Muskoka Bird Board - Archived Reports from July - September 2007
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Flower Fly - photo
Posted on September 30, 2007 at 07:35:59 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon I found this Flower Fly feeding on some Cosmos.  From behind it may resemble a bee, but those big eyes give it away once you get up close.  (Bracebridge)

photo1  photo2  photo3

Flower Fly (aka Hover Fly or Syrphid fly) - Family Syrphidae (unidentified species)



Re(1): Greater Scaup, Wigeon...
Posted on September 30, 2007 at 01:51:46 PM by Barbara Taylor

Around 12:30 p.m. in cell 1 there was an American Wigeon, two female Northern Pintails (couldn't find the male that was still there yesterday), and a female Greater Scaup which the Goodyears spotted in flight as it came in with some Lessers.  No Gadwall today.  There was an American Black Duck in cell 2, and Allan Aubin found two more in cell 4.

At cell 4 there was a small flock of American Pipits on the roadway by the SE corner, two Eastern Phoebes and an Orange-crowned Warbler near the SW corner, and three Rusty Blackbirds where Wilf had seen some earlier.



Rusty Blackbirds@ Bracebridge Lagoons
Posted on September 30, 2007 at 11:46:39 AM by Wilf Yusek

This morning on the west side of cell 4 toward the south end there were at least 10 Rusty Blackbirds. In cell 1 there were a number of Lesser Scaup besides the ducks Barbara reported Friday



Moose breeding season...observation near Bracebridge
Posted on September 29, 2007 at 10:28:51 AM by Al Sinclair

The moose are in rut here east of Bracebridge. On Sep 26 our daughter Sarah was taking a walk after work in the woods near our house when she saw four moose. She was just coming out of the trees at the edge of a beaver meadow when she heard the crashing of a large animal nearby. She stopped, then saw a cow moose walking across the meadow with a bull following her. A calf from this year was not far away. The cow was bawling and as Sarah watched a second larger bull came crashing out of the trees. They seemed to sense that she was watching. The large bull was sniffing the air and looking in her direction. Sarah looked for a tree that she could climb, but after a short time they all disappeared back into the woods. She saw no sign of aggression between the two bulls.

The next day I went back with Sarah to see the location and we found moose tracks all through the meadow and two depressions in the grass where the cow and calf may have beaded down the night. There has been a cow moose in our area for several years now (don't tell the hunters please). We have seen her a few times before, once she ventured into our back yard and scared one of the boys who works for us. We didn't believe him until he showed us the tracks. One year we saw her near the road with a calf so we knew there must be a bull around, at least in the fall. I have read that the bulls wander over a large areas in the fall looking for females.

Sarah was thrilled to see these magnificent animals at close range and I suppose she was fortunate that the bulls were not aggressive as we have heard stories about how dangerous they can be during the rut.



Bracebridge Ponds - Pintails, Gadwalls
Posted on September 28, 2007 at 12:47:11 PM by Barbara Taylor

At noon today we only got a quick look at cell 2 before an approaching thunderstorm chased us off. There were a few Gadwall, two Northern Pintail, a Scaup, and several Mallards, Teal, and Wood Ducks. There is some work going on in cell 3 which is now flooded so no longer any mud flats for shorebirds. Lots of White-crowned Sparrows around.  (Bracebridge Ponds map)



rose-breasted grosbeak
Posted on September 26, 2007 at 10:00:43 PM by Marilyn Kisser


this young male was around for the past week - I haven't seen him for a few days, so I guess he's moved on - just outside of Rosseau  photo



Re(2): Hummingbirds still around?
Posted on September 26, 2007 at 09:49:57 PM by Marilyn Kisser

my last hummer left last Friday - I took the feeder down, but maybe I should put one up again just in case a few more last comers past through! just outside of Rosseau



Re(1): Hummingbirds still around?
Posted on September 25, 2007 at 09:04:13 AM by Wilf Yusek

Barbara off and on I have one hummer coming to my feeders, my last one so far was on Sunday. (east of Bracebridge)



Hummingbirds still around?
Posted on September 24, 2007 at 09:41:05 PM by Barbara Taylor

Today I received a report from Debbie Fox that there are still two Ruby-throated Hummingbirds hanging around her yard, about 20 minutes north of Britt.

Does anyone else still have hummers coming to feeders? Either send me an email or post a reply here. (Hummingbird reports from areas outside of Muskoka are welcome as long as the location is within Ontario.)



Re(1): American Lady - photo
Posted on September 26, 2007 at 09:52:43 PM by Marilyn Kisser

I haven't seen a butterfly in a couple of weeks, but still lots of bees at the sedum also - outside of Rosseau



American Lady - photo
Posted on September 24, 2007 at 04:15:11 PM by Barbara Taylor

This American Lady butterfly visited our yard yesterday. I don't remember seeing the species so late in the season, so it was a nice surprise. There were several honey bees enjoying the sedum flowers as well. (Bracebridge)  photo1  photo2  photo3  bee photo1  bee photo2



Re(1): Fall Warbler Photos...Our conclusions
Posted on September 23, 2007 at 06:14:38 PM by Al Sinclair

After consulting among ourselves and with a friend of Wilfs in Florida and checking the warbler bible (Peterson Guide to Warblers):

These are all first fall (hatching year) birds.
Top photo: first fall female Pine Warbler
Middle Photo: first fall male Common Yellowthroat
Bottom Photo: first fall female Magnolia



Fall Warbler Photos...what are they?
Posted on September 23, 2007 at 06:01:19 PM by Al Sinclair

First photo by Eleanor Kee Wellman, next two by Wilf Yusek

September 5/07, near Bala

September 8/07, Bracebridge Ponds

September 3/07, Bracebridge Ponds



Algonquin Park limited report Sept 23
Posted on September 23, 2007 at 05:04:38 PM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Jim Robertson on ONTBIRDS (Sept. 23, 2007) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Two male spruce grouse were walking/parading on the Opeongo Road in Algonquin Park this morning at 7:30-8:00am this morning. They were about 3km south of the Opeongo store. So long as you stayed quietly in your car they would come as close as 5 feet.

There was a juvenile bald eagle on hwy 127, about 10km south of Whitney around 10AM.

The usual Canada Jays and chickadees were in abundance. (I am sure other species were too, but this was a weekend to look for moose, not a birding weekend specifically)

Algonquin Park is between Hwy 60 and 17 in Eastern Ontario. Pembroke to the northeast, Huntsville to the west and Whitney to the east. Opeongo Road runs north from Hwy 60 at kilometre 46 in the Park. Hwy 127, runs south from hwy 60 just east of Whitney towards Lake St Peter and Bancroft.


Re(5): dragonfly/damselfly...
Posted on September 26, 2007 at 12:32:38 PM by AlJohnston

Thanks, Barbara. That's what I saw!



Re(4): dragonfly/damselfly...
Posted on September 24, 2007 at 05:08:31 PM by Barbara Taylor

In Al Sinclair's second photo you can see a hint of the dark marking in the wings at the top. Here are a couple websites with photos at angles which show the dark marks more clearly:



Re(3): dragonfly/damselfly...Sympetrum photos from today
Posted on September 23, 2007 at 08:16:57 PM by AlJohnston

Thanks, Al. They would appear to be what I saw except that I don't recall the bodies being red as well as the tail. Also, it's not evident from your great photos that there are the tiny markings on the forward edges of the wings which were quite apparent from 10".



Re(2): dragonfly/damselfly...Sympetrum photos from today
Posted on September 23, 2007 at 05:35:32 PM by Al Sinclair

These two species of Sympetrum were in my back yard today.

Yellow-legged Meadowhawk, S.vicinum

White-faced Meadowhawk, S.obtrusum



Re(1): dragonfly/damselfly ID please
Posted on September 23, 2007 at 04:51:13 PM by Al Sinclair

That would be one of the Meadowhawks, genus Sympetrum. To identify the species requires more information. The most common in late September here in Muskoka is The Yellow-legged Meadowhawk, S. vicinum, no black triangles on the side of abdomen, yellow or brown legs, not black.



dragonfly/damselfly ID please
Posted on September 23, 2007 at 03:31:17 PM by AlJohnston

I was reading the paper by the side of the pond when this insect landed on my forearm. It was about 40 to 45 MMs long with a straight red tail/abdomen and it's transparent wings each had a tiny dark mark on the leading edge at the outer end. Any thoughts?



Pectoral Sandpiper - photo
Posted on September 21, 2007 at 01:15:42 PM by Barbara Taylor

Not much at the Bracebridge Ponds this morning. Twelve American Pipits in cell 3, American Wigeon in cell 4, a Least Sandpiper and Pectoral Sandpiper on the west shore of cell 1. Here is Wilf Yusek's photo of the Pectoral Sandpiper.



Centipede - photo
Posted on September 20, 2007 at 04:19:56 PM by Barbara Taylor

This Centipede must have hitched a ride into the house after I had been doing some yard clean-up. It was very difficult to photograph since it is so quick to scurry away on its 15 pairs of legs. (Bracebridge)

It appears to be a Lithobiomorph centipede. See p.592 in Stephen Marshall's book "Insects - Their Natural History and Diversity".  photo1  photo2



Bracebridge Lagoons Wigeon
Posted on September 18, 2007 at 01:43:52 PM by Wilf Yusek

There is an American Wigeon in cell 4 this morning, cell 3 shorebirds 3 Pectoral, 2 Semipalmated Sandpipers, 2 Least Sandpipers, 1 Semipalmated Plover, 4 Killdeer, a Merlin flew over and the sandpipers took off, did not see them again when I left at noon.



Warblers, Bala
Posted on September 18, 2007 at 09:02:55 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

From about 8 am to now had quite a flurry or birds.
2 Blue-headed Vireos
family of Pine Warblers
Black & White, adult male
Black-throated Green
Juvenile Black-throated Blue
Several to high to identify
White-throated Sparrows, juveniles

Crows mobbing something that could have been Coopers or Sharpe-shin



Bracebridge Ponds shorebirds
Posted on September 17, 2007 at 12:37:29 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning Wilf Yusek and I could not find the Golden-Plover, but there were a few other shorebirds. Also a female Northern Shoveler in cell 3 and an American Black Duck in cell 2. There were several Blue-winged Teal, Green-winged Teal, Wood Ducks, and Mallards scattered about.  (Bracebridge Ponds map)

Cell 3:
Pectoral Sandpiper - 7
Semipalmated Plover - 1
Least Sandpiper - 2
Semipalmated Sandpiper - 2
Killdeer - 6
American Pipit - 3

Cell 1:
Lesser Yellowlegs - 1



Parry Sound area
Posted on September 15, 2007 at 05:11:37 PM by NancyMcMeekan

Over the past two weeks we have seen a cerulean warbler, a red-throated loon, broad-winged hawk, yellow-breasted sapsucker and juvenile, rose-breased grosbeak pair, red-breasted nuthatch, spruce grouse, wild turkeys and a brown thrasher. We were awaked one night by the "scream" of a barred owl - that was a first!



Winter Finch Forecast
Posted on September 15, 2007 at 12:16:24 PM by Barbara Taylor

Ron Pittaway has posted his annual Winter Finch Forecast on Ontbirds. With generally poor tree seed crops in the north this year, we should have some Pine Grosbeaks and Bohemian Waxwings passing keep an eye on those ornamental crabapple and mountain ash trees. Ron's report also includes notes on Blue Jay migration and a potential movement of northern owls. You can read the report here:



Re(1): still there...
Posted on September 15, 2007 at 04:04:12 PM by Barbara Taylor

At 3:15 p.m. today the Golden-Plover was still there. At one point the bird took a flight around the lagoons, disappearing over cell 4 briefly, and then it returned to the mud flat in the middle of cell 3.

Other birds in cell 3:
Pectoral Sandpiper - 4
Semipalmated Plover - 1
Least Sandpiper - 5
Semipalmated Sandpiper - 1
Killdeer - 4
American Pipit - 25

A Lesser Yellowlegs was in cell 1.



Re(2): American
Posted on September 14, 2007 at 09:04:09 PM by Al Sinclair

Golden Plover
Photos taken through the scope today at the Ponds.   photo1  photo2



Re(1): American Golden-Plover
Posted on September 14, 2007 at 08:41:54 PM by Wilf Yusek

Met Joan and Al Sinclair at the lagoons this afternoon, They had the Golden Plover in their scope, nice find Barbara.



Re(1): American Golden-Plover
Posted on September 14, 2007 at 06:25:51 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Either that or watch until it lifts its wings!



American Golden-Plover
Posted on September 14, 2007 at 12:36:07 PM by Barbara Taylor

Just before noon today we found what appears to be a juvenile American Golden-Plover on the large mud flat in the middle of cell 3 at the Bracebridge Ponds. It had a whitish face, strong white supercilium and dark cap. The breast was grayish-white and didn't appear to be heavily streaked. Wing colour was grayish-brown contrasting with darker back. Another possibility would be a Black-bellied Plover, but the overall size and proportional head size seemed too small for that. If someone with a scope sees the bird, please post to confirm the identity. Thanks.  (Bracebridge Ponds map)



Algonquin birds - 11-12 Sept
Posted on September 13, 2007 at 01:45:21 PM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Doug McRae on ONTBIRDS (Sept. 13, 2007) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Greetings all,
I did a private tour in Algonquin on the 11th and 12th, and while seeing nothing earth-shattering (about 65 species), we did manage to find most of the hoped for species, as well as having a very enjoyable time without the summer hordes of people or insects. The rain on the 11th and grey start to the 12th seemed to keep activity down somewhat but we did manage to find some warbler pockets which helped boost the list and spirits.

Highlights and/or dates Ron Tozer might be interested in include:
120 C Goose (11th) in two very high flocks heading south
2 male Spruce Grouse (12th) beside to trail register on the Spruce Bog Boardwalk. One of the males was in full display and drove off a second male which was staying hidden under some bracken ferns.
8 Com Loon -several family groups and singles, plus one on the 12th flying directly overhead at East Beach Picnic Area at the edge of visibility usuing binoculars, heading south.
2 D-c Cormorant (11th) at Lk. Opeongo.
2 (1ad, 1 imm) Broad-winged Hawk (12th)
2 Merlin (12th) a brilliant adult male, and an imm, both at the airfield
2 Am. Kestrel (12th) at the airfield
5 Am. Pipit (12th) on the airfield
12 Palm Warbler (11th and 12th) near the Kettle Bog on Spruce Bog Boardwalk - one flock moving around with a Blackpoll, a Bay-breast and a few Myrtle's
1 Blackpoll Warbler (11th and 12th) at Spruce Bog - probably the same bird
1 Com Yellowthroat on the 12th did an aerial display flight and song once at Wolf Howl Pond - late for that behaviour.
1 Lincoln's Sparrow (12th) on the airfield; no unusual sparrows there despite walking transects
1 imm male Rb Grosbeak (11th) at Wolf Howl Pond
Finches were absent except for a handful of Purples and a few goldfinches

Doug McRae

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



Bracebridge Lagoons
Posted on September 12, 2007 at 03:24:14 PM by Wilf Yusek

Today in cell 3 there were Gadwalls, 1 fem. Northern Shoveler and 1 N. Pintail along with B.W. Teals and Mallards, also 9 American Pipits and 3 Killdeers. The rain has raised the level of water a bit there is not as much sludge as before the rains. In cell 4 there were 61 Canada Geese



Lark Bunting
Posted on September 11, 2007 at 09:10:23 PM by JohnHayhurst

Seen at Kirrie Glen Golf Course on Saturday, July 6,2007,alonside stream on 2nd hole, with several other birds. Unfortunately, had to keep moving. Also witnessed by another birder in our group. I've seen this species before(2005), except it was in Montana, where they belong!



Bala Birds etc.
Posted on September 11, 2007 at 07:40:46 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Today I had 2 Pine Siskins at my niger feeder. Quite surprised me. Also, immature Rose-breasted Grosbeak and a couple of Pine Warblers that think they are finches. They came right in and perched on top of the feeders and stayed around the finches for quite awhile. It is possible they have been doing this for a few days as I have seen them flying toward the feeders a few times but thought they must be going around the corner of the house.

Had a large juvenile Coopers Hawk the other day that was twice the size of the juvenile Sharp-shinned that was here yesterday.

I have not seen the weasel again but had a fisher of Saturday.



Pipits @Lagoons
Posted on September 10, 2007 at 01:07:09 PM by Wilf Yusek

This morning I saw at least 7 American Pipits in cell 3. (Bracebridge)



Back Yard Birds
Posted on September 8, 2007 at 08:47:35 PM by janice house

Wednesday at about 5:15pm Geoff and the dogs were sitting on our back deck when a sharp-shinned hawk flew past clutching a small bird; the bird came within 4 feet of where he was sitting. Earlier in the week an american woodcock was feeding under our boat. Friday half a dozen evening grosbeaks were at our feeders. Female hummingbird was here today. Last week my Dad was just stepping off the path to enjoy his morning coffee on the dock (at Skeleton Lake) when out of the corner of his eye he saw something black, he threw his arm up to protect his face, and was just missed by a pileated woodpecker on his way to one of the oak trees. Did not spill a drop.



Re(1): Pintail @ Bracebridge Lagoons
Posted on September 12, 2007 at 09:19:52 AM by dbritton

I saw this bird in the same place on the morning of September 1st. There was also a female/eclipse Common Goldeneye in the same cell.



Re(1): Pintail - Wilf's photo
Posted on September 7, 2007 at 04:48:22 PM by Barbara Taylor

Northern Pintail and Mallard



Pintail @ Bracebridge Lagoons
Posted on September 7, 2007 at 02:46:25 PM by Wilf Yusek

This morning around 11.15 I saw a female Pintail in cell 4, it was with a bunch of Mallards.



Trumpeter Swans
Posted on September 4, 2007 at 06:02:07 PM by George Bryant

August 27-We observed two Trumpeter Swans (apparently a mated pair) on an island in a beaver pond on Torrance Barrens. The ~5 km. trail from Highland Pond circles this pond at the west end. I looked but could not see any yellow patagial tags nor any young although the site seemed perfect.

The location is close to Wye Marsh, but still the first TRSW I have seen in Muskoka.



Re(1): Moths and lights
Posted on September 4, 2007 at 08:28:43 PM by Al Sinclair

One theory for insect light attraction is that they navigate in the dark by keeping the distant lights of stars or the moon at a constant angle. This allows them to fly in a straight line. But if the light is close to them like an electric light or a fire, keeping it at a constant angle causes them to fly in a circle around the light and eventually hit it. Day flying moths are frequently found at lights also. The second moth might be Hodges #11001 Anaplectoides pressus, Dappled Dart.



Moths and lights
Posted on September 4, 2007 at 02:41:10 PM by Barbara Taylor

Does anyone know why moths are attracted to a light? It seems strange that most wait until dark to start flying around and then they fly to a light. Hmmmm...are the day flying moths attracted to a light as well?

Here are two moths I found last night by our front porch light. The first one looks like Enargia infumata (Hodges #9550) but I haven't identified the second one yet. (Bracebridge)

mothA  mothB




Re(1): Warblers, Bala
Posted on September 2, 2007 at 11:22:56 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Add Chestnut-sided warbler and Blue-headed Vireo.



Warblers, Bala
Posted on September 2, 2007 at 11:15:30 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

This afternoon about 1:15 I had a flock of warblers feeding by my house. There were several of some species and could have been up to 2 dozen warblers. They were heading North. I was not fast enough to identify them all but those I did were:

Black-throated Green- at least 3
Black-throated Blue
Nashville - 3 or 4
Yellow-rumped - 4 or 5

Plus Red-eyed Vireos



Warblers, Kestrel
Posted on September 2, 2007 at 04:57:13 PM by Barbara Taylor

We came across a small group of warblers and chickadees this morning along the trail heading west from Henry Marsh. There were Black-throated Green, Nashville, Chestnut-sided, Yellow-rumped, Blackburnian, Common Yellowthroat, and a Blue-headed Vireo. There was also a family of Red-eyed Vireos separate from the mixed flock. At the marsh there were only a few Mallards and Wood Ducks. An American Kestrel flew along the edge of the marsh, then perched atop a snag and began preening.


Directions: from traffic lights at Eccelstone Dr. and Wellington St. in Bracebridge, head west on Beaumont Dr. to Henry Rd. There is a parking area by the pile of woodchips at the trailhead. When you come to the T in the trail, turn right to head west towards the marsh.



Re(1): Lagoons
Posted on September 2, 2007 at 03:07:37 PM by Goodyear

Ooops - forgot to mention that we also saw a single male Wilson's Warbler. The warblers were working the trees west of Cell 2.



Posted on September 2, 2007 at 03:03:37 PM by Goodyear

Late this morning we birded the Lagoons and saw several species of warblers: Common Yellowthroat, Yellow, Black and White, Chestnut-sided, Blackburnian, Northern Parula, Nashville, and Tennessee. We met up with Wilf Yusek who had seen a Pine and a Mourning Warbler earlier in the morning. Wilf also found two American Pipits on the mudflats in Cell 3.



black cougars revisited
Posted on August 30, 2007 at 02:59:28 PM by Wayne Bridge

It would be good to review what I wrote Aug. 23 re. black cougars. As it turns out there were two sightings of black "panthers" [4-legged, not 2-legged] on the 12th Concession, Town of Kearney, last week. Now the 12th Conc. and its extension, Cherry Hill Road, are heavily forested and under-populated. In places, nothing more than a 1 1/2-lane dirt road through the bush. The word in town is that a few years ago a pair of panthers were a) abandoned into the bush, or b) escaped. Since then there have been recurrent sightings. Most definitely, what I saw along Clam Lake Road, July 2006, was a "young" panther. If it was, indeed, a "pair" that were released/escaped then this would be an offspring. Let's play devil's advocate. What "if" it wasn't a "pair" yet my identification was correct? Does anybody know re. cougar/panther matings? In fact, isn't panther just another colloquial name such as catamount, painter, mountain lion? Comments?



milk snake
Posted on August 28, 2007 at 10:24:30 PM by John Challis

While walking the dogs about 9:30 tonight, we saw a young milk snake, about 22 cm long, crossing Green River Drive (Washago). Brilliant contrast in the beiges and browns, thanks I presume to its youth. A tap on the tip of its tail and it quickly darted off to the safety of the shoulder. Nice to know there was a successful brood here. We have occasionally seen an adult around the property.



Posted on August 26, 2007 at 09:16:49 PM by Al Sinclair

This Shadow Darner f. (Aeshna umbrosa) was trapped in a skylight at our place yesterday. The second photo shows a comparison of the thoracic stripes with a Canada Darner our most common species. Shadow Darner is fairly common here, flies in the evenings, emerges later in the year than other species and is sometimes still flying into October.



Re(1): Shorebirds - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on August 30, 2007 at 08:00:20 AM by janice house

Moira and I did some birding Wednesday after work. There was a small flock of greater yellowlegs, and just a few solitary, spotted and least sandpipers. There was a small flock of warblers working the trees at the lagoon gate with chickadees and red eyed vireos. When we left they were working there way towards cell 4. Lots of small turtles were bobbing in the water in cells 1 and 2.



Shorebirds - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on August 26, 2007 at 04:36:39 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there were many shorebirds gathered at the east end of cell 3 (near the Lagoon Lane gate). At 4 p.m. they were still there - several Semipalmated Plovers, six Pectoral Sandpipers, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Least Sandpipers, and Yellowlegs. A Merlin and a Broad-winged Hawk were also seen this morning. Visiting birders (sorry, didn't get your names) reported seeing a Baird's Sandpiper near the south end of cell 1 this morning. No Solitary Sandpipers were found today, and most of the Spotted Sandpipers and Killdeer have moved on.
Ponds Map (north is approximately towards the top of the map and west is towards the Pipeline)



Re(1): Nighthawks
Posted on August 27, 2007 at 08:41:00 PM by Bob Burt

Tonight there were at least a dozen flying high above the viewing stand at Kerr Park just before sunset.  (Bracebridge)



Posted on August 24, 2007 at 03:17:31 PM by Goodyear

While enjoying a family game of tennis at the Kerr Park courts a couple of times this week, we were treated to an aerial display put on by 40+ Common Nighthawks. They begin flying about 7:00 p.m. and seem to be coming out of the woods to the west of Cell 2.



Algonquin West Side
Posted on August 23, 2007 at 09:04:27 PM by Wayne Bridge

A friend and I did a 3-day canoe trip on the west side of Algonquin Tuesday-today. Birds = two pair of loons on Rain Lake (one pair had 1 fledgling), a pair on Sawyer Lake and a pair on Jubilee Lake; osprey above Rain Lake; numerous hooded and common mergansers; turkey vultures; several ruffed grouse; two foraging flocks of robins; a hermit thrush; blue jays; one singing whitethroat; many flickers; a pair of pileated woodpeckers; one black-backed woodpecker at our site on Jubilee Lake; dee-dees & nuthatches; several great blues; wintergreen flowers; Indian pipe; garter snake; three otters; a cow and calf moose; and several great blues. [not to mention the plethora of chippies, red squirrels and voles]



Re(3): Need help to ID this bird...Positive ID
Posted on August 26, 2007 at 07:30:20 PM by Al Sinclair

Thanks to Ed White who searched for "bobwhite mutations" on google and found the page below. The bird is most certainly a White Northern Bobwhite, a mutation that has been developed in captivity. There are good photos of them on this website. We found the shell of a fairly large white egg near our bird feeder Thursday, likely from our bird, so it must have been a female. It was last seen Friday, fate unknown.



Re(2): Need help to ID this bird...Possible ID
Posted on August 23, 2007 at 10:07:42 AM by Al Sinclair

A google search found a photo of a bird that looks like our little friend, a variety of COTURNIX QUAIL called Texas A & M, raised for egg and meat production. See However I don't know if their call is similar to a Northern Bobwhite and I haven't seen any black spot on the neck.



Re(1): Need help to ID this bird...A good clue
Posted on August 23, 2007 at 09:55:43 AM by Al Sinclair

This morning we heard it calling. Sounds exactly like a Bobwhite. Sometimes calls without the "bob" part, a call we heard here about 2 weeks ago and couldn't figure out what it was. This was about the time the first bird was killed on the road.



Need help to ID this bird...Photo
Posted on August 22, 2007 at 09:32:18 PM by Al Sinclair

Monday we found the remains of a white bird on the side of the road at the end of our driveway, looked like it had been run over and scavenged a few days earlier, not much left to identify. Tuesday we found a live one foraging in the woods at the back of the house (picture below). It looks and acts like a quail but it is pure white. It has some black on the upper mandible and dark eyes so it is not an albino and the one killed on the road looked identical. I assume it must be some domestic variety of quail that has escaped from a local breeder or fell off a truck. I have starting inquiring locally to see if anyone is raising these birds. The bird returned today and seemed to be attracted to the sound of the tractor. Has anybody ever seen a bird like this or know what it is? photo



Re(1): Feeding Flock, Bala
Posted on August 23, 2007 at 10:34:48 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

This morning has been amazing so far! Add Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Scarlet Tanager, Chestnut-sided warblers, several Nashvilles, thrush, and a weasel!

Thesee are all in addition to the ones here yesterday as they were here too.



Re(1): Feeding Flock, Bala
Posted on August 22, 2007 at 07:20:16 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I haven't seen any Yellow-rumps yet, which is unusual for my place!



Feeding Flock, Bala
Posted on August 22, 2007 at 07:17:21 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

A "feeding flock" has formed around my place as it has for the last 4 years at this time.

Today I had M & F Black-throated Greens, American Redstarts, Black & White F, Blackburnian, Red-eyed Vireo and several others I haven't yet identified. I have a female Scarlet Tanager last week and at least one pair of Red-breasted Nuthatches is enjoying the feeders. They don't sty with me over winter, unfortunately.

The flock moves around my house 2-3 ttimes per day looking for caterpillars in the trees.

There are lots of male goldfinches around and assume the females are on nests. The males are carefully taking all the seeds from the Evening Primrose I have left for them purposely.



Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on August 21, 2007 at 01:19:40 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there were many Least Sandpipers, Killdeer, and Lesser Yellowlegs on the mud flat in the middle of cell 3. A Broad-winged Hawk flew overhead which didn't seem to bother the shorebirds too much. However, when a Merlin swooped past, they quickly moved into the tall grasses/reeds and froze. The birds eventually moved to the east end of cell 3 where we also found two Semipalmated Plovers. A Solitary Sandpiper and Spotted Sandpipers were along the south shore of cell 1. In cell 1 there was a female Scaup, three Blue-winged Teal, two Green-winged Teal, Wood Ducks, and Mallards.

Ponds Map (north is approximately towards the top of the map and west is towards the Pipeline)



Posted on August 23, 2007 at 02:02:09 PM by Wayne Bridge

Last year in early July, on a cottage-free stretch of Clam Lake Road (between Kearney and Algonquin Park boundary) a black, 4-legged animal crossed in front of the car, at dusk. My intuition immediately said young panther! My intellect, of course, offered up every possible argument as to why I was mistaken. But I've been an amateur naturalist for quite a number of years now so my intuition is still not giving up on its first assessment. Of course, intellectually I've just written it off as an unconfirmed phenomenon. Unexplainable. Now here is the topic raising its head a year later! Interesting.



Posted on August 22, 2007 at 10:03:11 AM by Barbara Taylor

If anyone has sighted a cougar or thinks they have, I'd encourage you to send in a report to the Ontario Puma Foundation. It would be great to get a photo as confirmation, but the chances of that are probably pretty slim.

I've just received a second-hand report of a cougar sighting in the Gravenhurst area seen earlier this summer, but no details were given. I was also sent this link to a recent article in the Barrie Examiner about a cougar sighting near Coldwater. (thanks for sending the info)



Posted on August 21, 2007 at 09:57:38 AM by Barbara Taylor

There have been reports of cougars in Ontario, but so far I don't believe any have been incontrovertibly confirmed...except for this recent article.

Is it possible you may have seen a Fisher?  I don't think any cougars are black in colour although at dusk or in shadows one could look quite dark. You might want to check the Ontario Puma Foundation website. For comparison, see their illustration of pawprints.  There are also good pawprint photos at



Posted on August 20, 2007 at 08:42:30 PM by CDUKE




Sandhill Cranes
Posted on August 20, 2007 at 04:05:48 PM by terry & marion whittam

Sunday 8am 6 Sandhill cranes were flying slowly around 5 km east of Washago on the north side of Coopers Falls Road. They headed off towards Wasdell Falls. What was interesting was that as they flew around calling multiple groups of Sandhills responded from the ground! I could not see the Sandhills in the field but sure could hear them as it actually got quite loud!



birds on the move
Posted on August 19, 2007 at 07:31:02 PM by Wayne Bridge

What a bird-watching day just sitting on our deck (Kearney): chickadees, red-breasted and white-breasted nuthatches, one mourning dove, a flock of robins, 2 or 3 flickers, male rose-breasted grosbeak, hummingbird, immature scarlet tanager, immature yellow-bellied sapsucker, two chipping sparrows, Nashville warbler, crows, several blue jays, a few red-eyed vireos, a flock of starlings, a warbler I'm not totally sure of (maybe a female Wilson's), a yellow-bellied flycatcher, and a strikingly beautiful male Baltimore oriole that sat on an aspen limb and preened for about 15 minutes.



Bracebridge Ponds...webworm nests prognosticate fall warbler bonanza
Posted on August 17, 2007 at 12:02:12 PM by Al Sinclair

At the Bracebridge Ponds fall webworm nests are thick again this year in the trees along the west side of cell 1 and 3. I checked the archives and it was Sep 3 last year that I had 14 species of warblers in that area.



Bracebridge Ponds Shorebirds
Posted on August 16, 2007 at 01:20:59 PM by Al Sinclair

At 10AM Aug 16:
Around 50 shorebirds, 7 species, in cell 3, mostly Least Sandpipers, a few Lesser Yellowlegs and Killdeer but also:
Pectoral Sandpiper 1
Semipalmated Sandpiper 1
Semiplamated Plover 1
Solitary Sandpiper 1



Bracebridge Ponds - Yellowlegs
Posted on August 14, 2007 at 09:27:38 AM by Barbara Taylor

This morning in cell 3 there were seven Yellowlegs (Greater and Lesser) and four Killdeer on the large mud flat in the middle of cell 3. Two Great Blue Herons flew into the NW corner of cell 3. In cell 1 there were many Least Sandpipers, ten Spotted Sandpipers, and three Solitary Sandpipers scattered along the west and south shores. About thirty Wood Ducks were in cell 1, but most had left by the time I departed. There had to be over a hundred swallows hawking insects over cell 2 - mostly Barn Swallows, but also a few Bank, Tree, and Cliff. A Belted Kingfisher flew overhead and a Broad-winged Hawk perched in a tree at the south side of cell 3.
Ponds Map (north is approximately towards the top of the map and west is towards the Pipeline)



Night Hawk
Posted on August 13, 2007 at 07:55:25 PM by janice house

Driving home tonight I spotted the dead bird on the ramp leading to Hwy 11 after passing by Simcoe Block. Can't imagine what killed the poor thing. It's wings were spread out and the white bar was showing



Barn Swallows
Posted on August 12, 2007 at 08:42:22 AM by janice house

Geoff and I walked Casey up to the drive in on Doe Lake Rd this morning, 2 dozen swallows on the wires by the old Dinsmore Sheep farm. Pileated woodpecker was calling across from the house when we set out.



Henry Marsh
Posted on August 11, 2007 at 04:21:26 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there was an American Bittern at the Henry Marsh. Also a few Cedar Waxwings and Bobolinks. Two Broad-winged Hawks circled overhead for a while - an adult and an immature. Along the trail west of the marsh we came upon a family of Ruffed Grouse and watched a young Chestnut-sided Warbler still being fed by its parent.

Directions: from traffic lights at Eccelstone Dr. and Wellington St. in Bracebridge, head west on Beaumont Dr. to Henry Rd. There is a parking area by the pile of woodchips at the trailhead. When you come to the T in the trail, turn right to head west towards the marsh.



Perseid meteors are back
Posted on August 11, 2007 at 04:18:10 PM by Barbara Taylor

It is once again time for the Perseid meteor showers and this year there is no moonlight to ruin the show. The meteors are visible in every part of the sky, but appear to stream away from their radiant near Perseus and Cassiopeia in the north-east. Some can be seen tonight, but the peak viewing time should be between 11 p.m. Sunday night and about 2 hours before sunrise Monday morning. The numbers increase significantly after midnight. And for a bonus, Mars will be rising in the east in the predawn hours and will look like a bright red star in the constellation Taurus.

Excerpt from "The meteor rate increases to roughly 30 per hour in the predawn hours on Saturday, 45 per hour on Sunday morning, and 80 per hour before the sky starts to get light on Monday morning."
More info at



Re(1): Lagoons, Plovers
Posted on August 12, 2007 at 01:16:40 PM by Barbara Taylor

No sign of the plovers this morning, but there were about twenty Least Sandpipers and a couple Solitary Sandpipers in cell 1.  Good places to look in cell 1 are along the west shore near the north end and at the south-east corner.   Ponds Map (north is approximately towards the top of the map and west is towards the Pipeline)



Lagoons, Plovers
Posted on August 11, 2007 at 12:03:55 PM by Wilf Yusek

Stopped in the Bracebridge Lagoons this a.m., in cell 3 there is a nice exposure of mud in the middle towards the west end, in it were 5 Semipalmated Plovers and 3 Least Sandpipers. In cell 4 there are 3 Hooded Mergansers along with the other usual ducks.



Re(3): abundant bird activity
Posted on August 14, 2007 at 11:47:25 PM by Marilyn Kisser

the blue jays are already flocking at the feeders - the chickadees are back too - I have a large flock of american goldfinches, and a few purple finches - and this has been a great summer for both hairy and downey woodpeckers and their young - and lot's of hummingbird juveniles at the feeders - we've noticed a decline in male hummer's, I guess they are on their way south - and I've noticed a decline of the many warbler's songs in the morning - fall is coming! I am just outside of Rosseau.



Re(2): abundant bird activity
Posted on August 13, 2007 at 11:50:24 PM by Wayne Bridge

I usually put my feeders--not all--out when I see chickadees in small flocks (we had five or six), in late August, to get the birds used to where they can come in winter. The evening grosbeaks are a prize! We had a group of 4-6 in April (I think it was). Maybe I'll be lucky and they'll make our place a regular stop! Already I have daily visits from the dee-dees, r-b nuthatches, goldfinches and blue jays (and, of course, the red squirrels and chippies). Also an immature hummer. Then there is the local Kearney starling flock. Only a single individual stayed last winter.



Re(1): abundant bird activity
Posted on August 13, 2007 at 07:35:24 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I, too, have noticed birds returning to my feeders.

Chickadees, Blue Jays and Red-breasted Nuthatches are the most conspicuous.



abundant bird activity
Posted on August 10, 2007 at 04:17:52 PM by Wayne Bridge

I put out a nyjer and a mixed-seed feeder two days ago because a small flock of chickadees and a few goldfinches started hanging around the winter feeding area. Today, from casual searches of our yard, I've seen: 2 robins, a pair of pileated woodpeckers, 3 flickers, one immature sapsucker, 3 chickadees, two red-breasted nuthatches, a crow, a blue jay, a song sparrow, a chestnut-sided warbler in mostly fall plumage, heard the Hassard Lake loons (that had 2 young this year) and 4 evening grosbeaks! [Kearney]



Black-billed Cuckoos
Posted on August 9, 2007 at 12:57:43 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there were two Black-billed Cuckoos along the Trans Canada Trail west of the Bracebridge Ponds, just a short distance west of the pipeline/snowmobile trail where there is a large open area. A juvenile bird was quite active flying from one snag to another near the trail. Another one, presumably an adult bird, was calling from the edge of the woods at the south side of the open area. Both birds were making a sort of gurgling sound from time to time, which we had never heard before. It seemed it was being used as a contact sound and not as an alarm call since the young bird did not move away from us and at one point even flew down to the ground.



Re(1): red headed woodpecker, Tudhope Park
Posted on August 8, 2007 at 09:38:15 AM by Wayne Bridge

You're lucky, John. I'm 56. As a child I was a birder, and I've been seriously into it for the last 20 years, but I've "never" seen a red-headed woodpecker (and 54 of those years were in the Guelph area of S. Ont.).



red headed woodpecker, Tudhope Park
Posted on August 7, 2007 at 10:00:34 PM by John Challis


I was in Tudhope Park, Orillia with my parents last Sunday and came across a red-headed woodpecker; first I've seen since I painted a plastic model of one at the age of nine or 10. It's not the greatest of photos; it was busy and in a hurry to get back to a hungry, and noisy, juvenile in a nearby maple. I'm assuming it was still feeding the juvenile, because there was a great racket when this individual flew back to the tree. Bob Allison wrote about this celebrity in his nature column; it was mentioned in Orillia Today, anyway, on Aug. 3. Don't know if that part of the column made it into the Muskoka Weekender. photo



Red Efts?
Posted on August 7, 2007 at 06:50:17 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I very much would like to photograph Red Efts and would really appreciate hearing from anyone who might know where I could find some! I understand that this is the time they might start to come out of their ponds.



Re(1): Barred Owl
Posted on August 9, 2007 at 07:24:40 AM by janice house

Moira had what we believe to be 3 juveniles hissing and flying around her home Friday night just a little before sunset. She did not hear the regular call. Houston Rd north of Bracebridge.



Barred Owl
Posted on August 7, 2007 at 01:15:04 PM by terry & marion whittam

A Barred owl was calling behind the cottage last Sunday evening for quite some time. This was about 2 hours before sunset! Seemed a little unusual give the time of year and daylight conditions! Comments?



Re(1): Imperial Moth Caterpillar photos
Posted on August 6, 2007 at 08:32:36 PM by Barbara Taylor

Janice, here are some of the photos I took of the brown one you found August 11, 2005.

photo1  photo2  photo3



Pine Imperial Moth Caterpillar
Posted on August 6, 2007 at 08:07:01 PM by janice house

While walking the dogs Saturday morning I spotted the caterpillar on the side of the road. I found at least four in August in 2005. This one is mostly dark green. Unfortunately it was dead. (Laycox Rd off Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst.



Re(1): Update - photo
Posted on August 6, 2007 at 05:18:22 PM by Barbara Taylor

Oops...I was wrong about the stage of development. I thought it must have sustained an injury when it fell out of the tree since there was a bit of "seepage" on its back when I found it. Also it wasn't eating anything and stayed fixed in one spot on the birch twig. But it turns out this inactivity was just the prelude to the next stage. This photo shows the discarded face and old skin that was shed sometime last night. The caterpillar is now fairly active and feeding well - no sign of any seepage on its back now too.  photo



Polyphemus Moth caterpillar - photo
Posted on August 4, 2007 at 03:29:05 PM by Barbara Taylor

Here is yet another caterpillar I found this morning under our birch tree. It appears to be a recent 4th instar of the Polyphemus Moth caterpillar. It is less than two inches long and the face is still a very pale brown. I found a good website with many photos of the moth and caterpillar, including a picture of the discarded brown face which pops off as the caterpillar becomes the next instar.
(photos taken in Bracebridge August 4, 2007 – photo1  photo2)



Another Caterpillar - photo
Posted on August 3, 2007 at 06:55:26 PM by Barbara Taylor

There was another interesting caterpillar under our birch tree this morning. This one may be a White-blotched Heterocampa (Heterocampa umbrata) that has changed colour prior to pupation. In Wagner's Caterpillars of Eastern North America, the description says "pair of raised shiny reddish knobs...traces of the prothoracic antlers are retained through the last instar and pupa". However, it also says the larvae food is oak, no mention of birch. According to Wagner, "prepupal larvae of all Heterocampa and Lochmaeus turn pinkish red and lose much of their patterning". But so far I haven't found any other similar looking species with those antler knobs at the prepupal stage. (photos taken in Bracebridge August 3, 2007 -  photo1  photo2  photo3)



Piping Plovers at Sauble...article in the Toronto Star
Posted on August 3, 2007 at 04:11:42 PM by Al Sinclair

The Piping Plovers have left Sauble Beach. Farewell party held, story in the Star. Click on link below.
Toronto Star Story



American Bittern and Rough-legged Hawk in Algonquin Park
Posted on August 1, 2007 at 10:15:35 PM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Karl Egressy on ONTBIRDS (August 1, 2007) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Hi Birders,
Just back from Algonquin Park.
Our best sightings was an adult American Bittern feeding four Bittern Babies. (Pictures were sent to Carol Horner) The other very surprising sighting was a Rough-legged Hawk, dark morph. I talked to Ron Tozer about the Hawk sighting. He said that it would be a very rare sighting this time of the year, however, anything is possible. The flight pattern and field marks were very convincing. It was seen above Rock Lake Campground.

Direction to the American Bittern.
Take HW 60 towards East Gate. When you pass Lake of Two Rivers and then the Sanitation Station, drive an other half a km. from Sanitation Station. The marsh will be on your left-hand side. (We saw them in two consecutive days)

Good Luck and great Birding:
Karl and Marienna Egressy

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



Re(1): Luna Moth caterpillar - photo
Posted on August 1, 2007 at 04:12:06 PM by Al Sinclair

There is only one generation a year in our area, 3 in southern North America. Adults emerge in June from a cocoon hidden in leaf litter on the ground (from Moths of Eastern North America, Charles V. Covell, Jr.)



Luna Moth caterpillar - photo
Posted on August 1, 2007 at 01:05:46 PM by Barbara Taylor

Earlier today Bob found this large caterpillar resting on the wood siding on our house, in the shade of a nearby birch tree. It appears to match the Luna Moth caterpillar in David Wagner's field guide, although I've never seen that moth in our yard. By the time I took some photos the caterpillar had started to darken into a light brown on top. It was green all over when first found, and is about 3 inches long. According to Wikipedia, it turns reddish-brown shortly before pupation. Does anyone know if it will overwinter at that stage or can I expect to see a Luna Moth in a few weeks?  photo1  photo2  (photos taken in Bracebridge, August 1, 2007 - I posed the caterpillar on a very large oak leaf)



Shorebirds - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on July 30, 2007 at 09:10:47 AM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there were a few Yellowlegs, two Solitary Sandpipers, and Spotted Sandpipers along the south-east end of cell 1. A Greater Yellowlegs and two Lesser Yellowlegs were at the west side of cell 1 near the north end. I didn't check cell 4 for shorebirds since there was some sort of construction project going on with several large trucks moving about near the dumping ponds.
ponds map (north is approximately towards the top of the map and west is towards the Pipeline)



Re(4): Ring Neck Snakes/Hog Nosed Snakes
Posted on July 30, 2007 at 07:36:24 PM by Barbara Taylor

I will delete references to any specific locations for the snakes if included in subsequent replies. This message thread serves as a good reminder that discretion should be used when reporting locations of various species of flora and fauna, not just threatened/endangered nesting birds. If in doubt, simply report a general location such as the nearest town or major crossroads.



Re(3): Ring Neck Snakes/Hog Nosed Snakes
Posted on July 30, 2007 at 12:38:22 PM by jski

Moderator, please delete this thread from the bulletin board. I didn't realize the fragility of the named species in your area, and I don't in any anyway to contribute to their possible persecution or endangerment.



Re(3): Ring Neck Snakes/Hog Nosed Snakes
Posted on July 30, 2007 at 11:36:37 AM by Dave Hawke

I agree with Peter's well-worded response. The internet and this message board are terrific ways to share information and provide education, but each of us must also balance the information with whatever protection a certain species may need.



Re(2): Ring Neck Snakes/Hog Nosed Snakes
Posted on July 30, 2007 at 11:25:17 AM by Peter Mills

Both the Ring-necked Snake and Hognose Snake are found in Muskoka, however in scattered and fragmented populations. In certain areas, they can both be fairly common, but are generally quite scarce throughout the county. I would ask any others who respond to this query that specific locations be held back, and any other exchange be done over email. This is due to the fact that these species and their populations are very fragile, and rapid public knowledge to these areas can be devastating to local animals.



Re(1): Ring Neck Snakes/Hog Nosed Snakes
Posted on July 29, 2007 at 09:40:10 PM by Barbara Taylor

I don't know of any dependable places to find those snakes in Muskoka. I believe the Eastern Hog-nosed snake is considered threatened and is protected under Ontario's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.

Please note that the Bird Board is not an "anonymous" message board. Your real name is required in your posts. Your email address does not have to be entered. If you wish to use the board in the future, please register again using your real name in the username box. Use a capital letter to start your first and last name since new usernames cannot include a space between names. For example, if I were to register now, I would enter the username BarbaraTaylor




Ring Neck Snakes/Hog Nosed Snakes
Posted on July 29, 2007 at 08:39:25 PM by jski

Could anybody recommend a good place on public land to find and photograph ring necked snakes or hog nosed snakes in Muskoka.



Stink Bug - photo
Posted on July 27, 2007 at 03:48:42 PM by Barbara Taylor

I found this predatory stink bug consuming a Monarch caterpillar at Henry Marsh today. I think it may be Picromerus bidens.  photo1  photo2



Re(1): chipmunk behaviour
Posted on July 26, 2007 at 01:47:46 PM by Dave Hawke

Years ago when I worked at the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre we had numerous birds whack the large glass windows. No sooner would the bird hit the ground then a chipmunk would dart from the shrubbery and snatch the bird away. Also had a red squirrel dine on window killed grouse for a week one winter.



chipmunk behaviour
Posted on July 25, 2007 at 08:36:37 PM by Don Clement

Last week on our front porch I was watching a sparrow feed her just emerged nestling on our top step. No sooner had I called my wife to see, when, just as the mother flew off, a chipmunk darted up, snatched the nestling, and made off with it. A friend told me he'd seen a chipmunk with a frog in its mouth. Maybe that's a reason herons will eat chipmunks.



Re(1): Magnetawan in July
Posted on July 25, 2007 at 09:49:03 PM by Al Sinclair

Great photos! I think the unnamed dragonfly is a Black-shouldered Spinyleg, Dromogomphus spinosus.



Re(1): Magnetawan in July
Posted on July 25, 2007 at 07:48:43 PM by Wayne Bridge

Peter...thank you for posting your photos. Very much appreciated. I remember you sent some in early spring that were nice to see also. Thanks.
Wayne Bridge



Magnetawan in July
Posted on July 25, 2007 at 04:53:47 PM by Peter Mills

I've spent the past two weeks near Magnetawan, Parry Sound. Attached are a small sample of some of the more beautiful and neat things I found:


Great-horned Owl

A dragonfly

Dot-tailed Whiteface

Wood Frog (A species I see fewer of each year)

Leopard Frog

One of a few large Snapping Turtles frequenting the area.

The first of the transformed Mole Salamanders leaving their larval ponds (Spotted Salamander).


Ringneck Snake

Thanks for looking.



Butterflies in Ryde
Posted on July 25, 2007 at 12:03:48 PM by Ron Stager

I stopped on Sunday beside the northernmost section of the large wetland on Housey's Rapids Rd going north from the Black River (the last big curving section). About 30 metres north of the road culvert there were many interesting butterflies nectaring on a small patch of fading milkweeds.

A Mulberry Wing was the first I have seen in Muskoka and there was a possible Little Glassywing (I haven't had really good I.D. of this species in Muskoka yet). Remarkably there were several individuals of species that have been uncommon or rare in Muskoka: Dion Skipper, Broad-winged Skipper and Delaware Skipper. On one milkweed, I saw multiple individuals of all three of these species. Known range expansions have been occurring for some of these species.

Other skippers included Least Skipper, Northern Broken-Dash, Peck's and Dun Skippers. There were some Great Spangled Fritillary , Monarch and Eyed Browns around.

As far as my butterflying experience goes, this patch of milkweed approaches "as good as it gets" in the quantity and variety of unusual species for Muskoka.

I came across what I think is a really good internet site for those interested in butterflies. There are good write-ups of species with multiple images (top and bottom). A really nice feature is side-by-side comparisons of species. Although from southern New England, the species list is quite similar to the Muskoka area although the abundancy (e.g. common, rare) for some species is different.



Evening Grosbeaks
Posted on July 20, 2007 at 08:08:59 AM by janice house

last week I had from 6 to just 1 grosbeak at my feeders. The last time I noticed them was June 22nd.



Re(2): Wayne's caterpillar photos
Posted on July 20, 2007 at 12:05:19 PM by Barbara Taylor


photo1  photo2



Re(1): a Kearney update
Posted on July 20, 2007 at 08:57:33 AM by Barbara Taylor

I found two online references with photos of a brown version Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar - according to these websites, the caterpillar turns brown when it stops feeding, just before pupating.



Re(1): a Kearney update
Posted on July 20, 2007 at 07:32:34 AM by Al Sinclair

Checked my Caterpillars book (Wagner). No mention of brown Tiger Swallowtail larvae, but does say first 3 instars are bird dropping mimics, 4th is green. You may have something else, maybe a Polyphemus moth larva, one that can change color. Could you post your photo on the board or email me a reduced copy of the photo, say 400 pixels wide. I am on dialup internet here.



a Kearney update
Posted on July 19, 2007 at 09:21:10 PM by Wayne Bridge

Well, the town raped the roadside east of our property but they haven't touched the area that is our actual road frontage which has hundreds of milkweed. So we still have monarch imagos, larvae, and chrysalises--and I admit to not checking for more eggs. Question--can a tiger swallowtail caterpillar be brown? I think of that famous Michael Runtz shot of a green one, but today I photo'd a brown one. Exactly the same, but brown. And Al Sinclair, thanks for the macro moth shots--reminded me that I have a macro and should use it!



Nighthawk calling every night
Posted on July 18, 2007 at 11:47:15 PM by LesleeTassie

Every night for the past 3 weeks or so, at least one nighthawk begins calling as soon as it becomes dark until sometime after we're asleep. It calls at intervals that are about 20-40 seconds apart constantly from out back behind our house down by the creek. We're on Beaver Creek off Santa's Village Road.



A Couple of Micro
Posted on July 18, 2007 at 08:42:24 PM by Al Sinclair

A couple of micro moths photographed at my moth light recently. At less than 1cm long their beauty goes unnoticed without the help of macro-photography.

Callima argenticinctella Orange-headed Epicallima

Argyrotaenia velutinana Red-banded Leafroller



Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on July 17, 2007 at 11:58:32 AM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there were two Lesser Yellowlegs and a female Common Goldeneye in cell 1. Cell 4 had a Blue-winged Teal and Green-winged Teal. A Belted Kingfisher, Great Blue Heron and Green Heron were perched in trees north of cell 4. There were two families of Indigo Buntings - one group near the Lagoon Lane gate and the other west of cell 3. Six Turkey Vultures were soaring high overhead and a Broad-winged Hawk was flying low east of cell 4. (north is approximately at the top of the map towards Kerr Park and west is towards the Pipeline)



Musquash Barrens Reserve...butterflies
Posted on July 16, 2007 at 08:55:38 PM by Al Sinclair

Today, Jul16/07, I was with a group of Muskoka Heritage Foundation members doing a site visit at their Musquash Barrens Nature Reserve. The plants , birds and dragonflies were unremarkable but there was some good butterflies. A Delaware Skipper and a Broad-winged Skipper were nectaring on Milkweed (location UTM 17 T 618655 4979609), both rare in the region. A Columbine Skipper was basking on sedges at the edge of a marsh (location UTM 17 T 618496 4979696), rare in most of Muskoka except on the barrens in the south of the region. Our butterfly list for the morning and a couple of photos taken today are posted below.

The Musquash Barrens reserve includes all of lot 6 & 7, Conc. 10 in the former Wood Township. It can be accessed from the Old Musquash Colinization Rd that runs east off Clear Lake Rd where it meets Gullwing Lake Rd. near Torrance. It is approx 5km east on the colonization Rd. The reserve is not signed so you will need a topo map and GPS to find the UTM locations given above. Also the Rd is not suitable for vehicles with low ground clearance.

Butterfly list for the morning:
Banded Hairstreak - Satryium calanus  photo
Great Spangled Fritillary - Speyeria cybele
Mourning Cloak - Nymphalis antiopa
Eyed Brown - Satyrodes eurydice
Little Wood-Satyr - Megisto cymela
Columbine Duskywing - Erynnis lucilius
Delaware Skipper - Anatrytone logan  photo
Broad-winged Skipper - Poanes viator
Dun Skipper - Euphyes vestris



Posted on July 15, 2007 at 06:31:01 PM by Al Sinclair

This Black-tipped Darner was in our back yard today and posed for photos for at least 15 minutes. I assume it must have recently emerged from our pond. From my experience they are uncommon in our area. They have straight thoracic side stripes, a restriction at segment 3 of the abdomen, and segment 10, the last segment, is all black hence the name. photo1  photo2



Our Bird List for Bracebridge Resource Management Centre July 10, 2007
Posted on July 13, 2007 at 10:21:43 AM by Al Sinclair

The Parry Sound-Muskoka Stewardship Network held an "Early Morning Bird Walk" led by Al Sinclair on July 10 at the Bracebridge Resource Management Centre. This trip was part of their Nature Quest Stewardship Series-Summer 2007. One of the highlights was 3 male Scarlet Tanagers all in sight at once, at the high point on the south road.

Upcoming events are:
Living With Bears - July 17
Wild about Wetlands - July 24
What's Living in the Muck - July 31
Get Orientated to GPS - August 7
For more information call Muskoka Heritage Foundation - 645-7393
or Mike Walsh, Stewardship Coordinator - 646-5530

The Bracebridge Resource Management Centre is located on the east side of Hwy 11 approx 2km north of Hwy 117 at High Falls

7/10/2007 ~ Bracebridge Resource Management Centre ~ 29 seen
Herring Gull
Belted Kingfisher
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Black-capped Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Blue Jay
Blue-headed Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Pine Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Scarlet Tanager
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
////---- STATISTICS ----/////
Species seen - 29



Re(2): Spray or Cut - What is the Difference?
Posted on July 13, 2007 at 08:43:18 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Anne, from the Muskoka Lakes, Public Works, called me back yesterday and said that the reason they cut is safety and sight lines.

I said that the there is no way that the grass cut was high enough to be a safety hazard.

It is the district that cut Muskoka Rd. 38 but I do think that this is something we could and should act on!



Re(1): Spray or Cut - What is the Difference?
Posted on July 13, 2007 at 08:34:29 AM by Jim Griffin

This could and perhaps should be turned into a major embarrassment for muskoka/ontario/canada: we have have this outdated concept called a noxious weeds act that doesnot recogize any concept of natural habitat, it needs to change. As you have pointed out we are all over mexico to protect the wintering habitat then we turn around a destroy the breeding habitat that develops the population that goes to mexico: hypocrits or what!



Re(2): Spray or Cut...
Posted on July 12, 2007 at 01:42:02 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I, too, encourage everyone to call their municipality to comment on this practice. I have called and left a voice mail for Susan Pryke and Anne in the Public Works department of the Township of Muskoka Lakes.



Re(1): Spray or Cut...
Posted on July 12, 2007 at 01:38:02 PM by Barbara Taylor

I agree, it's a shame to have so many Monarchs wiped out. Perhaps we should all complain to our local officials to try to prevent them from continuing this practice in subsequent years. Maybe they just don't understand how important milkweed is for Monarchs. I guess if Monarch populations have serious declines it's just too easy to place the blame on Mexico for cutting down the trees in the butterfly wintering grounds. :(

See my earlier post about the Bracebridge Ponds. And the day after I posted they cut all the roadside ditches in our neighbourhood too - many milkweed plants and Monarch caterpillars and eggs gone in just seconds! Very sad.



Spray or Cut - What is the Difference?
Posted on July 12, 2007 at 11:54:17 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Yesterday there was a patch of about 30 milkweek plants along Muskoka Rd. 38 from me. There were at least 20 caterpillars on the plants.


The Township of Muskoka Lakes is successfully wiping out a whole year of Monarchs by cutting the roadside grass!

The Chrysalis will not be able to develop. The caterpillars have no more food. The butterflies that are flying have no place to lay their eggs and those eggs that are already laid will not survive.

This is not the generation that migrates! From that area there will be no generation to produce the next 2 generations to get to the one that does migrate!

Essentially, all those beautiful Monarchs that we were so pleased about this year are finished!!!

Why not just spray and get it over with early!



Re(1): Wilson's Warblers
Posted on July 16, 2007 at 08:00:05 AM by janice house

On the advice of Al Sinclair I went looking for the caller, found several yellow rumped warblers with almost the same call. I am going to continue to look for my elusive Wilson's Warblers.



Wilson's Warblers
Posted on July 10, 2007 at 07:41:39 AM by janice house

almost every morning when the dogs and I walk around the block the Wilson's Warblers are calling. I am not sure if there are several pairs, this morning the other birds were fairly quiet so the Wilson's call really stood out. (Doe Lake Rd & Laycox Rd)



Re(1): heron diet
Posted on July 20, 2007 at 07:43:32 AM by janice house

My Dad saw a heron yesterday do the same thing, Skeleton Lake.



heron diet
Posted on July 8, 2007 at 12:02:18 PM by Dave Hawke

Interesting note: a great blue heron grabbed a chipmunk along the shoreline, held it in the water (to drown it? moisturize it?) and swallowed it whole. I saw one do this to a baby muskrat years ago.



Notes on Raising Monarch from Caterpillars
Posted on July 7, 2007 at 09:42:08 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I have a number of Monarch caterpillars that have formed themselves into a chrysalis and a couple dropped from the top of the container.

I talked to a person at Science North and she told me that even when the Chrysalis has turned black it is possible to save them. Mine had no little stem left to hang it from and she told me to put hot glue on a small square of paper, hold little stem of the chrysalis in the hot glue and then pin the paper to the underside of something so that it hangs free.

I tried it and it worked and was able to save the chrysalis and butterfly.



Red-headed Woodpecker near Glen Orchard
Posted on July 6, 2007 at 03:39:47 PM by BillCrins

On 2 July, I was driving northwest on Hwy. 69 just west of Glen Orchard (about 0.2 km east of Bass Lake Rd. and Berners Rd. turnoffs), when a male Red-headed Woodpecker looped over the highway and back to a dead snag. There were numerous snags along the highway and in a small wetland adjacent to the highway, on the south or east side of the highway at that location.

On 4 July, I checked there again on my return from Timmins, but with no success.



Re(1): Monarch larvae
Posted on July 8, 2007 at 05:24:29 PM by Barbara Taylor

Unless those caterpillars can move to some nearby milkweed, they will most likely not survive. You have an interesting experiment going on in your yard. Did some roadside milkweed patches get cut down recently? Perhaps the larvae crawled to the nearest plant resembling milkweed. All the information I could find on this subject seems to indicate that the larvae need to feed on milkweed in order to develop. Here are a few references.

University of Guelph study: Excerpt - "Observations in the field indicate that monarch butterflies will oviposit on dog-strangler vine, an invasive introduced species in the same family as milkweed... Larvae did not develop beyond the first instar..."

Swallowworts: Excerpt - "Haribal and Renwick (1998) found that female monarch butterflies (Fig. 7) oviposit on black swallow-wort (V. nigrum) in choice tests in the laboratory; however, resulting larvae were not able to complete development on this plant."

Feeding preference study: Excerpt - "Although several non-Asclepiadaceae were eaten in small quantities, all were less preferred to A. curassavica. Additionally, these non-Asclepiadaceae do not support continued feeding, development, and survival of first and fifth-instar larvae."

Types of milkweed in Ontario:



Monarch larvae
Posted on July 6, 2007 at 11:25:23 AM by Goodyear

While weeding our garden yesterday we noticed that our Sedum "Autumn Joy" was playing host to at least 22 Monarch caterpillars in various stages of growth. They appear to be eating the leaves. Is this unusual? What other plants, besides milkweed, do they like?



Re(1): Piping Plovers at Sauble...update...more
Posted on July 7, 2007 at 10:08:33 PM by Al Sinclair

From Lionel Goulds July 7 column in the Owen Sound Sun Times:
"Three of the original four piping plover chicks at Sauble, incidentally, are doing fine and have been banded. "One's trying to fly now, flapping its little wings" according to Stewart Nutt, who is co-ordinating efforts to protect the birds."



Piping Plovers at Sauble...update
Posted on July 5, 2007 at 12:41:41 PM by Al Sinclair

On June 30, it was noted at the end of Lionel Gould's weekly Outdoors column in the Owen Sound Sun Times that 4 young had hatched from the nest at Sauble Beach and they were foraging with their parents. Click on the link below to see the full column that talks about Breeding Bird Surveys this week. Lionel has won awards for his weekly reports on nature.
Outdoors by Lionel Gould



The Bala Butterfly Count...compilers report
Posted on July 5, 2007 at 12:28:47 PM by Al Sinclair

Ninth Annual Bala Butterfly Count (30 June 2007)
by Ron Stager

Eleven people participated in the 9th annual Bala butterfly count on June 30th as part of the North American Butterfly Association's (NABA) program for education and conserving butterflies. Three groups identified species and counted butterflies in a variety of habitats within a 7.5 mile radius from the centre of Bala. The day was relatively cool (high teens, low twenties), mostly sunny and became windier as the day progressed.

The number of species, 32, was the highest to date for our count circle. There are now a total of 48 species that have been seen on the count. The total number of butterflies counted, 762, was about average and the species with the highest counts were the 357 European Skippers and the 126 Monarchs. New for the count was the Eastern Tailed-blue which is about the size of the more common azures but, looking closely, has tails and orange markings like some hairstreaks. Up to a few years ago, the presence of this species was hypothetical for Muskoka but Eastern Tailed-blues have been seen recently at a number of locations.

The number of Monarchs was a high for our count and several caterpillars were observed on milkweed plants. In some cases, there were multiple caterpillars of different sizes on the same plant. This year was a migratory year, similar to 2001, for many other species as well: Red Admiral numbers found nectaring on the abundant flowering dogbane were a high for our count and other migratory species such as Question Mark and American Lady were also observed. Record numbers for our count were seen for 6 other species.

The butterfly species and numbers, grouped by family, were:

Canadian Tiger Swallowtail,2

Cabbage White,6; Clouded Sulfur 2 (high); Orange Sulfur2 (high)

American Copper, 1; Bog Copper,6; Acadian Hairstreak (high),3;
Eastern Tailed-blue, 1(new)

Great Spangled Frtillary,11; Harris' Checkerspot,4; Northern Crescent,16; Question Mark,2; Eastern Comma,1; Mourning Cloak,1; American Lady,5; Red Admiral,87 (high) White Admiral,15; Viceroy,4; Northern Pearly-eye,3 (high); Eyed Brown,33 (high); Little Wood Satyr,14; Common Ringlet,2; Monarch,126 (high, plus 100 caterpillars)

Northern Cloudywing,3; Least Skipper 3 (high),2; European Skipper,357; Peck's Skipper,5; Tawny-edged Skipper,5; Long Dash,27; Northern Broken-dash,2; Hobomok,4; Dun Skipper,9

I would like to thank the participants in general and Al Sinclair and Rick Snider, in particular, for leading groups. It was a great count and I am looking forward to next year.

Participant List:

Al Sinclair, Bob Burton, Cyril Fry, Ernie Giles, George Bryant, Janice House, Joan Paget, Neil Taylor, Rick Snider, Ron Stager, Ruth Baker



Different guess
Posted on July 8, 2007 at 06:56:30 AM by Alex Mills

Ovenbirds do an evening song where they fly up above the canopy, singing a jumble of notes. It can be at any time of day actually, even after dark. It usually ends with a few conventional 'teacher' song units once the bird is back in the forest. So, your first hunch may be right.



Re(1): evensong from an unknown
Posted on July 5, 2007 at 09:30:52 AM by Barbara Taylor

My guess is Eastern Phoebe.



evensong from an unknown
Posted on July 4, 2007 at 10:38:16 PM by John Challis

A bird has me bewitched, bothered and bewildered here on Green River Drive in Washago.
Each evening at dusk we get a quite spectacular display flight from what I was first guessing was an ovenbird, because the song accompanying it was in similar voice. It flies above the treetops, flutters and hovers while it lets loose with a series of chatters and whistles, generally beginning "pt-cheer, chitter ..." This lasts two or three seconds and then it darts back down into the woods in a lightning swift dive -- almost a stoop. I've caught similar calls in response further down the road, so there are a few breeding pairs, I'm assuming. I caught a fairly good glimpse of it tonight, and it had flycatcher-ish plumage. We've been noticing it since spring, and it has continued virtually every evening into July now. It's quite a wonderful performance, but I'd love to find out what it is. Anyone care to hazard a guess?



Re(2): monarch larvae
Posted on July 7, 2007 at 08:06:01 PM by Marilyn Kisser

I'm having a bumper crop here outside of Rosseau too!



Re(1): monarch larvae
Posted on July 5, 2007 at 09:32:15 AM by Barbara Taylor

It does look like another pretty good year for Monarchs. Last year was a spectacular bumper crop.



monarch larvae
Posted on July 4, 2007 at 12:59:34 PM by Wayne Bridge

Has anyone else noticed this? I have, in about 13 years of being an amateur naturalist, "never" seen as many monarch caterpillars as I have this year. On our 600 foot road frontage I'm counting two or three larvae on some milkweed plants! Absolutely awesome.



Re(1): Scarlet Tanager
Posted on July 5, 2007 at 10:46:05 PM by gerald willmott

amazing they have any bush left to sing in.



Scarlet Tanager
Posted on July 3, 2007 at 06:14:54 PM by ann hansen

My husband saw a Scarlet Tanager at North Granite Ridge Golf Course in Port Sydney yesterday, July 2, 07 around 3:30pm, 7th hole.



Bird Board Update
Posted on July 2, 2007 at 04:48:25 PM by Barbara Taylor

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

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. Only your name and a password are required to get registered so you can start posting on the board. You don't have to include an email address in your post. Visit the Posting Guidelines link near the top of the board 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



Re(1): Blue-winged Warbler
Posted on July 3, 2007 at 10:20:42 AM by Barbara Taylor

We couldn't find the Blue-winged Warbler this morning, but what a great spot for seeing a good variety of birds in a short time. Thanks Gerald.


Here's a partial list:
Mourning Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Indigo Bunting
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Baltimore Oriole
Purple Finch
White-winged Crossbill
Gray Catbird
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Cedar Waxwing
Eastern Phoebe
Northern Flicker
American Goldfinch
Turkey Vulture
White-breasted Nuthatch



Blue-winged Warbler
Posted on July 1, 2007 at 07:38:31 PM by gerald willmott

Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. I watched, and heard a Blue-winged Warbler for about 15 minutes, it was still present 30 minutes later when I returned the location. It was found along the snowmobile trail that leads south from behind Sleep Inn and Kelseys in Bracebridge. If you follow the trail, you will come to a steel bridge after a short time. Just on the far side of the bridge before heading up the hill it was present. Also around were Magnolia, Mourning and Common Yellowthroat Warblers.