Muskoka Bird Board - Archived Reports from July  September 2009
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Red headed Woodpecker
Posted on September 29, 2009 at 07:00:40 AM by janice house

Moira asked me to post this message. One of her co-workers from Smith's Country Gardens was driving to a job site between Minett and Rosseau and watched the woodpecker as it flew beside the truck under the hydro lines.



Posted on September 27, 2009 at 06:50:45 PM by J. Gardner

We put a pile of scrub apples in the field, just off the lawn, to attract deer, for photography purposes. Today, at High Noon, this fellow (lady?) turned up to lunch. Thank heavens for the digital camera. June Gardner (Hurdville)  photo



Birds, Bala
Posted on September 27, 2009 at 05:14:13 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

This morning at about 10 am I had a Blue-headed Vireo, Golden and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, a family of Yellow-rumped Warblers and a family of White-throated Sparrows on the SW side of the house.



Re(1): Monarch and Flower Flies
Posted on September 27, 2009 at 04:59:25 PM by janice house

Yesterday while revamping one of my gardens I found a monarch chrysalis on a dead day lily leaf laying in the earth. It was pale grey/green so I tied it to the stem of a sedum where it would get some sun. The butterfly emerged 15 minutes ago. Hope she makes it south.



Monarch and Flower Flies
Posted on September 26, 2009 at 09:40:29 AM by Barbara Taylor

Yesterday's warm sunshine brought out the bees and the flower flies, along with this late male Monarch butterfly (note dark spot on each hindwing). (Bracebridge)  photo1  photo2  photo3

You can see a comparison of the male and female Monarchs at and follow their migration at



Wild Turkeys
Posted on September 25, 2009 at 12:50:52 PM by Barbara Taylor

At noon today there were ten Wild Turkeys feeding in the field just north of the Strawberry Bay trail parking area along Stephens Bay Rd., Bracebridge.



Posted on September 25, 2009 at 12:43:33 PM by J. Gardner

Tis autumn and the Turkey Vultures are gathering again. Jim took this picture yesterday in Carling Township near Killbear Park. There were actually 8 vultures at the site. - June Gardner   photo



Posted on September 24, 2009 at 03:44:37 PM by Al Sinclair

Photographed here night before last. Seems like every plant species has a lepidoptera species that feeds on it. No wild columbine near us but Joan has some in her flower gardens. 8km east of Bracebridge on Hwy 118E.  Columbine Borer Moth - Papaipema leucostigma - Hodges list #9478  photo



Sparrows - Lincoln, white-crowned
Posted on September 21, 2009 at 01:27:12 PM by Goodyear

On the weekend we had a single Lincoln's Sparrow near the viewing stand at Kerr Park, along with returning White-crowned Sparrows. At Henry Marsh there were several species of warblers including Black-throated Blue, Wilson's, Yellow-rumped, Palm, and Chestnut-sided, as well as a Philadelphia Vireo and a Blue-headed Vireo.



Re(1): White Moth, Bala
Posted on September 24, 2009 at 03:58:10 PM by Al Sinclair

Here's a topside photo. This moth is much more common this year. I've had about 6 recently, first year recorded here at the house. I have seen them before on the west side of Muskoka. The books say they can sometimes be a pest, they eat almost everything so there is no shortage of food for them.

Chain-dotted Geometer photo



White Moth, Bala
Posted on September 20, 2009 at 03:17:29 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Yesterday morning, when out on my lake at sunrise, I saw dozens of white moths flying over the mats of sphagnum moss. They didn't seem to light much but kept flying around.  This morning I managed to find one to photograph before the sun had reached it.  I believe it is a Chain-dotted Geometer, Cingilia catenaria.  It is approximately the size of a Spring Azure.  photo



Winter Finch Forecast
Posted on September 19, 2009 at 10:20:31 PM by Barbara Taylor

Ron Pittaway has posted his winter finch forecast on Ontbirds.
You can read it at:

It sounds like it will be a very "quiet" winter of birding. I've already noticed fewer Blue Jays in our neighbourhood as many have decided to head south. The tree seed crops in the Bracebridge area do seem to be very poor overall.



Yellow-Billed Cuckoo
Posted on September 18, 2009 at 06:54:57 AM by janice house

Last weekend Moira added a lifer to her list, she was vising her sister at their Gloucester Pool cottage on Deer Island and everyone got to watch the cuckoo for a few minutes.



Re(1): Barred Owl...still in the area
Posted on September 26, 2009 at 08:38:40 PM by Doug Smith

Al -- had a Barred calling on last Wednesday night, (actually Thursday morning)at about 3am. It called almost continuously for about 5 minutes from somehwere in our backyard -- great to hear it. We are about 2 km south of the Sinclairs, in Uffington proper. Al is on the outskirts.



Barred Owl...still in the area
Posted on September 14, 2009 at 10:06:15 PM by Al Sinclair

A Barred Owl was in our backyard again Sep. 10 (photo below). We assume it is one of the pair that nests nearby, we hear hoots occasionally throughout the summer. There was a good maple seed crop this spring, the deer mouse population seems to be increasing again with more coming into the house. Maybe we will see more owls here this winter. Our location is 8km east of Bracebridge.  photo



Re(1): Shadow
Posted on September 15, 2009 at 09:43:13 PM by Peter Mills

Shadow Darners were much more common in Algonquin Park this summer as opposed to last year, and Canadas were less common. A fairly wide trend perhaps?



Posted on September 14, 2009 at 09:54:05 PM by Al Sinclair

Shadow Darner has been the most common darner here this year for the first time. In other years Canada Darner was by far more common, this year have seen none.

Aeshna umbrosa (male)  photo

Wide paddle shaped upper clasper  photo

Front side stripe has straight sides, handle on the top photo

No prominent dark cross stripe on the face  photo



Bala Birds
Posted on September 14, 2009 at 09:42:34 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

My hummers disappeared Friday night along with allbut a couple of goldfinches. I haven't any Purple Finches left either. A few warbler species seen today.
The last two days I haven't had to fill my feeder. The birds were eating 1-2 lbs of seed per day. Can't be much for them in the bush!
Posted on September 14, 2009 at 09:14:55 PM by Al Sinclair

This has been a good year for fungi, wet and cool. These photos were taken on September 5 in Harcourt Township, Haliburton Co.


Chlorociboria aeruginascens - Blue-stain Fungus
Stains wood blue, rarely seen with fruitbodies shown here. photo


Leucopaxillus albissimus
David Arora (in Mushrooms Demystified) says throw it against a wall, if it stays in one piece it's Leucopaxillus, if it breaks it's a Clitocybe. photo


Psathyrella candolleana
Purple black spore print, cap fades to white when dry  photo


Volvariella bombycina
Grows from wounds in trees, large sac at the base, rare mushroom here, only second time I have found it.  photo



Sharp Shinned Hawk
Posted on September 9, 2009 at 06:08:29 PM by janice house

This weekend we had a sharp shinned hawk in our yard, the blue jays chased it out of our basswood tree to a white pine across the Laycox Rd and would not leave it alone.



Pine Imperial Moth (Eacles imperialis pini) Caterpillar
Posted on September 9, 2009 at 06:05:14 PM by janice house

I found a dead caterpillar on the Laycox Road just now, unfortunately I was too late to help it across the road (Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst)



Huntsville news
Posted on September 7, 2009 at 07:08:39 PM by mmcanally

Saw a flock of 14 wild turkeys on Port Sydney Road No. 10 just before West Point Sands Road yesterday.
Also yesterday, heard a Ruffed Grouse drumming in my back woods and today the tree frogs were very vocal.



