least two HOARY REDPOLLS
in the flock. Except for a few American Goldfinches, no other finches are
being reported in the Highway 60 Corridor.

Three Pine Martens (including one with a radio collar) were present at
the same time, feeding on black sunflower seed, at the Visitor Centre
yesterday morning.

Gray Jays, Boreal Chickadees and Spruce Grouse have been seen by
some birders at Spruce Bog Boardwalk and Opeongo Road (plowed
to the gate, and accessible beyond on a hard-packed trail). Watch along
Highway 60 in the km 4 and km 8 areas for Black-backed Woodpecker.
Male and female Black-backed Woodpeckers are drumming now, and
hence a little more conspicuous. Spruce Grouse males have started to
perform flutter flights, which can help in locating them. Boreal
Chickadees will become more vocal now as the frequency of musical
and trilled calls by males increases during the break-up of winter flocks.

Snow depths in the Park have reached 60 cm or more, and snowshoes
are needed to go off trails. However, the walking trails are hard-packed
and accessible on foot.

Visiting birders are asked to report their sightings (including locations,
numbers and dates) to me. Information about recent sightings is available
in the Bird Sightings binder in the Algonquin Visitor Centre lobby, and
from staff. Be sure to visit the Centre during Spring Break (see below).


Ron Tozer (former Algonquin Park Naturalist)
Dwight, Ontario
rtozer@vianet.on.ca

Directions:
Algonquin Park is three hours north of Toronto, via Highways 400, 11
and 60. Follow the signs, which start in Toronto on Highway 400. From
Ottawa, take Highway 17 to Renfrew, then follow Highway 60 to the park.
Kilometre markers on Highway 60 in the park go from the West Gate (km 0)
to the East Gate (km 56). Permits and information are available daily at
both gates throughout the winter. The Visitor Centre (km 43) will be open
daily (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) during spring break, March 11 to 19, and on
weekends until April 29 (after which it will be open daily). As well,
birders are welcome to observe the Visitor Centre feeders and ask staff
about recent sightings during the week.

----------------------------------------
*ONTBIRDS is presented by the Ontario Field Ornithologists - the provincial birding organization.
For instructions to join or leave ONTBIRDS visit http://www.ofo.ca/ontbirdshow.htm
ONTBIRDS Guidelines may be viewed at http://www.ofo.ca/ontbirdsguide.htm

 

 

Re(2): nyjer seed
Posted on March 9, 2006 at 04:57:10 PM by Ted Gardner

Wallmart had some 8kg or 17.64 lbs for 12.99 (Huntsville)That was late December.

 

 

Re(1): nyjer seed
Posted on March 8, 2006 at 05:12:50 PM by Leslee Tassie

It's too bad that Costco isn't selling it this year ... it was an awesome price there last winter. Another place I've found it to be a fairly good price is Food Basics (near Walmart) in Orillia. I can't remember the price though.

 

 

nyjer seed
Posted on March 8, 2006 at 12:18:44 PM by John Challis

Has anyone found a source of nyjer seed (or niger, if you prefer) for less than $1.20 a pound?
We're now up to about 40 repolls at the feeder as of this morning and I'll have to default on my mortgage to keep them fed. (Washago)

 

 

Hoary Redpolls at the Algonquin Visitor Centre
Posted on March 8, 2006 at 10:02:11 AM by Rick Stronks

Ron Tozer and I had two Hoary Redpolls at the Algonquin Visitor Centre feeder this morning. We have had a regular flock of approximately 40 Common Redpolls and 20 Pine Grosbeaks. These Hoarys are the first for our feeders this winter.

Pine Martens are still regular visitors to our feeders as well (we have had up to three at once!)

The Algonquin Park Visitor Centre (located at km 43) is open weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and open all next week for spring break.

Rick Stronks

 

 

Re(1): Trumpeter Swans at Washago
Posted on March 7, 2006 at 11:25:32 PM by Challis&Carlyle

We saw one adult and two cygnets at the Washago dock today -- no wing tag on the adult visible either. Haven't had a repeat of the magnificent crowd of 15 since Saturday.

 

 

Trumpeter Swans at Washago
Posted on March 7, 2006 at 10:57:56 PM by Terry Whittam / Marion Whittam

As reported by others, we have consistently seen 4 to 10 Trumpeters at the Washago town dock over the past few weeks. The flow out of the lake into the river is so swift the water stays open. Attached is a picture of 10 Trumpeters sleeping soundly last weekend! No yellow tags visible!
Trumpeters @ Washago Dock

 

 

Turkeys at the "Fields of Athenry"
Posted on March 7, 2006 at 10:37:08 PM by Terry Whittam / Marion Whittam

We often stop to look at the horses and other wildlife at the "Fields of Athenry" just off Doe Lake Rd just east of Hwy 11. First right on Doe Lake Rd. About 10 turkeys feeding in a small "rafter" there last weekend.
Turkeys at the "Fields of Athenry"

 

 

turkeys starting to display
Posted on March 7, 2006 at 05:10:40 PM by Leslee & Steve Tassie

Our rafter of 30 to 32 wild turkeys seems to have held strong over the winter. Now that bare patches are appearing on the hill across the creek from us food will become easier to find. If one or two of them have perished,it's hard to tell.
This week two of the males have started to display, but only one of them strutting. Could this be an example of kin selection .... I'm not sure. See the link below for an interesting article about this. So far, the females don't appear to be anything but mildly interested. They were coming everyday at 8 am and hanging around (off and on) over the day and leaving at 5. Now they are coming at 6:45 to 7 am and leaving about 5:45 to 6, heading over to roost across the creek. We are located near the small bridge at the pipeline on Santa's Village Road in Bracebridge.
http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2005/03/02_turkeys.shtml

 

 

Great Gray Owl, Horned Larks - north of Coldwater
Posted on March 6, 2006 at 05:07:41 PM by Barbara Taylor

We took a circle tour this morning looking for swans and owls.

At Washago there were four TRUMPETER SWANS near the bridge by Centennial Park.

North of Coldwater at #1054 Lawson Line there were twenty WILD TURKEYS at a front yard feeder. Further north on Lawson Line, just past the large marsh, there was a GREAT GRAY OWL perched atop a tall pole near an old barn (first buildings north of the marsh). The owl has been in the area since at least March 1 when seen by Betty and Bob Shannon. There were five HORNED LARK at the Universal Game Farm, in the field with the Buffalo across from #1058 Dunns Line.

In Port Severn we could see 17 TRUMPETER SWANS from the bridge on Port Severn Rd. There were also several COMMON GOLDENEYES, COMMON MERGANSERS, MALLARDS, AND CANADA GEESE.

Directions for Great Gray Owl:
From Orillia, take Hwy.12 West.  At Coldwater, exit onto Coldwater Rd. which eventually becomes Upper Big Chute Rd.
Continue until you see the Universal Game Farm ahead.  Lawson Line heads north (left) and Dunns Line heads south (right) from Upper Big Chute Rd.

 

 

Northern Shrike
Posted on March 5, 2006 at 11:32:02 PM by C. Davies

Today around 5:00pm we saw a Northern Shrike after some Blackcap Chickadees around the Bracebridge area along Highway 118E. Beautiful bird at less than 5 ft away and very persistant.

 

 

Re(1): Trumpeter Swans and more - Port Severn
Posted on March 6, 2006 at 02:36:41 PM by Barbara Taylor

Thanks for your posts about the swans Anne - what a great spot! We were at Port Severn around 1 p.m. today and I think we saw the same two swans in your photos. One was #737 and the other was #642 (it's a 2, not a 5 - the tag is flipped over so a bit confusing). You can see the tag pretty well in Anne's second photo. There were 15 other Trumpeters that we could see from the bridge on Port Severn Rd., but they were all too far away to see tags. There were also about 20 Common Goldeneye, 10 Common Mergansers, 15 Mallards, and a few Canada Geese. The male Goldeneyes were putting on a great display of head throwing.

If you missed my earlier post about the Common Goldeneye courtship display, here is a copy:
The Birds of North America Online has the Common Goldeneye section available as a sample. Here's a link to the part about their courtship displays. If you scroll down to the Pair Bond heading, you'll find three video recordings of the courtship behaviour, but you need a broadband connection to be able to view the videos. Here's a photo of the male in the midst of his display.

 

 

Re(1): Trumpeter Swans Port Severn - photos
Posted on March 6, 2006 at 12:49:27 PM by Al Johnston

Great pics, Anne. Two females, I see.
Al

 

 

Trumpeter Swans Port Severn - photos
Posted on March 5, 2006 at 07:56:54 PM by Anne Lewis

There were 12 swans at Port Severn this afternoon. The attached pictures are of 2 tagged swans. I could only read 1 tag #645  photo1   photo2   photo3

 

 

Wild Turkeys
Posted on March 5, 2006 at 12:13:10 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning we saw a pair of Wild Turkeys eating Sumac seeds along Santa's Village Rd., just past Santa's Village at the top of the hill. From all the tracks in the snow it looks like this is a favourite feeding area. (Bracebridge)

 

 

Ravens nest building
Posted on March 5, 2006 at 10:15:29 PM by Al Sinclair

Again this year a pair of Ravens were collecting dog hair from our compost pile, we assume for nest building material. First day they were seen this year, March 4, February 17 last year, March 3 in 2004. The Mourning Doves that visit our feeder were calling today for the first time.

 

 

Re(1): Hairy Woodpeckers mating
Posted on March 5, 2006 at 12:29:27 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there was a pair of Hairy Woodpeckers near the Henry Rd. parking area where they had a nest last year. After some calling back and forth, the male flew over to the female and they mated. We saw a male Pileated Woodpecker in the same area a couple of weeks ago, but not today. (Bracebridge)

 

 

Pileated Drumming, Bala
Posted on March 5, 2006 at 08:49:40 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

A male pileated woodpecker flew into a tree beside my house twice between 8 & 8:30 this morning. Then I heard him drumming! He looked gorgeous in the sun and I am thrilled to see him right out my window.

The downside is that he is here because my house construction disturbed some trees and they are dying.

 

 

Spring Migration
Posted on March 4, 2006 at 08:56:39 AM by Barbara Taylor

Don't look now, but spring migration is sneaking up on on us! Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have started to arrive along the Gulf Coast. Here are a few websites that will help us follow the 2006 Spring Migration as it gets underway in the next few weeks.

Hummingbird Migration Map

Purple Martin Migration Map

Chimney Swift Migration Map

 

Long Point Bird Observatory sightings

Niagara Peninsula Hawkwatch (aka Beamer)

Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station (Leslie St. Spit)

 

Journey North

Journey North - migration maps/report first sightings

 

Recent Posts from ONTBIRDS

Other Regional Email Lists

Canadian Migration Monitoring Network

Migration of Birds

 

 

Bald Eagle
Posted on March 3, 2006 at 06:42:02 PM by Todd White

Imature Bald Eagle on hgwy 60.Feeding on a deer carcus!Huge bird!

 

 

Brown Creeper
Posted on March 3, 2006 at 05:54:22 PM by Barbara Taylor

We have a Brown Creeper that visits our suet feeder on a regular basis. Today after feeding for a while on the suet, it flew to the ground about twelve feet away under the hanging feeder that's filled with sunflower seeds. I can't remember ever seeing a Creeper foraging on the ground before. I guess the Goldfinches had dropped so many scraps of sunflower seed that the Creeper couldn't resist. (Bracebridge)

 

 

Bird Board Update
Posted on March 3, 2006 at 01:47:01 PM by Barbara Taylor

Thanks to everyone for all your reports. All posts for January and February are now available in the Archived Reports. Just a reminder to bookmark the back-up webpage. Important notices will be posted there in the event of any major problems with the Bird Board hosting service.

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

Want to edit your message after it's been posted?
When filling out the posting form, type in a simple password near the bottom where it says "Password to Edit Post". You can then use that password to make changes to your message after its been posted.

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.

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
muskoka_birder@hotmail.com

 

 

Re(1): Saw Whet Owl
Posted on March 3, 2006 at 06:40:35 PM by Todd White

Hello, i would love to photograph your owl? Im a local photographer from huntsville,are u near town? would this be ok

 

 

Saw Whet Owl
Posted on March 3, 2006 at 09:14:31 AM by Mi-Shell Jessen

Today (8.30am and on)the little Saw Whet would be in perfect lighiting for a star photo, as it is sitting out near the feeders in the morinig sun!
The Pine Marten again was a guest here at sunset last night.....
(Bracebridge)

 

 

Trumpeter Swans
Posted on March 2, 2006 at 11:53:45 PM by Anne Lewis

Late today there were 40 swans at the 400 bridge, Port Severn on the east side. Usualy I see them on the west. I took pictures and will see if I can see any tags.

