Muskoka Bird Board - Archived Reports from July - September 2013
 
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Pipits on rooftops
Posted on September 30, 2013 at 05:01:58 PM by DBurton

A flock of over 20 American Pipits are flying from rooftop to rooftop along Clearbrook Trail near BMLSS.
Good yardbird if you live in this subdivision!

 

 

Muskoka Field Naturalists - next meeting Oct. 3
Posted on September 30, 2013 at 01:27:59 PM by Barbara Taylor

MFN meeting Thursday, October 3, at 7:30 p.m., in Bracebridge
The Atherley Narrows by Bob Bowles
MFN founding member and well known naturalist Bob Bowles will present a program on the Atherley Narrows. His talk will cover the history of the Narrows from its geological development from the Wisconsin Glazier over 12,000 years ago, its importance to the Wendat people who constructed fishing weirs over 5,000 years ago through to the arrival of European settlers, railroads and modern road traffic. Recent underwater studies have shown how the biodiversity and environment of Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching have changed over time and how these changes have affected Georgian Bay in both Simcoe and Muskoka. In Bob’s opinion the site should be declared a World Heritage Site since it has been important to First Nations for over 5,000 years.

Meetings will be held at the Latter Day Saints Church located in Bracebridge at the corner of Taylor Rd. and Cedar Lane (at the traffic circle). Entrance to church is on Cedar Lane south. Meeting time remains 7:30 p.m. Visitors welcome to attend.

source: Muskoka Field Naturalists newsletter, the Wakerobin
MFN website: www.muskokafieldnaturalists.com

 

 

Blackpolls and others
Posted on September 29, 2013 at 06:09:31 PM by Alex Mills

This has been the best weekend ever, in my experience, for Blackpoll Warblers in Parry Sound. I spent the weekend at Magnetawan. Yesterday (Sat the 28th) I found three good flocks of Yellow-rumped Warblers and all had Blackpolls among them. I counted 13 Blackpolls (8 in one very large Yellow-rumped flock). The beautiful sunny weather even allowed me to see their feet colour, which helps clinch the identification.

Today, I saw several more, again in large Yellow-rumped Warbler flocks. The key was to "spish" aggressively and then look at all the birds that would come in with the Yellow-rumps. Today and yesterday, I also found with such aggregations: Black-throated Green, Black-throated Blue, Nashville, Orange-crowned, an Ovenbird (my latest ever, today), Blue-headed Vireo, and Hermit Thrush.

 

 

Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on September 29, 2013 at 10:15:09 AM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a Lincoln's Sparrow in the shrubbery at the west side of cell 4. In the same area some Swamp Sparrows were singing almost as though it was springtime. In cell 4 there were sixteen Ring-necked Ducks, two Lesser Scaup, three Hooded Mergansers, and a Canada Goose. In cell 3 there was a Green-winged Teal, as well as several Mallards and Wood Ducks. Other birds seen included a Rusty Blackbird, White-crowned, White-throated, Savannah, and Song Sparrows, Purple Finch, Eastern Phoebe, Golden-crowned Kinglets, Common Yellowthroat, American Pipits, and a juvenile Northern Cardinal by the Lagoon Lane gate.

 

 

Henry Marsh - Wilson's Warbler
Posted on September 27, 2013 at 09:50:00 PM by Goodyear

Early this evening we saw a male Wilson's Warbler just east of the "T" at Henry Marsh, along with a Magnolia Warbler and an American Redstart.

 

 

Re(3): Fox Sparrow, Novar
Posted on September 27, 2013 at 06:34:49 PM by Al Sinclair

In the eBird Muskoka filter the 1st fall arrival date is set at Oct 3rd

 

 

Re(2): Fox Sparrow, Novar
Posted on September 27, 2013 at 04:28:48 PM by StuartImmonen

Thanks for the additional info-- good to know. I was only going by reports from Parry Sound.
Stuart

 

 

Re(1): Fox Sparrow, Novar
Posted on September 27, 2013 at 04:13:25 PM by rick stronks

The average date for fall arrival in Algonquin Park is October 5 and most of our sightings are in October. However, we do have sightings in late September including the 22nd.
Rick

 

 

Fox Sparrow, Novar
Posted on September 27, 2013 at 01:06:26 PM by StuartImmonen

Had a Fox Sparrow pass through this morning along with loads of White-throateds, both Kinglets, one Magnolia and one Yellow-rumped Warbler. eBird tells me the Foxy is early by a few weeks at least.

Stuart Immonen, East of Novar.

 

 

Great Blue Heron
Posted on September 27, 2013 at 10:28:34 AM by janice house

A great blue flew over the house yesterday when I got home from work at 6pm. Before I got home Geoff saw a flock of what he thought were snow buntings wheeling over the farm field across from the house, seems early. My first thought was pipits..........(Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst)

 

 

Henry Marsh - Black-billed Cuckoo
Posted on September 26, 2013 at 08:41:21 AM by Goodyear

We birded Henry marsh yesterday evening. There was a very cooperative Black-billed Cuckoo at the trail junction. Three hermit Thrushes, a Catbird, and White-throated, White-crowned, Swamp, and Song Sparrows were in the same area.

 

 

American Pipits
Posted on September 25, 2013 at 05:26:38 PM by Wilf Yusek

Saw at least 40 American pipits on the 15th & 16th fairways of the Muskoka Highlands Golf course this afternoon at approx. 1.15 pm

 

 

Sparrows
Posted on September 24, 2013 at 06:48:23 PM by Catmaclean

Have been seeing a lot of Chipping Sparrows. and Juncoes. Still have a Song and White-Throated Sparrow around and today we have White-Crowned Sparrows back. Saw a Humming bird at our cottage on the North West corner of The Park on Sat. and I heard a Scarlet Tanager yesterday in Huntsville.

 

Re(1): Colourful Amanitas
Posted on September 24, 2013 at 07:38:47 AM by missyinmuskoka

Hi Barbara, when I was out for a walk last weekend I found a bunch. I photographed this one because I thought it was perfect and beautiful. When I got home I tried to ID them and came up with Amanita Frostiana as well.  photo

 

 

Colourful Amanitas
Posted on September 22, 2013 at 08:13:58 PM by Barbara Taylor

We found several of these Amanita Mushrooms growing near the trail east of Henry Marsh today. The first photo appears to be Amanita flavoconia (Yellow Patches). The rest of the photos seem to be a different species, as the caps are more yellow and fairly flat with striate margins...possibly A. frostiana? All of the mushrooms were being eaten by slugs...guess they are immune to the toxins.   Amanita flavoconia?  photo    Amanita frostiana?  photo1  photo2  photo3 

 

 

Ring-necked Ducks
Posted on September 22, 2013 at 02:37:17 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at Henry Marsh there were three Ring-necked Ducks, a few Wood Ducks, and two Otters. Some Rusty Blackbirds were at the east side of the marsh. Along the Trans Canada Trail east of the marsh there were Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets, an Orange-crowned Warbler, Common Yellowthroats, Chestnut-sided, Palm, and Yellow-rumped Warblers, Blue-headed Vireos, and a Red-eyed Vireo. Three Ruffed Grouse flew up from near the trail as we walked by. A Red-tailed Hawk was perched in a dead tree overlooking "leech lake" (a bit west of the pipeline).

Directions to Bracebridge Ponds/Henry Marsh: see my Area trails map (click on trail sections and markers for info/photos; click Map or Satellite button at upper right to switch views)

 

 

Re(1): Bracebridge Lagoons
Posted on September 24, 2013 at 03:57:07 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon at the Bracebridge Ponds two American Bitterns flew up from the north side of cell 2 as I walked by. They eventually came down at the east side of cell 1. About seven Palm Warblers and a couple Yellow-rumped Warblers were at the edge of the woods west of cell 3. Two Green-winged Teal were in cell 3. Three Hooded Mergansers and a female Scaup were in cell 4. A few American Pipits called as they flew overhead. A lone Rusty Blackbird was at the south side of cell 4.

 

 

Bracebridge Lagoons
Posted on September 22, 2013 at 01:57:37 PM by Goodyear

A cold, but fruitful morning birding. Lots of sparrows (Swamp, Song, White-crowned, Savannah, White-throated) including 2 Lincoln's at the north end of cell 4. Also in that area a Wilson's Warbler and approx. 8 Palm Warblers.A Greater Yellowlegs was at the north end of cell 2 hiding in the grass. We also stirred up two American Bitterns hiding in the grass along the edge of cell 1 and 2, about halfway up the road. Over at the airport we saw several more Palm Warblers and one Field Sparrow.

 

 

Re(1): Winter Finch Forecast
Posted on September 25, 2013 at 12:50:43 PM by Doug Smith

The maple key crops seems good, too. This could mean more mice, which might mean owls? Any thoughts?