Blackpoll, Philadelphia Vireo, Nighthawks
Posted on September 6, 2009 at 08:46:39 PM by Barbara Taylor

A mixed flock of warblers and vireos were feeding in our birch trees this afternoon. They didn't stay very long, but here's what I managed to see:
Black-throated Green
Philadelphia Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo

Several Common Nighthawks passed overhead tonight on their way south around 7:30 p.m. (Bracebridge)



Re(1): Bald Eagle
Posted on September 15, 2009 at 06:55:59 PM by Barbara Taylor

Could of been a Bald Eagle since it would have appeared black up high in the sky and would have resembled a turkey vulture but larger. It would also have a white tail as well as a white head at the full adult plumage stage. The Bald Eagle population has recovered nicely so the chances of seeing one in your area has improved, especially during their migration period which is happening now.

Breeding Bird survey (choose species Bald Eagle to view map):

Bald Eagle fact sheet:

Bald Eagle Populations in the Great Lakes Region:

Southern Ontario Bald Eagle Monitoring Project:



Bald Eagle
Posted on September 6, 2009 at 11:59:38 AM by MarjnKen

My husband was out fishing on Lake Nosbonsing (Astorville- Just south east of North Bay) this morning and believes he seen a BALD EAGLE flying overhead. It was the size of a turkey vulture, but had a white head, and was black in colour. Are they in this area? Could that have been what he seen?



Bird Activity, Bala
Posted on September 6, 2009 at 08:30:14 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Yesterday was extremely birdy around my place. A couple of flickers spent several hours around the bird-feeder side of the house. Three or four adult and juvenile American Redstarts, a couple of Nashvilles, juvenile Chestnut-sided, Yellow-rumped, an Ovenbird, Blue-headed and Red-eyed Vireo. All were feeding and going both south and north.

This morning I've seen Nashville, Wilson's and Black & White so far.



Re(1): Nighthawks
Posted on September 3, 2009 at 07:26:30 PM by DBurton

Jon Rae reported a huge flock of Nighthawks at the Rama elementary school the same night.



Posted on September 3, 2009 at 05:02:46 PM by GayleCarlyle

Last night at about 7:00pm we watched a flock of about 18 nighthawks fly over our house in Washago.
Sadly it looks like the birds were flying south. Guess that's a sure sign of autumn approaching.



Merlin/Blue Bird Boxes
Posted on September 2, 2009 at 06:32:23 PM by janice house

Monday morning a merlin sat on our tv antenna for at least 30 mins, the blue jays were really vocal but the purple finches, gold finches and jays kept feeding. The bird was very interested in what I was doing and kept a close eye on the dog. Near dusk on Sunday evening I returned from a dog walk and tapped on my bluebird boxes in the front yard, a downy woodpecker flew from one and a hairy woodpecker flew from the other. I assume they have found there winter homes. (Doe Lake Rd., Gravenhurst)



Muskoka Field Naturalists - next meeting Sept. 3
Posted on September 2, 2009 at 09:01:36 AM by Barbara Taylor

***Note location is at Bracebridge...September through January meetings are held at the Latter Day Saints Church located on Cedar Lane, Bracebridge (corner of Taylor Road and Cedar Lane near Home Depot). Visitors welcome to attend.***

Thursday, September 3 - Meeting 7:30 p.m. BRACEBRIDGE
Todd Carlson, Assistant Editor of Sky News Magazine, will open the skies for us with his Astronomy program. It's a hobby for many people ... and it's free!! Anyone can go outside and look at the night sky! Using images taken mostly by backyard astronomers, the audience will learn what can be seen using only the naked eye as well as the binoculars or telescope!!



chilly mornings
Posted on September 1, 2009 at 03:06:58 PM by John Challis

Hate to say it, but there was frost on our roof this morning. Hand me those wax wings, Icarus, I'm heading south with the geese.  (Washago)



Re(1): sightings of sandhill cranes
Posted on August 30, 2009 at 10:59:01 AM by Wayne Bridge

There are gray jays breeding in the area around Kearney - 25 minutes N-E of Huntsville. I also caught a quick glimpse of 4 sandhill cranes in the Sand Lake area last spring.



Re(1): sightings of sandhill cranes
Posted on August 30, 2009 at 10:59:01 AM by Wayne Bridge

There are gray jays breeding in the area around Kearney - 25 minutes N-E of Huntsville. I also caught a quick glimpse of 4 sandhill cranes in the Sand Lake area last spring.



Re(1): sightings of sandhill cranes
Posted on August 29, 2009 at 10:06:24 AM by Al Sinclair

Gray Jays are still breeding in Muskoka east of Hwy 11 where there are more spruce forests. They have been reported around Fraserburg and Vankoughnet recently. There was a pair here near Uffington about 10 years ago but we haven't seen any recently since the neighbors stopped feeding them. If you pull up the map from the latest Breeding Bird Atlas you will see that they are still breeding south to the edge of the shield in the Peterborough area. The link below connects to the map page where you can select a species to view.



Re(1): sightings of sandhill cranes
Posted on August 29, 2009 at 06:30:38 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

The Sandhill Crane sighting sounds like they were in the same field where I photographed two birds on June 15, 2008. I posted pictures of the cranes and turkey but the crane image has been removed from the archives.

Did it look like one of the three was a juvenile - no red on the head?



sightings of sandhill cranes
Posted on August 28, 2009 at 07:59:17 PM by Peterwukasch

Today at approximately 8:00 am I saw three Sandhill Cranes along Hwy. 169 west of Gravenhurst in the pasture on the north side of the highway east of the Narrows Rd. I have birded at a cottage on Narrows Rd. for many years and this is the first sighting I've had of cranes in this area. Considering the amount of suitable habitat in the area and the recent population increases of Sandhill Cranes, this did not surprise me. I also have a question for local birders. Many years ago, I spent a summer holiday at a cottage near Prospect and Wood Lakes. I was out birding in the area every day and was pleasantly surpised to discover an adult and two juvenile Gray Jays in a dense spruce grove.What is the current status of Gray Jays in Muskoka at present. This seemed to be a little farther south than I would have expected in July. Are they still breeding in the southern part of Muskoka? If anyone has information about this I would be interested to know.
Peter Wukasch
Bradford, Ontario



Re(1): scarlet tanager
Posted on August 25, 2009 at 08:38:34 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I had a male here yesterday and a female and juvenile last week so am assuming that they nested in the area. They weren't migrating as they went both South and then back North around the house.



scarlet tanager
Posted on August 19, 2009 at 09:25:35 PM by John Challis

We didn't actually see it but at dusk tonight a scarlet tanager spent about 20 minutes calling beside our house on Green River Drive, Washago -- several chips and then it characteristic chick-burr. I wondered if it might already be working its way south, since we haven't had one around our place this summer.



Monarch Migration
Posted on August 19, 2009 at 09:25:40 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Are the Monarch Butterflies that are emergin now the ones that will migrate or is there another generation to come?




Re(2): Lark Bunting
Posted on August 19, 2009 at 10:46:50 PM by Ted Gardner

Did not have the white on the back or yellow on the back of the head



Re(1): Lark Bunting
Posted on August 19, 2009 at 02:44:56 PM by LMacDonald

A Bobolink has white should patches and is about the size of a Starling.



Lark Bunting
Posted on August 18, 2009 at 11:13:20 PM by Ted Gardner

Sorry for the late post...My wife Robyne spotted a starling sized blackbird hopping around the backyard early in the morning. She went inside and got glasses to be sure. This bird was all black besides white from the shoulder to mid wing...she thought maybe an aberhant black bird but when it flew the white was on bouth shoulders, she was pretty sure it did not have a long slim bill...the only thing i can find close is the Lark Bunting Male. apparently
this time of year they are known to be in groups, but vagrants in the east are solitary?
Any thoughts and if not keep an eye out!
(Meadow Heights Dr., Bracebridge)



Re(1): chipmunk & raccoon
Posted on August 17, 2009 at 06:00:12 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I have seen racoons swimming in lakes a few times. One used to swim out to an island where I fed corn to Wood Ducks. I stopped doing that when the racoons and Canada Geese were eating all the corn.

