Muskoka Bird Board - Archived Reports from July - September 2008
Return to the Index of Archived Reports
Go to the Muskoka Bird Board
Posted on September 30, 2008 at 11:58:11 AM by Al Sinclair

Photographed Aug 6, 2008 on the Trans-Canada Trail west of Henry Rd. in Bracebridge. Boletus edulis, the King Bolete, considered by many, including myself, to be the best edible wild mushroom. However you have to be lucky to find any that are not full of fungus gnat larvae. We left this one for the gnats and others to enjoy.  photo



Re(2): Unknown visitor (warbler ?) PHOTO
Posted on September 30, 2008 at 08:07:25 PM by JohnGriffiths

Thanks You been a great Help



Re(1): Unknown visitor (warbler ?) PHOTO
Posted on September 30, 2008 at 07:08:53 AM by Alex Mills

Hello John: This is a yellow-rumped warbler in fall colours. You will see numbers of them for the next couple of weeks. Watch for the last individuals of other warblers mixed in with their flocks.



Unknown visitor (warbler ?) PHOTO
Posted on September 30, 2008 at 03:06:21 AM by JohnGriffiths


I found these little guys going from tree to tree in Gravenhurst. Can anyone ID my new find?  photo



Re(2): moth?
Posted on September 29, 2008 at 02:36:36 PM by Dawn Sherman


Very interesting. Thanks!



Re(1): moth?
Posted on September 29, 2008 at 01:30:12 PM by Al Sinclair

It is a moth: Scoliopteryx libatrix, The Herald, #8555 on the North American checklist, larva food plants poplars and willow. They overwinter as adults and when they emerge as the weather warms in the following year, they "herald" the coming of spring. Nice photo.



Posted on September 29, 2008 at 12:10:36 PM by Dawn Sherman

I found this interesting moth on my Elderberry about two weeks ago. I was wondering if anyone could identify it for me?  photo



Great Horned Owls
Posted on September 28, 2008 at 05:46:48 PM by LesleeTassie

A pair of Great Horned Owls called back and forth to each other thru the night at our place last night. Steve did hear one, one morning last week, and I heard one late one evening last week as well. We are located along Beaver Creek which runs off Santa's Village Road in Bracebridge.



Re(1): how do I post a photo
Posted on September 29, 2008 at 03:59:42 PM by Barbara Taylor

See: How to Post Photos
If you'd rather just email the photos to me, I can post them for you. Please include an approximate location and date when the photos were taken, since that can sometimes help with an ID.  My email:



how do I post a photo
Posted on September 28, 2008 at 03:13:33 AM by JohnGriffiths

I have a few birds Ive taken and not sure what they are. I would like to post a picture so they can be ID.



Re(1): Bracebridge Ponds ...Lincoln's Sparrows
Posted on September 26, 2008 at 10:16:51 PM by Al Sinclair

Still 1 Lincoln's Sparrow in the brush pile tonight at 6:30. Also surprised to see 3 Palm Warblers in the cattails chasing small flies south side of cell 3. The Pintail was in cell 3, missed it yesterday, also 4 Green-winged Teal. A Wood Thrush was in the woods west of cell 4 and the pipeline.



Bracebridge Ponds ...Lincoln's Sparrows
Posted on September 25, 2008 at 09:14:39 PM by Al Sinclair

At 6pm tonight I had 5 Lincoln's Sparrows along the east side fence line and in the brush pile north of the pool beside the tire shop. Also in the same area had Pine Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, White-crowned Sparrow, Blue-headed Vireo. In cell 3, 5 Black Ducks, 4 Blue-winged Teal, dozen Wood Ducks, few Mallards.



Great Egret
Posted on September 25, 2008 at 04:54:45 PM by janice house

My brother lives in Stouffville and twice this week he saw the egret where The Donald Cousins Parkway meets the 407on



Am. Golden Plover
Posted on September 25, 2008 at 03:23:32 PM by Wilf Yusek

This morning during a round of golf at Muskoka Highlands Golf course on Monck Rd, I saw 2 American Golden Plovers on the 16th fairway, they flew south as more golfers flushed them.



Sharp Shinned Hawk
Posted on September 25, 2008 at 10:52:57 AM by janice house

twice this week a sharpy has flown over the house, this morning he was being escorted by 5 starlings (Doe Lake Rd., Gravenhurst)



Muskoka Field Naturalists - next meeting Oct. 2
Posted on September 25, 2008 at 08:36:58 AM by Barbara Taylor

MFN meeting Thursday, October 2 at 7:30 p.m., Bracebridge
From the Wakerobin, newsletter of the Muskoka Field Naturalists:

The Return of Piping Plovers by Mark Shorman from Midhurst MNR
Piping Plovers are shore birds that are internationally listed as an endangered species primarily due to the intense recreational use of shoreline habitat. Mark will share the story that includes the care, nurture and protection of these birds in conflict with recreational pressures to fledging 3 young birds at Sauble Beach in 2007. He will also present the 2008 story of guardianship and natural resource management of birds nesting at Sauble, Oliphant, and Wasaga Beach including the trials and tribulations and most importantly the benefit of community stewardship.

September through January meetings will be at the Latter Day Saints Church located at 705 Cedar Lane, Bracebridge (corner of Taylor Rd. & Cedar Lane near Home Depot). Visitors welcome to attend.



Posted on September 22, 2008 at 06:45:59 PM by Al Sinclair

Damselflies found in Muskoka in the fall are most likely this species, the only damselfly with 2 spots on each side of the thorax (just visible on the female photo below).  Photos taken in my backyard this morning:

Lestes congener - Spotted Spreadwing – male  photo

Lestes congener - Spotted Spreadwing – female  photo



Re(1): high-bush cranberries
Posted on September 24, 2008 at 11:07:55 AM by CarolWagg

Thanks for all the input. I know I have made the jelly in the past and found it somewhat malodourous, so I'll pick a day when the house is empty of guests and open the windows wide. I have some already picked so will do a before-and-after frost comparison.



Re(2): high-bush cranberries
Posted on September 24, 2008 at 10:44:47 AM by Goodyear

To say the smell is unpleasant is putting it mildly! We made jelly with our high-bush cranberries and added rose hips. The smell was terrible as we cooked them, but the final jelly tasted great.



Re(1): high-bush cranberries
Posted on September 23, 2008 at 10:58:38 PM by DBurton

The jelly is ok for putting on turkey, but I wouldn't boil them up in the house because the odour is somewhat unpleasant.



Re(1): high-bush cranberries
Posted on September 23, 2008 at 05:26:57 PM by David Hatch

Clevelands House has a hedge of high bush cranberries and I have often seen Bohemian and, rarely, Cedar Waxwings eating the berries, usually in late winter. Often Pine Grosbeaks will feed on them too.



Re(2): high-bush cranberries
Posted on September 23, 2008 at 02:25:30 PM by J. Gardner

Absolutely nothing eats the berries on our Highbush Cranberries which I planted as a wildlife food provider. The waxwings, both Cedar and Bohemian (when around) fly into the shrubs, test it out, and fly on.



Re(1): high-bush cranberries
Posted on September 23, 2008 at 10:58:01 AM by AlJohnston

We have a high-bush cranberry hedge along our property line and Cedar Waxwings just love them.



Re(2): high-bush cranberries
Posted on September 24, 2008 at 02:20:21 PM by John Challis

It may be that the berries have little energy content, and the birds are intent on fattening up for migration. A berry that's all pectin and acid won't have a lot of food value in it, I'd imagine. But then I'm no dietitian so any advice I offer isn't even for the birds.



Re(1): high-bush "cranberries"
Posted on September 22, 2008 at 05:05:39 PM by Barbara Taylor

I've never tried making jelly with them, but I found a couple websites which suggest picking before a frost.  I've heard birds are supposed to feed on the berries, but I've never seen any birds remotely interested. Perhaps it's a food of last resort because they tend to be sour/bitter?

from: Highbush Cranberry - Information for the Consumer
"If you want to cook the fruit it is best picked before a frost. At this time the berries have their highest pectin levels, and the characteristic musty smell of highbush cranberry will be less."

from: The Highbush Cranberry - A Multipurpose Shrub
"When fresh, the fruit are hard, very sour (acidic) and high in pectin. If picked after a heavy frost, the fruit are softer and more palatable, although during cooking, they do develop a somewhat musty odour that people find objectionable. The fruit is best when picked slightly under-ripe, and prepared as sauce or jelly. The flavour has been favourably compared to that of the true cranberry."



high-bush "cranberries"
Posted on September 22, 2008 at 11:35:18 AM by CarolWagg

I know they are not really cranberries, but there is a good crop and I'd like to make jelly. I think I remember something about them needing a frost before picking, but I could well be wrong. Does anyone know? To make this a bird-board related post, perhaps I should just leave them as winter food for winged visitors!



Re(1): Algonquin Park, Addition - Le Conte's Sparrow
Posted on September 22, 2008 at 07:23:34 PM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Lev Frid on ONTBIRDS (September 22, 2008) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Hello All,
The "Mystery Sparrow" seen at Algonquin Park yesterday (Sept. 21) is now
generally accepted as a LE CONTE'S SPARROW. These are annual in the long
grass at the Lake of Two Rivers end of the Old Airfield. This one was a bit
early, but this is typically when their migration begins (peaks from Sept.
25 to Oct. 9, continues to at most to Oct. 20). They don't flush easily, so
patience is needed to see one. SAVANNAH and SONG SPARROWS were also present.

Also, watch for Nelson's Sharp-Tailed Sparrow in the sedge marsh at the Two
Rivers end of the Airfield, they should get moving soon and most sightings
occur in Algonquin during the first ten days of October, chest waders
are recommended if you are serious about finding any.



Algonquin Park - Specialty Birds, Crossbills & Pipits
Posted on September 21, 2008 at 10:07:00 PM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Lev Frid on ONTBIRDS (September 21, 2008) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Hello All,
It was a classic fall birding day at Algonquin Park this morning.

There was a cow MOOSE in a little pond off Arowhon road. Past the locked
gate at the Old Railway, BOREAL CHICKADEES were putting on a show, with
three individuals feeding in the spruces right beside the trail, along with
present, also.