 

 

Re(3): Winter Finch Forecast
Posted on September 24, 2013 at 12:47:34 PM by John Challis

There were lots of bohemian waxwings on Manitoulin Island two weeks ago, and last week the mountain ash around Killarney were,as Barb suggests, loaded with berries. Red-breasted nuthatches were quite vocal. A crowd of rusty blackbirds were buzzing around our cabin outside Killarney, too, but that's another story.

 

 

Re(3): Winter Finch Forecast
Posted on September 24, 2013 at 12:47:34 PM by John Challis

There were lots of bohemian waxwings on Manitoulin Island two weeks ago, and last week the mountain ash around Killarney were,as Barb suggests, loaded with berries. Red-breasted nuthatches were quite vocal. A crowd of rusty blackbirds were buzzing around our cabin outside Killarney, too, but that's another story.

 

 

Re(2): Winter Finch Forecast
Posted on September 22, 2013 at 09:20:09 PM by Barbara Taylor

Doesn't look very good for us since plenty of food further north means the birds won't have to leave the boreal forest. But it probably means more Blue Jays and Red-breasted Nuthatches will stick around this winter. Also sounds like there might be more Evening Grosbeaks and maybe some Purple Finch at feeders this winter, but most likely few Redpolls. If some Bohemian Waxwings and Pine Grosbeaks do happen to come this far south, they may stay a while since the Mountain Ash berries and Ornamental Crabapples look abundant this year.

 

 

Re(1): Winter Finch Forecast
Posted on September 22, 2013 at 07:42:45 PM by coreyhkh

so is this good for us in Muskoka?

 

 

Winter Finch Forecast
Posted on September 21, 2013 at 03:40:18 PM by Barbara Taylor

Ron Pittaway has published his Winter Finch Forecast.
You can find it here: http://www.jeaniron.ca/2013/forecast.htm

 

 

Lincoln's Sparrows
Posted on September 19, 2013 at 12:22:02 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds I came across a nice bunch of Sparrows at the edge of the woods west of cell 3. There were at least three Lincoln's Sparrows, a couple White-crowned, White-throated, a Savannah, and several Song Sparrows. As I watched them, there was a sudden influx of Yellow-rumped Warblers, a Philadelphia Vireo, a Nashville Warbler, a few Common Yellowthroats, and a Gray Catbird. About seven Palm Warblers were along the roadway south of cell 3. An American Pipit called as it flew overhead, heading south. A Wilson's Warbler, three Palm Warblers and another Lincoln's Sparrow were in the shrubbery west of cell 4. A Green Heron was in the SE corner of cell 4 and the American Wigeon was still in cell 3.  Lincoln's Sparrow photo.

 

 

Sandhill Cranes, Bala
Posted on September 19, 2013 at 08:20:48 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

For some time now I have been hearing Sandhill Cranes fly out from someplace west of my place in the morning and back in at night. I haven't seen them in flight. Just hearing the rattling calls.

 

 

White Crowned Sparrows
Posted on September 18, 2013 at 04:06:37 PM by janice house

There were three sparrows feeding in our yard at lunch today, Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst

 

 

Green Heron
Posted on September 17, 2013 at 02:08:20 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there was a Green Heron at the east side of cell 4 at the Bracebridge Ponds...thought they'd all left.  An Osprey flew low across cell 4, then continued south. The American Wigeon was still in cell 3 along with Wood Ducks and Mallards. Five Hooded Mergansers were in cell 2.

There were six Palm Warblers hawking insects at the west side of cell 4. A few Cedar Waxwings decided to eat cherries instead. An Indigo Bunting was near the NW corner of cell 4 and a couple Eastern Phoebes were playing a game of tag nearby. Along the trail a short distance west of the Ponds, we found some Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Golden-crowned Kinglets, Blue-headed and Red-eyed Vireos, Black-throated Green Warbler, a Blackburnian, Common Yellowthroats, a Gray Catbird, and a Northern Flicker.

 

 

Re(1): Rusty Blackbirds
Posted on September 15, 2013 at 04:17:29 PM by janice house

Two rusty blackbirds on the hydro wires in front of the house about 10 this morning, Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst. Yesterday I got warbler neck watching all the warblers and blue birds on Laycox Rd. On Doe Lake Rd I found a dead first fall blackpoll female, the birds were hopping about on the pavement and flying back into the scrub under the hydro wires.

 

 

Re(1): Rusty Blackbirds
Posted on September 16, 2013 at 08:18:28 AM by Goodyear

Yesterday there was also a Black-throated Blue Warbler near the Lagoon Lane gates, seven Hooded Mergansers in cell 2, and we had 3 American Pipits fly over.

 

 

Rusty Blackbirds
Posted on September 15, 2013 at 11:57:53 AM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there were about 30 Rusty Blackbirds at the north side of cell 4. A few Palm Warblers and a Wilson's Warbler were in the shrubbery at the west side of cell 4. An American Wigeon was in cell 3. Haven't seen any Green Herons since Thursday.

 

 

Flower Fly
Posted on September 14, 2013 at 09:46:34 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon as I was looking for Flower Flies in our garden, I found one I'd never seen before.
This is Spilomyia fusca, and is considered to be a Bald-faced Hornet mimic. (Bracebridge)  photo1  photo2  photo3

 

 

Algonquin Park Birding Report: Sept 13
Posted on September 13, 2013 at 10:18:03 PM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Lev Frid on ONTBIRDS (Sept. 13, 2013) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Hello Birders,
We're going to start the reports up again as the birding in Algonquin has
been excellent the past couple of weeks, with many sought-after species
being easily seen.

Warblers have been excellent this week, with large flocks present in many
locations. A flock at the north end of Mizzy contained three vireo sp and
16 different warbler species on the 10th, and 18 species late last week. In
this flock were at least five different Cape May Warblers, who seem to have
had a good year up there and individuals are found in almost every flock
this year in the Park. Palm Warbler has appeared this week. The best place
to observe these flocks is the north end of the Mizzy Lake Trail or the Old
Airfield. Flocks there often have over one hundred individual birds!

An East Side trip produced several interesting birds. On the 11th, in the
extensive marshes of Lake Travers, two Blue-winged Teal were seen, a rare
species for Algonquin.

On the 12th, staff at Radiant Lake had two Semipalmated Plovers there, as
well as a flyover subadult Golden Eagle. This is the earliest date for
Algonquin by seven days! Also present there were two late Indigo Buntings.
The resident race of pine-eating Red Crossbills were heard and seen as well.

BOREAL SPECIALTIES:
Spruce Grouse: The North end of the Mizzy Lake trail and Arowhon Road have
produced almost daily sightings of this bird, including displaying males.
At this time of year, birds will display again likely due to the
spring-like temperature and day-length.

Gray Jay: It has been a difficult year for those looking for Gray Jays in
Algonquin. The pair at the Logging Museum were reported by staff most days
this week and two were heard at West Rose Lake on the Mizzy Lake trail on
the 10th.

Boreal Chickadee: This bird is now quite vocal again and it is relatively
straightforward to find at the north end of the Mizzy Lake Trail. Pishing
at the large warbler flock there at West Rose Lake on the 10th produced
arms-length looks at four birds, and two more were heard at Wolf Howl Pond.

Black-backed Woodpecker: One was seen at West Rose Lake at the north end of
Mizzy on the 8th and a bird was heard there on the 10th.

MAMMALS:
Moose are seen almost daily along the Highway. They are getting ready for
the rut and are looking especially sharp as they remove the "velvet" from
their antlers.

Birders reporting records through eBird can now share their lists with the
Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds). We encourage you
to do so.

Good Birding!
Lev Frid
Park Naturalist
Algonquin Provincial Park

DIRECTIONS:
Algonquin Provincial 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. Locations are also described at:
www. algonquinpark.on.ca

The Visitor Centre and restaurant at km 43 are open daily from 9 am
to 5 pm. The Visitor Centre has recent bird sightings
and information.

For more information see Algonquin Park events calendar at:
http://www.algonquinpark.on.ca/involved/calendar/
_______________________________________________
ONTBIRDS is presented by the Ontario Field Ornithologists - the provincial birding organization.
Send bird reports to birdalert@ontbirds.ca
For information about ONTBIRDS including how to unsubscribe visit http://www.ofo.ca/site/page/view/information.ontbirdssetup

 

 

Wigeons - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on September 12, 2013 at 12:23:55 PM by Barbara Taylor

Just got back from a quick walk around the Bracebridge Ponds. Four American Wigeon in cell 3 along with a few Mallards and Wood Ducks. Five Hooded Mergansers in cell 4 and three Green Herons along the south side. A Spotted Sandpiper and a Solitary Sandpiper were standing on the black liner of one the dumping ponds, but eventually flew over to the NE corner of cell 4. Water level still high in all cells. A Belted Kingfisher flew past, chattering as it went. Three Turkey Vultures flew up over the treatment plant as the skies began to clear and winds picked up from the west.