One used to swim across a bay, where I lived, on Lake Joseph. The nesting loons would go crazy when a Wood Duck was in their area but paid no attention to the racoons swimming. It was the racoons that ate their eggs!

I would love to have a video of the chipmunk with the beetle!



Re(1): chipmunk & raccoon
Posted on August 17, 2009 at 09:16:24 AM by Kip Daynard

This summer while camping on O.S.A. Lake in Killarney P.P. we watched a raccoon swim across quite a wide section of the lake to reach the island we were camping on. Judging from the direction it had come I'd guess it swam 500m or more. It was so tired when it arrived at the island it exited the water right where we were standing. It hissed at us briefly when it came out of the water and proceeded to climb the nearest tree. We figured it must've been attracted by the site of our tent as I think campsites are a pretty reliable source of food. We hung our packs at night, of course, but with 4 young kids in our group there were plenty of dropped food items to keep the smaller critters happy (like the brazen Red Squirrel, who would dash into our food packs at every possible occasion and then scold us loudly when we dared to chase him away!)



chipmunk & raccoon
Posted on August 16, 2009 at 12:10:38 PM by ann hansen

Last night while out at the family cottage on Spence Lake, we observed a raccoon swimming in the river.

We also observed a chipmunk with a large beetle in its mouth. The chipmunk was holding the live beetle in its mouth, the beetles legs were moving both inside the chipmunks mouth and outside. We could see the chipmunks cheeks moving with each movement of the beetles legs. It looked as if the chipmunk didn't know what to do with his prize. It rather looked as if the chipmunk opened his mouth, he would either drop the beetle, or the beetle would go further into his mouth.

Has anyone observed either of these behaviours before?



Re(1): Junco
Posted on August 17, 2009 at 12:55:04 PM by CatMacLean

I saw one at the cottage east of South River on Saturday



Posted on August 16, 2009 at 09:20:50 AM by mmcanally

I had a Junco in my yard in Huntsville on Friday, August 14.



Lyre-tipped Spreadwing
Posted on August 14, 2009 at 04:50:20 PM by DiannaWolfe

Found this specimen just north of the Severn River and just west of Hwy 11 (on Southwood Road) earlier today. There were several other pairs of spreadwings in wheels that could have been Lyre-tipped as well, but I didn't want to interrupt them to find out. Lyre-tipped Spreadwings are uncommon around here and on the Shield, although very common in Southern Ontario.  photo  photo2



Peregrine Falcon
Posted on August 14, 2009 at 10:46:07 AM by janice house

Janet Fraser just called from Bala, she was walking at the corner of Bala Falls Rd and Walker Rd (near the Kee to Bala) before 9am this morning and saw the bird sitting on a light post.



Swift departure
Posted on August 13, 2009 at 08:58:19 AM by Jim Griffin

Since the beginning of June, Dawn Sherman and I have been monitoring the chimney in Huntsville that was a chimney swift roosting site. We were seeing about a 100 birds on our once a week counts up to the end of july. Dawn counted on Aug 5 and saw all of 2 swifts, I counted on Aug 12 and there were none.



Re(1): Oriole
Posted on August 13, 2009 at 09:35:08 AM by GayleCarlyle

In Washago we have a couple of orioles around early in the spring but they disappear after a couple of days.
Several nights ago we were at someone's home on Rama Road and they have an oriole feeder up right now and there are several "families" of orioles fighting over the feeder. the homeowner said she has to fill the feeder up every day.
I was shocked because our feeder sat empty so I took it down. And no oriole has been near our two hummer feeders this summer.



Posted on August 13, 2009 at 06:50:17 AM by J. Gardner

Had a juvenile Baltimore Oriole on the hummer feeder last night. First time in 18 years we have seen an oriole outside the month of June. Hurdville. June Gardner.



Green Heron, Northern Harrier
Posted on August 11, 2009 at 12:03:18 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning a male Northern Harrier was flying low over the south end of Henry Marsh. Water level still quite low, but no mud flats.

A Green Heron was hunting at the edge of the frog pond at Kerr Park. The earth moving operations at the Bracebridge Ponds continues and there is now a sign at the entrance from Kerr Park saying something to the effect of "no unauthorized entry by order of the owner, the District of Muskoka". The gate remains open wide enough for hikers to get through, but the sign is new. I thought we were supposed to be able to keep using the Trans Canada Trail during construction...but perhaps not?

From traffic lights at Eccelstone Dr./Wellington St. in Bracebridge, take Beaumont Dr. along the Muskoka River to the Kerr Park entrance to access the Bracebridge Ponds. Or continue along Beaumont Dr. to Henry Rd to access Henry Marsh. There is a parking area at the end of Henry Rd. by the trailhead. Turn right (west) at the "T" in the trail to view the marsh.



Posted on August 10, 2009 at 09:54:50 AM by CatMacLean

This weekend at the cottage we saw a flock(?raft) of six adult loons. We know of two nesting pairs on the lake so it was unusual to see so many together. Also saw the bald eagle a couple of times. He is a new addition to the lake. (east of South River)



Re(1): Yellow-bellied sapsucker
Posted on August 16, 2009 at 10:07:11 AM by janice house

this morning 3 juveniles were in our basswood tree and on our clothes line pole



Yellow-bellied sapsucker
Posted on August 9, 2009 at 04:26:37 PM by janice house

Today a juvenile sapsucker has been on our peanut feeder (Doe Lake Rd., Gravenhurst)



MFN meeting reminder
Posted on August 6, 2009 at 11:05:20 AM by Al Sinclair

This afternoon (Thur Aug.6) there is a Muskoka Field Naturalists outing followed by a picnic lunch and monthly meeting this evening. Norman Yan is the speaker. For more details check the this web page:



Re(1): baltimore orioles
Posted on August 10, 2009 at 10:08:52 AM by Barbara Taylor

Mike, I believe they've already begun their movement south from our area, but since they don't all go together, you might still see one around. I haven't seen any since July.
Here are some websites about orioles that you might find interesting:



baltimore orioles
Posted on August 6, 2009 at 10:06:21 AM by MikeWeiss

Hello All,,, As far as i know,,, the oriloes come to our area and visit the sugar water to built up enery that has been spent getting here,,, once the babies hatch,, they are fed insects and dont need the sugar water as much,,,,then I believe the parents and babies will get the sugar water and fly south,,, is this correct,,,also what date approx will the leave us,,, thank you



Re(1): Osprey, Nighthawks - N. Muldrew Lake
Posted on August 6, 2009 at 09:18:47 PM by Kip Daynard

Whip-poor-will calling again tonight so it seems to still be around.



Osprey, Nighthawks - N. Muldrew Lake
Posted on August 5, 2009 at 02:32:04 PM by Kip Daynard

On Monday evening a pair of Common Nighthawks were flying and calling over our house. One of the birds did a partial 'booming' dive. We've heard Nighthawks here on several occasions this summer. The Whip-poor-will sang nightly well into mid July but hasn't been heard for a couple of weeks now.

On Monday evening an Osprey flew up from its perch across from our dock and flew toward the SE end of the lake.

The Chipping Sparrows nested a second time in the same small Spruce as earlier in the spring, producing five eggs in the second nest.

Pine Warblers, Redstarts, Black-throated Greens & Blues, Magnolia, Yellow-Rumped, Ovenbird, Black-and-White and Chestnut-Sided, Yellow Warbler and -Throat were common at various times around the house this summer but all are quiet now. Northern Parula & Waterthrush, Canada Warbler and Cape May, Siskins passed through but did not stick around. Other nice summer residents were Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Scarlet Tanager, Wild Turkey (numerous toms-i'd guess 4-5 and hens with chicks), Kingfisher occasionally heard, Pileated Woodpecker is regular, Loons calling nightly.



