Muskoka Bird Board - Archived Reports from April - June 2008
 
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Brewer's Blackbirds...request for information
Posted on June 30, 2008 at 09:02:54 PM by Al Sinclair

Has anyone checked to see if the Brewer's Blackbirds are back this year at the Falkenburg-Beatrice T.L. RD corner? I had a request for info from someone who wants to come up from Toronto to see them.

 

 

Skeleton Lake Birds
Posted on June 30, 2008 at 11:16:03 AM by janice house

Went to visit Dad and my brother yesterday, while sitting on the dock a loon circled the bay then came in for a very graceful landing. A black throated green warbler was calling, a great crested flycatcher, several cedar wax wings, a phoebe and a broad winged hawk.

 

 

Re(1): Nipissing Weekend Bird List
Posted on September 6, 2008 at 07:50:59 AM by janice house

Weekend Species Lists

Butterflies: harris checkerspot, canadian tiger swallowtail, monarch, little wood satyr

Damselflies: taiga bluet, tule bluet, eastern forktail, sedge sprite

Dragonflies: lancet clubtail, common whitetail, racket-tailed emerald, spiny baskettail

Moth: 8 spotted forester

Birds: double-crested cormorant, american bittern, green heron, mallard, turkey vulture, osprey, ring-billed gull, caspian tern, black tern, rock dove, mourning dove, black-billed cuckoo, whip-poor-will, chimney swift, belted kingfisher, downy woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, northern flicker, pileated woodpecker, alder flycatcher, least flycatcher, eastern phoebe, great crested flycatcher, eastern kingbird, american robin, gray catbird, brown thrasher, cedar waxwing, european starling, solitary vireo, warbling vireo, red-eyed vireo, nashville warbler, yellow warbler, chestnut-sided warbler, black & white warbler, american redstart, ovenbird, common yellowthroat, clay-coloured sparrow, northern rough-winged swallow, barn swallow, tree swallow, blue jay, american crow, common raven, black-capped chickadee, house wren, veery, savannah sparrow, song sparrow, swamp sparrow, white-throated sparrow, bobolink, red-winged blackbird, common grackle, brown-headed cowbird, northern oriole, american goldfinch

 

 

Nipissing Weekend Bird List
Posted on June 28, 2008 at 10:47:12 AM by janice house

We had a great weekend, the Nipissing Club went out of their way to make us feel welcome. The species total for Laurier Woods was 36, we got to see a veery and a redstart up close. The species total at Cache Bay 37, an osprey pair were nesting on the lights a the baseball field, green herons seemed to be flying everywhere, black terns were flying in the west side of the bay, the gals in my car heard a clay coloured sparrow answer to the call on my cd. At our last stop before heading home we stopped at a bridge and watched tree, barn and northern rough winged swallows.

 

 

Results of Biodiversity Day
Posted on June 27, 2008 at 09:43:24 PM by Brent

The biodiversity weekend in North Bay area was great. Not much went ahead as planned but that didn't matter. I was the leader of the butterfly and dragonfly walk in Laurier Woods. My walk got rained out shortly after it started but we still got some bugs. I was able to show off and identify many bugs at the dinner and the next day.

Damselflies
--Tule Bluet (blue form female): Cache Bay
--Eastern Forktail: Cache Bay, boat houses. Very common and colourful, especially the immature females.
--Taiga Bluet: Laurier Woods, a Eurasian bluet with green sides.

Dragonflies
--Lancet Clubtail: On the Chancelors building
Common Whitetail: Ditto
--Racket-tailed Emerald: Cache Bay
--Spiny Baskettail: Cache Bay. Has to been examined in the hand to separate it from Beaverpond Baskettail and sometimes Common Baskettail.

Butterflies
--Harris Checkerspot: Laurier Woods parking lot
--Canadian Tiger Swallowtail: In the field at the Chancelors building.
--Monarch: ditto
--Little Wood Satyr: Laurier Woods. Shade loving butterfly.

Moths
Eight Spotted Forester: Neat small daytime flying moth.


At the dinner I handed out a checklist of butterflies and dragonflies for the North Bay area. The dragonfly list include many species that are hypothetical and thus never been recorded in the area. But coverage from the Ontario Odonata Atlas is sparse in the North so there is undoubtedly a lot still to discover. My list of odes is currently at 39 species and I have already found some new species for our "80 kilometer circle" around North Bay.

Brent Turcotte

 

 

Are insects declining?
Posted on June 27, 2008 at 02:25:29 PM by Alex Mills

Al Sinclair expresses the opinion below (under the nighthawk posting) that insect numbers are on the decline. Al is not the only one thinking this, of course. Here is a link to a British story that intends to use cars to sample insect numbers. The trouble is, researchers haven't been doing this in the past, so there isn't yet a timeline for monitoring change.
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/car-splatometers-may-help-scientists-solve-riddle-of-insect-decline-542335.html

 

 

Re(2): Common Nighthawk
Posted on June 30, 2008 at 08:36:44 PM by Al Sinclair

There is a piece about the bat problem in the Toronto Star today. The fungus may be a symptom not the cause. It could be a lack of insects. Here is the quote from Rob Mies, director of the Michigan-based Organization for Bat Conservation.
"We don't know much, but what we think is that the Whitenose fungus, which doesn't always occur on the nose, is a symptom and not the cause of death. There is still the possibility that there is a fungus or bacteria that's killing the bats, but many researchers are concerned about more complicated issues. What we're finding is bats that are emaciated. That's the cause of death – starvation. They're not putting on enough body fat to make it through the winter. Researchers are looking into it internationally."

You can find the story at http://www.thestar.com/article/451520

 

 

Re(1): Common Nighthawk
Posted on June 28, 2008 at 06:59:58 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

If lack of night-flying insects is the reason for the decline of Common Nighthawks it seems that there will soon be more than anyone could want.

Bats have been dying in large numbers from a fungus and the populations in the northeastern US are expected to decline rapidly. The fungus has been found in the bats at their hibernation caves and there is a great possibility that all the species we find here will die out.

 

 

Re(1): Common Nighthawk
Posted on June 27, 2008 at 09:57:52 AM by Terry & marion Whittam

We've had Nighthawks giving their "peent" call the last 2 weekends at the lake 10km east of Washago. Always only 1 and it seems to fly by calling .... then go on its way. Seems to be just searching for food! I always stop and look for it when heard thinking it may be the last one I see!

 

 

Re(1): Common Nighthawk
Posted on June 27, 2008 at 07:52:57 AM by Al Sinclair

Like Martins and Swifts, Nighthawks have declined dramatically in Muskoka, now a notable sighting in summer. They were so common 20 years ago that no one paid any notice of them, a "dirt bird" like Robins or Starlings. They nested on the flat roofs in Bracebridge and Gravenhurst and flew up and down the streets when the street lights came on. They were a common sight at night baseball games swooping around the lights on the field scooping up insects. Now you have trouble finding even one bird. Personally I think insect populations are collapsing, there are no insects around the lights anymore. A serious situation for us all!

 

 

Re(2): Common Nighthawk
Posted on June 27, 2008 at 08:44:03 PM by janice house

just came in from the back deck, a lone nighthawk calling about 7:30

 

 

Re(1): Common Nighthawk
Posted on June 27, 2008 at 07:49:16 AM by janice house

About the same time we had a nighthawk across from the house (Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst)

 

 

Common Nighthawk
Posted on June 26, 2008 at 09:29:51 PM by Barbara Taylor

Just after 9 p.m. tonight a Common Nighthawk flew over our house. It was giving its "peent" call as it went, or I would have missed it. (Bracebridge)

 

 

Re(1): Martins and Swifts
Posted on June 27, 2008 at 06:41:08 PM by Doug Smith

Several years ago I saw many chimney swifts funnelling into the chimney at the Norwood Theatre.

 

 

Re(1): Martins and Swifts
Posted on June 25, 2008 at 10:18:13 AM by Dawn Sherman

I saw a dozen or so Chimney Swifts in downtown Huntsville above the old hotel at the corner of Main and Centre on Monday.

 

 

Re(1): Martins and Swifts
Posted on June 25, 2008 at 10:18:55 AM by janice house

We were in North Bay this weekend and watched approximately 30 chimney swifts, Art Clarke mentioned while waiting for Launi he saw some go down the chimney on the Norwood Theatre on Manitoba St in Bracebridge.

 

 

Martins and Swifts
Posted on June 25, 2008 at 10:04:27 AM by Alex Mills

A couple of weeks ago I asked for people to email me about Purple Martins in Muskoka. I am interested, since they seem to have virtually disappeared from "cottage country." The nearest reports I got were Orillia and Matchedash Bay. If you do encounter Martins this summer, please let me know.

How about Chimney Swifts? They are still obvious in Barrie, where I live, but I haven't seen one in the shield for some time. I would be pleased to know if you are seeing them in Muskoka, and if you know what chimneys or other structures they are using for nesting.

 

 

MFN July 3 meeting - 6 p.m. at Kerr Park
Posted on June 24, 2008 at 05:05:57 PM by Barbara Taylor

The next meeting of the Muskoka Field Naturalists will be held on Thursday, July 3 at 6 p.m. at Kerr Park in Bracebridge. Note the special time and place.

Sam Robinson reminds everyone to bring your picnic supper and a lawn chair. In the event of poor weather, there is access to the building so that won’t be an issue. In the Wakerobin mention was made of a hike after but we also are now having a brief informal presentation. This will be about the Species on the Edge project undertaken by The Couchiching Conservancy. Visitors are welcome to attend.

directions: From Hwy. 11 take Hwy. 118 West to the first set of traffic lights. Turn left onto Beaumont Dr., and after a short drive, turn left into Kerr Park. (If you drive past the TransCanada gas plant entrance, you've gone too far.)

 

 

Piping Plovers at Wasaga...storm destroys young
Posted on June 23, 2008 at 10:15:11 AM by Al Sinclair

A severe thunderstorm with hail yesterday and a Merlin Saturday caused big problems Piping Plover nest 1. See the Simcoe Nature Board for details. http://www.b2g4.com/boards/board.cgi?user=SimcoeNatureBoard

 

 

Another Spider - photo - a handsome boy
Posted on June 22, 2008 at 10:34:12 PM by Al Sinclair

Joan found this one yesterday when she was watering a hanging basket, climbed out when she turned the water on. It is a male jumping spider, Phidippus whitmani, no common name, size small about 5 mm including the legs, eats ants and other small insects.  PHIDIPPUS WHITMANI: photo1  photo2  photo3  (east of Bracebridge)

 

 

Sphinx Moth - photos
Posted on June 22, 2008 at 12:10:01 PM by Barbara Taylor

This large moth came to our porch light between rain storms last night. I kept her in a plastic container until this morning so I could take pictures, and it appears that she laid a few eggs! See the last photo. Apparently the larvae feed on lilac, so now I know where to place the caterpillars if they hatch out in a few days. (Bracebridge)
Laurel Sphinx, Sphinx kalmiae, Hodges #7809  photo1  photo2  photo3
(also known as the Fawn Sphinx in Wagner's guide)

 

 

Re(1): Dragonflies and butterflies
Posted on June 23, 2008 at 05:20:16 PM by John Challis

Ah ha! A dot-tailed whiteface; quite appropriately named. We've had them in our back yard for a few days now and I was curious about their identity. Thanks for answering that question, Barb.

 

 

Dragonflies and butterflies
Posted on June 21, 2008 at 08:13:23 PM by Barbara Taylor

Today at the Bracebridge Ponds the sun brought out some nice dragonflies and butterflies. Birds were pretty scarce though, unless you count all the Mallards and Canada Geese with their numerous young ones.

dragonflies:
Chalk-fronted Corporal
Dot-tailed Whiteface
Twelve-spotted Skimmer
Common Whitetail
Common Green Darner

butterflies:
White Admiral (our first one this year too)
Common Ringlet
Monarch
Viceroy
Tiger Swallowtail
Harris' Checkerspot
Northern Crescent
Clouded Sulphur

 

 

Re(1): Butterflies...Hobomok dark female form
Posted on June 22, 2008 at 10:14:54 PM by Al Sinclair

Hobomok Skipper dark female, photographed yesterday in our yard on Centaurea hypoleuca 'John Coutts', Pink Cornflower. This plant attracts many insects but Joan says don't plant it in a bed with other perennials because it will crowd everything else out.   Hobomok Skipper - Poanes hobomok:  photo

 

 

Butterflies...White Admiral etc.
Posted on June 21, 2008 at 10:56:15 AM by Al Sinclair

Finally some warm sunny butterfly weather. We had our first White Admiral here today, east of Bracebridge. Also Tiger Swallowtail, Juvenal's Duskywing, Hobomok Skipper. Nice to see them since our Butterfly Count is coming up in 2 weeks.

 

 

Another Luna...photo
Posted on June 21, 2008 at 10:47:11 AM by Al Sinclair

We had a Luna here at the moth light yesterday, our first this year and later than usual. It was very cooperative, posed with wings open and stayed until late afternoon. This year I have heard more Luna reports than usual. Wilf Yusek had 3 at his light early in June, a female and 2 males. Location: 8km east of Bracebridge on Hwy 118E. photo

 

 

Little Wood Satyr and other visitors...photos
Posted on June 18, 2008 at 09:24:28 PM by Barbara Taylor

This Little Wood Satyr butterfly landed on our window as it sought shelter from the rain today. photo

The specks on the window in the above photo are mostly yellow pollen from the White Pines - very messy trees this time of year. Here are some recent visitors at our porch light:
Yellow Slant-line Moth (Tetracis crocallata - Hodges 6963) photo

Carpet Moth (Hydrelia condensata - Hodges 7420)  photo

Fishfly (Family Corydalidae, Genus Chauliodes)  photo  photo2

Spider, looks similar to Araneus bicentenarius) photo

(Bracebridge)

 

 

Re(1): Moth...photo
Posted on June 21, 2008 at 12:47:07 PM by Barbara Taylor

Had another moth at our porch light last night - first time I've seen this one. (Bracebridge)
Green Leuconycta (Leuconycta diphteroides - Hodges 9065)  photo1 photo2

 

 

Moth...photo
Posted on June 18, 2008 at 06:22:25 PM by Al Sinclair

Taken today at our place east of Bracebridge. Canon XTi, 60mm macro, ring flash.

6235 - LETTERED HABROSYNE, Habrosyne scripta  photo

 

 

Another Spider --- photo
Posted on June 18, 2008 at 06:08:44 PM by Al Sinclair

We found this jumping spider in the house yesterday walking across a newspaper. If coralled it would sometimes take a short jump like a flea. This species is small, about 5mm and primarily hunts ants according to my internet research. There are hundreds of ants just outside the front door making nests in the sand in cracks between some patio stones so that's likely why its here. The two large eyes in front give jumping spiders binocular vision and the best of all spiders. It can see prey 12 inches away and apparently also smell the presence of ants.

FLEA SPIDER   (Naphrys pulex = Habrocestum pulex)  photo1  photo2

 

 

Black-billed Cuckoo
Posted on June 17, 2008 at 12:51:30 PM by Dawn Sherman

We found a Black-billed Cuckoo yesterday at a small pond on the north side of Glen Acres Road in Huntsville.

 

 

bear in yard
Posted on June 17, 2008 at 07:47:20 AM by CarolWagg

A visitor appeared in the side and back yard last evening while we were having dinner. Fortunately, we had already decided to eat inside. He hung around for 3-4 minutes before ambling off, unfed. (Doe Lake Rd.) photo

 

 

Re(1): Butterfly - ID?
Posted on June 27, 2008 at 10:04:33 PM by Brent

I would say Summer Azure. According to Butterflies of the North Woods, Summer Azures are paler with finer markings compared to Spring Azures.
Brent Turcotte

 

 

Butterfly - ID?
Posted on June 16, 2008 at 08:20:30 PM by Barbara Taylor

Spring Azure or Summer Azure? Any pointers on telling them apart?  photo

 

 

Re(2): Great Blue Herons, Doe Lake Rd.
Posted on June 16, 2008 at 08:05:11 AM by FrancesGualtieri

And I thought MY family relationships were bad! Now I feel better!

 

 

Re(1): Great Blue Herons, Doe Lake Rd.
Posted on June 15, 2008 at 10:04:23 PM by Barb Staples

It is heartbreaking. One of the trio in my SE wetland is failing somewhat but in considerably better shape than Doe Lake Road's #4 so may make it yet. (Sunny Lake off Doe Lake Road.)

 

 

Re(1): Great Blue Herons, Doe Lake Rd.
Posted on June 15, 2008 at 09:24:56 PM by CarolWagg

They look positively evil! We thought it looked like one was hanging over the side of the nest the night we were there, but could not see as clearly as this photo shows it. I have been looking forward to a follow-up by Eleanor. Thank you!

 

 

Great Blue Herons, Doe Lake Rd.
Posted on June 15, 2008 at 09:01:19 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

After admiring Carol Wagg's photographs of the herons feeding I thought I better get out there do an update as the last couple of times I have got only the tops of heads.

Three young preened on and off and then an adult came in to feed the youngsters. They are pretty big now and should be ready to leave the nest the first week of July.

I was quite amazed to see that there were still 4 young as that many don't usually survive.

As soon as the adult left the larger 3 birds attacked the smallest one. In turns they stabbed and pecked at it until it was hanging over the edge of the nest. It did get back into the nest eventually but won't last much longer. 

 

HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A MORE CRUEL LOOKING TRIO!!!  This was taken with a Canon MK2N, 500 f4 IS lens with stacked 2X & 1.4X converters. This works in Auto Focus only if there is enough light. Beanbag from car window and cropped from top and right side.  photo

 

 

Re(1): Another request: Kingbirds
Posted on July 5, 2008 at 06:43:55 PM by janice house

friday morning 2 birds were fighting/fluttering behind our house, (Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst)

 

 

Re(1): Another request: Kingbirds
Posted on June 17, 2008 at 02:26:07 PM by Jim Griffin

I saw 1 Kingbird on the muskoka river just south of Port Sydney last sunday; next time I'm down the river I will watch for evidence of a pair; they have nested in that area in the past.

 

 

Re(2): Another request: Kingbirds
Posted on June 17, 2008 at 12:10:11 PM by John Challis

Around Washago, kingbirds are in good numbers, perhaps more than last year but that's a guess. They can be found along Cooper's Falls Road, particularly along farm fields. We watched one a few days ago ferociously attacking a crow; he/she seemed determined to take chunks of feathers out of its larger adversary.

 

 

Re(1): Another request: Kingbirds
Posted on June 16, 2008 at 09:53:33 AM by Wayne Bridge

I have seen one, on several occasions, in a marshy area to the right of the public beach in Kearney. On May 8th, one sat in a tree on our front lawn (which is about 300 yards, as the kingbird flies, from that marsh -- which has a resident American bittern).

 

 

Re(1): Another request: Kingbirds
Posted on June 15, 2008 at 08:30:21 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Although I haven't seen any near my lake this year I have seen them along Ragged Rapids Rd and in the wetland on Doe Lake Rd, Gravenhurst, by the Great Blue Heron nest just this afternoon.

Many more than I remember seeing other years along Wylie Rd, Carden Alvar, on Friday.

 

 

Re(1): Another request: Kingbirds
Posted on June 15, 2008 at 06:48:01 PM by Barbara Taylor

We've seen them at Henry Marsh and the Bracebridge Ponds this year and in past years, but haven't kept records. Also had one this year where the snowmobile trail crosses Beaver Creek in behind Sleep Inn. (Bracebridge)

 

 

Re(1): Another request: Kingbirds
Posted on June 15, 2008 at 06:35:27 PM by J. Gardner

Re Kingbirds... Numbers seem to be down, but we have at least one pair here in Hurdville (Lake Manitouwabing).

 

 

Re(1): Another request: Kingbirds
Posted on June 15, 2008 at 06:37:22 PM by Barb Staples

In my eleven years here on Sunny Lake, Gravenhurst, saw a single kingbird on one occasion, June 15, 2003. Never saw or heard of any on Gull Lake over a fifty-year period. What lacking in birds making up with moose and bears! The great blue heron nest in my SE wetland has three offspring.

 

 

Another request: Kingbirds
Posted on June 15, 2008 at 05:57:28 PM by Alex Mills

I posted about a week ago asking for Muskoka area sightings of Purple Martins, and the nearest report I got was Orillia.

I have spent a fair bit of time at Magnetawan this spring and have yet to see a Kingbird. They used to nest in several beaver ponds nearby, as well as along the Distress River and in a favourite lakeside meadow of mine. Are people seeing many in Muskoka?

 

 

dragonflies
Posted on June 15, 2008 at 05:54:46 PM by Alex Mills

The dragonflies are out in great variety these days. Some are in their "early plumage", colour patterns that occur only briefly after metamorphosis. At Magnetawan in the past few days I've seen White-tailed and Four-spotted Skimmers, Chalk-fronted Corporals, Ashy and Lancet Clubtails, and American and Raquet-tailed Emeralds. Ebony Jewelwing (damselflies) are also out.

 

 

Re(1): Sandhill Cranes...West Gravenhurst
Posted on June 15, 2008 at 09:23:59 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

The cranes, actually, were North of Pine Lake Rd/Parkers Point Rd on the East side of Hwy 169. There were not there on my way home at 6:30 pm.

As I watched after speaking with Al I saw another bird in the field and thought it must be a young crane. NOT!
He must have thought he would save his girlfriend from intruders!  photo  photo2  photo3

 

 

Sandhill Cranes...West Gravenhurst
Posted on June 15, 2008 at 09:42:19 AM by Al Sinclair

Eleanor Kee Wellman just called on a cell phone. Two Sandhill Cranes are in a field of long grass beside Hwy 169 just south of Pine Lake Rd. Pine Lake Rd is about a km north of West Gravenhurst. There is a large wetland behind the field, looks like we might have a nesting pair.

 

 

bug and a herp, Part 2
Posted on June 14, 2008 at 11:54:24 AM by John Challis

 

I was in the basement on the computer working out latitude and longitude using Google Earth last night, to identify the spot where we'd seen a milk snake crossing Green River Drive during the day when an odd noise beside the computer made me look up.
It was a ring-necked snake. It had worked its way between foundation and floor joists, down into the insulation and had got itself stuck on the Tuck tape binding the vapour barrier sheets together.
It took the better part of an hour to cut it out of the plastic sheets and work it free from the tape. Massage oil worked very well to loosen the substantial sticking power of the tape. I checked with Jeff Hathaway at Sciensational Snakes, Orillia, who said the best thing to do afterwards was release it back into the wild. The oils wouldn't be a problem, although if we rinsed it down with a bit of soap and water, he said it would appreciate the fact we had rid it of some of the sandalwood smell.
Snake was very sluggish when we released it this morning, but appeared eager to find a place to hunker down and recover.  photo

 

 

Re(2): bug and a herp, Part 1
Posted on June 15, 2008 at 12:40:55 PM by John Challis

Thanks Barb. Have read up on the eyed click beetle now. We have no turf grass to speak of, and no veggie crops this year -- so the grubs on this beetle must be resorting to the substantial quantities of dead wood around our property. Trees have been suffering from dieback on this lot, possibly due to being on the fringe of a wetland with widely fluctuating seasonal water levels. It makes for good woodpecker hunting, and wood-boring bug watching. But we'd rather the trees were healthier.