 

 

Re(2): Hummingbirds
Posted on September 21, 2013 at 09:06:19 AM by janice house

one at the feeder yesterday, then sat on the clothesline, Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst

 

 

Re(1): Hummingbirds
Posted on September 17, 2013 at 04:29:37 PM by janice house

one at the feeder at lunch today, Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst

 

 

Re(5): Hummingbirds
Posted on September 16, 2013 at 10:36:00 PM by MichaelHatton

Still seeing Hummingbirds today at Leonard Lake, the 16th.

 

 

Re(3): Hummingbirds
Posted on September 16, 2013 at 06:52:18 PM by J. Gardner

one hummer (perhaps two, they look so alike) at the feeder today. I tried singing a song in Spanish today to encourage a trip to Venezuela, but it didn't work. Perhaps tonight's projected temperature might encourage a departure. J. Gardner (Hurdville)

 

 

Re(3): Hummingbirds
Posted on September 16, 2013 at 03:20:53 PM by Doug Smith

also had a single female here this afternoon, in Uffington. Possibly the latest we have seen one in our yard.

 

 

Re(2): Hummingbirds
Posted on September 16, 2013 at 11:31:28 AM by janice house

a single female this morning at the feeder, Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst

 

 

Re(1): Hummingbirds
Posted on September 16, 2013 at 08:20:09 AM by Goodyear

We had a single female/juvenile this morning.  (Bracebridge)

 

 

Re(4): Hummingbirds
Posted on September 13, 2013 at 08:44:34 AM by michaelhatton

Hummingbirds still at Leonard Lake as of this morning.

 

 

Re(3): Hummingbirds
Posted on September 13, 2013 at 08:15:34 AM by Debbie Adams

One has appeared after a 2 day absence. Maybe it's a migrant, or maybe one of the regulars. Glad I left the feeder out. (Walker's Point)

 

 

Re(1): Hummingbirds
Posted on September 13, 2013 at 08:07:48 AM by jim griffin

Two at my feeder this morning in Port Sydney; big fight and chase, then there was one, or how can you tell.

 

 

Re(1): Hummingbirds
Posted on September 12, 2013 at 01:21:00 PM by Barbara Taylor

We saw two Ruby-throated Hummingbirds at the Bracebridge Ponds this morning.

 

 

Re(2): Hummingbirds
Posted on September 12, 2013 at 07:05:14 AM by J. Gardner

Four hummers appear to be using my remaining feeder at Hurdville. Still using over a cup of syrup each day. J. Gardner

 

 

Re(1): Hummingbirds
Posted on September 11, 2013 at 07:23:21 PM by dinnynimmo

We have one still around.Hurlings Point Bala

 

 

Hummingbirds
Posted on September 11, 2013 at 06:03:59 PM by Debbie Adams

Yesterday we saw Hummers at the feeder. Today, after keeping a close eye out for them, we haven't seen a single one. They must have left yesterday 9/10/13.
(Walker's Point)

 

 

Spring Peeper
Posted on September 10, 2013 at 11:45:06 PM by tedthevideoman

This and 2 other Peepers I rescued from my front yard while cutting the grass yesterday...kind of strange?  photo
Have 6 more images @ t-boneimages.blogspot.com

 

 

Volcano Mulch and Tree Planting
Posted on September 10, 2013 at 01:31:43 PM by Barbara Taylor

At the MFN meeting last week Peggy Peterson gave an interesting presentation about tree planting practices. She pointed out that many of our urban trees are being planted too deeply so that the root collar flare of the tree is underground. She also talked about the landscaping trend to pile mulch around the base of a tree too deeply..."volcano mulch" according to Peggy. I can't find her brochure online, but have included a few links about her efforts below my photos.

Here is a substitute for information about tree planting - Ohio DNR Division of Forestry Planting Trees Too Deeply:
http://ohiodnr.com/forestry/urban/features/treeplanting/tabid/5462/Default.aspx

Volcano Mulch (at the Rexall Pharma Plus, Hwy. 118W in Bracebridge) - photo1   photo2

 

 

Re(1): Mushroom - ID?
Posted on September 9, 2013 at 03:07:29 PM by Al Sinclair

Looks like Lepiota rubotincta - Red-tinged Parasol
An extra large one if it is 6 inches in diameter, normally 1 to 3 inches according to Barron.

 

 

Mushroom - ID?
Posted on September 9, 2013 at 01:44:36 PM by Barbara Taylor

We found two of these mushrooms along the trail east of Henry Marsh by "the dip". (Bracebridge)

The cap is about 6 inches in diameter and the stalk is about 8 inches tall. I didn't want to disturb them so I don't have a spore print and don't know what the underground base looks like. The closest match I could find is Parasol Mushroom (Macrolepiota procera), but the stem doesn't seem to have the "brown scales" as described in the following reference: http://mushroom-collecting.com/mushroomparasol.html

Any idea which species it might be?

photo1  photo2

free gills under the cap and ring on stem photo3

cap has raised brown "button" in middle photo4

stalk appears to have slug damage photo5

 

 

Re(2): Spot-winged Glider
Posted on September 10, 2013 at 05:54:14 PM by Peter Mills

Spot-winged Gliders are a very irregular migrant in Algonquin Park, where they show up sporadically in the latter summer. Both Gliders seem to use shallow, "simple" wetlands to breed in (sewage lagoons, rain pools, beach lagoons, etc). I have seen tenerals in Algonquin Park twice, once near a tarp that was filled with many pitted rain-filled pools, and the other at the sewage treatment lagoons.

Attached are some photos of a nice male from this summer.  photo1  photo2
Good find!

 

 

Re(1): Spot-winged Glider
Posted on September 9, 2013 at 03:23:18 PM by Al Sinclair

I believe it is a first for Muskoka. Great sighting and photos too. You should record all the details of the sighting, date, exact location, GPS.
We should start a list of dragonflies seen at the Bracebridge Ponds. Seems to be an Ode hotspot too.

 

 

Spot-winged Glider
Posted on September 8, 2013 at 07:43:26 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning we found a Spot-winged Glider which fortunately landed in the weeds just long enough for me to grab a couple shots. First one I've ever seen. (Bracebridge)

The Field Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Algonquin Provincial Park and the Surrounding Area says it is an irregular migrant here, but more common south of the Canadian Shield.
Has anyone else seen one of these around Muskoka?  photo1  photo2

 

 

Re(1): Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on September 8, 2013 at 02:32:00 PM by Goodyear

Forgot to add Blue-headed, Red-eyed, and Philadelphia Vireo. One of each seen in the woods west of cell 4.

 

 

Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on September 8, 2013 at 01:38:37 PM by Goodyear

This morning at the Ponds there was a little bit of warbler activity around 9:00. The birds were in the woods west of cell 4, out of the wind: Chestnut-sided, Black and White, Magnolia, Yellow-rumped. There were about 8 Palm Warblers along the fenceline on the east side of cell 2. Several flocks of Canada Geese flew overhead and about 50 put down in cell 1. A Broad-winged Hawk and a Sharp-shinned Hawk were taking advantage of the stiff winds, along with several Turkey Vultures. The Wigeon is still present in cell 3 with about 40 or so Wood Ducks and several Mallards.

 

 

Northern Map Turtles
Posted on September 7, 2013 at 07:05:03 PM by CliffRummenie

Yesterday at MacRae Lake, the Northern Map Turtles were basking in profusion. In the short paddle we took, I spotted 8 of them. It has been challenging dealing with the motion from the kayak while photographing, this is my best shot, though it could be sharper.  photo

 

 

Re(1): American Wigeon, Solitary Sandpiper - Lagoons
Posted on September 8, 2013 at 11:19:08 AM by George Bryant

Cool, windy, sunny 7- 8 a.m. tda = no insects or warblers.
The wigeon was still there-first duck I looked at--new for my all-time Muskoka list. Spotted Sandpiper only shorebird present. Equally quiet at Henry Marsh but both sites always lovely.

 

 

Re(1): American Wigeon, Solitary Sandpiper - Lagoons
Posted on September 7, 2013 at 12:52:51 PM by Goodyear

Wigeon still there this morning. Two Solitary Sandpipers, one Greater Yellowlegs, and two Spotted Sandpipers at the northeast corner of cell 4. Blackpoll Warbler west side of cell 2 in Sumacs. Small flock of warblers near the gate - Nashville, American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat, Black and White, Chestnut-sided, Black-throated Green.

 

 

American Wigeon, Solitary Sandpiper - Lagoons
Posted on September 7, 2013 at 08:10:43 AM by Goodyear

Yesterday evening about 7:00 there was a male American Wigeon in cell 3 and a single Solitary Sandpiper in the northeast corner of cell 4 on the floating mat of vegetation.