Ragged Rapids Report and SaCr in-flight
Posted on August 5, 2009 at 11:22:26 AM by eric clough

Hello Muskoka bird board. I am visiting family here in Bala for a week or so and have been birding a bit along Ragged Rapids Road. It has been a bit slower bird-wise than I remember from previous years, maybe because the weather has been so unsettled. I usually have prety good luck with mixed flocks of chickadees and warblers and others. here are some of my observations so far:

flushed a barred owl from its roost on the South side of hwy 38 under the tree canopy;

tracked down a family of broad-winged hawks (adult and two young?);

hermit thrush perched on a power line out in the open (I went out one evening hoping to hear all the HeTh but none were singing!);

BC chickadees
RE vireos and BH vireos
chestnut sided warbler feeding young
black & white warbler
black-throated green warblers
blakburnian warbler (female)
a male nashville warbler
yellowthroats (but not as many as in previous years
american redstarts
molting male scarlet tanager
eastern phoebe wood peewees
song sparrows
chipping sparrow
downy and hairy woodpeckers,northern flicker, pileateds including a brownish looking juvenile that puzzled me for a while
RT hummers
GB heron
turkey vultures
blue jays
cedar waxwings
WB nuthatches
what I think was a house wren but might have been some other kind of long-tailed wren(?)
and probably a few others regulars I have forgotten about.

also just this morning I heard a small group of sandhill cranes flying high overhead - it sounded like they were headed southeast

can anyone offer me some suggestions for finding wood thrush in our area? It is a species that has eluded me all these years of visiting Muskoka.

Eric Clough (from Pat Davies computer)



Reporting banded shorebirds
Posted on August 4, 2009 at 01:07:23 PM by wilf yusek

I received the following which may be of interest to those who see and record banded shorebirds, and also see immediately where they were banded etc.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to tell you that we have recently launched an online shorebird resightings database-- You can go directly to the website with any future resightings. Once you have entered your resightings, you can check out where your birds were banded and where else they have been seen in the flyway!



Bent River Butterflies
Posted on August 3, 2009 at 03:58:10 PM by janice house

Yesterday my brother popped into his lot in Bent River and had to stay in his truck because the deer flies were so bad but counted 21 monarchs which were mostly feeding on the orange hawkweed "Devil's paint-brush". The field is full of dog bane, clover, milkweed, crown vetch and black-eyed susan. We stopped in today for a walk but with the weather only 2 monarchs were about and one of the eyed browns.



Monarch Pupates
Posted on August 3, 2009 at 03:53:59 PM by Barbara Taylor

Eleanor Kee Wellman has captured a wonderful series of photos of a Monarch caterpillar changing into a chrysalis. You can view the photos on her blog at If you scroll down the page, there is another series of photos of the caterpillar emerging from its egg.



Bluebirds, Green Heron
Posted on August 3, 2009 at 12:28:51 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there was a male Eastern Bluebird with at least one juvenile near the viewing stand at Kerr Park. They kept being chased by a family of Yellow Warblers for some reason. A Green Heron was at the edge of the frog pond near the parking lot. No shorebirds seen at the Bracebridge Ponds.

Nothing much at Henry Marsh except for a Great Blue Heron. The beavers are back so no mudflats for shorebirds. The newly constructed beaver dam is already holding back a lot of least a foot higher than the overflow out of the culverts by the bridge. (Bracebridge)



Feeding Flock, Bala
Posted on August 3, 2009 at 07:49:43 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Over the last week or so I have noticed a number of birds around the house in a small feeding flock. This has ocurred every year but last after breeding ends and goes on into September.
So far, Solitary Vireo, A couple of Chestnut-sided Warblers, a Black & White and a female Common Yellowthroat. A juvenile female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker has been in a few times.



Posted on August 2, 2009 at 08:50:56 AM by Barbara Taylor

The shrew population has been growing steadily this summer judging from all the new tunnels in our back yard. Finally this morning we had an exterminator show up and after only five minutes he managed to catch three of them! This service was free courtesy of Mr. Red Fox. Wonder if he took one home to share with the kits. He was followed back into the woods by a large number of screaming jays and crows...they probably were hoping he'd drop one. (Bracebridge)



Sandhill Cranes
Posted on August 2, 2009 at 07:16:27 AM by janice house

Geoff saw at least 6 cranes Friday morning at 8am in the back of the field at the old Dinsmore Sheep Farm (first farm on the right on Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst from hwy 11)



Song Sparrows
Posted on July 28, 2009 at 11:57:58 AM by CatMacLean


The latest picture of a nest of three song sparrow babies that I discovered by accident while picking raspberries. On July 19 only one had hatched. Amazing to see how fast they grow. I assume this is a second nesting.   photo
Also the Bonaparte gulls have been at our cottage on the NW corner of the park for the last week or so. As well as a Bald Eagle.I am still hearing the thrush in our bush and the Indigo Bunting in our field. Many noisy families of grackles and Blue jays at the feeders.



Re(2): flying squirrel
Posted on July 29, 2009 at 10:24:29 AM by MikeWeiss

Excellent information about the RED eye... I first say flying squirrels about 6 years ago when filling the feeder at night in fall or winter,,, then had 3 of them for a couple of years,,,,then none for over a year ( just like you.... very odd ) until last night,,, we have a very big tree that they go up and down to get to the feeder so i beleve they live in the tree....I saw one fly to the ground by the wood shed,,,,(which is far from the tree and feeders) about 12 years he was at the feeder last night again,, 23:45 pm....



Re(1): flying squirrel
Posted on July 29, 2009 at 09:26:52 AM by Wayne Bridge

Beautiful creatures, yes, but be careful. Three, and two, years ago we had them nesting between the walls of our house. What a smell! I live-trapped 8 of them (fairly certain it wasn't the same one 8 times!) Last year they weren't a problem and this year I've yet to see one (although my problem might be similar to Eleanor's). [Kearney, 25 mins N-E of Huntsville]



Re(1): flying squirrel
Posted on July 28, 2009 at 07:39:19 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

After telling Janet Fraser on Saturday that I hadn't had any flying squirrels for more than a year, four of them appeared at my feeders that night. Probably, they have been there all along but I just don't stay up late enough! Three young ones and one adult.

They are eating both peanuts and sunflower seeds.

They have black eyes but when a light or flash is shined in the eyes the light reflects off the back of the retina and shows red. I am pretty sure that isn't the correct explanation but it gives you the idea. Some animals have "green" eye,like fishers, some have "red" eye, like humans, and others have "yellow" eye.

Barred and Great-horned Owls love them!



Re(1): flying squirrel
Posted on July 28, 2009 at 11:36:42 AM by GayleCarlyle

We haven't seen a flying squirrel in years.
About 8 years ago at our former home in Bracebridge, we had nightly visits by four flying squirrels. This was in the middle of winter when our silo feeder was filled with sunflower seeds.
The squirrels would climb up a wooden trellis, shimmy along the icicle lights and leap onto the feeder. It was great entertainment!
I tried putting out peanuts but the squirrels preferred the black oil sunflower seeds.
I was so thrilled to have one of the squirrels sit in my hand one night and gobble down mouthfuls of seeds. Such beautiful creatures. Good luck with your visitors.



flying squirrel
Posted on July 28, 2009 at 09:54:00 AM by MikeWeiss

Well I happy to report I saw my flying squirrel last night at the bird feeder....( He or She is colored like a chipmunk minus the stripes...the eyes are red,,,, SO does anyone have this exciting animal as well,
and if so what do u feed them....thanks Mike



Common Nighthawks
Posted on July 26, 2009 at 08:51:09 PM by Bob Burt

Four Common Nighthawks were circling over the Bracebridge Ponds around 8 p.m. tonight. One Greater Yellowlegs and four Lesser Yellowlegs were in cell 3.