 

 

Re(1): Hummingbirds
Posted on March 2, 2006 at 12:14:39 PM by Barbara Taylor

This is a pretty good article that covers just about everything to do with feeding hummers:
http://www.hummingbirds.net/feeders.html

The consensus seems to be that "sugar water" is not harmful as long as you keep the feeder cleaned regularly. It is commonly suggested that you use about a ratio of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. Apparently this approximates the ratio in most flower nectar. The only thing missing is the trace nutrients in the nectar which the birds will get when they visit some flowers. Scroll down in the above webpage to "Filling the feeder" for notes about sugars and what to use/not use in your feeder. If someone doesn't want to use sugar water to attract hummers, they can always plant Beebalm or other favourite flowers of hummingbirds instead. That way they can still enjoy the hummers and not have to fight the ants!

Here's an interesting article where researchers studied hummingbird foods and feeding habits and question what ratio of sugar and water to use in feeders: http://www.hummingbirds.net/hainsworth.html

 

 

Re(1): Hummingbirds
Posted on March 2, 2006 at 12:14:39 PM by Barbara Taylor

This is a pretty good article that covers just about everything to do with feeding hummers:
http://www.hummingbirds.net/feeders.html

The consensus seems to be that "sugar water" is not harmful as long as you keep the feeder cleaned regularly and use about a 1:4 ratio of sugar to water. Apparently this approximates the ratio in most flower nectar. The only thing missing is the trace nutrients in the nectar which the birds will get when they visit some flowers. Scroll down in the above webpage to "Filling the feeder" for notes about sugars and what to use/not use in your feeder. If someone doesn't want to use sugar water to attract hummers, they can always plant Beebalm or other favourite flowers of hummingbirds instead. That way they can still enjoy the hummers and not have to fight the ants!

 

 

Hummingbirds
Posted on March 2, 2006 at 11:29:05 AM by Janice House

I had someone ask me about feeding hummingbirds sugar water. They were told not to feed the birds because they should feed on nectar only. Anyone have any information on this?

 

 

Brown Thrasher
Posted on March 2, 2006 at 07:47:05 AM by Janice House

Moira was talking to Cindi, the thrasher disappeared the middle of January but is back now. Moira had a shrike at her feeders on Saturday, she is on the Houston Rd.  (Bracebridge)

 

 

Chipmunk, Bala
Posted on February 28, 2006 at 07:59:48 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

This morning at 8 am I saw a chipmunk out sitting on a tree branch. Doesn't he know its cold! Certainly the earliest and coldest day I have ever seen one.

 

 

More on grebe groundings
Posted on February 27, 2006 at 07:55:38 PM by Alex Mills

When I posted records of grebe groundings a few days ago, it was suggested to me that the grounded grebes (Feb 23, 1963) represented early migrants, not grebes that had been frozen out of the Great Lakes where they were wintering. An article reviewing the two competing theories was written by Ron Tozer in 2003 (OFO Newsletter). The early migration theory is an alternative explanation, and has some appeal since there is not much evidence of a substantial population of grebes wintering on the Great Lakes. Tozer, himself, does not conclude one explanation is superior to the other.

I have since obtained a 39-year ice record analysis for the period 1963 to 2001 for the Great Lakes. Lake Erie was usually substantially frozen during the winters of that period (being shallow). Of the other four Lakes, however, in each case 1963 was one of the four years in which ice cover was greatest. In the case of Lake Huron, it became 97-98% ice covered in 1963, and Lake Superior became greater than 95% covered that year too.

I then looked at temperature records, and found that February of 1963 was exceptionally cold. At Sudbury, the mean temperature on February 17th, 1963 was –8.6 oC. In the following days, that dropped steadily so that on the February 21st and 22nd the mean temperatures were –23.9 oC and –23.4 oC, respectively. At Ottawa, the two coldest dates in February of 1963 were February 4th and February 22nd. It's quite plausible that the lakes covered over with ice on or about February 22nd.

Ontario was in a deep cold in late February of 1963, and conditions were very unfriendly for diving water birds. February migration of grebes into Ontario would seem to be an exceptional event, and it seems particularly unlikely in 1963, in light of these icy figures. It certainly was not very inviting for grebes, and it would be puzzling why grebes wintering on the Atlantic Coast would be heading back to the Great Lakes under such icy circumstances. It wasn’t just Red-necked Grebes involved either, which makes me speculate that it was caused by an environmental event (i.e. freezing of the Lakes), and not something internal to the birds that induced them to begin a spring migration. (Migration schedules tend to be species-specific). Also, it could be a coincidence that the migration occurred at the time when the ice cover was likely to have reached its greatest extent (presumably late February), but I think that the timing of the grounded grebes challenges the migration theory.

I suppose cold temperatures and frozen lakes could cause groundings of grebes whether they were forced off the lakes due to freeze-up, or whether they returned to Ontario and found nowhere to go. Regardless, if climate change reduces the amount of ice cover on the Lakes, groundings would seem to be less likely, since wintering birds would not be forced off, and migrants would have a place to land.

 

 

Re(2): Trumpeter Swan reports - info request
Posted on February 27, 2006 at 07:25:01 PM by Alex Mills

There was at least one in the Village of Magnetawan on Saturday, February 25th, but I did not check for a tag. A number have wintered there in the past.

 

 

Re(1): Trumpeter Swan reports - info request
Posted on February 27, 2006 at 02:31:56 PM by Al Johnston

Harry Lumsden is a remarkable individual. He is a recipient of the Order of Canada, mainly for his work with the Trumpeters. By the way, if you see a swan with the yellow wing tag and you're close enough to see a leg band, if it's on the left leg it's a pen (female) and on the right, it's a cob (male).
Al

 

 

Re(1): Trumpeter Swan reports - info request
Posted on February 27, 2006 at 10:04:52 AM by Anne Lewis

of the 37 swans at Port Severn I could see only 3 tags. couldn't see the numbers

 

 

Trumpeter Swan reports - info request
Posted on February 27, 2006 at 09:56:13 AM by Barbara Taylor

I've been asked by Harry Lumsden if anyone seeing Trumpeter Swans could try to count the number carrying wing tags and the number without so they can get a ratio of the tagged:untagged swans. Numbers on tags would also be welcome. Harry is the founder of the Ontario Trumpeter Swan Reintroduction Program.
Please either email the info to me or post on the Bird Board, and I will forward the information. Thanks.
Swan Identification - Characteristics & Calls:
http://www.trumpeterswansociety.org/id.htm

 

 

Algonquin Parks birds
Posted on February 26, 2006 at 07:49:44 PM by Bruce Di Labio (on ONTBIRDS)

*This report originated on ONTBIRDS (February 26, 2006) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Hi Everyone
Spent the day birding Algonquin Park, mainly along Hwy.60. The snow is very deep and I would definitely recommend snow shoes. Birds were sparse and didn't find any Spruce Grouse or B.B. Woodpeckers. Highlights included 9 Gray Jay, 5 at the end of Arowhon Road, 2 at the end of Opeongo Lake Road, 1 at the entrance to Beaver Pond Trail and 1 at the entrance to Spruce Bog Boardwalk. Also at the Spruce Bog Boardwalk, 5 Boreal Chickadees put on a nice display, feeding on the ground within a few feet of us. Overall, finch numbers were low but we did see 4 small flocks of Pine Grosbeaks feeding along Hwy.60 and a flock of 20+ at the Visitor Centres feeders along with 15+ Common Redpoll. At Whitney a small flock of 4 Evening Grosbeaks flew over the Algonquin Parkway Inn.

good birding
Bruce

Directions: Courtesy of Ron Tozer
Algonquin Park is three hours north of Toronto, via Highways 400, 11
and 60. Follow the signs, which start in Toronto on Highway 400. From
Ottawa, take Highway 17 to Renfrew, then follow Highway 60 to the park.
Kilometre markers on Highway 60 in the park go from the West Gate (km 0)
to the East Gate (km 56). Permits and information are available daily at
both gates throughout the winter. The Visitor Centre (km 43) is open
weekends, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. As well, birders are welcome to observe the
Visitor Centre feeders and ask staff about recent sightings during the week.
CAUTION: LOG HAULING IS UNDERWAY
ON AROWHON ROAD AND ROCK LAKE ROAD.

 

 

Bald Eagle
Posted on February 26, 2006 at 06:14:32 PM by Mark McAnally

Mature Bald Eagle at the locks on Brunel Road in Huntsville. Watched a mature Bald Eagle follow the river from the locks at Browns Road and Brunel Road in Huntsville toward town. This is my third sighting of a mature Bald Eagle in Huntsville this winter.

 

 

Foraging White-tailed Deer - photo
Posted on February 25, 2006 at 12:41:00 PM by Barbara Taylor for Ted Sykes

Ted Sykes sent these photos of some hungry deer visiting their backyard yesterday. (Gravenhurst)

photo1  photo2

 

 

 

Muskoka Field Naturalists - next meeting March 2
Posted on February 24, 2006 at 07:59:06 PM by Barbara Taylor

 

From the Wakerobin, Newsletter of the Muskoka Field Naturalists:
MARCH 2 THURSDAY MFN MEETING 7:30 PM GRAVENHURST

"Turkey Talk" with Jan McDonnell! What is the attraction for wild turkeys in Muskoka?. Single sightings were once noteworthy; now we see them in flocks! We'll look at life history, why winter is such an issue for them in central Ontario, factors that influence distribution at the northern limit of their range, the history of wild turkey re-introductions in Ontario and what that might mean in the future. Last but not least, we'll talk about wild turkey management including why they become nuisances and whether feeding them in the winter time is a good idea. There will be time allowed for comments and questions.
Jan McDonnell has garnered an indepth knowledge of wildlife creatures in Muskoka as a wildlife biologist with MNR in Bracebridge since 1991. Prior to this, Jan worked for MNR in various locations around the Province including northwestern Ontario.

Meetings from February through June will be held at Calvary Baptist Church in Gravenhurst, corner of First and Brock Street (across from Giant Tiger). Visitors welcome to attend the meeting.

Membership Information & Program Updates: MFN website

 

 

House Sparrows at Bracebridge A&P... #22 on my year list
Posted on February 24, 2006 at 06:38:23 PM by Al Sinclair

At 5pm today I went looking for the House Sparrows reported previously at the shopping cart shelters in the A&P parking lot. Sure enough as soon as I arrived there was a male sitting on a cart chirping away merrily. It was species number 22 on my 2006 Muskoka list. Complete list from the Avisys "species seen" report below.

SPECIES SEEN
From 1/1/2006 to 12/31/2006 ~ All Places ~ 22 seen
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Barred Owl
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Black-capped Chickadee
Boreal Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Blue Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
European Starling
Common Redpoll
Hoary Redpoll
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow
////---- STATISTICS ----/////
Species seen - 22

 

 

37 Trumpeter Swans
Posted on February 23, 2006 at 11:06:52 PM by Anne Lewis

This morning there were 37 Trumpeter Swans at the Port Severn highway 400 briddge on the Georgian Bay side (west)at the mouth of the Severn River.

photo1  photo2  photo3  photo4  photo5    photo6

 

 

Re(1): Saw wet Owl
Posted on February 23, 2006 at 06:29:20 PM by Todd White

Would you care to share?It has been my years goal to photograph a saw wet owl,but i am yet find one.

 

 

Saw wet Owl
Posted on February 23, 2006 at 10:00:37 AM by Mi-Shell Jessen

Dayly at dawn and dusk our Saw wet owl sits patiently on the deserted bird feeder and waits for mice to come up from beneath the thick ice crust.....
During the day she roosts in a Spruce tree in plain view from the living room window. We are worried that she will not catch enough to sustain her.

The pine Marten as well as a beautyful Red Fox are regular day visitors.....