 

 

Re(1): Osprey
Posted on September 6, 2013 at 12:37:40 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning even though there were brisk SW winds, there were still hawks migrating south over the Bracebridge Ponds. Standing at the SW corner of cell 4 allowed a good view of the sky...had an Osprey, Red-tailed Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, and nine Turkey Vultures all soaring over between 10:30-11:00 a.m.

At least five Green Herons were around cell 4. They were very active, flying back and forth across the pond and up into the trees, then back down. Perhaps they were strengthening their wings for the flight south, or maybe just a bit nervous about the hawks streaming by. Two Green-winged Teal were in cell 3. Not many little birds around...only a couple Common Yellowthroats, a Gray Catbird, and Song Sparrows.

You can find several Hawkwatch reports posted on Ontbirds - here's a link to the recent posts: http://birding.aba.org/maillist/ON
Hawkcount.org has daily reports from various Hawkwatch Sites.

Holiday Beach Hawkwatch (Amherstburg, ON) recent counts: https://hawkcount.org/month_summary.php?rsite=100&go=Go+to+site

Hawk Cliff Hawkwatch (Port Stanley, ON) recent counts: https://hawkcount.org/month_summary.php?rsite=392&go=Go+to+site

 

 

Northern Harrier
Posted on September 5, 2013 at 01:58:29 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds near the NW corner of cell 4 there were two Black-throated Blue Warblers (M & F), a Magnolia, Nashvilles, American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat, Warbling Vireos, Gray Catbird, and a Ruby-throated Hummingbird. A juvenile Red-tailed Hawk was playfully chasing four Turkey Vultures as they all tried to gain altitude west of cell 4. The Least Sandpiper was still in the NE corner of cell 4. Five Hooded Mergansers, three Green Herons, and a Spotted Sandpiper were also at cell 4. There were only a few Wood Ducks and Mallards in the other cells.

As we were leaving we were treated to a juvenile Northern Harrier flying low along the weedy edges of the three main cells.

 

 

Deer alert
Posted on September 4, 2013 at 04:18:48 PM by Barbara Taylor

Anyone driving along Glendale Rd. just south of Kevin Cres. in Bracebridge should be extra alert for deer over the next few weeks. There is a heavy crop of apples starting to fall to the ground at the west side of the street. Yesterday afternoon there were two bucks checking out the apple bonanza - one looked like the neighbourhood "ten pointer". Today around lunchtime a car had a near miss when a doe and fawn unexpectedly ran across the road after munching on the apples.

 

 

Green Heron Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on September 4, 2013 at 01:00:04 PM by michaelhatton

Beside cell four, Bracebridge ponds.  photo

 

 

Re(1): Hummingbirds still sticking around
Posted on September 4, 2013 at 04:47:57 PM by J. Gardner

With great relief I report that we are down to roughly 10 juvenile hummers coming to the feeder still. This means that I have to fill the remaining feeder only twice a day. It was insanity for a while with something around 30 using two feeders. I still wonder at the amount of syrup that these tiny creatures can put away in one day. J. Gardner Hurdville

 

 

Hummingbirds still sticking around
Posted on September 4, 2013 at 12:32:53 PM by michaelhatton

Even in today's fairly heavy rain, there are still at least 10 RTHs hanging tough on the west side of Leonard Lake.  photo

 

 

Wild Turkeys
Posted on September 4, 2013 at 11:36:10 AM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds we came upon a flock of about 20 Wild Turkeys (mostly young birds) feeding in the weeds along the north side of cell 4. In cell 4 there were five Hooded Mergansers, a Spotted Sandpiper, and a single Least Sandpiper in the NE corner. Two Green Herons were at the west side of cell 4. Many Blue Jays were streaming southward. West of cell 2 there were American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat, and Red-eyed Vireos.

 

 

Re(2): Imperial Moth Caterpillar
Posted on September 7, 2013 at 07:29:59 AM by janice house

Early yesterday morning I found one alive in the middle of the road. I placed it on the side of the road in some grass, with the low temperature it seemed to be moving in slow motion.

 

 

Re(2): Imperial Moth Caterpillar
Posted on September 6, 2013 at 02:08:46 PM by Barbara Taylor

In the Sept/Oct Wakerobin (MFN Newsletter) there is an article about Imperial Moth Caterpillars with a reference to the first of these "huge caterpillars" that Janice found in 2005. I still have the photos I took back then, so here is a re-post:  photo1  photo2  photo3  (these caterpillars get pretty big...that's my thumb in the first shot)

 

Thanks again to Al Sinclair and Bob Bowles for the help identifying this beast. It was the first time I'd ever seen one.

You can find the thread entitled "Huge caterpillar - ID?" posted on August 11, 2005 in the 2005-Q3 Bird Board Archived Reports.

 

 

Re(1): Imperial Moth Caterpillar
Posted on September 5, 2013 at 01:36:18 PM by janice house

Yesterday I found another, killed by a car.

 

 

Imperial Moth Caterpillar
Posted on September 3, 2013 at 07:35:32 PM by janice house

Yesterday I found two caterpillars, unfortunately both were killed trying to cross the road. Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst.

 

 

Muskoka Field Naturalists - next meeting Sept. 5
Posted on September 3, 2013 at 11:53:10 AM by Barbara Taylor

MFN meeting Thursday, September 5, at 7:30 p.m., in Bracebridge

Tree Planting Practices: Problems & Remedies to Save our Trees by Peggy Peterson
Peggy’s work is focused on urban trees and landscape planting practices.
She has more than 20 years of experience as a professional organic gardener and gardening educator.
For example, "Trees Buried Too Deeply by Mulch and Soil"; "Trees Planted in the Wrong Location".

Autumn Meetings will resume in September at the Latter Day Saints Church located in Bracebridge at the corner of Taylor Rd. and Cedar Lane (at the traffic circle). Entrance to church is on Cedar Lane south. Meeting time remains 7:30 p.m. Visitors welcome to attend.

source: Muskoka Field Naturalists newsletter, the Wakerobin
MFN website: www.muskokafieldnaturalists.com

 

 

Cardinal fledglings and Warblers
Posted on September 2, 2013 at 04:03:38 PM by Barbara Taylor

The resident male Cardinal brought two fledglings to our back yard this afternoon. I haven't seen the female so she might be tending to another fledgling elsewhere. Two young Blue Jays are hanging around today as well - one is having fun pretending to be a Red-shouldered Hawk and is getting pretty good at imitating its call.

We've been getting a nice selection of warblers feeding in our birch trees over the past few days, but only a few at a time. So far today I've only seen a Black-and-white and a Chestnut-sided. Yesterday there were three Tennessees, a Nashville, and a few Yellow-rumped. On Friday there was a Bay-breasted, a Wilson's, and an Ovenbird. Kind of nice when the birds come to you, especially on the hot humid days...lazy birding. (Bracebridge)

 

 

16 Warbler species at Magnetawan on September 1st
Posted on September 2, 2013 at 03:52:22 PM by Alex Mills

One of the delights at this time of year is the mixed flocks of little birds, mostly warblers, that respond so well to spishing. Yesterday, at Magnetawan, I was delighted to see so many, including Cape May, Bay-breasted, Tennessee, Parula, Wilson's, and others, as well as a Philadelphia Vireo.

 

Snapping Turtles/Warblers
Posted on September 1, 2013 at 12:23:30 PM by janice house

The baby turtles are digging themselves out right now, I managed to save one early this morning but at least 2 dozen others were hit by cars. I saw a female American redstart, Nashville and a bay-breasted warbler in the white birch in our back yard this morning, Saturday morning a female scarlet tanager visited for a few minutes. Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst

 

 

Re(1): Spider Bites!?
Posted on September 3, 2013 at 11:45:20 AM by Al Sinclair

I picked up on that CBC media report also, spider bites?? Really?? Thanks to dumb media reports like that and hyped reports of bear and "wolf" sightings people are getting paranoid about going for a walk in the woods.
Spiders don't bite people, they bite other insects. Only when their life is threatened would they even try to bite a person. Personally I have never had a spider bite. I know one person who had a painful bite from a Bold Jumping spider he disturbed. I have seen a Northern Black Widow near here, the only spider in Ontario considered to be poisonous to humans, but it was very docile.
I suppose the two lost in the woods had bites but they were all made by mosquitoes, deer flies, or horseflies.

 

 

Re(1): Spider Bites!?
Posted on September 2, 2013 at 04:14:12 PM by Barbara Taylor

I've had a couple ant bites, and a sweat bee stung me once, but so far haven't noticed any spider bites. And thank goodness the deer flies are gone!