Re(1): Henry Marsh - Dowitcher sp.
Posted on July 26, 2009 at 11:59:58 AM by Barbara Taylor

We checked out the marsh this morning between rain showers but couldn't find the Dowitcher...only saw 2 Least Sandpipers, 1 Solitary Sandpiper, and 1 Killdeer. The three inches of rain we've had in the past two days have flooded the marsh so no mudflats right now. The marsh acts as a drainage basin for a large surrounding area so it might take another day or so to get the mudflats back.



Henry Marsh - Dowitcher sp.
Posted on July 25, 2009 at 02:35:05 PM by Goodyear

Around noon today we saw a single Dowitcher (Short-billed ??)feeding at Henry Marsh. It was well towards the back of the marsh. Unfortunately we didn't have our scope with us!! A small flock of Least Sandpipers and several Killdeer were also present.



Common Terns
Posted on July 25, 2009 at 08:10:14 AM by sylviaandjim

The Common Tern colony on the Severn River successfully fledged est. 9 juveniles with est 18 adult Common Tern.
The colony is located between The Lantern Marina and The Swift on a 'whaleback' island right near our Island 32. The feeding small fish supply appears to be abundant in the location mainly in front of Island 32. We surmise that this new Common Tern colony is a remnant of the failed Common Tern colony on Sparrow Lake on Long Island.
Last year there was CT activity at the whaleback rock island but no nesting in 2008 or 2007.



Henry Marsh shorebirds
Posted on July 24, 2009 at 01:23:10 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there were a few shorebirds feeding on the now well-drained marsh. We counted 14 Killdeer, 3 Least Sandpipers, 1 Greater Yellowlegs, and 3 Solitary Sandpipers. The birds were feeding, flying, and calling, and came in close enough to the walking trail that we had very good looks. There were also 3 Green Herons and 2 Great Blue Herons.



Eastern Phoebe
Posted on July 23, 2009 at 12:09:36 PM by MaryWillmott

Nested & fledged from the side of our house at Beaumaris  photo



Re(1): Northern Harriers - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on July 23, 2009 at 09:59:52 AM by Al Sinclair

We saw a male Northern Harrier circling high over the field behind the Sleep Inn in Bracebridge a couple of weeks ago, not that far from the ponds. There has been a pair just west of town for as long as I can remember. They are often seen hunting over the fields on South Monk Drive. Wonder what they were doing over at the ponds?



Northern Harriers - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on July 22, 2009 at 08:52:59 PM by Barbara Taylor

We went to check on the juvenile Green Herons tonight, but didn't see any. Our viewing spot on the hill SW of cell 4 was already a very large Black Bear. We had noticed a few ripe raspberries there on our last visit so I guess the bear had noticed them too. Needless to say, we reversed course.

Turned out for the best as we then saw a female Northern Harrier flying overhead...she seemed to be in the midst of an extreme molt with lots of missing wing feathers. Another Harrier appeared flying low along the ditch north of cell 4. This one showed no sign of molt so perhaps was a juvenile (we couldn't see its underside).

No shorebirds seen. The mudflats in cell 3 are quickly drying out, but maybe we'll get some rain tomorrow. (note that the noisy dusty earth moving preparations for the new plant are still continuing on weekdays but so far work stops on weekends)



Moths last night...some photos
Posted on July 22, 2009 at 05:06:04 PM by Al Sinclair

Warm nights are bringing out some moths finally. Last night was one of the best this year with about 30 species at the moth light. Below are some photos taken this morning.

8904 Chrysanympha formosa - Formosa Looper Moth  photo

9548 Conservula anodonta - Sharp Angle Shades  photo

8942 Syngrapha rectangula - Salt-and-pepper Looper  photo



Re(2): Broad-winged Hawk
Posted on August 3, 2009 at 04:03:11 PM by janice house

I found the baby again today, he was sitting on an exposed perch calling and was quite interested in Casey as she sniffed her way along the edge of the road. He seems to be staying close to the original nest site.



Re(1): Broad-winged Hawk
Posted on July 30, 2009 at 07:54:01 AM by janice house

Yesterday my brother saw an adult fly past the cottage roof (he was stripping the shingles) with a mouse. When I got there about 6:30 I heard one of the birds calling close by.



Broad-winged Hawk
Posted on July 22, 2009 at 04:40:59 PM by janice house

I was at the cottage at Skeleton Lake last night and the juvenile has fledged. I heard it calling and found it about 12 feet up a tree and managed to get within 40 feet. He sat calling for a few minutes and one of the parents flew off into the tree tops quite a distance away.



Re(2): Red-headed Woodpecker photo
Posted on July 22, 2009 at 10:27:58 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Although the birds left before I got to Janet's there were two adults and another bird that sounds like a juvenile.
Nice clear shot, Janet!



Re(1): Red-headed Woodpecker photo
Posted on July 22, 2009 at 10:06:18 PM by Barbara Taylor

Here is Janet Fraser's photo.



Red Headed Woodpecker
Posted on July 22, 2009 at 12:03:08 PM by janice house

Janet Fraser just called from Bala, she got a photo of the woodpecker at their home, she lives close to Eleanor Kee Wellman



Bracebridge Ponds and Henry Marsh
Posted on July 19, 2009 at 05:35:32 PM by Barbara Taylor

At noon today there were lots of Swallows flying low over cell 1, mostly Bank and Barn but also a few Tree and Cliff. In cell 3 there were some Killdeer and Least Sandpipers. In cell 4 there was a Bufflehead, and one of the juvenile Green Herons flew up out of the SE corner. Three male Indigo Buntings were singing from different locations around cell 4 - interesting that all were in dead trees, which seems to be the favourite spot they will sing from.

At Henry Marsh there were a few Killdeer on the expansive mudflats. Also two shorebirds that appeared to be Solitary Sandpipers but too far away to be sure. A Green Heron was at the west edge of the "marsh". There is no evidence of any beaver activity so the marsh remains drained.



Posted on July 19, 2009 at 04:09:28 PM by janice house

Saturday morning while walking the dog I watched 4 bluebirds feeding at a neighbours farm, this morning I only saw 3 birds. When I got home there was a bluebird on our tv antenna and it flew to one of our bluebird boxes, hopefully it will nest again. (Doe Lake Rd., Gravenhurst)



MFN canoe outing...some photos
Posted on July 19, 2009 at 11:19:39 AM by Al Sinclair

The Muskoka Field Naturalists paddled the South Branch of the Muskoka River from Bracebridge to South Falls on July 18, 2009.
Some photos from the trip below.

RIVER JEWELWING - Calopteryx aequabilis  photo

MARSH WATER-STARWORT - Callitriche palustris  photo

TURKEY VULTURE - Cathartes aura  photo




Green Heron - photo
Posted on July 18, 2009 at 08:39:30 PM by J. Gardner

Jim got this shot of a Green Heron in the little bog pond beside Walmart and behind McDonalds in Parry Sound. A chunk of the pond has already been filled in during construction of these businesses. Last year he was able to get a good shot of a Blandings Turtle in the same pond.  photo
June Gardner



Re(1): Monarch Butterfly Egg Hatches
Posted on July 20, 2009 at 12:18:01 PM by GayleCarlyle

Amazing shot!
Hard to imagine that they grew so huge in such a short time. We are watching about half a dozen caterpillars of various ages on the milkweed plants around our house.
Wonderful to see the monarchs thriving.



