Muskoka Bird Board - Archived Reports from July - September 2011
Return to the Index of Archived Reports
Go to the Muskoka Bird Board




Posted on September 30, 2011 at 08:11:27 PM by carolwagg

We were delighted this morning to have a family of four bluebirds drop in for about 15 minutes, scoping out the birdboxes. We hope to see them again next April. (Doe Lake Rd., Gravenhurst)



White-winged Scoter
Posted on September 30, 2011 at 10:19:30 AM by jim griffin

At this moment, there is what I have identified, with the help of my scope and Mr. Sibley,a first winter juvenile White-winged Scoter on the river south of the Indian Landing at Port Sydney



Re(1): Rusty Blackbirds near Bracebridge
Posted on September 30, 2011 at 12:52:50 PM by Al Sinclair

2 Rustys here today. Foraging on the lawn, turning over leaves and picking around in the grass. Also flew into our mountain ash tree looking under leaves and in the berry clusters, one took a bite out of a berry but that's all.
Also in the mountain ash today, 4 Robins and 1 Hermit Thrush all swallowing whole berries.



Rusty Blackbirds near Bracebridge
Posted on September 29, 2011 at 02:09:52 PM by Al Sinclair

We had 6 Rusty Blackbirds on the lawn today. Saw one catch a caterpillar. 8km east of Bracebridge.  photo



Horned Lark, Rusty Blackbirds - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on September 29, 2011 at 01:34:59 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a Horned Lark about mid-way along the north side of cell 3, where there is a large weed-covered gravelly area next to the road. Several Rusty Blackbirds were in the wet woods north of cell 4. A Northern Flicker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and four Green Herons were in the vicinity of cell 4. A few Palm Warblers and Common Yellowthroats were near the SW corner of cell 4 along with many Sparrows (White-crowned, White-throated, Swamp, Song, and a Savannah). At least twenty American Pipits were feeding along the roadway at the south side of cell 3. An Indigo Bunting was near the Lagoon Lane gate. No shorebirds were seen and not a single Canada Goose. Here are the waterfowl seen:

American Wigeon - cell 2 and cell 3
Common Goldeneye - cell 1 and cell 4
Northern Shoveler (F) - cell 2
Pied-billed Grebe - cell 3 (SW corner)
Hooded Merganser - cell 4
Blue-winged Teal - cell 2 and cell 3
Green-winged Teal - cell 2
Wood Ducks and Mallards - all cells



Posted on September 29, 2011 at 11:25:35 AM by CatMacLean

I am still seeing warblers moving through.Black-throated Blue and Nashville as well as a larger bird with a yellow body and green wings, ? a tananger? Also seeing Phoebes, Chipping sparrows and a Golden-crowned Kinglet.



Re(3): Monarchs
Posted on September 29, 2011 at 03:10:48 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there were a few Monarchs slowly working their way southward. Also a couple of Viceroys, and one Sulphur butterfly which looked a bit more orange than the usual Clouded Sulphurs we've seen there.



Re(2): Monarchs
Posted on September 28, 2011 at 04:56:50 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

There are four here today in the Stiff Goldenrod.
Also had a feeding flock around just after the rain stopped about noon. RB & WB Nuthatches, chickadees, Brown Creepers, kinglets and YR Warblers.



Re(1): Monarchs
Posted on September 27, 2011 at 10:12:21 PM by dinnymccraney

at least 6 on the sedum south L. Muskoka yesterday



Posted on September 27, 2011 at 06:48:21 PM by DebbieAdams

Today we spotted 2 Monarchs within 4 hours of each other flying in a SSE direction. (Walker's Point)



Blue Jays
Posted on September 27, 2011 at 06:46:01 PM by DebbieAdams

There are at least 30 Blue Jays that are feasting on beech nuts around our property and in the woods. Mostly, they are grabbing nuts from the tops of the trees, knocking others down much to the delight of the Chipmunks. And they are making quite a racket too! (Walker's Point)



Mallard Autumn courtship
Posted on September 27, 2011 at 07:06:34 AM by George Bryant

For the past three evenings at dusk, we have observed a pair of Mallards swim across our lake into our bay where the female seems to scout out a nesting site on shore. The pair then fly off together. This is an activity I have observed many times before but only in April and May. We see a lot of courthip behaviour in wintering ducks but Mallards, seemingly may begin pair formation even before migrating.



Swainson's thrush? and others
Posted on September 25, 2011 at 09:43:36 PM by John Challis

A pine warbler was singing on the Green River (Washago), as the morning sun was warming the riverbank today.
And a few days earlier I was up just before dawn listening to an odd call I couldn't identify; there are a lot of those this time of year. It was a mid-range 'peep' followed by a whirr, a bit like a red-bellied woodpecker's, but not quite. Today I sat down with the Stokes CD of calls and I came closest with the Swainson's thrush. It's possible one was migrating through, I suppose, but that's an uneducated guess.
We've also had a barred owl in the yard for a few days. Given the quantity of mole runs in the yard, it's not surprising that the owl would find our place appealing.



Re(1): Monarch, Bala
Posted on September 28, 2011 at 09:49:14 AM by Barbara Taylor

I guess it would depend a lot on how sunny and mild the weather is and how the wind patterns shape up in a particular year. According to one source I found online, Monarchs can't fly if the temperature is less than 13°C., and Journey North says "in order to fly, monarchs need temperatures at least 50°F when sunny and at least 60°F when cloudy".

When conditions are good, Monarchs are able to cover a fair distance...I found two cases where tagged Monarchs were released and then recovered the very next day at 170 miles and 265 miles from their starting points. There has been a lot of Monarch tagging over the past few years, so perhaps as more data is collected, a better picture will emerge on potential late flight survival.



Monarch, Bala
Posted on September 25, 2011 at 07:17:13 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I have a single Monarch for the last few days. It has been nectaring on the Stiff Goldenrod, a native of the prairies that comes in the Prairie Wildflower mix for sept beds that I planted 6 years ago this fall.

I read that these late flyers are not likely to make it to Mexico. Are there different opinions on that?



Wigeon, Pipits - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on September 25, 2011 at 12:53:58 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds we found an American Wigeon in cell 3 along with a female Northern Shoveler, a Pied-billed Grebe, Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Wood Ducks, and Mallards. An American Black Duck was with several Mallards in cell 2. The Solitary Sandpiper was still on the small strip of muddy shore at the south end of cell 1. A few American Pipits were near the NE corner of cell 4. Two Common Goldeneyes and two Hooded Mergansers were in cell 4. Several Canada Geese came in from the north and landed in cell 4. Two Green Herons were once again in the ditch north of cell 4. There were some Palm Warblers and Yellow-rumped Warblers in the shrubbery near the SW corner of cell 4.

Bracebridge Ponds Map (north approx. at top, east at right):



Winter Finch Forecast
Posted on September 24, 2011 at 09:47:03 AM by Barbara Taylor

Ron Pittaway has posted his annual Winter Finch Forecast on Ontbirds and has provided the following link to the article:



Re(2): soaring eagles?
Posted on September 24, 2011 at 08:33:29 PM by dinnymccraney

Yes, I am certain you are correct.I had hoped they might have been something more exotic,but they were a spectacular sight! Thanks for the information.



Re(1): soaring eagles?
Posted on September 24, 2011 at 09:41:05 AM by Barbara Taylor

I would guess they were Turkey Vultures since they are migrating south in good numbers now. On an overcast day or depending how high up they are, they usually appear dark all over instead of two-toned underneath. They have a fairly distinctive flight, usually soaring with their wings held in a shallow V shape (dihedral) and often appear to wobble or rock side to side.



soaring eagles?
Posted on September 23, 2011 at 08:07:20 PM by dinnymccraney

Late this afternoon I watched 6 huge dark birds soaring on the thermal currents above the river north of Taylor Road.
I think they were too large and too dark to be hawks. Did anyone else see them or know what they could be? Even the dog was watching them!



Re(1): Pied-billed Grebe - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on September 24, 2011 at 01:22:26 PM by Barbara Taylor

The Pied-billed Grebe was still in cell 3 this morning and the Solitary Sandpiper was in the SE corner of cell 1.

There were several Warblers in the shrubbery along the roadway west of cell 4 - mostly Yellow-rumped, but also a few Palm, Blackpoll, Nashville, and Common Yellowthroat. There were also many Sparrows - Song, Swamp, White-throated, and White-crowned. Two Green Herons were in the ditch north of cell 4.



Re(1): Pied-billed Grebe - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on September 23, 2011 at 07:52:38 AM by jim griffin

Had one Pied-billed Grebe on the river at Port Sydney last evening.



Pied-billed Grebe - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on September 22, 2011 at 05:21:16 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a Pied-billed Grebe and three Common Goldeneyes in cell 3. Several Green-winged Teal were in cell 2 as well as many Wood Ducks and Mallards. The Solitary Sandpiper and Least Sandpiper were still at the south end of cell 1. Three Hooded Mergansers were in cell 4. Two Green Herons were at the east shore of cell 4 while a Great Blue Heron was in the flooded area west of cell 4. Some Wild Turkeys were foraging near the big piles of dirt north of cell 4.  (The catch basin pond inside the fence by the new plant is no longer a good spot for shorebirds since they have put down some "anti-erosion mats" in the area, right up to the water's edge.)



Recent Mushroom Photos.. Album link
Posted on September 21, 2011 at 06:44:31 PM by Al Sinclair

Some mushroom portraits taken in Haliburton Co. All of these can be found in Muskoka also. All are identified and include some comments. Best way to view them is slide show mode with time set at about 10 seconds. Click on the link below.



Two caterpillars you might find now
Posted on September 20, 2011 at 03:00:14 PM by Al Sinclair

7952 - Red-humped Oakworm - Symmerista canicosta and 7953 - Orange-humped Mapleworm - Symmerista leucitys
Photo on the left by Anne Lewis.   photo  Note canicosta has 5 black stripes down the middle.  



Posted on September 20, 2011 at 02:16:18 PM by Barbara Taylor

We haven't been seeing very many warblers passing through on their way south, and the usual mixed flocks of chickadees and warblers have been notably absent...until today!

At lunchtime there was a large mixed flock feeding in our birch trees. Species included Blackpoll, Orange-crowned, several Yellow-rumped, Black-throated Green, and Nashville Warblers, as well as a few Blue-headed Vireos. There was also a large flock of Chipping Sparrows feeding on our lawn. (Bracebridge)



Magnetawan Birds and Dragonflies
Posted on September 19, 2011 at 07:25:46 AM by Alex Mills

I went birding at Magnetawan both weekend mornings (Sept 17-18) and was pleased to find there were still lots of songbirds about. Among the fifty species tallied included a Northern Parula, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, a Philadelphia Vireo and 2 Scarlet Tanagers on Saturday, and 2 Empidonax flycatchers, 2 American Redstarts, and a Black-throated Blue Warbler on Sunday.

I also caught 5 dragonfly species: White-faced and Autumn Meadowhawks, and Shadow, Canada, and Black-tipped Darners.



Re(2): Solitary Sandpipers - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on September 21, 2011 at 03:55:59 PM by Barbara Taylor

Don Bailey reports there was a Solitary Sandpiper and a Least Sandpiper at the south end of cell 1 this morning. A Palm Warbler was nearby, showing off its "tail bobbing" habit.



Re(1): Solitary Sandpipers - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on September 18, 2011 at 12:48:35 PM by Barbara Taylor

Around noon today the Pectoral Sandpiper and Least Sandpiper were still at the south end of cell 1. Two Solitary Sandpipers were feeding at the edge of the catch basin pond inside the black fencing by the new plant (on your left as you walk in from Lagoon Lane). There were five Wild Turkeys strolling along the roadway east of cell 1, heading north.


(Just a quick note for the archives - yesterday there was a single Rusty Blackbird at Henry Marsh...didn't see any today.)



Blackpoll, Sora - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on September 16, 2011 at 04:50:29 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon there was a Blackpoll Warbler in the shrubbery west of cell 4. A Pectoral Sandpiper, a Least Sandpiper, and a Sora were in the south-east corner of cell 1 where there is a small area of muddy shoreline. The Northern Shoveler was in cell 2 along with many Mallards, an American Black Duck, Wood Ducks, and Blue-winged Teal.



Re(1): Barred owl
Posted on September 19, 2011 at 09:02:44 AM by GayleCarlyle

The owl seems to like our place. John saw it sitting in a birch tree in our yard on Sat. morning.
We have lots of moles in our lawn so perhaps the owl has been feasting on them. I hope so.



Barred owl
Posted on September 16, 2011 at 02:05:06 PM by GayleCarlyle

On Tues. evening this week, we heard a barred owl on the Cronk Sdrd. in Washago and then last night at about 8pm an owl, probably a barred owl, flew across our yard in Washago. Maybe he was scoping out our yard for rodents; I hope so.



Re(1): Hawk Migration
Posted on September 17, 2011 at 09:02:46 AM by Terry & Marion Whittam

I also have been visiting a smaller Hawk watch in Rosetta McClain Gardens on the Scarborough Bluffs near Birchmount and Kingston Road. Very impressive migration of Raptors. Check out their Blog at



Hawk Migration
Posted on September 14, 2011 at 09:27:51 PM by Barbara Taylor

Over the past few days we've noticed an increase in the number of Turkey Vultures streaming southward...might be time to head south to a Hawkwatch.

Holiday Beach Festival of Hawks (Amherstburg) is Sept. 17-18 and Sept. 24-25. Holiday Beach Migration Observatory Daily count data
Hawkwatching at Hawk Cliff (Port Stanley) has a good overview of when and where to see hawks. Hawk Cliff Daily count data
Greater Toronto Hawk Watch - High Park, Cranberry Marsh, Iroquois Shoreline

The Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA) provides free online Hawk Identification Materials. You can download a printable silhouette guide.

Daily count data for many Hawkwatch sites can be found at:
(note: website can be slow to load in your browser at busy times)

Article about Fall Birding in Elgin County along the Lake Erie Shoreline and Port Burwell Provincial Park by Dave Martin
(longer version of article with description of the "parade of species" - OFO News 2001)

OFO article - Fall Hawkwatching Guide by Ron Pittaway



Re(2): Adding Hummers
Posted on September 16, 2011 at 07:16:49 PM by J. Gardner

Minus 3 this morning. One lone hummer came to the feeder several times, and then disappeared. Gone south? Let's hope so. J. Gardner Hurdville



Re(2): Adding Hummers
Posted on September 15, 2011 at 09:04:14 PM by ChrisKerrigan

One hummer at the feeder, Kearney.



Re(1): Adding Hummers
Posted on September 15, 2011 at 12:57:31 PM by J. Gardner

Not adding any more hummers, but this morning (minus 2 at 7a.m.) three hummers showed up at the feeders. There are few birds around at the moment (the warblers went through in waves on the last warm days) so I am very aware of the hummers who should be thinking Latin America. J. Gardner Hurdville



Adding Hummers
Posted on September 14, 2011 at 03:55:54 PM by J. Gardner

Three hummers on the feeders this afternoon, despite frost on the roof this morning. Maybe I am picking up stragglers from farther north. J. Gardner Hurdville



Pectoral Sandpipers - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on September 14, 2011 at 12:25:53 PM by Barbara Taylor

At noon today there were two Pectoral Sandpipers and three Least Sandpipers along the south shoreline of cell 1 at the Bracebridge Ponds. They continued to feed and preen as we walked by and stayed put even with sewage trucks driving past.



Sleeping Monarch
Posted on September 11, 2011 at 03:13:09 PM by janice house

Yesterday morning around 7:20 while checking out the birds in the big white pines on Laycox Rd I spotted a monarch at about 11 oclock hanging at the end of a branch clinging to some pine needles, it only opened its wings once. The branch above was just getting sunlight, I did not see it fly away. (Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst)



Northern Pintail - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on September 11, 2011 at 01:29:57 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds...

cell 4:
Northern Pintail (F)
Hooded Merganser
Blue-winged Teal
Wood Duck
Green Heron (3)

cell 3:
Common Goldeneye
Canada Goose (lots came in from north at 10:45 a.m.)
Killdeer (on roadway south side)

cell 1:
Least Sandpiper (5 at south end)

Several Clouded Sulphur butterflies along roadway east of cell 4 as well as a couple Monarchs, and Cabbage Whites.



Re(6): Fewer Hummers
Posted on September 14, 2011 at 02:01:07 PM by ChrisKerrigan

Two hummers this morning at our feeders, Kearney.



Re(5): Fewer Hummers
Posted on September 14, 2011 at 01:29:42 PM by Barbara Taylor

Bev Bailey reports they had a female Hummer at some flowers in their yard this morning. (Bracebridge)



Re(4): Fewer Hummers
Posted on September 13, 2011 at 04:49:25 PM by J. Gardner

Rats! Still two hummers hanging around. But, they appear to be using flowers more than feeders now. Supposed to get cold at the end of the week, so I am hoping they leave ahead of the freeze. J. Gardner Hurdville



Re(3): Fewer Hummers
Posted on September 12, 2011 at 07:34:00 PM by dinnymccraney

Had one at my impatiens early this morning (Bracebridge)



Re(3): Fewer Hummers
Posted on September 12, 2011 at 01:23:43 PM by J. Gardner

One lone hummer this morning, early, and none since. Dare I hope they are on their way to Venezuela? Hurdville, Lake Manitouwabing



Re(2): Fewer Hummers
Posted on September 12, 2011 at 10:09:27 AM by gaylecarlyle

Still had a hummer at our feeder this morning in Washago.



Re(1): Fewer Hummers
Posted on September 10, 2011 at 07:21:10 PM by Wilf Yusek

Had a female hummer here about 1/2 an hour ago, did not go to feeders, went to fuchia flowers, Prospect lake.



Re(1): Fewer Hummers
Posted on September 9, 2011 at 01:07:58 PM by DebbieAdams

There was a male and female this morning at the feeder. I suspect the male was a migrant because his feeding technique was different from the males that have been here all summer. Not sure if the female was a migrant or not.
We still have quite a few blooming flowers (the ones the deer didn't eat) and the Hummers have been enjoying them too.



Fewer Hummers
Posted on September 9, 2011 at 12:34:18 PM by Terry & Marion Whittam

No hummers this morning but one juvenile showed up at 12:15PM for lunch. They are few and far between here 10km east of Washago. They seem most active at sunset. Definately some have already moved on. Like other species I suspect the adult males have left. Cheers Terry



Re(2): No hummers today!
Posted on September 9, 2011 at 09:20:30 AM by John Challis

Had the hummer at our feeder this morning in Washago.



Re(1): No hummers today!
Posted on September 8, 2011 at 12:31:21 PM by CatMacLean

Had a hummer at our feeders at lunch today in Huntsville.



Re(1): No hummers today!
Posted on September 8, 2011 at 02:41:00 PM by Terry & Marion Whittam

I spoke too soon...... 1 hummer had a feed this afternoon....... a long slow drink!



No hummers today!
Posted on September 8, 2011 at 11:45:34 AM by Terry & Marion Whittam

We had one late hummer last night at sunset. Nothing today yet! I think they are gone for the season! Leaving the feeders up for any migrants! 10km east of Washago.



Re(1): Hummers still here!
Posted on September 8, 2011 at 11:10:32 PM by tedthevideoman

The closer we get to a hard frost the more danger for the Hummer...These little folks fly thousands of miles and more often than not with few stops.



Re(4): Hummers still here!
Posted on September 8, 2011 at 07:11:34 PM by teawren

I've spent some time looking into the matter of removing the feeders in order to encourage the hummingbirds to leave.

There are two reasons why this is not a good idea.

Firstly, encouraging the little ones to leave before they have built up enough reserves makes their migration that much more difficult. They need to bulk up by eating at our feeders in order to make that long journey successfully.

Secondly, by removing the feeders, you are forcing them to turn to the more natural means of bulking up - flowers. Unfortunately, flowers are widespread and have varying amounts of nectar. So the hummingbirds are having to waste valuable resources just to find enough food for building up those much needed reserves. As a result, it is possible that they will have to stay longer than they would if you left the feeders out for them.

I used to remove the feeders once I'd noticed that the last hummingbird had left but as Gayle Carlyle has mentioned, there may be migrants coming through that still need them. This year, I'm going to leave at least one feeder out as long as possible. I will just need to remember to keep the nectar fresh.



Re(3): Hummers still here!
Posted on September 8, 2011 at 09:42:27 AM by GayleCarlyle

Yes, we still a couple of hummers hanging around our place in Washago.
And as for the feeders, from what I understand, leaving them up as long as possible benefits the stragglers from further north. They might need a quick "fix" on their travels. Makes sense since many of the flowers they depend on will have finished blooming.
And the drive to migrate is strong enough that the birds won't hang around too long.
Any other thoughts on this?



Re(2): Hummers still here!
Posted on September 8, 2011 at 08:13:26 AM by DebbieAdams

We still have a male and female hummer. Walker's Point.



Re(1): Hummers still here!
Posted on September 7, 2011 at 07:10:29 PM by J. Gardner

Still have three young hummers at the feeders in Hurdville (Lake Manitouwabing). I hope they take off before it gets cold. I love to have them around, but fear for their safety if they leave too late. May pull the feeders in on the 10th to encourage them on their way. J. Gardner



Hummers still here!
Posted on September 7, 2011 at 06:24:06 PM by Terry & Marion Whittam

Numbers are way down but we still have hummingbirds 10km east of Washago! I sense they will leave anytime! Cheers Terry



Re(1): Goose Band
Posted on September 8, 2011 at 06:23:50 PM by Barbara Taylor

Seems they are just trying to get a better idea of the general subspecies of Canada Goose by including Large as well as Small in their list of Canada Goose choices. These are not official subspecies names, just a relative description of the size. I noticed for example, the Patuxent data for Iowa has lots of "Canada Goose" reports up until 2004 when they then show just lots of "Large Canada Goose". I assume the official subspecies "Giant Canada Goose" would be categorized as Large. If you know a bander, they might be able to tell you which subspecies fits into which category, and when to just call it a regular old Canada Goose.



Goose Band
Posted on September 6, 2011 at 04:15:12 PM by J. Gardner

A report of a leg band on a Giant Canada Goose today, to the Patuxent Banding Laboratory, raised a question. The report from Patuxent listed under "Species" the name Large Canada Goose. Does anybody know if this is an official renaming of this species? A rather unimpressive renaming, if so. J. Gardner



Marbled Godwit - Bracebridge
Posted on September 5, 2011 at 12:46:11 PM by Barbara Taylor

Wilf Yusek reported there is a Marbled Godwit at the Muskoka Highlands Golf Club in Bracebridge, and I just got back from seeing it (thanks to Don MacKay for the ride out to the fairway). Here is a photo taken by Wilf when he discovered the bird this morning. Apparently the bird was also present yesterday. I think this may be a new species for Muskoka!

Birders are welcome, but you must check in at the Clubhouse first.

A map is at:
Location: 1036 South Monck Dr., Bracebridge. Phone: (705) 646-1060



Hummingbird migration
Posted on September 4, 2011 at 10:21:08 PM by Barbara Taylor

At the Muskoka Field Naturalists meeting last Thursday the topic of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds came up. Some folks noted they no longer had any adult males coming to their feeder. That reminded me of an interesting article by Allen Chartier about the fall migration of hummingbirds at the Holiday Beach Hawk Watch on Lake Erie. It includes a chart showing the peak migration days over 22 years of observations (see Figure 4):

Here in Muskoka most Hummingbirds have left by mid-September. Wilf Yusek posted the latest report of one last year on Sept. 27 at Prospect Lake. The latest date I could find in the Archives was in 2006 when Jon Grandfield had one in Port Sydney on Oct. 5.



Re(1): American Copper butterfly
Posted on September 3, 2011 at 09:16:51 PM by dinnymccraney

Glad you posted this photo! I saw one of these as well as a solitary monarch in the garden this afternoon. (Bracebridge)



American Copper butterfly
Posted on September 3, 2011 at 02:53:16 PM by Barbara Taylor

This little butterfly made a brief appearance in our yard today and I managed to grab a quick photo. Appears to be an American Copper. It's the first time I've seen one here although they are listed as a "common" species in the District of Muskoka. (Bracebridge)  photo



Re(1): Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on September 4, 2011 at 12:56:30 PM by Barbara Taylor

Just got back from checking the Ponds...all bird species mentioned yesterday were still there in the same locations except for no Killdeer and the Blue-winged Teals had moved to cell 4. To the SE of cell 4 there were two Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, a Common Yellowthroat, and a Black-throated Green Warbler. Several Cedar Waxwings were hawking insects (looked like small Mayflies).

We haven't seen the young bull Moose since our initial report Aug. 14, but one of the fellows working at the Sewage Plant told us he sees it regulary for a few hours most mornings. It wanders down the hill at the SW of cell 4 around 9:30 a.m. and then spends time foraging in the flooded area west of cell 4.



Bracebridge Ponds - Semipalmated Sandpiper, Pied-billed Grebe
Posted on September 3, 2011 at 01:12:51 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a Least Sandpiper and a Semipalmated Sandpiper together on a small patch of muddy shoreline in the southeast corner of cell 1. Two Killdeer were beside the roadway north of cell 3. A Pied-billed Grebe was in cell 3, but it stayed underwater most of the time, only sticking its head up like a periscope to keep an eye on us. A Green Heron was at the south edge of cell 3 along with six Blue-winged Teal and a few Mallards. In cell 4 there were two Common Goldeneye, two Bufflehead, at least five Hooded Mergansers, and a few Wood Ducks and Mallards. Two Green Herons were at the north edge of cell 4. Two Belted Kingfishers were in the flooded area west of cell 4.

It was nice to see several Monarch Butterflies flying around the Ponds today. Several Painted Turtles and a Snapping Turtle were crossing the roadway near the dumping ponds.
Bracebridge Ponds map (north approx. at top, west at left):



Muskoka Field Naturalists - next meeting Sept. 1
Posted on August 31, 2011 at 08:33:19 PM by Barbara Taylor

MFN meeting Thursday, September 1, at 7:30 p.m. in Bracebridge

Migration Monitoring in Southern Spain with Justin Peter

Each autumn, millions of birds that breed in Europe will go to Africa to spend the winter. The trip is not necessarily a direct one, though. Spain tends to act as a “funnel” for migratory birds and many end up crossing the Strait of Gibraltar. This concentration of birds makes the location ideal for studying migratory patterns of European birds as well as changes in their populations.

In 2010, Justin Peter (Algonquin Park Naturalist) volunteered for a non-profit organization that monitors bird migration at the Strait of Gibraltar, with a particular interest in raptors and other soaring birds. In this illustrated talk, Justin will shed some light on bird migration across the Strait of Gibraltar and on his experiences there.

MFN website:
(Meetings from September through January are held in BRACEBRIDGE at the Church of Latter Day Saints at the corner of Taylor Road and Cedar Lane. Visitors welcome to attend.)



Vireo Movement
Posted on August 31, 2011 at 07:08:58 PM by J. Gardner

Spent a few lovely minutes in a friend's wonderful garden, deep in the heart of Town of Parry Sound. The trees and shrubs were full of Redeyed Vireos. I have never seen this phenomenon before. These birds must be massing for the coming move south. J. Gardner



Re(1): shorebirds
Posted on August 31, 2011 at 08:45:48 PM by Barbara Taylor

Unfortunately the Bracebridge Sewage Lagoons are not permitted to discharge effluent until about mid-October. Assuming the pond test results give them a "go", cell 4 will mostly likely be drained then. Hopefully there will still be some Dunlin, Pectoral Sandpipers, and a possible American Golden-Plover stopping by as in past years.



Posted on August 29, 2011 at 07:32:27 PM by Cliff

Can anyone point me to a good location in sw muskoka to observe shorebirds on migrations, such as a mudflats area?
Ty Cliff



Bracebridge Ponds - Otters
Posted on August 27, 2011 at 06:32:26 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there were four Otters frolicking in cell 4. A Green Heron flew up when they got too close and headed towards the flooded area west of cell 4. There were ten Hooded Mergansers in cell 4, one Green Heron in cell 3, and several Wood Ducks in cell 2.  Ponds Map



Re(1): Hummers
Posted on September 4, 2011 at 03:34:14 PM by Terry & Marion Whittam

I thought they were all gone but a male ruby throated just showed up at our feeders. The males are still around! Cheers Terry



Re(2): Hummers
Posted on August 29, 2011 at 09:22:07 AM by GayleCarlyle

At our place in Washago, we still have plenty of hummers fighting over the 2 feeders. Seems like there are about 4 or 5.
Didn't notice whether there were any adult males left as of this morning, but I did notice one last week chasing a female away.



Re(1): Hummers
Posted on August 27, 2011 at 05:17:33 PM by Terry & Marion Whittam

Yes, 10km east of Washago our males are all gone today...... still lots of juveniles constantly fighting...... refilled all feeders one last time! Cheers Terry



Re(1): Hummers
Posted on August 27, 2011 at 10:17:32 AM by teawren

I'm down in the Carden area and I have noticed a significant reduction in the hummingbird population at my place since the 24th as well. It does seem early.
Last year I still had some young here into October with the adults leaving around mid September



Posted on August 27, 2011 at 07:18:17 AM by J. Gardner

Our male hummers departed about the 24th of August this year. A little early. Since then, some of the females have left and we have only young warring over the feeders. Again, somewhat early. Anybody else noticing their hummers pulling out? J. Gardner



Underwing moth photo
Posted on August 26, 2011 at 05:13:16 PM by Al Sinclair

Photo taken this morning 8km east of Bracebridge. This species of underwing is the most common in our part of Muskoka. We have recorded 10 underwing species here. The colourful hindwing is only seen in flight, may distract predators.  8805 - Once-married Underwing - Catocala unijuga



Some Muskoka Plants
Posted on August 24, 2011 at 07:51:08 PM by Al Sinclair

These plants can be found in Muskoka but the photos were taken in Haliburton near Harcourt where we spent last weekend. I was experimenting taking still photos on a Sony video camera, acceptable quality but no control of depth of field.

photos:  Mountain Maple - Acer spicatum   Downy Rattlesnake Plantain - Goodyera pubescens   Spotted Touch-me-not - Impatiens capensis



Re(1): Novar too...
Posted on August 24, 2011 at 07:13:18 PM by Alex Mills

Last Friday evening (August 19), I watched 4 nighthawks over Novar, also likely a small migratory group heading south...



night hawks
Posted on August 23, 2011 at 10:57:24 PM by John Challis

At dusk tonight, more than a dozen nighthawks flew over our house in Washago, on the Green River. Their grouping at this time of year is a sign they're mustering for the fall migration. They went by southbound, but soon reappeared northbound, flitting and twisting in the air after beetles and dragonflies (which have been in ample supply). Ron Reid tells me he heard them calling in Carden Township a day or two ago, but this gang was noiseless as they conducted their aerobatics.



Re(1): I would say it is an...
Posted on August 22, 2011 at 05:27:05 PM by Alex Mills

...immature Broad-winged Hawk.



Hawk ID?
Posted on August 21, 2011 at 01:40:32 PM by MichaelHatton

Hawk at Leonard Lake.  photo



Re(2): Flurry of Warblers, Bala
Posted on August 26, 2011 at 07:04:10 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

The adults were still quite recognizable. As the juveniles were with the adults I was able to pick them out.

The Peterson "Warblers" book is a big help at this time of year as they have a two pages of undertail patterns.



Re(1): Flurry of Warblers, Bala
Posted on August 22, 2011 at 01:50:41 PM by John Challis

In fall plumage or still recognizable?



Flurry of Warblers, Bala
Posted on August 21, 2011 at 12:11:23 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Just had a flurry of warbler families feeding around my house. Black-throated Greens, Chestnut-sided, Yellow-rumps, redstarts and Blackburnians, so far.



Re(3): Monarchs
Posted on August 19, 2011 at 12:46:17 PM by CatMacLean

I was wondering where all the caterpillars had gone as well. I have two on one plant right now but I have seen very few in our field east of Huntsville.



Re(2): Monarchs
Posted on August 18, 2011 at 06:15:13 PM by DebbieAdams

None here either Gayle. We have lots and lots of milkweed plants and I'm checking regularly for caterpillars. (Walker's Point)



Re(1): Monarchs
Posted on August 18, 2011 at 04:58:54 PM by janice house

I was checking my plants on the weekend, lots of big fat caterpillars here, at least 3 on most of the plants (Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst)



Posted on August 18, 2011 at 09:14:48 AM by GayleCarlyle

has anyone seen monarch caterpillars on their milkweed plants this summer?
We have let the plants grow around our house, partly because the flowers smell so wonderful but mostly to watch the amazing life cycle of the butterflies.
But alas, not a one this year. Is it just our area or is the decline getting worse?



It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a ....
Posted on August 14, 2011 at 01:13:00 PM by Barbara Taylor

Just before noon today we decided to take a quick walk around the Bracebridge Ponds. To our great surprise and delight, as we rounded the corner to look at cell 4, there was a young bull Moose walking towards us! He decided to turn back and slowly walked along the roadway all the way around the west side and part way along the south side, before retracing his steps. He went down into the NW corner of cell 4 for a drink and then proceeded to come back along the north side towards us. Since the moose seemed to want to come our way even though he could clearly see us, we decided to retreat. Maybe he wanted to check out the new sewage treatment plant.

This is the first time we've ever seen a Moose at the Bracebridge Ponds. A few weeks ago we did see some Moose prints in a muddy spot on the trail between the Ponds and Henry Marsh, but closer to the marsh end...maybe it was this fellow wandering about.



Merlin - Henry Marsh
Posted on August 12, 2011 at 12:49:45 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at Henry Marsh we saw a Merlin perched atop a dead tree near the trail. It appeared to be eating a large dragonfly. We also saw four Green Herons, a Great Blue Heron, and a Belted Kingfisher. Five small Sandpipers (Least?) flew by, but were too far away for a definite ID.

We then checked out cell 4 at the Bracebridge Ponds - no Bonaparte's Gull, but counted ten Hooded Mergansers along with one Bufflehead. Three Green Herons were in the flooded area just west of cell 4.   Area Trails Map



Re(1): Unusual Hummingbird
Posted on August 11, 2011 at 04:45:32 PM by Alex Mills

I think it must be a partial albino. Albino hummers are known, but the images I've seen are usually of pure white birds. Yours seems to have dark flight feathers. There is one like it featured at the following website (probably an albino Black-chinned, which is closely related to our Ruby-throated).



Unusual Hummingbird
Posted on August 11, 2011 at 12:40:39 PM by MargueriteUrban

Among the several hummingbirds darting around our feeders this summer is one that is noticeably different--back and breast are very light with some dark mottling, wings are dark and some dark in the tail. Apologies for poor quality of photo.  photo



Bonaparte's Gull
Posted on August 11, 2011 at 11:46:52 AM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds we found a Bonaparte's Gull in cell 4 as well as seven Hooded Mergansers, nine Blue-winged Teal, and a few Wood Ducks and Mallards. Many Swallows (mostly Barn) were swooping low across the water picking off insects. Four Green Herons were seen in the area too.  Ponds Map



Re(1): All white bird?
Posted on August 16, 2011 at 08:51:10 AM by GayleCarlyle

It could have been a great egret. We saw an all white large bird in a pond south of Washago a few years ago. I thought at first it was an albino GBH but it turned out to be a great egret.
Apparently there a number of them nesting in central Ontario.



All white bird?
Posted on August 11, 2011 at 07:10:21 AM by BrendaLaking

At 6:30 am I saw an all white bird flying across the north end of Fairy Lake in Huntsville along Hwy 60 from the burnt out condos area towards Kawartha Dairy. It was as large as a large gull, but had a more deliberate straight line of flight. The neck did not stick out, but there were either long feathers or long legs trailing out behind it. Albino heron, egret, tropicbird?? My back is out and I can't chase it down. It may have landed in one of the creeks feeding into the north end of the lake quite near town.



Water Snake Mystery
Posted on August 5, 2011 at 08:07:56 PM by George Bryant

Our lake is full of bass—Small-mouth, Large-mouth, Rock+ Sunfish and Perch. These fish predate minnows which is why we have no minnow species in the lake. Weakened minnows form the chief diet of water snakes and this lack of minnows explained why, to my mind we see a Water Snake only about once a year. That, plus possible harassment by cottagers.

Today I found a fresh shed 2’ Water Snake skin under our concrete dock. I also found 2’ skins on July 10 and again July 11 at the same spot. (I check it daily.) Snakes shed their skins 4-8 times a year so that makes at least three Water Snakes here. But we have seen none so far this year. Where are they?

I am now conjecturing that our Water Snakes may be primarily nocturnal during this summer, staying under rocks during hot days. They could also be aestivating (summer hibernation) like some of our turtle species.



Sandhill Cranes
Posted on August 2, 2011 at 10:13:56 AM by Terry & Marion Whittam

Two Sandhill cranes have been feeding for the last week in the field just east off McArthur sideroad south of Coopers Falls road. Approximately 8k east of Washago. Cheers Terry



Fisher family
Posted on August 1, 2011 at 10:29:33 PM by Barbara Taylor

Late this afternoon a family of Fishers went running through our back yard. The local mob of Crows alerted us to them with their constant loud cawing. This is the first time we've seen Fishers in the neighbourhood - appeared to be one adult with two young. (Bracebridge)



Green Heron - Beaver Creek
Posted on August 1, 2011 at 10:25:59 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning along the Covered Bridge hiking trail there was a Green Heron near the foot bridge that had been washed out in spring floods. The bridge has since been fixed. Nothing else of note except an Eastern Bluebird perched in a dead tree near the Moreland Cres. end of the trail. (Bracebridge)



Re(3): Caspian Terns--Staging, Migrating or Foraging?
Posted on August 15, 2011 at 10:20:39 PM by Doug Smith

Caspian terns are frequent visitors to Port Carling in July and August, using the Indian River for fishing.



Re(3): Caspian Terns--Staging, Migrating or Foraging?
Posted on August 4, 2011 at 09:20:52 AM by janice house

I have seen them at Skeleton Lake over the past several summers



Re(2): Caspian Terns--Staging, Migrating or Foraging?
Posted on August 2, 2011 at 07:14:35 AM by DebbieAdams

I saw one yesterday evening while dining at the Boathouse at Taboo. (mouth of Hoc Roc River on Lake Muskoka.) The birds' aerial display provided quite a good floor show, which made up for the food and service.



Re(2): Caspian Terns--Staging, Migrating or Foraging?
Posted on August 9, 2011 at 07:38:35 PM by george bryant

I've seen no subsequent CATE here.
Ron Pittaway has directed me to his note in Ontario Birds. Use of garbage dump and possible migration route of Caspian Tern in central Ontario 5(1): 35-36, 1987.
Based on many observations in the 1980s, the article describes a narrow migration corridor in summer from Lake Simcoe to Lake Ontario with few birds seen east and west of the corridor. Ron also saw Caspians resting with Ring-billed Gulls at the Lindsay dump adjacent to Sturgeon Lake at the eastern edge of the route.
I suspect the South Watcher colony has grown since the 1980's, so our birds may now be foragers



Re(1): Caspian Terns--Staging, Migrating or Foraging?
Posted on August 1, 2011 at 06:14:07 PM by Al Sinclair

Caspian Terns can be seen on Sparrow Lake all summer, also Gravenhurst Bay, Moon river Bala, Hardy lake, as far inland from Georgian Bay as Hwy 11. My assumption is that they forage inland up the Severn and Moon Rivers on a regular basis throughout the breeding season. During the atlas we had many records in southern Muskoka but all were assumed to be birds from the Georgian Bay colony. Are they non-breeding birds? Maybe.



Caspian Terns--Staging, Migrating or Foraging?
Posted on July 31, 2011 at 10:50:27 AM by George Bryant

July 30 Two Caspian Terns called and caught fish on our lake near Gravenhurst. This is an August tradition which I had always assumed was early migration from Georgian Bay to lower Great Lakes with staging in Lake Simcoe. However, the Breeding Bird Atlas says they forage from their Muskoka breeding colony, South Watcher Island as far as Matchedash Bay (40 kms). We are equidistant but inland. Given that migration elsewhere is in September, I now wonder whether our birds are early migrants or distant foragers. Does anyone see them on Lake Muskoka in July.



update on Hummingbird nest
Posted on July 31, 2011 at 08:46:34 AM by ann hansen

Just an update on the humming bird nest at our cottage on Spence Lake (Muskoka Falls). The babies hatched a couple of weeks ago. At first we couldn't see any movement at the nest, then last weekend, could see the odd lift of a wing or a head, yesterday they were quite active. Clearly saw one baby poking its head up above the rim of the nest, stretching out wings. They are very tiny, very beatiful. Their feathers are coming in now. I sure hope we are around to see them before they fledge.



Brown Thrasher
Posted on July 29, 2011 at 01:36:58 PM by tedthevideoman

We have been seeing a Brown Thrasher on and off since June.
Today our Thrasher appeared with 2 fully grown young and was feeding them with worms and such from our garden...hope to post a picture soon!
120 Meadow Heights BB



Re(1): Bog Copper, Bala
Posted on July 30, 2011 at 01:07:38 PM by rick stronks

We have records in Algonquin Park for Bog Coppers in August (I think our record late date is August 14).



Bog Copper, Bala
Posted on July 27, 2011 at 06:31:48 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I saw a Bog Copper flying this morning. Is this late for the species?



Re(2): Baby loon and parents!
Posted on July 26, 2011 at 06:26:21 PM by Terry & Marion Whittam

Hi George, I checked a number of my other shots and the bill is definitely black. Interesting that in many of my shots the upper bill does reflect a lot of light so it looks lighter. That loon was also diving at the time so the bill was wet. I'll take a closer look next time I head out to check on them. Cheers Terry



Re(1): Baby loon and parents!
Posted on July 26, 2011 at 06:03:16 PM by George Bryant

If the adult loon on the right were removed, any reasonable birder would know you had a Yellow-billed Loon.
I assume the yellow bill is an artifact of the sunlight and bill angle, looking black in all other views.
Interesting comparison.



Baby loon and parents!
Posted on July 25, 2011 at 06:52:16 PM by Terry & Marion Whittam

Our little loon seems well on its way. Mom and dad have moved it to a quiet area of the lake! Hopefully there is enough fish to feed all! Cheers Terry
Baby loon and parents on guard!



Ultronia Underwing Moth - photo
Posted on July 25, 2011 at 10:55:53 AM by Barbara Taylor

This colourful moth was at our porch light last night. (Bracebridge)
8857 - Catocala ultronia - Ultronia Underwing Moth  photo

Here's a good reference for Underwing Moths that can be found in Ontario:



Re(2): Green Herons
Posted on July 27, 2011 at 06:33:51 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I took a look Tuesday morning and did see one bird. I think it was a juvenile. It was partially obstructed by cattails.
Not an easy place to photograph them!



Re(2): Green Herons
Posted on July 24, 2011 at 06:50:32 PM by Terry & Marion Whittam

Very very nice! Great capture! Well done! Cheers Terry



Re(1): Green Herons
Posted on July 24, 2011 at 03:26:27 PM by J. Gardner

Jim took this photo of a Green Heron on Friday. Believe it or not, this picture was taken at a pond beside Walmart and behind MacDonalds, in the busiest section of Parry Sound. June Gardner  photo



Green Herons
Posted on July 23, 2011 at 11:16:24 AM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there were at least eight Green Herons - four juveniles, two adults, and another two that were too well hidden to tell. They may have been from different families since only one young bird flew up from west of cell 4 to follow an adult heading towards Kerr Park. We didn't check the small pond next to the Kerr Park parking lot, but that has been a favourite hunting ground for the Green Herons in past years. The family of Virginia Rails was still in the small strip of marsh east of cell 4, but they stayed out of sight and we could only hear their calls.  Ponds Map (north at top, west at left)



Whipoorwill in Vankoughnet!
Posted on July 23, 2011 at 06:47:38 AM by FrancesGualtieri

At last...I heard a whipoorwill last night...for the first time in many, many years.



Re(1): Beware Poachers
Posted on August 2, 2011 at 12:00:51 PM by Barbara Taylor

I try to monitor the board on a regular basis. If there is ever an issue with someone's post being too specific about a location for a rare or threatened species, then I can edit out that part. In this case, I didn't think just the name of a road would be a problem. Perhaps the knowledge that snakes may be on the road at night might actually save a few from being run over. The Torrance Barrens is well advertised as a Dark Sky Reserve.

At any time if you wish to bring something to my attention, please send me an email:



Re(1): Beware Poachers
Posted on July 26, 2011 at 07:01:39 PM by diannawolfe

I agree with Alex. We should be very aware of what we post and how the information may be used. This is especially true for sightings of Species at Risk reptiles. Some of these species exhibit site fidelity to the locations where we see them and are easily caught. If we include location information in our posts, we are potentially unknowingly providing valuable information to nefarious individuals intent on poaching reptiles. Sadly, I have seen reptile poachers at work, while driving the late-night roads of Arizona. It does happen.

For the sake of our cold-blooded friends, please let's be careful.



Beware Poachers
Posted on July 25, 2011 at 09:39:54 AM by Alex Mills

I love visiting the barrens and one of the attractions is the herp variety. However, reptile poaching is a serious problem everywhere, and the less information that well meaning naturalists give to the "herpetoculture" community, the better.

Barbara, I wonder if the nature board should have a policy?

And George, I am not chastizing you! (I have posted with regret in the past).



Night run on the barrens
Posted on July 21, 2011 at 11:36:32 PM by George Bryant

Sid Daniels and I did a night run on the Torrance Barrens Muskoka Road 13 from 9 to 11 p.m. to-night. This is herpetelogical talk for driving roads in search of mainly snakes. It has to be a hot day and evening so asphalt warms up and attracts snakes. We observed two Massasaugas (one perhaps the largest I've ever seen), 1 Milk, 1 Dekay's and 1 Ribbon-Total five snakes. We heard only one Whip-poor-will and one Nighthawk, whereas a month ago I heard dozens of Whips and several Nighthawks. Only mammal noted was one Raccoon. As always there was no traffic.
Night runs are popular in Texas and Arizona, this is the only place I know of where it is productive in Ontario.



Re(2): New moth for my list
Posted on July 22, 2011 at 09:16:41 AM by Al Sinclair

Right, forgot about Ypsilanti Michigan. Pronounced ip sil anti I think.



Re(1): New moth for my list
Posted on July 21, 2011 at 11:28:35 PM by george bryant

Nice moth.
As far as I know nothing is silent in scientific names--which makes it easy to pronouce them. I suppose y has to become i. The other stock answer is that nobody knows how the Romans pronounced words so you can say anything and may be right.



New moth for my list
Posted on July 20, 2011 at 04:00:11 PM by Al Sinclair

Photographed this little guy Monday, nicely colored, new to my Muskoka list but apparently common across Canada from BC to Ontario. Food plant listed as snowberry, willow, and honeysuckle. This is a small moth, one of the micros, compare its size to the wood grain in the photo. Anybody know how to pronounce Ypsolopha? Y silent?

2371 - Canary Ypsolopha - Ypsolopha canariella  photo



Insects - photos
Posted on July 20, 2011 at 11:14:08 AM by Barbara Taylor

Here are a few insects I've found recently in Bracebridge.

Round-headed Apple Tree Borer (Saperda candida) -- Family Cerambycidae (Long-horned Beetles)
Adults feed on foliage, but the larvae attack healthy as well as weakened fruit trees. While Malus (apple) seems to be their favourite, they will also attack other trees such as Amelanchier, Crataegus, and Prunus.  photo


Klamathweed Beetle (Chrysolina quadrigemina or C. hyperici) -- Family Chrysomelidae (Leaf Beetles)
I have noticed these small shiny beetles in past years, but didn't know what they were. My best clue was that they were only feeding on St. John's Wort plants (aka Klamathweed). The plant is indigenous to Europe, and although known to have some medicinal benefits, it is considered a noxious weed here since it is poisonous to grazing livestock. The two species of beetles were introduced to North America to help control the weed. Apparently you need to examine the beetle's genitalia to tell them apart...right.  photo


Green Lacewing sp. -- Family Chrysopidae (Green Lacewings)
These are "good bugs" to have around. Larval lacewings are sometimes called Aphid Lions since they feed on aphids, as well as many other soft-bodied garden pests.  photo


Whitespotted Sawyer (Monochamus scutellatus) -- Family Cerambycidae (Long-horned Beetles)
This is a borer commonly found in dead or dying conifers, especially pines and firs.  photo



Re(1): Mom and baby loon!
Posted on July 20, 2011 at 01:47:29 PM by Terry & Marion Whittam

Yesterday, Tuesday I received a call from a neighbour who found a dead loon chick about 500m from the original loon nest on another island at the lake. Last evening I enlisted about 20 cottagers to report any loon and hopefully baby loon sightings. Talk about "citizen science" at work. Finally today about 1:30pm I received a report of 1 adult with baby in tow. Looks like both eggs hatched and 1 survived. Keeping our fingers crossed! Cheers Terry



Mom and baby loon!
Posted on July 18, 2011 at 06:25:35 PM by Terry & Marion Whittam

I checked the loon nest on Sunday and both eggs seemed to be there! I did not get too close even though no adults were around. Today about 5PM a neighbor sent me this picture of mom and baby loon. 10km east of Washago. Cheers Terry
Mom and baby loon!



Re(1): Nighthawk
Posted on July 20, 2011 at 03:30:26 PM by Dawn Sherman

I saw three nighthawks above the train station last night. (Main Street West in Huntsville)



Posted on July 17, 2011 at 05:05:26 PM by Terry & Marion Whittam

Finally heard my first Nighthawk of the year last night at sunset. I tried to see it but could only hear it calling. Its just great to still hear them in Muskoka! 10km east of Washago. Cheers Terry



Green Comma...first this
Posted on July 17, 2011 at 04:58:32 PM by Al Sinclair

We had a Green Comma in our yard at noon today, took these photos. Very attractive butterfly! Only one brood, individuals emerging now fly until fall, overwinter and breed the next generation in the spring of next year. Rather uncommon here I would say, like conifer forests with their food plants alder or poplars mixed in.

4423 - Polygonia faunus - Green Comma  photo



Yellowlegs and Virginia Rails
Posted on July 16, 2011 at 11:53:13 AM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a family of Virginia Rails in the small marshy area east of cell 4 (two adults with three young). One adult Green Heron flew low over cell 4 heading towards the large flooded area to the west. Two Lesser Yellowlegs were in the south-east corner of cell 1 which was about the only place with a bit of muddy shoreline. The water level is still high in all cells. Ponds Map (north at top, west at left)



Re(2): Chiggers come to Muskoka
Posted on July 18, 2011 at 08:51:31 AM by GayleCarlyle

A few years ago we were picking blueberries at the Torrance Barrens and my back was really aching so I lay down in the soft moss for a while to rest.
A couple of days later, I developed about 4 or 5 extremely itchy welts in the crook of my arm and my groin area. Turned out it was chiggers.
And I learned the hard way about scratching the welts they leave on the skin. It took over a month to heal.
So be warned!



Re(1): Chiggers come to Muskoka
Posted on July 16, 2011 at 03:13:12 PM by Barbara Taylor

Having never experienced a Chiggers attack, I decided to search for some information about them. Now that I know more, I sure hope the Muskoka winters will kill them so they can't take hold here! Black Flies and Deer Flies are bad enough...and at least you can see them!

Here's a good reference about Chiggers:



Chiggers come to Muskoka
Posted on July 15, 2011 at 10:38:27 PM by George bryant

I was out on Wednesday chasing insects wearing long pants and boots and now believe I have a dose of chiggers, a creature with which I have had a long familiarity. The bites are characterized by extreme itchiness but most significantly occur in areas where no respecting arthropod should tread (such as around your waistline or farther south!)

Chiggers have been known from south-western Ontario (Pelee Island) for decades. I heard recently they are now in High Park, Toronto. This hot weather has probably brought them out. Avoid grassy pastures with livestock.



Broad-winged Hawk - photo
Posted on July 15, 2011 at 09:33:04 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning a Broad-winged Hawk was perched in a pine tree overlooking our neighbour's garden, but then decided to fly down to an arbor for a closer look. I managed to grab a couple shots before some Blue Jays convinced it to leave. (Bracebridge)  photo1  photo2



Re(1): Red Eyed Vireo's vs Blue Jays
Posted on July 14, 2011 at 03:18:25 PM by Al Sinclair

One year we observed a Blue Jay removing recently hatched young from a Blue-headed Vireo nest. Their presence is not appreciated by small songbirds.



Red Eyed Vireo's vs Blue Jays
Posted on July 14, 2011 at 08:58:42 AM by janice house

Last Sunday while sitting on the dock at the cottage (Skeleton Lake Rd 3) I heard what sounded like alarm calls from several vireo's. They were in the top of a white birch tree and then I spotted the blue jay. One vireo took a dive at the jay and sent it packing. Several minutes later it chased the flock of blue jays out of a tree a little further away. I did a bit of reading and the vireo's may have been guarding a second brood.



Chimney Swifts
Posted on July 12, 2011 at 03:34:33 PM by janice house

yesterday at noon at least 5 swifts were flying above the intersection of Manitoba St & Taylor Rd



White Admiral feeding on sap
Posted on July 12, 2011 at 10:36:47 AM by Al Sinclair

For a couple of weeks White Admirals, as many as 4 at a time, have been feeding at sapsucker holes on a European Mountain Ash in our yard.

4522 - White Admiral - Limenitis arthemis arthemis  photo



Young buck in town...
Posted on July 12, 2011 at 10:08:42 AM by Barbara Taylor

I put out some birdseed on the feeder hoping to attract the male Cardinal with his fledgling...but all I got was this young buck.

This is probably the same deer we saw earlier in the year when his antlers were just starting to bud. Guess he had to wait until his favourite snacks had regrown after his previous visits. He seems to prefer our Purple Leaf Sandcherry shrub, Sedum spectabile, and tender green leaved hostas. The Hydrangea shrub is also looking a bit "lopsided" from his nibbling...the deer have never eaten that one before. (Bracebridge)  photo1  photo2



Loon nest!
Posted on July 11, 2011 at 01:40:05 PM by Terry & Marion Whittam

A neighbour called me on the weekend to report that their grandchildren had found 2 eggs on an island at the lake. After searching the shoreline I spotted these 2 eggs on a shallow nest right at the water line. It was a warm day and no loons were around. I returned in the evening keeping my distance and spotted one of the loons on the nest. Seems very late i the year but lets hope at least 1 hatches. 10k east of Washago. Cheers Terry
Loon nest



Harvester Butterflies are flying
Posted on July 9, 2011 at 01:35:59 PM by Al Sinclair

On Friday Margo Holt found a Harvester in Muskoka on Black River Rd near Victoria Bridge. Our only carnivorous butterfly. Photo on The Simcoe Board



Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on July 9, 2011 at 01:08:56 PM by Barbara Taylor

At the Bracebridge Ponds this morning we found three adult Green Herons in the flooded area west of cell 4, but no sign of any fledglings yet. A Woodcock was on the trail near the NW corner of cell 4. An Indigo Bunting was singing near the SW corner of cell 4. A Hooded Merganser had five young with her in cell 3. There were several families of Wood Ducks and Mallards in cell 2.  Ponds Map (north at top, west at left)



Re(2): Northern Black Widow Spider
Posted on July 21, 2011 at 11:41:57 PM by George Bryant

This is what Tom Mason of the TO Zoo told me last year re the Black Widow we found near Torrance. This is certainly the northern limit for Black Widow

Hi George: What I gather is that the northern widow was a relatively common species north of Lake Erie and up the Bruce Peninsula until the early 40's. They suddenly seemed to disappear and were not seen until the 80's. One theory I heard was that it was associated to the introduction of the European earwig.

Anyway about 1985 I first had a person bring me some from the Orillia area. It turned out to be common in that region. Since then I have started getting specimens from quite a variety of sites. I mentioned the northern limit. To the east, Port Hope; to the west Milton. Other places are Barrie, Angus, King City, & Orangeville. The Lake Erie region has not been overly productive but I have heard that people find them.

Also there are many reports of Western widows (on grapes) and brown widows on plants and in boxes of crickets. Southern widows have shown up in equipment but are much less common.



Re(1): Northern Black Widow Spider
Posted on July 8, 2011 at 10:44:18 PM by Al Sinclair

Interesting. Any photos? I have photographed one that was found near Minden, Haliburton Co. One was found on Beausoliel Island a couple of years ago which is in Muskoka. The one at Minden was very docile, easy to photograph. Maybe they are more common than we know.



Northern Black Widow Spider
Posted on July 7, 2011 at 03:20:06 PM by diannawolfe

Rob found a large female Northern Black Widow Spider with a magnificent egg sac while moving wood today in Kilworthy. It is our second sighting of this species in the Gravenhurst area, the first occurring last year with George Bryant et al. near Torrance. Both specimens were found under pieces of wood.

Apparently, the Northern Black Widow is timid, although it may bite if disturbed. While they are considered venomous, the bites are only considered serious for young children, the elderly, and immunocompromised adults. These spiders are extremely uncommon in Ontario, especially in our area. Their rarity coupled with their tendency not to bite and their relatively weak venom make for a very low overall risk to people.

Plus, they are tremendously cool! (I say this despite being a life-long arachnophobe.)



Re(1): Cicada
Posted on July 8, 2011 at 03:09:45 PM by DebbieAdams

Just heard my first Cicada of the year. (July 8, 3:10pm)
Walker's Point



Posted on July 7, 2011 at 09:42:31 AM by GayleCarlyle

Heard my first cicada of the year yesterday afternoon here at Grant's Woods outside of Orillia.



Black-billed Cuckoo, Barred Owl
Posted on July 6, 2011 at 12:24:18 PM by george bryant

In some summers I hear a number, others none, yesterday one sang in the afternoon at Pine Lake, Gravenhurst, first I've heard this year. We also have a pair of Barred Owls and for the first time in my thirty years' here, one of them hoots periodically in broad daylight nearby. (My sense is that BAOW numbers are high in Muskoka this year. I tried to achieve my record high BAOW count on Muskoka Road 13 at the end of April but discovered that frog sounds drowned everything else out.)



Re(2): Yellow Throated Vireo
Posted on July 8, 2011 at 02:22:45 PM by george bryant

I heard two to-day (my first for the year) at Torrance Barrens, one at the RR crossing before the big swasp and the other right at the Highland Pond boardwalk. Last year Jim Goltz had two at the swamp. Birdsong was excellent this morning although I always consider July 12 as the end of it.



Re(1): Yellow Throated Vireo
Posted on July 5, 2011 at 01:03:37 PM by Al Sinclair

Good one! First Muskoka report this year that I know of. Oriole and Segwun in north end of Gravenhurst.



Yellow Throated Vireo
Posted on July 5, 2011 at 11:56:21 AM by DBurton

I heard a Yellow Throated Vireo singing at the corner of Oriole and Segwun today.



Re(2): Philadelphia Vireo ?
Posted on July 4, 2011 at 09:21:17 AM by Al Sinclair

In my view, most likely a Warbling. Was it singing? Philadelphia same as a Red-eyed, Warbling song unique.
Was it in Muskoka? Philadelphia only seen here during migration (with a couple of exceptions).



Philadelphia Vireo ?
Posted on July 4, 2011 at 00:17:37 AM by tedthevideoman

Help with ID Is this a Philadelphia Vireo ?  photo
I have several shots if this does not give you an answer!



Re(2): Annual Bala Butterfly Count...Final Report from Ron
Posted on July 4, 2011 at 09:37:14 AM by Al Sinclair

Thirteenth Annual Bala Butterfly Count (2 July 2011) by Ron Stager

Eleven people participated in the 13th annual Bala butterfly count on July 2nd which is part of the North American Butterfly Association’s (NABA) program. Three groups identified species and counted the number of butterflies in a variety of habitats within a 7.5 mile radius from the centre of Bala. The day, although forecasts threatened rain, became very warm and humid towards the end of the count.

This year the butterfly season seemed more “normal” particular in comparison to last year that had a very “early” season. There were 29 species observed on the count day with one new species, Striped Hairstreak, which brought the total species seen over the thirteen counts to 56. This year, we had the return of our usual species including Harris Checkerspot, Common Ringlet, Northern Cloudy Wing and some of the earlier skippers, Indian and Hobomok, were present. It was surprising that we saw no fritillaries or swallowtails in the same year particularly given the large number of Canadian Tiger Swallowtails in Muskoka this year.

There were eight species that had new record number of individuals or tied the previous records with the total number of butterflies at a new record of 5,515. Most of these were due to the new maximum of 5,154 for European Skippers which seemed to have a late season this year along with a record number for Northern Cloudywing. On the other hand, there were record numbers for species which usually peak later in our season including Northern Pearly-eye, Peck’s Skipper and Dun Skipper. Least Skipper had a new record and Cabbage White and Delaware Skipper matched their previous records.

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

Cabbage White, 13;

Bog Copper, 8; Banded Hairstreak, 1; Striped Hairstreak, 3; Azure, 3

Silvery Checkerspot, 1; Harris’ Checkerspot, 9; Northern Crescent, 17; QuestionMark, 1; Eastern Comma 3; Mourning Cloak, 4; White Admiral, 70; Viceroy, 3; Northern Pearly-eye, 17; Eyed Brown, 24; Little Wood Satyr, 3; Common Ringlet, 62; Monarch, 12 ( plus 5 caterpillars)

Northern Cloudywing,8; Least Skipper, 4; European Skipper, 5154; Indian Skipper, 2; Peck's Skipper, 41; Tawny-edged Skipper,3; Long Dash, 15; Northern Broken-dash,3; Delaware Skipper, 1; Hobomok Skipper, 19; Dun Skipper, 20

I would like to thank the participants in general and Al Sinclair and Rick Snider, in particular, for leading groups.

Participant List:

Al Fry, Al Sinclair, Cyril Fry, Erik Stager, Ernie Giles, George Bryant, Janice House, JoAnne Agnew, Stephanie Lehman, Rick Snider, Ron Stager



Re(1): Annual Bala Butterfly Count...species list
Posted on July 3, 2011 at 02:13:41 PM by Al Sinclair

Cabbage White
Bog Copper
Banded Hairstreak
Striped Hairstreak
Summer Azure
Silvery Checkerspot
Harris' Checkerspot
Northern Crescent
Question Mark
Eastern Comma
Mourning Cloak
White Admiral
Northern Pearly-eye
Eyed Brown
Little Wood-Satyr
Common Ringlet
Northern Cloudywing
Least Skipper
European Skipper
Indian Skipper
Peck's Skipper
Tawny-edged Skipper
Long Dash
Northern Broken-Dash
Delaware Skipper
Hobomok Skipper
Dun Skipper
-------- STATISTICS --------
Species seen - 29



Re(1): Annual Bala Butterfly Count...more photos
Posted on July 5, 2011 at 01:17:04 PM by Al Sinclair

More photos taken on the count by Rick Snider. Striped Hairstreak is my favorite, a real beauty.



Annual Bala Butterfly
Posted on July 3, 2011 at 07:58:25 AM by Al Sinclair

Great day! Numbers were good, 29 species, 11 counters in 3 groups. Highlights: Delaware Skipper, Striped Hairstreak, Banded Hairstreak, Least Skipper, Question Mark. Full species list later.  BOG COPPER - DELAWARE SKIPPER - LEAST SKIPPER   photo



Hummingbird nest
Posted on July 2, 2011 at 10:45:09 PM by ann hansen

This evening while out at the cottage on Spence Lake (Muskoka River), managed to spot a hummingbird nest in a tree just off the deck. Momma hummingbird was flitting about the tree and sitting on her nest. No sign of babies yet.



MFN Butterfly Count Saturday
Posted on July 1, 2011 at 11:39:28 AM by Al Sinclair

Here is the info from the Muskoka Field Naturalists newsletter. Non-members are welcome, nets not required, most are identified with binos. If raining tomorrow email before 8:30 to see if it is postponed until Sunday.

JULY 2, Saturday (Long Weekend) Rain/wind date JULY 3, Sunday
The 13th Annual BALA BUTTERFLY COUNT led by Ron Stager and Al Sinclair.

Meet at 9:30 a.m. at the Ragged Rapids Hydro Parking Lot. Take Highway 38 from Bala, roughly 5 km to the Ragged Rapids Road. Make a right hand turn and following the Ragged Rapids Road to the hydro parking lot, keeping left all the way.

Bring lunch, spare nets will be available.

After initial introduction and ID of butterflies, the group will split up for different routes, reconvening at Jaspen Park at 3:30 p.m.

If it is raining heavily, or the wind is strong, postponement to Sunday is a possibility.
If in doubt call Ron Stager or Al Sinclair (numbers in your membership list).

A $4.00 donation is requested by the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) to defray publication costs of the results.