 

 

Re(1): Spider Bites!?
Posted on August 29, 2013 at 09:12:10 PM by dinnymccraney

People I have spoken to say it is a "good" year for spiders. There are lots of small black ones around.We've had numerous bites that have a distinctive red dot in the middle, particularly on my grandchildren.Even though we don't live near the water, I have seen 2 fishing or dock spiders this summer, one in the house! I think it hitched a ride inside on the dog. The other was on my compost bin after I had dug in it.

 

 

Spider Bites!?
Posted on August 29, 2013 at 07:18:01 PM by jim griffin

This is more of an open question than a sighting, but I have observed this summer more comment about spider bites than I have ever noted before. I know some spiders bite, but these references parallel them with mosquito bites in terms of frequency and severity. Several acquaintances from southern Ontario have referred to them almost more commonly than mosquito bites. Have I missed something here or is this just another urban/suburban reason to stay home and play computer games? The latest I heard was a media report on the two girls who got lost in Bon Echo PP, they were fine "except for numerous mosquito and spider bites" Any arachnoid defenders out there?

 

 

Red Eyed Vireo
Posted on August 29, 2013 at 04:46:59 PM by tedthevideoman

Had a pair of immature Red Eyes in the backyard about 20 minutes ago...12 meadow heights dr. BB

 

 

Re(2): Wilson's Warblers - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on August 30, 2013 at 02:03:11 PM by Barbara Taylor

The water level is still quite high in all cells, so not much suitable shoreline available for the migrating shorebirds this year. I've seen some Yellowlegs circling a couple times, but then they continued on to the south. A Solitary Sandpiper was in the NE corner of cell 4 this morning.

A very feisty Merlin was on the hunt early this morning so most of the small birds went into hiding. The Merlin even dive-bombed a Crow flying by, and then swooped down on three Green Herons, causing quite a ruckus. I did finally find one Wilson's Warbler at the edge of the woods west of cell 2.

 

 

Re(1): Wilson's Warblers - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on August 29, 2013 at 12:43:12 PM by coreyhkh

Are there any shorebirds around this year?

 

 

Re(1): Wilson's Warblers - still around
Posted on August 29, 2013 at 11:51:01 AM by Barbara Taylor

Not as many warblers this morning but found three Wilson's and added a Magnolia. One Wilson's was at the north side of cell 4 and popped out of a bush while we were trying to see a Gray Catbird. The other two Wilson's were in a birch tree at the south side of cell 4.

 

 

Wilson's Warblers - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on August 28, 2013 at 10:32:22 AM by Barbara Taylor

Just got back from a great morning at the Bracebridge Ponds. Between 8:30-9:30 a.m. there was a nice bunch of Warblers spread out in the shrubbery by the NW corner of cell 4 and over to the pipeline. There were two Wilson's Warblers, as well as Northern Parula, American Redstart, Chestnut-sided, Black-throated Green, Yellow-rumped, Pine, Nashville, and Common Yellowthroat. Also Blue-headed, Red-eyed, and Warbling Vireos there. A Black-billed Cuckoo was poking around a webworm nest in the same area. An Eastern Wood-Pewee and a Gray Catbird were calling nearby, and a Brown Creeper was singing its spring song. Many Cedar Waxwings were hawking insects west of cell 4. For some reason there were several woodpeckers congregated in the dead trees NW of cell 4 - Hairy, Downy, Pileated, Northern Flicker, and a juvenile Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. An Osprey circled over cell 4 a few times before heading off to the south. The three young Otters in cell 4 seemed to be on their own now with no adult supervision. There were about 28 Wood Ducks and one Mallard in cell 3. Six Green Herons were around cell 4.

 

 

Re(1): question about goldfinches
Posted on August 27, 2013 at 10:47:29 AM by Barbara Taylor

They like to nibble on the Swiss Chard too! Lots of vitamins and minerals in those greens. Goldfinches tend to be more vegetarian than many songbirds, so seeds, buds, and vegies, not so much insects. It is thought that their diet might explain why young cowbirds usually don't survive in a goldfinch nest.

Salad Birds: http://www.wqed.org/birdblog/2011/07/15/salad-birds/
Failure of Brown-Headed Cowbird Parasitism in Nests of the American Goldfinch - abstract: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/4513627?uid=2&uid=4&sid=21102587234787

 

 

question about goldfinches
Posted on August 25, 2013 at 09:14:49 PM by dinnymccraney

Can anyone tell me why the goldfinches are eating my beet greens? There are no bugs, they are literally chomping the leaves and eating them.

 

 

Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst
Posted on August 25, 2013 at 10:08:15 AM by janice house

Friday night a female scarlet tanager was in the cedar hedge above the feeders. Saturday morning at the beginning of the Tomingas Rd, cedar waxwings, rose-breasted grosbeak, pair of scarlet tanagers, red-eyed vireos, hairy & down woodpeckers, American robins, black-capped chickadees, eastern bluebird calling. There are several ash trees loaded with berries (I assume ash trees)where the birds are feeding. At 7pm two common nighthawks flew over the house. Sunday morning at the Tomingas Rd, common raven, cedar waxwings, red-breast nuthatch, northern flicker, gray catbird, American redstart, common yellow throat, chestnut-sided warbler, black-capped chickadees, red-eyed vireos, alder flycatcher, American robin, American goldfinch, Baltimore Oriole calling

 

 

Chipmunk Babies
Posted on August 24, 2013 at 01:49:33 PM by CarolWagg

Four baby chipmunks popped up (literally) in the back yard this morning. We saw four in addition to Mom, but by the time I got the gear out and the remote shutter directions figured out, the best I could do was catch three of them. Thanks to MissyInMuskoka for her tutelage, this photo was not taken on auto settings.   (Doe Lake Rd., Gravenhurst)   photo

 

 

Bracebridge Ponds - Cape May Warbler
Posted on August 24, 2013 at 01:21:50 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a large mixed flock of warblers in the strip of woods west of cell 3. The highlights were a Cape May and a Canada Warbler. There were also several Yellow-rumped, Black-and-white, Nashville, Black-throated Green, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Chestnut-sided, and Yellow Warblers. Also a few Red-eyed, and Blue-headed Vireos. Gray Catbird, Warbling Vireo, Eastern Phoebes, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Purple Finches, Indigo Bunting, American Goldfinches, and Cedar Waxwings were west of cell 4. A Merlin put an end to the warbler watching as all the birds went into hiding. A Red-shouldered Hawk was calling loudly from the ridge to the south-west of cell 4. Several Green Herons were around cell 4. Ten Canada Geese, and a few Wood Ducks and Mallards were in cell 3. Five Hooded Mergansers were in cell 4. Along the Trans Canada Trail just west of the pipeline there was a small flock of Golden-crowned Kinglets.

 

 

Great Gray Owl, Northern Shoveler, Blue-winged Teal, Lake Travers, Algonquin Park
Posted on August 24, 2013 at 12:43:12 PM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Jeff Skevington on ONTBIRDS (Aug. 23, 2013) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Hi Ontbirders,
My Dad, son and I birded Lake Travers in Algonquin Park today hoping to
capitalize on the forecast storm. The rain fizzled out so it was not
superb, but we did find a few good birds. Highlights were a juvenile Great
Gray Owl begging for food at km 66.6 of the Sand Lake Road (where the small
power line crosses the road), 2 Northern Shovelers at the marsh at the
South end of Lake Travers (rare in the park) and 5 Blue-winged Teal at the
same location (also rare in the park). 3 Red Crossbills seen over the
rapids by the Lake Travers boat launch may also be of interest to some
birders.

Our complete checklist for the day along with photos of the more
interesting species is at:
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S14988770

Good birding,
Jeff

 

 

Bluebirds
Posted on August 23, 2013 at 02:59:10 PM by janice house

There were 10 bluebirds sitting on the hydro wires by the house last night, Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst

 

 

American Bitterns
Posted on August 22, 2013 at 09:13:41 PM by Barbara Taylor

Tonight at Henry Marsh there were two American Bitterns, a Green Heron, a Belted Kingfisher, and a few Wood Ducks. No bears (warning sign is still up at the Henry Rd. trailhead).
Don Bailey reports there was an American Bittern this morning at the Bracebridge Ponds near the entrance to the treatment plant, as well as two Green Herons and a Merlin in the area.

Directions to Bracebridge Ponds/Henry Marsh: see my Area trails map (click on trail sections and markers for info/photos; click Map or Satellite button at upper right to switch views)

 

 

Fritillaries
Posted on August 22, 2013 at 04:31:50 PM by Barbara Taylor

I was attempting to get a nice close-up shot of a Great Spangled Fritillary in our garden this afternoon, but a second one kept trying to bust up the photo op. (Bracebridge)

photo1  photo2  photo3

 

 

Not so melancholy?
Posted on August 22, 2013 at 09:01:56 AM by Alex Mills

Although it is a melancholic reminder that summer's end draws near, isn't it heartening to see numbers of a threatened species!? I think I saw more in 2013 than in recent years, so I am glad to hear you are seeing numbers of these unique birds too.