Monarch Butterfly Egg Hatches
Posted on July 17, 2009 at 09:43:30 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I have been photographing the hatching of a Monarch Butterfly egg and thought some might be interested in seeing how big the caterpillar is 24 hours after emerging.

That is the tip of a ball point pen for comparison! It looks like a pencil line on paper about 3 1/2 mm long with the naked eye!
It is on the top side of a milkweed leaf after crawling through one of the holes it chewed. When it hatched it had no stripes at all.
This image is uncropped. Canon 40D, 180mm Macro lens + 2X converter + 36mm tube, Flash.  photo



Indigo Bunting
Posted on July 16, 2009 at 11:57:12 AM by Dawn Sherman

I saw an Indigo Bunting (male) on the Hunter's Bay Trail this morning.



bear activity
Posted on July 15, 2009 at 10:40:57 PM by John Challis

A bear has been making its presence known along our street -- Green River Dr., Washago -- but has been very polite so far. Gayle met up with it eye-to-eye last week while working in the yard. This afternoon we came home from work to find it had rolled out a log in a raised garden bed to dine on the ant larvae inside. The log was so hollow it wouldn't have lasted much longer as a support for the raised garden, so I suppose we should thank him/her.



Re(1): Green Herons on the wing...
Posted on July 18, 2009 at 02:50:12 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning the five young Green Herons were in the same area west of cell 4. One still needed some practice coming in for a landing, but all seemed to be flying quite well.
No shorebirds seen.



Re(1): Green Herons on the wing...Jul 6 photo
Posted on July 15, 2009 at 11:00:40 AM by Al Sinclair

Here's one taken by Wilf Yusek on July 6, a few days before they fledged. Looks a bit crowded!  photo



Green Herons on the wing...
Posted on July 15, 2009 at 09:44:11 AM by Barbara Taylor

Just an update for those interested in the Green Heron nest at the Bracebridge Ponds...a great success! The five chicks have fledged. Last evening they seemed to be playing a game of tag, as they flew around and around the flooded area west of cell 4. Eventually the whole family settled in for the night close to the nest tree. There is a photo taken by Wilf Yusek when the chicks were still quite young in this June 22 post. -  photo



Re(3): Chimney Swifts Gravenhurst
Posted on July 23, 2009 at 04:59:19 PM by DBurton

I saw them in flight near Gravenhurst Town Hall. I don't know where they roost.



Re(2): Chimney Swifts Gravenhurst
Posted on July 20, 2009 at 09:36:32 PM by janice house

Dan, where did you see them? Did you see them roosting?



Re(1): Chimney Swifts Gravenhurst
Posted on July 19, 2009 at 04:34:08 PM by Dburton

I have seen as many as 13 this month.



Chimney Swifts Gravenhurst
Posted on July 14, 2009 at 04:04:53 PM by janice house

I went into town on Sunday night and last night and managed to see 3 swifts flying about. Two went down the chimney of Trinity United Church (across from Stedman's)at 8:50 when it was still light. The third swift called later but I did not see where it went.



Spotting Scope For Sale
Posted on July 14, 2009 at 10:57:01 AM by B. Korol

Hi All,
The following ad was approved by the message board manager.
For Sale:
Bausch and Lomb Discoverer Spotting Scope
* 15-60X zoom lens
* good condition
* model 78-1600
* 60 mm objective lens
* tripod mount
* supporting paperwork
* asking $250

If interested please do not respond to the bird board. Contact me directly - daytime 705-789-6822 or 6-9 pm 705-689-0243
Burke Korol



Re(4): Henry Marsh
Posted on July 15, 2009 at 12:04:09 PM by Al Sinclair

We don't have many options here as the pond is on private land. Since last fall when the pond was first drained, newspaper stories, letters to the editor, calls to our politicians, government agencies and the landowner have been unsuccessful. Not much left except civil disobedience, maybe a clothes optional march downtown (just kidding). But maybe we shouldn't get too upset about the loss of this pond. It was rich in wildlife and easy to access, very sad to see it go, but there are some positive things happening here. The pond was about 25 years old and nearing the end of this stage in the normal beaver pond cycle. Eventually beaver leave and their pond disappears. A fertile meadow is left that after 50 years or more returns to a forest, the beavers return and the cycle starts again. All the wildlife in North America evolved with the beaver, much of it depends on the habitat they create. These temporary warm shallow ponds created by beaver are crucial to biodiversity and a healthy environment, a fact that few people realize.

I think we should look at the bigger picture, step back and think about what will happen there in the long term, think in terms of generations not years. We need to educate our politicians and civil servants on why these wetlands are so important and why we need to protect them from development. Henry Marsh is located on a deep cut in the bedrock filled with clay that was once an outflow channel of a large glacial lake. Our goal here should be to have this whole area, from the Bracebridge Ponds to Lake Muskoka, protected from development. And more than this we should be protecting all wetlands in Muskoka including all stream valleys where beaver ponds are created and disappear in a cycle that often exceeds a human generation.



Re(3): Henry Marsh
Posted on July 14, 2009 at 11:31:40 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I am very sorry to hear this, Al!!
I thought it sounded like there might be something workable to save it through Muskoka Heritage and that the owner was co-operating.
Anything we can do?



Re(2): Henry Marsh
Posted on July 14, 2009 at 11:17:31 AM by Al Sinclair

The public works engineer at the Town of Bracebridge says they did not do any work on the dam or culverts. We believe it was most likely done by someone working for the property owner but can't confirm it. Henry Marsh is on part of a larger property that is designated for development on the Bracebridge Official Plan. Currently the owner has put any development on hold and we were told a few months ago that the owner is looking for another developer to buy the whole property, approx 800 acres. The asking price is likely in the 10s of millions. One could speculate that the owner believes he can get more for the property by removing the pond. Another possibility is that he has been advised to remove the pond before the upcoming Muskoka Official Plan review. A Provincial Policy Statement (2005) requires that municipalities include a Natural Heritage Strategy (NHS) in their Official Plans. As part of a NHS they must do "Potential Species At Risk Habitat Mapping" and an "Urban Centres Natural Heritage Review". Urban areas that are found to be significant wildlife habitat will be have to be protected. This process could remove some areas previously zoned for development from the town plans of all the major urban centres of the District. Henry Marsh was one of the best wildlife habitats in any of the towns, looks like we are going to lose it.



Re(1): Henry Marsh
Posted on July 14, 2009 at 06:05:09 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

What is going on, Barb???
Why are they still taking out the beaver dams??? I guess I was being optimistic in thinking the town had learned something over the past year.



Henry Marsh
Posted on July 13, 2009 at 02:59:47 PM by Barbara Taylor

A Green Heron was flying across the back edge of the marsh this morning, but no ducks and no shorebirds were seen. Since the beaver dam was removed a few weeks ago, the marsh has been steadily drying out. There was a nice selection of dragonflies and damselflies:
Widow Skimmer
Twelve-spotted Skimmer
Chalk-fronted Corporal
Common Whitetail
Dot-tailed Whiteface
Four-spotted Skimmer
Ebony Jewelwing
Bluets (sp.?)



Least Sandpipers
Posted on July 12, 2009 at 07:28:28 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon there were a few Least Sandpipers and a Killdeer in cell 3 at the Bracebridge Ponds. A Broad-winged Hawk and two Turkey Vultures were soaring above the ridge south of cell 4. Several Bank Swallows were flying over cell 2. We finally saw our first Clouded Sulphur butterfly of the year near the SW corner of cell 4.



Re(1): Broad-winged Hawk Nest
Posted on July 19, 2009 at 04:06:31 PM by janice house

I went to the cottage today to have a visit with Dad and as I got out of the car an adult left the nest. The baby stood on the edge and watched me for a few minutes. He/she is really growing, no sign of any other siblings.