 

 

Re(1): life lists
Posted on February 23, 2006 at 02:11:46 PM by Wilf yusek

Look at Avisys web site as I find it the best birding program. the newest version may be what you would like go to http://www.avisys.net/

 

 

Re(1): life lists
Posted on February 23, 2006 at 10:09:02 AM by Al Sinclair

You will need to buy a World Bird Checklist as Mexican birds are not included on North American lists. You can check to see what is available at ABA sales, link at the bottom. You might consider birding software for your computer. They include a world checklist and allow quick searches, also output lists of species seen etc. I use Avisys which is very versatile including the option to import daily lists from a Palm Pilot.
There is also some lists online. Dennis Lepage has an annotated world list http://www.bsc-eoc.org/avibase/avibase.jsp. Also check http://www.surfbirds.com for checklists.
ABA Sales

 

 

life lists
Posted on February 23, 2006 at 08:26:41 AM by Grace Taylor

Just returned from birding in Mexico. Now I need to consolidate lists from 4 books, Mexico, East and West N Am, plus one East coast book. Is there a list published that would make this easy?

 

Had a wonderful trip to San Blas, Mexico. Have contact numbers and info if anyone is interested. Will be there next year too if someone wants to share a trip or tour. Highlights included Military Macaws, Citreoline Trogon, russet crowned Motmot, Black throated Magpie-Jay, Northern POotoo, lots of Herons and Hummers.

 

 

Hoary Redpoll...some photos from yesterday
Posted on February 22, 2006 at 08:47:02 PM by Al Sinclair

The following photos are frame grabs from a video shot through a thermopane window yesterday at our feeder east of Bracebridge. The quality is poor but I think that one of the birds in the photos has all the features of a Hoary Redpoll. The blurry shot of the bird taking off shows the white rump.

photo1  photo2  photo3  photo4

 

 

Re(1): Three years ago
Posted on February 23, 2006 at 09:16:07 PM by Barbara Taylor

Here's another interesting grebe story from the 2003 Bird Board archives:

Red-necked Grebe near Novar
Posted on March 1, 2003 at 04:36 PM by Ron Tozer

Another Red-necked Grebe has crash landed in southern Ontario, this time on the snow-covered ice of Oudaze Lake, just east of Novar in north Muskoka District. On Thursday morning, 27 February, teenagers Jay and Ben Sturgeon noticed this bird "floundering" in the snow not far from the bird feeder at their home near the shore of the lake. The bird had been initially discovered by the family cat, which did not harm it. The Sturgeon boys traced the bird's trail in the snow back to where it had landed on the frozen lake, probably during the previous night.

The bird was placed in a pet carrier cage, fed sardines, and kept until this morning (1 March), when it was brought to Huntsville for release in the Muskoka River. I was notified of this event, and confirmed the identification prior to the bird's release in a large open area of the river below The Locks. The grebe preened, dived, and flapped its wings after release, appearing to be in good condition. The boys and the grebe were photographed at the release site by a reporter from The Huntsville Forester newspaper, who had been notified.

The average spring arrival date for Red-necked Grebe in nearby Algonquin Park is 27 April (19 years). However, some occasionally return to the lower Great Lakes in mid to late February, and are believed to be early migrants from wintering areas along the Atlantic coast (Ron Pittaway, pers. comm.; Bob Curry on Ontbirds). Such an early arrival appears to be underway this year, with the many recent sightings reported on Ontbirds. A few of these Red-necked Grebes head even farther north, with some becoming stranded when unable to find open water (as with this week's Pembroke and Muskoka birds).

Other grebe species are known to "crash land" like this as well. One "wreck"of Eared Grebes in southern Utah within an 11-day span during bad weather in January 1997 involved the downing of an estimated 35,000 birds (see Auk 116(1): 178-183).

 

 

Forty three years ago
Posted on February 22, 2006 at 07:14:59 PM by Alex Mills

Depending upon the severity of the winter, the surfaces of the Great Lakes sometimes freeze, although it varies from lake to lake. For instance, Lake Ontario very rarely has frozen over, and even when it has, it commonly breaks up again shortly.

Sometimes, the freezing of these large surfaces causes problems for waterfowl wintering on them, and such was evidently the case in late February of 1963. I have not been able to check, but I suspect that Lake Huron froze over on the night of February 22-23.

On February 23, 1963, a Red-necked Grebe was picked up, apparently unharmed, at Collingwood. This bird was later released by Fran Westman in the open waters of the Nottawasaga River near Angus. On the same day, a Horned Grebe was found alive on the ground at Stroud, south of Barrie, and it too, was released in the Nottwasaga River by Fran Westman, this time near the village of Ivy.

In Muskoka, 2 Red-necked Grebes were picked up the same day near Hunstville. One was found by Paul Tapley in the snow near his home on the Lake of Bays, and it was released later that day in Hunstville in the open water near the locks. A second bird was found on the Brittania Road.

I suspect there would have been others found and not reported, and conceivably many others never found, that met their end that day. In fact, there might have been a massive die-off of grebes, but we will never know. I suppose, this is less likely to happen in the future, as the warming of our winters continues.

 

 

Pop-up ads
Posted on February 22, 2006 at 07:09:46 PM by Barbara Taylor

The Boards2Go hosting service is testing some new pop-up ads on the boards and right now there is a problem with the ads popping up at every click. They should only appear once when you visit the Bird Board - they are trying to fix these excessive pop-ups. As the pop-up is loading, if you click on the bottom right corner of the large pop-up where it says "close this window", it should stop loading.

 

If you want to prevent the ads from loading altogether, you can adjust your browser's security settings. In Microsoft Internet Explorer you would disable Active Scripting and in Firefox you would disable JavaScript. Be aware that this may cause certain websites to not be fully functional, so you may then have to re-enable the setting.  A good pop-up blocker may also be able to stop the ads.

If you see a pop-up that says something about the "blackworm virus", don't worry. That is just an ad but it is inappropriate the way it is presented and it will be pulled shortly according to the Boards2Go hosting service.

 

 

 

Chickadee Bathing
Posted on February 22, 2006 at 11:08:11 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I just watched a black-capped chickadee taking a snow-bath in a large lump of soft snow caught in a pine tree. It ducked it head into the snow and flapped its wings in the snow just as it would if it had been in water. I have never seen this behaviour before. the same bird actually did it twice in two different places. (Bala)

 

 

Cooper's Hawk again?
Posted on February 21, 2006 at 09:23:20 PM by Barbara Taylor

Yesterday there were many Mourning Dove feathers scattered about our backyard. This afternoon more dove feathers on the freshly fallen snow. Perhaps the Cooper's Hawk we saw on Friday has decided to stake out our yard.

 

 

Re(3): Trumpeter Swans
Posted on February 21, 2006 at 09:05:35 PM by Terry Whittam / Marion Whittam

The Tundra's are my mistake I think. I reported 4 trumpeters but they may have gone in as Tundras...they must be my 4 Trumpeters. I've e-mailed GBBC directly to correct.

 

 

Re(2): Trumpeter Swans
Posted on February 21, 2006 at 08:54:03 PM by Barbara Taylor

Terry, did you get any tag numbers for those Trumpeters? It would be nice to check out their history.

Now there's another GBBC checklist for Washago that has 4 Tundra Swans. I guess that's just a mistaken identification - probably the same four Trumpeter Swans that you and Marion reported. Hopefully the GBBC will catch that.

 

 

Re(1): Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers? - GBBC report
Posted on February 21, 2006 at 07:14:09 PM by Terry Whittam / Marion Whittam

Marion and I submitted for Washago Ontario...... only real notables were 4 Trumpeters at the town dock, house sparrows on Coopers Falls Road, only 4 Snowbuntings left and we had 60+ redpolls Sat and Sunday.

 

 

Re(1): Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers? - GBBC report
Posted on February 21, 2006 at 10:14:46 AM by Al Sinclair

The Varied Thrush report is interesting and could be legit. Two were reported at Minden but it could be the same bird on different days by the same observer. It says on the website that "a regional editor may contact you about rare species", so maybe we will find out more. The sapsuckers & purple finches, are probably mistakes in identification, the Great Gray could have been a Barred Owl, no Great Grays have been seen this year in Muskoka. Winter Wrens are possible because of the mild start to the winter this year. But Varied Thrush, not a bird that would entered by mistake.

 

 

Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers? - GBBC report
Posted on February 20, 2006 at 09:52:52 AM by Barbara Taylor

I was just browsing the Great Backyard Bird Count results and found a report of six Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers in Bracebridge. This is a very unusual sighting for this time of year - does anyone have any information about where these birds are?

Other interesting birds in or near Muskoka:
Great Gray Owl in Bala.
Varied Thrush in Minden.
Winter Wrens in Orillia.

Purple Finches in Bracebridge.


GBBC 2006 Results: Localities in Ontario

 

 

Algonquin Park
Posted on February 20, 2006 at 09:22:04 AM by Brian Wylie (on ONTBIRDS)

*This report originated on ONTBIRDS (February 19, 2006) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Birds were scarce in Algonquin as stated in Ron Tozers report. A single Am. Crow
was calling just west of the park entrance at the Oxtongue River bridge, while
N.Three-toed Woodpeckers & W.W.Crossbills that were seen here by our scout camp
the last 3 years, on this weekend, were absent and only 2 Pine Siskins were in
the area. The Visitors Center had a couple different flocks of Pine Grosbeaks
(up to 20 birds) and C. Redpolls visiting on Sat. afternoon. The highlight was 2
Pine Martens followed shortly afterward by a Fisher which returned several times
in quick succession to a suet feeder. A single Evening Grosbeak was observed
near a feeder south of Huntsville.
Brian Wylie

 

 

Pine Grosbeak
Posted on February 19, 2006 at 12:04:28 PM by George & Mary

We have had about a dozen Pine Grosbeak feeding on the ground at our feeders . We're on the Williamsport rd. near Huntsville.

 

 

Ruffed Grouse - Six Mile Lake
Posted on February 19, 2006 at 11:32:04 AM by Anne Lewis

this ruffed grouse was enjoying the sumac seeds on the side of the road yesterday

photo1  photo2

 

 

Evening Grosbeaks
Posted on February 19, 2006 at 11:28:21 AM by Anne Lewis

we still have a large flock of EGB, about 135
here are some pictures i took yesterday while doing back yard count (Six Mile Lake)

photo1  photo2  photo3

 

 

Re(3): Owl ID - 2nd photo
Posted on February 20, 2006 at 06:29:02 PM by Al Sinclair

It does appear to have dark eyes which would make it a Barred Owl. The light spot on the previous photo must have been some snow in the foreground.

 

 

Re(2): Owl ID - 2nd photo
Posted on February 20, 2006 at 09:00:15 AM by Barbara Taylor

I noticed that too Al.  The head looked quite large and it looked like the eye might be a yellow like a Great Gray. Anne sent me this second photo where the owl has rearranged itself. Here the head seems smaller and the eye appears dark...so more like a Barred in this second shot.  Thanks for sending the photo Anne. Keep a look out for the owl in case it comes back.  photo

 

 

Re(1): Sharp-shinned hawk, Barred Owl encounter
Posted on February 19, 2006 at 10:52:11 PM by Al Sinclair

Looks like it might have yellow eyes. Did you note the eye color? Can you blow up your original photo to check? If yellow then it is a Great Gray.

 

 

Sharp-shinned hawk, Barred Owl encounter
Posted on February 19, 2006 at 11:24:01 AM by Anne Lewis

We have a sharp-shinned hawk that is helping itself to our birds. the birds scater when it arrives. yesterday a blue jay hit the window and the hawk scooped it off the deck. I watched it carry it to the hydro lined. A barred owl swooped down and the hawk left leaving the jay to the owl.
this is a picture I took from my window. you can just see the owl's face. I thought at first it was a great gray because it was such a large owl......guess we grow them big at Six Mile Lake  photo

 

 

Trumpeter Swans
Posted on February 19, 2006 at 11:18:47 AM by Anne Lewis

we saw these TS at Christies Mill , Port Severn yesterday. There were 10, 1 pair had 2 cygnets. One tag # is 737

photo1   photo2

 

 

Turkeys
Posted on February 17, 2006 at 07:14:05 PM by Janice House

had to slow down this morning on the way into Bracebridge, 3 turkeys on the road in front of the new home which is almost across from Simcoe Block ( 8:20)

 

 

Re(6): Muskoka Backyard Bird Count
Posted on February 20, 2006 at 06:32:41 PM by Al Sinclair

Our backyard count on Feb 20 from 8km east of Bracebridge:
Common Redpoll 53
Black-capped Chickadee 7
Blue Jay 1
Hairy Woodpecker 1
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Mourning Dove 1
Common Raven 1

 

 

Re(5): Muskoka Backyard Bird Count
Posted on February 20, 2006 at 08:34:42 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Both days I had (in Bala):

12 black-capped chickadees
4 white-breasted nuthatches
2 downy woodpeckers
4 hairy woodpeckers
14 common redpolls
1 hoary redpoll
6 goldfinches

I know that Brian and Marian McDonald had 4 pine grosbeaks yesterday only at their feeders on the Moon River.