 

 

Nighthawks in numbers
Posted on August 21, 2013 at 08:51:02 PM by John Challis

It's a melancholy sight. Last night and tonight we have seen groups of nighthawks zigzagging and feeding their way gradually southward. They'll disappear over the treetops south of us, then five minutes later come charging back as though they'd decided dessert was still back here. But in the balance their headway is southward bound.
There must be good clusters of flying insects over our house because several have hovered and darted about well above the trees around our place. (Washago)

 

 

American Redstart
Posted on August 20, 2013 at 05:35:22 PM by ksmith

Heard the male American Redstart on July 12, 2013, have not heard it since, Hood Road, Port Sydney.

 

 

Allium cernuum in Muskoka
Posted on August 20, 2013 at 03:57:06 PM by michaelhatton

Nice year for Nodding Wild Onion showing itself in the sunny area near the septic.  photo

 

 

August Sightings
Posted on August 19, 2013 at 08:26:40 PM by George Bryant

Last night, while we watched the 9:01 Space Shuttle zip by, we noted a Big Brown Bat against the sunset. First bat I’ve seen this year.

Apparently Ontario populations of Little Brown (and the other small bat species?) are down 95% because of White Nose syndrome.

We also heard a Whip-poor-will singing for about a minute, one of the very few times I’ve heard them in August.

At my porch light, a White underwing moth, the most striking but not colourful August moth.

An adult Osprey graced my cottage bay for an hour on August 17. Occasionally they pass through here during migration but the closest nest is probably 25 kms from here. Nearest would be Georgian Bay, Parry Sound, Lewisham, Lake Couchiching. Possibly the pair I saw this spring at Hwy. 11, Severn Bridge set up nesting?

I’ve seen four Io moth caterpillars in the past two weeks—green with branched spines. For the first time I touched the spines with the back of my hand=a mild sting. Io moth larva spines are “urticating”—nettle-like.

Now in mid-August, my Virginia Meadow-Beauty is showing well along the beach. For twenty years’, I’ve pruned around it creating a nice patch of Muskoka’s signature wildflower.

The Perseid meteor shower entertained us August 12. Keep watching dark skies—apparently Northern Lights are peaking this fall.

George Bryant, Pine Lake, Gravenhurst

 

 

Re(1): Milkweed Tussock Moth
Posted on August 21, 2013 at 08:47:26 PM by John Challis

We have had small armies of the tussock caterpillars launching assaults on our milkweeds. It's almost like they know the competition's missing this year, so they are going wild.

 

 

Milkweed Tussock Moth
Posted on August 19, 2013 at 09:58:51 AM by Jim Griffin

I have not seen a Monarch Butterfly in Port Sydney this year and keep examining milkweed plants in my yard and around the village only to find lots of Milkweed Tussock Moth caterpillars eating up a storm. They are the little black, yellow and white tufted ones, easy to find on google.

 

 

Monarch Butterfly
Posted on August 18, 2013 at 03:17:29 PM by Debbie Adams

One of our "pet" Monarchs came out it's chrysalis today and after drying it's wings, took flight much to the delight of my grandkids ... and me too. (Walker's Point)

 

 

Re(1): Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on August 18, 2013 at 11:52:54 AM by Barbara Taylor

Not as many warblers around this morning, but there were six Hooded Mergansers in cell 4, and four Green Herons in the area.
Hooded Mergansers: photo

 

 

Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on August 17, 2013 at 04:58:59 PM by Barbara Taylor

Late this morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a nice mixed flock of warblers and vireos feeding in the strip of woods west of cell 3 where there are several fall webworms. Species included Yellow-rumped, Chestnut-sided, American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat, Black-and-white, Nashville, and Yellow Warblers, as well as Red-eyed, Philadelphia, and Blue-headed Vireos. There were two Eastern Wood-Pewees calling in the same area, a Gray Catbird was mewing in the bushes, and a Ruby-throated Hummingbird zipped by. It was impossible to get a good count of the many Cedar Waxwings as they flew about catching insects and feeding on cherries...at least forty of them, many juveniles. A family of Indigo Buntings was near the SE corner of cell 4. Five Tree Swallows were hawking insects west of cell 4.

An American Bittern flew up from the north side of cell 4 as I walked by. Two Green Herons (adult and a juvenile) were near the SW corner of cell 4 and another was at the south edge of cell 2. A Great Blue Heron flew overhead towards the west. A Spotted Sandpiper flew along the south side of cell 4, and finally found a small mound to land on - water level still high in all cells. A Blue-winged Teal was in cell 3 along with twenty Canada Geese, five Wood Ducks, and three Mallards. A Broad-winged Hawk called a few times from the woods behind the treatment plant as I was leaving.

 

 

Re(4): Bear warning on the news
Posted on August 21, 2013 at 08:56:14 PM by John Challis

Reminds me of the time we were at a hot springs north of Tofino. As the boat dropped us off, others coming out of the bush warned us of "cougar sign." I was eager to find the claw marks or paw prints it had left behind. Instead, a large yellow highway-style diamond with the black silhouette of a cougar. Oh, THAT kind of sign.

 

 

Re(3): Bear warning on the news
Posted on August 15, 2013 at 04:57:52 PM by Leslie

I hiked behind Meadow Heights in Bracebridge this morning - the bit along Beaver Creek not far from the Covered Bridge subdivision -- and saw a fair bit of bear scat there, probably from yesterday. No furry folk around today, though.

 

 

Re(2): Bear warning on the news
Posted on August 15, 2013 at 01:16:09 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning we walked the trail east of the marsh over to the Bracebridge Ponds. No bears. A Green Heron flew up from the beaver dam just east of the dip. A juvenile Broad-winged Hawk was perched in a dead tree SE of cell 4 and then flew low along the edge of the woods. A Green Heron was at the SW corner of cell 4. Two Common Ravens were doing rolls and flips in the sky - quite a show. Gray Catbirds were calling from the shrubbery west of cell 4. Other than a few Song Sparrows, Cedar Waxwings, Black-capped Chickadees, and a Common Yellowthroat, it was very quiet along the way.

We had the trail to ourselves this morning. Maybe this sign scared people away...seems a bit over the top.
Trailhead at Henry Rd. sign: photo

 

 

Re(1): Bear warning on the news
Posted on August 15, 2013 at 09:54:41 AM by coreyhkh

Prob the same family group I saw a few weeks back.

 

 

Bear warning on the news
Posted on August 15, 2013 at 08:46:16 AM by Barbara Taylor

A bear warning was issued on the CTV Barrie newscast yesterday and also on Moose FM radio. The areas mentioned are great habitat for bears - many oak trees dropping their acorns, beechnuts, and ripe raspberries and blackberries along the trails. So just keep alert. Black Bears (or their footprints) are often seen around there, even a Moose if you're lucky.

excerpt from http://www.moosefm.com/cfbg/news:
"A bear has been sighted in a marsh area near a pair of well used trails in Bracebridge. Town officials say the sightings occurred at Henry Marsh, near Strawberry Point Trail and the TransCanada Trail. Bear sighting signs have since been posted at the trail entrances at Stephens Bay Road, Henry Road and Kerr Park."

 

 

Re(3): 1st Monarch Baysville
Posted on August 14, 2013 at 08:54:42 PM by Debbie Adams

I've got 2 Monarchs incubating in their chrysalis on our deck. The chrysalis are becoming dark and my guess is they'll come out early next week.
(Walker's Point)

 

Re(2): 1st Monarch Baysville
Posted on August 14, 2013 at 06:59:20 PM by Barbara Taylor

I've seen a fair number of Viceroys this summer. Could that be the "smaller Monarchs" some people have been seeing?

Here's a link for anyone not sure how to tell the difference:
http://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/monarch/Viceroy1.html

And here are a couple more links for anyone who wants to know more about Monarchs...
How to tell the difference between male and female butterflies: http://www.learner.org/jnorth/search/MonarchNotes1.html
How to tell which stage a Monarch caterpillar is at (there are 5 instars): http://www.mlmp.org/Resources/LarvalFieldGuide/

 

 

Re(1): 1st Monarch Baysville
Posted on August 14, 2013 at 06:31:20 PM by dinnynimmo

Today,while traveling west on Muskoka 38,I had to swerve to miss a Monarch flying above the road.It looked like a normal sized adult compared to the smaller ones some people have been seeing. This was only our 2nd sighting this summer.

 

 

1st Monarch Baysville
Posted on August 14, 2013 at 02:28:07 PM by Al Sinclair

Ernie Giles reports seeing his 1st Monarch this year, a female, recently emerged, on Aug 13 at the Baysville dam.
Our 1st Monarch here, 8km E of Bracebridge, was seen on Aug 8, fresh condition, sex unknown.