Broad-winged Hawk Nest
Posted on July 12, 2009 at 05:10:39 PM by janice house

Today Moira and I checked on the nest at our cottage at Skeleton Lake and set up the scope so everyone could have a close-up look. An adult was on the nest for a few minutes and we got a good look at the baby because he was interested in everyone walking up and down the path to the parking lot. We were there for an hour and a half and saw the parents fly out across the bay to catch the thermals by the cliffs



Bala Butterfly Count...results posted
Posted on July 11, 2009 at 10:12:48 AM by Al Sinclair

The Bala butterfly count results are now up on the Muskoka Field Naturalists website. Count.html



Prince Baskettail
Posted on July 10, 2009 at 07:23:24 PM by Al Sinclair

Below is a photo of a Prince Baskettail taken by Rick Snider during the Bala Butterfly Count on July 4. It was found at Ragged Rapids west of Bala. This species is hard to photograph and harder to catch, usually seen gliding too high to reach with a net. Rick was lucky to find this one perched in the sun, maybe warming up after the cold night.  photo



Re(1): Amber-winged Spreadwing
Posted on July 10, 2009 at 07:07:34 PM by Al Sinclair

We found an Amber-winged Spreadwing (Lestes eurinus) here east of Bracebridge on June 26, 2006. It was the first record in Muskoka since the 1920's. We now have another record, good find.



Amber-winged Spreadwing
Posted on July 10, 2009 at 05:10:23 PM by DiannaWolfe

Another interesting odonate: an Amber-winged Spreadwing. This individual was found in a wet field just north of the Severn River and west of Hwy 11. Amber-winged Spreadwings are ranked S3 (Vulnerable) by NHIC in Ontario.

Also found was an elm sawfly (Cimbex americana). This large (~2.5 cm), rather intimidating waspy-looking insect is apparently relatively common, although rarely seen. The larvae of the elm sawfly are known to defoliate ornamental trees, and the adult is harmless, despite its appearance.

Amber-winged Spreadwing: photo1  photo2  photo3

Elm sawfly (Cimbex americana):  photo



Virginia Rails
Posted on July 9, 2009 at 12:59:21 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning we were lucky to see a family of Virginia Rails at the Bracebridge Ponds. We think there were at least two, possibly three very tiny first glance they looked like black voles. One of the parents accompanied a chick out into the open, and suddenly a Green Heron that had been perched nearby swooped down right at them. It missed - so was the heron really after the wee chick or just a frog we hadn't noticed? The Rails didn't come back out after running for cover. There was a Sora calling but we didn't see it. A Belted Kingfisher flew past, and a Broad-winged Hawk soared overhead. No shorebirds seen. There is now heavy equipment operating at the south side of cell 3 moving earth near the Lagoon Lane entrance. With construction of the new plant imminent, please avoid that area, and enter via Kerr Park so we can retain access to the Ponds.



RB Nuthatches, Bala
Posted on July 8, 2009 at 07:28:36 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I am very pleased to see two adults and four fledgling Red-breasted Nuthatches here this morning.
Last evening a single one sat in a tree for 30 minutes and I wasn't sure if it was a youngster sent away from home for the first time or an overworked female! photo



Re(1): Access to Bracebridge Ponds during construction
Posted on July 10, 2009 at 12:41:18 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there was a continual dusty stream of fast moving dump trucks around cell 3 and over to north of cell 4 where they were dumping their loads. Very noisy too. We turned back at the Kerr Park gate as it looked hopeless to try and enjoy a bird walk. Hopefully they will not be working on the weekends so some shorebirds may find their way onto the mudflats in cell 3.



Access to Bracebridge Ponds during construction
Posted on July 7, 2009 at 11:55:15 AM by Al Sinclair

In a post below Steve asks if the Bracebridge Ponds have always been open to the public. The Bracebridge Sewage Treatment Ponds aka the Bracebridge Ponds have been open to the public from the start thanks to the cooperation of the managers at the district, in particular Don Currie who was the water and sewage manager back in the late 1970s when we first recognized the importance of ponds to local and migrating birds and other wildlife.

It is important that we maintain this good relationship especially in the next year during the construction of the new treatment plant that is expected to start any day now. We will have to respect any restrictions that limit access to certain areas of the ponds without question.

Representatives of the Muskoka Field Naturalists recently met with the District engineers to discuss the work they will be doing and how it will affect access. Cells 1 and 2 will still be accessible from Kerr Park and the road on the west side will be open allowing access to cell 4. All areas around the construction site on the south side of cell 3 will be closed and access via Lagoon Lane should not be used.

They also informed us that they do not plan on fencing off the entire lagoon area in the future as other municipalities have done to limit their liability. This is important because fencing would restrict access to wildlife as well as birders. We must all behave responsibly so they will have no excuse to increase security.



Re(1): Juvenile Song Sparrow
Posted on July 6, 2009 at 08:09:45 PM by Al Sinclair

Think it's a juvenile Chipping Sparrow. Saw a lot of these while doing the butterfly count on Saturday.



Juvenile Song Sparrow
Posted on July 6, 2009 at 07:53:41 PM by SteveAbouldahab

Hi Folks,
Is this a juvenile song sparrow?  photo



19 Whip-poor-wills
Posted on July 6, 2009 at 04:07:25 PM by George Bryant

Last evening with the warmth and full moon we tallied 19 Whips (18 heard, one seen) along a 7 km. stretch of Muskoka Road 13 centering on the barrens ~6kms. s.e. of Torrance (Hwy. 169). Also noted were several Common Nighthawk, abundant Gray Tree Frog, many fireflies and 1 Fisher.

On the hiking trail north of the road July evensong consisted of Veery, Hermit Thrush, Eastern Towhee, Swamp Sparrow and Common Yellowthroat. We often note Massassaugas on the road here at night but none last night.

Wear boots.



Black-crowned Night-Heron
Posted on July 6, 2009 at 09:44:54 AM by J. Gardner

I got this picture of 2 Black-crowned Night Herons yesterday near Georgian Bay. There were five altogether, l adult and 4 one year-old birds.  photo
Jim Gardner



Re(4): Huntsville Lagoons?
Posted on July 7, 2009 at 03:02:26 PM by SteveAbouldahab

Thanks for the info and the backgrounder Al, I really appreciate it.



Re(3): Huntsville Lagoons?
Posted on July 7, 2009 at 11:41:43 AM by Al Sinclair

There are no birding spots like the Bracebridge Ponds in the Huntsville area that I know of, let us know if you find any. The Huntsville Nature Club usually comes down to Bracebridge for an outing every year. There are wetlands like Henry Marsh for sure but not as easy to access. In fact there are few public places that cater to wildlife watchers something that is severely lacking in Muskoka, no conservation areas with ponds and trails and an interpretive program. We often receive inquiries from visitors as to where to go birding, we send them up to Algonquin or to the Torrance Barrens. I think Muskoka is missing an opportunity here to promote ecotourism and appreciation of our local wildlife and the environment.
Here is a link to another aerial view map of the Huntsville lagoon area (don't click it if you don't have high speed), you can zoom in and see that these lagoons are likely lined with black plastic sheeting, can be seen around the edges, no good for birds, insects, plants or anything. Also note the big aggregate pits around there, hadn't realized this before, not a pretty sight.



Re(2): Huntsville Lagoons?
Posted on July 6, 2009 at 03:55:13 PM by SteveAbouldahab

It looks to me like there are about 7 cells. I tried exploring them yesterday, but I didn't want to jump the gate. Have the Bracebridge Lagoons always been open to the public? Are there any spots in Huntsville that are as good as the Lagoons and Henry Marsh?  photo



Re(1): Huntsville Lagoons?
Posted on July 6, 2009 at 12:11:35 PM by Al Sinclair

I have not been to that site. How many cells? If they are lined with plastic, the norm in Muskoka, they are not usually very productive because there is no muddy shore and fewer plants and insects. The Bracebridge ponds are special because they are lined with clay. You might check them out just to be sure.