About 100 Metres down the trail, A pair of WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS fed on
Spruce cones. While I was observing them, a male SPRUCE GROUSE strolled onto
the trail, giving awesome views.

Just past Wolf Howl Pond, I observed a female BLACK- BACKED WOODPECKER. She
was very obliging and provided very close views as well as some photographs.
Further along the trail, a pair of RUFFED GROUSE crossed the trail, and
further still, a male RUFFED GROUSE was displaying alongside the trail.

A RIVER OTTER was observed at West Rose Lake, along with a few WHITE-CROWNED
SPARROWS and PALM WARBLERS. On the way back, at the locked gate, a pair of
GRAY JAYS found us and got treated to some peanuts.

At the Old Airfield, things got a bit interesting. 11 AMERICAN PIPITS were
observed, as well as a strange SPARROW SP. (pictures below) amongst SAVANNAH

A total of 30 species were observed.


Algonquin Park is three hours north of Toronto, via Highways 400, 11 and 60.
Follow the signs, which start in Toronto on Highway 400.

The West Rose Lake and Wolf Howl Pond section of the Mizzy Lake trail
can be accessed by driving down Arowhon Road and turning right onto an
abandoned railway bed.
Park your car without blocking access to the locked gate and continue
to Wolf Howl Pond and West Rose Lake.

The Old Airfield can be accessed by taking the Mew Lake Campground road and
parking at the lot just past the firewood area.


MYSTERY SPARROW: Any help would be greatly appreciated. The back pattern looks like something of an Ammodramus.

Good Birding,
Lev Frid



Re(1): Lincoln's Sparrow
Posted on September 21, 2008 at 01:00:28 PM by Barbara Taylor

We toured some of Mattamy Home's recently clear-cut areas this morning and found a Lincoln's Sparrow along with several White-crowned Sparrows, and White-throated Sparrows. This was at the very end of the unpaved extension of Pheasant Run, off Clearbrook Trail. The forest is gone, but lots of brush piles for the birds to hide in.

(Clearbrook Trail goes through the Mattamy subdivision between Manitoba St. and Douglas Dr. There are lots of parking spots at the Bracebridge Sportsplex near the Douglas Dr. end.)



Lincoln's Sparrow, Horned Larks, Pipits
Posted on September 21, 2008 at 11:52:15 AM by Goodyear

This morning along the pipeline/snowmobile trail on the west side of Cell 4 at the Bracebridge Lagoons we had a small flock of birds which included: 1 Lincoln's Sparrow, 1 Tennesee Warbler, 2 Blue-headed Vireos,Palm Warblers, Red-eyed Vireo,and several Yellow-rumped Warblers. Many Swamp Sparrows along with White-throated, Song,and a single White-crowned Sparrow in the same area. At KIA on Robert Dollar Drive we saw 3 Horned Larks warming themselves on top of the cars. At Henry Marsh there was a flock of approximately 70 Pipits feeding on the now drained marsh.



Autumn Meadowhawk photos
Posted on September 21, 2008 at 11:27:06 AM by Al Sinclair


Photos taken in my backyard this morning:

Sympetrum vicinum - Autumn Meadowhawk – male  photo

Sympetrum vicinum - Autumn Meadowhawk – female  photo



Re(1): Henry Marsh - Pipits and Bronze Copper
Posted on September 20, 2008 at 04:56:17 PM by Al Sinclair

Most Meadowhawks flying now are Sympetrum vicinum, the Autumn Meadowhawk. The Common name was changed by the Dragonfly Society of the Americas recently to avoid confusion. It was formerly know as the Yellow-legged Meadowhawk but only immatures had yellow legs, adults legs are brown.



Henry Marsh - Pipits and Bronze Copper
Posted on September 20, 2008 at 04:31:04 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon there were seven American Pipits at Henry Marsh along with a Green Heron and Great Blue Herons. A Bronze Copper butterfly was feeding on some white asters just west of the bridge. There were many small red dragonflies flying about. Does anyone know which of the meadowhawk species would be flying now? (Bracebridge)



Doe Lake Rd Birds, Gravenhurst
Posted on September 20, 2008 at 03:10:19 PM by janice house

Saw an american bittern this morning walking the dogs along Doe Lake Rd between the Laycox Road and the Tomingas Road. The bird was in the swamp just past hydro pole # 29 on the west side of Doe Lake Rd in about 100 feet. At the Tree Museum there was a mixed flock of chickadees and ruby crowned kinglets at the second parking spot on the left. Nothing on Doe Lake, not even a gull.



Sanderling in Algonquin Park
Posted on September 20, 2008 at 11:35:38 AM by Rick Stronks

A juvenile Sanderling has been observed in Algonquin Park since Wednesday September 17th at the Lake of Two Rivers campground beach. It was still there this morning.

Despite a half dozen geese and many tourists, this bird seems to be content on running around the beach and feeding.

This is a very rare fall migrant for Algonquin as there is very little suitable habitat to attract or hold migrating shorebirds.



Northern Pintail
Posted on September 19, 2008 at 03:58:54 PM by Barbara Taylor

There was a female Northern Pintail in cell 2 this afternoon at the Bracebridge Ponds.



Posted on September 19, 2008 at 02:06:13 PM by janice house

Today at lunch I believe a fritillary landed on our back steps, a viceroy landed on some sedum and yesterday a clouded sulphur was flitting around the yard. By the time I grabbed my butterfly book the fritillary was gone. I only got a quick glimpse but saw a barn swallow on the hydro wires in front of a neighbours home.



Winter Finch Forecast
Posted on September 18, 2008 at 02:14:27 PM by Barbara Taylor

Ron Pittaway has posted his annual Winter Finch Forecast on Ontbirds.
You can find it here.



Re(1): links to the stories - faster loading
Posted on September 17, 2008 at 07:25:55 PM by Barbara Taylor

For faster loading html versions of the articles see:

Draining of local wetland a ‘tragedy'

Leslee Tassie's letter - What happened to Henry Marsh?

Editorial - Some people just don’t get it

P.S. - The flooding of Stephens Bay Rd. referred to in the article was due to a massive beaver dam on the Royal Muskoka property adjacent to Stephens Bay Rd., and not due to the dam at Henry Marsh. Although the water does flow towards Henry Marsh from there, the Henry Marsh dam was not the problem. Once the massive dam near Stephens Bay Rd. was removed, to my knowledge, there was no subsequent flooding of Stephens Bay Rd. there.



Henry Marsh draining..story in the newspaper
Posted on September 17, 2008 at 05:58:34 PM by Al Sinclair

There is a page 1 story about the draining of Henry Marsh in the Bracebridge Examiner published today. It is available online but you should have a hi-speed internet connection to download it. You can access it in pdf format at The story is on page 1, continued on page 6, titled "Draining of Local Wetland a 'Tragedy'". Also take a look at the editorial page (page 4), the mayor and council take a beating from the editor for their lack of interest in protecting the environment. On the same page is Leslee Tassie's moving letter to the editor (also delivered to councilor) that prompted the newspaper coverage. Thanks Leslee!



Rusty Blackbird, Wigeons
Posted on September 17, 2008 at 12:25:05 PM by Barbara Taylor

At noon today there were three American Wigeon in cell 2 at the Bracebridge Ponds. A single Rusty Blackbird was on the Trans Canada Trail where it crosses the pipeline/snowmobile trail just west of the Ponds. At least five Palm Warblers were in the shrubbery north of cell 4. A Solitary Sandpiper and a Lesser Yellowlegs were at the north edge of cell 1.



Re(2): Am. Pipits
Posted on September 17, 2008 at 12:29:45 PM by GayleCarlyle

John and I used to regularly see pipits in the farm fields along Rocksborough Road this time of year. That's just off Fraserburg road about 5km east of Hwy. 11.
Now that we've moved to the Washago area, we'll get out and look for pipts in the fields around our area.



Re(1): Am. Pipits
Posted on September 17, 2008 at 06:42:39 AM by janice house

Yesterday morning I was talking to Tim Mason, he and Melanie live on the Luckey Rd near Raymond. He said he has had so many warblers/grosbeaks/pipits in their yard in the last 3 weeks he had to take the day off and birdwatch, he also managed to get some photos. I may have to go for a drive on the weekend.



Am. Pipits
Posted on September 16, 2008 at 12:58:50 PM by Wilf YuseK

This morning on the 12th fairway at Muskoka Highlands Golf course I saw 5 Pipits, yesterday I went out Hwy 118 west and just past the Kirrie Glen golf course on the left is a new Condo site, I drove in to see what water birds might be on the lake and on my left there were 7 Pipits there.



Cooper's Hawk
Posted on September 14, 2008 at 07:23:10 PM by Barbara Taylor

We had a lot of warblers in our birch trees again today, probably because of an outbreak of fall webworms this year. There were also numerous Chipping Sparrows on our "lawn", most likely enjoying all the weed seeds. That's one good thing about not using get more birds. :)

And with more birds, you eventually get more predators. An adult Cooper's Hawk stopped by to take a look around, but flew off when I stepped outside. The rest of the birds disappeared soon after. (Bracebridge)



Re(2): A Fall Warbler... photos
Posted on September 14, 2008 at 06:35:23 PM by Al Sinclair

"female Blackburnian Warbler suffering from avian pox"
That's what I concluded. At first thought it could be a 1st winter female but looking at Sibley, first winter has yellow patch on the forehead, paler breast streaking and and more grey around the auriculars. The photos show the pale braces (lines) on the back found only on Blackburnian Warbler.

Avian Pox is described as an "emerging disease" (number of cases increasing). I don't recall seeing it here before but this fall have seen 2 affected birds, the Blackburnian and the Mourning Dove in the photo below taken in our yard yesterday. Some birds survive the disease, this bird looks in bad shape, likely can't eat.  photo



Re(1): A Fall Warbler... photos
Posted on September 14, 2008 at 04:29:20 PM by Alex Mills

How about a female Blackburnian Warbler suffering from avian pox?



A Fall Warbler... photos
Posted on September 13, 2008 at 05:31:25 PM by Al Sinclair

Here's one that's not too difficult? It was sick, what disease? Photos taken on September 1, 2008 in northern Haliburton County.  photo  photo2  photo3



Re(1): Warblers and Vireos
Posted on September 13, 2008 at 02:14:17 PM by Barbara Taylor

At the Bracebridge Ponds this morning there was a Palm Warbler in the shrubbery west of cell 4.
When we returned home, we found a large mixed flock of warblers and vireos feeding in our birch trees. Finally got my first Northern Parula of the year! There was also a Ruby-crowned Kinglet - first one I've seen since spring. (Glendale Rd., Bracebridge)



Warblers and Vireos
Posted on September 9, 2008 at 07:33:41 PM by Barbara Taylor

Around noon today at the Bracebridge Ponds we found several warblers and vireos in the woods by the NW corner of cell 4. This seems to be a favourite spot during fall migration. As we walked along the east side of cell 4 we passed through a swarm of small mayflies...several decided to hitch a ride.

today's species:
Philadelphia Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Wilson's Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Blackburnian Warbler



Re(1): IMPORTANT re: Henry Marsh ... photos
Posted on September 7, 2008 at 11:19:55 AM by Al Sinclair

A before and after photo has been posted at the site below. I would suggest that the address of this page be sent to anyone who might like to see or SHOULD see the destruction of this valuable wetland. Copy and paste this url:



IMPORTANT re: Henry Marsh
Posted on September 6, 2008 at 08:56:57 PM by LesleeTassie

As this is not a discussion board for issues such as this, my only intent is to make as many people aware that I can that Henry Marsh has been destroyed. It's been drained.
This is likely due because the owner wishes to develop it.
I'm not sure this will be allowed on the Bird Board or not, as the Bird Board is not the place to discuss such issues. If this becomes a discussion on the Bird Board, this posting will most certainly be erased and so will the possibility of bringing it to the attention of anyone else reading this who doesn't already know.
All I ask, is that those of you who read this and are concerned, to go to Henry Marsh and see for yourselves. Contact your local politicians with your concerns, and the local paper.



Bronze Copper butterfly
Posted on September 6, 2008 at 02:25:37 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning we found a very fresh looking Bronze Copper butterfly at Henry Marsh. It was at the north side of the trail just east of the bridge. This is the first one I've seen there this year. Here are a couple photos from previous years as I didn't have my camera today.
photo - August 14, 2005 at Henry Marsh

photo - June 26, 2007 at 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.



Re(1): Lagoons - Wigeon
Posted on September 6, 2008 at 02:09:18 PM by Barbara Taylor

We were at the Ponds a bit later and found an American Wigeon in cell 3, along with several Green-winged Teal, and American Wood Ducks. There was a nice mixed flock of birds in the woods near the north-west corner of cell 4 - a Northern Waterthrush, Gray Catbirds, Warbling Vireo, American Redstarts, Black-throated Green Warblers, Magnolia Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warblers, Nashville Warblers, Yellow Warbler, and Common Yellowthroats. Also of note were the many Turkey Vultures heading south.  Bracebridge Ponds Map



Lagoons - Pintail
Posted on September 6, 2008 at 11:09:01 AM by Goodyear

We had a female Northern Pintail in Cell 2 at the Bracebridge Lagoons this morning. Two Lesser Yellowlegs and a Semi-palmated Sandpiper were foraging along the west side of Cell 1. There was also a nice flock of warblers and vireos moving through the trees on the west side of cells 2 and 3: 1 each of Wilson's Warbler, Magnolia, Blackpoll,and Blue-headed Vireo, about a dozen Red-eyed Vireos with 2 Philadelphia Vireos moving low through the trees, Nashville, Yellow, and many local Common Yellowthroats. There were six Green herons at Henry Marsh, along with a few Blue Herons.



Cinnamon Bear - photo
Posted on September 5, 2008 at 11:34:50 AM by J. Gardner

Since the bird report board is quiet, thought this picture, taken at the Dunchurch Mall (read dump) might be of interest. Jim took it on August 17. June Gardner  photo



Bala Butterfly Count
Posted on September 4, 2008 at 03:36:31 PM by Barbara Taylor

Sam Robinson sent the following summary of results for the Tenth Annual Bala Butterfly Count held July 5. The butterfly species and numbers, grouped by family, were:

Canadian Tiger Swallowtail, 4

Cabbage White, 2; Clouded Sulfur, 2 (tied previous high); Orange Sulfur, 1

American Copper, 1; Bog Copper, 8; Spring and Summer sub-species of Spring Azure, 3

Great Spangled Fritillary,1; Silver-bordered Fritillary,6; Silvery Checkerspot,2; Harris' Checkerspot,12; Northern Crescent,21; Eastern Comma,4 (high); Mourning Cloak,2; White Admiral,11; Viceroy,3; Northern Pearly-eye,1; Eyed Brown,45 (high); Little Wood Satyr,3; Common Ringlet,1; Monarch, 29 ( plus 16 caterpillars)

Northern Cloudywing,4; Juvenal’s Duskywing,1; European Skipper,1997; Indian Skipper, 1; Peck's Skipper,2; Tawny-edged Skipper,6; Long Dash,11; Northern Broken-dash,2; Hobomok,1; Dun Skipper,9

You can find the complete 1999-2008 butterfly count data as compiled by Ron Stager on my Tripod website. (sorry for the ads on the page, but it's a "freebie" website)



Stink Bug nymph - photo
Posted on September 2, 2008 at 02:50:33 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning I found an interesting patterned stink bug nymph in our pegee hydrangea. It appears to be a 5th instar of the Green Stink Bug, Acrosternum hilare. (Bracebridge)  photo



Wilson's Warbler, Bala
Posted on September 2, 2008 at 10:47:13 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I had a least one Wilson's Warbler feeding around the house yesterday and again today.



Re(1): Common Nighthawks, Woodcock - Katrine
Posted on September 3, 2008 at 10:52:44 AM by Wayne Bridge

Interestingly, Kip, there were 3 common nighthawks taking insects over McManus Beach, Town of Kearney, at about the same time last Friday eve.



Common Nighthawks, Woodcock - Katrine
Posted on September 2, 2008 at 10:28:43 AM by Kip Daynard

Three nighthawks were foraging over the Almaguin Highlands golf course on Friday evening around 8pm near Katrine. At 8:30pm a woodcock fluttered up over the marshy area beside the cut for the new stretch of Hwy 11 near the entrance to the course. Katrine is on Hwy 11 between Huntsville and Burk's Falls.



Re(1): Henry Marsh
Posted on September 2, 2008 at 02:56:26 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning three Green Herons have joined the many Great Blue Herons and Belted Kingfishers as they are having an easy time finding stranded fish and frogs in the few remaining puddles.



Re(1): Henry Marsh
Posted on September 1, 2008 at 08:40:29 PM by LesleeTassie

Yes, it sure has been drained.
Steve & I went out there tonight. We did spot five herons in what's left of the marsh, all rather close to each other. Lots of kingfishers around too.
It's unbelievable.
We passed a young fellow on the way out who said he saw an excavator in there about a week ago and that it's been drained for about a week.
Could someone look into this and post what they find out here. If the Town has done this I hope they have a @%^*( good reason for doing so. The way they're ripping up the landscape around here, it would'nt surprise me.
What a shame!



Henry Marsh
Posted on September 1, 2008 at 11:24:55 AM by janice house

I just received a call from Stephanie Lehman, she went to the marsh this morning and found out the dam is gone and the pond is totally dry. Lots of great blue herons and kingfishers are grabbing up the frogs. On a better note she saw quite a few warblers as she walked through to the sewage ponds.



Sightings at Six Mile Lake - photos
Posted on August 30, 2008 at 10:08:03 AM by Sam Robinson

This Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake allows us to share the property with him.  photo

This Ovenbird met a sudden end when it crashed into our door but provided an opportunity to see the striping on its head and the colour on the crown. --Sam & Earle Robinson—

photo1  photo2



Muskoka Field Naturalists - next meeting Sept. 4
Posted on August 28, 2008 at 10:17:59 AM by Barbara Taylor

(note the meetings are now in Bracebridge)
MFN meeting Thursday, September 4 at 7:30 p.m., Bracebridge
From the Wakerobin, newsletter of the Muskoka Field Naturalists:

"Get Acquainted with your Snakes!" with Rob Wilson
The Muskoka-Georgian Bay area is home to 11 species of snakes. Consequently, one is bound to run into one of them sooner or later! The talk will therefore be a brief introduction to the region's snakes, followed by a behind-the-scenes exploration of some of the most interesting behaviours observed during Rob's 9 years of radiotelemetry work with massasauga rattlesnakes, eastern foxsnakes and eastern hog-nosed snakes; and finally, conclude with a discussion of one of the primary conservation concerns for these animals in the region - roads!

September through January meetings will be at the Latter Day Saints Church located at 705 Cedar Lane, Bracebridge (corner of Taylor Rd. & Cedar Lane near Home Depot). Visitors welcome to attend.



Soldier Beetle - photo
Posted on August 27, 2008 at 08:06:11 PM by Barbara Taylor

I found this Soldier Beetle in our garden today. They can often be seen at this time of year feeding on pollen-rich flowers, especially goldenrod. It was very camera's the best I could get. (Bracebridge)
Family Cantharidae - Chauliognathus pensylvanicus  photo1  photo2



Barred Owl
Posted on August 25, 2008 at 07:43:48 AM by janice house

Last night Moira had a barred owl land on her living room window sill, she believes it was after a tree frog. She has had the tree frogs on her window eating insects. (Houston Road north of Bracebridge)



Re(2): Great Egret
Posted on September 1, 2008 at 03:29:13 PM by Dawn Sherman

Has anyone been over to see the Egret today? I was hoping to get down to see it tomorrow if it is still around.



Re(1): Great Egret
Posted on August 30, 2008 at 03:55:28 PM by Jon Grandfield

Egret was there today about 1 pm, NE corner.



Re(1): Great Egret
Posted on August 27, 2008 at 01:11:41 PM by Goodyear

I stopped at the marsh on my way home from work last night (Tuesday Aug. 26) and the Great Egret was still present. It was in the northeast corner of the marsh.



Great Egret
Posted on August 24, 2008 at 03:35:37 PM by Jon Grandfield

Great egret standing on grown over beaver house in a marsh on Stephenson Rd 7 West at 2:35 pm. This is not far from the Rowanwood Rd sighting.

Directions: From highway 11 go west on Stephenson rd 8 (1st intersection north of junction of highways 11 and 141.)
At Stephenson Rd 7, go right (north) about 1 km to a large marsh on the right. Bird was standing on a beaver house about 125 m from the road.



Re(1): Did anyone see martins in Muskoka this year?
Posted on August 27, 2008 at 01:50:47 PM by Al Johnston

Alex, I heard from a cottager on Sugar Bush Bay at the north end of Lake Muskoka that he had at least one martin around a martin house that had previously hosted a small colony. Too bad about the apparent lack of martins in Muskoka. A friend has a very successful colony, east of Sutton just inland from the south shore of Lake Simcoe. This year he had 35 pairs that fledged about 160 young.



Did anyone see martins in Muskoka this year?
Posted on August 22, 2008 at 05:09:13 PM by Alex Mills

I know Kip Daynard found a purple martin in mid-summer in Parry Sound District, and I have had some reports from Wasaga Beach in Simcoe County.

Is it possible that there were indeed no purple martins in Muskoka in 2008?
I'd be happy to hear from you.
Alex Mills



Warblers on the move...
Posted on August 21, 2008 at 07:45:19 PM by Barbara Taylor

There was a nice bunch of warblers feeding in our birch trees earlier this evening...had to delay dinner so I could check them out. There were two Wilson's amongst several Nashville, Blackburnian, Black-throated Green, American Redstart, and Yellow-rumped. Yesterday there was a young Rose-breasted Grosbeak. (Bracebridge)



Wild Turkey and chicks - Huntsville
Posted on August 21, 2008 at 10:03:05 AM by Kip Daynard

Mama Turkey with 7 chicks in tow, each about 12" tall, scooted across Golf Course Rd. at Muskoka Rd. 3 N in Huntsville at about 8:15pm last night.



Re(2): common nighthawk
Posted on August 25, 2008 at 12:02:58 PM by Kip Daynard

I also saw several migrating Nighthawks on the evening of Aug. 22nd while driving along Hwy 522 in Parry Sound district. I saw a group of 5 near Commanda and another group of 8 near Loring. They all appeared to be flying southward.



Re(1): common nighthawk
Posted on August 22, 2008 at 08:38:44 PM by Barbara Taylor

I think the Common Nighthawks must be migrating south now. Tonight just before 8 p.m. I counted twenty as they came in from the north, circling over our house catching insects on the way by, but then steadily moving southward. At 8:30 p.m. there were still a few flying overhead. We don't have a very good view of the sky so it's hard to estimate how many actually went through. (Bracebridge)



common nighthawk
Posted on August 21, 2008 at 07:44:33 AM by MaryWillmott

Observed two Common Nighthawks feeding overhead over the lake at Beaumaris. First time to see a Nighthawk out here.



Posted on August 19, 2008 at 01:28:19 PM by Barbara Taylor

The water level is still very high in all cells at the Bracebridge Lagoons so no shorebirds there. But there have recently been a few shorebirds and ducks nearby on E.P. Lee Dr. across from the Bracebridge Examiner, next to T&A Tire. There is a partially bulldozed vacant lot which has a pond with some muddy shoreline. This morning there was a Semipalmated Plover, a Lesser Yellowlegs, and probably a Least Sandpiper although its legs appeared dark, perhaps just muddy. It was considerably smaller than the Semipalmated Plover. There were a few Mallards and Blue-winged Teal on the little pond. As we were walking around the lagoons, we saw a Merlin dive down in that area, so the shorebirds may have left.  While we were over by cell 4, over one hundred Canada Geese came in for a landing from the west. 

E.P. Lee Drive is the short section of road between Lagoon Lane and Robert Dollar Dr. in Bracebridge.



Chimney Swift
Posted on August 19, 2008 at 10:49:43 AM by janice house

Saw and heard a swift last night at 5:15 corner of Hiram and Taylor Road, swift was flying towards the hospital (Bracebridge)



Re(1): Robin and Snake
Posted on August 19, 2008 at 08:41:29 AM by GayleCarlyle

Quite a few years ago when John and I lived on Rocksborough Road in Bracebridge we witnessed a battle between a robin and a small snake. Don't know what kind of snake it was though. The snake put up a brave struggle but in the end, the robin won.
I do feel badly for the little snakes but that's nature.



Robin and Snake
Posted on August 18, 2008 at 06:05:47 PM by J. Gardner

These pictures were taken by Tina Jacobson, in her wonderful garden in Parry Sound. This snake was eaten by one of two young belonging to the robin in the picture. I thought it an unusual occurrence, and cannot find anyone who has seen this happen. June Gardner  photo1  photo2



Introduced Pine Sawfly - photo
Posted on August 18, 2008 at 10:06:53 AM by Barbara Taylor

I found this Introduced Pine Sawfly larva under a white pine tree yesterday. It's the first one I've come across this year, but have seen them at several locations around Muskoka in past years. The larvae of this non-native sawfly can severely defoliate pine trees in a bad outbreak. It was first discovered in North America in 1914 in a nursery in Connecticut, and it's thought that it may have been introduced in the cocoon stage on nursery stock or packing material from Holland. White pine seems to be the preferred host, but other pines are also attacked. For more info see

Introduced Pine Sawfly larva - Diprion similis  photo



Re(1): Common Nighthawks
Posted on August 18, 2008 at 11:20:16 AM by Kip Daynard

I saw a Nighthawk last night flying over Hwy 11 between High Falls Rd. and Stephenson Rd. 1 around 8:45pm. It was clearly a Nighthawk by shape but appeared smaller than usual which made me think it might be a juvenile. It was too dark to make out coloration and markings.



Common Nighthawks
Posted on August 17, 2008 at 07:42:22 PM by Barbara Taylor

Shortly after 7 p.m. this evening there were four Common Nighthawks flying back and forth above our house. They must have found a cloud of insects up there since they spent about fifteen minutes in the area. (Bracebridge)



Pelecinid Wasp - photo
Posted on August 17, 2008 at 01:05:58 PM by Barbara Taylor

Yesterday this Pelecinid wasp landed on our window and I managed to get a photo before it flew off. There is only one North American species, Pelecinus polyturator. This wasp parasitizes June beetle larvae...and I know we have lots of those grubs in our lawn. According to one study, the wasp can insert its long abdomen 5 cm. down into the soil to deposit its eggs in grubs. Go wasp, go! (Bracebridge)

Family Pelecinidae - Pelecinus polyturator  photo
(What looks like a wicked giant stinger at the left is actually the abdomen. This wasp doesn't have a stinger.)



Re(2): Flower Fly - photo
Posted on August 20, 2008 at 08:50:45 PM by John Thompson

Here's a web site (which I believe I picked up on this very forum about a year ago) dedicated to these interesting little critters, which you may find useful:



Re(2): Flower Fly - photo
Posted on August 17, 2008 at 02:22:01 PM by Barbara Taylor

They sometimes land on human skin to gather sweat, but don’t bite, and no stinger. Many are very good mimics of wasps and bees, but the huge bulbous brown eyes usually give away that they are flies. Syrphidae are commonly called flower flies, but are also referred to as hover flies. Many species of these flies are considered beneficial because the adults are important pollinators and their larvae feed on aphids and other pests.



Re(1): Flower Fly - photo
Posted on August 17, 2008 at 10:26:42 AM by ann hansen

I've never heard of a flower fly before and would have thought this was a wasp. Do they sting like wasps?



Flower Fly - photo
Posted on August 15, 2008 at 09:29:31 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon I went out to take a photo of a Wasp, but as I got closer I realized it was a Flower Fly. This is a female since the eyes are relatively small and don't meet at the top of the head like they would if it were a male. (Bracebridge)

photo  Family Syrphidae - Chrysotoxum sp. (possibly C. flavifrons or C. pubescens - they look very similar)



Re(2): Great Egret
Posted on August 14, 2008 at 11:14:52 AM by GayleCarlyle

John and I saw a great egret in the spring of 2006 in a farm pond on the way To Sebright, Monck Road, Ramara Twp, just off County Rd. 169. We keep looking in the area every time we are down that way but have so far not been able to see it again.



Re(1): Great Egret
Posted on August 14, 2008 at 10:48:51 AM by Al Sinclair

Great Egrets are rarely seen in Muskoka. I Know of 3 other sightings, 2 in spring, 1 in the fall. We assume these birds are from a small colony on Nottawasaga Is. near Collingwood. This latest sighting is probably of a juvenile from this colony but the photos are too distant to tell. It was originally seen by Christy from Hwy 11 as it walked down Rowanwood Rd. in front of Rowanwood Lodge. It flew and was last seen in a small marsh at the corner of Hwy 11. Anyone driving in that area should watch for it. One of Christy's photos taken though the truck windshield is below, shows its large size. Another photo confirms that it has black legs. There were no leg bands visible.  photo



Great Egret
Posted on August 13, 2008 at 01:57:46 PM by ChristyMacDonald

I thought that folks may be interested in my sighting of a single Great Egret on Rowanwood Road near Hwy 11 at 1830 on August 12, 2008. I did manage to get a photograph through the truck window. I have seen many in Costa Rica but this is my first one in Muskoka!

Christy MacDonald



Re(1): Loud Squawks, Bala
Posted on August 11, 2008 at 01:28:08 PM by Al Sinclair

We had that here about 2 weeks ago, thought maybe it was young begging for food.



Loud Squawks, Bala
Posted on August 11, 2008 at 07:57:18 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Last night about 11 pm I started to hear louds squaks between my house and the lake. After about 1/2 hour I found two Barred Owls out there. Each one made one squawk at fairly regular intervals. I can't imagine that they were trying to entice something to come into feeding range. They were still calling at 2 am.



Sandhill Cranes
Posted on August 10, 2008 at 07:27:46 AM by janice house

Moira saw a pair of cranes Saturday morning in the field where Falconberg Rd meets South Monk Dr and Houston Rd. (north of Bracebridge)



A Couple More Visits by Sharpie, Bala
Posted on August 9, 2008 at 11:03:56 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Last night about 7 pm I saw a sharp-shin fly to a tree from the area of my feeder. With binos I could see that it got a male goldfinch.

It returned this morning, of course, and paid no attention to my yelling at it but did disappear when I played chickadee distress calls out the window. I stopped that quickly though, as I was afraid it would bring in more birds that would be easy pickings!!!



Re(1): Laurel Sphinx update - pupa photos
Posted on August 9, 2008 at 10:59:27 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Thanks for posting these interesting pictures, Barb! I now know what I found in my flower garden last week!  It looked so odd that I had to take a couple of shots!  photo



Laurel Sphinx update - pupa photos
Posted on August 9, 2008 at 09:48:02 PM by Barbara Taylor

In my last update, the fully grown caterpillars had crawled beneath some paper towels I placed in their container to simulate soil, where they would normally pupate. Within 24 hours they had already begun to shrink from their original 4 inches down to about 2 1/4 inches. After three days the prepupa had shrunk down to only 1 1/2 inches in length and its colour took on a noticeable brownish-yellow tinge. The day after this colour change, the old skin was shed and then the pupa began to darken up and take on its final form.

(July 28 - only 2 1/4 inches long; head end is at left side) photo1


(July 31 - prepupa now only 1 1/2 inches long and brownish tinge) photo2


(Aug. 1 - the head end is at the right side in the following photos and the pupa is lying on its back as it would normally do under the soil. The shed skin is to the left. The green colour is already disappearing as the pupa changes into its final form.) photo3


(Aug. 3 - the now dark black pupa has distinctive red markings. The pupa is about the same size as the prepupa, around 1 1/2 inches in length.)  photo4


(The now visible "hook" at the head end is characteristic of Sphinx species pupae. It is the case for the developing proboscis, the long strawlike mouthparts of the moth.)  photo5



Small Flurry of Birds, Bala
Posted on August 7, 2008 at 06:55:24 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I have had very few birds around my place this summer but have been seeing some the last couple of days. Before I moved here full-time in the winter of 2004 I noticed that songbirds seemed to do a circuit around the trees here.

I am now seeing Red-eyed Vireo, Black & White Warbler(F), Black-throated Green(M), A flycatcher I think is a Least. A Great Crested Flycatcher has been in the area all summer and it puts in an appearance but not every day. Yesterday I saw an Ovenbird for the first time this year. A juvenile or female Rose-breasted Grosbeak comes around occasionally as well. Phoebes put appear some days.

I do have some feeder birds too including a family of chickadees that are being fed by the parents with wild morsels as well as sunflower seeds.

It has been normal in other years for there to be so many different birds around my place in the summer that it is impossible for one person to identify all of them. That is why I comment now.



Re(2): bear roadkills
Posted on August 8, 2008 at 11:10:22 AM by Al Johnston

Just returned from 2 1/2 weeks at Killbear Provincial Park. Lots of bear sightings and reports that several were trapped and relocated.



Re(1): bear roadkills
Posted on August 7, 2008 at 08:58:19 PM by BruceMissen

Huge increase in bear sightings, huge increase in nuisance bear incidents, and as you indicate now starting to see roadkill; all since the MNR closed the spring bear hunt.
But if you ask the MNR the bear population has not changed!
I think they better recount!



Re(2): bear roadkills
Posted on September 15, 2008 at 11:43:09 AM by SteveMarks

I have a photo of that very bear, a young male.



Re(1): bear roadkills
Posted on August 6, 2008 at 10:00:01 PM by ann hansen

I also saw a dead bear on Hwy 11 southbound a couple of weeks ago,just south of Gravenhurst. Had never seen one before this year.



bear roadkills
Posted on August 6, 2008 at 08:25:11 AM by Wayne Bridge

In 14 years of coming to Muskoka on a regular basis, plus 2+ years of living in Kearney full-time I had never seen a black bear roadkill. Now, in the past month I have seen three! Two on the Hwy 11 stretch between Arrowhead and Emsdale, and one on Hwy 69 just north of Mactier. Has anyone else noticed a bear increase (in roadkills or living)?



White-winged Crossbills, Bald Eagle - Killarney
Posted on August 5, 2008 at 09:31:02 PM by Kip Daynard

Four days of canoeing in Killarney P.P. (Jul 26-29) was a treat in wildlife experience especially for my 2 and 5 year olds who had never been on a multi-day canoe trip before. We saw two immature, solitary black bears (yearlings?) - one while hiking the trail toward Silver Peak, the other on an island just 150ft or so from our campsite feeding on blueberries in their great abundance. Two cow moose, one of whom waiting at the end of a portage and only seen at close quarters after taking the canoe off my head... I sure was surprised but she seemed rather unconcerned until the shrieks of our little ones racing down the trail sent her off into the woods!

The birds were good too although again I had to content myself with ear and naked eye birding. I hadn't been to Killarney for over 15 years and was amazed at the number of loons there now (fish populations rebounding?). Each lake was home to multiple pairs and we saw fledged young of varying ages from downy flightless young to family groups of 4 or 5 flying between lakes calling loudly to each other. A small flock of Sandhill Cranes flew over one morning while we were still in the tent. Common Mergansers were plentiful with several flocks of 8 or more. A pair of Herring Gulls were actively defending their nearly full-grown fledgling from all comers (from hungry ravens to passing canoeists) as the youngster sat alone on a partially submerged rock in the middle of David Lake.

I was also thrilled to see/hear several flocks of 12-20 Crossbills. I was bemoaning my lack of binoculars (are those wing bars glinting in the sun or just my imagination?? ;) and wishing I'd studied my Crossbill calls more recently as it had been over a year since I'd heard one. I had been listening for the tyik-tyik call of the W-W versus the sharper gyp-gyp-gyp of the Red (which I felt certain I could distinguish), but was confused by something that sounded more like a sleepy redpoll to me but was definitely NOT a redpoll. After listening to my recordings post-trip, I feel pretty certain that what I heard was the "redpoll-like chut-chu" of the White-winged Crossbill described by Sibleys and the "dry, rattling chorus" which unfortunately is absent from my recording.

On our way out from the Bell Lake access road my friend saw what he felt certain was an Eagle by size and based on a description of the white-on-golden-brown mottling was almost certainly an immature Bald Eagle. It flew low right over his car and from the coloration sounds like it might have been a juvenile suggesting a possible nesting in the vicinity?!

Other species:

Caspian Tern
Ring-billed Gull
Great Blue Heron
Barred Owl
Turkey Vulture
Broad-winged Hawk
Merlin (Hwy 69 near French River)
Tree Swallow
Spotted Sandpiper
American Black Duck
Belted Kingfisher
Pine Warblers (everywhere)
American Redstart
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Red-eyed Vireo
Eastern Kingbird
Great-Crested Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Pileated Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Hermit Thrush
Swainson's Thrush
Song Sparrow



Purple Martin, White-winged Crossbills - Dollars Lake (NW Parry Sound)
Posted on August 5, 2008 at 12:42:23 PM by Kip Daynard

I've just returned from a week (Jul 18-25) plus 4 days (Aug 1-4) on Dollars Lake which is on the Pickerel River system in NW Parry Sound district (off Hwy 522 between Port Loring and Grundy Lake). While I did not spend any time specifically birding (forgot binos!) I did observe a couple of interesting species.

Of greatest interest was a single male PURPLE MARTIN flying over the south end of the lake on Jul 25th. I understand that there used to be many nesting colonies on this lake in past decades but this is the first I can recall seeing here in several years.

I also heard several WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS flying overhead yesterday Aug. 4th. This appears to be part of a wide-spread pattern of Crossbill movement as reported recently on Ontbirds by Ron Pittaway among others. Worth noting is a HUGE white pine cone crop in this part of Parry Sound district. The tops of most white pines on Dollars Lake were bending severely with the weight of hundreds of cones per branch! I understand white pines are a significant food source for Type 2 Red Crossbills so this may be a good year for them. See my post (to follow) on 4 days of canoeing in Killarney.

Here's my complete naked eye/ear list from the week:
Common Loon
Spotted Sandpiper
Great Blue Heron
Herring Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Broad-winged Hawk (with fledglings)
American Kestrel (Loring)
Turkey Vulture
Barred Owl (calling 3am Jul 18, Jul 22-23)
Pileated Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Northern Flicker
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Black-capped Chickadee
Great-Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Hermit Thrush
Swainson's Thrush
American Robin
Red-eyed Vireo
Yellow-rumped Warbler
American Redstart
Black-throated Green Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Pine Warbler
Song Sparrow
American Goldfinch
Purple Finch
Cedar Waxwing
Blue Jay
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle



Sandhill Cranes
Posted on August 5, 2008 at 09:32:06 AM by Debbie Adams

Last evening, 6pm, we saw 2 Sandhill Cranes in exactly the same spot in West Gravenhurst (farm field) they were sighted back in June. Couldn't see any young as the vegetation was tall and couldn't stop to take a better look.



Pied-billed Grebe
Posted on August 3, 2008 at 12:02:21 PM by Bob Burt

This morning there was a Pied-billed Grebe in cell 4 at the Bracebridge Ponds. It was about mid-way along the north side.



Algonquin Park - 8 Warblers, Lincoln's Sparrow, Bittern, Merlin
Posted on August 3, 2008 at 09:31:34 AM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Lev Frid on ONTBIRDS (August 2, 2008) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Hello Birders,
I had a great day birding Algonquin Park this morning. Fall Migration is
well underway with mixed foraging flocks common in many parts of Algonquin
Park. Today, amongst the chickadees, kinglets and nuthatches in the flocks
at West Rose Lake and Wolf Howl Pond, I discovered the following Warblers:

Black-Throated Blue
Black Throated Green
Northern Parula
American Redstart
and Ovenbird

Also at Wolf Howl Pond there were two LINCOLN'S SPARROWS, SWAMP SPARROWS a
RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD and a fly-by MERLIN amongst more common species.

At Mew Lake, I observed an AMERICAN BITTERN in the sedges bordering the
eastern side of the lake.

At the Old Airfield, I observed once again a LINCOLN'S SPARROW. The total
number of species seen today was 36. Not bad for early August!

Also, at Ringneck Pond, I observed a big bull MOOSE feeding on lilies and


Algonquin Park is three hours north of Toronto, via Highways 400, 11 and 60.
Follow the signs, which start in Toronto on Highway 400.

The West Rose Lake and Wolf Howl Pond section of the Mizzy Lake trail
can be accessed by driving down Arowhon Road and turning right onto an
abandoned railway bed.
Park your car without blocking access to the locked gate and continue
to Wolf Howl Pond and West Rose Lake.

Good Birding,
Lev Frid,



Re(4): Eastern Milk Snake?
Posted on August 5, 2008 at 06:47:37 PM by Barbara Taylor

Thanks Peter I'm REALLY glad we didn't try for a better look at it! I didn’t know Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnakes could lose part of their rattle and thus appear rattleless.

If we see one again, I'll know to look for side patches (thanks Al) and check if the scales are smooth (thanks Burke).  I seem to recall the body looked rough, so maybe keeled scales, and there were side patches. But then that would make it a "rattle-less" rattlesnake wouldn't it?!!! Yikes.



Re(2): Eastern Milk Snake?
Posted on August 3, 2008 at 12:58:43 PM by Al Sinclair

Next time look for smaller brown patches on the side between larger patches on top, that will make it a milk snake not a northern watersnake. Both could be expected in that area and they can look very similar in color.



Re(1): Eastern Milk Snake?
Posted on August 3, 2008 at 00:44:27 AM by Burke Korol

Hi Barbara,
Based on your description, Northern Watersnake is also possible. If the scales were keeled, it would likely have been this species. If the scales were smooth, Eastern Milksnake is a good possibility. I've seen many more Northern Watersnakes than Eastern Milksnakes in our area.

No rattle means no Eastern Massasauga. Eastern Foxsnakes are virtually never found more than 500 m from Georgian Bay in our area. Eastern Hog-nosed Snake are quite variable and I suppose there is a chance this might have been what you saw.

Detailed field notes and high resolution photos are always best.



Eastern Milk Snake?
Posted on August 2, 2008 at 07:11:17 PM by Barbara Taylor

While at Henry Marsh this morning we caught sight of the tail end of a snake as it headed for cover. The body was grey and it had brown patches along its back. The outer edge of each patch had a band of distinctly darker brown. There was no visible rattle. Could this have been an Eastern Milk Snake? Does anyone know of any other Ontario snake that would meet my description?

There was a Green Heron standing on a tree stump in the beaver pond. A male Indigo Bunting with at least one fledgling were by the Henry Rd. trail where you enter the open area. (Bracebridge)



Carolina Wren
Posted on August 2, 2008 at 08:48:00 AM by Goodyear

This morning at 8:00 a.m. there was a singing Carolina Wren sitting on the railing of our back deck. (117 MeadowHeights Drive, Bracebridge). It flew off into the woods behind our house and we have heard it singing again a few times.



Laurel Sphinx caterpillar update - photos
Posted on August 1, 2008 at 10:45:56 PM by Barbara Taylor

In my last update on the Laurel Sphinx caterpillars they were at the 4th instar stage. On July 18 they stopped eating and by July 20 they had become 5th instars. The new black and blue tail is very distinctive.

On July 25 the caterpillars stopped eating again. They began alternating a rest period with a wandering period when they became very restless and just wouldn't stop moving about. On July 27 they became quite sluggish and eventually crawled under some layers of paper towel I had placed in the bottom of their container. (I had learned this would make a good substitute for soil, which is where they would normally go to pupate.) I'll post more photos once the pupa stage is reached.


Early 5th Instar - photo

Day before pupation begins...approx. 4 inches long when "stretched" as it wanders about - photo

An eating on the image below to watch a short video – video clip



Four-toed our backyard!
Posted on July 31, 2008 at 08:49:49 PM by Al Sinclair

I have been looking for one of these for years! This is the first I have seen and it was in our backyard. Joan found it on a pile of topsoil looking dried out and half dead. However when moistened with some water it came back to life (they breath through their skin which must be kept moist). This salamander is probably one of the hardest to find. I was very surprised to find it here, maybe because of all the wet weather they are wandering greater distances. In spring they lay their eggs in moss on the edge of woodland vernal pools, slow streams, ponds, or moss hummocks in sphagnum bogs. In summer they move away from ponds into the woods. Identifying features are 4 toes not 5 on the back, brown back, white belly with black spots, constriction at the base of the tail where it breaks off when grabbed by a predator. The photo below taken here today shows a square snout making this specimen a male, the female snout is rounded. Click on the thumbnails to see the other photos.

Four-toed Salamander - Hemidactylium scutatum  photo1  photo2  photo3  photo4



Crab Spider and the
Posted on July 30, 2008 at 10:17:29 PM by Al Sinclair

Photographed this Goldenrod Crab Spider this morning on a Sunflower east of Bracebridge. It grabs prey with its legs but holds it in its jaws once captured. This evening the spider was still there but the fly was gone. Eaten already?  Goldenrod Crab Spider - Misumena vatia  photo



Re(2): Moths or Butterflies?
Posted on July 31, 2008 at 06:36:17 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Thanks, Al,
That's what I was afraid of!
It has been so long since I have seen any and the websites I looked at didn't comment on the flight style except to say they were strong fliers. I guess that fast equates to strong.



Re(1): Moths or Butterflies?
Posted on July 30, 2008 at 10:07:59 PM by Al Sinclair

This is typical behavior of male gypsy moths, flying during the afternoon, hard to catch, don't sit in one spot long enough to see what they are. I have seen them doing this a few times, flying around oak trees in rocky areas of Muskoka. The photo below was taken August 7, 2007. I have not seen any here east of Bracebridge this year so far. photo



Moths or Butterflies?
Posted on July 30, 2008 at 02:51:05 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I have been seeing a few moths or butterfliess flying erratically over the past few days. I have never seen them light anywhere and haven't been able to net one. They are medium sized and tan coloured.
Are they gypsy moths?



Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Posted on July 28, 2008 at 03:28:40 PM by Barbara Taylor

A male Rose-breasted Grosbeak visited our feeder this afternoon...first time this year! They seem to be "scarce" this year along with another of our favourites, the Scarlet Tanager. At least the Cardinals are still in the neighbourhood - the adult male brought a fledgling with him to the feeder last evening. (Bracebridge)



Re(1): Merlins
Posted on July 28, 2008 at 03:32:12 PM by Barbara Taylor

We have recently been seeing a Merlin perched in a dead tree at the west side of cell 4 at the Bracebridge Ponds. It was there again Saturday afternoon.



Posted on July 24, 2008 at 07:45:47 PM by janice house

Just came back from a dog walk in Gull Lake Park, two birds flying and screeching, perching in the top of the white pines at the south entrance off Phillip St at Third.



Posted on July 24, 2008 at 06:24:44 PM by Al Sinclair

The photo of this amazing caterpillar was taken by Susan Bennett on July 21/08 near Minden Ontario. It was feeding on an ornamental crabapple. In the USA north-east Cecropia Moth caterpillars were found to be heavily parasitised by Compsilura concinnata, a tachinid fly that was introduced to control Gypsy moths. This fly is implicated in the decline of many native moth species. See this link for more information on this fly, it could be having a major impact on native insects, including the families Lepidoptera, Coleoptera and Hymenoptera.

Cecropia Moth larva - Hyalophora cecropia  photo



Another Spider - Asian Jumper - photos
Posted on July 23, 2008 at 10:09:50 PM by Al Sinclair

Photographed east of Bracebridge July 23, 2008. Two individuals found under a towel on the veranda. This is Sitticus fasciger, the Asian jumper, an introduced species. The 4th photo is a different individual of the same species. They are small, just under a cm in length.  photo1  photo2  photo3  photo4



Re(1): Flowers or Moths, Bala
Posted on July 23, 2008 at 09:28:43 PM by Al Sinclair

Nice closeups of Primrose Moth, Schinia florida. Often found hiding in Evening Primrose flowers during the day.



Flowers or Moths, Bala
Posted on July 23, 2008 at 08:31:49 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I looked out my window about 6:30 pm and saw white and pink flowers in my garden that I didn't recognize. I was very surprised to discover that they were moths!

Evening Primrose Moth (Schinia florida) – photo1

Close-up - Note the green eyes!  -  photo2

There were three of them on Evening Primrose!



Re(1): Imperial Moth and...
Posted on July 23, 2008 at 09:35:00 PM by Al Sinclair

White moth could be Spilosoma virginica, Virginian Tiger Moth. It's well worn but still has the black rings on the legs.



Imperial Moth and...
Posted on July 22, 2008 at 09:38:13 PM by Barbara Taylor

Debbie Adams sent these two photos for identification. The first is a pretty Imperial Moth. Any ideas on the second one? They were both sitting at the pump of the UltraMar gas station just south of Gravenhurst. photo1  photo2



Northern Long-eared Owl at Ravenscliffe
Posted on July 21, 2008 at 11:17:40 PM by Burke Korol

Hi All,
Right now it is 11:15 p.m. on 21 July 2008. For the past hour I've been hearing the deep, single, repeated hoots of a NORTHERN LONG-EARED OWL about every 10 minutes. I tried to call it in and waited in the dark, but it apparently didn't come any closer. If interested, I live at the corner of Ravenscliffe Road and Line Hill Road, about 5 km NW of the Huntsville OPP station.

Around 10 p.m. I heard an atypical call, followed by a typical call of a BARRED OWL, which is not unusual at this location.



Re(3): Learning Shorebirds
Posted on July 24, 2008 at 07:59:01 PM by janice house

Stephanie is a member of the Friends of the Arboretum and receives a newsletter, we registered in May for the workshop. Chris just came back from a few months up north photographing birds. You can check the website for more info:



Re(2): Learning Shorebirds
Posted on July 24, 2008 at 08:41:45 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Sorry I didn't know about the workshop as I would have gone. How did you find out about it and is Chris doing any more?



Re(1): Learning Shorebirds
Posted on July 24, 2008 at 07:19:57 AM by janice house

Yesterday Stephanie Lehman and I went to a shorebird workshop at the Arboretum in Guelph with Chris Earley. He recommends "The Shorebird Guide" O,Brien, Michael, Richard Crossley and Kevin Karlson ISBN 13:978-0-618-43294-3 or 10:0-618-43294-9. Chris taught us to look at shapes of the bill, body, position of legs, wing tips passing the tail feathers etc. not just plumage.



Learning Shorebirds
Posted on July 20, 2008 at 09:42:00 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

In preparation for a trip at the end of August I am attempting to learn more about shorebirds and their plumages. My current knowledge is basic at best. I believe that I could be seeing juvenile birds at that time as the adults leave earlier. I thought I would share what I have learned so far.

I am going to the Hudson Bay area at the Nelson River delta. Fortunately, Bonnie Chartier's book, "Birder's Guide to Churchill" has good graphs in it that should come very close to what I could see and will help me with learning the possibilities.

Seeing a shorebird species at Wasaga Beach on Friday got me taking a better look. Being able to study my photographs instead of just seeing the birds through binoculars helped.

Beryl Lougher, a volunteer with the Piping Plover group, provided the identification as I seldom see SANDERLINGS away from southern beaches in the winter. They were not feeding by following the waves, either, which complicated things for me.

The quality of the light can make a big difference as seen in the photographs below.

Group of Sanderlings Feeding. These are adults with varying stages of beginning molt to winter or basic plumage from breeding or alternate plumage. When seen in close-up it is possible to see the worn white edges of the feathers. White feathers wear faster than other colours. photo


Adult Sanderling Beginning to Molt from Alternate or Breeding Plumage photo

Adult Sanderling Further into Molt from Alternate or Breeding Plumage photo

Adult Sanderling in Basic or Winter Plumage, Fort De Soto, Florida, December photo



Algonquin Park - Spruce Grouse, Boreal Chickadee, 7 Warblers, BB Cuckoo
Posted on July 19, 2008 at 08:25:21 PM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Lev Frid on ONTBIRDS (July 19, 2008) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Hello Birders,
I had a great day of summer birding at Algonquin Park this morning.

First off, near the locked gate on the old railway off Arowhon Road at the
locked gate I had a BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO (this species seems to haunt me
wherever I bird) and several individuals of MAGNOLIA WARBLERS and AMERICAN

Further down to Wolf Howl Pond and West Rose Lake, I was approached by a
trio of GRAY JAYS, a pair and their fledgling. Along the road I also saw
several more WARBLERS of the above species, also adding YELLOW-RUMPED and
singing. Also of note were a trio of RIVER OTTERS in Wolf Howl Pond. RAVENS
patrolled the boggy areas. SWAMP SPARROWS and a YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER
were also noted.

On the way back, at the locked gate once again, I located a mixed-flock of
single BOREAL CHICKADEE amongst the group because the bird was calling
several times.

At the Spruce Bog Boardwalk there was little of note until the part when the
boardwalk enters the actual Black Spruce forest after Sunday Creek Bog near
the bench, when a single immature male SPRUCE GROUSE was seen eating
berries. He was very tame (like most individuals of this species) and
allowed for close views. The most surprising part about this sighting was
that it took place when the trail was quite crowded, at mid-day! Also on the
Spruce Bog Boardwalk were COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, making this the seventh
warbler species today.

Not bad for Late July.


Algonquin Park is three hours north of Toronto, via Highways 400, 11 and 60.
Follow the signs, which start in Toronto on Highway 400.

The West Rose Lake and Wolf Howl Pond section of the Mizzy Lake trail
can be accessed by driving down Arowhon Road and turning right onto an
abandoned railway bed.
Park your car without blocking access to the locked gate and continue
to Wolf Howl Pond and West Rose Lake.

Good Birding,
Lev Frid.



Common Tern Colony, Sparrow Lake
Posted on July 19, 2008 at 07:56:00 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

On Wednesday I talked with Sebastien (he has a last name but I don't know it) who told me that there seemed to be a problem at the tern colony on Goose Rock, Sparrow Lake.

When I got out there I could see that there was only one nest left, possibly two. One tern was on a nest at the highest point of this low rock island and another might have been on a nest in some grass.
Apparently, the birds were there on Sunday but not on Monday. There was quite a wind storm on Sunday night that did some damage to local docks and it must have swept the waves over the rock and destroyed the nests.
One or two out of sixteen is pretty discouraging!

Jan McDonnell & family, Sylvia Purdon & Jim Maguire, the Ministry of Natural Resources, Muskoka Field Naturalists have all worked and supported efforts to recover the Common Tern colony on Long Island, Sparrow Lake from the total takeover by Herring and Ring-billed Gulls.
We have had two good years out of the last four so we will just keep working on it!
At least we now know why the terns don't nest on Goose Rock all the time.

The Last Nest photo

(Not sure that this tern will stay on the nest without the support of the others.
The stuff you see around the tern is the product of the bird after which this rock is named!)



Another Spider - photo - Common House Spider
Posted on July 18, 2008 at 10:05:49 PM by Al Sinclair

Photographed tonight east of Bracebridge. Bottom photo shows her egg sacs.
Common House Spider - Achaearanea tepidariorum photo1  photo2



Re(1): Tussock Moth caterpillar - photo
Posted on July 21, 2008 at 11:34:18 AM by GayleCarlyle

By coincidence I had one of these creatures crawling across my foot on Saturday. So I had John take a photo of it for i.d. (I figured it was some kind of tussock moth) but now I know what it is.
I let it crawl across my hand (didn't know about the danger) but there was no skin reaction so I must be one of those people who don't respond.
On another caterpillar note, we have been watching a couple of monarch larvae on a milkweed plant outside our door and noticed yesterday that we already have a chrysalis. Is that a bit early?



Tussock Moth caterpillar - photo
Posted on July 16, 2008 at 09:35:48 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon I found this very interesting caterpillar resting on the side of our house under a birch tree. It is the larva of the White-marked Tussock Moth (Orgyia leucostigma). This caterpillar, as well as other Tussock Moth species, can cause allergic reactions in some people if the hairs touch sensitive skin. (Bracebridge)  photo



Re(2): Baby Broad
Posted on July 17, 2008 at 10:14:16 PM by Marilyn Kisser

so glad he will be well taken care of at A Wing And a Prayer!



Re(1): Baby Broad
Posted on July 16, 2008 at 07:56:06 PM by Al Sinclair

Janice's photos of the young Broad-winged.  photo1  photo2



Baby Broad WingedHawk
Posted on July 16, 2008 at 06:10:56 PM by janice house

On Sunday on the way to pick up Moira for a birding day I found a baby about 1/4 of a mile from the north end of South Monk Drive. He was just sitting on the road, when I drove by he seemed alert and did not look injured. I called Al Sinclair from Moira's after we went back and picked him up and then phoned Janice at Wing and a Prayer.
She asked us to check and see if there was any padding on his breast bone and if not to bring him over. Janice told us that he probably had blown/fallen from the nest and once on the ground he would not be fed. They only feed in the nest, she said he probably had not eaten in 24 hours and would not survive without food another day. I'm glad I did not have to put him back in the bush, he sure was homely.



Re(2): Merlins (ID please)
Posted on July 17, 2008 at 09:18:55 PM by Doug Smith

Janice and Al -- good to hear you spotted them! That is great to think they are somehow still successfully raising young there, despite the massive destruction of habitat in the area.



Re(1): Merlins (ID please)
Posted on July 17, 2008 at 02:19:55 PM by Al Sinclair

Was by there today at about 2pm. Looked like a juvenile Merlin sitting in the dead tree, but can't be positive, didn't have binos. They have nested in that area for a few years now, used to be somewhere south of Home Depot but Walmart wrecked that. Good to know they are still here.



Merlins (ID please)
Posted on July 16, 2008 at 06:02:01 PM by janice house

Just got home now, went to Walmart after work and came home via hwy 11, I was just down the south bound ramp a little way when I heard the calls. I backed up and parked on the side of the road beside Home Depot. There are 3 birds in a huge dead pine tree which is on the north west side, actually on the right if you were coming in the ramp from hwy 11 north taylor road exit. I think there are 2 young, and one parent.



Laurel Sphinx Moth caterpillars - photos
Posted on July 16, 2008 at 12:37:07 PM by Barbara Taylor

Update on previous post about the Laurel Sphinx Moth...

All five of the eggs laid by the moth hatched and the caterpillars are growing rapidly as they munch through lilac leaves. The first two photos were taken this morning - 16 days old now. The third photo is of a one day old caterpillar which you can hardly see against the mid-vein of the lilac leaf...except for its "horn" at the tail-end which was solid black in the early days.  photo1  photo2  photo3



Posted on July 16, 2008 at 12:19:03 PM by Barbara Taylor

Over the past couple of days we've had a big increase in fledglings in our yard. This morning there are two families of Blue Jays to add to the hubbub. Other fledglings still being fed by their parents include Chipping Sparrows, Red-breasted Nuthatches, American Robins, American Crows, and Northern Cardinals. Several juvenile birds seem to be fending for themselves now including a Brown Thrasher, Eastern Phoebe, Great-crested Flycatcher, Hairy Woodpeckers, White-breasted Nuthatches, Common Grackle, Mourning Doves, and several Purple Finch. A family of three Broad-winged Hawks have circled overhead a few times recently too. (Bracebridge)



Re(3): Birds Around My Place, Bala
Posted on July 17, 2008 at 06:52:53 AM by FrancesGualtieri

Thanks for the information, Eleanor. Everyone's photos, including yours, are fantastic on this web site.



Re(2): Birds Around My Place, Bala
Posted on July 16, 2008 at 08:02:23 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I can imagine how daunting it would be to make a decision about what features you need and what you don't!
I started on the Canon gear path when I purchased a semi-pro video camera about 15 years ago. I upgraded with Canon lenses which lead to film cameras bodies, digital camera bodies and both new and used bodies and lenses.
I am using a 40D with a 100-400 zoom lens when out in my kayak.
My main set-up is now an EOS MKIIN camera body with a 500mm f4 IS lens. The nuthatch image was taken using stacked 2X & 1.4 extenders. I wouldn't normally stack the converters but that is what was on the camera when this opportunity arose.
I leave that set-up on a tripod in an open window when I am at home and working on my computer. When I see a bird I am trying for I run in and try to focus in time to get it.

When I say that there have been few birds around my house until the last week I am particularly aware because of all the photography I have done here over the years.



Re(1): Birds Around My Place, Bala
Posted on July 14, 2008 at 04:18:44 PM by FrancesGualtieri

What a great picture! Could you tell me what kind of camera you use? (We are shopping for a digital camera and are finding it perplexing.)



Birds Around My Place, Bala
Posted on July 13, 2008 at 07:41:20 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Things are more active than they have been all spring and summer around my place. I hope that means that the hawk has moved on!!!!!

A family of chickadees, RB nuthatch family, young hairy and downy woodpeckers, 2 young Rose-breasted Grosbeaks this morning, a female Scarlett Tanager, Blue-headed Vireo, Red-eyed vireo, Yellow-rumped Warbler adult male and juvenile.

A Hermit Thrush has been singing every evening, too!

It really was very depressing to have no birdsong around here since before migration started although I did have a few Purple Finches and goldfinches.

Juvenile Red-breasted Nuthatch (Identified as juvenile by the fact that it sat still long enough for me to focus and get off at least 20 frames!)  photo



Re(1): Bluebirds
Posted on July 13, 2008 at 03:15:43 PM by Barbara Taylor

Could it be due to a lack of food for the nestlings? There seems to be fewer bugs/caterpillars in our garden so far this year and we haven't been seeing very many dragonflies and butterflies around either. Still lots of blackflies though...perhaps its the cooler, wetter weather this year.



Posted on July 12, 2008 at 10:17:29 AM by J. Gardner

We had three boxes of bluebirds on the place for the first time this year. Unfortunately, all three boxes failed. The two surviving young in the last box apparently died a day or two ago. We figure that the parents taking food into the boxes, wet from these incessant rains, have made the young wet and that they died of exposure. Any other explanations would be appreciated. (Hurdville)



Re(3): Groundhog tunnels
Posted on July 16, 2008 at 00:18:20 AM by Marilyn Kisser

we have a groundhog family here also and can't figure out what they do with the earth either! there is some dirt around a couple of the entrances, but you would think there would be more!



Re(2): Groundhog tunnels
Posted on July 14, 2008 at 10:39:44 AM by FrancesGualtieri

I wonder if that explanation is correct, as their tunnels can be very long, over 45 feet. We have one at our place, going from a bush area to the exact centre of our (fenced) vegetable garden! It must be well over 50 feet long, much of it under lawn. The main entrance would thus have to have ALOT of dirt around it, and we have not seen that.



Re(1): Groundhog tunnels
Posted on July 13, 2008 at 02:47:50 PM by Barbara Taylor

I believe they just push the earth out of the entrance to their main tunnel and that's why you often see a large mound of soil around the hole. There can be multiple entrances to their tunnel system. Sometimes a secondary entrance/exit hole will be kept more discreet without piles of earth around it.



Groundhog tunnels
Posted on July 12, 2008 at 06:54:20 AM by FrancesGualtieri

What do groundhogs do with the earth when they make their long tunnels?
Frances Gualtieri
in groundhog-infested Vankoughnet



Northern Shovelers - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on July 11, 2008 at 12:56:29 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds we found a pair of Northern Shovelers in cell 3. The male is in eclipse plumage.



Red-breasted Nuthatches
Posted on July 10, 2008 at 06:54:26 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I am happy to see a family of Red-breasted Nuthatches around this morning! They are feeding at least one fledgling.   There was a newly fledged Yellow-bellied Sapsucker here yesterday morning and a family group of chickadees. (Bala)



Green Lacewing - photo
Posted on July 9, 2008 at 10:00:08 PM by Barbara Taylor

I was happy to see this Green Lacewing in our yard today...will help control the aphid population and other "bad bugs". (Bracebridge)

Order Neuroptera - Family Chrysopidae  photo



Species seen today...Bracebridge Resource Management Centre
Posted on July 8, 2008 at 06:04:47 PM by Al Sinclair

On our Early Morning Bird Walk today at the Bracebridge Resource Management Centre we recorded the species listed below. The walk was one of the Nature Quest Stewardship Series workshops sponsored by the Parry Sound-Muskoka Stewardshgip Network. The Bracebridge Resource Management Centre is located east of Hwy 11 approx 5 km north of Bracebridge.

Broad-winged Hawk
American Herring Gull
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Cedar Waxwing
Winter Wren
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Black-capped Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Blue Jay
Blue-headed Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
American Goldfinch
Nashville Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Pine Warbler
Scarlet Tanager
Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
-------- STATISTICS --------
Species seen - 33



Re(3): Upland Sandpiper Brechin
Posted on July 15, 2008 at 04:49:56 PM by GayleCarlyle

Janice: yes, it was the first stop I believe. The road has large fields on either side.
whenever we see the upland sandpiper on that road, it is perched atop the big boulder on the west side of the road near the fence.



Re(2): Upland Sandpiper Brechin
Posted on July 10, 2008 at 07:12:33 PM by janice house

Gayle: is that one of the spots we went to on the MFN outing?



Re(1): Upland Sandpiper Brechin
Posted on July 10, 2008 at 09:03:33 AM by GayleCarlyle

There has been a pair of upland sandpipers seen regularly on McArthur Sideroad outside of Washago. They are usually perched on top of a large boulder on the west side of the road in a farm field.
It's a beautiful little road to walk along in June. Lots of bobolinks, meadowlarks, and sparrows.
Directions. Take Cooper's Falls Road east from Highway 11 for about 10 km, McArthur Sideroad is on the right hand side up a hill.



Upland Sandpiper Brechin
Posted on July 5, 2008 at 06:40:29 PM by janice house

Last week on his way home from the cottage my brother had to make a pit stop for one of the boys. At the south end of Brechin across the railroad tracks first left. A sandpiper popped up on a fence post and posed for a few minutes so Steve was able to get pictures on his phone.



Re(1): Brewer's Blackbirds...request for information
Posted on July 30, 2008 at 10:00:11 PM by waltonSayers

We are happy to see that the Brewer's Blackbird that we found first nesting in Muskoka a few years back are still around. We still have the photo taken that day.

Ken Walton & Lynn Sayers



Re(2): Brewer's Blackbirds...request for information
Posted on July 6, 2008 at 10:35:09 AM by Al Sinclair

Three birders from the Toronto area came up to Muskoka Saturday morning and sent me a report. Here is their comments on Brewer's.
"We started today on Beatrice Road. We think there are a dozen or more Brewer's but very difficult to see because they spend most of the time on the ground in deep grass. We found them all the way from Falkenburg Rd to about a km west but got very few good looks in about 2 hours."
from: Hugh Currie, Richard Pope and Margaret Bain.



Brewer's Blackbirds...request for information
Posted on July 4, 2008 at 07:45:55 PM by Al Sinclair

Looks like nobody checked this spring so I had to go take a look myself. After close to an hour hanging around the corner I eventually found a female foraging on Beatrice Town Line Rd. about 500m from Falkenburg Rd. just where the road starts going downhill. It appeared to be catching European Skippers, thousands of them were in vetch along the roadside. By now it seems like the Brewer's have finished nesting and have dispersed from the corner. When the bird I found flushed it flew over to the barnyard to the south.



Re(2): Chimney Swifts…Gravenhurst
Posted on July 7, 2008 at 03:38:35 PM by DiannaWolfe

There were at least 4 chimney swifts flying just south of the Canadian Tire on Muskoka Rd N in Gravenhurst this afternoon.



Re(2): Chimney Swifts...Rosseau
Posted on July 4, 2008 at 07:47:36 PM by Al Sinclair

Today at around 8:30am I found 2 swifts flying around the main corner in Rosseau.



Re(1): Chimney Swifts...Bracebridge roost?
Posted on July 4, 2008 at 03:50:55 PM by janice house

At lunch I went to Muskoka Vegeez, behind the store there are several nice older homes with chimneys on the river, another possible place to watch.



Chimney Swifts...Bracebridge roost?
Posted on July 3, 2008 at 10:30:01 PM by Al Sinclair

After the nature club meeting in Bracebridge tonight Janice House and I went downtown to check on the Chimney Swifts. Only 2 circled the downtown area, a new low. Last year the max seen was 10, the year before 5. Their current roost/nest chimney is not known as far as I know. At 9:15 pm the last swift was seen flying low heading south-west from Ontario St. down over the hill towards the river near the junction of Dill and Victoria. If anyone would like to help find their chimney I would suggest they monitor that location between 9:00 and 9:30.



eastern bluebirds in Kearney
Posted on July 3, 2008 at 09:15:54 AM by Wayne Bridge

This morning at 8, I saw two eastern bluebirds on the other side of Rain Lake Road. Then one - a male - flew into our yard and investigated the nest box I had (wishfull thinking I thought) put out last April. It then perched on a shepherd's crook for several minutes before flying back across the street. This was a new addition to my 2-year Kearney list. Kearney is 25 mins. north-east of Huntsville.



Bird Board Update
Posted on July 2, 2008 at 09:37:00 PM by Barbara Taylor

Thanks to everyone for all your reports. All posts for April thru June 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 easy to follow instructions and try 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



Green Herons and Vesper Sparrows
Posted on July 1, 2008 at 08:38:02 PM by dbritton

I spent a very pleasant couple of hours this morning birding the Bracebridge Ponds and the airport area.

At the Ponds I had nice looks at a pair of Green Herons who passed over the ponds several times during the 90 minutes I was there. They seemed to be returning to the woods on the west side of Cell 4, so they may be nesting in this area and making sorties to find food for nestlings. The only waterfowl were families of Canada Geese, Mallards and Wood Ducks, but there were lots of songbirds, including Alder Flycatcher, Warbling Vireo, Wood Thrush, Baltimore Oriole, Indigo Bunting and Purple Finch in the woods around the edge of the cells, particularly Cell 4.

At the airport, I had three Vesper Sparrows singing on territory, including very close views of one on the fenceline along the Gravenhurst Parkway to the north of the first set of airport buildings. Woodland song bird diversity was excellent around the intersection of Beaver Creek Rd. and the Gravenhurst Parkway including Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Winter Wren, Hermit Thrush, Veery and Blackburnian and Pine Warblers. A Broad-winged Hawk was also heard overhead here.



Dragonflies and Butterflies
Posted on July 1, 2008 at 01:14:45 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there was a beautiful male Calico Pennant dragonfly at the Bracebridge Ponds between cells 1 and 3. A Widow Skimmer, Common Whitetails, Chalk-fronted Coporals, Twelve-spotted Skimmers, and Common Green Darners were seen around cell 4. There were only a few Monarchs and Tiger Swallowtails, but White Admiral butterflies seemed to be everywhere. The female Wood Duck still has two young with her in cell 3.