 

 

Re(1): bug and a herp, Part 1
Posted on June 14, 2008 at 02:15:07 PM by Barbara Taylor

Eyed Click Beetle - Alaus oculatus
see http://www.hiltonpond.org/ThisWeek010515.html

 

 

bug and a herp, Part 1
Posted on June 14, 2008 at 11:44:45 AM by John Challis

 

Can anyone identify this beetle, please? It landed on my shoulder in our back yard, Green River Dr., Washago. It was close to the length of my thumb and sounded like a model airplane with the elastic wind-up propellor. Wing casings and scutellum (right term? the case over the thorax) very hard -- they almost sounded like tin when tapped. Eyespots are on the thorax, by the way.  photo

 

 

Blue Heron Nest - Doe Lake Rd
Posted on June 12, 2008 at 09:37:55 PM by CarolWagg

A trip to the nest in the swamp just past 1788 Doe Lake Rd around 7:15 tonight revealed a shapeless lump that untangled itself when Mom arrived with food. At first we could see three young birds, then it became evident that a fourth was present. Three were more vigorous, and the fourth seemed to be smaller, even shunned. It was hanging over the side of the nest at times. Loud squawking accompanied feeding time. Pretty exciting!

Photos of the Herons: http://www.witsendbb.com/herons.html

 

 

Re(1): Cecropia...photo
Posted on June 10, 2008 at 10:19:33 AM by Wayne Bridge

Al, that's beautiful! Thank you.

 

 

Cecropia...photo
Posted on June 9, 2008 at 09:12:19 PM by Al Sinclair

Our first this year, this morning at the moth light. (Hwy.118 east of Bracebridge)  photo

 

 

Interesting Moths...
Posted on June 9, 2008 at 12:48:52 PM by Barbara Taylor

Here are three of the more interesting moths recently visiting our yard. (Bracebridge)
Pistachio Emerald, Hethemia pistasciaria - Hodges #7084  photo

Bilobed Looper, Megalographa biloba - Hodges #8907  photo  photo2

White-spotted Sable, Anania funebris glomeralis - Hodges #4958a  photo

 

 

Re(1): Does anyone see Purple Martins?
Posted on June 14, 2008 at 06:11:57 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

No Purple Martins at either Tiny or Wye Marsh!

 

 

Does anyone see Purple Martins?
Posted on June 8, 2008 at 03:23:46 PM by Alex Mills

Along with declines in numbers, in Purple Martins there is an apparent range contraction occurring in Ontario. The 2007 Atlas, reporting on the period 2001-05, said: "the nesting box of the last known colony in Muskoka was destroyed in a storm in 2005."

It is hard to believe that the species no longer breeds in Muskoka. If any of you know of any active 2008 colonies anywhere in Muskoka, I would greatly appreciate hearing from you (email: amills@uwindsor.ca).

 

 

Re(1): Surf Scoter...gone
Posted on June 8, 2008 at 12:10:19 PM by Barbara Taylor

No Surf Scoter this morning and no Semipalmated Plover. Three Green Herons in the shrubbery west of cell 4. Several Monarch butterflies, Tiger Swallowtails, and Mourning Cloaks flying today as well as many Common Green Darner dragonflies.

 

 

Re(1): Surf Scoter - photo
Posted on June 7, 2008 at 02:23:50 PM by Barbara Taylor

Here's a photo Wilf Yusek took of the Surf Scoter.

 

 

Surf Scoter - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on June 7, 2008 at 12:23:22 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning we found a Scoter in cell 1 at the Bracebridge Ponds. Wilf Yusek joined us and with his scope confirmed it is a female Surf Scoter. The bird is with some Canada Geese at the north end of cell 1 and was still there when we left around noon. A Semipalmated Plover was on the roadway between cells 1 and 2 along with two Spotted Sandpipers and a Killdeer.

 

 

Common Snipe
Posted on June 7, 2008 at 08:39:46 AM by janice house

A snipe was calling last night from the farm field across from our house, still there this morning. (Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst)

 

 

Re(2): Monarch butterfly
Posted on June 7, 2008 at 12:37:13 PM by Marilyn Kisser

first one flew across the deck this morning - Rosseau

 

 

Re(1): Monarch butterfly
Posted on June 7, 2008 at 08:28:34 AM by janice house

Two flew across Hwy 11 last night during my drive home from work.

 

 

Monarch butterfly
Posted on June 6, 2008 at 04:05:10 PM by Barbara Taylor

Had our first Monarch butterfly of the year fly through the yard this afternoon.  The past two years the first date was May 28 so a bit late.  (Bracebridge)

 

 

Re(1): Luna Moth - another one!
Posted on June 6, 2008 at 05:11:27 PM by Barbara Taylor

I just found a Luna Moth hanging from a hosta leaf in our garden under the birch tree, and this one looks great! Thank goodness I didn't rake up the leaves and didn't step on the cocoon. I found the discarded cocoon about three inches away from the stem of the hosta.  photo1  photo2

 

 

Luna Moth...sort of...
Posted on June 6, 2008 at 04:00:05 PM by Barbara Taylor

You may remember I posted photos of a Luna Moth caterpillar that we found in our yard last year - see photo links at bottom. We kept the caterpillar which eventually spun itself into a cocoon using birch leaves as a wrapper. Yesterday a Luna Moth emerged from the cocoon. Unfortunately the initial excitement has turned to disappointment. It has now been well over 24 hours and the moth's wings have still not inflated properly - so a defective moth. Other than the crumpled wings, the moth seems healthy as it has a very active digestive system. The feathery antennae appear to be on the small side so I'm hoping this may be a female, and perhaps a male Luna Moth will drop by for a visit this evening. (Bracebridge)  photo1 photo2  photo3

 

Luna Moth caterpillar:
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 was just over 3 inches long. (photos taken in Bracebridge, August 1, 2007) photo1 photo2

 

 

Another Spider --- photo
Posted on June 4, 2008 at 07:19:49 PM by Al Sinclair

Found this one under the moth light this morning, another big one. Does not spin a web to catch prey but does make a nursery by wrapping a green leaf in silk, often milkweed. Nursey Web Spider - Pisaurina mira  photo

 

 

Re(1): Sparrow Lake, Shorebirds & Cormorants (Photo)
Posted on June 5, 2008 at 12:45:50 PM by sylviapurdon

This is the first report of Cormorant nesting on Long Island, Sparrow Lake. Although we always checked it out, we never found evidence of nesting on Sparrow Lake by the DCCormorant.
sylvia and jim

 

 

Sparrow Lake, Shorebirds & Cormorants (Photo)
Posted on June 3, 2008 at 08:28:54 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I got out on Sparrow Lake in my kayak this afternoon, at last! I found four shorebirds which I took to be an adult with three chicks until they flew and got a closer look.  Looks like an adult Dunlin and three Semi-palmated Sandpipers to me but I could be wrong about the sandpipers! There are four cormorant nests on Long Island. One good thing about that is that I don't think they eat Common Tern chicks!  shorebirds photo

 

 

Muskoka Field Naturalists - next meeting June 5
Posted on June 3, 2008 at 04:07:09 PM by Barbara Taylor

MFN meeting Thursday, June 5 at 7:30 p.m., Gravenhurst
From the Wakerobin, newsletter of the Muskoka Field Naturalists:

Ontario's Native Orchids presented by Al Sinclair
Al has photographed most of the orchid species that grow in Ontario and all 38 species found in Muskoka. Many of them are very rare and hard to find and many rival the beauty of their exotic cousins in the tropics. Al will show us some of his photos of this highly evolved plant family and tell us where they grow, how he found them and reveal some of the unique ways that orchids trick insects into carrying pollen between plants.

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

 

 

Re(1): Canada Geese
Posted on June 3, 2008 at 08:22:02 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

A report from Jean Iron, who is on Akimiski Island in Hudson Bay helping with shorebird surverys reports the following:

First molt migrants seen on 31 May. These are "Giant" Canada Geese (subspecies maxima) arriving from southern Ontario and the northern United States. Yesterday's molt migrants included flocks of 50-70 birds continuing northward. They generally comprise year-old birds and failed breeders. Successful breeders do not undertake molt migrations. They remain with the young and molt locally while the young grow to full size as a family group.

 

 

Re(2): Canada Geese
Posted on June 3, 2008 at 01:46:14 PM by Alex Mills

I was interested to read Barbara's explanation and I don't dispute it. In the past, though, I have also wondered if any of the Canada Geese heading north at this time of year are northern populations heading up there to breed. I have seen snow geese in early June in northbound Canada Geese V's, making me think this, although I suppose that is not determinative. Brant also migrate north at this time of year to breed in the arctic. If the Canada Geese heading north now are not northern races, I suppose the Hinterland explanation is the correct one.

 

 

Re(1): Canada Geese
Posted on June 3, 2008 at 09:15:40 AM by Barbara Taylor

We noticed a few small flocks flying north past our house last evening. (Bracebridge)

Excerpt from Canadian Hinterland:
"In addition to the annual migration from breeding to wintering grounds, Canada Geese sometimes undertake a special voyage called a moult migration. Every year, geese must replace their worn-out flight feathers. The feathers are replaced all at once, so the geese cannot fly during the four- to five-week moulting period. The best places for the geese during this time are those with lots of open water where the birds can seek refuge if threatened and where they may find a good supply of the protein-rich food needed for growing new feathers. Most of the geese that don’t breed during the season undertake this migration, which usually involves travelling north, often well beyond the normal breeding range, between late May and early June. Successful breeders moult later in the season, remaining with their young goslings, which have not begun to fly."

 

 

Canada Geese
Posted on June 3, 2008 at 07:37:15 AM by janice house

At least 200 geese flew over the house this morning at 7am heading for Bracebridge

 

 

Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on June 1, 2008 at 01:25:02 PM by Barbara Taylor

Just before noon today there was a Black-billed Cuckoo calling west of cell 4 at the south end. A Mourning Warbler was singing near the SW corner of cell 4. Three Green Herons were perched in a dead tree north of cell 4. A Common Loon was the only bird in cell 4. Literally hundreds of Swallows were gathered at the sheltered west side of cell 4, swooping low along the grasses and preening while perched in the shrubbery - several Cliff as well as Barn, Bank, Tree, and Northern Rough-winged. There were also large numbers of Swallows at the west side of cells 2 and 3 - all five species there too.  Bracebridge Ponds map

 

 

Re(3): Piping Plovers - photo
Posted on June 4, 2008 at 08:47:37 PM by janice house

I noticed that one bird has been banded, it would be interesting to find out where it was first captured. There is an article in Bird Watchers Digest May/June 1998 about the plovers at Covehead beach in PEI National Park.

 

 

Re(2): Piping Plovers - photo
Posted on June 4, 2008 at 09:40:56 AM by Barbara Taylor

(Here is John's photo - I've copied it onto my photobucket site temporarily since the Sympatico server is still not working properly and is taking forever to load the pic.)

 

 

Re(1): Piping Plovers at Wasaga Beach
Posted on June 3, 2008 at 09:57:33 PM by John Challis

 

Gayle and I had a long, wonderful look at the pair of piping plovers at Wasaga Beach on the weekend. Both pairs are roosting now, and we watched as they changed shifts several times. One would return from feeding after 10 or 15 minutes and come within sighting distance of the roosting mate. The roosting mate would leave the nest and the two might meet for a quick “the-kids-are-fine-got-any-good-eats-out-there?” before parting ways and heading either out to feed or to the nest to hunker down over the eggs. Two feeding individuals practically ran over my toes while they played a game of tag along the water’s edge, as I shot photos. The nesting bird is virtually invisible, the plumage so closely matches the sand.
I hope this photo downloads okay for you. There seems to be a bit of lag time while it tries to pick up the link from a Sympatico personal webspace. photo

 

 

Piping Plovers at Wasaga Beach
Posted on May 30, 2008 at 05:28:42 PM by Al Sinclair

Piping Plovers have been found again this year at Wasaga and have already laid 3 eggs. Story at this link http://www.wasagasun.ca/wasagasun/article/104906.

Also the Piping Plover pair that nested last year at Sauble Beach in Bruce County have returned with one of the young raised there last year.

 

 

Birding story in this weeks Muskoka Sun
Posted on May 30, 2008 at 05:22:42 PM by Al Sinclair

Well written story by Brett Thompson in the Sun May 29 issue. You can see it online at http://209.200.253.26/special/muskokasun/pdf/index.php?id=39 pages 18 & 19.

 

 

Search function now improved
Posted on May 29, 2008 at 04:24:38 PM by Barbara Taylor

You can now search the board for a specific phrase instead of just one or more individual words. To do this, just put quotation marks around the phrase, for example, "wood thrush". The resulting list will be all the messages that contain that exact phrase.

Previously if you searched for a species such as Wood Thrush, you would end up with a long list of posts that contained both words - wood and thrush - but not necessarily together in that phrase. So just include quotation marks around the species name and you will easily find the posts that mention that specific species.

 

 

Pied-billed Grebe, Wilson's Warbler - Henry Marsh
Posted on May 29, 2008 at 12:24:38 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there was a Pied-billed Grebe and an American Bittern at Henry Marsh. A Wilson's Warbler and a Golden-winged Warbler were both singing in an oak tree close to the Trans Canada Trail right where it heads west from the marsh. There were also Cedar Waxwings, Yellow Warblers, and Alder Flycatchers nearby. A Scarlet Tanager and a Baltimore Oriole were to the south-east of the marsh. A second Golden-winged Warbler was singing in the usual spot at the open area east of the Henry Rd. trail.

 

 

American Bittern, Doe Lake Road (Photo)
Posted on May 28, 2008 at 09:27:19 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

This evening at 7:15 I had been out to check on the Great Blue Heron nest when I saw an American Bittern perched out in a field on a bale of hay. It proceeded to call many times from this location across from 1611 Doe Lake Road. photo

 

 

Another Spider --- photo
Posted on May 28, 2008 at 02:54:59 PM by Al Sinclair

Another new spider for the yard list (actually in the garage).
Photographed on May 20, 2008, Dark Fishing Spider, Dolomedes tenebrosus. Largest spider in Muskoka, legspan up to 4 inches. This species is often found a long distance from water. Note chevrons on the abdomen, black face with beige borders, ringed legs.  photo

 

 

Nighthawks
Posted on May 28, 2008 at 08:28:46 AM by Goodyear

Yesterday evening at about 8:00 there were three Common Nighthawks over Cell 3 at the Bracebridge Lagoons.

 

 

Least Sandpipers ??
Posted on May 27, 2008 at 08:13:59 PM by janice house

We watched a small flock of 2 dozen sandpipers tonight feeding and flying in unison in the farm field across from the house. (1206 Doe Lake Rd) The back corner of the field is still slightly flooded. Using the scope and all my bird books the least is my best guess.

 

 

Alder Flycatchers, Semipalmated Plover
Posted on May 27, 2008 at 07:22:12 PM by Barbara Taylor

At the Bracebridge Ponds this morning a Semipalmated Plover flew down into one of the dumping ponds. After a very brief stay it decided to find better shorebird habitat and flew off to the north-west. Water levels are still very high in all cells. Two Sora were calling near the NW corner of cell 4. Two male Northern Shovelers were at the NW corner of cell 2. Five Least Sandpipers and two Spotted Sandpipers were on the roadway between cells 1 and 2. Alder Flycatchers were singing this morning at the Bracebridge Ponds and at Henry Marsh - first we've heard this year.

 

 

Muskoka Field Naturalists Baillie Birdathon May 24
Posted on May 25, 2008 at 04:46:04 PM by Al Sinclair

The Muskoka Field Naturalists held there annual Baillie Birdathon Saturday May 24. One party of 6 birded the area from Bracebridge south to Sparrow Lake. We started at 7am and finished at 6pm, two went out later at dusk and found Whip-poor-will and Woodcock. The weather was clear and sunny but a bit windy. Total number of species seen was 103. Some of the good birds were Northern Parula, Osprey, at the Bracebridge Ponds, Wilson's Warbler at Henry Marsh, about 30 Black-bellied Plovers flew over the Bracebridge Ponds towards Lake Muskoka. At Sparrow Lake 10 more were lounging on a rocky island seen from the north end public landing. The species list is pasted below.

SPECIES SEEN
From 5/24/2008 to 5/24/2008 ~ All Places ~ 103 seen
Common Loon
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
American Bittern
Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Mallard
Blue-winged Teal
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
Northern Harrier
Broad-winged Hawk
American Kestrel
Wild Turkey
Ruffed Grouse
Virginia Rail
Sora
Black-bellied Plover
Killdeer
American Woodcock
Spotted Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Ring-billed Gull
American Herring Gull
Caspian Tern
Common Tern
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Whip-poor-will
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Kingbird
Great Crested Flycatcher
Bank Swallow
Tree Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Winter Wren
House Wren
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
Eastern Bluebird
Veery
Hermit Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Black-capped Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Blue Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
European Starling
House Sparrow
Blue-headed Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Purple Finch
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
Evening Grosbeak
Golden-winged 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
American Redstart
Ovenbird
Common Yellowthroat
Wilson's Warbler
Scarlet Tanager
Chipping Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Bobolink
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
-------- STATISTICS --------
Species seen - 103

 

 

Re(2): Butterflies yesterday
Posted on May 25, 2008 at 06:44:40 PM by Barbara Taylor

At the Henry Marsh this morning there was a very dark butterfly with some blue at the trailing edge of the hind wings. I only got a quick look, but it resembled a female Black Swallowtail. We also saw our first Tiger Swallowtail of the year. Yesterday there was a "hummmingbird moth" at our Moss Phlox but it was gone by the time I grabbed the binoculars so couldn't tell which species. (Bracebridge)

 

 

Re(1): Butterflies yesterday
Posted on May 25, 2008 at 04:22:35 PM by Dawn Sherman

I saw a Swallowtail on the Hunter's Bay trail today in Huntsville.

 

 

Butterflies yesterday
Posted on May 25, 2008 at 12:30:13 PM by Al Sinclair

Finally a good butterfly day. Species seen yesterday on the Muskoka Field Naturalists birdathon. The Chryxus Arctic was at an old gravel pit off Baseline Rd south of Canning Rd, near Sparrow Lake.
PS
Birdathon results coming soon, totals still being gathered.

Mustard White (Pieris napi)
Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon)
Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)
Chryxus Arctic (Oeneis chryxus)
Juvenal's Duskywing (Erynnis juvenalis)

 

 

Re(1): Blue Jay...odd nest site
Posted on May 25, 2008 at 08:00:24 AM by ron tozer

I observed a Blue Jay nest on a board under the eaves of a house in Huntsville many years ago. It is unusual, but it does happen occasionally. Of 393 Blue Jay nests reported by Peck and James (1987) in The Breeding Birds of Ontario, only four were on structures -- on a building rafter, a sun-porch beam, a shelf under a house eave (likely my Huntsville nest), and on a robin nesting shelf on the side of a house. The Birds of North America account notes that they occasionally nest on buildings. It also states that Blue Jay nests in suburbs are more likely to succeed when close to buildings. Presumably there is a lower incidence of nest predation due to the presence of people.

 

 

Blue Jay...odd nest site
Posted on May 24, 2008 at 07:45:34 PM by Barbara Taylor

Barb Staples sent these photos of a Blue Jay nest on the deck lights of a neighbouring cottage (Sunny Lake, Gravenhurst) where much activity occurs quite close to the site. Incubation is in full swing. This is only the second time I've heard of a Blue Jay nest on a structure as opposed to a tree. Has anyone else seen a Jay nest on a building so close to human activity?

photo1  photo2

 

 

Re(1): Wilson's Warbler, Indigo Bunting
Posted on May 24, 2008 at 07:29:23 PM by janice house

We (Baillie Birdathon Gang) found the nest site of the redstart at the lagoon lane entrance this morning.

 

 

Wilson's Warbler, Indigo Bunting
Posted on May 24, 2008 at 02:01:01 PM by Barbara Taylor

Don Bailey reports a Wilson's Warbler was at Henry Marsh this morning. An Indigo Bunting, American Redstart, and House Wren were near the Lagoon Lane entrance to the Bracebridge Ponds.

 

 

Virginia Rail - Henry Marsh
Posted on May 23, 2008 at 01:42:54 PM by Barbara Taylor

At 11:30 a.m. this morning a Virginia Rail was calling at Henry Marsh. It was near the trail between the "T" and the bridge. The warm sunshine encouraged many of the birds to perch at the edge of bushes and trees where they were much easier to see. The best area was at the edge of the woods when you turn left at the T. (note: you can once again access the marsh from Henry Rd. without rubber boots)

Here are some of the birds found today:
Broad-winged Hawk (with frog)
Eastern Kingbird
Least Flycatcher
Wood Thrush

Hermit Thrush

Yellow Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Golden-winged Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Purple Finch
American Goldfinch
Ovenbird
Baltimore Oriole
Swamp Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Canada Goose (pair with 3 goslings)

directions to Henry marsh:
From traffic lights at Eccelstone Dr./Wellington St. in Bracebridge, take Beaumont Dr. along the Muskoka River to Henry Rd. on your left. There is a parking area at the end of Henry Rd. by the pile of woodchips at the trailhead.

 

 

Barred Owl Returns...photo
Posted on May 23, 2008 at 12:45:58 PM by Al Sinclair

The Barred Owl that took a Red Squirrel in our yard last week has been back twice but we haven't seen it catch anything. We know its there when we hear the Robins or Blue Jays scolding. The photo below was taken this morning at 8:30am. Note the Blue Jay in the upper left corner.

 

 

Dowitchers?
Posted on May 23, 2008 at 07:14:39 AM by J. Gardner

Just fed ducks at the creek. Was surprised by four non-descript brown shore birds that did a couple of fly-bys for me. NO markings (no glasses either) noticeable on wings or head, just a definite white back. These would probably rank as medium sized birds. Could these be dowitchers? Sorry there isn't more to go on. (Hurdville)

 

 

Re(2): Bracebridge Lagoons - Short-billed Dowitchers
Posted on May 22, 2008 at 02:33:16 PM by Al Sinclair

Also looked for dowitchers at around noon, no luck. Had a House Wren calling at the usual spot east of the Lagoon Lane Gate.

 

 

Re(1): Bracebridge Lagoons - Short-billed Dowitchers
Posted on May 22, 2008 at 01:18:27 PM by Barbara Taylor

Couldn't find the Dowitchers this morning. A few Least Sandpipers were at the east side of cell 2. Tons of Swallows swooping low over the north end of cell 2 - still five species including at least three Cliff Swallows. A pair of Northern Shovelers in cell 1. Several Bobolinks in the grass and shrubbery north of cell 2. A Merlin called as it flew over cell 3 heading south. An American Redstart was singing near the Lagoon Lane gate.