Huntsville Lagoons?
Posted on July 5, 2009 at 06:31:43 PM by SteveAbouldahab

Has anyone ever explored the Huntsville Lagoons off of Madill Church Rd? Are we allowed to access them? They don't seem as inviting as the Bracebridge Lagoons.



Re(1): Black Bears
Posted on July 5, 2009 at 08:15:47 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I should have pointed out that this was taken from my kayak and the lens used was a 100-400 @ 390mm. The female bear image is full frame.



Re(1): Black Bears
Posted on July 5, 2009 at 08:33:00 PM by janice house

I spoke with Moira tonight, her cats woke her up at 5:30 this morning because a 250-300 pound bear was walking on her deck railing. She yelled and banged on her sliding door which caused the bear to do a back flip off the deck to land 12 feet below dragging some of her planters with it. ( Houston Rd off Falkenburg Rd north of Bracebridge)



Black Bears
Posted on July 5, 2009 at 06:11:15 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Yesterday, as part of the Bala Butterfly Count, George Bryant and Rick Sneider came to my place to check out a bit of bog for Bog Coppers. Right on the shoreline there was a smallish pile of bear scat. The opinion was that it was old and the bear was long gone!

I went out for an early morning kayak and one of my goals was to check out the scat from the lakeside. As I walked down the side of the house a small female bear and cub ran in front of me along the path. The scat was very fresh and probably deposited not long before we searched for Bog Coppers.  Another eventful morning!   bear photo  cub photo



Re(3): Arrowhead Spiketail
Posted on July 11, 2009 at 03:09:02 PM by Brent

To round it up, I spotted on Thursday, July 8, many Twin-Spotted Spiketails in Balsam Creek (not the town, the creek). It was my first bit of luck using my chest waders this year. Also I spotted a male Ocellated Emerald along the same creek.

Where in North Bay did you find the Delta-Spotted Spiketail?



Re(2): Arrowhead Spiketail
Posted on July 5, 2009 at 06:55:54 PM by DiannaWolfe

Thanks, Al! I will be submitting a record to NHIC of the sighting. Here also is a photo of the Delta-spotted Spiketail seen last weekend in North Bay.  photo



Re(1): Arrowhead Spiketail
Posted on July 5, 2009 at 05:45:53 PM by Al Sinclair

Good find! This species was not recorded in Muskoka before this year. The first record was from a small creek near Six Mile Lake, recently emerged on May 31, found by Anne Lewis and Bruce Ripley. Yours is the second record for the district. Nice photos to confirm it! BTW S2 rank is Very Rare in Ontario, usually 5 to 20 occurrences.



Arrowhead Spiketail
Posted on July 5, 2009 at 01:42:53 PM by DiannaWolfe

Not to one-up Al or anything... but while out at a wetland between Bracebridge and Port Carling yesterday, we found an Arrowhead Spiketail. This female had apparently been ovipositing recently as her lower abdomen was quite muddy.  Arrowhead Spiketails are ranked S2 by NHIC within Ontario.
Regarding Delta-spotted Spiketails, we also found a specimen while at a wetland in North Bay last weekend.
Arrowhead Spiketail: photo1  photo2  photo3



Delta-spotted Spiketail...Port Carling
Posted on July 5, 2009 at 11:56:07 AM by Al Sinclair

On the butterfly count July 4, 2009, we found a rare Muskoka dragonfly near Port Carling, the Delta-spotted Spiketail. This species is found around spring fed sandy-bottomed streams. The only other recent location I know of for this species is east of Muskoka Airport. We took the photos below to document the find.  photo1  photo2  photo3  photo4



Bala Butterfly Count
Posted on July 5, 2009 at 11:28:58 AM by Al Sinclair

The 13th annual Bala Butterfly Count was held on Saturday July 4, 2009. 26 species were found, about average. Weather was partly cloudy in the morning, sunny in the afternoon, wind about 20km/hr a bit breezy for ideal conditions. Bog Coppers were flying, found in 2 locations. We had 1 Acadian Hairstreak, 1 Gray Comma. Indian, Long Dash, Northern Broken Dash, Tawny-edged, Hobomok, Dun, European, and Northern Clowdywing Skippers. 14 Monarchs and numerous larvae were found. A complete list will be published soon on the MFN website:
The count is sponsored by The Muskoka Field Naturalists, count compiler is Ron Stager.



Re(1): Birding Recommendations
Posted on July 4, 2009 at 01:58:05 PM by Barrypeyton

I suggest you find Robin Tapley the naturalist at the resort, he knows all the hot birding spots in the area. The Torrance Barrens is not too far away and there are lots of great wetlands on the way. Good birding, Barry



Birding Recommendations
Posted on July 3, 2009 at 02:01:53 PM by asgjr

I've just arrived at the J.W. Marriott on Lake Rosseau and would love to get some local knowledge on the best places in the area to go bird watching.
Today is Fri 7/3. Don't know if there are any guides for hire or anyone going out over the next 5 days.
Also any input on O'Donnell Pt. Prov Nature Reserve?
Gary Robinson



Hermit Thrush nest
Posted on July 2, 2009 at 04:21:28 PM by DiannaWolfe

While hiking a rock barren near Gravenhurst on Tuesday, I watched a pair of Hermit Thrushes foraging. With a little patience I was able to locate their nest of youngsters (see pics below). The Breeding Bird Atlas comments that although the Hermit Thrush range is increasing across Ontario, it is often difficult to locate nests to confirm breeding (only 11% of breeding records were confirmed for the atlas). Given the rarity of sighting a nest, I thought I would share my photos. photo1  photo2

As per the Breeding Bird Atlas, Hermit Thrush nests are built on the ground or near the ground and are bulky and well concealed. This one was located on a slope at the edge of a rock barren under a small raspberry cane with other vegetation surrounding it. The nest was formed of moss, twigs, pine needles, and leaves and was relatively deep and cup shaped. There were four nearly naked, blind offspring, which is consistent with the 3-5 young per brood as stated in the Stokes Field Guide to Birds.

While I was watching the nest, one of the adults reappeared and posed for pictures brooding the chicks.



Re(2): red eft ...Bracebridge
Posted on July 6, 2009 at 07:27:46 AM by dbritton

About ten years ago I did some herp surveys along in Georgian Bay Township and found adults in a number of locations in beaver ponds. I suspect that they're pretty widespread, you can sometimes find them sunning themselves in shallows around the pond edges. I was using minnow traps to sample tadpoles and occasionally the adults would end up in the traps.



Re(1): red eft ...Bracebridge
Posted on July 4, 2009 at 02:02:56 PM by Barrypeyton

I know of two ponds with adult red spotted newts present. One pond is the pond south of Snow Valley Ski club that provides water to the Barrie Hill Farms and the second is off Oro line 10 just east of the tracks and north off Line 10. Its been a few years since I have been back there but I am sure they are probably still around.



Re(1): red eft ...Bracebridge
Posted on July 3, 2009 at 09:56:49 PM by Doug Smith

Al -- several years ago I was with the kids at Kerr Park in Bracebridge and we saw a number of adults swimming in the pond near the parking lot. It might be worth checking.



red eft ...Bracebridge
Posted on July 1, 2009 at 06:59:23 PM by Al Sinclair

Last weekend we found a red eft under a woodpile (photo). They are the juvenile stage of the Red-spotted Newt an aquatic salamander. I have see many newts but have yet to see an adult. Anyone know how to find one?



Clay Coloured Sparrow
Posted on July 1, 2009 at 07:25:04 AM by janice house

I woke up to the call of the sparrow this morning, he is in the small trees under the hydro line across from our house (Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst).