Muskoka Bird Board - Archived Reports from July - September 2012
 
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Re(1): American Dagger Moth Caterpillar - photo
Posted on October 2, 2012 at 10:34:09 AM by John Challis

There are a lot of these characters around our place in Washago right now.

 

 

American Dagger Moth Caterpillar - photo
Posted on September 30, 2012 at 08:30:30 PM by Barbara Taylor

Last week at the Bracebridge Ponds there were several of the familiar Woolly Bear caterpillars wandering around, but also this yellow one. When I placed my foot in front of it, the caterpillar kept crawling right onto my shoe, so I decided to take its picture. Apparently the hairs on this species can cause a bad rash...good thing I used a twig to remove it instead of my fingers.
American Dagger Moth Caterpillar (Acronicta americana):  photo1  photo2

 

 

Bracebridge Lagoons
Posted on September 30, 2012 at 01:42:11 PM by Goodyear

This morning at the lagoons:

Lesser Scaup - 1 female in cell 2 along with Mallards, Wood Ducks, Blue-winged Teal, Black Ducks

Horned Lark - 1 on the road south of cell 2

Orange-crowned Warbler - 1 at the southwest corner of cell 3 near the dumping pond

Palm Warblers - 4 still hanging around the large mound of dirt on the north side of cell 4

Rusty Blackbirds - 2 in the woods west of cell 3

Pied-billed Grebes - 3 in cell 4

2 Yellow-rumped Warblers and 2 Common Yellowthroats at the southwest corner of cell 2

There was no sign of the Green Herons. 60+ White-crowned Sparrows along the edges of the cells.

 

 

vesper sparrow
Posted on September 29, 2012 at 05:59:44 PM by John Challis

South side of Sparrow Lake, on Deep Bay Road (access from South Sparrow Lake Rd to Torpitt Rd to the Roehl Reserve, a property of the Couchiching Conservancy), I came across a sparrow with a junco's tail -- outer white tail feathers -- flashing as it flew. Had to look it up to learn it was a vesper sparrow. Eye ring and other markings also matched the description. White crowned sparrows, a hermit thrush and kinglets accompanying chickadees were also in the woods along the way.
There are white throated sparrows around our house in Washago, too.

 

 

Re(1): Sandhill cranes in Algonquin Park?
Posted on October 2, 2012 at 06:38:02 AM by jim griffin

Ron Tozers book, Birds of Algonquin Park, summarizes sandhill sightings in the park from 1998 through 2011.
"Rare spring migrant; locally rare in summer; breeds; very rare fall migrant.

 

 

Sandhill cranes in Algonquin Park?
Posted on September 27, 2012 at 09:49:44 AM by Wayne Bridge

Last week we took a 3-day vacation in the Madawaska Valley. Just outside of Algonquin Park, near the junction of Highways 60 and 127 (a few miles east of Whitney)I saw two sandhill cranes in a farm pasture. As the crane flies, this was probably less than 10 kilometres from the Algonquin Park boundary. My question is, have there been any sightings of sandhill cranes in the Park?

 

 

Re(1): Warbler
Posted on September 27, 2012 at 08:19:55 AM by CatMacLean

Also heard a Blue Headed Vireo this am in Huntsville

 

 

Warbler
Posted on September 26, 2012 at 05:47:44 PM by CatMacLean

Still have a pair of Common Yellowthroats in our field as well as Rose Breasted Grosbeaks at our feeders.

 

 

Re(2): Ruddy Duck photo
Posted on September 26, 2012 at 04:09:14 PM by Barbara Taylor

Ruddy Duck (by itself at west side of cell 2): photo

 

 

Re(1): Bracebridge Lagoons
Posted on September 26, 2012 at 02:11:47 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning the female Northern Shoveler was still in cell 1, as well as many Mallards, a few Blue-winged Teal, and some Wood Ducks. The Ruddy Duck and the Lesser Scaup were still in cell 2. An American Coot was at the west edge of cell 4. There were also seven Ring-necked Ducks and at least three Pied-billed Grebes in cell 4. Didn't see any shorebirds or Green Herons today. A few American Pipits flew overhead and large numbers of Turkey Vultures were streaming southward on the NW winds.

In the shrubbery west of cell 4 there was a mewing Gray Catbird and a couple Myrtle Warblers. A few Palm Warblers and a Wild Turkey were north of cell 4. A Common Yellowthroat was west of cell 3. White-crowned Sparrows were feeding in the weedy margins of cell 2 and 3. Savannah Sparrows were along the roadway between cells 1 and 2. A Common Buckeye butterfly was on the roadway west of cell 4.

It's worth a walk around cell 4 just to see the fall colours:  photo

 

 

Bracebridge Lagoons
Posted on September 25, 2012 at 07:56:40 PM by Goodyear

Tonight around 6:30 we saw a female Northern Shoveler in cell 1, the female Ruddy Duck was in cell 2, along with a male Ring-necked Duck, female Scaup, and a single Pied-billed Grebe, and 60+ Mallards. What looked to be a Sora was making its way along the edge of cell 2. 8 Killdeer flew in and landed at the south edge of cell 2. 4 male Ring-necked Ducks were in cell 4, along with the 4 local Pied-billed Grebes. Many young and adult White-crowned Sparrows were feeding on the goldenrod at the sw corner of cell 3.

 

 

Birds, Bala
Posted on September 25, 2012 at 08:46:24 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Yesterday afternoon there were several Blue-headed Vireos, both kinglets and a Nashville Warbler in the trees beside my house.
This morning one of the vireos has been around so far.

 

 

Re(1): Bracebridge Lagoons - Scaup
Posted on September 24, 2012 at 04:26:25 PM by Barbara Taylor

There was a female Lesser Scaup in cell 2 this morning. Didn't see the Ruddy Duck, but got rained out after just a brief search.

 

 

Bracebridge Lagoons - Ruddy Duck
Posted on September 23, 2012 at 08:45:47 PM by Goodyear

Late this afternoon there was a Ruddy Duck in cell 2. A flock of 6 American Pipits flew overhead and then were chased by the local Merlin who came up empty "taloned". Several Palm Warblers continue to frequent the north end of cell 4. The water in all the cells was very high after the recent rain and there is little if any shore available for migrating shorebirds. A Brown Thrasher visited our empty platform feeder this afternoon and two juvenile Y. B. Sapsuckers spent the day drilling holes in our dying apple tree in our backyard (Bracebridge).

 

 

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds - last seen...
Posted on September 22, 2012 at 03:54:54 PM by Barbara Taylor

Who will see the last one this year?
Don Bailey reports there were two Ruby-throated Hummingbirds at their nasturiums a couple days ago, and the Goodyears have reported one today.(Bracebridge)

I checked the Bird Board Archives to find last sighting dates - it varies from year to year, but Sept. 16 seems to be a common "last seen" date in our area. There are always a few later reports, but these typically stop by Sept. 25-26. The latest date I could find was October 5, 2006 in Port Sydney...Jon Grandfield reported one feeding at some red clematis flowers that had survived the frost.

There is an interesting article by Allen Chartier about the fall migration of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds over 22 years at Holiday Beach Conservation Area in Ontario (1998). There is a chart showing the peak migration days (see Figure 4): http://www.amazilia.net/MIHummerNet/22years.htm

 

 

Henry Marsh - Lagoons
Posted on September 22, 2012 at 02:44:02 PM by Goodyear

We walked from Henry Marsh over to the Lagoons late this morning. The American Coot was in cell 4, along with 2 Green Herons, and 4 Pied-billed Grebes. We didn't see the Dunlin, but last night it was at the south end of cell 1. Several Palm Warblers and Yellow-rumps to the north of cell 4. Several warblers were in the woods at Henry Marsh - Black and White, Chestnut-sided, American Redstart, Black-throated Green, and Common Yellowthroat. A R.T. Hummingbird was feeding at a potted lavender plant on our deck when we got home. (Bracebridge)

 

 

Sandhill Cranes - Brooklands Farm
Posted on September 22, 2012 at 12:53:11 PM by Barbara Taylor

Around 11:30 a.m. today two Sandhill Cranes were back in the plowed fields at Brooklands Farm. You could see them from Butter & Egg Rd., but they were well back from the road. One of the farm's owners, Katya Riley, told us she hears them every morning and wondered if they might have a nest nearby, but has never seen any young ones. There were about thirty American Pipits in the plowed field as well as several Crows, and a few Canada Geese.

Directions: Google Map to Brooklands Farm at 1375 Butter & Egg Road, just off Hwy. 118W, Milford Bay.
(P.S. - if you go looking for the Cranes, stop in at the farm store...nice selection of squash now)

(see my Sept. 8 post for better photos) - today's photo

 

 

Birds in Algonquin Park this Week
Posted on September 21, 2012 at 09:05:13 AM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Lev Frid on ONTBIRDS (Sept. 20, 2012) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Hello Birders,
The fall colours here in Algonquin Park are getting pretty good, and so is
the birding. The vast majority of the warblers have gone through, with the
most common now being Myrtle and Western Palm Warblers.

However, this is the time of year when the specialty birds in Algonquin are
easier to see and is a good time to look for rarities, and regular migrants
that might be harder to get elsewhere. Look for the report every Thursday
from either myself or Ron Tozer later in the season.

The Old Airfield has been pretty good as of late for sparrows, with all the
regular species being seen. It is a good place to look for both LeConte’s
and Nelson’s Sparrows (in the Marsh) as the fall moves along – usually the
last week of this month and the first week of next month are best. Horned
Lark and American Pipit are now a regular feature of the airfield as well.

Finches have been on the move – Red Crossbills have been seen and heard
flying over in many locales. A Pine Siskin was seen at the Visitor Centre
on the 18th. A flock of 20+ Evening Grosbeaks were at the Western Uplands
trail parking lot on the 13th.

A Northern Shrike was reported yesterday at the West Gate by a credible
source. This is very, VERY early for this species, however, the same reason
we’re seeing lots of Boreal Owls moving south this early may be responsible
for this bird’s arrival.

Specialty Birds:
Spruce Grouse: These have been out and about and easy to see, with birds
being seen almost every day all week at Opeongo Road near the very large
Tamarack/Larch tree on the east side of the road (including a male
displaying there yesterday morning) and multiple birds along the north part
of the Mizzy Lake Trail at Wolf Howl Pond. You just have to wake up early!

Gray Jay: These are now readily following people around for handouts. Birds
can be easily seen at many spots along Opeongo Road, the north part of the
Mizzy Lake Trail, the Algonquin Logging Museum, and Spruce Bog Boardwalk.

Boreal Chickadee: These are vocal again now. A pair was seen just before
Wolf Howl Pond on the north part of the Mizzy Lake Trail on the 15th, and
multiple birds there on the 17th. Any sizeable mixed flock up on that
section of trail is likely to have a pair of Boreals attending.

Black-backed Woodpecker: A grand total of three birds were seen on the 17th
on the north part of the Mizzy Lake Trail – two females at Wolf Howl Pond,
and a male at West Rose Lake. This is always a tricky bird but it is
easier now than it was in the summer.

----
Please send us any bird sightings you’ve had in the park, even of common
birds, as we continue to monitor the autumn migration.

The Visitor Centre is at km 43 and is open daily from 9 am – 5 pm. Here you
can find recent bird sightings, information, and helpful naturalist staff
to tell you where your best chances are for finding birds. There is also a
restaurant.

Algonquin Park is three hours north of Toronto, via Highways 400, 11 and
60. Follow the signs, which start in Toronto on Highway 400. From Ottawa,
take Highway 17 to Renfrew, then follow Highway 60 to the park. Kilometre
markers along Highway 60 in the Park go from the West Gate (km 0) to near
the East Gate (km 56). Get your park permit and the park tabloid (with a
map of birding locations mentioned here) at the gates.

You can also get directions to the locations, as well as updates and info
about other park events at www.algonquinpark.on.ca.

Good Birding!
Lev Frid
Algonquin Provincial Park, ON
thespruceblog.blogspot.ca
_______________________________________________
ONTBIRDS is presented by the Ontario Field Ornithologists - the provincial birding organization.
Send bird reports to birdalert@ontbirds.ca
For information about ONTBIRDS visit http://www.ofo.ca/

 

 

Winter Finch Forecast
Posted on September 19, 2012 at 04:25:54 PM by Barbara Taylor

Ron Pittaway has posted his annual Winter Finch Forecast on Ontbirds.
You can read the post here: http://ontbirds.ca/pipermail/birdalert_ontbirds.ca/Week-of-Mon-20120917/031284.html

 

 

Re(1): and a Dunlin
Posted on September 21, 2012 at 12:06:22 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning we found a Dunlin still in partial breeding plumage at the south shore of cell 2. It was too distant for a good shot, but you can see a bit of the black belly patch in the photo below as well as its black legs and long droopy black bill. The Coot was still in cell 4, but had moved to the south-west corner. There was one Green Heron and four Pied-billed Grebes in cell 4. A Palm Warbler was in the Elderberry shrub at the south end of cell 2 and two American Pipits flew overhead. A Common Yellowthroat was by the north-west corner of cell 4 along with two Eastern Phoebes. A Merlin was perched in a dead tree nearby and swooped down to catch the only dragonfly we saw today. A Monarch butterfly was at the east end of cell 3 and a few Clouded Sulphurs were around cell 4.
Dunlin (south shore cell 2 - towards east end): photo

 

 

American Coot
Posted on September 19, 2012 at 04:06:05 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon at the Bracebridge Ponds there was an American Coot near the SE corner of cell 4, along with a few Wood Ducks, two Green Herons and two Pied-billed Grebes. No shorebirds seen. About 130 Canada Geese were in cell 3. Mallards, Wood Ducks, Blue-winged Teal, and American Black Duck in cell 2. Three Eastern Phoebes were hawking insects near the Lagoon Lane entrance. A Black Saddlebags dragonfly was at the east side of cell 3 and only a few Common Green Darners were around cell 4. No sign of the Merlin.
American Coot (near SE corner cell 4): photo1

Coot with Wood Ducks:  photo2

 

 

Re(1): Pipits, Blue Jays & more
Posted on September 19, 2012 at 06:07:37 PM by janice house

a junco was feeding in the backyard tonight

 

 

Pipits, Blue Jays & more
Posted on September 19, 2012 at 08:06:41 AM by janice house

A flock of 30 pipits were in the farm field across from the house Monday morning, today a flock of 30 blue jays flew over, 11 cormorants in a jumbled V also flew by. On Sunday several goldfinch were feeding on the hollyhock seed pods in one of my gardens. Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst

 

 

Re(1): Horned Lark, Palm Warblers
Posted on September 16, 2012 at 10:43:04 AM by Goodyear

We, too, saw several hawks yesterday. We were at Henry Marsh and around 10:30, in advance of/with fast moving winds out of the NW, we had 5 Turkey Vultures, 8 Broad-winged Hawks in one kettle, plus two singles, 1 Red-tailed Hawk, 5 Sharpies, and 1 high flying unid'd. buteo. The winds died down and so did the birds! We counted approx. 300 Canada Geese flying overhead, in flocks of 20 - 50 birds.

 

 

Horned Lark, Palm Warblers
Posted on September 15, 2012 at 12:34:28 PM by Barbara Taylor

Just before noon today at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a Horned Lark at the edge of the roadway north of cell 3 near the middle. There were at least 20 Palm Warblers foraging in weedy patches north of cell 4 by the "mountain" of earth. Two Eastern Phoebes, a few Myrtles (Yellow-rumped Warblers) and some Common Yellowthroats were along the west side of cell 4. For a while we had a mini hawkwatch, with several Turkey Vultures, a couple Red-tailed Hawks, a Broad-winged Hawk, and a Sharpie flying over. Also many big flocks of Canada Geese were heading south. There were still two Pied-billed Grebes and a Green Heron in cell 4. Only shorebirds seen were 4 Killdeer at the south shore of cell 2.

 

 

Rusty Blackbirds
Posted on September 15, 2012 at 08:46:20 AM by diannawolfe

Had a flock of Rusty Blackbirds (20+ birds) along the driveway early this morning, here in Kilworthy.

 

 

Pipits on the move
Posted on September 10, 2012 at 02:36:17 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there were a few small flocks of American Pipits flying low overhead, but none came down for a landing. Several flocks of Canada Geese were winging south, as well as some Turkey Vultures. There were a few migrating Hawks, but all were way too high to identify with binoculars.

Only warblers seen were Common Yellowthroats. A Merlin was flying low along the west side of cell 3. At the south shore of cell 2 there were eight Killdeer, a Least Sandpiper, and the usual Mallards, Wood Ducks, and some Blue-winged Teal. About a dozen Wild Turkeys were foraging at the edge of the gravel storage area north of cell 4. In cell 4 there were six Pied-billed Grebes. A couple of them put on a good show and ran across the top of the water for several feet. Then one rose up on tip-toes and flapped its wings for several seconds. Only two Green Herons were seen today, both in cell 4.

There were two more fresh looking Common Buckeye butterflies by cell 4, and a few Monarchs drifting southward.

(Note: Road construction crews were back at Lagoon Lane this morning.) Ponds Map

 

 

Re(1): Woolly Alder Aphids - photos
Posted on September 20, 2012 at 03:32:00 PM by John Challis

Just learned that there is a woolly aphid that is a significant pest on apple trees. However, my favourite apple, the Northern Spy, is resistant to woolly aphids.

 

 

Re(4): Woolly Alder Aphids - photos
Posted on September 13, 2012 at 02:30:35 PM by Al Sinclair

"little wisps of blueish-white fluff" are wooly aphids but I think a different species than the ones photographed here. There are several species each preferring a different tree or shrub.

 

 

Re(3): Woolly Alder Aphids - photos
Posted on September 13, 2012 at 12:18:50 PM by John Challis

Are these the little wisps of blueish-white fluff we often see flying around in the fall? I've often wondered what they are.

 

 

Re(1): Woolly Alder Aphids - photos
Posted on September 8, 2012 at 10:18:34 AM by janice house

I went on the mushroom walk at Hardy Lake last weekend with Bob Bowles and one of our group spotted the woolly alder aphids on the path west of the parking lot, Bob told us about the harvester butterfly.

 

 

Re(2): Woolly Alder Aphids - photos
Posted on September 8, 2012 at 10:17:26 AM by Al Sinclair

Photo of a winged female wooly aphid I found here in August.  photo

 

 

Re(1): Woolly Alder Aphids - photos
Posted on September 8, 2012 at 10:11:51 AM by Al Sinclair

Photo of a Harvester taken by Wilf Yusek June 10, 2005 on the trail behind the houses off Henry Rd., 0.5km NW of the Henry Marsh bridge.  photo

 

 

Woolly Alder Aphids - photos
Posted on September 7, 2012 at 10:17:58 PM by Barbara Taylor

Today at Henry Marsh, we noticed a bunch of white stringy fluff on some Alder branches. It was too wet underfoot to get close enough to determine what it was. But after examining some of my zoomed photos, I think I have the answer...it's a colony of Woolly Alder Aphids. According to David Wagner's Caterpillars of Eastern North America field guide, these aphids are a common prey item of Harvester Butterfly larvae, and the adult butterflies feed on the aphids' honeydew. Has anyone seen a Harvester Butterfly at the marsh?

Woolly Alder Aphids (west side of Henry Trail in the open area):  photo

(one of the tiny winged aphids circled in red): photo

(a few black ants were tending the aphid colony):  photo

 

 

Yellow-Spotted Salamander
Posted on September 7, 2012 at 07:10:19 PM by neilnimmo

Today while Neil was removing the wood sill from a basement window we saw a Yellow- Spotted Salamander curled up.This is only the second time we have seen one. We carefully moved it a couple of yards away as Neil was going to dig up the area for drainage. We moved it under a rotting log.Dinny

 

 

Lincoln's & Leonard's
Posted on September 7, 2012 at 06:53:35 PM by george bryant

Taking advantage of the two-hour sun break this pm, I checked out the field opposite our Pine Lake cottage. Abandoned 18 years’ ago, the farmer has just re-cleared it leaving large brush piles (= winter burn piles) and skattered asters and goldenrod. I was rewarded with four late Leonard’s Skippers, now getting worn and a a crisp-striped Lincoln’s Sparrow, new for my year list and, since they don’t nest within ~50 kms., two weeks’ earlier than my previous early fall date.

No pix—I’m holding out for newest Canon PowerShot 16.0 mp 160 IS, $250. @ Henry’s

 

 

Blue-headed Vireos
Posted on September 7, 2012 at 02:25:43 PM by Barbara Taylor

Around noon today at Henry Marsh there were only a few Wood Ducks, Mallards, Canada Geese, and a Belted Kingfisher. An adult Broad-winged Hawk was circling overhead. Near the dip in the trail east of the marsh, there were several Blue-headed Vireos in a mixed flock of mostly Chickadees and Yellow-rumped Warblers. There were also Nashville and Magnolia Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, Red-eyed Vireos, Red-breasted Nuthatches, White-throated Sparrows, Hermit Thrush, and a couple Brown Creepers.

We checked out the Bracebridge Ponds, but nothing new. A Common Buckeye butterfly (see photo) was at the west side of cell 4. Lots of Black Saddlebags flying around cell 4. There are still a few Green Herons and Pied-billed Grebes in cell 4. Eight Killdeer and a Spotted Sandpiper were at the south shore of cell 2 along with Wood Ducks, Mallards, and some Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal. Only warblers seen were Common Yellowthroats and a single Palm Warbler west of cell 4. Several Savannah Sparrows were feeding in the weedy patches along the roadway north of cell 3.

Henry Marsh (Bracebridge) - area trails map - (click "Satellite" button at upper right to view terrain or "Map" for just roads)

Common Buckeye (and a spider hiding in the flowers - didn't notice it until I cropped the photo):  photo

 

 

Re(5): Sandhill Cranes - photos
Posted on September 11, 2012 at 02:52:02 PM by GayleCarlyle

John and I just got back from a two week trip to the Bruce Peninsula and Manitoulin where we saw flocks of 15-20 sandhill cranes in farm fields. John got some nice shots so hopefully he can find time to post them.

 

 

Re(4): Sandhill Cranes - photos
Posted on September 10, 2012 at 02:16:27 PM by Barbara Taylor

The field is right next to the road and the birds were at the far side of the field...so maybe about 100 feet away. I had a good line of sight from inside the car so just shot through the open window. The Cranes didn't seem very concerned that we had parked there, and carried on with their preening.

(P.S. - the photos are crops of full 14x optically zoomed originals; the Canon PowerShot SX230 HS specs say the lens has 35mm equivalent range of 28 - 392mm)

 

 

Re(3): Sandhill Cranes - photos
Posted on September 9, 2012 at 10:29:51 PM by coreyhkh

nice shots, where you able to get pretty close.

 

 

Re(2): Sandhill Cranes - photos
Posted on September 8, 2012 at 01:47:22 PM by Barbara Taylor

A few photos from today...

photo1  photo2  photo3  photo4

 

 

Re(1): Sandhill Cranes - they've moved to Brooklands Farm...
Posted on September 8, 2012 at 01:06:37 PM by Barbara Taylor

They've moved. At noon today they were in a plowed field right next to the road at Brooklands Farm on Butter & Egg Rd. There were several Canada Geese in the field too. At 12:15 p.m. all the birds flew up when someone came out in a vehicle to work in a nearby section of garden. The two Sandhill Cranes circled in a wide arc and ended up landing in a field out behind the Brooklands Farm store (used to be a pick-your-own strawberry field back there). We could barely see the birds from the road, but perhaps the owners of the farm would give permission to go out back - the farm store is open now and tomorrow.

There was also a Merlin perched atop a dead tree in the swampy area along Butter & Egg Rd. just before Brooklands Farm if approaching from Hwy. 118. An American Kestrel was perched on a hydro wire near 1690 Beatrice Townline Rd. overlooking the fields. Didn't see any Sandhill Cranes along Beatrice Town Line.

Directions: Google Map to Brooklands Farm at 1375 Butter & Egg Road, just off Hwy. 118W, Milford Bay.

 

 

Sandhill Cranes, Beatrice Town Line
Posted on September 7, 2012 at 09:08:38 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Call from Pat Anderson to say that a pair of Sandhill Cranes is near 1663 Beatrice Town Line.
Falkenberg Rd to Beatrice Town Line.

 

 

Warblers & Hummingbird
Posted on September 6, 2012 at 04:26:18 PM by janice house

Twice this week I spotted 2 black throated green warblers feeding in white birch trees in our neighbourhood and a female ruby throated hummingbird was hovering close by, the first time I saw this she squeaked and charged the warblers. Doe Lake Rd & Laycox Rd Gravenhurst.

 

 

Re(1): Bracebridge Ponds - Wilson's and Blackpoll
Posted on September 5, 2012 at 08:41:37 PM by StuartImmonen

Nice to have met you on the trail. Congratulations on the warblers; I didn't see anything quite as good as that and only added a large flock of turkeys on Old North Road to my day list despite a number of hopeful stops.

My eBird list for the Ponds, including my jaunt out to the swamp:
eBird List

 

 

Re(1): Bracebridge Ponds - Wilson's and Blackpoll
Posted on September 5, 2012 at 01:10:36 PM by coreyhkh

Cool sharp looking bird. You seemed to find something interesting every-time.

 

 

Bracebridge Ponds - Wilson's and Blackpoll
Posted on September 5, 2012 at 11:25:21 AM by Barbara Taylor

This morning we checked the Bracebridge Ponds to see if the fog had brought down anything new...nope. Best warblers seen today were a Wilson's in the shrubbery at the west side of cell 4 and a Blackpoll west of cell 2. An immature Indigo Bunting was finding tiny caterpillars in the willows west of cell 4.

Wilson's Warbler (he was bopping around so much, this is the only shot I got without branches in the way): photo

Bracebridge Ponds map (north approx. at top, west at left):  map

 

 

Muskoka Field Naturalists - next meeting September 6
Posted on September 4, 2012 at 10:25:44 PM by Barbara Taylor

MFN meeting Thursday, September 6, at 7:30 p.m., in BRACEBRIDGE at the Church of the Latter Day Saints

MEET THE RESEARCHER
Rory Eckenswiller will highlight the activities carried out by the Wildlife Research Station in Algonquin Park. (Rory is Manager of the Research Station.)

MFN website: http://www.muskokafieldnaturalists.com
Meetings from September through January are held in BRACEBRIDGE at the Church of the Latter Day Saints at the corner of Taylor Road and Cedar Lane - entrance on Cedar Lane south of the traffic circle. Unless otherwise indicated, all meetings commence at 7:30 p.m. Visitors welcome to attend.

 

 

Re(1): identification
Posted on September 3, 2012 at 09:58:32 PM by davidfcreed

Sounds like a Merlin. You can check online for pictures to confirm.

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/merlin/id

 

 

identification
Posted on September 3, 2012 at 09:44:04 PM by GlennClarke

Can anyone give me a possible identification for a hawk I saw a few days ago. While flying, the hawk had pointed wings. While perched, I could not see its back but the breast was whitish with thick, brown, vertical streaks. It head was whitish below the beak and dark (brown?) above. It was the size of a large crow.

 

 

Re(1): How about a Yellow Warbler?
Posted on September 4, 2012 at 10:45:44 AM by coreyhkh

thanks

 

 

Here are 2 links to images of birds that look like yours
Posted on September 4, 2012 at 03:45:41 PM by Alex Mills

http://www.mvhunt.net/johnnature-bonaire-birds.htm
http://mariewinnnaturenews.blogspot.ca/2011/07/fall-migration-begins-in-midsummer.html

 

 

Re(1): Need some ID help - How about a Yellow Warbler?
Posted on September 4, 2012 at 07:34:32 AM by Alex Mills

Probably a young-of-the-year bird, I would say.

 

 

Need some ID help
Posted on September 3, 2012 at 09:33:19 PM by Coreyhkh

Hello all I was able to check out the bracebridge ponds for the first time this weekend and got some awesome shots but I am not too good yet with warblers. Wondering what these are, was thinking palm or maybe pine.  photo

 

 

Re(1): Northern Crescent? - photo
Posted on September 3, 2012 at 07:16:10 PM by Terry & Marion Whittam

Hi Barbara, from what I've read the only 2 differences you can use is 1) Yes, the male Northern Crescent has Orange and Black antennal clubs and 2) Its a bit larger than the Pearl. Not a whole lot to go on! I'd say this is a Northern Crescent! Good picture!
Cheers Terry

 

 

Northern Crescent? - photo
Posted on September 3, 2012 at 04:19:02 PM by Barbara Taylor

This little butterfly was at the Bracebridge Ponds this morning. Are the orange tipped antennal clubs enough to make this a definite Northern Crescent or could it be a Pearl Crescent? Is there a dependable way to differentiate these two otherwise?  photo

 

 

Tree Crickets singing
Posted on September 2, 2012 at 09:52:10 PM by Barbara Taylor

For the past few evenings the Tree Crickets have been singing almost constantly around our house (Bracebridge). I'm not sure which species we have here, but the constant trilling would remind you of an American Toad calling in the springtime.

The Music of Nature - Songs of Insects webpage has recordings of several species of Tree Cricket and also Katydids and Cicada.
Information about Tree Crickets along with photos and recordings of their songs can be found at Oecanthinae.com.

 

 

Re(2): Bracebridge Ponds - Northern Parula, Philadelphia Vireo
Posted on September 3, 2012 at 11:25:16 AM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds the birding was quite good until a Merlin showed up by cell 4 - perhaps it had been waiting for the dragonflies to become active in the heat of the sun, but it caused the little birds to "disappear". Along the west side of cell 4 there had been several warblers (Northern Parula, Magnolia, Chestnut-sided, Nashville, American Redstart, Black-throated Green, Yellow-rumped, Tennessee, and Common Yellowthroat) as well as Gray Catbird, Swamp Sparrow, Purple Finch, Eastern Phoebe, and many American Goldfinch. The four Pied-billed Grebes and three Green Herons were in cell 4, along with two Otters and a Beaver. At the south shore of cell 2 there were several Killdeer, two Least Sandpipers, and a Spotted Sandpiper. At the edge of the woods west of cell 2 there was a Philadelphia Vireo, several Black-throated Green Warblers, and two probable Least Flycatchers. As I was leaving, just inside the Lagoon Lane gate along the east side of the road, there was a Scarlet Tanager (yellow plumage), a singing Warbling Vireo, a male Northern Parula, Palm Warblers, American Redstarts, Black-throated Green Warblers, Common Yellowthroat, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, White-throated Sparrow, and a Least Flycatcher making a few che-bek calls.

 

 

Re(1): Bracebridge Ponds - Shovelers, Palm Warbler
Posted on September 2, 2012 at 01:10:15 PM by Barbara Taylor

No Shovelers this morning, but still several Blue-winged Teal and about a dozen Killdeer. Two Palm Warblers were just inside the Lagoon Lane gate at the east side of the road. Still four Pied-billed Grebes and at least three Green Herons in cell 4. Two Merlins seemed to be playing a game of tag along the south side of cell 4 and then disappeared out of view.

Not much action at the Ponds so we walked over to Henry Marsh. It was unusually quiet along the trail - only birds were a couple Common Yellowthroats and Chickadees! As we approached the wooden bridge at the marsh, a Pectoral Sandpiper flew up and circled around several times, calling all the while...it eventually flew off to the south-west.

On our return to the Bracebridge Ponds, a Merlin came swooping down over our heads and flew low along the east side of cell 4. It then doubled back and perched for a while in a dead tree at the edge of the gravel storage site north of cell 4.

Area trails map - (click "Satellite" button at upper right to view terrain or "Map" for just roads)

 

 

Bracebridge Ponds - Shovelers, Palm Warbler
Posted on September 1, 2012 at 12:08:39 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a Palm Warbler just inside the Lagoon Lane gate at the east side of the road. At the edge of the woods west of cell 2 there were Red-eyed Vireos, Blue-headed Vireo, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Chestnut-sided Warblers, and Black-throated Green Warblers. A single Barn Swallow was hawking insects over cell 1.

There were three Northern Shovelers in cell 2, as well as several Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal. Nine Killdeer flew in from the north and eventually joined a tenth one at the south shore of cell 2. The only other shorebird we saw was a lone Spotted Sandpiper. Four Green Herons were standing on the algae mats near the east side of cell 4, hunting for frogs. Four Pied-billed Grebes were in cell 4, and a Belted Kingfisher flew overhead. Two Otters and a Beaver were along the south side of cell 4. A Merlin was hunting dragonflies west of cell 4. There were at least thirty Black Saddlebags around cell four, flying up out of the grass at the edge of the roadway as we walked along. The Merlin seemed to prefer the Common Green Darners.  Merlin (west of cell 4): photo

 

 

Imperial Moth Caterpillar
Posted on August 31, 2012 at 06:35:03 PM by janice house

This morning I found 2 caterpillars, one dead and the other big and healthy. Raced home and got my camera to take another movie, my neighbour came out again and while we were talking the caterpillar managed to disappear in the sand/pine needles and grass at the side of the road. Laycox Rd/Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst.

 

 

Re(1): Bluebirds
Posted on August 30, 2012 at 11:00:38 PM by Barb Staples

Hi Janice, I saw those bluebirds last evening as drove by en route home to Sunny Lake. Made my day!

 

 

Bluebirds
Posted on August 30, 2012 at 04:01:12 PM by janice house

Last night we had 7 bluebirds feeding from the hydro wires and sitting on a neighbours antenna accompanied by 4 warblers, my best guess would be yellow warblers. I found them again this morning and got a good look as 2 bluebirds and 4 warblers flitted around on another neighbours roof. Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst

 

 

Partial Albino Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Posted on August 28, 2012 at 08:00:22 PM by MargueriteUrban

What I assume is a female partial albino Ruby Throated Hummingbird (the same one spotted last summer?)  photo

 

 

six Pied-billed Grebes
Posted on August 28, 2012 at 12:11:56 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there were six Pied-billed Grebes in cell 4. Four stayed together near the north-east end, while two others (presumably the "resident" adult and juvenile) kept their distance from the newcomers, and stayed more towards the south-west. A Green Heron was standing on one of the floating algae mats and we watched it catch a large frog...it then flew to the shoreline to consume its prize. Another Green Heron was to the west of cell 4, and one was in the south-west corner of cell 2. No sign of the Sora today, but there was a Semipalmated Plover, two Least Sandpipers, a Spotted Sandpiper, and four Killdeer at the south end of cell 2.

 

 

Muskoka Mushrooms - Nature Quest sponsored by the Muskoka Heritage Foundation
Posted on August 27, 2012 at 10:00:57 PM by Al Sinclair

Posted with permission of the board moderator.

Muskoka Mushrooms
September 2nd 9am – 11:30am
Get ready for the fall mushroom season by learning to recognize the most common edible mushrooms in Muskoka. Participants will learn how to use ’identification keys’ to recognize Muskoka’s yummy mushrooms. We may even share a few recipes along the way! Fall is a wonderful time to take advantage of nature’s bounty. Local naturalist Bob Bowles returns to lead us on an adventure that will have us focusing on a part of Muskoka that is often overlooked – mmm mmm mushrooms!
Cost: $20
Location: Hardy Lake Provincial Park
Presenter: Bob Bowles
Register: Online or call 705-645-7393×200
MHF Nature Quests

 

 

Bracebridge Ponds - Sora (photos)
Posted on August 25, 2012 at 11:28:50 AM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a Lesser Yellowlegs, a Greater Yellowlegs, five Killdeer, and a Spotted Sandpiper at the south shore of cell 2. Two Blue-winged Teal and two Green-winged Teal were in cell 2 along with several Mallards and Wood Ducks. Three Green Herons, four Hooded Mergansers and two Pied-billed Grebes (1 adult, 1 juvenile) were in cell 4. Several Yellow-rumped Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, Gray Catbirds, Warbling Vireos (one singing like it was springtime), Red-eyed Vireos, Chestnut-sided Warblers, Nashville Warblers, and Eastern Phoebes were near the NW corner of cell 4. A Pileated Woodpecker was near the top of a dead tree west of cell 4 and one was calling from the woods to the south. A female Bobolink was in the large weedy patch north of cell 3 by the middle "T". A few Black Saddlebags and some Monarchs were along the roadway north of cell 4. Several trees were already in fall colours...sign of the drought?

As we were leaving, this Sora suddenly popped out of the Smartweeds near the south-east corner of cell 2: photo1  photo2  photo3

Fall colours in August!  photo

 

 

Common Night Hawks
Posted on August 23, 2012 at 07:14:00 PM by janice house

I just went outside to refill my feeders and 5 night hawks have been circling over the house for the past 15 minutes, dinner is cold, Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst

 

 

Sandhill Cranes
Posted on August 23, 2012 at 04:50:41 PM by janice house

my brother called this morning, he saw 2 cranes in the Bogart farm fields on Deebank Rd on the way to Windermere from Bent River

 

 

Re(2): Botany ID RFI
Posted on August 24, 2012 at 08:11:12 AM by StuartImmonen

Thank you so much!

 

 

Re(1): Botany ID RFI
Posted on August 23, 2012 at 10:44:59 PM by Al Sinclair

Photo 1 & 2
Rubus allegheniensis High-bush Blackberry or Common Blackberry
Photo 3
I think
Rubus setosus Bristly Blackberry
Both are native.

 

 

Botany ID RFI
Posted on August 23, 2012 at 01:28:59 PM by StuartImmonen

We have a very large plant mass at the foot of our drive. Apart from one feature, it appears to be very similar to Virginia Creeper, but we have not yet been able to pin down the species definitively.

It's a woody vine, with some of the largest stems being 1/2" in diameter at the base. The stems are sparsely thorny and reddish. It has palmately compound leaves, with 5 serrated leaflets. We also have lots of wild raspberry, which mostly have different leaf and stem structures, but a little ways down the road, I found what appears to be raspberry (or blackberry?) with a similar compound leaf structure, but different stems. See below:  photo1  photo2


A different species?  photo

I'd be surprised if this was human-sown, but it could be an alien volunteer.
Thanks in advance.
stuart

 

 

Re(1): I.D. please
Posted on August 22, 2012 at 10:31:54 PM by tedthevideoman

we have a bunch, mostly on the Hyacinth Vine.

 

 

Re(1): I.D. please
Posted on August 23, 2012 at 12:08:46 PM by Barbara Taylor

Looks like a Green Stink Bug nymph, possibly the 4th instar since still mostly black, no green yet. I usually see some on our Peegee Hydrangea...will have to go take a look.

 

 

I.D. please
Posted on August 22, 2012 at 10:30:12 PM by tedthevideoman

any ideas?  photo

 

 

woodpeckers
Posted on August 22, 2012 at 09:47:19 PM by John Challis

Yesterday at the waterfront park in Washago, I watched a yellow-bellied sapsucker meticulously climb down a tree trunk, backwards. It all seemed very deliberate and unusual. But tonight before dusk, a pileated was flitting around our back yard, and promptly did the same thing, backing down the trunk of a dead maple, and then again on a cedar post supporting a grape arbor. It was making a lot of noise, as though calling for attention to his feat. It spent a good deal of time around the grape, gulping down something on the leaves and in the grass below the vines.

 

 

Bracebridge Ponds - Wild Turkeys
Posted on August 22, 2012 at 01:21:50 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a family of twelve Wild Turkeys on the roadway near the SW corner of cell 3. A few Green Herons and two Hooded Mergansers were in cell 4. A small number of shorebirds were at the south end of cell 2 - a Lesser Yellowlegs, 6 Least Sandpipers, 2 Spotted Sandpipers, and 5 Killdeer. The Leasts were spooked at one point and ended up flying down into the small drained pond at the north end of cell 1...might be worthwhile checking that spot more often.

A Common Buckeye butterfly was on the roadway east of cell 4.

(note: Lagoon Lane construction project continues, so best to enter via Kerr Park during weekdays)
Bracebridge Ponds map (north approx. at top, west at left): map

 

 

Re(2): Our fine feather(less) friends
Posted on August 22, 2012 at 08:01:58 AM by CatMaclean

Thanks. I am relieved that these birds will survive.

 

 

Re(1): Our fine feather(less) friends
Posted on August 21, 2012 at 07:12:39 PM by Barbara Taylor

Happens about this time every year with many of the Jays in our neighbourhood (Bracebridge). Some birds just seem to molt all their head feathers at once...could be genetics, or some might be infested with feather mites. Here's an article about "bald birds" with some links at the bottom to other interesting articles on the subject: http://benburtt.blogspot.ca/2004/02/bald-headed-cardinals-and-blue-jays-in.html

Here's a photo taken last summer - the Jay was too quick for me, so a bit blurry, but you can still see the lack of head feathers - they grow back pretty fast:  photo

 

 

Our fine feather(less) friends
Posted on August 21, 2012 at 05:19:27 PM by CatMaclean

Over the last few weeks I have been noticing blue jays and grackles that have lost or are loosing their feathers on their heads. What is the reason???... could it be the hot dry summer or some disease?

 

 

Re(2): Dragons and a Damsel - photos
Posted on August 20, 2012 at 10:20:13 PM by Barbara Taylor

It's a little Canon PowerShot SX230 HS. I'm still amazed at the advances in digital photography built into these compact super-zooms. Image stabilization works great in this model.

 

 

Re(1): Dragons and a Damsel - photos
Posted on August 20, 2012 at 10:02:58 PM by Tedthevideoman

Nice shots! What are you shooting with Barb?

 

 

Dragons and a Damsel - photos
Posted on August 20, 2012 at 04:01:41 PM by Barbara Taylor

On the weekend there were several Black Saddlebags flying around the Bracebridge Ponds (most by cell 4), and a few were by the little pond in Kerr Park. There were also some White-faced Meadowhawks and Twelve-spotted Skimmers at the west side of cell 4. A Common Green Darner actually stayed put for a while so I was able to study the distinctive "bullseye" at the top of its face...a great field mark except when they're darting past in flight, as is usually the case when I see one. I've included a poor photo of a damselfly which remains unidentified - any idea what species it might be?

Common Green Darner photo1  photo2

Unidentified Damselfly photo

 

 

Shorebirds and Buckeyes
Posted on August 19, 2012 at 07:26:12 PM by Barbara Taylor

At the Bracebridge Ponds this morning there were a few of the "regular" shorebirds along the south end of cell 2 and also a few tucked into the north and west edges of cell 1. They scattered when a low flying small plane passed directly overhead...maybe they thought it was a Merlin on steroids - one had been hunting there earlier. Species seen were Lesser Yellowleg, Least Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Solitary Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, and Killdeer. A couple Blue-winged Teal were in cell 2 along with several Mallards and Wood Ducks. Two Hooded Mergansers and at least four Green Herons were in cell 4.

There was a Common Buckeye at the east side of cell 4, and another along the roadway between cells 1 and 2 (see photo). There were also a few Monarchs, Clouded Sulphurs, Common Ringlet, Cabbage White, and a Viceroy. Common Buckeye photo ,  Viceroy photo

 

 

Terns, Gull and Loons
Posted on August 18, 2012 at 05:01:08 PM by CatMacLean

At our cottage on the NW corner of Algonquin Park (K-Mog) on Thurs. night, I was able to watch three terns from our dock. They were around for approx. an hour and then it started raining. I am pretty sure that they were Caspians as I could see the red beak quite well but I wasn't sure of the call which sounded a lot like a jay with a sore throat. Last night I saw an immature Bonapartes Gull flying into the wind and diving to the surface of the lake.
I have been also been following the progress of our first loon chick in many years. It is not fully fledged but is able to dive.

 

 

Re(1): Bracebridge Lagoons
Posted on August 18, 2012 at 04:42:39 PM by Barbara Taylor

Earlier today at the Lagoons there were 3 Least Sandpipers, 3 Lesser Yellowlegs, 3 Killdeer and some Spotted Sandpipers, all at the south shore of cell 2. A few Green Herons are still hanging around cell 4. Two Olive-sided Flycatchers were hawking insects from the top of a tall dead tree just west of the pipeline by the trail that heads over to Henry Marsh...they eventually flew off to the west.

 

 

Bracebridge Lagoons
Posted on August 17, 2012 at 11:42:46 AM by Goodyear

This morning at the Lagoons there were 3 Least Sandpipers, 1 Semi-palmated Sandpiper, 1 Solitary Sandpiper, 1 juv. Lesser Yellowlegs,and several Spotted Sandpipers. A female Northern Harrier flew over and then the rain hit!

 

 

Bracebridge Lagoons - Yellow-throated Vireo
Posted on August 15, 2012 at 01:17:39 PM by Goodyear

This morning we heard a Yellow-throated Vireo doing its "three-eight" call. It was in the trees on the west side of Cell 2 at the Bracebridge Lagoons. We managed to get it in the scope and had excellent views of it. There were many Yellow-rumped Warblers, Yellows, and Chestnut-sideds in the same area. We watched a Merlin make a pass at two Green Herons that were flying low over Cell 4. They made some loud noises and turned on the Merlin. It gave up and went after a dragonfly instead!

 

 

Misc. Windermere area bird sightings - Sandhill Crane, Bald Eagle, Wild Turkey
Posted on August 13, 2012 at 10:52:00 AM by dbritton

I spent the last week or so at my dad's place just outside of Windermere. Lots of birds around, but for the most part they were local breeders flocking up and/or preparing for migration, notably Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Eastern Kingbirds, Eastern Phoebes, Brown Thrashers, European Starlings and Baltimore Orioles.

A few highlights:
6-10 August - 3 Wild Turkey hens and about a dozen young were seen almost daily foraging in the fields near the intersection of Windermere Road and Rostervor Road

7-8 August - a family group of 5 Sandhill Cranes was seen several times in the area north of Windermere Road between Windermere Garden Centre and Rostrevor Road. Could they be local breeders?

12 August - 1 adult and 1 juvenile Bald Eagle were soaring over the Raymond Valley with a Red-tailed Hawk. Viewed from the parking lot of the Raymond Community Centre.
David Britton

 

 

 

wild turkeys
Posted on August 12, 2012 at 09:57:59 AM by GEvans

This morning a large group of wild turkeys slowly paraded down our street walking also over lawns on both sides of the street. They seemed in no hurry.
Gravenhurst,
Near the wharf

 

 

Diving and swimming Spotted Sandpiper
Posted on August 9, 2012 at 11:49:11 AM by Goodyear

This morning at the Bracebridge Lagoons there were 4 Lesser Yellowlegs, several Killdeer, and a single Spotted Sandpiper on the mud at the south end of Cell 2. As I was watching them a Merlin flew in low and the birds dispersed. The Merlin chased after the Spotted Sandpiper, which was trying to evade capture by flying low over Cell 2. About 30 feet out the Sandpiper dove into the water and remained underwater for approx. 6 - 8 seconds (I started counting when I realized what was happening!). The Merlin circled around a couple of times and then landed back on the mud flats. The Sandpiper's head and bill popped up, at which point the Merlin caught sight of it, and the Merlin raced out over the water and began calling and flying tight circle over the Sandpiper. The Sandpiper went under again for approx. another 6 to 8 seconds. The Merlin gave up and flew off over the trees to the west of Cell 2. The Sandpiper then surfaced, with its bill and head and just the top of its back visible. It then began swimming across the sw corner of Cell 2. After swimming about 30 feet or so, it flew up from a swimming position and made its way over to the grasses along the w edge of Cell 2. Safe for another day! I have read about the ability of Spotties to swim, but this was the first time I have witnessed this behaviour.

 

 

Re(2): parry sound lagoons
Posted on August 10, 2012 at 10:40:54 PM by Cliff

Thanks Dave
I didn't get this message in time, so asked at the Town Office, they now have an aerobic system, so perhaps the Lagoons are no longer in active use ... but next time I'm in the area, I'll check in there.

 

 

Re(1): parry sound lagoons
Posted on August 9, 2012 at 12:03:20 PM by DavidBywater

Hi Cliff,
They are off of MacFarlane St. It's a short street and you can see them on Google Maps. I've never been myself, so I don't know about public access. If you do go, please let us know how it goes.
Cheers, David

 

 

parry sound lagoons
Posted on August 8, 2012 at 08:46:00 PM by cliff

Hi Folks
Can anyone steer me to the Parry Sound sewage lagoons for birding? I'll be in that area tomorrow and might like a peek.

 

 

Re(1): Bracebridge Ponds - Goldeneye
Posted on August 10, 2012 at 04:18:36 PM by Barbara Taylor

Took a quick look around the Ponds this afternoon, hoping for some shorebirds "downed" by the earlier rain. At the south shore of cell 2 there were 4 Lesser and 2 Greater Yellowlegs, 2 Least and 1 Semipalmated Sandpiper. Also 2 Spotted Sandpipers and a few Killdeer. A Solitary Sandpiper was tucked into the west shoreline of cell 2 near the south end. A few Swallows were hawking insects over cell 2 - Bank, Barn, Tree, and a Cliff.

A Common Goldeneye and a Green-winged Teal were with the Mallards and Wood Ducks in cell 2. A Great Blue Heron and at least six Green Herons were around cell 4. Two Hooded Mergansers and a Pied-billed Grebe were in cell 4.

 

 

Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on August 8, 2012 at 11:04:59 AM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there were two Pied-billed Grebes and two Hooded Mergansers in cell 4. A Red-shouldered Hawk was calling almost continuously for twenty minutes from the forested ridge to the south-west. There was no sign of the Merlin that had been hanging around the Ponds for several days, so the little birds were out in the open this morning. In the shrubbery west of cell 4 there were Gray Catbird, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Alder Flycatcher, Purple Finch, Swamp Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Eastern Phoebe, American Goldfinch, and even a few Black-capped Chickadees. A Hermit Thrush and an Eastern Wood-Pewee were singing from the woods to the south-west. At least eight Green Herons were around cell 4.

A juvenile Eastern Kingbird caught a Common Green Darner in mid-air, and then flew back to its perch in a dead tree. I expected the bird to peck at the dragonfly and consume it in pieces, but instead it proceeded to swallow the whole body head first, and eventually gulped it all down. It reminded me of the way Great Blue Herons sometimes struggle to swallow a large fish.

At the south shore of cell 2 there were two Lesser Yellowlegs, a Semipalmated Sandpiper, a Least Sandpiper, five Killdeer and two Spotted Sandpipers. The only ducks were Mallards and Wood Ducks. A few Canada Geese flew in as I was leaving.

 

 

Phoebes
Posted on August 7, 2012 at 11:33:23 AM by GayleCarlyle

We've been enjoying the antics of a family of 5 phoebes (presumably mom, dad, and their babies) feeding in our backyard for about 3 days now. Wonderful to watch them zipping out over the open grassy (ok, parched) area in search of flying insects and grasshoppers.
Hope the family stays around for while longer; much more entertaining than tv!

 

 

Re(2): more Black Saddlebags - photo
Posted on August 8, 2012 at 10:33:06 AM by Barbara Taylor

As I walked around cell 4 this morning there were several Black Saddlebags flying up from the short cut grasses at the edge of the roadway - at least 20. Most were just south of the NW corner of cell 4. Here are a couple photos from this morning:  photo1  photo2

 

 

Re(1): more Black Saddlebags - photo
Posted on August 6, 2012 at 01:33:28 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there were at least six more Black Saddlebags at the north side of cell 4. I managed to photograph this one, but unfortunately from quite a distance since none of them would stay put for a close-up. They only flew a short distance and then back down into the weeds. The distinctive black patch and head colour are very pale - a teneral?  photo

 

 

Black Saddlebags - photo
Posted on August 5, 2012 at 08:35:03 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon at the Bracebridge Ponds we found this Black Saddlebags dragonfly along the roadway north of cell 4. Large pieces of its back wings were missing and the edges of the black patches were curled up. It couldn't fly, so I was able to grab some photos. I don't see any records of this species in Muskoka in the Ontario Odonata Atlas, but perhaps there is a more up-to-date database somewhere. There were some more Eastern Pondhawks by cell 4 today too (see my previous posts for photos).
Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata):  photo1  photo2  photo3

 

 

Luna Moth Caterpillar - photos
Posted on August 2, 2012 at 01:47:19 PM by Barbara Taylor

I recently found this large Luna Moth caterpillar under our birch tree (Bracebridge). It kept wandering around and wouldn't feed when I offered it some fresh birch leaves, so I knew it was getting ready to pupate. I put it in a small terrarium so I could watch it spin its cocoon. I have since placed it back outside hidden in the old leaf mulch under the tree, but it is doubtful it will survive to become a springtime Luna Moth...see the parasites attached to its back near the head end (right side of photo):  photo

 

When the caterpillar is hanging onto the underside of a leaf, the rear end appears to be a face. Possibly this helps to scare off some hungry birds. (see inset bottom left): photo

 

The following two photos (July 28 and 29) show how the caterpillar wraps itself with birch leaves as it spins a cocoon. It will soon become a pupa inside this protective package it has formed. This fellow came down out of the tree to pupate, but many will spin their cocoon while still up in the tree and then simply drop to the ground when the leaves fall. photo1  photo2

 

 

Re(5): Imperial Moth Caterpillar
Posted on August 2, 2012 at 12:41:11 PM by janice house

the three caterpillars I found were all flat/paper thin and dry, I assume road kill poor things

 

 

Re(4): Imperial Moth Caterpillar
Posted on August 2, 2012 at 10:39:17 AM by Barbara Taylor

Caterpillars can be attacked by parasitic wasps or flies and since their larvae often feed inside the body of the caterpillar, it may not be obvious that the caterpillar has been parasitized. That might explain the dead ones. The Imperial Moth Caterpillar pupates down in the soil and overwinters there. A parasitized caterpillar may still pupate, but probably wouldn't survive to become an adult moth.

 

 

Re(3): Imperial Moth Caterpillar
Posted on August 1, 2012 at 03:02:44 PM by dinnymccraney

so sad! I wonder if this has anything to do with the wacky weather? It's more like the end of Sept. than Aug 1st.
I can't believe how many of the trees around here have lost their leaves. :(

 

 

Re(2): Imperial Moth Caterpillar
Posted on August 1, 2012 at 11:56:51 AM by janice house

Update: on my second dog walk this morning I found another dead caterpillar in a different location quite a distance from where the photo was taken

 

 

Imperial Moth Caterpillar - photo
Posted on July 31, 2012 at 08:20:36 PM by janice house

Yesterday I found a dead caterpillar on my morning dog walk and this morning I found a live caterpillar trying to cross Laycox Rd. I used an old coffee cup to scoop it up and move it to the side of the road in the direction it was moving. I came back 10 minutes later with my camera and it had disappeared. I left early for work and found it again recrossing the road. I managed to get a movie and one photo. My neighbour came out to see what I was up to and we watched it bury itself under some pine needles on the gravel at the side of the road. We marked the spot in the gravel, if we had not been watching you would never know it was there. Tonight around 7:30 I went back and found another dead caterpillar about 60 feet away and the hiding spot was empty. Laycox Rd & Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst  photo

 

 

Re(1): Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on August 3, 2012 at 01:48:17 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a Lesser Yellowlegs, two Solitary Sandpipers, three Killdeer, and a "spotless" juvenile Spotted Sandpiper at the south shore of cell 2. Twelve Green Herons were in the vicinity of cell 4 - five flew off together, heading north-east over the Kia dealership. Shortly after they went by, a Northern Harrier flew low overhead and then veered out of sight by the gas plant...haven't seen any Harriers at the Ponds since spring. A Pied-billed Grebe and a Hooded Merganser were in cell 4.
Lesser Yellowlegs (right) with a Solitary Sandpiper (left): photo

 

 

Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on July 31, 2012 at 03:40:29 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a Greater Yellowlegs (photo) at the south shore of cell 2. As we were leaving around 3 p.m. two Leasts and a Semipalmated Sandpiper flew in from the north to join it. The Snipe was with a Solitary Sandpiper in the SW corner of cell 2. There are still a few Killdeer and Spotted Sandpipers too.

We counted twelve Green Herons today. Yesterday I had come up with a total of 14, but figured the last two that flew overhead towards Kerr Park as I was leaving were probably double-counts...so...twelve of them confirmed now.

 

 

Re(2): and a Semipalmated Sandpiper...
Posted on July 30, 2012 at 01:05:22 PM by Goodyear

Last night there were 6 Least on the mud flats and a flock of 4 flew overhead. It's amazing how the numbers change. As well, there was one each of Blue-winged Teal and Green-winged Teal. A single Common Nighthawk flew overhead and two Chimney Swifts were over Cell 3.

 

 

Re(1): and a Semipalmated Sandpiper...
Posted on July 30, 2012 at 09:30:22 AM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a Semipalmated Sandpiper at the south shore of cell 2 along with a Least and three Solitary Sandpipers. The Snipe was still there too. In addition to the usual bunch of Green Herons around cell 4, today there were two Great Blue Herons and a Belted Kingfisher along the north shoreline.

Some juvenile warblers were playing a game of tag in the shrubbery west of cell 4...a Northern Waterthrush seemed to be "it" and kept chasing after a Black-and-white, two Yellows, and a Common Yellowthroat. A juvenile Rose-breasted Grosbeak was watching, but didn't join in. Near the NW corner of cell 4 there were families of Alder Flycatchers, Chestnut-sided Warblers, Warbling Vireos, and Gray Catbirds.

 

 

Wilson's Snipe - photo
Posted on July 29, 2012 at 12:54:11 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds a Wilson's Snipe was at the south end of cell 2. Also two Solitary Sandpipers, a Least Sandpiper, and some Killdeer and Spotted Sandpipers. Many Wood Duck families of various ages were in cell 3. There are still several Green Herons hanging around cell 4 - counted six. A Pied-billed Grebe and a female Bufflehead were in cell 4 along with three Otters and two Beavers. Two Ruby-throated Hummingbirds were perched west of cell 4 near a clump of what appeared to be Purple Loosestrife. Several Snapping Turtle nests have been dug up recently along the roadway at the west side of cell 4...some of the ripped apart eggs still contained partial yolks. Juvenile warblers are on the move now...several Yellows, Chestnut-sided, Black-and-White, and Common Yellowthroats. Warbling Vireos and Gray Catbirds were north of cell 4. A male Indigo Bunting was singing from his favourite dead tree perch near the Lagoon Lane entrance.  photo1  photo2  photo3

 

 

Re(1): Photos
Posted on July 26, 2012 at 06:28:46 PM by Goodyear

Baird's Sandpiper: photo (The quality is not the greatest, but you can see the black legs, wings extending beyond tail, buffy breast.)

Baird's Sandpiper with Least (far left) and Semi-palmated Sandpiper (centre): photo

 

 

Bracebridge Lagoons - Baird's and other shorebirds
Posted on July 26, 2012 at 04:52:11 PM by Goodyear

Just got back from the lagoons where we saw a number of shorebirds at the south end of cells 1 and 2 on the exposed mud:

Baird's Sandpiper 1
Semi-palmated Sandpiper 10
Solitary Sandpiper 2
Least Sandpiper 4

 

 

Re(2): Evening Grosbeaks
Posted on July 27, 2012 at 10:00:25 PM by Doug Smith

There was a 'pair' flying over Port Carling yesterday afternoon.

 

 

Re(1): Evening Grosbeaks
Posted on July 27, 2012 at 11:53:00 AM by Goodyear

This morning (Friday July 27) we had a juvenile being fed by an adult female. We could hear others calling.

 

 

Evening Grosbeaks
Posted on July 26, 2012 at 06:18:29 AM by janice house

I have an adult and two juveniles feeding in our back yard this morning, they were here last night around 6pm but only caught a glimpse as one flew from the white birch. Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst.

 

 

Merlin Displays
Posted on July 24, 2012 at 05:35:54 PM by George Bryant

This summer we've been fortunate to have Merlins nesting nearby, probably in a tall pine by the shoreline. We hear more often than see them, mainly when they are in courtship flight or harassing a cruising Turkey Vulture, like a Deer Fly to a Bear.
To-day at noon from the picnic table, I observed a perched Merlin (adult or fledged juvenile?)on a pine snag scanning the lake for targets. On three occasions the bird plummeted to the lake, pulled up and raced across the lake in pursuit of a dragonfly (probably Slaty Skimmer), returning to the perch to dine.
I maintain for their size, Merlins are the fastest and most aerobatic of any of our birds. Always a treat to watch.

 

 

Birds at Bracebridge Lagoons
Posted on July 24, 2012 at 08:04:16 AM by StuartImmonen

Yesterday morning on my way south, I stopped at the Bracebridge Sewage Lagoons to follow up on Barbara Taylor's report of multiple Green Herons (I only needed one for my year list), but there were other good birds, too. One juvenile Spotted Sandpiper as previously described along with one adult in Cell 2. In the same corner, I saw and photographed a Northern Waterthrush at the water's edge. There were a number of other warbler species, all around Cell 4: Common Yellowthroat, Mourning, Magnolia and Yellow. A number of Cedar Waxwings were hawking for insects above Cell 4, flycatcher-like. Among the dozens of Song Sparrows, there was one young Lincoln's Sparrow with lots of streaking on the head. This was in the scrubby trees to the west near the T junction of Cells 2 and 3.

I "only" saw 8 Green Herons... clearly not trying hard enough.
Stuart Immonen - My Bird Blog

 

 

Re(1): Great Golden Digger Wasp - photos
Posted on July 21, 2012 at 05:38:12 PM by DebbieAdams

We have several of these wasps digging holes in the flagstone path by our front door. They come every year. They are fun to watch as they dig the sand and kick it out of the way as they auger a deep hole. Then they cover it up once their prey is tucked inside and you'd never know there was a hole. They never bother us when we walk by and our dog can sit right beside where they're digging and they don't mind at all.

 

 

Great Golden Digger Wasp - photos
Posted on July 21, 2012 at 10:16:50 AM by Barbara Taylor

We found this large colourful wasp north of cell 4 at the Bracebridge Ponds yesterday. I don't recall ever seeing one before.

The female Great Golden Digger Wasp stings a prey item (e.g. katydid, grasshopper) to paralyze it and then carries it into a burrow she has dug in the ground. She inserts an egg in the prey and eventually the developing larva will consume it. See references below photos. Unfortunately the wasp was in a stand of thistles so I couldn't get very close, but here are some heavily cropped photos. Great Golden Digger Wasp (Sphex ichneumoneus): photo1  photo2  photo3  photo4  photo5

References:
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/beneficials/beneficial-54_great_golden_digger_wasp.htm
http://bugeric.blogspot.ca/2011/01/wasp-wednesday-great-golden-digger.html
http://bugguide.net/node/view/414
Video of this species digging its burrow: http://vimeo.com/19973346

 

 

Cecropia Moth Caterpillar
Posted on July 20, 2012 at 08:52:29 PM by janice house

Yesterday morning I found a cecropia moth caterpillar, still there today. It is on a small tree, blue/black berries, tiny, look like grape clusters (pin cherry?) The caterpillar looks healthy, the tree is suffering from lack of rain. Laycox & Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst.

 

 

Re(1): merlins?
Posted on July 20, 2012 at 04:14:46 PM by janice house

our merlins fledged this week, Laycox Rd & Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst

 

 

Re(1): merlins?
Posted on July 23, 2012 at 04:04:51 PM by GayleCarlyle

We were at Buckwallow yesterday and heard the merlins before and after our ride. There were 3 of them hanging out in the big pines at the parking lot. Mike asked us if they were merlins and we confirmed it for him. He says he's never had them around there before.
We've had merlins around our place on Green River Dr. in Washago for several years now. Guess they like the river system; lots of food (ie. birds) for them!

 

 

merlins?
Posted on July 20, 2012 at 06:13:53 AM by gerald

Mike McLaughlin at the Buckwallow Cycle centre belives he has a family of merlins in his parking lot. You can see and hear them very easily from the main parking lot. They have fledged and will probably be gone soon.

 

 

Indigo Bunting nest
Posted on July 19, 2012 at 09:11:57 PM by dburton

At BB lagoons there was a pair of Indigo Buntings at the intersection of cell 3 and 4 giving us scolding "spit" calls. This would indicate we were too close to their nest.

 

 

Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on July 19, 2012 at 12:10:26 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Ponds there was a Least Sandpiper and an American Black Duck at the south shore of cell 2. Also an adult Spotted Sandpiper with two very tiny young - interestingly, even though they were only balls of fluff on legs, they already were in the habit of bobbing their tail just like the adult Spotties. Two immature Hooded Mergansers were in cell 3. The roadsides have been cut this week, but thankfully still lots of milkweed standing and several Monarch butterflies flitting about. South of cell 4 there was a Common Buckeye which looked fairly fresh. The adult Pied-billed Grebe was still in cell 4. Four Green Herons were along the north shoreline of cell 4.
Common Buckeye - south of cell 4: photo

 

 

An Orb Weaver Spider - photos
Posted on July 18, 2012 at 02:57:17 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds I found this pretty spider tying up a recent catch (looks like a grasshopper nymph). She then moved back to the center of her web to await the next victim. You can see the spider's distinctive zigzag stitching through the middle of its web, which is called a stabilimentum. There are several theories about the purpose of web stabilimentum - Why Spiders Decorate Their Webs.

Black and Yellow Argiope (Argiope aurantia): photo1  photo2

 

 

Carolina Locust - photo
Posted on July 17, 2012 at 10:33:47 PM by Barbara Taylor

Last week at the Bracebridge Ponds there were several grasshoppers flying up from the ground as we walked around cell 4. They resembled Mourning Cloak butterflies in the air, but when they landed with their wings closed, they blended in so well with their surroundings that they simply disappeared. Just by chance I came across a dead one so I was able to get these photos.
Carolina Locust (Dissosteira carolina)- aka Black-winged Grasshopper, Road Duster: photo1  photo2

 

 

Report on Water Pool
Posted on July 16, 2012 at 08:03:15 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Fourteen species of birds including 5 species of warblers have visited my water pool. The latest ones are White-throated Sparrow and female Rose-breasted Grosbeak. A juvenile male took a look this afternoon and hope he'll come in tomorrow.

 

 

Re(1): Ruby Throated Hummingbird
Posted on July 16, 2012 at 10:02:11 PM by Terry & Marion Whittam

Hi Janice, yes hummer numbers are down! They are around but definitely not in the numbers I've seen before. Young should be flying soon! Cheers Terry

 

 

Ruby Throated Hummingbird
Posted on July 16, 2012 at 07:35:08 PM by janice house

I have had a male in our yard for quite some time, sitting on the clothes line, top of the balsam fir, feeding at the hummingbird feeder and my flowers. This weekend is the first time I have seen a female, she was at the feeder and feeding on the bee balm. Is anyone else noticing that the numbers are down?

 

 

Re(2): Another Caterpillar ID?
Posted on July 16, 2012 at 07:58:53 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Thank-you, Barb,
I just remembered I bought a caterpillar book awhile ago. Turns out it is Wagner's.
If I find any more I'll post but maybe I'll have an ID as well!

 

 

Re(1): Another Caterpillar ID?
Posted on July 16, 2012 at 11:17:54 AM by Barbara Taylor

Looks like the Smartweed Caterpillar (Smeared Dagger Moth) - Acronicta oblinita - Hodges #9272

See p. 332 in Wagner's field guide "Caterpillars of Eastern North America" or one of the following:
http://www.pbase.com/tmurray74/image/50172049
http://mothphotographersgroup.msstate.edu/species.php?hodges=9272
http://bugguide.net/node/view/3223

Tom Murray's collection of thumbnail photos can be very useful for ID's of distinctively coloured cats since you can quickly browse down through them. See http://www.pbase.com/tmurray74/caterpillars

 

 

Another Caterpillar ID?
Posted on July 16, 2012 at 10:21:21 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I have check Discover Life and didn't find a match. This caterpillar was found on leatherleaf and pickerel weed. Didn't seem to be eating the leather leaf but definitely the pickerel weed.  I searched, red/yellow/black base colour - Spots & none - Tufts. Are there online keys that are better than Discover Life?

photo1  photo2

 

 

Ten Green Herons
Posted on July 14, 2012 at 12:41:11 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning around 8:30 a.m. at the Bracebridge Ponds I counted ten Green Herons. There was a family of two adults and four juveniles in the dead trees by the NE corner of cell 4. I flushed four more (2 adults, 2 juveniles) as I walked long the north side of cell 4 and they flew over near the others, so I was able to see all ten at once. First time I've ever seen a "flock" of Green Herons. Juveniles: photo1  photo2 ... "Flock of Green Herons" photo

 

 

Can you post photos?
Posted on July 17, 2012 at 11:16:00 AM by Alex Mills

We would love to see them.

 

 

Great Grey Owl
Posted on July 13, 2012 at 09:29:28 AM by gheller

On Sunday July 8th at 8 pm a great shadow flew over the picnic table as we sat looking out at Lake Waseosa. It was a big raptor with a 3' or 4' wingspan and it came to rest in a tree just 50 feet away. It was the biggest owl I have ever seen and stood at least 24" tall while resting on it's branch. After a little Googling I am certain it was a Great Grey Owl ...I will post pics soon.

 

 

Monarchs at our Back Door
Posted on July 12, 2012 at 08:40:19 PM by neilnimmo

About June 25th we noticed 9 Monarch caterpillars at our back door.They were on swamp milkweed and in about their 3rd instar.On June 29 they had all disappeared to go into their chrysalis stage. It was a fair distance to the trees so we didn't know where they would have gone. Between yesterday and today we have counted 6-7 Monarch butterflies. One had just emerged right at our back step. Then we looked under the vinca plants and there were 2 empty chrysalis. Also today there was on the butterfly bush a Great Spangled Fritillary. Dinny

 

 

Re(1): Caspian Tern
Posted on July 14, 2012 at 12:49:47 PM by Barbara Taylor

We used to see a Caspian Tern patrolling the shoreline of Browning Island on Lake Muskoka and sometimes by Alport...usually mid-July to early August. Perhaps some adults start to wander away from the main colony if their nesting attempt fails.

 

 

Re(2): Caspian Tern
Posted on July 13, 2012 at 01:10:22 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I have one hunting here, Bala, daily. I've never seen one get anything, though.

 

 

Re(1): Caspian Tern
Posted on July 13, 2012 at 09:03:39 AM by dbritton

I've occasionally seen Caspian Terns in the Windermere area on eastern Lake Rosseau, the Dee River and Three Mile Lake. These are presumably also wanderers from Georgian Bay.

 

 

Caspian Tern
Posted on July 12, 2012 at 08:09:32 PM by George Bryant

An adult patrolled our lake,Pine Lake, just south of Lake Muskoka for about 1/2 hour today. This is an annual occurrence, the first this year. Closest colony I believe is South Watcher Island, Georgian Bay, Muskoka MD. The Breeding Bird Atlas states they have been known to forage as far as Matchedash Bay a distance of 40 kms. We're 52.5 kms distant and I suspect some birds carry on to Lake Muskoka. Quite a distance for a parent bird to hunt, perhaps only exceeded by White Pelican at 100 kms.

 

 

Monarch Butterflies
Posted on July 12, 2012 at 02:37:09 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there were large numbers of very fresh looking Monarch butterflies. The edges of the roadways haven't been cut back yet so still lots of milkweed in bloom...could mean a good next generation of Monarchs to come.

A Solitary Sandpiper was at the south end of cell 1. A Veery was in one of the honeysuckle bushes near the NW corner of cell 4.

 

 

Re(1): After 25 years - a whip-poor-will!
Posted on July 12, 2012 at 09:50:35 AM by DebbieAdams

There are lots cormorants on Lake Muskoka. On Eleanor Island, which once was a blue heron nesting area, cormorants have taken over.
Lucky you to hear a whip-poor-will though. I haven't heard one on Walker's Point in at least 30+ years.

 

 

After 25 years - a whip-poor-will!
Posted on July 12, 2012 at 06:28:05 AM by FrancesGualtieri

It was such a delight to hear a whip-poor-will last night here in Vankoughnet - it has been many years since I've been serenaded to sleep by their song.

Also, a neighbour here spotted a cormorant by the Black River - is that an unusual sighting for the area?

 

 

Bobolink
Posted on July 11, 2012 at 03:51:42 PM by janice house

I had a nice surprise this morning, a male bobolink was calling from the top of a spruce tree in our backyard. He is normally across the road in the farm field. (Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst)

 

 

Re(2): Common Buckeye
Posted on July 11, 2012 at 10:50:44 AM by Al Sinclair

Up until 2012 single C. Buckeyes was found in Muskoka about once every 5 to 10 years all in the south-west of Muskoka. This year they have been flooding into Canada by the 1000s. On the Ontario Butterflies listserv one observer reported 35 on the Toronto Is June 29. There have been sightings from as far north as north shore of Lake Superior.
This is one of many southern species moving north this year. Alarm bells are going off on climate change, is anyone in our government listening?

 

 

Re(1): Common Buckeye
Posted on July 11, 2012 at 09:59:05 AM by Barbara Taylor

Bob Bowles emailed "there was a Common Buckeye reported for Muskoka four years ago in the Go Home Bay area".

 

 

Common Buckeye - photo
Posted on July 10, 2012 at 06:36:35 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds we found two Common Buckeye butterflies along the roadway west of cell 4 - photos below. We have never seen one before, but thanks to Al Sinclair's photo in his Bala NABA Butterfly Count report, we immediately recognized them. I don't see it listed on the Muskoka Butterfly Checklist - is this the first year the species has been seen here?

photo1  photo2 (this one looks like it was almost birdfood, but it could still fly even with such large pieces of its wings missing)

excerpt from Butterflies of Canada:
"This is normally only a rare stray in Canada, but in good migrant years temporary colonies can become established...At Ottawa, other than a single specimen taken in 1966, and one seen in 1996, the Common Buckeye has been observed only in 1981, when there was a major invasion with three temporary breeding colonies formed."

 

 

Re(1): Bracebridge Lagoons - Least Sandpipers
Posted on July 10, 2012 at 02:28:31 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds, one Least Sandpiper was at the south end of cell 2 and one Lesser Yellowlegs was at the south end of cell 1. Three more Lesser Yellowlegs came in from the north-east and circled cell 4 several times before heading west...looked like they may have dropped down at Henry Marsh. An immature Hooded Merganser and the young Pied-billed Grebe were in cell 4. The Black-billed Cuckoo was once again hiding in the shrubbery west of cell 4. Five Green Herons were north of cell 4 - they seem to like hunting for frogs in the wet ditch. This family of Killdeer were at the south end of cell 1:  photo

 

 

Bracebridge Lagoons - Least Sandpipers
Posted on July 10, 2012 at 09:24:06 AM by Goodyear

Yesterday evening there were 6 Least Sandpipers at the south end of Cell 2 and two others at the south end of Cell 1.

 

 

Black-billed Cuckoo
Posted on July 9, 2012 at 03:41:31 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds I was trying to see a "mewing" Catbird in the shrubbery west of cell 4 when I suddenly spied this Black-billed Cuckoo. It flew up so I could get a quick full view, then flew south along the pipeline. The young Pied-billed Grebe was in cell 4. A Veery was singing at the edge of the woods north of cell 4. Three Green Herons were along the north side of cell 4 and one was in the small marshy area east of cell 4. A male Green-winged Teal was in cell 2 resting on the south beach along with some Mallards, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpipers, and Wood Ducks.  photo1  photo2

 

 

Re(3): Caterpillar ID Help?
Posted on July 10, 2012 at 10:10:22 AM by Al Sinclair

Thanks for letting us know. This could be another species moving north because of climate change.

 

 

Re(2): Caterpillar ID Help?
Posted on July 9, 2012 at 07:31:51 PM by tinajacobson

Was Taken in Parry Sound

 

 

Re(1): Caterpillar ID Help?
Posted on July 9, 2012 at 03:25:02 PM by Al Sinclair

That's an Abbott's Sphinx Moth Sphecodina abbottii.
Where was this photo taken? Parry Sound is a bit north of the know range. It eats Virginia Creeper and Grapes. I have not seen it in Muskoka.

 

 

Caterpillar ID Help?
Posted on July 9, 2012 at 02:53:02 PM by J. Gardner

A friend in Parry Sound sent this along this morning. It is a beautiful thing, but beyond my ken. Can anyone on the Board identify it? June Gardner  photo

 

 

Re(2): Caterpillar ID?
Posted on July 16, 2012 at 09:31:33 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Yes, Al, that is what they are. They are having a feeding frenzy here this year on the leatherleaf.

 

 

Re(1): Caterpillar ID?
Posted on July 9, 2012 at 10:29:00 AM by Al Sinclair

Have a look at Chain-dotted Geometer Cingilia catenaria. Yours has more white than the one in Wagner but that's normal I think.

 

 

Caterpillar ID?
Posted on July 9, 2012 at 09:09:45 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I have looked for ID of this but haven't found it on any of the sites I checked.  photo
I saw at least 5 of these within a square foot on leatherleaf. Much of the leatherleaf around my lake is brown ad chomped. The caterpillar is about 2 2.5 cm.

 

 

Re(1): Who Am I? - Photo
Posted on July 9, 2012 at 05:41:21 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

It isn't the same Pine Warbler I've had before
and I can now see that it has to be that. This one is bright yellow and the streaking on the breast was so prominent that the first thought when it came in was Canada. I really thought it was a juvenile something and because of the bright yellow and the markings on the side of the throat didn't consider pine. Also, the bright yellow extends right down to the legs which goes beyond what I would consider the lower abdomen which should be white.

Not really, but the I was able to quickly identify the last Pine Warbler that came in because it had a pine needle stuck to one of its legs!  photo

 

 

Re(1): Who Am I? - Photo
Posted on July 8, 2012 at 10:17:38 PM by Terry & Marion Whittam

I would agree with Doug...... looks like a Pine Warbler! Nice bird! Good capture!
Thanks Terry

 

 

Re(1): Who Am I? - Photo
Posted on July 8, 2012 at 09:51:44 PM by Doug Smith

Hi Eleanor -- is it your Pine warbler visiting again? It looks like it could be, going by the wing bars, side streaks and olive shoulders/back. Nice set-up for some great photography!

 

 

Who Am I? - Photo
Posted on July 8, 2012 at 06:47:09 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Visitor at my water pool this afternoon. Did not give me an undertail view. In, out and gone.  photo

 

 

Re(1): Eastern Pondhawk female - photo
Posted on July 10, 2012 at 02:09:24 PM by Barbara Taylor

Finally managed to get a shot of a female this morning at the Bracebridge Ponds at west side of cell 4. Quite different than the males I photographed earlier.
female: photo     male: photo

 

 

Eastern Pondhawk - photo
Posted on July 7, 2012 at 04:22:41 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there were a few Eastern Pondhawk dragonflies by cell 4 at the Bracebridge Ponds. Six Green Herons were flying around the cell 4 area, and the adult Pied-billed Grebe was still in cell 4. A couple of female Wood Ducks accompanied their very tiny ducklings in cell 2 - could these be second broods or just very late?
Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis) male - note the white claspers and green face: photo
The greenish tint on side of thorax probably indicates this male is not fully mature: photo

 

 

Re(1): Black Bear visitor - photos
Posted on July 27, 2012 at 09:34:29 PM by Barbara Taylor

The Bear is back...hadn't seen it for 20 days, but this afternoon it went strolling through our yard. If indeed it is the same bear, it seems to have gained some weight. I wonder if it has been dining on garbage as today was garbage collection in our neighbourhood.  photo1

You can see why the bear's back feet leave pawprints that look very similar to a human footprint.   photo2

 

 

Re(1): Black Bear visitor - photos
Posted on July 10, 2012 at 03:12:38 PM by dinnymccraney

What wonderful photos! Just hope it doesn't wander this way!

 

 

Black Bear visitor - photos
Posted on July 7, 2012 at 03:34:02 PM by Barbara Taylor

We had this little Bear visit our yard today just before 2:30 p.m. There had been several daylight sightings of a small bear (assumed to be a yearling) in our neighbourhood in June, but I thought it had moved on. Apparently it is making another round...but no luck here as our bird feeders are shut down. Perhaps the bear will find some of our ripening Raspberries. In June it was seen eating a neighbour's Currants. (Glendale Rd./Meadow Heights area, Bracebridge)  photo1  (For some perspective...the top of the stovepipe is 4'7" from the ground and diameter 7")
"Where's the feeder?" photo2  photo3

 

 

Re(1): Bala NABA Butterfly Count...photos
Posted on July 6, 2012 at 07:57:31 PM by Al Sinclair

4051 - Delaware Skipper - Atrytone logan - Photo by Rick Snider

4275 - Coral Hairstreak - Satyrium titus - Photo by Rick Snider

4440 - Common Buckeye - Junonia coenia - Photo by Al Sinclair

4048 - Little Glassywing - Pompeius verna - Photo by Al Sinclair

 

 

Bala NABA Butterfly Count...species list
Posted on July 6, 2012 at 02:35:08 PM by Al Sinclair

The count was held on June 30, 2012. All species were found in a 24km(15mi) diameter circle centred at Bala, District Municipality of Muskoka.

SPECIES SEEN
6/30/2012 30 seen
Cabbage White 1
Clouded Sulphur 30
Orange Sulphur 1
Bog Copper 15
Coral Hairstreak 1
Banded Hairstreak 7
Summer Azure 1
Great Spangled Fritillary 8
Northern Crescent 17
Question Mark 8
American Lady 6
Painted Lady 1
Red Admiral 2
Common Buckeye 1
White Admiral 17
Northern Pearly-eye 3
Eyed Brown 52
Little Wood-Satyr 4
Common Ringlet 1
Monarch 24
Least Skipper 16
European Skipper 77
Indian Skipper 1
Peck's Skipper 8
Long Dash 15
Northern Broken-Dash 7
Delaware Skipper 5
Two-spotted Skipper 1
Little Glassywing 2
Dun Skipper 27

 

 

Nervous Female Loon
Posted on July 5, 2012 at 03:50:12 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I have been watching a pair of nesting loons. The female is very skittish and twice I have seen her leave the nest when a plane flew over.
Many planes fly over every day so I hope she gets used to them.

 

 

Re(1): Water Setup for Photography
Posted on July 6, 2012 at 08:49:00 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

New today was a juvenile Pine Warbler and a Five-lined Skink has moved in under one the the rocks around the pool.
It took me awhile to figure out what the juvie Pine Warbler was. I've never seen one before.
A Red-eyed Vireo almost came in but something scared it off. They are flying around with a couple of juveniles today.

 

 

Re(1): Water Setup for Photography
Posted on July 5, 2012 at 07:51:18 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Final warbler count for the day:
3 yellow-rumps
1 Nashville
1 Pine
2 Canadas

 

 

Water Setup for Photography
Posted on July 5, 2012 at 03:02:44 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Last weekend I began my water setup for photography. It starts with a black 18 gallon tub dug into the sand by the side of my house so that I am able to photograph the visitors from my basement window. A line of trees close by provide protection and I run a black irrigation tube to it to make a drip.

The main visitors have been 4-5 pairs of goldfinches, 4 pairs of Purple Finches with 4 juveniles each, Red-breasted Nuthatche has visited a few times. One female and two male Yellow-rumped Warblers have been in a couple of times, and today had a juvenile and adult female Canada Warbler. I've never seen the female before!

Nashvilles, Red-eyed Vireos, Chipping Sparrows, Veery and a few others are trying to decide about giving it a try.
There is quite a commotion when a family of Purple Finches and a couple of goldfinches try to bathe and drink all at the same time.

Nice and cool in my basement which makes the waiting even better!

 

 

Re(1): Merlin vs Great Blue Heron
Posted on July 5, 2012 at 02:44:35 PM by GayleCarlyle

Back in 1980 I was working in Algonquin on a peregrine falcon re-introduction program and we had 8 young raptors on a huge rock face on a lake.
We watched one day as a GBH slowly flew past the nest, far too close, and one by one a squadron of four peregrines dive-bombed the hapless bird, driving it off. I have never seen a GBH fly so fast in my life!

 

 

Merlin vs Great Blue Heron
Posted on July 5, 2012 at 01:16:01 PM by janice house

Our local merlin pair are very protective of their air space, twice now a merlin has harassed a heron flying over the nest area. (Laycox Rd & Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst)

 

 

Carolina Wren near Bracebridge
Posted on July 3, 2012 at 02:56:26 PM by Al Sinclair

We were awakened early this morning by the song of a Carolina Wren - thought I was dreaming. But it sang again later and I found the bird and added it to my yard list. Blue Jays, Robins, vireos and nuthatches were making a fuss about the strange bird in the yard. It stayed around all morning singing occasionally. This species is rare in Muskoka and not know to breed here. Most likely this is an example of post-breeding dispersal. 8km east of Bracebridge on Hwy 118E.

 

 

Green Heron - Covered Bridge trail
Posted on July 3, 2012 at 01:45:42 PM by Barbara Taylor

Early this morning I came across a Green Heron at the edge of Beaver Creek near the foot bridge along the Covered Bridge hiking trail, just south of the field. I saw one in the same area last year on August 1. Wonder if there is a nesting site nearby. (Bracebridge)

 

 

ovenbird
Posted on July 3, 2012 at 12:05:05 PM by jessb

An ovenbird hit the window of my parent's house this morning (Glen Orchard).
He drank some water and a mushed up raspberry while he recooperated...
He layed low for about an hour and flew away.  photo

 

 

Re(1): Pond Peril
Posted on July 7, 2012 at 03:11:43 PM by neilnimmo

Your story reminded me of a sighting here a few years ago. We saw a large toad come racing down the path and jump into our small garden pond. A few minutes later a very large hog nosed snake came down the same path.It nosed around a hollowed out log and a few rocks but didn't get the toad on that occasion. That was the last time we saw a hog-nose here. Dinny

 

 

Pond Peril
Posted on July 2, 2012 at 01:41:01 PM by J. Gardner

Looking through the telescope to see ducklings on our pond this morning, Hurdville. I saw something leaping through grasses and reeds. The something leapt into open water and proceeded to strike out, swimming like the dickens about 3 hundred feet until it disappeared into more reeds. It was a Snowshoe Hare, swimming like a well-conditioned Labrador Retriever.

I made a note in my outdoor book, about seeing this unusual event. When I returned to the telescope, the mysterious activity was explained by the sight of a coyote obviously hunting at about the area where the hare disappeared. This was my first look at a hare swimming for its life and I doubt I will ever forget the sight of the sun shining through its ears, which were standing straight up. June Gardner

 

 

Black-shouldered Spinyleg
Posted on July 2, 2012 at 12:04:51 PM by Barbara Taylor

Yesterday there were a few of these dragonflies along the roadway south of cell 4 at the Bracebridge Ponds. They wouldn't let me get close enough for a good photo, but you can still see the big green eyes and distinctive markings...  photo1  photo2  photo3

 

 

Re(1): Green Heron - photo
Posted on July 2, 2012 at 11:48:02 AM by Barbara Taylor

There were at least four Green Herons around cell 4 at the Bracebridge Ponds this morning. This is the best view I had:  photo

Oh, and forgot to mention there have been two beavers in cell 4 for the past few days.

 

 

Bracebridge Ponds - photos
Posted on July 1, 2012 at 04:14:52 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there were two male Green-winged Teal on the south shore of cell 1 along with a few Mallards. Several families of Wood Ducks were in cell 2. An adult Pied-billed Grebe was in cell 4. A Green Heron was in the small marshy area east of cell 4 and another was standing on a floating mat of vegetation. A very vocal family of Warbling Vireos was exploring the shrubbery west of cell 4. Sometimes Rock Pigeons have been seen flying over the Ponds near the commercial area to the east, but today we found one perched in a tree north of cell 4. It was nice to see the "cone zone" was still protecting a Killdeer's nest in the gravel area north of cell 4. A large flock of Mourning Doves was on the roadway just inside the Lagoon Lane gate - they seem to be much more numerous than in previous years.
Green-winged Teal with Mallards: photo

Green Heron:  photo

Killdeer nest (at least four eggs counted from a distance):  photo1  photo2

Rock Pigeon:  photo  (after reviewing a couple other photos of this bird, it appears to have a green band on its right leg - a lost racing pigeon?)