 

 

Re(3): Muskoka Backyard Bird Count
Posted on February 19, 2006 at 10:00:35 PM by Richard Doucette

Thank you for mentioning this was happening this weekend. It was a great activity for me and 4 year old. :)
Rich

Morning visitors to our feeder, as seen from our living room window (George Rd in Bracebridge).

Feb 18

1 Downy Woodpecker
2 Blue Jay
12 Black-capped Chickadee
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Dark-eyed Junco
2 Northern Cardinal
3 Pine Siskin
1 American Goldfinch

Feb 19

2 Blue Jay
3 Black-capped Chickadee
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
2 Northern Cardinal
3 Pine Siskin
5 American Goldfinch

 

 

Re(2): Muskoka Backyard Bird Count
Posted on February 19, 2006 at 09:56:37 PM by Anne Lewis

additions to bird count Feb.18, Six Mile Lake
forgot the Sharp-shinned hawk and Barred/great gray owl
Also at Port Severn
10 trumpeter swans

 

 

Re(1): Muskoka Backyard Bird Count
Posted on February 19, 2006 at 09:51:24 PM by Anne Lewis

backyard count for Feb.18, Six Mile Lake
EGB 135
BJ 68
PWP 1
DWP 3
HWP 4
WBNH 5
RBNH 1
CDEE 30
GFINCH 15
RPOLL 7
MDOVE 8
RGROUSE 1

 

 

Re(1): Muskoka Backyard Bird Count
Posted on February 19, 2006 at 05:19:03 PM by Goodyear

Backyard Bird Count
We're on Meadow Heights Drive, Bracebridge:

Common Raven 1
European Starling 1
Blue Jay 2
Downy Woodpecker 1
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Red Breasted Nuthatch 8
Black-capped Chickadee 11
Common Redpoll 2
Pine Siskin 3
American Goldfinch 11
Pine Grosbeak 1

 

 

Re(4): Muskoka Backyard Bird Count
Posted on February 20, 2006 at 07:21:30 AM by Janice House

Sunday the 19th, same birds except
12 blue jays
4 hairy woodpeckers
1 pine grosbeak
3 starlings
mourning dove did not appear

 

 

Re(2): Muskoka Backyard Bird Count
Posted on February 19, 2006 at 07:29:42 AM by Janice House

Saturday, Doe Lake Rd 1klm from Hwy 11
6 blue jays
22 redpolls 1 in group a hoary
1 mourning dove
1 junco
2 starlings
3 tree sparrows
2 hairy woodpeckers
1 downy woodpecker
1 wb nuthatch
2 rb nuthatch
2 dozen chickadees

 

 

Re(1): Muskoka Backyard Bird Count
Posted on February 18, 2006 at 06:30:48 PM by Barbara Taylor

No hawk today but added three other species - creeper, E.grosbeak, and crow.

Our yard list for Feb. 18 (Glendale Rd., Bracebridge):
Brown Creeper 1
Evening Grosbeak 1
American Crow 1
Blue Jay 5
Mourning Dove 12
Dark-eyed Junco 6
Pine Siskin 2
American Goldfinch 4
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 2
Red-breasted Nuthatch 3
White-breasted Nuthatch 2
Black-capped Chickadee 16

 

 

Re(2): Muskoka Backyard Bird Count
Posted on February 19, 2006 at 06:59:51 PM by Terry Whittam / Marion Whittam

Sunday Feb 19th
Clearwater lake 10k east of Washago

Mourning Doves 5
Hairy 2
Redpolls 65
Chickadees 10
Goldfinches 2
WB Nuthatch 1
Snowbuntings 4
House sparrow 4
Raven 1
Crow 3

Down hwy 12!

Turkeys at Brechin Ont...24

 

 

Re(1): Muskoka Backyard Bird Count
Posted on February 18, 2006 at 06:28:32 PM by Terry Whittam / Marion Whittam

Feb 18th Saturday!
Great Muskoka Backyard Bird Count:
Clearwater lake 10k east of Washago & 1 trip to Washago.
Morning Dove 2
Chickadees 24
Hairy 2
Downy 2
Snow Buntings 3
Blue Jays 3
WB nuthatch 1
Redpolls 40
Trumpeter Swans 4 (sleeping at the Washago dock!)

 

 

Muskoka Backyard Bird Count
Posted on February 17, 2006 at 05:16:09 PM by Barbara Taylor

The Great Backyard Bird Count is taking place this weekend, Feb. 17-20. If you want to participate in our own unofficial Muskoka count, just post your yard list for any of those days in a reply to this message.

Here is our yard list for Feb. 17 (Glendale Rd., Bracebridge):
Cooper's Hawk (adult) 1
Blue Jay 5
Mourning Dove 9
Dark-eyed Junco 10
Pine Siskin 4
American Goldfinch 6
Hairy Woodpecker 2
Downy Woodpecker 2
Red-breasted Nuthatch 2
White-breasted Nuthatch 2
Black-capped Chickadee 12

View the 2006 GBBC results by location or by species as reports come in.
Excerpt from the GBBC website: "The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all levels in counting birds and reporting their results to create a mid-winter snapshot of the numbers, kinds, and distribution of birds across the continent. Participants count birds for as little or as long as they wish during the four-day period and tally the highest number of birds of each species that they see at any one time. At the Great Backyard Bird Count web site, they fill out an online checklist to submit their counts. As the count progresses, anyone with Internet access can explore what is being reported from their own towns or anywhere in the United States and Canada. They can also see how this year's numbers compare with those from the eight previous years."

 

 

Algonquin Provincial Park Bird Report: Feb. 17
Posted on February 17, 2006 at 04:12:52 PM by Ron Tozer (on ONTBIRDS)


*This report originated on ONTBIRDS (February 17, 2006) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.


Ontbirders:
There is little change in bird numbers or species composition here from
earlier in the winter. Some may recall that 57 observers on the Algonquin
Park Christmas Bird Count recorded only 6 birds per party hour. Now in
late winter, there could be even fewer birds surviving here. An almost total
lack of cones to attract finches, and the southward fall irruption of some
species (e.g., Black-capped Chickadee), have contributed to this quiet
winter for birds.

In the Highway 60 Corridor, small groups of PINE GROSBEAKS are
occasionally seen on the road, especially after sanding following plowing.
Pine Grosbeaks and COMMON REDPOLLS are regular at the Visitor
Centre feeders (km 43). At least one PINE MARTEN visits the feeders
there to eat black sunflower seeds and suet, almost daily.

Birders seeking Algonquin's "boreal" species (Spruce Grouse, Black-
back Woodpecker, Gray Jay, Boreal Chickadee) in the Highway 60
Corridor should concentrate on two traditional areas that sometimes
produce good results: Spruce Bog Boardwalk (km 42.5), and Opeongo
Road (km 46.3). You will have to walk beyond the locked gate on
Opeongo Road, and plowing of the road south of the gate is
sometimes irregular. CAUTION: LOG HAULING IS UNDERWAY
ON AROWHON ROAD AND ROCK LAKE ROAD.

Snow depths in many areas of the Park have reached 60 cm or more,
and snowshoes are essential off packed trails.

Visiting birders are asked to report their sightings (including locations,
numbers and dates) to me (rtozer@vianet.on.ca). Information about recent
sightings is available in the Bird Sightings binder in the Algonquin Visitor
Centre lobby, and from staff.

By the end of the month, the first migrants (American Crows) should be
returning to Algonquin Park. Observers are requested to record arrival
dates for spring migrants on the forms posted in the Visitor Centre lobby.
This information will be added to our database (over 45 years of records).

Some Gray Jay pairs should be starting nest construction this coming
week in Algonquin Park.

Think spring!

Ron Tozer (former Algonquin Park Naturalist)
Dwight, Ontario


Directions:
Algonquin Park is three hours north of Toronto, via Highways 400, 11
and 60. Follow the signs, which start in Toronto on Highway 400. From
Ottawa, take Highway 17 to Renfrew, then follow Highway 60 to the park.
Kilometre markers on Highway 60 in the park go from the West Gate (km 0)
to the East Gate (km 56). Permits and information are available daily at
both gates throughout the winter. The Visitor Centre (km 43) is open
weekends, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. As well, birders are welcome to observe the
Visitor Centre feeders and ask staff about recent sightings during the week.

----------------------------------------------
*ONTBIRDS is presented by the Ontario Field Ornithologists - the provincial
birding organization. For instructions to join or leave ONTBIRDS visit
http://www.ofo.ca/ontbirdshow.htm
ONTBIRDS Guidelines may be viewed at http://www.ofo.ca/ontbirdsguide.htm

 

 

Re(1): Goldfinch Colour, Bala
Posted on February 19, 2006 at 11:14:32 AM by Anne Lewis

we have a small flock of about 20 gold finches .....sure doesn't look like spring today (Six Mile Lake)

photo

 

 

Goldfinch Colour, Bala
Posted on February 16, 2006 at 12:52:50 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I noticed today that the goldfinches that have found their way to my feeders this week have patches of yellow coming in! At least the birds think spring is coming!

 

 

Re(1): Backyard Feeder Watch
Posted on February 15, 2006 at 07:22:28 PM by Barbara Taylor

Thanks for the reminder Janice. Here's the link to find more info about how to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count taking place February 17-20.

In past years we've had our own "unofficial" survey so we can do that again this year too. Just post a report of all the birds you see at your feeders or in your yard on any of those dates.


Here's an excerpt from the GBBC website:
"The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all levels in counting birds and reporting their results to create a mid-winter snapshot of the numbers, kinds, and distribution of birds across the continent. Participants count birds for as little or as long as they wish during the four-day period and tally the highest number of birds of each species that they see at any one time. At the Great Backyard Bird Count web site, they fill out an online checklist to submit their counts. As the count progresses, anyone with Internet access can explore what is being reported from their own towns or anywhere in the United States and Canada. They can also see how this year's numbers compare with those from the eight previous years."

 

 

Backyard Feeder Watch
Posted on February 15, 2006 at 07:04:53 PM by Janice House

is anyone registered to do the feeder watch this weekend? Is Muskoka going to do its own survey?

 

 

Mallards, Brandy Creek
Posted on February 15, 2006 at 05:27:54 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

There were two male mallards amongst the ice at Brandy Creek about 1:30 this afternoon

 

 

Pine Siskins
Posted on February 15, 2006 at 04:49:27 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon we found two very vocal flocks of Pine Siskins. One group was on Daleman Dr. just west of Glendale Rd. and the other flock was behind #37 Meadow Heights Dr., Bracebridge.

 

 

Re(1): Kinglets
Posted on February 16, 2006 at 02:38:53 PM by Ted Gardner

Welcome aboard!! Nice to here Kinglets hit Hurdville to!! Luv #1

 

 

Kinglets
Posted on February 13, 2006 at 06:42:20 PM by Jim Gardner

While cutting firewood on the property, I saw 6 Golden -crowned Kinglets this morning, at Hurdville, bottom end of Lake Manitouwabing.

 

 

North of Area Waxwings
Posted on February 13, 2006 at 08:54:12 AM by Brenda Clark

We moved to Elliot Lake in late December, and have usually been able to locate a huge flock of Bohemian Waxwings near the city centre any day for a month now. There are a lot of ornamental trees with fruit, and they are systematically working over the town. I just thought if any one was up this way, and wanted to see them, there's still a chance!

 

 

Boreal Chickadee
Posted on February 12, 2006 at 07:37:10 PM by Bob Healey

I found the Boreal Chickadee in it's usual place, on the Trans-Canada Trail, just east of Henry Rd. It was just a brown dot in the cross-hairs of my lens, but was pleasantly surprised to see the result when I got home. (Bracebridge) photo

 

 

Pine Grosbeak
Posted on February 11, 2006 at 10:55:40 AM by Janice House

A lone pine grosbeak was feeding in the yard this morning about 7:am, we had 6 here last weekend (Doe Lake Rd)

 

 

Re(1): White Swans
Posted on February 10, 2006 at 09:47:36 PM by Al Sinclair

Likely the same Trumpeter Swans reported by Whittam, see January 29 post below and photo. Trumpeter Swans are being reintroduced to Ontario and a few US states in the north-east.

 

 

White Swans
Posted on February 10, 2006 at 05:17:33 PM by Al Korkola

This afternoon, Feb. 10th, at the north end of Lake Couchiching, off the bridge crossing the Main Branch of the Severn River, at Washago, one could see 14 large beautiful white swans in and near the open water. Whistlers or Mutes?? I am not sure.

 

 

Red Polls & Goldfinches-Six Mile Lake
Posted on February 9, 2006 at 09:56:35 PM by Anne Lewis

2 small flocks (30) of Red Polls nd Goldfinches arrived on Monday during the storm. The winter that almost wasn't hit with a vengeance. The feeders have been very busy.

 

 

House Sparrows
Posted on February 9, 2006 at 10:50:43 AM by Barbara Taylor

Several times this winter when I've put my shopping cart in the Bracebridge A&P cart return (east one), a bird has flown up from under the carts, but I never got a good look at it. A week ago in the very mild weather I thought I heard House Sparrows singing from a nearby light standard. Finally, this morning I saw five of them at the cart return basking in the sunshine.

 

 

Goldfinch
Posted on February 9, 2006 at 09:34:52 AM by Todd White

Around 15-20 goldfinch in my back yard this morning, downtown huntsville.

 

 

Boreal Chickadee..first date
Posted on February 8, 2006 at 10:09:07 PM by Al Sinclair

Checked the archives, first date the Boreal Chickadee was seen was Nov 3/05, found by Barbara Taylor, not September as I stated in my previous post.

 

 

Re(1): Sharp-shinned Hawk and Boreal Chickadee
Posted on February 8, 2006 at 07:55:56 PM by Barbara Taylor

So that's why it was so quiet along the trail this morning - a hawk was on patrol. There were no feathers at the dip when we were there earlier. We missed the Boreal Chickadee today but saw a female Pileated Woodpecker hammering away at a dead tree near the dip. Two Common Ravens were calling/croaking, and showed off a couple aerobatic maneuvers. A third Raven tried to join in but was driven off. There were several Ruffed Grouse tracks crossing the trail, but we didn't see the birds.

 

On our way to the marsh, we noticed a Canada Goose lying down on some ice that had formed overnight on the Muskoka River near Kerr Park. We wondered if it had got frozen in, but on our return trip it was no longer there.

 

Directions: from traffic lights at Eccelstone Dr. and Wellington St., head west on Beaumont Dr. to Henry Rd., Bracebridge. There is a parking area at the end of Henry Rd. by the pile of woodchips at the trailhead. To try for the Boreal Chickadee, either turn left when you come to the snowmobile trail, or continue to the T in the trail by the marsh and turn left along the Trans Canada Trail. (note: from Hwy. 11 northbound, take first exit for Bracebridge and follow Hwy 118W to traffic lights and turn left)

 

 

Sharp-shinned Hawk and Boreal Chickadee...Trans-Canada Trail Bracebridge
Posted on February 8, 2006 at 04:12:57 PM by Al Sinclair

Today I finally saw the Boreal Chickadee that many others have seen multiple times. It took about 6 tries starting back last September when it first arrived.

It was a beautiful day for a hike. At about 2:30 I went east of Henry Rd on the Trans-Canada trail to its usual location, the first dip. There were only a few Black-capped Chickadees and Red-breasted Nuthatches along the way. At the dip I looked down and saw feathers everywhere. I decided it was likely the remains of a Goldfinch and thankfully not a Boreal Chickadee. It also meant a raptor was in the area.

I looked up and there it was, landing in a dead tree very close with its back to me. I squeaked and it looked my way. It was a juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk, likely a female from its large size, smaller than a crow, banded tail with no white band on the tip, dark brown on the back, small head compared to Cooper's Hawk, yellow iris. After a couple of minutes it took off and flew low through the trees to the east. It was totally quiet, all other birds in the area had scattered.

I headed back to Henry Rd and found a small flock of Chickadees in the first black spruce trees east of the T junction, south side of the trail. Some Black-capped Chickadees were at the top of the closest tree, but about 5 ft down a chickadee was working through the thick part of the tree. It came out at the end of a branch and there it was, my nemesis, the Boreal Chickadee. I watched it for a few minutes until it went out of sight in a tree further off the trail. It was totally silent the whole time.

Not a bad day!

 

 

Mr & Mrs Pileated
Posted on February 7, 2006 at 06:55:10 PM by Ted Gardner

On a beautiful sunny afternoon Mr and Mrs Pileated Woodpecker appeared on two different suet feeders at the same time! quite the sight!!
(Bracebridge)

 

 

Dr. James Duncan, Great Grays, Sudbury
Posted on February 7, 2006 at 11:08:51 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Just a reminder that Dr. James Duncan is speaking tomorrow night at 7:30 at Science North about great gray owls. He will have lots of interesting things to tell about the owls and their irruption last year. He has been studying them for 20 years.

 

 

Bald Eagle at Aspin Valley
Posted on February 6, 2006 at 10:49:25 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

An adult bald eagle has been keeping watch over the Aspin Valley animal sanctuary. It must be after the food that is put out for the animals. The ravens can get at it so the eagle thinks it should too! (Rosseau)

 

 

Re(4): Merlin? NOT likely
Posted on February 8, 2006 at 10:16:52 PM by Al Sinclair

That is 3 reports of Sharp-shinned in the Bracebridge area recently. Funny thing is they all could be the same bird. The first by Ted Smith was only 5km east of us, we are only 10km east of Henry Marsh. Cooper's or Sharp-shinned Hawks are not unusual sightings around feeders in winter but are more common in southern Ontario than here. The mild winter may be why we are seeing more.

 

 

Re(3): Merlin? NOT likely
Posted on February 8, 2006 at 06:39:56 PM by Brian Shulist

Al, how unusual or common is it to have a Sharp-shinned in your area during winter? Located near Barry's Bay along Hwy 60, I had an adult sharpie arrive at my feeder on Monday. I watched from about 10 metres away as it plucked it's supper: one of my 30+ pine siskins. I don't recall ever seeing a sharp-shinned here in February before.
Regards,
Brian

 

 

Re(2): Merlin? NOT likely
Posted on February 8, 2006 at 04:19:22 PM by Al Sinclair

I had a good look at a Sharp-shinned flying away from me today (see post above). It was Déjà vu all over again. The bird at my feeder looked exactly the same, so it must have been a Sharp-shinned. BTW only a couple of Redpolls have returned since the hawk scared them.

 

 

Re(1): Merlin? chasing Redpolls at our feeder
Posted on February 7, 2006 at 08:14:12 AM by Larry Durkee

Hi Al, I went out Sunday morning to top off the feeders in the back yard and spotted a male Merlin take off from the tall spruce trees. At the time I wasn't sure what it was but when I went back in to retrieve more peanuts he came back to the neighbours yard. I was able to get the binos and get a real good look at him. (Barrie)
Larry

 

 

Merlin? chasing Redpolls at our feeder
Posted on February 6, 2006 at 10:08:07 PM by Al Sinclair

Yesterday at around 4pm a small raptor flew over our feeders and may have picked off a Redpoll. I only saw its back as it disappeared into some hemlocks. It was small, Merlin or Sharp-shinned Hawk size, dark brown on the back, pointed wings, short barred tail. I'm fairly certain it was a female or immature Merlin. We are not used to seeing Merlins here in the winter but their population has increasing dramatically in the last 10 years, they could become as usual here in winter as Cooper's or Sharp-shinned. There was 60+ Redpolls here yesterday, today there was none. (east of Bracebridge on Hwy 118E)

 

 

Re(2): Spiders On The Snow
Posted on February 6, 2006 at 09:29:12 PM by Bob Bowles

Some insects are active during the winter like snow fleas, snow scorpion flies, crane flies, etc. Spiders live mostly on soil surface invertebrates such as Collembola.

 

 

Re(1): Spiders On The Snow
Posted on February 6, 2006 at 11:49:44 AM by Doug Smith

Bob -- fantastic -- what do they eat?

 

 

Spiders On The Snow
Posted on February 6, 2006 at 08:56:58 AM by Bob Bowles

 

There have been several reports of spiders observed over the little snowfall we have received this winter. Recently Liz and Julie observed several at Tiny Marsh while birding the area. They returned from Barrie to Tiny Marsh to collect a spider then drove to Orillia to bring it to me for identification. I have now had time to study and photograph the species. The spider was just over 3mm long so a very small species as spiders go. I am very interested in phenology of winter-active spiders and some may be surprised to learn that there are over 54 species of winter-active spiders in central, southern Canada. The Tiny Marsh spiders on the snow in January were called Pirata minutus with no common name but sometimes called Little Priate Wolf Spiders. Many think of wolf spiders as the large Lycosa species we see on the forest floor. This smaller species is found in vegetation along stream and ponds and are more active in winter. I am always interested in any spiders that you may find in your travels this winter and I am trying to produce a list of winter-active spiders from our area. The photo of this species was taken through my microscope lens.

 

 

Re(1): goldeneyes
Posted on February 6, 2006 at 10:05:37 AM by Barbara Taylor

The Birds of North America Online has the Common Goldeneye section available as a sample. Here's a link to the part about their courtship displays. If you scroll down to the Pair Bond heading, you'll find three video recordings of the courtship behaviour, but you need a broadband connection to be able to view the videos. Here's a photo of the male in the midst of his display.

Many ducks begin courtship displays by mid-winter.  An excerpt from the BNA Online says about Common Goldeneye: "Males have a spectacular and complex courtship behavior exhibited from Dec through Apr that leads to pair formation and maintenance of pair bond."  Since they usually don't overwinter in our area, I don't know if that has any affect on the timing of their courtship behaviour.

 

 

goldeneyes
Posted on February 5, 2006 at 11:06:00 AM by Dawn

There were two pair of goldeneyes at the mouth of the river on Hunter's Bay this morning. One of the males was doing his courtship display. Is it early for that? Are they being fooled by all of this mild weather? (Huntsville)

 

 

Boreal Chickadee
Posted on February 4, 2006 at 06:27:46 PM by Goodyear

Barbara's Boreal Chickadee is still around. We finally saw it today at noon, east of Henry Marsh along the Trans Canada Trail where the trail dips down. The chickadee was foraging on the ground and in low branches on the north side of the trail. (Bracebridge)

 

 

Re(1): Great Horned Owl
Posted on February 3, 2006 at 12:24:48 PM by Leslee Tassie

This is likely to be the same G.H. owl we have heard around our place for a long time. It's just a hop, skip and a jump across the river to our place near the pipeline on Santa's Village Road, and since they are not that common here, either it's this owl, or he's got a friend now!

 

 

Great Horned Owl
Posted on February 3, 2006 at 10:50:20 AM by Nick

great horned owl hooting behind industrial mall/esso station, in the early hours of morning thursday (Bracebridge)

 

 

Snowy Owl
Posted on February 2, 2006 at 03:13:02 PM by bob burton for Ruth Baker

On Jan.29 evening,near Cleveland House on the Judhaven rd.,Ruth Baker, sister and mother saw a Snowy Owl fly from tree across the road to tree.Ruth said it was just like the messenger in "Harry Potter" all white with black flecks.

 

 

Squirrel-proof Feeder - photo
Posted on February 1, 2006 at 04:38:47 PM by Barbara Taylor for Mary Willmott

Mary Willmott sent this photo of their squirrel-proof feeder with a Red Squirrel inside.

 

 

Bird Board Update
Posted on February 1, 2006 at 03:29:44 PM by Barbara Taylor

Thanks to everyone for all your reports. All posts for January are now available in the Archived Reports. Just a reminder to bookmark the back-up webpage. Important notices will be posted there in the event of any problems with the Bird Board hosting service.

There have been several photos recently posted on the Ontario Nature Photos board. You can try a test post of one of your own digital photos there. See the "How to Post Photos" link for some simple instructions.



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

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
muskoka_birder@hotmail.com

 

 

Re(1): Wild Turkeys, EGB, 100+ at Six Mile Lk
Posted on February 1, 2006 at 10:18:56 AM by Cheryl

Gorgeous pictures! Thanks for posting them. I especially enjoyed seeing the evening grosbeaks, since we don't have them where I live. You really do need lots of seed!

 

 

Wild Turkeys, EGB, 100+ at Six Mile Lk
Posted on January 31, 2006 at 12:48:48 PM by Anne Lewis

We have had 8 Wild Turkeys visiting the feeders. This is the first winter we have seen them.
This is the year of the Evening Grosbeak here. There are over 100.
We have very few other finches. Just occasional gold finches and 1 Red Poll
I have a new camera and am enjoying the feeders even more. here are some pic. the last 3 are the lake at sun rise.
Anne Lewis, Six Mile Lake
Visitors are welcome ...bring seed...haha

wild turkey photo: http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f106/sixmiler/wtface.jpg

evening grosbeak photo: http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f106/sixmiler/egbfm.jpg

 

 

Eagle, Trumpeter swans - Georgian Bay Twp.
Posted on January 31, 2006 at 12:32:27 PM by Anne Lewis

HI there
There are 2 Bald Eagles at the Big Chute, Port Severn. I haev seen the immature at Christies Mill, Port Severn and Whites Falls Road and Highway 400 circling.
There are 8 Trumpeter Swans on the west side of 400 at Port Severn
Anne Lewis
Six Mile Lake

 

 

otters and goshawk
Posted on January 31, 2006 at 11:39:01 AM by jim griffin

I have been seeing otters regularly on the river at Port Sydney(south of the road 10 bridge), but this morning the "group" was 5 in number, catching fish climbing out on the bit of ice that is left and generally having a good time. (by any chance, does a group of otters = a"raft"?)

While I was out watching the otters, a northern goshawk passed close overhead, possibly checking out the pigeons at my feeder(who promptly disappeared).

 

 

Bald Eagle - Milford Bay
Posted on January 31, 2006 at 10:07:54 AM by Barbara Taylor for Gary Kaye

Gary Kaye sent this report:
There was a bald eagle helping itself to the remains of a deer carcus on Milford Bay Jan. 24 and 25. The deer was downed by several wolves (?) on Monday night the 23 of January. The eagle was having some trouble with ravens on the Tuesday, but was all alone on Wednesday. Wednesday it was feeding for about 1/2 hr at noon by itself. The weather was clear, and sunny, visibility was good. Colours were clear. Seen by Jan, Sarah, and Gary Kaye.

 

 

Mr Hairy, ready for Spring!!!
Posted on January 29, 2006 at 09:50:47 PM by Terry Whittam / Marion Whittam

Mr Hairy ready for spring! Looking good! (east of Washago)
Hairy Woodpecker! Ready for Spring!

 

 

Invaded by Redpolls
Posted on January 29, 2006 at 09:12:42 PM by Terry Whittam / Marion Whittam

Today Sunday January 29th we were invaded by 70 to 90 Redpolls east of Washago! Here are 4 beauties eating a nice lunch!
Redpolls

 

 

Re(2): Goldfinches
Posted on January 30, 2006 at 06:47:44 PM by Ted Gardner

15 to 20 Goldfinches in today all after niger seed.They seem to show up and disapear from day to day. (Bracebridge)

 

 

Re(1): Goldfinches
Posted on January 29, 2006 at 08:49:17 PM by Barbara Taylor

We haven't had any American Goldfinch for quite a while, but yesterday four turned up along with a lone Pine Siskin. One of the goldfinches was already showing some bright yellow colour and its forehead was partially black. Seems a little early for the male to be changing into breeding plumage, but guess he just can't wait for spring! (Glendale Rd., Bracebridge)

 

 

Goldfinches
Posted on January 29, 2006 at 08:25:46 PM by Terry Whittam / Marion Whittam

Lots of Goldfinches this past weekend...but only if the Redpolls were gone! (east of Washago)
Terry

Goldfinch's feeding!

 

 

Trumpeter Swans at Washago dock
Posted on January 29, 2006 at 07:46:08 PM by Terry Whittam / Marion Whittam

7 Trumpeter Swans Saturday Jan 28th at the dock in Washago! Two in the picture here were bottoms up! 1 had a yellow tag but it was flipped so I could not read the number! Beautiful birds!
Trumpeter Swans

 

 

Cardinal, Pileated, Siskins
Posted on January 29, 2006 at 12:22:35 PM by Barbara Taylor for Ted Sykes

Here is Ted's report and a photo of the male Northern Cardinal which recently returned to their yard:

He came back. Have not seen the female. I guess she will show up sooner or later. He has been singing up a storm of late. Had major flocks of pine siskins around and also a pileated hammering at the beef fat on the pine tree. The woodpecker was making an awful racket yesterday morning. The cardinal usually comes early in the morning and again just at dusk. I picked up some safflower seed to add to his diet and scattered them on the picnic table under the feeder and also some in the feeder too.

regards
Ted Sykes
110 Knister Rd. (subdivision past the Fire College, Gravenhurst)

 

 

Re(1): Wren, Snow fleas and blood
Posted on January 28, 2006 at 09:02:38 PM by Mark McAnally

At my house in Huntsville the snow fleas were out in large numbers.

 

 

Wren, Snow fleas and blood
Posted on January 28, 2006 at 04:25:42 PM by Goodyear

This afternoon while out looking for the Boreal Chickadee (no luck!) we had a very brief view of a wren (east of Henry Marsh along the Trans Canada Trail where it dips down). It called a couple of times times (two syllable - chit, chit) and then flew south across the creek into the woods before we could get our bins on it. It looked (brown overall, short cocked tail) and sounded like a Winter Wren.
We also saw several groups (I'm not sure of the collective noun!?) of snow fleas encircling what looked like drops of blood that were spread along the trail close to the lagoon end. We didn't see any other snow fleas except on/around the drops of blood. Keen sense of smell/taste???

 

 

Hermit Thrush
Posted on January 28, 2006 at 12:57:42 PM by Dan Burton

The Hermit Thrush first seen Jan 3rd, is here again today standing watch over a diminishing supply of Mountain Ash berries left on my trees. (Gravenhurst)

 

 

fox, turkeys, owl, raptor
Posted on January 27, 2006 at 10:26:59 PM by Leslee Tassie

The rafter of 30 turkeys have been continuing to come by every day faithfully at 8 a.m. (they must wear watches) and again several times over the course of the day. They are quite active moving around their "territory". They are also quite noisy when they come and yesterday attracted the attention of a fox. I don't know if he had turkey for dinner or not. As well a small raptor flew over yesterday, small enough from the underside view I had to be a kestrel, however, it was fast and I didn't get to see it again so I cannot confirm this with 100% certainty. We've heard our great horned owl two nights this past week and one morning. About 4 p.m. today a mole was helping itself to fallen seed under one of our feeders.  (Bracebridge)

 

 

Pileated Pair
Posted on January 27, 2006 at 07:33:13 PM by Ted Gardner

It now turns out that the Pileated comming to our suet over the last 3 months has a wife!! My Wife witnessed them together in the tree's. Nice to know there's someone for everyone!
120 meadow heights B.B.

 

 

Bald Eagle near Huntsville today
Posted on January 27, 2006 at 05:57:25 PM by Al Sinclair

Ernie Giles reports that an adult Bald Eagle was circling near the Madill church and Hwy 11 south of Huntsville at noon today.

 

 

Muskoka Field Naturalists - next meeting February 2
Posted on January 27, 2006 at 04:02:08 PM by Barbara Taylor

 

from the Wakerobin, Newsletter of the Muskoka Field Naturalists:
FEBRUARY 2 THURSDAY MFN MEETING 7:30 PM GRAVENHURST
The Atherley Narrows connect Lake Simcoe to lake Couchiching near the Rama Reserve. Long ago, aboriginals spanned the gap with fences to trap fish, a staple of their diet. Their descendants, the Chippewas of Mnjikaning (an Ojibway word which means "fish fence") and other members of the Mnjikaning Fish Fence Circle seek to preserve and interpret the site. Janet Turner, their President, will tell us about this.

Meetings from February through June will be held at Calvary Baptist Church in Gravenhurst, corner of First and Brock Street (across from Giant Tiger). Visitors welcome to attend the meeting.

Membership Information & Program Updates: MFN website

 

 

Red-winged Blackbird - Algonquin Park
Posted on January 25, 2006 at 05:09:17 PM by Bert Filemyr

A male red-winged blackbird was observed at the feeder at the west gate of Algonquin Park today. We observed it at 8:30 am and again at 3:30 pm.
Pictures were taken and have been submitted to the Park Naturalist.

 

 

Re(1): Bald Eagles - photo
Posted on January 26, 2006 at 08:41:46 AM by Pegg Lancelotte

We have seen an adult Bald Eagle soaring over Hwy 118 just south of Grass Lake. ( January 16,2006)

 

 

Bald Eagles - photo
Posted on January 25, 2006 at 02:13:13 PM by Barbara Taylor for Mary Willmott

Mary Willmott reports an adult and a young Bald Eagle feeding out on the ice across from 1130 Beaumaris Rd. The eagles have left for now, but still ravens present. Here are two photos Mary sent.
photo1  photo2

 

Tree Sparrows, Juncos
Posted on January 24, 2006 at 01:43:10 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there were three American Tree Sparrows near the west end of Meadow Heights Dr. Also some very vocal Pine Siskins, a Brown Creeper, and a few Evening Grosbeaks.  We still have about 14 Dark-eyed Juncos coming to our feeder at Glendale Rd. (Bracebridge)


Listen to a Pine Siskin:
http://www.on.ec.gc.ca/wildlife/wildspace/media/sounds/pisi.wav

 

 

Barred Owl in our yard again
Posted on January 24, 2006 at 11:18:28 AM by Al Sinclair

The Barred Owl we have been seeing here occasionally flew through the yard and over the bird feeder this morning at about 8:00. Red Squirrels have been scarce here compared to other years when no Barred Owls were around, could be a connection? Only one squirrel seen recently, still here later today.
We live about 8km east of Bracebridge on Hwy 118E.

 

 

Foxes, Bala
Posted on January 24, 2006 at 09:36:14 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Foxes have been barking as they move around near my place in Bala for the last two nights. Their tracks show that they have been marking every possible feature in the landscape around my house.
Spring must be in the air!

 

 

Sharp-shinned hawk attacking my chickadees
Posted on January 22, 2006 at 10:35:01 PM by Ted Smith

Hi folks,
On Saturday, Jan 21st I was watching my feeder when suddenly about 10 chickadees bolted in every direction as a hawk blazed by the feeder. The hawk was unsuccessful and perched about 40' away. Pretty sure it was a sharp-shinned hawk. But wait, the story doesn't end there.
One of the scattered chickadees flew head on into my window. Down it went head first into a pile of fresh snow. Only the tail feather was peaking out. I quickly braved the cold weather in my housecoat to see what I could do. I pulled a snowball containing the bird out of the fresh powder and blew all the white stuff off him/her. The bird was dazed and confused and I wasn't sure if he/she was going to make it. I then carefully took him/her inside and held him/her in my cupped hands for my 2 year-old daughter and 5 year-old lab to view. Both were very inquisitive. After 5 minutes the bird started moving. I returned outside in housecoat and opened my hands. The chickadee looked up and flew onto my shoulder. It rested a few minutes while my legs froze then flew off seemingly no less for the wear.
Take care,
Ted

 

 

Re(1): Barred owl - photo
Posted on January 23, 2006 at 09:50:07 AM by Barbara Taylor for George Moroz

Here are two of George's photos. Click on the thumbnail picture to see larger version.  photo1  photo2

 

 

Barred owl
Posted on January 22, 2006 at 07:22:06 PM by George Moroz

A Barred Owl spent the afternoon from 1.00 - after 6.00 pm within 10 feet of our feeders waiting for opportunities for dinner. With the amount of seed beneath the snow there were probably many mice etc.
Good pics were taken.  (Bracebridge)

 

 

Re(2): ground wasps
Posted on January 31, 2006 at 01:53:17 PM by Barbara Taylor

Hi Jane. Your photo from last year of the Boreal Owl perched on your feeder is still one of my favourites. : )

By not putting out birdseed, you may help keep the rodent population further away from your house...so it might help keep the wasps further away too. But some wasps will dig out their own underground nest and yellowjackets will nest above ground as well as using rodent tunnels, so not a 100% solution. We had two wasp nests under our back deck next to the water tap. Luckily they were accessible and we were able to spray them when the nests were still quite small. I was going to try and leave them be, but one guy stung me when I was filling up my watering can, so that sealed their fate. If the wasps are a problem again this summer here are a couple of references for you.

Factsheet - ground nesting bees and wasps:
http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/2000/2143.html

excerpt from http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/DG3732.html:
When yellowjackets are found nesting in the ground, first try pouring a soap and water solution into the entrance. Many types of soap will work, including dish and laundry soap.

If that doesn't work, apply an insecticide into the nest opening. Be sure you use a product that is cleared for use in lawns or soil. Dusts are more effective than liquid insecticides because liquids do not always reach the nest. After you are sure all the wasps have been exterminated, cover the nest entrance with soil.
When treating ground-dwelling wasp nests, use one of the following insecticides:
carbaryl (e.g. Sevin) as a dust
chlorpyrifos (e.g. Dursban) as a dust
carbaryl (e.g. Sevin) as a liquid concentrate
acephate (e.g. Orthene) as a liquid concentrate
diazinon as a liquid concentrate

 

 

Re(1): Bald Eagles!
Posted on January 31, 2006 at 10:27:54 AM by Jane Marshall

Hello! Mark

It was great to hear from you, I would love to see a Bald Eagle in our area, the only time that I have seen them in Ontario is Longlac. We have had a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers here since early fall, what a treat to see them! As you know I am not feeding the birds this year, due to the ground wasps that we had a problem with this past summer [ I had the bites to prove it], they used the holes in the ground that the voles and squirrels use in the winter to run through. Correct me if I am wrong to assume this, but I thought if I didn't have a feeder out this year, I could correct this problem. However I am sad not to see the variety of birds, that have always helped me get through the winter, and of course no owls either.

 

 

Bald Eagles!
Posted on January 21, 2006 at 06:35:49 PM by Mark McAnally

On an afternoon walk on my property on Britannia Road in Huntsville today at 4:30 p.m. my brother, Gregg, and I watched two Bald Eagles soaring above us. One was an adult and the other an immature. We couldn't believe how lucky we were. Earlier in the day we had a Barred Owl near my feeder and thought that was exciting. This is the second time in 3 weeks that I have seen an adult Bald Eagle in Huntsville.

 

 

Great Gray Owl in Algonquin Park
Posted on January 21, 2006 at 09:35:13 AM by Ron Tozer (on ONTBIRDS)

*This report originated on ONTBIRDS (January 21, 2006) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.


A Great Gray Owl was reported perched in the top of a spruce on the south
side of Highway 60 near the km 5 marker in Algonquin Provincial Park at
4.45 p.m. yesterday, January 20.

This is the first confirmed observation in Algonquin Park this winter. If it
follows the pattern of all the Great Gray Owls seen here during last
winter's irruption, this bird will not be seen again (but time will tell).
Great Gray Owls appeared to move steadily through the Park last winter,
probably in response to a shortage of available prey.

As always, I would appreciate hearing about any subsequent sightings of
this owl, and your other bird observations in Algonquin Park, for the
Algonquin Visitor Centre database. Thanks.

Good birding.

Ron Tozer
Dwight, Ontario

Directions:
Algonquin Park is three hours north of Toronto, via Highways 400, 11
and 60. Follow the signs, which start in Toronto on Highway 400. From
Ottawa, take Highway 17 to Renfrew, then follow Highway 60 to the park.
Kilometre markers on Highway 60 in the park go from the West Gate (km 0)
to the East Gate (km 56). Permits and information are available daily at
both gates throughout the winter. The Visitor Centre (km 43) is open
weekends, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Birders are welcome to observe the Visitor
Centre feeders and ask staff about recent sightings during the week, as
well.

--------------------------------------
ONTBIRDS is presented by the Ontario Field Ornithologists - the provincial
birding organization. For instructions to join or leave ONTBIRDS visit
http://www.ofo.ca/ontbirdshow.htm
ONTBIRDS Guidelines may be viewed at http://www.ofo.ca/ontbirdsguide.htm

 

 

MFN meeting date correction
Posted on January 21, 2006 at 02:01:03 PM by Barbara Taylor

Eleanor's original post had the wrong month...I've since corrected it. Thanks for checking that Eleanor. Here's the correct info:

The MFN meeting with Jan McDonnell speaking about Wild Turkeys will be held March 2. The upcoming meeting on February 2 will be about native fishing weirs...I'll make a separate post on this later.

 

 

Re(2): Question re: Wild Turkeys
Posted on January 20, 2006 at 08:17:47 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

They must have been doing pretty well to have grown to that size of a "herd" over the last few winters. I had 11 coming in for part of the winter last year but only 3 - 4 this winter.

Turkeys did not live up here before all the pine trees were cut down in the mid-1800s. It was too cold for them too.

Jan McDonnell is giving a talk about Wild Turkeys March 2 at the MFN meeting at the church opposite the Giant Tiger in Gravenhurst.

 

 

Re(1): Question re: Wild Turkeys
Posted on January 19, 2006 at 03:45:53 PM by Barbara Taylor

Winter does limit the distribution range of Wild Turkeys, but considering how quickly their numbers have grown, it seems they are adusting well in our area. It's a tough call concerning supplemental feeding. In the short run perhaps it will help a few birds, but in the long run if they can't survive on their own then they really shouldn't be here.  That doesn't mean I'm going to stop feeding our Cardinals though…at least they aren't very messy.  : )

Here's a good article from the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources entitled "Should We Feed Wild Turkeys?": http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/land/wildlife/HUNT/turkey/wntfeeding.htm

 

 

Question re: Wild Turkeys
Posted on January 19, 2006 at 10:24:12 AM by Leslee Tassie

The turkeys have been at our house every day looking for any seed that has fallen within reach from our feeders. I purchased a bag of scratch feed from Corbett's (half corn, half wheat) and have put some out for them. They've been coming every day and seem to be really hungry, even "jumping" at wind chimes that hang to see if they are food. However in town the other day I ran into a longtime MFN member who voiced his concern that he thinks the turkeys have a hard time in the winter and need to be fed to survive. I'm not in a position to feed this merry band of 30 turkeys for the entire winter so I'm wondering if they can find enough food out there to survive (with a little help occasionally) or do we need to find a solution. It's not just a question of affording to feed them, but, quite frankly, they are messy.

 

 

Muskoka Bird Checklist revised
Posted on January 16, 2006 at 02:21:58 PM by Al Sinclair

I recently updated the Muskoka Bird Checklist that can be found at the link below (added White-eyed Vireo, changed status of Purple Martin from common to rare). Please let me know if you find any errors or omissions.
Muskoka Bird Checklist

 

 

Re(1): Winter Finches...changing here also
Posted on January 16, 2006 at 02:28:40 PM by Al Sinclair

Noticed changes in the last two weeks here east of Bracebridge. A large flock of over 175 Pine Siskins disappeared after the freezing rain that coated the trees after Christmas, only a couple since. Common Redpolls are increasing, about 20 here today. American Goldfinches are about the same, around 12.

 

 

Winter Finches, Algonquin
Posted on January 15, 2006 at 07:39:27 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Comparing the number of finches to last weekend shows an increase in species.
There were about a dozen common redpolls at the Visitor's Centre feeder and one male evening grosbeak.
Not quite as many pine grosbeaks there this weekend and not as many males. Less activity too.
No pine grosbeaks seen at the West Gate but then only corn in the feeder there.
Once again I was skunked on the pine marten.

 

 

A large rafter of turkeys
Posted on January 15, 2006 at 06:47:40 PM by Terry Whittam / Marion Whittam

Spotted this large rafter of turkeys on the way to the city today just south of Port Bolster. Counted close to 75!
Rafter of Turkeys

 

 

Boreal Chickadee - update
Posted on January 15, 2006 at 01:05:06 PM by Barbara Taylor

The Boreal Chickadee was with a large flock of Black-capped Chickadees and Red-breasted Nuthatch at 11:30 a.m. this morning along the Trans Canada Trail east of Henry marsh. It was near the place where the trail "dips down" - nice and sunny and sheltered from the wind there. Also a few Common Redpolls and Golden-crowned Kinglets. No Pine Grosbeaks along the trail, but did see a few in a crabapple tree on north side of Beaumont Dr. just west of the stoplights.


Directions: from traffic lights at Eccelstone Dr. and Wellington St., head west on Beaumont Dr. to Henry Rd., Bracebridge. There is a parking area at the end of Henry Rd. by the pile of woodchips at the trailhead. To try for the Boreal Chickadee, either turn left when you come to the snowmobile trail, or continue to the T in the trail by the marsh and turn left along the Trans Canada Trail.

 

 

Bald Eagle
Posted on January 15, 2006 at 12:23:28 PM by mary willmott

At 1130 Am on Hgy 118 West near the Red Barn (antique barn) near Port Carling I saw a Bald Eagle. It disapearred before I could get bios on it. When I got to the Locks at Port it was going around the dam. I was able to get my bios on it. It had the white head and tail but some white on belly and underwing coverts.Maybe a second or third year bird.

 

 

Hermit Thrush
Posted on January 14, 2006 at 06:46:12 PM by Dan Burton

The Hermit Thrush is still alive. It was here this afternoon. (Gravenhurst)

 

 

marten
Posted on January 13, 2006 at 09:41:50 PM by Peter + Michelle Jessen

 

On Janauary 6/06 we observed this marten for approximately 30 minutes, first he/she tried to get to the bag with the bird- fat by climbing on the branches, but finally the marten got smart and discovered the reiling and jumped for nearly 2 metres to the bag. since then we saw him one more time, but the bag with the fat is empty and/or distroyed nearly every day,so he is probably still around.   photo1   photo2   photo3   photo4

 

 

Snowbuntings
Posted on January 11, 2006 at 06:18:38 PM by Terry Whittam / Marion Whittam

Snowbuntings on Coopers Falls Road about 8km east of Washago. Across from the twin churches. Almost too numerous to count....they are always either on the ground being fed or in the poplar trees on the south side...just try to count them in the attached shot up in the trees.
Snowbuntings

 

 

Red-tailed Hawk
Posted on January 10, 2006 at 04:31:15 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon there was a Red-tailed Hawk sunning itself in a tree by Stephens Bay Rd. It was in the first large field you come to after turning off Beaumont Dr., on the east side of the road. (Bracebridge)

 

 

Re(3): Wild turkeys galore
Posted on January 15, 2006 at 10:20:29 AM by Leslee & Steve Tassie

This big group of turkeys are still around, seen again January 13, 14 and 15, there are oodles of them. I did get a report from Donna Bartley in Brobst Subdivision that about 20 of them paid her a visit before Christmas.

 

 

Re(1): Wild turkeys galore
Posted on January 11, 2006 at 06:29:08 PM by Terry Whittam / Marion Whittam

A group of turkeys is called a "rafter".

Taken from the INTERNET:

Turkeys are domestic (farm) birds that were originally bred from wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopo). The adult female turkey is called a hen, the adult male is called a tom, and the young are called poults. A group of turkeys is called a rafter.

 

 

Re(2): Wild turkeys galore
Posted on January 11, 2006 at 06:45:53 PM by Leslee Tassie

That's very interesting .... we are on Beaver Creek as well by the pipeline on Santa's Village Road. I haven't seen them today. The last I saw them was about 4 o'clock yesterday running up the middle of the creek like it was their own personal roadway heading towards the bridge. I assumed that since the light was dimming they were finding shelter for the night. If I see them again, I'll post a message. It was quite funny yesterday though when they were on the road, the drivers of the vehicles were all honking their horns and this bunch of stubborn turkeys took their sweet time to get out of the way and let them by. Some people look annoyed, some looked astonished, I was glad to witness this humourous situation.

 

 

Re(1): Wild turkeys galore
Posted on January 11, 2006 at 03:02:51 PM by Sam

Glad to hear someone else referring to this merry band as a herd. This may be the same 30 birds that had been spending time along the Beaver Creek ravine behind Dill Street. They had been roosting in the trees up until about l0 nights ago. Wondered where they went.

 

 

Wild turkeys galore
Posted on January 10, 2006 at 02:57:31 PM by Leslee Tassie

I reported that on Friday we had a few wild turkeys behind our garage here on Santa's Village Road.
Well, we had about 30 of them today, all over our yard and out on the road blocking traffic. It was actually kind of comical. Can one really call this many of these huge birds a flock ... I think of them as more like a herd. We've been hearing them out back of us since Friday across the creek, but it seems they went for a stroll today.... all over the place around us.

 

 

Few finches in Algonquin
Posted on January 9, 2006 at 03:41:20 PM by Ron Reid (on ONTBIRDS)

*This report originated on ONTBIRDS (January 9, 2006) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Sunday Janet Grand and I made the trek to Algonquin - beautiful fresh snow
on the trees, but birds were sparse. Only finches seen were a flock of PINE
GROSBEAKS at the Park Visitor Centre. A PINE MARTEN that has been coming to
the feeders behind the Visitor Centre returned about 2:30 pm, shortly after
the photographers ran out of patience.

One BOREAL CHICKADEE at the gate on Opeongo Road. None seen at Spruce
Boardwalk, but another Marten near the trail entrance. No sign of Spruce
Grouse.

Ron Reid
Executive Director
Couchiching Conservancy
Orillia, Ontario

---------------------------------------
ONTBIRDS is presented by the Ontario Field Ornithologists - the provincial
birding organization. For instructions to join or leave ONTBIRDS visit
http://www.ofo.ca/ontbirdshow.htm
ONTBIRDS Guidelines may be viewed at http://www.ofo.ca/ontbirdsguide.htm

 

 

Parry Sound Nature Club Christmas Count
Posted on January 9, 2006 at 10:34:50 AM by Jim Gardner

The Christmas count scheduled for Dec. l8 and postponed due to weather was conducted Jan. 8/06. l4 people recorded 30 species and 985 individuals. Included were our first Barred Owl and White-winged Scoter. Total of ll8 mallards was a record for our count. Two Bald Eagles were spotted,1 adult at Depot Harbour and a 2nd year bird in MacDougall Twp.

Mallard ll8
Black Duck l2
Goldeneye 7
Common Merganser l
Hooded Merganser l
Ruffed Grouse 2
Herring Gull ll
Ringbilled Gull 41
Mourning Dove l8
Rock Dove 238
Pileated Woodpecker 2
Hairy WP 10
Downy WP 5
Blue Jay 94
Blackcapped Chickadee l56
Whitebreasted Nuthatch 19
Redbreasted Nuthatch l
E. Starling 108
Cardinal 4
Tree Sparrow 6
Snow Bunting 4
Pine Grosbeak 8
Evening Grosbeak 25
Common Redpoll l5
American Goldfinch 33
Bald Eagle 2
Barred Owl l
White-winged Scoter l

 

 

Boreal Chickadee, Fisher, Beaver
Posted on January 8, 2006 at 02:18:23 PM by Barbara Taylor

There is still at least one Boreal Chickadee near the Henry Rd. marsh.  To find it, look for the large mixed flock of Black-capped Chickadees and Red-breasted Nuthatch that move about the forest to the east of Henry marsh. This morning we found them a short distance east along the snowmobile trail that you come to before you reach the T in the trail by the marsh. There were no Pine Grosbeaks in the area today. A small flock of Common Redpolls flew overhead.

Along the snowmobile trail to the west of Henry marsh there was a Hairy Woodpecker drumming. Near the "haunted house" ruins there was a Fisher and further west by a small stream we saw two beaver. Lots of rabbit tracks crisscrossing the snowmobile trail.

If you live along Beaumont Dr. near Henry Rd., take a closer look at all the chickadees visiting your feeders and suet - you might just see the Boreal Chickadee. : )

Directions: from traffic lights at Eccelstone Dr. and Wellington St., head west on Beaumont Dr. to Henry Rd., Bracebridge. There is a parking area at the end of Henry Rd. by the pile of woodchips at the trailhead.  To try for the Boreal Chickadee, either turn left when you come to the snowmobile trail, or continue to the T in the trail by the marsh and turn left along the Trans Canada Trail.

 

 

barred owl
Posted on January 8, 2006 at 09:07:58 AM by Glenn Clarke

Barred Owl January 8 2006 at 8:30 am. Perched low in a pine overlooking Muskoka Bay on Whitehead Rd. Gravenhurst.

 

 

Hermit Thrush
Posted on January 7, 2006 at 05:21:25 PM by Dan Burton

The tough little Hermit Thrush seen Jan 3 returned yesterday (Jan 6) for about an hour, but did not make an appearance today. (Gravenhurst)

 

 

barred Owl
Posted on January 7, 2006 at 04:55:53 PM by art pearse

Spotted barred owl above feeders this afternoon, on Bonnell Road Bracebridge. First visit this season. Stayed about an hour

 

 

Barred Owl
Posted on January 7, 2006 at 02:39:33 PM by Jessica B

Hello, I believe that I saw a Barred Owl (Strix Varia) today. I am out at Glen Orchard on Muskoka Rd 169.

It was a very large male, very healthy looking and well kept. It was hanging around a tree near my father's woodshop, probably keeping an eye out for the wild rabbits that live near there.
I found a link to a picture in which the owl shown is next to identical to the one I saw this afternoon.
Barred Owl

 

 

Red Crossbills
Posted on January 7, 2006 at 02:29:26 PM by Goodyear

We saw two male Red Crossbills in the Red Pine plantation (surrounded by ski trail #1) at the Bracebridge Resource Management Centre this morning. This is the same spot where we saw two Red Crossbills last weekend.

 

 

wild turkeys
Posted on January 6, 2006 at 05:38:21 PM by Leslee & Steve Tassie

This morning at 8:30, several wild turkeys were being very clumsy in a pine tree behind our garage at 135 Santa's Village Road. They were not there later in the day.
Also, our yard is absolutely covered in tracks, haven't had a chance to check them out yet, but we suspect deer. It looks like canine tracks down on the creek behind our house too, perhaps the coyote that visited us on boxing day???

 

 

Grosbeaks & Woodpeckers
Posted on January 6, 2006 at 05:29:28 PM by Ted Gardner

Its been a great feeder year, the last few weeks our Grosbeak population has doubled (30+ Evenings and 20+ Pines) and we are seeing regularly 2 pair of Hairy, 1 pair of Downey and a Male Pileated. The Goldfinches have returned and a flock of Pine Siskens are regular. 4 or so Juncos and a lone Tree Sparrow are frequent and we now have a pair of Red Breasted Nuthatches as well as the pair of whites!! (the "feed the Gardner's birds fund" will be set up soon) all great fun!! (120 Meadow Hieghts B.B)

 

 

PIWO
Posted on January 6, 2006 at 09:48:27 AM by Nick

Was surprised to see a pileated woodpecker fly across the road on the east side of the fraserburg highway bridge, did not get a close enough look to see if male or female. first one i have seen near my house!!

 

 

My Personal Year List 2005
Posted on January 4, 2006 at 03:26:46 PM by Al Sinclair

In 2005 I kept a fairly accurate list of birds I saw in the Regional Municipality of Muskoka and just added up the total today. Looks like it was a good for birds. My list was 175 species, 64% of the Muskoka checklist. There were about 6 species I missed that I could have had with more effort on my part. I tried for the Boreal Chickadee on the Trans-Canada Trail 3 times and missed, tried for the Great Horned Owl twice and missed, could have had Lincoln's Sparrow and Rough-legged Hawk, also did poorly on shorebirds, needed more trips to the Ponds. Below is my 2005 list (generated by Avisys Birding software). My 2006 list is now up to 8 species (a slow start), target this year 180???

SPECIES SEEN
From 1/1/2005 to 12/31/2005 ~ in Muskoka ~ Muskoka Checklist ~ 176 seen
Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
American Bittern
Snow Goose
Canada Goose
Brant
Wood Duck
American Wigeon
Gadwall
Green-winged Teal
Mallard
American Black Duck
Northern Pintail
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Redhead
Ring-necked Duck
Greater Scaup
Lesser Scaup
Common Goldeneye
Bufflehead
Hooded Merganser
Common Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Merlin
Ruffed Grouse
Virginia Rail
Sora
American Coot
Black-bellied Plover
Semipalmated Plover
Killdeer
American Woodcock
Wilson's Snipe
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Solitary Sandpiper
Spotted Sandpiper
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Caspian Tern
Common Tern
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Black-billed Cuckoo
Barred Owl
Great Gray Owl
Northern Hawk Owl
Boreal Owl
Long-eared Owl
Common Nighthawk
Whip-poor-will
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-headed Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Alder Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Purple Martin
Tree Swallow
Bank Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Barn Swallow
American Pipit
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Cedar Waxwing
Winter Wren
House Wren
Sedge Wren
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
Eastern Bluebird
Veery
Swainson's Thrush
Hermit Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Black-capped Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Northern Shrike
Gray Jay
Blue Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
European Starling
Yellow-throated Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Philadelphia Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Golden-winged Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Pine Warbler
Palm Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Ovenbird
Northern Waterthrush
Mourning Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Canada Warbler
Scarlet Tanager
Eastern Towhee
American Tree Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Clay-colored Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Snow Bunting
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Bobolink
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Rusty Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
Pine Grosbeak
Purple Finch
White-winged Crossbill
Common Redpoll
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
Evening Grosbeak
House Sparrow
////---- STATISTICS ----/////
Species in checklist - 273
Species seen - 176
Percent seen - 64.10%

 

 

Bald Eagle
Posted on January 3, 2006 at 02:33:26 PM by Mark McAnally

I just had a perfect view of a mature bald eagle flying along the Muskoka River at the bridge on Center Street in Huntsville between KWH Pipe and Festing Toyota.

 

 

Hermit Thrush
Posted on January 3, 2006 at 02:23:51 PM by Dan Burton

The first Hermit Thrush of 2006 appeared in my yard briefly to eat some Mountain Ash berries at 2:20 today. (Gravenhurst)

 

 

Northern Shrike at Rich Hill
Posted on January 1, 2006 at 03:10:19 PM by Doug Smith

There was a Northern Shrike perched on top of one of the smaller trees behind Rich Hill Candles in Bracebridge today. This was at approx. 2:30pm.

 

 

2005 Highlights
Posted on January 1, 2006 at 12:08:50 PM by Barbara Taylor

The year began with the sighting of a Northern Hawk Owl at Robert Dollar Dr. in Bracebridge. The owl stayed in the area for several weeks, along with a Snowy Owl which had taken up residence there earlier in the winter. With a little luck it was even possible to find a Great Gray Owl nearby, although most of the Great Gray Owl irruption moved south of Muskoka. It was a tough winter for owls, but a great one for birders. There were several reports of Barred Owls hunting near birdfeeders, and a Boreal Owl used a feeder as its perch in Sprucedale. A spring MFN owl survey found a Long-eared Owl near Three Mile Lake.

In January a Carolina Wren visited a suet feeder in Bala, and another was seen in Gravenhurst. In May an Audubon's Yellow-rumped Warbler was discovered at the Bracebridge Ponds, probably the first Muskoka record for this western subspecies of Yellow-rumped. A breeding bird survey turned up a pair of Red-headed Woodpeckers west of Gravenhurst, and a pair of Gray Jays were seen near Vankoughnet. In late October a Spotted Towhee was photographed in Algonquin Park, a new species for the Park list. A Brown Thrasher was found on the Gravenhurst-Bracebridge Christmas Bird Count, the first time the species was ever recorded on the count. Poor tree seed crops in the north set the stage for a good irruption of winter finches. In November/December there were many reports of Evening Grosbeaks, Pine Grosbeaks, American Goldfinch, Pine Siskins, and Common Redpolls. Bohemian Waxwings were also on the move with several sightings, including a very large flock at Hunter's Bay in Huntsville.

Other notable bird sightings included Clay-colored Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Wilson's Phalarope, Whimbrel, Redhead, Ruddy Duck, Northern Shoveler, Brant, Boreal Chickadee, Black-billed Cuckoo, Snow Geese, Sandhill Cranes, Trumpeter Swans, Common Nighthawks, Bald Eagle, Golden Eagle, White-winged Crossbills, Red Crossbills, Townsend's Solitaire, Sedge Wrens, Brewer's Blackbirds, Glaucous Gull, Yellow-throated Vireos, Philadelphia Vireos, Northern Parula, Blackpoll Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, and Brewster's Warbler.

There were several other nature sightings including Painted Trilliums, Green Frogs, Milk Snake, Imperial Moth Caterpillars, Harvester Butterfly, Luna Moth, Otters, Fishers, Muskrats, Moose, Beaver, Black Bear, and a Cougar.

The complete set of posts for 2005 can be found in the Archived Reports. Thanks for all your reports.

Happy New Year,
Barbara