Bracebridge Ponds:  http://www3.sympatico.ca/muskokabirder/photos/pondsmap.jpg

 

 

Bracebridge Lagoons - Short-billed Dowitchers
Posted on May 22, 2008 at 07:12:23 AM by Goodyear

Sorry for the late post, but we couldn't access the internet last night.
Went to the Lagoons last night around 7:30 to look for a Cliff Swallow amongst the 100+ swallows flying over Cell 1 and stirred up 2 Short-billed Dowitchers. The Dowitchers flew and called and returned to rest and feed along the west side of Cell 1. Also about 10 Least Sandpipers along the road between cells 1 and 2.

 

 

American Kestrel
Posted on May 21, 2008 at 06:29:00 PM by Dawn Sherman

There is a male American Kestrel at the fairgrounds on Ravenscliffe Road in Huntsville. It was there this morning and then again this afternoon.

 

 

American Bitterns at Henry Marsh
Posted on May 19, 2008 at 04:18:23 PM by Barbara Taylor

Don and Bev Bailey report there were two American Bitterns this afternoon at the Henry Marsh.

directions to Henry marsh:
From traffic lights at Eccelstone Dr./Wellington St. in Bracebridge, take Beaumont Dr. along the Muskoka River to Henry Rd. on your left. There is a parking area at the end of Henry Rd. by the pile of woodchips at the trailhead.

 

 

Cliff Swallows at Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on May 19, 2008 at 03:56:54 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon there had to be close to two hundred Swallows swooping back and forth over cell 2. Five species - Bank, Barn, Tree, Northern Rough-winged and for the first time this year (at least for us), Cliff. Very strong winds kept the insects and thus the swallows very low to the water, so it was easy to pick out the buffy rumps of the Cliff Swallows.

Although it was very late in the day and too windy to be listening for bird songs, we did try for the Clay-colored Sparrow, but didn't find it. It may be the same one I heard call briefly on the morning of the MFN outing on May 10. At that time it sounded like it was in some spruce trees near the Kerr Park parking lot. We couldn't find it that day nor on several attempts since. The species is "Very Rare" in Muskoka.

 

 

Re(1): Clay-colored Sparrow
Posted on May 20, 2008 at 11:25:46 AM by Barbara Taylor

Still there near the car wash. Heard it sing this morning but didn't have time to go looking for it.

 

 

Clay-colored Sparrow
Posted on May 19, 2008 at 10:56:15 AM by Goodyear

This morning we heard and saw a Clay-colored Sparrow at the edge of a field to the east of Cell 1 (Bracebridge Sewage Lagoons). We accessed the field area by walking the TransCanada Trail at the south end of the ball diamonds at Kerr Park/north east corner of Cell 1 and heading east towards the Kia dealership. I think the field may also be accessible by walking between the Kia dealership and the carwash on Robert Dollar Drive.

 

 

Robin
Posted on May 18, 2008 at 05:05:43 PM by ann hansen

We have had a stained-glass cardinal hanging in the window of our home on Lankin Ave. in Bracebridge, for the past couple of years and it has never posed a problem. This spring, there has been a robin hanging around our deck and sitting on the chair closest to the window. For the past few days he has been flying into the window where the stained-glass cardinal was hanging. I could hear it fluttering at the window and would catch him there several times a day. I have finally removed the cardinal from the window, as I didn't want the robin to hurt itself.

 

 

Re(1): Wood Thrush arrivals
Posted on May 20, 2008 at 08:14:48 PM by Wayne Bridge

I had a wood thrush singing outside my office window (wooded area) on May 14, 7 days earlier than last year. It doesn't stay, however. We always have a veery that nests out there. [plus, by the way, a brown thrasher that gave me a wonderful view of itself this morning.] Kearney - 25 minutes NE of Huntsville.

 

 

Wood Thrush arrivals
Posted on May 18, 2008 at 12:05:00 PM by Barbara Taylor

Don Bailey reports a Wood Thrush was singing this morning at Henry Marsh. There was also one singing in the woods south of cell 3 at the Bracebridge Ponds.

Wood Thrush song: http://www.learnbirdsongs.com/birdsong.php?id=32
Other Thrush songs: http://www.wildmusic.org/en/animals/thrush 

directions to Henry Marsh:
From traffic lights at Eccelstone Dr./Wellington St. in Bracebridge, take Beaumont Dr. along the Muskoka River to Henry Rd. on your left. There is a parking area at the end of Henry Rd. by the pile of woodchips at the trailhead.

Bracebridge Ponds:  http://www3.sympatico.ca/muskokabirder/photos/pondsmap.jpg

 

 

Bracebridge Lagoons
Posted on May 18, 2008 at 10:48:35 AM by Goodyear

A singing Mourning Warbler and House Wren by Lagoon Lane gate. Redstarts and Chestnut-sided Warblers, many Spotted Sandpipers, Bittern flying over Cell 4, 4 species of swallows, Warbling Vireos and Red-eyed Vireo.

 

 

Early Morning Birds Doe Lake Rd
Posted on May 18, 2008 at 08:47:16 AM by janice house

I went for a walk at 6:30 this morning towards highway 11 and if anyone is interested the section from Tavener Rd to the s curve where you can see the drive-in is loaded with birds. I saw a sapsucker, the bittern was in the alder swamp on the right, lots of warblers, vireos. Nice and quiet not much traffic on the highway. I was watching 9 canada geese in the old Dinsmore Sheep farm property and a large wolf-coyote ran along the western tree line. A bittern flew around the edge of the sheep farm and was joined by a second bittern (I presume the one from the 2 curve)then they disappeared in the direction of the KOA campground. An oriole was in the popular trees at 1169 Doe Lake Rd.

 

 

Re(1): Pine Siskin, Bala
Posted on May 19, 2008 at 01:08:13 AM by Marilyn Kisser

it's quiet around here outside of Rosseau too! I should have seen a rose-breasted grosbeak by now ....

 

 

Pine Siskin, Bala
Posted on May 18, 2008 at 07:21:52 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

A single Pine Siskin has been at my feeders a few times in the past week.
It is still very quiet around my place!

 

 

Chimney Swifts
Posted on May 17, 2008 at 03:21:44 PM by Goodyear

There were 2 Chimney Swifts flying over the public library in downtown Bracebridge this morning. This afternoon after the rain stopped we hiked the trail along Beaver Creek by the Covered Bridge - Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Brown Thrasher, Northern Waterthrush, several Chestnut-sided and Yellow Warblers.

 

 

Bruce Lake Marsh etc.
Posted on May 16, 2008 at 10:45:04 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

This morning at Bruce Lake Marsh there was a Caspian Tern resting on a bit of mud and a male Hooded Merganser seemed to be keeping watch over a nearby nest box.

Bear Cave Rd, north of Rosseau was much quieter than I expected. Lots of Nashville and Chestnut-sided Warblers, a few Black & White, Common Yellowthroat, only a couple Black-throated greens, one black-throated blue, chipping sparrows, one Winter Wren, 2 Scarlet Tanagers, a thrush seen, Chipping Sparrow, Alder Flycatcher.

 

 

Burk's Falls Lagoons
Posted on May 16, 2008 at 07:16:10 PM by Kip Daynard

At about 8:30am this morning there were 18 Wood Ducks (16M,2F) in the southerly cell. 3 Spotted Sandpipers were fluttering around the edges and issuing occasional peet-peet-peet calls. The most obvious song was coming from at least 4 very vocal Chestnut-sided Warblers singing from high perches. A pair of male Redstarts were chasing each other about and singing occasionally.  Google Map


Other birds present:
Ovenbird
Common Yellowthroat
Eastern Kingbird
Tree Swallows (x3)
Savannah Sparrow (several)
Belted Kingfisher
Song Sparrows (many)

 

 

Barred Owl takes Red Squirrel
Posted on May 16, 2008 at 04:50:04 PM by Al Sinclair

This morning at around 9:00 we heard a Robin making a fuss and turned around just in time to see a Barred Owl lift off from the edge of our upper pond with a Red Squirrel in its talons. It landed in a Hemlock so we went in to get the binos. By the time we returned it was flying out of sight through the trees with the Robin in pursuit. The direction it flew was close to where the pair have been calling from this year, likely their nest site, a new location behind the house instead of across the road where they were last year. The fact that it was hunting squirrels suggests that deer mice are still very scarce.

 

 

Golden-winged Warblers, Redstarts, Shoveler
Posted on May 16, 2008 at 01:51:15 PM by Bob Burt

At noon today there were two Golden-winged Warblers singing at Henry Marsh. One was in the usual spot where the Henry Rd. trail leaves the forest and one was off to the south-east area of the marsh. Heading east from the marsh along the Trans Canada Trail there were two more Golden-winged Warblers singing - one was right beside the trail just before the "dip". Two American Redstarts were by the flooded snowmobile trail west of the Bracebridge Ponds. A male Northern Shoveler was in cell 4.

 

 

Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on May 15, 2008 at 01:15:48 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a Common Goldeneye in cell 1. A Lesser Yellowlegs and three Least Sandpipers were at the north shore of cell 4. Two male Baltimore Orioles were fighting near the ground north of cell 4 and eventually one flew off to the southwest - they then began calling loudly back and forth. Two male Bobolinks were north of cell 3. An Eastern Meadowlark was singing at Kerr Park - first time I've heard one there this year. A pair of Canada Geese with five goslings in cell 3.  There were several Sparrows moving along the roadway between cell 1 and 2 - mostly Savannah and Song, but got a glimpse of one bird with white edging along its tail, so possibly a Vesper as well.  (note: the water level is still very high in all the cells so any shorebirds probably won't stay for long after they arrive)

 

 

Canada Warbler and more...
Posted on May 15, 2008 at 12:53:21 PM by Barbara Taylor

Don Bailey reports some nice birds this morning in the area behind Gagnon's Your Independent Grocer in Bracebridge:

Eastern Wood-Pewee
Magnolia Warbler
Canada Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Yellow Warblers
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Gray Catbirds
Brown Thrashers

 

 

Scarlet Tanager, Redstart - Bay Lake
Posted on May 15, 2008 at 10:34:04 AM by Kip Daynard

American Redstarts first heard singing here on Bay Lake Saturday morning (May 10th). A Scarlet Tanager was singing near Kirk Lane yesterday (May 14).

 

 

Re(1): Moths...photos
Posted on May 14, 2008 at 06:55:35 PM by Barbara Taylor

These moths were at our porch light the past two nights. I haven't been able to ID the first one yet and the others are my best guess...feel free to correct if I've got them wrong. (Bracebridge)

photo1 - 1. Unknown moth

photo2 - 2. Northern Petrophora, Petrophora subaequaria, Hodges #6804

photo3 - 3. Signate Melanolophia, Melanolophia signataria, Hodges #6621

photo4 - 4. Mottled Gray Carpet, Cladara limitaria, Hodges #7637

 

 

Moths...photos
Posted on May 14, 2008 at 05:17:19 PM by Al Sinclair

The number of moths attracted to my moth light have been low so far this year, likely due to the cold nights we have been having. The most abundant species to date has been the Mottled Gray Carpet, see photo below. They have been flying most nights since May 1. The largest number was 32 on May 10. The second photo is a Bold-based Zale photographed here May 10. Nicely marked moth. Our location is 8km east of Bracebridge.

 

 

Re(2): orange the colour theme this morning
Posted on May 14, 2008 at 09:29:02 PM by John Challis

Sorry there; I raised a few people's eyebrows. I meant to enter Common yellowthroat; I was rushing the entries because I was at work. There are a couple on the edges of the little pond alongside the road that have aggressively established territories.
If I come across a yellow-throated, I will phone you all...

 

 

Re(1): orange the colour theme this morning
Posted on May 14, 2008 at 03:50:31 PM by Goodyear

Hi, John
You have Yellow-throated Warbler on your morning list or did you mean Yellow Warbler?

 

 

orange the colour theme this morning
Posted on May 14, 2008 at 01:34:06 PM by John Challis

Had a great dog walk this morning along Green River Drive, Washago.
The Baltimore orioles have returned in the last day or two -- they're not uncommon along the river -- and one was singing in the morning sunlight behind the house. There seemed to be two others answering back. Some movement caught my eye and I watched a blackburnian warbler take up its post in a poplar treetop and begin singing. The morning also yielded:
Ovenbirds galore
Yellow throated warbler
Black-and-white warbler
Possibly a magnolia warbler (call was distant and not seen)
Nashville warbler, heard not seen
Red-eyed vireo -- I think this is its first day back
White breasted nuthatch
Least flycatcher
Great crested flycatcher
Hairy woodpecker (no pileated this morning but they are ubiquitous)
First hermit thrush of the season
Rose-breasted grosbeak
Wood ducks
..and the usual regulars,
Canada geese
Golfinches
American crow
American robin
Blue jay
Red-winged blackbird
Grackle
Mourning doves
Chickadees
-but oddly no sparrows today

 

 

Re(3): Oriole
Posted on May 21, 2008 at 01:29:41 PM by BonnieDeVillers

Thanks Barbara for the info on the Orioles. Yes there is a new road build here a couple of years ago and there is some houses being build behind us. Usually we have a pair of Orioles nest on our property and our neighbours next door. I will keep a lookout for the birds. Thanks.

 

 

Re(2): Oriole
Posted on May 21, 2008 at 08:54:39 AM by Barbara Taylor

Don't give up yet...they still may be on the way. Spring migration seems rather spotty this year. If your area has had new development over the past few years, and building lots were cleared of trees, this may have made the area less suitable for the birds. The Baltimore Orioles we've seen around Bracebridge seem to prefer tall poplars/aspens.

 

 

Re(1): Oriole
Posted on May 20, 2008 at 01:06:41 PM by BonnieDeVillers

I live in Tiny Beachs area close to the waters of Georgian Bay in Lafontaine. We have NO Orioles in this area and we have always had them. In the last five years we were getting less and less. This year none. I really miss these beautiful birds. My daughter lives on the l5th concession and she has seen one. She lives about five miles or so from where I live. Does anyone know why the birds stop comming here? We do have many crows, Did the crows attack the nests and the Orioles decided to nest somewhere else?

 

 

Re(2): Oriole
Posted on May 14, 2008 at 03:12:19 PM by Dave Wright

My house is a fairly new white bungalow on the corner of Queen St and Muskoka Rd. I am the corner house as you start up the hill to the Chapel Gallery. The address is 3 Queen St even though the entrance and driveway is on Muskoka Rd. The house across the street is 109. Hey it makes sense to someone in the town administration. The birds have come twice to my feeders so I put out an oriole feeder. I haven't seen it every day, but Sunday and yesterday it arrived- both times in the morning.

 

 

Re(1): Oriole
Posted on May 13, 2008 at 09:25:37 PM by Wilf Yusek

Dave where is your house? Do you have a feeder it is coming to?

 

 

Oriole
Posted on May 13, 2008 at 08:16:17 PM by Dave Wright

Had a Northern (Baltimore) Oriole at my house here in Bracebridge this morning. It's the
second one this week.

 

 

Eleanor Island Herons / Browning Island
Posted on May 13, 2008 at 03:30:26 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning we boated around Eleanor Island on Lake Muskoka and saw six Great Blue Herons sitting on nests and a seventh was standing in a nest. There seemed to be fewer Double-crested Cormorants this year as several old nests appeared to be empty...but perhaps it is still early and more birds will soon be arriving. Lots of Herring Gulls sitting on their nests on the rockface.  It looked like clouds of midges in the air near treetop level.

At Browning Island there were:
Great Crested Flycatcher
Northern Flicker
Eastern Phoebe (nest already built)
Nashville Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Pine Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Ovenbird
American Goldfinch
Purple Finch
Song Sparrow
Black-capped Chickadee
Blue Jay
Turkey Vulture
Broad-winged Hawk
Bufflehead

Common Merganser

A Common Loon was calling near St. Elmo. A Winter Wren was singing across from the Allport Marina on Beaumont Dr. and a single Tree Swallow was hawking insects by their docks.

 

 

Re(1): goldeneye elsewhere too
Posted on May 13, 2008 at 05:03:15 PM by Alex Mills

There were 3 common goldeneyes yesterday in the first cell of the Sundridge sewage ponds.

 

 

goldeneye
Posted on May 13, 2008 at 02:23:26 PM by Wilf Yusek

Saw 3 Common Goldeneyes in cell 2 at 12.45 p.m. today in the Bracebridge Lagoons

 

 

Sandhill Crane nest
Posted on May 13, 2008 at 09:07:02 AM by Alex Mills

On Saturday May 10, my son Peter found a Sandhill Crane nest a few kilometers north of Magnetawan. It was in the low vegetation between a small boggy lake and the permieter of tamaracks and spruces around the lake. Two eggs.

 

 

Red-headed Woodpecker
Posted on May 13, 2008 at 09:04:56 AM by Alex Mills

I have been birding at Magnetawan since 1973, and have just once seen a Red-headed Woodpecker there (actually closer to Burk's Falls), probably about 1992.

Yesterday (May 12), I found a Red-headed Woodpecker at Ahmic Lake. It was in a cluster of poplars beside a marsh with standing dead trees. I certainly hope it sticks around.

 

 

Boreal chickadee? -- and a painted turtle
Posted on May 11, 2008 at 06:46:50 PM by John Challis

I haven't been able to see it but for the last two days I've been hearing a sporadic chickadee call that's very hoarse and wheezy. The bird call discs we have indicate it's a boreal chickadee but I haven't been able to confirm it with a sighting. It's just been far away that I've only been able to hear a "dee-dee-dee" from it.
...Also had a baby painted turtle making its way across the interlocking stone by our side entrance this morning. It wasn't much more than 3 cm in length; must have just emerged from its egg, as the top of its shell was still covered in sand. We helped it along to a standing pond in the marsh behind the house.

 

 

Re(1): Whip-poor-will
Posted on May 13, 2008 at 09:37:51 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

They must be quite long-lived! I just returned from a few days away and one is calling outside my window for the ninth year in a row!!!  Each year I am afraid I won't hear it!

 

 

Re(4): Whip-poor-will
Posted on May 13, 2008 at 07:45:02 PM by Marilyn Kisser

we heard our first whip-poor-will last night just outside of Rosseau - we have been here for 10 years, and this is a first!

 

 

Re(3): Whip-poor-will
Posted on May 13, 2008 at 09:02:09 AM by Alex Mills

In addition to Barbara's helpful posts, you may be interested in reading about this subject in this coming saturday's (May 17) Globe and Mail.

Also, later this year, Canada's Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) will be deciding whether the Whip-poor-will should be accorded some status under Canada's Species at Risk Act. (Its relative, the Common Nighthawk was designated threatened last year, on account of country-wide declines).

Parts of Muskoka, especially along the southern and western margins, remain among the best spots in the country to hear Whip-poor-wills.

 

 

Re(3): Whip-poor-will
Posted on May 12, 2008 at 09:49:51 AM by Barbara Taylor

Try listening for them during the next couple of weeks - if you don't hear any, perhaps your area now has less suitable habitat because of a natural maturation of the forest. An increase in local predators such as roaming cats and racoons may also play a role. But it may just be because of an overall decline in the Whip-poor-will population...here are a few interesting tidbits I found online.

Massachusetts Whip-poor-will Project: Why are they Declining?

 

Windsor Star article: Bird Decline Shocks Expert

Excerpt from http://www.fws.gov/r5gomp/gom/habitatstudy/metadata2/whip-poor-will_model.htm:
Habitat Requirements:
Cover: "Often found in riparian uplands, but this may not be a requirement for nesting habitat" (Brown et al. 1999). Whip-poor-will breeding habitat is usually in uplands, primarily deciduous and mixed forest adjacent to large clearings (Veit and Petersen 1963). They use open dry, predominantly deciduous woodlands (DeGraaf and Rudis 1983) "...with well spaced trees and a low canopy. Uncommon in mature forest; prefers even-aged successional habitats from regeneration to pole-stage stands" (Bushman and Therres 1988 in Brown et al. 1999). "Typical habitat includes a mix of forest and open areas such as fields, orchards, pastures, wetlands, or open water" (Robbins 1994). Lays eggs on the ground under trees or under bushes, at woods edge or in open woodland (DeGraaf and Rudis 1983, Brown et al. 1999).

Excerpt from http://stateofthebirds.audubon.org/cbid/profile.php?id=17:
Threats: Fire suppression in eastern deciduous forests is a major cause of habitat loss. These forests are also increasingly becoming fragmented by roads and development, and gypsy moth control programs or other forest spraying programs have decreased food supplies in some areas.

 

 

Re(2): Whip-poor-will
Posted on May 11, 2008 at 08:39:40 PM by FrancesGualtieri

We used to hear whip-poor-wills on summer evenings here in Vankoughnet, but we haven't heard any in years. I wonder why.

 

 

Re(1): Whip-poor-will
Posted on May 11, 2008 at 06:43:17 PM by John Challis

Was just about to post a whip-poor-will note of my own. We were out in the east end of Severn Twp at dusk last night, along Cooper's Falls Road, to Black River Road and Chisholm Trail. Whip-poor-wills were singing at three locations; alongside the Black River we watched one working its magic at the shoulder of the road, the ring around its neck pistoning up and down with each series of calls. On Chisholm trail, where there are some rock barrens, there must have been a half dozen calling back and forth in the dark. Toads are trilling as well in these areas.

 

 

Whip-poor-will
Posted on May 11, 2008 at 04:37:09 PM by Doug Smith

We had a whip-poor-will wake us up this morning at 5am with its calling. This is the first time we have heard one in Uffington.

 

 

Golden-winged Warbler at Henry Marsh
Posted on May 11, 2008 at 12:29:12 PM by Barbara Taylor

The male Golden-winged Warbler was back on territory at Henry Marsh this morning. There were also several other warblers in and around the open area at the left side of the Henry Rd. trail as you leave the forest. Only one pair of Mallards and four Canada Geese were on the beaver pond.

Other birds there today included:
Eastern Kingbird
Broad-winged Hawks
Nashville Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Pine Warbler (at parking area)
Purple Finch
American Goldfinch
Great Blue Heron

directions to Henry marsh:
From traffic lights at Eccelstone Dr./Wellington St. in Bracebridge, take Beaumont Dr. along the Muskoka River to Henry Rd. on your left. There is a parking area at the end of Henry Rd. by the pile of woodchips at the trailhead.

 

 

Blackburnian Warbler
Posted on May 11, 2008 at 10:44:31 AM by janice house

Male singing in our basswood tree this morning, first for our yard. (Doe Lake Rd., Gravenhurst)

 

 

Barred Owl
Posted on May 10, 2008 at 05:03:07 PM by Sam

Dear Birders,
two nights ago I was out for my evening run along Clear Lake Rd, when suddenly I noticed a large bird fly up into the stand of old growth forest. I could still see her and realised it was a Barred Owl, so I walked towards the tree she was perched in. Then she flew off to another tree where I heard some chirping and squeaking. She was perched on a branch looking into a hole, and stuffing a small rodent inside. She then flew to another tree, where I was able to get closer to her. I watched her for 20 minutes, also mimicking the Barred Owl call "who cooks for you, who cooks for you all". I am not very good at it, but it sure got her attention!

Anyhow, pretty sure there is a nest of some sort going on up there!
Cheers,
Samantha,
Rosseau

 

 

Algonquin birding
Posted on May 10, 2008 at 04:38:41 PM by Sam

Dear Birders,
my friend Chris Charlesworth from Kelowna, B.C, is currently in Ontario helping lead a birding tour for Limosa tours. This is a follow up trip report of the birds he has been seeing thus far; please read on if your interested. The birding takes place from Algonquin Park down to Pelee. This posting has some length to it!

Samantha Brett



Day 1 – May 6
At 3:30 PM, Dave Holman and 7 Limosa participants arrived at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport and shortly thereafter we were headed for the Budget Car Rental location nearby. We picked our spacious 15 seater van and we headed off on our way through Toronto and onwards towards Algonquin through the cities of Barrie and Huntsville. As we drove along the highway we saw a few birds, but nothing unusual. There were numerous Turkey Vultures soaring overhead and Dave spotted a Northern Harrier cruising past. We had dinner at the Muskoka on the Rocks Pub near Huntsville where outside I spotted an adult Broad-winged Hawk soaring over. Blue Jays, American Robins and other common eastern birds could be heard in the woods nearby. We pushed on to the Blue Spruce Inn and after checking out the rooms we headed off again. This time we drove just a short distance into Algonquin Park and found an American Woodcock sitting on the grass in a picnic area. We got the spotlight on him in the dusky evening light and enjoyed his peculiar display. The bird sat on the ground, emitting a strange, hollow hooting sound, followed by a nasal ‘peent’. It then burst into the air and as it spiraled back down to the grass it uttered strange twits and twitters. Spring Peepers called furiously in the background and a Snowshoe Hare hopped through the beams of the headlights as we left the parking lot.

Day 2 – May 7
At 6:15 AM, Dave and I poked our heads out of the rooms and scanned Oxtongue Lake right outside. The lake was very calm and the only birds we saw were a few Common Loons yodeling about and splashing about in the water. In the trees right outside of our motel there were Magnolia, Palm, Black-and-white and Yellow-rumped warblers. It was a little strange for me to see Palm Warbler foraging high up in a birch tree as I am use to seeing them poking along on the ground or in low vegetation. We walked along the shore of Oxtongue Lake with some of the other tour participants picking up more ‘American’ birds as we went. There was a tiny flock of Evening Grosbeaks patronizing a local feeder along with American Goldfinches and Pine Siskins. White-crowned Sparrows huddled beneath seemingly every shrub while Common Loons yodeled in the distance. Heard but not seen were Black-throated Blue and Black-throated Green warblers and Rose-breasted Grosbeak. An obliging Yellow-bellied Sapsucker perched on a birch for all to enjoy. We returned to the motel at 8:00 AM and picked up the rest of the crew before heading off to the Curve Inn for breakfast.

After breakfast we had a quick stroll around the property surrounding the Curve Inn. Feeders at the back were busy with Purple Finches, Blue Jays, White-crowned Sparrows, Common Grackles and the like. Nashville Warblers, White-throated Sparrows and Ruby-crowned Kinglets flitted about in the bushes while an Eastern Phoebe called briefly from an abandoned building across the road. Ted spotted a male Black-backed Woodpecker working its way up a pine tree while overhead an adult male Sharp-shinned Hawk made a brief pass by and after that we were on our way. As we followed Hwy 60 through Algonquin Park we spotted an American Woodcock on the roadside and everyone got a killer look at this strange shorebird, or ‘wader’ as the Brits call them. A few Moose were seen feeding in the ditches as we continued on to the Opeongo Lake Road. Once at Opeongo the rain started to fall and continued to do so for the rest of the day. Birding was a bit slow from here on in but we did manage to see a Killdeer and a nice Swamp Sparrow along the road. For lunch we patronized the visitor’s centre where outside feeders attracted Dark-eyed Juncos (Slate-colored form) and the other usual suspects. A male Bobolink perched in the top of a spruce was a bit of a surprise and seemed quite out of habitat. After lunch we quickly marched along the boardwalk at the Spruce Bog where the highlight was a female Spruce Grouse sitting right beside the walk. In the woods along the trail we had our first good looks at Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Golden-crowned Kinglet as well as Black-capped Chickadees and Red-breasted Nuthatch. We then returned to the motel and some of us did a little walk along the road in the rain adding Hairy Woodpecker and Least Flycatcher to our list of ‘seen’ birds. Dinner at the Muskoka on the Rocks was great. Samantha Brett, one of my chums from BC, joined us for dinner.

Day 3 – May 8
At 7:00 AM we emerged from the motel and were greeted by a nice morning with mostly overcast skies and a light breeze. Yesterday’s rain had stopped thankfully. The birds were feeding ferociously in the trees all around the motel. We added quite a few trip birds on site including a stunning male Blackburnian Warbler, a very obliging male Cape May Warbler, a singing Pine Warbler and a female Baltimore Oriole. By just after 8:00 AM we were on the road to the Curv Inn for breakfast. As Dave filled the van with gas I spotted a Gray Jay across the road and it perched for all to see through the scope. The ‘Brits’ commented on how it looked similar to the Siberian Jay or Eurasia. A Northern Parula sang once and zipped off across the road into the canopy never to be seen again.

The sun broke through the clouds as we pulled into the parking area at the Western Uplands trailhead. As soon as we got out of the van we were immersed in bird activity. A male Black-and-white Warbler put on quite a show as it investigated my ipod. We stood on a bridge over the Oxtongue River and I whistled ‘oh dear Canada Canada Canada’. Almost immediately a White-throated Sparrow popped up only about 2 feet from me and sat for a long while allowing everyone to snap photos. Just then a Northern Parula and a Northern Waterthrush arrived on the scene, drawing oohs and ahhs from the crowd.

Just before we went for lunch we took a lovely stroll along an old road to the back side of Mizzy Lake. The forest consisted of thick coniferous woods with a few openings and wet areas. Bird diversity started off low but picked up as we went along. Numerous Ruffed Grouse teased us as they ‘drummed’ in the woods, but remained out of sight. A flurry of activity near a sun-drenched wetland produced great views of a pair of Black-throated Green-Warblers, a Black-and-white Warbler and a Blue-headed Vireo. At Mizzy Lake we had prolonged scope views of a male Black-backed Woodpecker and we also saw more Gray Jays. A pair of Ring-necked Ducks drifted past on a slow moving bit of water, creating a stir amongst the ‘Brits’ who regard this as an ‘American’ vagrant on their side of the Atlantic. As we drove back towards the highway Karen spotted a Ruffed Grouse perched motionless high in a tree. We all enjoyed great scope views of this sometime elusive gallinaceous bird.

By this time it was nearing 2:00 PM and it was time for lunch! After lunch we had a look from the balcony where a pair of ‘Yellow-shafted’ Northern Flickers and a Hairy Woodpecker called from below. Over a distant meandering creek a female Northern Harrier twisted and turned in the breeze and Karen with her sharp eyes, spotted a Belted Kingfisher about a mile away. We all piled back into the van and headed to Rock Lake Road for our final bit of birding. The road travels through open deciduous forest along with patches of marsh and bog. In a small pond we had great looks at a Solitary Sandpiper quietly foraging away while two more Belted Kingfishers put on a show as they hunted for fish in the shallows. We pushed on to Rock Lk and at our turn around point a pair there was a pair of Bufflehead. ‘They look just like Smews’ I heard one of the ‘Brits’ say. As we drove back Dave spotted another Ruffed Grouse, this one a male, perched in the shade beneath a picnic table. We stopped at a bridge where Dave had seen Pileated Woodpeckers in the past. Almost as soon as we got out of the van I could hear one drumming in the distance. We played tapes and eventually a female did come in and sat just long enough, preening in the sun, for everyone to enjoy this regal woodpecker. I just happened to look on a sunny patch of ground where an Ovenbird was lurching its way along. Eventually everyone did get to see it before it slinked off into the forest.

Enroute back to the motel Dave came to a halt twice; the first time for a pair of Broad-winged Hawks soaring overhead and the second for a female Wild Turkey feeding in the grassy road edge. Dinner at 7:30 at the Muskoka on the Rocks was again great. When we got back from dinner, an American Woodcock was ‘peenting’ away near the motel.

Day 4 – May 9
At 6:00 AM we emerged from our rooms and loaded up the vans in preparation for a long day. We were greeted by pleasant weather with clear skies and rather chilly temps. We found a Tim Horton’s near Gravenhurst and had breakfast there. The ‘Brits’ won’t let me drive past a Timmy’s now without suggesting a coffee / donut break.

Our birding spot for today was the Carden Alvars, an area of grassland on the E. side of Lake Simcoe. The area was chock full of interesting birds. As we neared the lake we saw our first Osprey on nests atop roadside telephone poles. Open grassy agricultural fields alongside the road had a nice selection of birds including Eastern Meadowlark, Eastern Kingbird, Bobolink and a male Northern Harrier. In the woods adjacent to the fields there was a nice Ovenbird, a singing Brown Thrasher, a pair of obliging Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and other odds and ends.

We continued to Alvar Road which cuts through some fairly thick patches of mixed woods, interspersed with open areas. Eastern Towhees and Field Sparrows were common in these open areas, and both were new Canada birds for me. In the woods there were plenty of singing Black-throated Green Warblers and Ovenbirds.

Wylie Road heads S. from Alvar Road, cutting through open grassy areas which were particularly productive. Two Upland Sandpipers greeted us as we began our journey down the muddy road. Soon thereafter we encountered a few pairs of Eastern Bluebirds, some of which were quite obliging. In a large marsh we had crippling views of a Sedge Wren singing away and heard the ticking call of a Yellow Rail but, of course, we couldn’t see it. A few Virginia Rails called away in the marsh as well. A singing Chestnut-sided Warbler was a nice treat as were our first looks at House Wren and Yellow Warblers. We had lunch near nest box 10 where a pair of Loggerhead Shrikes put on a nice show for us. Ted yelled out ‘Vermilion Flycatcher down the road!’ Of course it wasn’t, but it was a gorgeous male Scarlet Tanager! We then left the Carden Alvars and started off on a long and grinding drive through Toronto and then onwards to Simcoe where we will spend the next two nights.

Chris Charlesworth, Avocet Tours, 571 Cawston Avenue, Kelowna, BC, V1Y 6Z5, www.avocettours.ca

 

 

Lagoon Walk
Posted on May 10, 2008 at 03:36:29 PM by Allan Aubin

Twelve of us participated in the MFN's annual Lagoon Walk this morning. Fifty-one species of birds were recorded. Highlights included watching a Merlin hunting around the buildings in Kerr Park. It was seen several times subsequently. An Osprey and Broad-winged Hawk were seen over and adjacent to Cell 3. Don Bailey called in a Virginia Rail W of Cell 4 and a Sora Rail E of Cell 4. Both rails showed themselves for long moments in the bright sunshine. A pair of Northern Shovelers in Cell 4 was the highlight amongst the ducks. Although only 4 species of warbler were seen, the yellows, in particular, "posed" for us. Many other good sightings were made. Don, Janice House and Barbara Taylor provided great leadership.

 

 

Bobolink
Posted on May 10, 2008 at 11:47:51 AM by J. Gardner

Two male bobolinks in the meadow this morning. (Hurdville)

 

 

red bellied
Posted on May 10, 2008 at 10:46:03 AM by Ted Gardner

Our Red Bellied woodpecker returned to our feeders this morning. Maybe he will stay a while? 120 Meadow Heights Bracebridge.

 

 

Re(1): Hummer feeders
Posted on May 11, 2008 at 10:15:54 PM by Barbara Taylor

If there isn't a nearby Sapsucker well (e.g. drilled birch tree) to drink from then the hummers might spend more time at a feeder in order to keep up with their high energy demands, but they will still forage for insects and nectar from flowers in order to get the required protein and other nutrients. Our hummingbird feeder seems to be used mostly on cold spring days and then in the late summer when the birds are getting ready for their long journey south. As long as the feeder is kept clean and the sugar solution is kept fresh, I don't think any harm is done...although recent advice would be to leave out the red food colouring as it might not be a healthy additive.  One of the hummingbird’s favourite flowers in our yard is the red variety of Bee Balm.

Unfortunately I can't retrieve the full article, but here's an abstract that may be of interest:
Energetics of Feeding on Tree Sap by Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds in Michigan

Also, this article...Researchers Studied Hummingbird Foods and Feeding and Question Using the 4:1 Sugar-Water Ratio In Feeders: http://www.hummingbirds.net/hainsworth.html

 

 

Hummer feeders
Posted on May 9, 2008 at 08:25:33 PM by FrancesGualtieri

I have often wondered if hummer feeders benefit more the people who put them up, rather than the hummingbirds? Surely their natural food is more complex than just sugar and water. But if there is a feeder in the area, won't they hang around that rather than seeking out nectar?

We can't have a hummer feeder because of the bears, but I do try to plant flowers that attract them. We also have a huge patch of spotted touch-me-not that the hummers really go for.
Frances Gualtieri
Vankoughnet

 

 

Red Bellied Woodpecker
Posted on May 9, 2008 at 05:09:55 PM by Ted Gardner

A great day of back yard birding! While digging a new garden we had a Red Bellied Woodpecker appear shortly and again an hour later (1st for our yard list) The annual Rose Breasted Grosbeak pair made an apeareance. Six female and 2 male Purple finches, 2 pair of Evening Grosbeaks , 2 white crowned sparrows and the first Hummer of the season

it was a great day to stay home!! (Bracebridge)

 

 

first hummer of season at Bay Lake too
Posted on May 9, 2008 at 02:16:18 PM by Kip Daynard

...seen around 1:30pm but haven't been staking out the feeder ;)

 

 

Re(1): Palm Warbler et al - Kearney
Posted on May 9, 2008 at 12:02:05 PM by Wayne Bridge

10:30 a.m. add the first hummer of the year (two-winged NOT 4-tired!).

 

 

Palm Warbler et al - Kearney
Posted on May 9, 2008 at 10:10:54 AM by Wayne Bridge

Palm warbler this morning (western subspecies). Eastern kingbird yesterday and last night at 7:35 p.m. an American bittern started guhlunking from the beaver pond. Sparrows = chipping, tree, white-throat and white-crowned (which, oddly, does not include song sparrow which we did have and usually do).

 

 

MFN Saturday outing - meet at 9 a.m.
Posted on May 9, 2008 at 10:10:21 AM by Barbara Taylor

Just a reminder in case some members missed the last MFN meeting where the scheduled time was discussed...

The Muskoka Field Naturalists planned outing to the Bracebridge sewage lagoons tomorrow, May 10, will begin at 9 a.m. from Kerr Park (newsletter says 9:30 a.m.). If you arrive a bit late, just walk over to the Lagoons...it will be easy to locate the group and catch up.

 

 

Re(1): Dekay's Brown Snake, Bala
Posted on May 14, 2008 at 07:02:36 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Thanks, Peter,
I am thrilled to find out I have another species around my place! I have now seen nine species here!!!
Next time I see one I'll pick it up and take a better look.

 

 

Re(1): Dekay's Brown Snake, Bala
Posted on May 9, 2008 at 04:09:10 PM by Peter Mills

Hi Eleanor,
The snake is actually a red-bellied Snake. The small dark head and neck spot give it away. Also, Brown Snakes would likely have more dark markings down the back. Occasionally, red-bellies have very pink or even oatmeal bellies, making it all the more confusing.

 

 

Dekay's Brown Snake, Bala
Posted on May 9, 2008 at 09:07:05 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I found this DeKay's Brown Snake at my place yesterday. I have seen them here before. This one was about 10 in. long.  photo

 

 

Rose-breasted Grosbeak, 9 warbler sp. - Bay Lake
Posted on May 9, 2008 at 09:05:02 AM by Kip Daynard

Just got in from a walk along King Side Rd. and Raspberry Lane. Two new arrivals include a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak at corner of Hillside Lane and a male Magnolia Warbler on Raspberry Lane - both singing. Other warbers seen or heard:

Northern Parula
Black-throated Blue
Nashville
Black-and-White (x3)
Black-throated Green (x5)
Northern Waterthrush (x3)
Ovenbird (x4)
Yellow-rumped (x2)

Other notables:
Least Flycatcher (x3)
Blue-headed Vireo (x4)

Bay Lake is 20kms NE of Huntsville, 19km W of Algonquin Park.

 

 

Re(1): Bracebridge Lagoons
Posted on May 9, 2008 at 12:25:08 PM by Barbara Taylor

The Northern Shovelers were still in cell 4 this morning. A pair of Virginia Rails came into view in the wet area to the west of cell 4, about half way down the roadway. A Sora called briefly but we didn't see it. A third Virginia Rail was strolling along the edge of the snowmobile trail west of cell 4 near the Trans Canada Trail. There were fresh Bear tracks there too!

 

 

Bracebridge Lagoons
Posted on May 9, 2008 at 08:33:13 AM by Goodyear

An early evening walk around the Lagoons yesterday turned up several warblers - Common Yellowthroat, Chestnut-sided, Yellow, Nashville, Black and white, and Northern Waterthrush ( all to the West of Cell 4) We also had a Sora come out into the open and walk along the edge of Cell 4. We watched it for almost five minutes before we moved on! The Solitary Sandpiper was along the East side of Cell 4, and the 3 Shovelers (2 male, 1 female) flew into Cell 4 as the sun was setting.

 

 

Trilliums
Posted on May 8, 2008 at 06:39:59 PM by Barb Staples

First white trilliums and hummer today at Sunny Lake, Gravenhurst.

 

 

Thrush
Posted on May 8, 2008 at 02:29:09 PM by GayleCarlyle

May 8, about 7:15
Heard my first thrush of the year but not quite sure which one is was because I only heard it briefly and at a bit of a distance. But we did have wood thrush around last year so that's probably what it was.
My morning walks are becoming quite "bird busy" lately although I wish there wasn't so much interference from Hwy. 11 traffic noise. (Washago)

 

 

Pied-billed Grebe - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on May 8, 2008 at 12:10:53 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a Pied-billed Grebe swimming along the north shoreline of cell 3. An Ovenbird was calling from the woods west of cell 3, and an Eastern Kingbird was north of cell 4.  A Wilson's Snipe flew up from the muddy ditch north of cell 4.  Two Broad-winged Hawks were soaring to the south-west of cell 4 and then landed in trees along the snowmobile trail. Three pairs of Blue-winged Teal and one pair of Green-winged Teal were in cell 4 along with a few Bufflehead. A pair of Ring-necked Ducks were in cell 2 as well as a few Lesser Scaup, Mallards, Bufflehead, and Wood Ducks. Several Spotted Sandpipers were scattered about. Only one Tree Swallow was trying to find insects over cell 4 on this very windy chilly morning.  No Northern Shoveler.

 

 

Broad-winged Hawk nest
Posted on May 7, 2008 at 07:00:40 PM by Alex Mills

For the past couple of days, I have watched a Broad-winged Hawk sitting on a new nest at Magnetawan. These birds haven't been back from South America very long, and this birds seems to already be on eggs. The nest is close to 20 meters up in a sugar maple, and, as seems to be typical for the ones I've seen, it is beside a single lane road.

 

 

Re(1): Bobolink
Posted on May 7, 2008 at 06:36:18 PM by J. Gardner

The Algonquin Park Information Centre seems a strange place to see a Bobolink. We have not seen one in our meadow at Hurdville, but they should be along very soon.

 

 

Bobolink
Posted on May 7, 2008 at 05:18:47 PM by Sam

Birders,
A good friend of mine, Chris Charlesworth from B.C (Avocet Tours), is leading a birding tour through Algonquin and Southern Ontario for the next week, and today at the Algonquin Park info. centre he spotted a Bobolink sitting on a post. He asked me to post this message. A rather rare bird for this area I would say. Those of you close by should check it out if you get a chance!

Cheers,
Sam (Rosseau)

 

 

Re(2): Wood Ducks and Hummers
Posted on May 8, 2008 at 02:21:22 PM by Marilyn Kisser

no we don't - I am hoping they will nest in one of the many tree cavities we have on the property - we were just saying this morning that we will have to put one up in the pond for next year

 

 

Re(1): Wood Ducks and Hummers
Posted on May 8, 2008 at 12:40:55 PM by Al Johnston

Marilyn, do you have a nest box up for the Wood Ducks?

 

 

Wood Ducks and Hummers
Posted on May 7, 2008 at 02:53:36 PM by Marilyn Kisser

the first hummer of the season arrived last evening around 7:30 - we also have a pair of woodducks coming to our pond a few times a day - hopefully they will nest somewhere on our property, this would be a first – Rosseau  wood duck photo

 

 

Northern Parula - Bay Lake
Posted on May 7, 2008 at 09:48:43 AM by Kip Daynard

Among several new arrivals this morning included a beautiful singing male Northern Parula, seen on Hillside Lane just off King Side Rd. Other new arrivals to the lake today included a Least Flycatcher and three White-crowned Sparrows.

Also present:
Northern Waterthrush (x3)
Black-throated Green Warbler (x3)
Yellow-Rumped Warbler (x5)
Blue-headed Vireo (x4)
American Goldfinch
Evening Grosbeak
among others...

 

 

Northern Shoveler - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on May 6, 2008 at 10:02:37 PM by Barbara Taylor

Tonight at the Bracebridge Ponds there were four species of Swallows - Bank, Barn, Tree, and Northern Rough-winged. About thirty male Wood Ducks were in cell 2 when we arrived, but most eventually flew off to the south-west. Three Northern Shovelers flew overhead, but we could only locate one male which landed in cell 4 - it was still there when we left as the light faded around 8:40 p.m.  Ponds map

 

 

American Bittern - Bay Lake
Posted on May 6, 2008 at 09:00:01 PM by Kip Daynard

...calling from the marsh across the bay even as I type this. We heard him every evening for a week or more at this location last year.

 

 

Common Snipe
Posted on May 6, 2008 at 07:46:00 PM by Wayne Bridge

This morning, sometime between 4:30 and 5:00, I awoke to the winnowing of two snipe: one very close to our bedroom and another over towards the beaver pond (about 125 yards distant). This is such a wonderful time for light sleepers like myself (i.e. spring peepers, loons, robins, a barred owl, and now these). (Kearney)

 

 

Re(1): Great Blue Heron & Black Flies
Posted on May 7, 2008 at 02:07:06 PM by Marilyn Kisser

Keep on posting the photos Eleanor! they are a joy!

 

 

Great Blue Heron & Black Flies
Posted on May 6, 2008 at 07:43:30 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Yes, sorry to mention them but they are swarming and lots landed on this Great Blue Heron after it flew in beside my blind this afternoon. It was only 15ft away so this shot is cropped a very small amount from top and right.
I like seeing the bright new leaves and the leatherleaf blooms around it!  (Bala)  photo

 

 

Re(2): Fox - photos
Posted on May 6, 2008 at 09:47:52 PM by Doug Smith

Barbara -- please send this fox my way, as I am having a terrible time with moles!

 

 

Re(1): Fox - photos
Posted on May 6, 2008 at 07:40:20 PM by Wayne Bridge

Thanks, Barbara. Being a photographer, I love to see others' photos -- not to compare, but to enjoy.
Wayne

 

 

Fox - photos
Posted on May 6, 2008 at 01:15:21 PM by Barbara Taylor

This Red Fox has been visiting our yard usually at dusk or early morning, but today came hunting during the noon hour. It sat under a feeder staring at the ground, then leapt in the air and pounced down on a mole tunnel. He caught a huge mole and carried it back into the woods to eat it. He lost it momentarily as the mole fought back, but eventually managed to recapture it. Then the fox came back and sat near another feeder (see pics), but couldn't find any more lunch so then trotted off across the street. (Bracebridge) photo1  photo2

 

 

Re(1): Hummer
Posted on May 6, 2008 at 07:22:06 PM by Wilf Yusek

Had my first hummer just about 1/2 an hour ago, checking my records he is one day late. (Prospect Lake)

 

 

Re(1): Hummer
Posted on May 6, 2008 at 12:07:30 PM by Barbara Taylor

There was a Ruby-throated Hummingbird this morning at Season's in the Country garden centre in Bracebridge. Also a White-crowned Sparrow was singing as it perched on one of their spirea shrubs.

 

 

Hummer
Posted on May 6, 2008 at 11:24:11 AM by J. Gardner

Put the feeders out yesterday, on spec. First male hummer here at 10 a.m. today, one day earlier than last year. (Hurdville)

 

 

Re(1): first hummer
Posted on May 6, 2008 at 05:00:21 PM by janice house

2 in our yard yesterday, feeder has been out for days (Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst)

 

 

first hummer
Posted on May 5, 2008 at 10:42:47 PM by John Challis

The first hummingbird arrived at our feeder this evening -- Green River Drive, Washago. Doubt it was the first in the area, but it's a day earlier than last year's first arrival, Gayle believes. Behind the hummer, 21 blue jays, feeding on the ground with three red squirrels, a chipmunk and two mourning doves. The jays arrived en masse yesterday.

 

 

Sitting, Waiting!
Posted on May 5, 2008 at 09:59:40 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Here is a shot of the adult, male, Sharp-shinned Hawk taken on May 2nd in the rain (Bala). He sat, waiting while I got the camera ready and opened the door for a few pics. (photo) Very few birds brave enough to spend much time at my feeders!

 

 

Woodcocks, Bala
Posted on May 5, 2008 at 09:36:54 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I just got in from a drive to try to hear frogs other than Spring Peepers. Just the peepers tonight.
Very pleased to hear 4 Woodcocks. Three on Medora Lake Road and one between the S entrance to Medora Lake Road and Bala.

 

 

Turtles and Frog's Eggs, Bala
Posted on May 5, 2008 at 08:32:55 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Today I checked the 3 vernal ponds that I know of on my property. Two have no egg masses of any kind and the third had quite a few salamander egg masses last week but they are now under water and harder to see.

Also checked my lake for basking turtles and frog's eggs. Found 7 egg masses that I believe are Spring Peepers's.

Several smallish Midland Painted Turtles out on log's and this one Blandings Turtle (photo). It's shell was about 10 inches long.

 

 

Pine Siskin
Posted on May 5, 2008 at 08:13:18 PM by Wilf Yusek

I had 3 Pine Siskins coming to my feeders this afternoon at Prospect Lake.

 

 

Warbler nest building...
Posted on May 5, 2008 at 06:53:57 PM by Barbara Taylor

A female Yellow-rumped Warbler has been collecting feathers from our yard this evening. The feathers are stuck under some spirea bushes where they ended up after a few Doves and Juncos became "hawk food" during the winter. (Bracebridge)

 

Excerpt from Life Histories of Familiar North American Birds - Yellow-rumped Warbler:
Dr. Paul Harrington has sent me his notes based on the study of 44 nests of the myrtle warbler in Simcoe County, Ontario. He says that the white pine is generally chosen as a nesting tree, the nests being placed from 6 to 40 feet up, averaging 15 feet; "28 nests were built on horizontal limbs about two-thirds out from the trunk, but none at the outermost end. They were conspicuous from below but not from above, as clumps of needles overhung them in such a way as to afford good protection." ... He says that the nest is lined thickly with feathers and a few hairs. "The feathers are so placed that, as well as lining the nest, they form a screen over the inside when the bird is not sitting. This is done by the shafts of the feathers being woven or imbedded into the inside of the nest and the vane lying free."

 

 

Red-bellied woodpecker
Posted on May 5, 2008 at 04:48:20 PM by David Hatch

Just had a female red-bellied woodpecker at my sunflower feeder. It stayed long enough for me to get a book to verify the identity. A first for me at this location. (Shennamere Rd. west of Port Carling.)

 

 

Black-throated Blue, Ovenbird, Nashville etc. - Bay Lake
Posted on May 5, 2008 at 11:18:46 AM by Kip Daynard

The weekend brought an influx of migrants as the woods here are now busy with warbler song. New arrivals heard or seen this morning:

Nashville Warbler (x2)
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Ovenbird (x2)
Black-and-White Warbler (x3) - seen Sunday as well

Also present:
Black-throated Green Warbler (x3)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (x8)
Northern Waterthrush
Blue-headed Vireo (x5)
Purple Finch
Evening Grosbeak
White-breasted Nuthatch
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Northern Flicker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Chipping Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Winter Wren
Blue Jay
American Robin
Broad-winged Hawk
Common Grackle
Canada Geese
Mallard
Bufflehead
Ruffed Grouse
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee

 

 

Doe Lake Rd Birds
Posted on May 4, 2008 at 10:28:13 AM by janice house

A male northern harrier was gliding over the farm field this morning, a dozen white-crowned sparrows are feeding on their way north and a male rose-breasted grosbeak has arrived.

 

 

Bracebridge Lagoons
Posted on May 3, 2008 at 12:04:45 PM by Goodyear

We had 48 species this morning on a walk around the lagoons. The Solitary Sandpiper is still present in the ditch on the north side of Cell 4. We had doubles of Warbling Vireo, Black and White Warbler, and Yellow Warbler. A Least Flycatcher was in and around the wet area west of Cell 4. A Northern Waterthrush was singing for about 20 minutes at the north west corner of Cell 4. Several G. Yellowlegs were flying around Cell 3 when we first arrived. A lone Northern Rough-winged Swallow was feeding? above Cell 1.

 

 

Bird Board Update
Posted on May 2, 2008 at 11:16:42 AM by Barbara Taylor

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

Need help posting photos? Find instructions and do a test post on the Nature Photos Board.
New to the Bird Board? See the Posting Guidelines for helpful tips about using the 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

 

 

Two dragonfly species
Posted on May 1, 2008 at 07:36:16 PM by Alex Mills

Ian Cook and I spent much of today (May 1) walking the rail line south from Southwood (near Torrance Barrens) down to the Severn River. We found six warblers (Black-and-white, Nashville, Yellow-rumped, Pine, Palm, and Waterthrush), but not too much else exciting in the way of birds.

We enjoyed watching a Green Darner, presumably an individual that had migrated back from somewhere in the southern U.S. I commented to Ian that it was too early for any other species, and then shortly afterwards, we found a newly emerged Beaverpond Basket-tail. It had evidently emerged earlier in the day, because it's wings were not yet dry. Two very different strategies for surviving a Canadian winter--migration in the one case and over-wintering as an aquatic nymph in a frozen pond in the other.

 

 

Solitary Sandpiper - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on May 1, 2008 at 12:23:38 PM by Barbara Taylor

Don and Bev Bailey report seeing a Solitary Sandpiper and a Virginia Rail by cell 4 this morning.  The sandpiper was in the muddy ditch north of cell 4 where a small beaver dam was recently removed.

 

 

New yard birds this morning
Posted on May 1, 2008 at 12:11:33 PM by Al Sinclair

Birds must be moving again as the weather warms up. New today in the yard were:
Black-throated Green Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 2
Pine Warbler 1
The Black-throated Green is likely going to stay, the others kept moving to the north.
8km east of Bracebridge on Hwy 118E

 

 

Bird Watching around Beauview
Posted on May 1, 2008 at 11:47:55 AM by beauview

A family from England have just left after staying for 3 days. They are avid birders and this is what they told us that they saw and heard, here around Beauview and at Algonquin Park:

Purple Finch (1)
Song Sparrow (1)
American Robin (1)
Yellowbellied Sapsucker (lots)
Northern Flicker (lots)
Hairy Woodpecker (1)
Downy Woodpecker (lots)
Common Goldeneye (5)
Bufflehead (pair)
Common Loon (pair)
Black-Flocked Green Warbler (several)
Blackbumien Warbler (1)
Pine Warbler (1)
Northern Waterthrush (1)
Blue Headed Vireo (3+)
Chipping Sparrow (1)
Eastern Phoebe (lots)
Least Flycatcher (1)
Red-breasted Nuthatch (1)
White-breasted Nuthatch (2)
Broad-winged Hawk (1)
Belted Kingfisher (2+)
Barred Owl (3+)
Turkey Vulture (1)
plus lots more !!

Respectfully submitted by
Gord and Nancy Bell
Beauview Cottage Resort, Huntsville, Ontario, Canada

 

ovenbird
Posted on April 30, 2008 at 09:57:50 PM by John Challis

This morning three ovenbirds were calling from various locations around the house, Green River Drive, Washago. If you haven't heard them yet in Muskoka, you will by tomorrow.

 

 

Towhee
Posted on April 30, 2008 at 09:59:56 AM by J. Gardner

A towhee on the ground under the feeders, picking winter residues. More black birds of all sorts than usual this time of year. Cranes appear sporadically in the field but have no idea if a nest is involved. Hurdville

 

 

Algonquin Park : April 28, 29
Posted on April 30, 2008 at 08:24:42 AM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Dave Milsom on ONTBIRDS (April 29, 2008) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

I birded Algonquin the past 2 days with Spanish birder, Dani Valverde. We had some good finds despite birding almost all day yesterday during heavy snowfall.
On Opeongo Road we found 2 Boreal Chickadees at the forest adjacent to the spruce bog. There at 9 am today was a male Spruce Grouse alongside the road. Also looking for handouts were 2 Gray Jays. A Merlin was viewed near its nest-site west of the bridge.
A male Black-backed Woodpecker worked on a tree near the register in the Spruce Bog yesterday. Today at Km 53.6 a male excavated a hole in a telephone pole alongside the highway. Ducks seen at various ponds included Black, Wood Duck, Mallard, Bufflehead, Ring-necked, Hooded and Common Merganser.
Raptors: Merlin, Broad-winged, Red-tailed, Sharp-shinned hawks, Turkey Vultures. Other sightings were Great Blue Heron, Raven, Crow, Robin, Solitary Sandpiper, Ruffed Grouse, C Loon, Can. Goose, Grackle, Red-winged & Rusty blackbirds, Cowbird, Evening Grosbeak, Purple Finch, Goldfinch, Kingfisher, Blue Jay, Tree Swallow, RB Gull, Creeper, both Kinglets, YR Warbler, Winter Wren, BC Chickadee, both Nuthatches, Hermit Thrush, Starling, Junco, Blue-headed Vireo.
Sparrows: American Tree, White-throated, Song, Savannah, Swamp, Chipping, Field. At 5 pm today in the forest at Hardwood Hill just east of Arrowhon Road, we had a bonanza of woodpeckers including 2 Pileated, 2 Flickers, 2 Sapsuckers, 2 Downy and a Hairy.

Dave Milsom

 

 

Whip-poor-will
Posted on April 29, 2008 at 05:39:21 PM by Ron Stager

They are back!
One was singing at our place on Monday night and my daughter thought she heard one on the weekend. This is my reminder to fill up the hummingbird feeder.

A big group of purple finches came to the feeder yesterday.
East of Barkway on Merkley Road.

 

 

Re(1): Bracebridge Ponds - Sora, Rails
Posted on May 4, 2008 at 10:32:37 PM by nickbartok

virginia rails will go "tick tick tick" often, which is a partial call of the full "ticket, ticket, ticket"

 

 

Bracebridge Ponds - Sora, Rails
Posted on April 29, 2008 at 12:06:45 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Ponds there were very few ducks, and hardly any birdsong on this chilly day. By 10:30 a.m. as things warmed up a bit, we heard a Rail call from west of cell 4. After a few moments a Sora began calling and then a second Rail answered the first one. I assume these were Virginia Rails as they are the ones usually found in that area...but the call was a series of single syllable "kick-kick-kick" and not the two syllable call "kid-ick" that I've heard before. The Rail that answered gave the gnuuck-gnucck-gnucck call (don't know how else to describe it).

A Northern Waterthrush was singing loudly north of cell 4 near the west end of the roadway. We actually managed to see it singing as the leaves aren't out fully yet.

 

 

Salamanders in the breeding ponds
Posted on April 28, 2008 at 11:37:08 PM by Alex Mills

My daughter Sylvia and I walked around a Magnetawan beaver pond last friday evening (April 25, 2008). The peepers were loud and numerous, but the best treat was over a hundred yellow spotted salamanders in the pond, along with a few blue spotted salamanders. With the smell of spring in the air, and the hoots of barred owls in the distance, it was a delightful evening.

 

 

Bay Lake Warblers, Broad-wings
Posted on April 27, 2008 at 09:25:04 PM by Kip Daynard

Saturday Apr. 26
Northern Waterthrush first heard singing and present since.

Today Apr.27
I found a singing Pine Warbler on the largest island in Bay Lake which features an impressive stand of White Pines. A single Black-throated Green was also heard singing from a stand of Hemlocks on the SE side of the lake. A pair of Broad-winged Hawks were calling and engaging in what I suppose was aerial courtship just above the canopy. I watched one bird perform a long, amazingly steep dive with wings mostly tucked in (a la Peregrine Falcon!) to reach the other after which they flew out of sight together.

Yellow-rumpeds are now plentiful. Purple Finch quite common. Evening Grosbeaks present in small numbers. Waterfowl numbers are dwindling slightly - a pair of Bufflehead, a Common Merganser, Mallards, Canada Geese and a single Loon were on the lake today.

Bay Lake is 20kms NE of Huntsville, 19kms W of Algonquin Park.

 

 

Re(1): Cattle Egret - Algonquin Park
Posted on April 28, 2008 at 12:58:35 PM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (April 28, 2008) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

As expected, the Cattle Egret observed yesterday afternoon
at Lake of Two Rivers Campground beach in Algonquin Park
was not seen there this morning. If present, it would have been
harder to pick out against the heavy covering of snow we are now
receiving!

Ron Tozer
Dwight

 

 

Cattle Egret - Algonquin Park
Posted on April 27, 2008 at 05:28:36 PM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Justin Peter on ONTBIRDS (April 27, 2008) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Hi all:
To anyone with the interest or inclination, there is a Cattle Egret on
the lawn at the Lake of Two Rivers Campground beach volleyball court.
It was first reported as a small white heron-like bird at 2:30 p.m. and
I was able to confirm it @ 3:40 p.m. This is the 1st record of this
species for Algonquin Park!

Please note that you require a park permit for your vehicle in order to
use any of the park facilities.

Good birding!
Justin Peter
Park Naturalist
Algonquin Park

 

 

Re(2): Numbers of Birds at Feeders?
Posted on April 28, 2008 at 07:06:30 AM by FrancesGualtieri

I don't know about anyone else, but we take our feeders down now for the season. We have raccoon-proofed them, but we don't want to do anything to attract bears. No hummer feeder either, for the same reason - I just plant flowers that will attract them.
Frances Gualtieri
Vankoughnet

 

 

Re(1): Numbers of Birds at Feeders?
Posted on April 27, 2008 at 12:58:37 PM by janice house

Same at my feeders Eleanor, but I have to put some of my feeders away at dusk because of the racoons. Last night a bear went through, all my feeder poles were bent over and the seed is gone. I had 2 suet bags eaten last night as well.  (Doe Lake Rd. Gravenhurst)

 

 

Numbers of Birds at Feeders?
Posted on April 27, 2008 at 10:11:23 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I was away last week and find that I have very few birds at my feeders and very little seed consumed. Is anyone else experiencing the same thing? Is it weather related? The other possibility is that a Sharp-shin may be keeping them away.  (Bala)

 

 

Re(1): Sparrows and Warblers
Posted on April 27, 2008 at 06:14:26 AM by janice house

Spent the day in Bent River with Dad, my brother and nephew cutting firewood for the cottage. There were flickers, black-throated green warblers, black and white warbler, phoebee, winter wren and a yellow rumped warbler.

 

 

Sparrows and Warblers
Posted on April 26, 2008 at 10:15:01 PM by Barbara Taylor

A good sized mixed flock of White-crowned Sparrows and White-throated Sparrows arrived at our feeders this morning. The number of Chipping Sparrows has also been growing over the past few days. Between rain showers a quick trip to the Ponds turned up a few new arrivals – a Black-and-white Warbler and Black-throated Green Warbler south of cell 3, a Palm Warbler west of cell 4, and a Nashville Warbler west of cell 3.  A Warbling Vireo was singing west of cell 3, perhaps the same one the Goodyears found earlier in the day. (Bracebridge)

 

 

OFO outing to Algonquin Park (26 April)
Posted on April 26, 2008 at 10:05:54 PM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (April 26, 2008) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

The 19th annual OFO outing to Algonquin Park was enjoyed by
37 participants today, with good weather in the morning and some
showers in the afternoon. The group located 60 species, and had
a great day of birding.

A pair of Gray Jays on Opeongo Road north of the Costello Creek
culvert took food from many eager hands. A male Spruce Grouse
near the register box on Spruce Bog Boardwalk allowed great views.
Our best Spruce Grouse viewing came later in the black spruce bog
bordering the north end of Opeongo Road as two calling females and
three displaying males put on a spectacular show.

Species seen today for the first time in Algonquin this spring included:
American Pipit (seen over the Visitor Centre parking lot before
we arrived), Palm Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, and Field
Sparrow.

Thanks to everyone who attended today, and especially to Kevin Clute
for his assistance.

Ron Tozer
Trip Leader

 

 

Muskoka Field Naturalists - next meeting May 1
Posted on April 26, 2008 at 12:11:28 PM by Barbara Taylor

MFN meeting Thursday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m., Gravenhurst
From the Wakerobin, newsletter of the Muskoka Field Naturalists:

Vernal Pools - A Fascinating Ecosystem with Unique Habit!
Fairy shrimp, wood frogs and mole salamanders thrive in these small, temporary wetlands and produce a bounty that benefits all sorts of mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles. Our guest speaker is Janine McLeod, Natural Heritage Coordinator of the Alderville First Nation Black Oak Savanna. This is an ecological restoration project to expand a small remnant of tallgrass prairie and black oak savanna one of the most rare ecosystems on earth. Vernal pools with their abundance of life and hidden secrets hold a special fascination for Janine.

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

 

 

Saturday morning - Lagoons
Posted on April 26, 2008 at 11:03:13 AM by Goodyear

Still few ducks - Wigeon still present in Cell 2. Heard and saw American Bittern west of cell 4, Warbling Vireo west of cell 2, Brown Thrasher near baseball diamond, White-crowned Sparrow west of Cell 4. Several D.C. Cormorants flying over and a single Common Loon in Cell 1.

 

 

Re(2): Help - ID re. insect
Posted on April 25, 2008 at 12:46:03 PM by Wayne Bridge

Thanks Ron...I believe you are absolutely correct. I hadn't checked out Barbara's posting -- I get too locked into birds; if I had I would have figured it out myself (hopefully).

 

 

Re(1): Help - ID re. insect
Posted on April 25, 2008 at 11:56:42 AM by ron tozer

It appears to be The Infant moth (Archiearis infans), Wayne. See Barbara's earlier post for a link to the University of Alberta site which has a good picture. 

 

 

Help - ID re. insect
Posted on April 25, 2008 at 09:04:46 AM by Wayne Bridge

Can anyone identify this butterfly? moth? I photo'd it April 20 (sorry for quality I didn't have the ideal lens on) and had seen it, or another, two days earlier. You can judge its size from the sunflower seeds beside it. Thanks if you can help!

 

 

Algonquin Park birding update: 24 April
Posted on April 25, 2008 at 09:04:26 AM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (April 25, 2008) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

This week saw the ice disappear from all the smaller
Highway 60 lakes (although it is still in the bigger ones
such as Opeongo, Two Rivers and Smoke). Only small
patches of snow remain now, and they are in very shaded
conifer stands. The first spring ephemerals (Spring Beauty)
are coming into bloom, as is Trailing Arbutus.

New migrants this week included Lesser Scaup, Red-necked
Grebe, Double-crested Cormorant, American Bittern, Sandhill
Crane, Blue-headed Vireo, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and Pine
Warbler.

FINCHES:
Common Redpoll: One or two were at the Visitor Centre
feeder early in the week, but appear to be gone now.

Evening Grosbeak: About six were at the Visitor Centre
feeder this week, and a few others were reported in other
parts of the Park.

BOREAL RESIDENTS:
Spruce Grouse: Females responding to playback and
males doing flutter flights were seen in the bog bordering
Opeongo Road north on April 23.

Black-backed Woodpecker: Males excavating holes in
utility poles were seen at km 53.5 and km 23 on Highway
60 on April 23.

Gray Jay: Opeongo Road north of the Costello Creek
culvert is still the best area to check.

Boreal Chickadee: Try Spruce Bog and Opeongo Road.

NOTEWORTHY THIS WEEK:
House Sparrow: A male was at the Visitor Centre feeder
on April 19. Algonquin Park is one of the few places where
this species is appreciated in southern Ontario, due to its
rarity here.

BIRDERS:
Please let us know the date, number and location of birds you
observe when you visit Algonquin Park. This information is
stored in the Algonquin Visitor Centre database, and will help
us to assist other birders here.

Good birding.
Ron Tozer
Algonquin Park Naturalist (retired)
Dwight, Ontario

 

 

Ruby Crowned Kinglet
Posted on April 24, 2008 at 06:36:00 PM by Ted Gardner

Half a day spent with my Pop at Henry Marsh and the lagoons turned up very little. So we retired too the back yard. After several minutes of serious conversation, we had some action in the big balsam in the back yard , very small but not shy! 10 minutes and 4 eyes finally id'd our guest...a female Ruby Crowned Kinglet! a first for my life list and my yard list. My much more experienced Pop had agreed its been a while!...next visit we'll save the gas and take up a chair. Glory to the back yard!!

 

 

Re(1): Bracebridge Ponds...
Posted on April 25, 2008 at 01:07:28 PM by Barbara Taylor

At the Ponds this morning, two Greater Yellowlegs flew up from cell 2, circled overhead and then flew far away to the south. No sign of the third one from yesterday. Perhaps they gave up trying to find anything to eat - the water level in all cells is very high so not suitable for shorebirds. There were two male American Wigeon in cell 2. Still very few numbers of ducks.

 

 

Bracebridge Ponds - Wigeon, Yellowlegs
Posted on April 24, 2008 at 11:03:29 AM by Barbara Taylor

At 10 a.m. this morning there was a male American Wigeon in cell 2. Three Greater Yellowlegs were about half way along the east side of cell 2 and two Killdeer were on the roadway nearby.  A male Northern Cardinal was singing near the entrance to the Ponds from Kerr Park - first time I've seen a Cardinal at the Ponds. A Broad-winged Hawk soared past heading north shortly after I watched a Swan flying south. Still only small numbers of ducks - Wood Ducks, Lesser Scaup, Blue-winged Teal, Green-winged Teal, Mallards, Buffleheads.

 

 

The Infant Moth
Posted on April 23, 2008 at 07:46:06 PM by Barbara Taylor

A moth called "The Infant" (Archiearis infans) was flying around a white birch in our backyard this afternoon. I tried to get a photo, but it wouldn't co-operate. (Bracebridge)

Excerpt from http://www.entomology.ualberta.ca/searching_species_details.php?s=3953:
"This is one of the first non-hibernating day-flying moths to emerge in the spring, having overwintered as pupae. The early flight period is reflected in the common name; Forbes (1948) called it the First-Born Geometer."

 

In addition to photo at above website, there is another pinned specimen on the Canadian Biodiversity website (note that a live moth will usually have its wings closed while at rest so you wouldn't see much of the orange colour on the hind wings except while it is flying): http://www.cbif.gc.ca/spp_pages/geometroidea/jpgs/106256.jpg

 

 

bald eagle in Kearney
Posted on April 23, 2008 at 02:25:41 PM by Wayne Bridge

I meant to post this on Monday but life got a little carried away. On my Lions' Park boardwalk traverse Monday morning I saw a very large bird flying from the town area, over Mirror Bay, and heading south-west. My first thought was osprey but I realized I knew it wasn't an osprey (we saw many in the Grand River area where we used to live). So I was thinking immature bald eagle and got a good look with the binocs. I recall that last early spring Kip Daynard had reported one at Bay Lake, which was, in fact, the direction this one was heading in (only a few minutes as the eagle flies from Perry Lake to Bay Lake). I got out the two Sibleys I own (incl "Hawks in Flight") and I can say, with about 95% certainty, that this was a 2nd or 3rd year male! I find this exciting because when we moved from Fergus-Elora, bald eagle sightings were becoming more common. Now I can watch the skies with anticipation here. [So, Kip, keep your eyes peeled!]

 

 

Northern Waterthrush...our first of the year
Posted on April 23, 2008 at 11:44:23 AM by Al Sinclair

April 23, we had our first Northern Waterthrush singing here this morning in the wet woods across the road. Last year first was April 26. 8km east of Bracebridge.

 

 

Grouse Lek Trek
Posted on April 23, 2008 at 10:56:31 AM by Linda

Fred Pinto, V. President of the Nipissing Naturalist Club has invited anyone who is available on short notice to join their members on the Sharp-tailed Grouse Lek Trek on the Apr 26/27 weekend to Manitoulin Island.

It is recommended that you stay at Gordon's Lodge & Resort in Gore Bay. You are responsible to make your own reservation. Phone 705-282-2342. $120 plus taxes for up to 2 people.

The group is meeting Steve and Reta Hall at 5:45 am on Sun morning Apr 27 at Gore Bay airport parking lot.

Wear rubber boots and warm clothes as the ground is wet and there will be a cold wind. Bring video and still cameras, bring your binoculars. There should be anywhere from 20 to 40 birds displaying. The display dies down about 9:30. It is best right after sunrise particularly if the morning is bright and sunny.

There is a cost of $20 per person. The money is divided between the airport and Friends of Misery Bay Prov Park. The Hall's are volunteers and do not take any of the money. This may be the last year for the lek tour as the Halls are getting up in age and are looking for someone else to run the tour, so far there are no takers.

After the Grouse lek, visits to other bird viewing sites on Manitoulin Island are being arranged.

Tour limited to 11 people.

Contact Fred Pinto at 705-475-5563 (office) or e-mail:
pinto@efni.com

 

 

Tree Swallow
Posted on April 23, 2008 at 09:21:40 AM by Kip Daynard

...first of season here flying over the SE end of Bay Lake this morning. Otherwise similar species to last few days -26 species on this morning's walk...

Highlights:
Blue-headed Vireo (x2)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (x3)
Hermit Thrush
Bufflehead (3m, 2f)
Common Merganser (1m)
Evening Grosbeak (x4)
Purple Finch
Pileated Woodpecker

 

 

Re(1): Bracebridge Lagoons
Posted on April 23, 2008 at 12:57:18 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning still very few ducks at the Ponds. The only thing new was a pair of Ring-necked Ducks in cell 2. Several Swamp Sparrows were singing along the flooded snowmobile trail west of cell 4. Wood Frogs have joined the chorus north of cell 4. Frog/toad calls: http://www.torontozoo.com/adoptapond/frogs.asp

(north is approx. at top, west is approx. at left)

Bracebridge Ponds map: http://www3.sympatico.ca/muskokabirder/photos/pondsmap.jpg

 

 

Bracebridge Lagoons
Posted on April 23, 2008 at 08:41:59 AM by Goodyear

I went for an evening walk around the lagoons last night - very quiet. 2 pairs of Blue-winged Teal and 1 pair of Green-winged Teal were the highlights.

 

 

Re(1): Hummingbird migration map...early arrivals
Posted on April 23, 2008 at 00:32:33 AM by Marilyn Kisser

When I saw that map yesterday, the feeder went up shortly after - havn't seen one yet!

 

 

Hummingbird migration map...early arrivals
Posted on April 22, 2008 at 08:02:41 PM by Barbara Taylor

This stretch of unseasonably warm weather has convinced a few hummingbirds to move north ahead of schedule. We don't usually put out our feeder until the first week of May at the earliest...but guess I'd better mix up some syrup. Hummingbird migration map

 

 

Ruby-crowned Kinglet - Bay Lake
Posted on April 22, 2008 at 07:52:33 PM by Kip Daynard

...in full song near the easterly junction of Maple Dr. & Bay Lake Rd this evening around 6pm. Another new arrival was an American Black Duck late yesterday. Yellow-rumped Warbler (3) and Evening Grosbeak (4) numbers increasing today.  Bay Lake is 20kms NE of Huntsville, 19kms W of Algonquin.

 

 

Ducks in Beaver Creek
Posted on April 22, 2008 at 00:27:18 AM by LesleeTassie

Ducks have returned to Beaver Creek off Santa's Village Road over the last couple of weeks to feed.
Today we had a pair of Mallards, a pair of Buffleheads, a pair of Greater Scaup and a lone male Wood Duck.
The water is the highest I've ever seen it.
Quite ironic with our high water levels and all the flooding that we have a fireban on due to dryness.

 

 

Re(2): Dragonfly
Posted on April 22, 2008 at 02:30:53 PM by GayleCarlyle

We too had dragonflies at our place on the weekend but I didn't know which species they were.
They were beautiful. Bright sky blue tails, vibrant green and yellow thorax and head. No distinctive marking on the wings, when they did stop flying.
The wetland behind our place in Washago is still quite high and the frogs are singing like crazy.
Peepers, wood frogs, and leopard frogs. Almost drowns out the noise from Hwy. 11

 

 

Re(2): Dragonfly, frogs, etc.
Posted on April 22, 2008 at 01:19:27 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there were two Common Green Darners in their "mating wheel" by cell 3. Over by cell 4 a male Green Darner was still clasping the female's head as she deposited eggs amongst the reeds at the water's edge. Another male was patrolling the same area.

Still very few ducks at the Ponds. A few Savannah Sparrows were newly arrived. American Toads were trilling loudly at the east end of cell 3 and Leopard Frogs were calling at the west end. You can listen to the calls at http://www.torontozoo.com/adoptapond/frogs.asp

 

 

Re(1): Dragonfly
Posted on April 22, 2008 at 07:29:36 AM by Al Sinclair

The first Green Darners we see are migrants that are returning from the south. They normally don't get here until early May but the warm weather recently has resulted in some early sightings in Ontario. Several species of dragonfly are now known to migrate much like birds but the whole story of where they go and how they complete their life cycle is not known. This is a relatively new discovery. It has also been determined that there are two populations of Green Darner, one that migrates and one that does not.
You can follow the Green Darner migration by joining the Great Lakes Ondonata mail list on Yahoogroups, look for the gl_odonata group.

 

 

Dragonfly
Posted on April 21, 2008 at 09:59:00 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a Common Green Darner flying along the edge of cell 4 - first one I've seen this year. Very few ducks and nothing new.

 

 

Broad-winged Hawks and ice out - Lake Muskoka
Posted on April 21, 2008 at 01:14:04 PM by Barbara Taylor

At noon today we went out Beaumont Dr. to check the ice on Lake Muskoka – it’s gone! Last time we checked was Thursday, so don't know when it went out. Very high water level with the Allport Marina docks all under water and Beaumont Dr. partially flooded at the "big bend" in the river.

Out near the end of Beaumont Dr. across from Cove Rd. PVT there is a small wooded area by the road. Here we heard the calls of Broad-winged Hawks so stopped for a closer look. The male was perched on a broken off dead tree and had what looked like a frog at his feet. A female answered his calls, flew to him and accepted the meal, and the male flew a short distance away. Instead of eating the frog, the female simply inspected it, and then began calling. The male flew to her, and they mated. Finally, the female decided it was time to eat the frog...and then they both flew off. This all happened in less than ten minutes - talk about being in the right spot at the right time!

There was a Broad-winged Hawk calling near our house in Bracebridge this morning but didn't see it. I noticed that Beamer hawkwatch in Grimsby had nearly 1000 of them go through on Friday.

 

 

Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Blue-headed Vireo
Posted on April 21, 2008 at 11:35:44 AM by Kip Daynard

28 species on my morning walk this morning.

New arrivals today:
Yellow-rumped Warbler (x1 singing)
Blue-headed Vireo (x1 singing)
Common Loon (fly over)

Also observed:
Ruffed Grouse (many drumming)
Bufflehead (2m,1f)
Common Merganser (2m)
Mallard (pair)
Northern Flicker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (10+)
Hairy Woodpecker
White-breasted Nuthatch
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
American Crow
Blue Jay (x2)
American Robin
Hermit Thrush (x2)
Winter Wren (x4)
Brown Creeper (x2)
Great Blue Heron (1 flying)
Purple Finch (singing)
Black-capped Chickadee
Common Grackle
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Phoebe
Canada Goose

 

 

Waterfowl, Finches etc. - Bay Lake
Posted on April 20, 2008 at 09:10:33 PM by Kip Daynard

The ice is about 10% gone off Bay Lake today (30% gone in the eastern-most bay) but is looking very thin now and is disappearing fast. I suspect it will not see another sunset. The increasingly open water is finally attracting some water birds. New arrivals over the last few days:

Apr. 18th
Bufflehead (pair)

Apr. 19th
Wood Ducks (2m,1f)

Apr. 20th
Brown-headed Cowbird (female)
Common Merganser (male)
White-throated Sparrow (singing)
Evening Grosbeak (heard only)
American Goldfinch (heard only)

The Redpolls seem to have moved on.
Bay Lake is 20kms NE of Huntsville, 19kms W of Algonquin.

 

 

Eastern Meadowlark
Posted on April 20, 2008 at 08:06:55 PM by janice house

Heard my first meadowlark of the year while cleaning out my bluebird boxes across from the Bracebridge Fairgrounds tonight (Sharp's Creek Ranch). Also found a dead coyote on hwy 11 on the west side between the Fraserburg overpass and the Fredrick overpass, I parked on the side of the hwy to clean out the boxes at the south end of the fields. He looked like he had a good winter, poor thing.

 

 

Sapsucker
Posted on April 19, 2008 at 06:47:46 PM by DBurton

I heard a Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker calling not far from the house a few minutes ago (Gravenhurst)

 

 

Re(1): Bracebridge Ponds today...
Posted on April 20, 2008 at 05:33:56 PM by Goodyear

An early morning walk around the lagoons gave us some NiFTY (new for the year) birds: a Green Heron, a lone Swamp Sparrow, and a Blue-winged Teal.

 

 

Bracebridge Ponds today...Rough-legged Hawk, Pine Warbler
Posted on April 19, 2008 at 05:50:09 PM by Al Sinclair

At about 2pm today at the Ponds, I was surprised to see a Rough-legged Hawk circling low over the Lagoon Lane entrance, it rode a thermal upwards until it was hard to find, then soared south east out of sight. Not north? Also a Pine Warbler was heard and seen in the Pine trees on the hill behind the septric truck dumping ponds. The Brown Creeper was still singing where I heard it on Tuesday, opposite the south-west corner of cell 3. There are some trees with large sheets of loose bark at that corner, typical nest sites for them. Still only a few species of ducks, less than 50 individuals, mostly Buffleheads.

 

 

Re(3): Blue-headed Vireo
Posted on April 21, 2008 at 09:58:29 AM by John Challis

You beat us by a day, Al. I'm pretty sure I heard a blue-headed vireo Sunday, by the Green River. It was a slightly atypical call, though.

 

 

Re(2): Blue-headed Vireo
Posted on April 19, 2008 at 10:23:31 AM by Al Sinclair

Many birds moving by the sounds of it. First Blue-head Vireo singing this morning here 8 km east of Bracebridge.

 

 

Re(1): Warbler
Posted on April 19, 2008 at 08:53:56 AM by janice house

Nashville Warbler calling at the Silver Lake Rd beaver pond this morning

 

 

Warbler
Posted on April 18, 2008 at 08:23:47 PM by DBurton

Pine Warbler arrived today on Lorne Street, Gravenhurst

 

 

Kearney Boardwalk
Posted on April 18, 2008 at 03:06:47 PM by Wayne Bridge

There is a boardwalk beside Lions' Park that was erected beside Sucker Creek as it enters into Perry Lake, traveling through a wee wetland and then coming out at the Lions' Park dock. Not long, but it offers wonderful spring migration viewing! The following is what I have seen in the last week to 10 days:

mink
Canada geese (up to 6)
common mergansers (m & f up to dozen + )
buffleheads (m & f 12)
ring-necked ducks
common loon (1)
hooded mergansers
common goldeneyes
black ducks
mallards
ring-billed gulls
phoebe
killdeer
flicker
tree swallow (1)
song sparrows & tree sparrows
male red-winged blackbirds
grackles (many)
a few robins and...
pussywillows!

 

 

Algonquin Park birding update: 17 April
Posted on April 18, 2008 at 10:29:43 AM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (April 17, 2008) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

By the end of the week there was a little more open water
where creeks and rivers flow into lakes (e.g., Long Lake,
Lake of Two Rivers at Airfield), but all lakes are still ice-
covered. Snow depth went down some, but snow cover is
still very extensive in all areas not in direct sunlight. There
is much more snow and ice in the Park than at nearby places
such as Huntsville, due to the higher elevation of the
Algonquin Dome compared with surrounding areas. This
difference is reflected in later spring arrival by birds in
Algonquin, as well.

Very few new migrants were discovered this week until the
last two days, when temperatures were warmer, including at
night. Again this week, there was a mix of earlier than average,
about average, and later than average arrivals. Below, the
first date seen this week is followed by the average first date
in brackets.

Later than average first date:
Green-winged Teal: April 16 (April 14)
Ring-necked Duck: April 16 (April 8)
Bufflehead: April 17 (April 12)
Northern Harrier: April 17 (April 4)

Close or equal to average first date:
Common Loon: April 16 (April 15)
Ring-billed Gull: April 16 (April 16)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet: April 16 (April 15)
Savannah Sparrow: April 16 (April 16)
White-throated Sparrow: April 17 (April 16)

Earlier than average first date:
Blue-winged Teal: April 17 (April 24)
Broad-winged Hawk: April 17 (April 21)
Hermit Thrush: April 14 (April 16)
Chipping Sparrow: April 17 (April 19)
Vesper Sparrow: April 16 (April 21)
Swamp Sparrow: April 16 (April 21)


FINCHES:
Common Redpoll: At least 3 were at the West Gate
feeder this week, and about 10 at the Visitor Centre.
Half a dozen were at seed put out at the Opeongo Road
winter gate on April 15.

Hoary Redpoll: One was at the West Gate feeder on
April 16. This is a new all-time late spring date for
the species in Algonquin. Previous latest was April 13.

Evening Grosbeak: One was at the West Gate (April 16),
and three were at the Visitor Centre (April 17).

BOREAL RESIDENTS:
Spruce Grouse: A male was on Spruce Bog
Boardwalk near the register box on April 12. A
female was along Opeongo Road, 1.1 km north of
the winter gate, on April 15, and two Spruce Grouse
were reported along Opeongo Road on April 17.

Black-backed Woodpecker: No reports. Try km 8 on
Highway 60, and Opeongo Road.

Gray Jay: They were observed at Spruce Bog Boardwalk,
and Opeongo Road.

Boreal Chickadee: Try Spruce Bog and Opeongo Road.

NOTEWORTHY THIS WEEK:
The average date (28 years) of the first drumming by
Ruffed Grouse heard in Algonquin Park is April 9. This
year's date was late, on April 17. In late springs like this
one, drumming is delayed until the drumming logs become
free of snow.

The first of three nocturnal owl surveys that are undertaken
annually in the Highway 60 Corridor was done on April 15.
The only owls detected at ten stops (2 km apart) involved
a pair of Barred Owls just east of the Portage Store turn at
Canoe Lake. This scarcity of owls was entirely expected
following a winter of very low small mammal populations
due to the virtual total absence of tree seed crops. Barred
Owls went south in large numbers this year, and many that
remained were clearly food-stressed as they hunted by day.
It will be interesting to see the results of the other two owl
surveys along the highway. We have yet to detect a Northern
Saw-whet Owl in the Park this spring.

Wild Turkeys have become regular in Algonquin Park
since 2002. However, there is no evidence to date that they
are present here during the winter (i.e., no sightings between
December 20 and April 14). It appears that dispersing birds
re-occupy the Algonquin Highlands each spring. On April 15,
a first year male and three females were observed walking
eastward along the margin of Highway 60 at km 6. This
group had reached the km 29 to 33 area by the following day,
showing the rapidity and extent of their movements.

BIRDERS:
Please let us know the date, number and location of birds you
observe when you visit Algonquin Park. This information is
stored in the Algonquin Visitor Centre database, and will help
us to assist other birders here.

Arowhon Road and Rock Lake Road are officially closed to
public travel until further notice. Do not use these roads.

Good birding.
Ron Tozer
Algonquin Park Naturalist (retired)
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 along Highway
60 in the Park go from the West Gate (km 0) to the East Gate
(km 56). The park gates are currently not staffed, but you can
still get your permit there (by machine), and the park tabloid
(with a map of birding locations mentioned here) is available
there too.

The Visitor Centre has recent bird sightings and information, plus
feeders. Birders visiting during the week are welcome to contact
staff for birding information and access to the viewing deck, via the
service entrance (right end of the building as you face it from the
parking lot). Exhibits and restaurant are open on weekends through
April 20, 10 am to 5 pm.

 

 

Hermit Thrush, Hooded Mergansers - Bay Lake
Posted on April 18, 2008 at 08:59:02 AM by Kip Daynard

Some new arrivals today... When I stepped out for my morning walk today I was greeted by a pair of Hooded Mergansers watching me from just off shore. A Hermit Thrush was singing from the woods near Kirk Lane.
Bay Lake is 20kms NE of Huntsville, 19kms W of Algonquin Park.

 

 

Otter, muskrat
Posted on April 18, 2008 at 08:55:21 AM by GayleCarlyle

This morning I was standing on our road looking at the flooded wetland on our property and was thrilled to see an adult otter looking back at me.
For the past two mornings, we have seen a muskrat curled up and asleep in the sun on a little hummock back about 100 feet from the road.
All the flooding in our area of Washago has resulted in more waterfowl sightings as well.
We live along Green River Drive, just off Cooper's Falls Rd.

 

 

Sparrows/Woodcocks
Posted on April 18, 2008 at 07:37:55 AM by janice house

Last night the woodcocks were everywhere and I heard my first white-throated sparrow calling at dusk (Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst)

 

 

Re(1): Hooded Mergansers - photo
Posted on April 18, 2008 at 10:10:39 AM by Barbara Taylor

Here's a photo Eleanor took late yesterday afternoon of a pair of Hooded Mergansers relaxing on a log near her blind.

 

 

Common Loon, Bala
Posted on April 18, 2008 at 07:09:31 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I heard my first loon this morning at 6:30 am flying over and I haven't been out to the lake yet so it might be here. One end of my lake still has ice though.

A pair of Wood Ducks was looking for corn late yesterday afternoon. A pair of Canada Geese seem to be planning a nest across from my blind. Two pairs of Hooded Mergansers and a single female were trolling up and down. Too bad the single male from the day before disappeared!

I heard a few Spring Peepers last night but they didn't go on for long.

 

 

Re(2): Greater Yellowlegs
Posted on April 20, 2008 at 08:08:31 PM by janice house

Seven birds feeding here tonight and a mallard pair dabbling.

 

 

Re(1): Greater Yellowlegs
Posted on April 19, 2008 at 08:52:55 AM by janice house

3 birds foraging again this morning

 

 

Greater Yellowlegs
Posted on April 17, 2008 at 05:47:25 PM by janice house

3 birds in the farm field across from the house (Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst)

 

 

Brown thrasher near Gravenhurst
Posted on April 17, 2008 at 12:36:23 PM by DiannaWolfe

This morning there was a brown thrasher singing a few notes atop a maple in our front yard. As well, our first chipping sparrows of the season appeared amongst the other sparrow species.
Dianna Wolfe (just west of Gravenhurst)

 

 

Bay Lake Update
Posted on April 17, 2008 at 11:27:05 AM by Kip Daynard

The beautiful weather the last few days has introduced a few more species into our local population. Yesterday (Apr. 16) the first Purple Finch of the year appeared at our feeder. With a smidgeon of open water, a pair of Mallards came to visit our reed bed. Today the first Chipping Sparrow and Northern Flicker arrived. A Fox Sparrow was singing his heart out from the top of a Maple at the corner of Bay Lake Rd. and Raspberry Lane. Redpolls are still here in good numbers: 50-60 at our feeders yesterday afternoon.  Bay Lake is 20kms NE of Huntsville, 19kms W of Algonquin Park.

Other species:
Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers (many drumming)
Winter Wren (x3)
Brown Creeper
Golden-crowned Kinglet (several)
Song Sparrow (x2)
American Tree Sparrow (x4)
Dark-eyed Juncos (40-50)
Pileated Woodpeckers (at least 2 in the neighbourhood - very active and vocal!)
Common Grackles (at least a dozen)
Red-winged Blackbirds (4-5)
plus the regulars


Bala Arrivals
Posted on April 17, 2008 at 08:17:14 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Yesterday the first Purple Finches, Goldfinches, Kingfisher and Northern Flickers (calling and drumming) put in an appearance at my place.

 

 

Finches
Posted on April 17, 2008 at 07:29:27 AM by Marilyn Kisser

yesterday morning there were 2 male evening grosbeaks at the feeders, and this morning a male american goldfinch is feeding with a group of redpolls - just outside Rosseau

 

 

Re(1): Loons
Posted on April 17, 2008 at 04:02:52 PM by Barbara Taylor

One was calling as it flew over our house this morning and around noon today there was a Common Loon in cell 4 at the Bracebridge Ponds.

 

 

Loons in Kearney
Posted on April 17, 2008 at 07:13:51 AM by Wayne Bridge

At 7 a.m. this morning two loons announced their presence, quite loudly and triumpantly, on Hassard Lake (about 250 yards from my office window). The ice isn't totally off the lake yet. [This was also the first morning I woke up to robins singing at 5:30 a.m.]

 

 

Re(2): Common Loon
Posted on April 20, 2008 at 08:11:54 PM by janice house

Loon on Doe Lake today, no ducks or geese (Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst)

 

 

Re(1): Common Loon
Posted on April 16, 2008 at 06:30:32 PM by Dawn Sherman

There was one on Hunter's Bay today as well. First one I have seen this year.

 

 

Common Loon
Posted on April 16, 2008 at 04:59:09 PM by Jim Griffin

My first common Loon siting of this year; this afternoon on the river at Port Sydney, south of the bridge.

 

 

Re(2): Red-breasted Mergansers...gone
Posted on April 17, 2008 at 03:57:51 PM by Barbara Taylor

Around noon today we couldn't find them. If they show up again, please post an update or email me...they are rarely seen in Muskoka.

 

 

Re(1): ...and Red-breasted Mergansers
Posted on April 16, 2008 at 06:20:40 PM by janice house

Just got home from work, the mergansers are still there.

 

 

...and Red-breasted Mergansers
Posted on April 16, 2008 at 02:53:10 PM by Barbara Taylor

Just got back from the Ponds...there are two pair of Red-breasted Mergansers in cell 2. Also one pair of Lesser Scaup, several Bufflehead, a few Mallards and Canada Geese. The Spotted Sandpiper was in cell 3 on a new little gravel roadway built out into the pond. Cells 1, 2, and 3 are completely clear of ice and over half of cell 4 now too. A Northern Flicker was calling in the woods west of cell 2.

Bracebridge Ponds map: http://www3.sympatico.ca/muskokabirder/photos/pondsmap.jpg
(north is approx. at top, west is approx. at left)

 

 

Spotted Sandpiper
Posted on April 16, 2008 at 12:31:49 PM by Barbara Taylor

Don Bailey reports there was a Spotted Sandpiper at the Bracebridge Ponds this morning.

 

 

Savannah Sparrows
Posted on April 16, 2008 at 07:35:41 AM by janice house

Walking the dogs this morning I heard several sparrows singing in the farm field across from the house. (Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst)

 

 

Common Redpolls
Posted on April 15, 2008 at 03:02:41 PM by Barbara Taylor

After a very quiet winter at our feeders, today we were finally treated to a small flock of Common Redpolls - about twenty of them. There is still one Fox Sparrow and a dozen or so Dark-eyed Juncos and American Tree Sparrows. Most of the larger flock that had showed up on Friday quickly dispersed when a Sharp-shinned Hawk arrived late Sunday. (Bracebridge)

 

 

Re(1): Bracebridge Ponds today
Posted on April 15, 2008 at 08:48:17 PM by janice house

Just spoke with Stephanie Lehman, she hiked from the ponds to the Henry Marsh today before it thawed and saw lots of birds, of note a Hermit Thrush and Hooded Mergansers

 

 

Bracebridge Ponds today
Posted on April 15, 2008 at 01:38:12 PM by Al Sinclair

Not much happening, cold breeze, cell 1 and 2 mostly ice free, cell 3 1/4 ice free, cell 4 all frozen.
species seen:
Canada Goose 11
Wood Duck 1
Bufflehead 24
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Belted Kingfisher
Hairy Woodpecker
Brown Creeper
American Crow
Song Sparrow
American Goldfinch

 

 

Re(1): Sharp-shinned Hawk, Bala
Posted on April 15, 2008 at 01:42:25 PM by Al Sinclair

We had a female (I think) here on Sunday. Flew in at the back and landed, all birds disappeared instantly. It flew closer to the feeders and perched for a clear view for about 5 seconds, enough time to be sure it was a Sharpie and large enough to be a female, then it disappeared.

 

 

Sharp-shinned Hawk, Bala
Posted on April 15, 2008 at 08:20:55 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Nice adult male Sharp-shinned Hawk just spent a few minutes watching my feeders. The reason I say adult male is that it was quite small compared to the large juveniles I usually see here in the fall.
First Year has yellow eye, second year orange eye and adult has red eye.

 

 

peeper!
Posted on April 14, 2008 at 11:12:57 PM by John Challis

A lone spring peeper was calling tonight in the marsh behind our house on Green River Drive, Washago. Flood waters flushing over the marsh may have helped work the cold out of the muck quickly enough to bring him out. The marsh is also active with spawning pike, which, if they aren't quick about it, are going to find themselves landlocked as the water subsides.
About eight buffleheads were settling down for the night in the river as well.

 

 

Great Blue Herons on nest - photo
Posted on April 14, 2008 at 03:24:44 PM by Barbara Taylor

Here's a photo taken this morning by Eleanor Kee Wellman which shows one of the Great Blue Herons bringing a stick to the old nestsite. This is the nest I mentioned in an earlier post just west of #1848 Doe Lake Rd., east of Gravenhurst. I first learned of the nest in July 2006 when Terry Whittam reported young in the nest. Does anyone know how long they've been nesting there?

 

 

Ospreys
Posted on April 14, 2008 at 01:52:31 PM by GayleCarlyle

On Sun April 13, at about 2:30 in the afternoon we saw a pair of ospreys hovering over the very flooded Black River along County Rd. 169 near Washago.

 

 

Kestrel
Posted on April 13, 2008 at 05:31:45 PM by janice house

Female kestrel hunting from the hydro wires in front of the house for the last hour. (Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst).

 

 

Northern Harrier
Posted on April 13, 2008 at 11:38:23 AM by janice house

A male harrier just glided down the farmers field across from out house. (Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst)

 

 

Evening Grosbeak
Posted on April 13, 2008 at 09:25:58 AM by janice house

Three males at our feeders this morning. Just watched a bluejay passing a sunflower seed to his mate? (Doe Lake Rd., Gravenhurst)

 

 

Re(1): Sandhill Cranes
Posted on April 13, 2008 at 09:43:14 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I heard at least one Sandhill calling at about 4:30 pm near Bala.

 

 

Re(2): Sandhill Cranes
Posted on April 13, 2008 at 04:36:11 PM by Al Sinclair

This morning at 11am, we heard Sandhills calling here 8km east of Bracebridge, looked up and saw 2 flying north at a good height. As they passed they slowed down, maybe hitting a headwind, then turned to the north-west, rose higher and flew out of sight.

 

 

Re(2): Sandhill Cranes
Posted on April 13, 2008 at 03:22:04 PM by CarolWagg

The cranes stayed in the field a full four hours, until 12:30, at which time they took off to the north, then back over the field, circled to great heights until I lost sight of them somewhere to the south of Doe Lake.

 

 

Re(1): Sandhill Cranes
Posted on April 13, 2008 at 12:25:03 PM by J. Gardner

It appears that our Sandhill pair are coming to dine with the ducks and geese. We feed corn down on the creek, and the sandhills can been seen right in the water with the waterfowl regulars. (Hurdville)

 

 

Sandhill Cranes
Posted on April 13, 2008 at 08:59:18 AM by CarolWagg

This morning (Sunday)two cranes are picking their way across the field behind Doe Lake (directly back of the farm at 1605 Doe Lake Rd).

 

 

Fisher, Bala
Posted on April 13, 2008 at 07:56:42 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I just watched an adult fisher scrambling around in the trees outside my studio window. It was chasing a black squirrel. It disappeared while I ran for my camera. After a few minutes I saw just the back of it and it did appear to have something in its mouth. The squirrel population has almost exceeded the bird population around my feeders and I guess that I now have one less!

 

 

Redpolls
Posted on April 12, 2008 at 10:57:30 PM by Marilyn Kisser

the redpolls have been around this past week ... and the males are in full mating colours!  (just outside Rosseau)

photo1  photo2

 

 

Purple Finch
Posted on April 12, 2008 at 08:59:44 PM by Marilyn Kisser

this morning I spotted a lone male purple finch feeding on the ground under the bird feeder amongst the junco's and american tree sparrows - also spotted one lone fox sparrow in the pine tree - also have a flock of about 12 redpolls coming to the finch feeder - and also a very large flock of( 50+) grackles and red-wings feeding under the main bird feeder - and 11 does and fawns have returned!  (just outside Rosseau)

 

 

Great Blue Herons back on nest
Posted on April 12, 2008 at 01:19:33 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning a pair of Great Blue Herons were standing in their nest in the swamp on the south side of Doe Lake Rd. just west of #1848. There is still only the one nest and the dead tree has a very bad lean to it...hope it doesn't topple over until after the young fledge.  We checked the fields along the way, but couldn't find any Sandhill Cranes. (Doe Lake Rd., east of Gravenhurst)

 

 

American Kestrel - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on April 12, 2008 at 01:11:16 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds we found cell 1 almost totally free of ice and some open water now in cell 2. There were very few birds though - a pair of Buffleheads, four Mallards, two American Black Ducks, six Canada Geese, and a Wood Duck. An American Kestrel was perched on a hydro pole near the building at the north of cell 1. A Killdeer was calling but we never saw it. By the Lagoon Lane gate there were Song Sparrows, American Tree Sparrows and American Goldfinch all in full song even on this very chilly rainy day.

Bracebridge Ponds map: http://www3.sympatico.ca/muskokabirder/photos/pondsmap.jpg
(north is approx. at top, west is approx. at left)

 

 

Taboo/Doe Lake Rd
Posted on April 12, 2008 at 11:07:36 AM by janice house

This morning with my scope at Muskoka Beach 6 pairs of common mergansers, several pairs of common golden-eye, 2 canada geese and several bufflehead. We had a small flock of purple finch in our basswood tree, 12 common redpolls, 3 fox sparrows, lots of juncos, several tree sparrows and I believe a chipping sparrow

 

 

White-throated Sparrow
Posted on April 11, 2008 at 12:07:28 PM by Barbara Taylor

A White-throated Sparrow has just popped in for some lunch - first of the year for us here.  (Bracebridge)

 

 

Algonquin Park birding update: 10 April
Posted on April 11, 2008 at 10:32:19 AM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (April 10, 2008) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

All lakes remain almost completely covered with ice, and
despite very extensive areas of bare ground on south-facing
slopes, travel in shaded woods still requires snow shoes to
navigate the knee-deep snow. Winter is being beaten back,
but slowly.

Many new migrants arrived with the dramatically warmer
weather this week. The tendency for arrivals to be later
than normal is waning now, as is usually the case when
warmer temperatures finally prevail. There was a mix
of earlier than average, average, and later than average
arrivals this week. Below, the first date seen this week
is followed by the average first date in brackets.

Later than average first date:
American Black Duck: April 5 (March 28)
Common Goldeneye: April 9 (April 7)
American Kestrel: April 9 (April 8)
Killdeer: April 9 (April 2)
American Woodcock: April 5 (April 2)
Golden-crowned Kinglet: April 5 (April 2)
American Tree Sparrow: April 8 (March 31)
Dark-eyed Junco: April 5 (March 28)
Eastern Meadowlark: April 9 (April 6)
Purple Finch: April 9 (April 6)

Same as average first date:
Red-shouldered Hawk: April 10 (April 10)
Tree Swallow: April 9 (April 9)
Fox Sparrow: April 8 (April 8)
Rusty Blackbird: April 8 (April 8)

Earlier than average first date:
Canada Goose (Interior race): April 8 (April 10)
Wilson's Snipe: April 9 (April 15)
Belted Kingfisher: April 8 (April 9)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker: April 8 (April 11)
Northern Flicker: April 7 (April 10)
Eastern Phoebe: April 4 (April 7)
Winter Wren: April 6 (April 7)
Lapland Longspur: April 7 (April 24)

FINCHES:
Pine Grosbeak: They appear to have all gone back
north.

Purple Finch: Two seen on April 9 at the Visitor Centre
were the first in Algonquin since 13 November 2007.

Common Redpoll: Up to 35 were at the West Gate
feeder this week, and about 20 at the Visitor Centre.
Daily changes suggested birds moving through.

Hoary Redpoll: No reports.

Evening Grosbeak: A male continued to frequent the
Visitor Centre feeder irregularly this week.

BOREAL RESIDENTS:
Spruce Grouse: Two were reported on Spruce Bog
Boardwalk on the weekend, and one was near the
Opeongo Road gate on April 5.

Black-backed Woodpecker: A female was seen in the
Costello Creek Bog, east of Opeongo Road on April 8.

Gray Jay: They were observed at Spruce Bog Boardwalk,
and Opeongo Road.

Boreal Chickadee: Try Spruce Bog and Opeongo Road,
and listen for the musical call which they should be uttering
now.

OTHER NOTEWORTHY SPECIES:
Short-eared Owl: One was flushed from the bog north of
Spruce Bog Boardwalk on April 8, but could not be relocated
afterward.

Bohemian Waxwing: Two flew over at the Visitor Centre
on April 4, and one was heard in flight, west of Opeongo
Road, on April 5. These are birds returning to the north,
and obviously very low numbers compared with sightings
in southern Ontario where there is fruit to consume. Migrant
Bohemian Waxwings are forced to eat tree buds here.

Northern Cardinal: A wandering male was at the Visitor
Centre feeder on April 7 and 8, for our earliest spring sighting
here ever (previous earliest: May 22). This very rare bird in
Algonquin has most often appeared in November. Nearly all
cardinals here wander off after only one or two days, and
this one was no exception.

Lapland Longspur: One in breeding plumage was on
Opeongo Road, 100 m north of the Costello Creek culvert
(which is beyond the locked gate) on April 7 and 8.

House Finch: After the surprising female at the Visitor Centre
on April 3, a male appeared there the next day (April 4). This
is a very rare bird in Algonquin now.

BIRDERS:
Please let us know the date, number and location of birds you
observe when you visit Algonquin Park. This information is
stored in the Algonquin Visitor Centre database, and will help
us to assist other birders here.

Arowhon Road is officially closed to public travel until further
notice. Do not use this road.

Good birding.
Ron Tozer
Algonquin Park Naturalist (retired)
Dwight, Ontario

 

 

Snipe, kingfisher and others
Posted on April 11, 2008 at 10:29:18 AM by GayleCarlyle

On Wednesday night at about 7:50 pm we heard a snipe just off our property on Green River Drive in Washago. Earlier in the day I saw a kingfisher along the Black River, which is extremely high right now. Also a mink trying to swim across the current.
And of course with all the water we have in our wetland (which is practically a lake now) there are lots of ducks and mergansers.
We put up a nesting box last year and had a hooded merganser pair and a wood duck pair near it at various times.
This year they are all back and checking out the nest box.
There are also two huge beavers having a grand time.

 

 

Re(1): bluebirds and sandhill cranes
Posted on April 11, 2008 at 10:33:08 AM by J. Gardner

The bluebirds come and go. But, a pair of sandhill cranes have been here for 8 days now. They have been visited by several other cranes once, but they remain. Last evening they were dancing in the field immediately behind the house, but it was too dark for photos. They pick the field over regularly now and then disappear out into the bog. Finger crossed in Hurdville....

 

 

bluebirds and sandhill cranes
Posted on April 11, 2008 at 08:53:17 AM by CarolWagg

Yesterday saw the arrival of a pair of bluebirds who meticulously checked out all the nesting boxes. I can't remember the bluebirds arriving before the tree swallows before. A pair of sandhill cranes flew over the field opposite. I heard them on Tuesday but didn't see them. Doe Lake Rd, 6 km from hwy 11

 

 

Huntsville Migrants
Posted on April 10, 2008 at 08:51:41 PM by Burke Korol

Many of the same migrants reported in the region arrived at my Ravenscliffe feeder overnight as well. New year yard birds included Purple Finch, 3 Sandhill Cranes and a Great Blue Heron.

 

 

Re(1): Mink Question
Posted on April 10, 2008 at 10:13:21 PM by Barbara Taylor

Perhaps they were just more active because it was mating season, so your friend had a better chance of seeing them on the move. I can't think of a reason why their population might have increased this year unless the sightings were in an area where someone had stopped trapping them. Or possibly they all escaped from a nearby mink farm?

 

 

Mink Question
Posted on April 10, 2008 at 09:53:12 AM by LisaGregory

A friend of mine has seen 5 live and two road-killed mink in the last month and I also found a road-killed mink during the same time period. Does anyone know if their numbers are up this year and if so, why?

 

 

Spider Photo
Posted on April 9, 2008 at 09:06:15 PM by Al Sinclair

We saw lots of birds here today but the most interesting species was this spider, Bennett's Hackledmesh Weaver, Callobius bennetti. It spins a web with non-sticky silk that it combs out from a special spinneret in a way that it produces static electricity. It was hiding in our wood pile. I didn't find the origin of the name, perhaps it has something to do with the way it combs out the web.  (hackle - cut roughly; hack; mangle.)  photo

 

 

Re(1): Yellow Shafted Flicker
Posted on April 9, 2008 at 07:54:58 PM by janice house

just got back from evening dog walk, heard my first woodcock of the year

 

 

Yellow Shafted Flicker
Posted on April 9, 2008 at 04:03:58 PM by janice house

Geoff had my scope on a flicker in the farm field across from our house today. (Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst)

 

 

Re(2): fox sparrows
Posted on April 11, 2008 at 09:39:26 AM by Barbara Taylor

We usually only see the odd Fox Sparrow in our yard during fall migration, but this morning I found two amongst the 100 or so Dark-eyed Juncos and American Tree Sparrows. The pair of Northern Cardinals stopped by for a short visit with the male feeding the female at the feeder. Two Common Redpolls also made an appearance. (Glendale Rd., Bracebridge)

 

 

Re(1): fox sparrows
Posted on April 10, 2008 at 07:19:39 PM by Al Sinclair

When John said Fox Sparrows were singing I thought to myself that it was unusual since I had never heard them sing before. We don't get many here in the spring, only one at a time and not every year, none in the fall. They sneak into the feeder and are very flighty. I think the reason for the lack of Fox Sparrow sightings here is because there are not many conifers around our yard, just a few Hemlocks.

But today there was a strange song mixed in with the morning chorus of dozens of Juncos and Tree Sparrows, two birds singing a sparrow song type, both hidden in a Hemlock on either side of the yard. I couldn't see them despite a serious effort so I went inside and checked my bird song recordings and as I suspected, Fox Sparrows. Later I waited patiently and finally found one singing high in a hemlock and another sneaking into the area around the feeders. There were at least 3 different birds. Interesting day!

 

 

fox sparrows
Posted on April 9, 2008 at 11:45:22 AM by John Challis

We have been serenaded by a large number of fox sparrows for two or three days now, on Green River Drive Washago. I'd forgotten who the call belonged to until Gayle spotted one in person. Or in...feather, I guess.
Birds are loving the high water levels around here. Juncos galore, redpolls still in the dozen, song sparrows and brown creepers very busy.

 

 

Owl Surveys - Saw-whets
Posted on April 9, 2008 at 06:58:46 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

If there is anyone doing Owl Surverys who gets Saw-whet Owls regulary, I would love to participate! Please contact me!!!

 

 

Explosion of birds and wounded deer
Posted on April 9, 2008 at 00:17:52 AM by LesleeTassie

What an absolutely glorious day. We woke up to hearing two robins and a cardinal which sang for most of the day. Our yard absolutely exploded today with flocks of juncos (mostly), song and tree sparrows and house finches. It was as busy as Tim Hortons and was absolutely wonderfully deafening all day around our place.
Just before 7 p.m., a young deer, probably last years fawn, appeared at the back of our house, wet from (we assume) swimming across the creek. It was looking for the fallen bird seed. What we noticed from our elevated position looking down on the deer, was a very long wide gash/wound along its spine. It wasn't bleeding at all, but was very pink. We couldn't be sure that it wasn't just pink skin, but Steve seemed to think it was actually a gash. The deer appeared to be fine otherwise, and left when it noticed us above in the window. (Bracebridge)

 

 

Kearney Spring...So Far
Posted on April 8, 2008 at 05:36:05 PM by Wayne Bridge

TODAY! spring finally arrived in Kearney (see Kip Daynard re. Bay Lake and add about 10 mins. north). First it was a flock of 2-3 dozen juncos. Then sparrows -- tree, song, chipping, and one stunningly beautiful male fox sparrow). Add to that a flock of about 4 dozen redpolls. There are robins singing from the outback woods but we still have too much snow in the yard for them to be grubbing. I've "heard" killdeers but interestingly enough I've yet to see, or hear, a sapsucker!
The Magnetawan is opening up so the usual duck migrants are here. A couple goldeneyes yasterday (of note). There are still no grackles other than by the river -- again, due to the amount of snow still on the yard (9 inches today). The woods o/b still has FEET of snow!

 

 

Turtles - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on April 8, 2008 at 03:50:33 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon at the still ice covered Bracebridge Ponds there was only a small pool of open water near the north end of cell 1. This was just enough to entice six Mallards to come in for a landing. A lone Tree Swallow swooped back and forth over icy cell 2, but soon gave up and flew off. An Eastern Phoebe was calling by the dumping ponds and several Song Sparrows were also claiming their territories.

At the west edge of cell 2 there was a narrow strip of open water. Here we found a large Snapping Turtle with only its head above water, and only six feet away there was a Painted Turtle just hanging in the water, completely submerged. As we approached, they barely budged, perhaps still waking up from their winter slumber.

Bracebridge Ponds map: http://www3.sympatico.ca/muskokabirder/photos/pondsmap.jpg
(north is approx. at top, west is approx. at left)

 

 

Osprey in Bracebridge
Posted on April 8, 2008 at 02:51:00 PM by Jim Griffin

I got a nice viewing of an osprey checking out the muskoka river at the wellington st bridge at noon today.

 

 

Re(1): Bay Lake - Song Sparrow - Apr. 10th
Posted on April 10, 2008 at 10:21:10 AM by Kip Daynard

A Song Sparrow, first for the year here, singing his heart out this morning in the chilly sub-zero air.

A short 10 minute walk revealed the following species this morning:

Brown Creeper (x2)
Pileated Woodpecker (calling)
Juncos (x6)
Tree Sparrows (x3)
Common Redpolls (x3)
Eastern Phoebe

plus the regulars

 

 

Re(1): Bay Lake - Fox Sparrows - Apr. 9th
Posted on April 9, 2008 at 12:58:00 PM by Kip Daynard

Two Fox Sparrows in our yard today - first of the season.

Also seen/heard today:

Pileated Woodpecker
American Tree Sparrows (x4)
Dark-eyed Juncos (x7)
American Robin (x4)
Red-winged Blackbirds (x2)
Common Grackle (x8)
Common Redpolls (x6)
Winter Wren (x3)
Brown Creeper (x4)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Canada Geese (x4 flying)

...plus the year-round residents.

Not yet seen here:
Song Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow

 

 

Bay Lake Arrivals
Posted on April 8, 2008 at 09:57:25 AM by Kip Daynard

At last the woods around Bay Lake have come alive with early spring migrants the last few days! Brown Creepers seem to be everywhere, Sapsuckers drumming, Juncoes now here in number, Geese, Gulls and Herons flying overhead. Redpolls still here in good numbers (50-60 in our yard Apr. 7th). Here are specifics of new arrival dates:

Sunday, Apr. 6th
American Robins
Common Grackles (x5)
Sharp-shinned Hawk (Novar)

Monday, Apr. 7th
Canada Geese (x2)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (x3)
Dark-eyed Junco (many)

Tuesday, Apr. 8th
Winter Wren (x3)
Golden-crowned Kinglets (x5)
Great Blue Heron (x3)
Eastern Phoebe

Bay Lake is 28kms NE of Huntsville, 19kms W of Algonquin Park.

 

 

Hermit Thrush
Posted on April 8, 2008 at 09:43:44 AM by Dawn Sherman

There was a Hermit Thrush hopping around in the backyard this morning.
Main Street in Huntsville.

 

 

Re(1): Sandhill Crane - photo
Posted on April 9, 2008 at 01:06:42 AM by Marilyn Kisser

June and Jim, I work with your neighbour, Kathy, and she said she could hear them this morning - nice photo!

 

 

Sandhill Crane - photo
Posted on April 8, 2008 at 09:19:24 AM by J. Gardner

Jim was able to sneak up on the Sandhill pair last night, and this seems to be the best of the pictures he took. The pair are hanging right in here, and, with any luck, will nest somewhere out on the bog. June Gardner (Hurdville)  photo

 

 

Various Birds, Bala, Rosseau, Port Severn
Posted on April 8, 2008 at 08:14:28 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I saw small flocks of juncos yesterday at the village of Port Severn and Ragged Rapids Rd, Bala. Wood Ducks, Common and Hooded Mergansers and Bufflehead in several locations. An Osprey flying with a large fish at Port Severn and just had a beautiful male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker at home (Bala).

 

 

Water Fowl
Posted on April 7, 2008 at 06:02:23 PM by janice house

At lunch today I drove down Beaumont Dr just past Helen Parett's home # 1447, in the river: 2 male buffleheads, a common goldeneye pair, and in the swamp on the left side 2 pairs of hooded mergansers and 2 pairs of wood ducks. Geese and mallards closer to the bend by Henry Rd.

 

 

Huntsville Spring Migrants
Posted on April 7, 2008 at 05:15:52 PM by B. Korol

Today was a good day for new arrivals in the Huntsville area:

My yard near Ravenscliffe had singing Winter Wren and American Goldfinches.

Arrowhead Provincial Park:
lots of Slate-coloured Dark-eyed Juncos, 2 American Tree Sparrows, 1 Brown Creeper, 2 Song Sparrows, 2 Eastern Phoebes, 1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and 4 overflying Snow Buntings.

 

 

Re(1): Sparrows
Posted on April 7, 2008 at 05:56:50 PM by janice house

We have our first fox sparrow flicking the litter under one of our spruce trees. Tree sparrows are fighting with the juncos for seed. (Doe Lake Rd., Gravenhurst)

 

 

Sparrows
Posted on April 7, 2008 at 01:51:41 PM by GayleCarlyle

On Friday April 4th at about 7pm we had one song sparrow and 3 tree sparrows looking for scraps under our feeders. And this morning the song sparrow was singing in the wetland behind our house. We live on Green River Drive, Washgo.
We also heard a killdeer this morning.
By the way, the water level in the wetland is extremely high right now and threatening to flow over our road if we get any rain this week.

 

 

Re(1): Winter Wrens arrive at Bay Lake - Apr 8
Posted on April 8, 2008 at 09:01:51 AM by Kip Daynard

I heard 3 Winter Wrens singing during my morning walk today, first of the year here. This is 12 days later than last year (Mar. 27), 6 days later than in 2004 (Apr. 2nd).

 

 

Winter Wren singing Apr 7
Posted on April 7, 2008 at 01:35:10 PM by Al Sinclair

A Winter Wren sang twice this morning from the wet woods across the road from our place east of Bracebridge on Hwy 118E. This is the earliest date I have heard them here, previous early date was April 10 in 2006, last year it was April 19.

 

 

Merlin's are back!
Posted on April 7, 2008 at 12:40:25 PM by Terry & Marion Whittam

Our resident Merlin's are back and appear to be focusing on a high pine tree just back of the cottage...... could be a noisy summer! They keep flying back and forth to a perch near the top of a good 125 foot pine tree taking turns bringing in material!
Barred owls were also hooting Saturday night on Clear Rd east of Washago.
Herring gulls are also sitting out on the ice waiting for a rock to appear to nest on!
Spring has sprung! Terry

 

 

Woodcock
Posted on April 7, 2008 at 07:18:22 AM by gerald

Call me crazy, but there was a Woodcock twittering and chittering over Rexal in Bracebridge at 5:55 AM today.
Gerald, Bracebridge

 

 

Re(1): Rosseau update
Posted on April 9, 2008 at 01:10:41 AM by Marilyn Kisser

lot's of junco's this morning along with chipping sparrows - saw a yellow-bellied sapsucker when walking the dog on our trail - and Phoebe was hanging around the deck! the deer still havn't returned from their winter yard yet...

 

 

Rosseau update
Posted on April 7, 2008 at 00:31:05 AM by Marilyn Kisser

I'm pleased to report Phoebe arrived today! other migrants seem to be a little slower in arriving in this area. However, we are still seeing the barred owl daily hunting by the bird feeders and at night there's a whole lot of hooting go on!

 

 

Merlin at Walmart
Posted on April 6, 2008 at 02:28:59 PM by Doug Smith

There was a single merlin near the WalMart in Bracebridge today. I saw it early this afternoon as it landed on the top of a tall conifer at the west side of the parking lot. Merlins have been seen in that area during breeding season for a few years, at least. It will be interesting to see if they stay around again this spring.

 

 

Red-shouldered Hawk - Port Carling
Posted on April 6, 2008 at 12:42:58 PM by Barbara Taylor

At 10:45 a.m. today there was a Red-shouldered Hawk flying back and forth over its territory by the beaver pond along Ferndale Rd. at the far end of the Hazelwood Trail. A Brown Creeper was singing while we stood waiting for the hawk to make another pass. On our way home there seemed to be Turkey Vultures soaring across the highway every time we looked up - a big migration day!

directions: From Hwy 118W in Port Carling, take Ferndale Rd. all the way through the golf course and continue until reaching the marshy area/beaver dam on your left. Ferndale Rd. is across from the LCBO, etc.

 

 

Bluebirds
Posted on April 6, 2008 at 10:12:47 AM by J. Gardner

Just saw three Bluebirds scrapping in the backyard, over site selection. Lots of whistling going on. Ain't Spring grand? (Hurdville)

 

 

Re(1): Tree Swallows
Posted on April 6, 2008 at 10:52:43 AM by janice house

Two in our yard on the hydro wires, have to put fresh cover plates on my bluebird boxes. (Doe Lake Rd., Gravenhurst)

 

 

Tree Swallows
Posted on April 6, 2008 at 09:22:11 AM by J. Gardner

First two Tree Swallow scouts came in this morning. The Sandhill Crane came back for yet another look around the digs. I hope they liked what they saw. Hurdville

 

 

Bardsville
Posted on April 5, 2008 at 11:05:27 PM by gerald

A quick tour through Bardsville, just outside of Milford bay (Highway 118 West) yielded some good birds for me. Three Killdeer were constantly calling at the intersection of Beatrice Town line (which was flooded and impassable) and Falconberg Road and aRed-tailed Hawk soared past. At Milford Bay a Northern Harrier, and at my house in Bracebridge there was a Phoebe! What a nice day to be outside!

 

 

Re(2): Butterfly
Posted on April 5, 2008 at 09:37:12 PM by Al Sinclair

Compton Tortoiseshell is mostly orange. A dark butterfly in April is most likely a Mourning Cloak.

 

 

Re(1): Butterfly
Posted on April 5, 2008 at 06:00:07 PM by janice house

a dark butterfly flew past me and up and over the house, could this be the same species?

 

 

Butterfly
Posted on April 5, 2008 at 04:30:55 PM by Ron Stager

A Compton Tortoiseshell butterfly was on Lewisham Road (east of Barkway)this afternoon. Good to see but a bit late for my first butterfly of the year.

 

 

Re(1): Killdeer
Posted on April 5, 2008 at 06:06:40 PM by janice house

Add to todays list, song sparrow, 3 juncos, pileated woodpecker calling, phoebee and I swear I heard the warble of a bluebird. The red fox was back this morning about 7am, checked out the chickadees flitting in the mugo pines then headed to the neighbours yard.

 

 

Killdeer
Posted on April 5, 2008 at 02:54:06 PM by janice house

First killdeer of the season in the farm field across from our house (Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst)

 

 

Pied-billed Grebe - Matthiasville Rd.
Posted on April 5, 2008 at 12:59:31 PM by Barbara Taylor

At 11:45 a.m. today there was a Pied-billed Grebe on the river at the far west end of Matthiasville Rd., just west of the steel bridge. A male Hooded Merganser was there too. The pair of Red-shouldered Hawks were on territory nearer the east end of the road, calling loudly and circling overhead.

directions: Matthiasville Rd. is east of Bracebridge, off Hwy. 118E. The road loops across the river and then back out to the highway so there are two access points. From Bracebridge, take the first Matthiasville Rd. access for the grebe which was on the first part of the river you get to.

 

 

Algonquin Park birding update: 3 April
Posted on April 4, 2008 at 06:44:21 PM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (April 4, 2008) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

A pulse of new migrants arrived this week (listed below).
Most were a few days later than the average first date
(in brackets). However, this gap is narrowing (compared
with last week's first arrivals) as migrants increasingly
push north on milder days despite the knee-deep snow and
scarcity of open water. This pattern is normal in late springs
like this one.

Canada Goose (Giant form): March 30 (March 25)
Wood Duck: April 3 (April 5)
Mallard: April 3 (April 1)
Common Merganser: April 3 (March 29)
Great Blue Heron: April 2 (March 28)
Turkey Vulture: March 29 (April 2)
Merlin: March 28 (April 6)
American Robin: March 29 (March 24)
Song Sparrow: March 30 (March 29)
Snow Bunting: April 2 (March 22)
Common Grackle: March 27 (March 24)
Brown-headed Cowbird: March 30 (March 28)


FINCHES:
Pine Grosbeak: There were still three at the West Gate
feeder on April 2. This finch usually lingers here into
April only during major flight years and when cold
temperatures persist, as is the case this spring.

Common Redpoll: Up to 75 were at the West Gate
feeder this week, and up to 50 at the Visitor Centre.
Daily changes suggested birds moving through.

Hoary Redpoll: There was one at the Visitor Centre
feeder on March 30, and one at the West Gate feeder
on April 3.

Evening Grosbeak: A male at the Visitor Centre feeder
on April 3 was the first of this species reported here since
mid-February, and probably was a bird returning from a
wintering location farther south.


BOREAL RESIDENTS:
Spruce Grouse: One was seen at Spruce Bog on March 30 .

Black-backed Woodpecker: One was at Spruce Bog on
March 29, and a male was excavating a hole in a utility
pole at the Little Madawaska (km 21.4) on April 3.

Gray Jay: They were observed at Spruce Bog Boardwalk,
and Opeongo Road.

Boreal Chickadee: Try Spruce Bog and Opeongo Road,
and listen for the musical call which they should be uttering
now.


OTHER NOTEWORTHY SPECIES:
American Three-toed Woodpecker: A male was at Spruce Bog
on March 28, and two males were seen there on March 29. A
male was in the Costello Creek Bog, east of Opeongo Road,
on March 30.

House Finch: A female was briefly at the Visitor Centre feeder
on April 3. The House Finch is very rare in Algonquin.

Marten and Fisher: Individuals of both these weasel species
were regularly observed eating suet and black sunflower seeds
at the Visitor Centre this week.

BIRDERS:
Please let us know the date, number and location of birds you
observe when you visit Algonquin Park. This information is
stored in the Algonquin Visitor Centre database, and will help
us to assist other birders here.

Arowhon Road is officially closed to public travel until further
notice. Do not use this road.

Good birding.
Ron Tozer
Algonquin Park Naturalist (retired)
Dwight, Ontario

 

 

Re(3): Late Departures...Redpolls still here
Posted on April 6, 2008 at 02:23:21 PM by Doug Smith

Saw a lone Pine Grosbeak on Hawn Rd. (loacted east of Bracebridge) yesterday, perched in a small maple beside the road.

 

 

Re(2): Late Departures...Redpolls still here
Posted on April 6, 2008 at 10:24:31 AM by willowbeachbirding

We still have well over 100 redpolls here on four of my feeders here in Willow Beach.(Lake Simcoe) Lorena

 

 

Re(1): Late Departures...Redpolls still here
Posted on April 6, 2008 at 08:58:00 AM by Wayne Bridge

This past week (in Kearney) we went two consecutive days without a redpoll seen at the feeders. That hasn't happened since they arrived Nov. 29. I thought they must have migrated away but yesterday we had a male and female.

 

 

Re(2): Late Departures...Redpolls still here
Posted on April 5, 2008 at 00:08:22 AM by Marilyn Kisser

Ihad 2 hoary redpolls here most of the winter, but they seem to have departed ... but yesterday a flock of about 8 common redpolls were at the finch feeder - didn't see them today - just outside of Rosseau

 

 

Re(1): Late Departures...Redpolls still here
Posted on April 4, 2008 at 04:55:42 PM by janice house

A small flock flew over this morning while walking the dogs (Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst)

 

 

Late Departures...Redpolls still here
Posted on April 4, 2008 at 02:35:53 PM by Al Sinclair

We are still seeing Common Redpolls at our feeders but not as many. From a high of 160 in February we are now down to 21 seen today, April 4. We are 8km east of Bracebridge on Hwy 118E.

 

 

Re(3): Fisher pair...photos from Mi-Shell J.
Posted on April 7, 2008 at 05:10:43 PM by B. Korol

Yes, I'd strongly agree that feeding wild animals from your hand is dangerous to them and people. I'd be surprised if the chemicals, fats and sugars in maple cookies are doing these animals any good.

 

 

Re(2): Fisher pair...photos from Mi-Shell J.
Posted on April 4, 2008 at 08:44:04 PM by FrancesGualtieri

Am i the only one who thinks we shouldn't feed wild animals food such as cookies, food that plays no part in their natural diet? And should we be trying to tame them?

 

 

Re(1): Fisher pair...photos from Mi-Shell J.
Posted on April 4, 2008 at 08:36:22 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

As I found out a few years ago, fishers will eat just about anything including cinnamon buns and dog kibble. Not sure about vegetables but they are certainly opportunistic! I am surprised that they are so accepting of humans, though, but then I always photograph them from the inside and have never tried to hand-feed them!!!

 

 

Fisher pair...photos from Mi-Shell J.
Posted on April 4, 2008 at 02:27:10 PM by Al Sinclair

Mi-Shell Jessen sent us these photos and the message copied below. The Jessens live east of Bracebridge on Fraserburg Rd.

Today I thought I should send you these pictures about the 2 Fishers we have here. The surprising thing is, that in only 2 days time they became totally friendly! To the point of taking a cookie from my hand. Of course maple cream cookies are not normally on the eating list of a Fisher, but this one took a particular shine to it.- The Fisher Queen - that is. Mr. Fisher is a little more reserved - but none the less inquisitive. She by the way has a pink spot on her nose and a nick in her ear..... Feel free to publish them on our behalf.

The Fisher Queen photo   The Fisher King photo

 

 

Sandhills
Posted on April 3, 2008 at 05:22:30 PM by J. Gardner

Among spring arrivals today, a pair of Sandhill Cranes, checking out the boggy area in the beaver pond. Hurdville

 

 

Port Sydney arrivals
Posted on April 3, 2008 at 04:10:37 PM by Jim Griffin

The migrants are starting to show up here too; first grackle yesterday, first robin today, had great blue herons on monday, but they have moved on as their wading spots are now to deep. Several pairs of canada geese making lots of noise, a pair of hooded mergansers today, and 4 male red head ducks sat on the ice in the sun for the afternoon. While walking the dog up near the dam heard a Merlin overhead.

 

 

Re(1): Arrivals east of Bracebridge
Posted on April 3, 2008 at 04:46:51 PM by janice house

Moira has an immature red-shouldered hawk eating the scraps she puts out for the fishers (Houston Rd north of Bracebridge)

 

 

Arrivals east of Bracebridge
Posted on April 3, 2008 at 01:51:46 PM by Al Sinclair

April 3
Red-shouldered Hawk: Flying circles and calling over its territory at 11:30 am today. First date last year was March 24.

American Robin: 1 in the yard today. Heard Robin chirps here since April 1 but didn't see one until today. First last year was March 26.

 

 

Muskoka River birds
Posted on April 3, 2008 at 01:03:07 PM by Bob Burt

This morning near the mouth of the Muskoka River there were Wood Ducks, Ring-necked Ducks, Mallards, Hooded Mergansers, and Canada Geese. A Pied-billed Grebe was on the river near #1484 Beaumont Dr. and four Double-crested Cormorants were near Henry Rd.

directions to river mouth: Take Beaumont Dr. along the Muskoka River, then straight onto Beaumont Farm Rd., then left onto Beaumont Farm Rd PVT until you are near the end of the road. There is a place to walk over to the river across the road from #1161. From there you can see the mouth of the river and also you can look towards the George Rd. dock. (Bracebridge)

 

 

Phoebe, Bala
Posted on April 3, 2008 at 10:44:26 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

A Phoebe was staying very close to a pair of White-breasted Nuthatches this morning. Not much hope for flying insects today!

 

 

Re(1): American Tree Sparrow
Posted on April 4, 2008 at 03:16:53 PM by Barbara Taylor

A lone American Tree Sparrow showed up in our yard today - haven't seen one here since the fall. (Bracebridge)

 

 

Song Sparrow
Posted on April 3, 2008 at 09:18:38 AM by Barbara Taylor

This morning a Song Sparrow showed up in our yard along with two Robins - first ones we've seen this year. (Bracebridge)

 

 

Great Blue Heron, and others
Posted on April 3, 2008 at 09:18:00 AM by LesleeTassie

A Great Blue Heron arrived this morning around 8:30 in Beaver Creek (behind our house on Santa's Village Road).
We have at least 3 chipmunks up and about chasing each other, including one who found it's way inside our home on Tuesday, which we rescued and returned to the outdoors.
Saw my first turkey vulture of the season on Sunday.
Racoons are awake and skunks have been for at least a month (this we know as one has sprayed outside the house twice now). Also saw a redwinged blackbird (male) in Port Carling on Saturday.

 

 

Spider Photo
Posted on April 2, 2008 at 09:44:59 PM by Al Sinclair

Our daughter Sarah caught this spider in the house tonight by sweeping it into a drinking glass. It was fast, hard to catch. Using "Spiders of the North Woods" we identified it as the Parson Spider (Herpyllus ecclesiastica), so named because it is black and white. Ecclesiastic of course means a member of the clergy. They pursue prey at night, don't build a web and may be the fastest spiders in our area. They are a Ground Spider (or Running Spider), family Gnaphosidae.  photo

 

 

Go Home Lake Rd & George St Boat Ramp
Posted on April 2, 2008 at 08:30:33 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Yesterday I saw 2 female and 4 male Hooded Mergansers in the wetland by Miners Bay Marina Rd which goes off Go Home Lake Road. Several Canada Geese and Mallards too. A Great Blue Heron was trying to hide itself in some bushes too.

This afternoon from the George St. Boat Ramp I saw 3 prs of Hooded mergansers and 2 pairs Common. A Merlin was in a tree opposite the ramp and called for about 1/2 hour before flying off.

 

 

Re(1): Pied-billed Grebe - still there
Posted on April 3, 2008 at 12:51:12 PM by Barbara Taylor

The Pied-billed Grebe was still at the same spot at 12:30 p.m. today.

 

 

Re(1): Pied-billed Grebe
Posted on April 2, 2008 at 07:45:32 PM by gerald

Lucky me, the Grebe was still there. He came up fairly close to the car also.

 

 

Pied-billed Grebe
Posted on April 2, 2008 at 12:43:42 PM by Barbara Taylor

At noon today there was a Pied-billed Grebe on the Muskoka River at the big bend in the river by #1484 Beaumont Dr., Bracebridge. It was at the shoreline next to the road and was very wary, doing a "submarine dive" when we stopped the car near it. Then it kept popping its head up like a periscope to see if we had left yet.

There were also four male and two female Hooded Mergansers at the big bend, continuing on with their courtship displays.

 

 

Bird Board Update
Posted on April 1, 2008 at 07:01:44 PM by Barbara Taylor

Thanks to everyone for all your reports. All posts for January thru March 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, and there is also a copy of all recent posts.

Need help posting photos? Find instructions and do a test post on the Nature Photos Board.
New to the Bird Board? See the Posting Guidelines for helpful tips about using the 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(2): Robins
Posted on April 2, 2008 at 06:30:42 AM by FrancesGualtieri

First robin in Vankoughnet yesterday! Poor wet bird, on the only tiny patch of lawn not covered deep in snow.

 

 

Re(1): Robins
Posted on April 2, 2008 at 00:46:26 AM by Marilyn Kisser

Robins this morning, plus red-wings and grackles (Crawford St) just outside Rosseau

 

 

Robins
Posted on April 1, 2008 at 05:18:41 PM by janice house

A pair in our yard today reported by Geoff (Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst) beside the cedar hedge

 

 

Great Blue Heron
Posted on April 1, 2008 at 01:33:18 PM by janice house

Moira's neighbours at the end of the Houston Rd north of Bracebridge spotted a heron in their pond today

 

 

Re(1): Pileated Woodpecker
Posted on April 1, 2008 at 04:29:55 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon we watched a Pileated excavating a large hole near the top of a telephone pole on Daleman Dr. just east of Rockwell Ave. (Bracebridge)

 

 

my pileated is devouring my willow tree!!
Posted on April 1, 2008 at 10:12:03 AM by willowbeachbirding

Our local Pileated Woodpecker is slowly devouring our Willow Tree in the backyard!!! She's been here every day for a week or so that I have seen but all of these pictures were todays series.  Lorena Campbell, Willow Beach(Lake Simcoe)  photo1  photo2