 

 

Monarch Caterpillar
Posted on August 13, 2013 at 04:36:54 PM by janice house

Sunday evening while removing small milkweed plants that have been popping up in the lawn I almost threw a small caterpillar away. He has been safely moved to a bigger plant in one of the gardens. (Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst)

 

 

Caspian Terns
Posted on August 13, 2013 at 01:29:55 PM by Goodyear

This morning there were two Caspian Terns, one adult and one juvenile, "fishing" just out from Boyer's Beach.

 

 

Eyebright
Posted on August 12, 2013 at 06:57:04 PM by Barbara Taylor

There is a small patch of Eyebright (Euphrasia sp.) in bloom along the roadway west of cell 4 at the Bracebridge Ponds. I've never noticed it there before this summer. The flowers are very tiny and the plants sort of get lost amongst the other weeds. Apparently Euphrasia was used by herbalists as a treatment for certain eye ailments, and that's how the plant got its common name "Eyebright". There are several species of Euphrasia...don't know if this might be a native or an introduced European variety.  photo1  photo2  photo3

 

 

Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on August 12, 2013 at 05:01:01 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a Green Heron in the small pond just inside the black fence by the entrance to the treatment plant. At the west side of cell 4 there were several Eastern Tailed-Blue butterflies as well as a few Viceroys, a Monarch, a White Admiral, and Cabbage Whites. Many teneral Common Green Darner dragonflies flew up from the grass as we walked along the north side of cell 4. There were also a few Bluets, Twelve-spotted Skimmers, Common Whitetails, Widow Skimmer, and some little red Meadowhawks (probably White-faced).

At the south side of cell 4 there was a family of Indigo Buntings. At the north side of cell 4 there was a little mixed flock of Warblers, mostly Yellow and Yellow-rumped, along with Chestnut-sided, Black-and-white, and Common Yellowthroat. A few American Goldfinch were seen atop the thistles that had already gone to seed. Two families of Cedar Waxwings were hawking insects in the area. Only a few Mallards, Wood Ducks, and Canada Geese in cell 3.

Don and Bev Bailey reported seeing a few Barn Swallows over cell 4 yesterday, but we didn't see any today.

 

 

Night Hawks coming?
Posted on August 12, 2013 at 08:43:19 AM by Jim Griffin

My son Trevor reports lots of Night Hawks over his place in Lively, ON ( western side of Greater Sudbury).He has been seeing them regularly through August.

 

 

wild turkeys and poults
Posted on August 10, 2013 at 08:58:09 PM by dinnymccraney

Early this afternoon,on the south side of South Monck Dr.(Bracebridge), we saw a large flock of wild turkeys and realized the tall grass in the field was sheltering many poults. From a distance, they looked like brown bunnies moving around in the grass.

 

 

Bull Frog in garden pond
Posted on August 10, 2013 at 08:33:40 PM by DBurton

A Bull frog has been visiting my 6 by 3 foot garden pond since Monday. It seems like a tiny spot for such a big frog but it seems as happy as a..... toad?

 

 

Fall migrant Warblers
Posted on August 10, 2013 at 08:29:56 PM by DBurton

There was a flock of fall warbler migrants in my yard today. Yellow Warblers and Blackburnians were the most abundant (several of each); 1 Nashville, 1 Chestnut-sided, the latter in fall plumage. They obviously don't know about the Merlins. (Gravenhurst)

 

 

Re(3): Spider ID
Posted on August 15, 2013 at 07:07:36 AM by missyinmuskoka

Thank you both. I will try posting on bugguide Al.

 

 

Re(2): Spider ID
Posted on August 14, 2013 at 03:41:03 PM by Al Sinclair

I looked also with no luck. Agree it's an orb weaver. You could try posting the photo on bugguide. Many experts would see it there.
bugguide

 

 

Re(1): Spider ID
Posted on August 13, 2013 at 03:39:38 PM by Barbara Taylor

Your spider looks so distinctive I thought it should be relatively easy to find, but I haven't found anything that matches except for one posted to bugguide.net and they couldn't figure out the ID either! It looks to be one of the Orb Weaver spiders (family Araneidae), but that's a big group. Think I'll stick to birds. ;)

Here's a link showing the eye patterns which can help narrow down the ID as to family:
http://www.spiders.us/articles/identification/#identifying-spider-family

 

 

Spider ID
Posted on August 10, 2013 at 12:41:06 PM by missyinmuskoka

Hello all
I am hoping these two images will be enough to help identify the spider. If you can help me I would really appreciate it.  photo1  photo2

 

 

Common Wood-Nymph
Posted on August 8, 2013 at 07:35:28 PM by Barbara Taylor

This Common Wood-Nymph visited our garden today. (Bracebridge)  photo1  photo2

(the butterfly would only flick its wings open briefly when a wasp got too close, so difficult to capture this view...best I could do)

reference: http://www.cbif.gc.ca/spp_pages/butterflies/species/CommonWood-Nymph_e.php

 

 

Re(5): Male Hummingbirds
Posted on August 20, 2013 at 05:23:34 PM by ksmith

Still had males at the feeder in Port Sydney on Aug 17,18

 

 

Re(4): Male Hummingbirds
Posted on August 11, 2013 at 05:36:43 PM by catmaclean

Still seeing males today at our feeder in Huntsville

 

 

Re(1): Male Hummingbirds
Posted on August 7, 2013 at 02:06:48 PM by J. Gardner

Have to add my two cents here. We have, as near as I can see, 8 males hummingbirds coming. I have two feeders that I fill twice a day... on a light day. A minimum of two cups of white sugar and 8 cups of water. How such tiny bodies can hold so much fluid is beyond me. But, it won't be long before the males will start to pull out, so I will enjoy them while they are here. June Gardner (Hurdville)

 

 

Re(3): Male Hummingbirds
Posted on August 7, 2013 at 11:33:09 AM by Wilf Yusek

Have at least 4 males here, Prospect Lake.

 

 

Re(2): Male Hummingbirds
Posted on August 6, 2013 at 10:09:25 PM by Debbie Adams

Males here too....Walker's Point

 

 

Re(1): Male Hummingbirds
Posted on August 6, 2013 at 09:34:37 PM by Carol Wagg

We still had at least one male here today at Doe Lake.

 

 

Re(1): Male Hummingbirds
Posted on August 6, 2013 at 08:35:39 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I still have males around today.

 

 

Male Hummingbirds
Posted on August 6, 2013 at 06:19:04 PM by dinnynimmo

We haven't seen any male hummingbirds today and maybe for a couple of days. Do you think they have left?

 

 

Ringneck snake
Posted on August 6, 2013 at 03:35:37 PM by janice house

I found a little snake this morning, I got a pretty good photo, not sure if he was d.o.r. or just soaking up the heat from the asphalt. Laycox/Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst

 

 

Re(5): Cardinal Flower in Parry Sound District
Posted on August 10, 2013 at 09:02:07 PM by dinnymccraney

Cardinal Flowers are a perennial wildflower of the lobelia family and rely on hummingbirds for pollination.

 

 

Re(1): Cardinal Flower
Posted on August 7, 2013 at 08:47:57 PM by AKStinnissen

I also have Cardinal Flower blooming in my waterfall garden in north Orillia. I purchased 2 plants 3 years ago from the Wildflower Farm on Hwy 12 and now I have 14. The Hummingbirds love them.

 

 

Re(1): Cardinal Flower
Posted on August 7, 2013 at 03:34:43 PM by John Challis

Down at the foot of Muskoka Falls (Hanna Chute to those with long memories), there has usually been a scattering of cardinal flowers, on the north shore. To get there, park on Morrow Drive on the east side of Highway 11, and walk down the access road to the Hydro plant at the bottom of the falls.
We've also seen them upstream of High Falls, along the shore on the trails at the MNR Resource Management Centre.
They certainly do present a sensuous burst of colour when they're in bloom.

 

 

Re(4): Cardinal Flower in Parry Sound District
Posted on August 7, 2013 at 09:25:37 AM by Alex Mills

This flower is widespread in Parry Sound District along rivers--from small to large, rocky or muddy, so long as there is considerable sun. It is a classic August bloomer.

 

 

Re(3): Cardinal Flower
Posted on August 6, 2013 at 10:12:43 PM by Debbie Adams

I see this plant every summer growing in a swampy area on Walker's Point. I never knew it was called a Cardinal flower until reading this post!

 

 

Re(2): Cardinal Flower
Posted on August 6, 2013 at 06:22:54 PM by dinnynimmo

We used to see it on the shores of the Moon River. We also tried to transplant it but it didn't survive. We were so sorry that we had moved it as we don't see it around here now.

 

 

Re(1): Cardinal Flower
Posted on August 6, 2013 at 03:44:02 PM by George Bryant

This gorgeous plant loves mucky black swamps so it is abundant along the Black River in southern Muskoka and Simcoe County in mid-August. Also some of the lakeshores in s. Muskoka-Morrison, Nine-Mile, etc.
I don't recall seeing it north of here
Coincidentally on August 02, I found two plants on a muddy seep on my property (Pine Lake, Gravenhurst)--#282 species on my all-time property plant list.
Fifteen years' ago, I transplanted a clump from Black River here. Like all transplants, this failed--until Sunday. Seed beds can persist a long time waiting the right conditions.

 

 

Re(1): Cardinal Flower
Posted on August 6, 2013 at 03:38:23 PM by janice house

I saw some about 10 years ago at Ragged Rapids in Bala. We walked down the path to the water west of the parking lot where we meet for the butterfly count.

 

 

Cardinal Flower
Posted on August 6, 2013 at 02:24:37 PM by Barbara Taylor

We noticed this plant yesterday while walking along the Wilson's Falls trail in Bracebridge, not far from the dam/catwalk over the Muskoka River. It seemed rather out of place stuck amongst a bunch of rocks along the river...perhaps the spring floods brought it there. This is the first time we've noticed this native plant in the area - how common is it in Muskoka?  photo

 

 

Re(2): Prairie Warbler - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on August 7, 2013 at 01:31:48 PM by Goodyear

I haven't come across any record yet. There are very few "inland" records, most sightings having occurred very close to the Georgian Bay shore. There is a record from Gravenhurst back in the 1950's.

 

 

Re(1): Prairie Warbler - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on August 6, 2013 at 05:08:58 PM by Al Sinclair

I think a new species for the Bracebridge Ponds list. Does anyone recall other sightings?

 

 

Prairie Warbler - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on August 6, 2013 at 01:09:33 PM by Barbara Taylor

A first for me at the Bracebridge Ponds this morning and totally unexpected there...a Prairie Warbler. It was moving westward though the small trees/bushes at the south side of cell 4, along with several other Warblers and a few Chickadees. It bobbed its tail a few times and I was able to get great looks since it stayed close to the roadway as it slowly moved along, feeding as it went. Other Warblers seen in that area included Chestnut-sided, Yellow, Common Yellowthroat, Black-and-white, American Redstart, Black-throated Green, Canada, and Yellow-rumped. The mixed flock eventually flew across the pipeline/snowmobile trail to the woods SW of cell 4.

Six Chimney Swifts and several Cedar Waxwings were hawking insects above the open gravel area north of cell 4. Two Green Herons were perched in the dead tamaracks at the west side of cell 4 and Gray Catbirds were mewing in the shrubbery below. An American Black Duck was in cell 4.

 

 

Re(1): Giants, need ID
Posted on August 6, 2013 at 10:59:04 AM by janice house

Yes, imperial moth caterpillar, I found another one this morning on my doggy walk and went home for my camera. I got a nice video of the caterpillar slogging through grass and disappearing. Laycox Rd/Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst

 

 

imperial moth larva
Posted on August 5, 2013 at 03:43:32 PM by George Bryant

This has been a huge year for Imperial Moths in Muskoka. I had 25-30 at my porch moth light in June and early July with a max. of six on June 25. The larva seem to come in every colour. It is hard to determine head from rear-they look identical.

 

 

Giants, need ID
Posted on August 5, 2013 at 11:16:13 AM by John Challis

There were two or three massive caterpillars on Green River Drive this weekend -- I'm guessing Imperial moths -- unfortunately one of them had been crushed by a passing vehicle. Can someone confirm my guess about this beauty?  photo

And we were surprised to see so many of these massive millipedes on the North Simcoe Rail Trail near Fort Willow. Any help in providing identity would be appreciated.  photo

BTW, these photos were taken with a Blackberry. I'm left numbed by the quality from a lens the size of a tapioca pearl.

 

 

Re(1): Monarch Caterpillars
Posted on August 5, 2013 at 09:15:49 AM by janice house

I found one small caterpillar this morning about an hour ago on a small milkweed plant. Laycox Rd & Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst

 

 

Monarch Caterpillars
Posted on August 5, 2013 at 07:48:00 AM by Debbie Adams

I haven't seen a Monarch Butterfly at all this year but I did find 2 monarch caterpillars. They are now residing on milkweed in a vase on our porch and they're getting fat. I have noticed that our usual crop of milkweed is much less this year.
(Walker's Point)

 

 

Re(1): Bluebirds Doe Lake Rd
Posted on August 4, 2013 at 01:02:45 PM by J. Gardner

Our experience with bluebird young here in Hurdville is that they come off the nest, are evident for a day or so, and then disappear for sometimes two weeks. You look out after that time, and they are in the bird bath or on the railings, looking very much at home. They stay around for 3 or 4 weeks before venturing farther. Enjoy. J. Gardner

 

 

Bluebirds Doe Lake Rd
Posted on August 4, 2013 at 08:58:44 AM by janice house

On Friday 4 babies fledged, one egg left in the nest. Unfortunately we had that horrible storm Friday night, before the storm hit there were bluebirds galore on the hydro and bell lines, I assume both parents were feeding. No sign of them since.

 

 

August Dawn Chorus--Hardy Lake
Posted on August 3, 2013 at 08:52:27 AM by George Bryant

At 6 a.m., sunrise today, Hermit Thrush, Red-eyed Vireo, Great Crested Flycatcher, White-breasted Nuthatch all singing up a storm at the west trail entrance. Further along, Chestnut-sided and Black-throated Blue Warbler sang a few stanzas, Blue-headed Vireo steadily. Towards Hardy Lake, I finally heard Eastern Wood-Pewee, my target bird, not having observed one earlier this year. By 7 a.m., bird song had ceased. The west trail of Hardy Lake accessed off Hardy Lake Road is much richer than the east The old growth maple-hemlock forest supports many ferns, orchids, salamanders and mosquitoes.

 

 

Re(1): Great Spangled Fritillary
Posted on August 2, 2013 at 07:55:04 PM by Al Sinclair

This has been in our yard for about 3 wks but only lately slowing down enough for me to photograph it, but unfortunately its colours are starting to fade.  photo

 

 

Great Spangled Fritillary
Posted on August 2, 2013 at 07:36:55 PM by Barbara Taylor

At least two Great Spangled Fritillaries have been visiting our garden the past few days. One was here again this afternoon. They seem to prefer the sturdy Purple Coneflowers. (Bracebridge)

photo1  photo2  photo3

 

 

Re(1): Milk Snake Bracebridge
Posted on August 2, 2013 at 10:02:01 PM by coreyhkh

Great find

 

 

Milk Snake Bracebridge
Posted on August 2, 2013 at 07:13:12 PM by Al Sinclair

We were surprised to find this milk snake while digging in our compost pile this afternoon. It is listed as a species at risk in Ontario, status: special concern. This was a small one, about 40 cm long. First one we have seen in our yard and only our 5th sighting in Muskoka, the previous one probably 25 years ago. They are nocturnal so not seen often, only found DOR (dead on the road). We reported it on the Ontario Reptile Atlas website.  photo

 

 

Re(2): Northern Harrier - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on August 2, 2013 at 07:19:01 PM by Barbara Taylor

Congrats on the Alder Flycatcher George - hoped it would stick around for you to hear it. You had several more warblers than me...guess I need to start out sooner. ;)

Re posting to the Bird Board...don't know if this is what happened, but if you click Preview Post to check over your message, you then still have to click Post to send it to the board. I have forgotten to do that sometimes. But if you check the board right away and the message hasn't appeared in the subject list, then just hit the back button on your browser until you see your typed message, and then click Post.

 

 

Re(1): Northern Harrier - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on August 2, 2013 at 05:40:40 PM by george bryant

I was also there this a.m., at 6 a.m, sunrise, left at 8 a.m, must have just missed you, posted a lovely message, no copy kept and it apparently disappeared into the ether! I need more practice.

I heard more or less same species, I was focussed on August dawn song which was quite rewarding. The Alder Fly. was a) my late date and b) new for all time August list.

The woods west of Cell 2 were swarming with warblers. I saw Blackburnian, Nashville, Yellow-rumped, Black and White. Also a Northern Waterthrush up near the top of a Black Cherry! Best place in Muskoka for migrants.
Five Monarchs in the milkweed by the parking lot.

 

 

Northern Harrier - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on August 2, 2013 at 12:56:37 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a juvenile Northern Harrier gliding low along the weedy strip west of cell 3. I later caught up with it working the area west of cell 4. A Merlin was perched in a dead tree north of cell 4. Two Hooded Mergansers and a family of four Otters were in cell 4. Three Green Herons were around cell 4 and a fourth one flew up from the little pond just inside the treatment plant gate as I was leaving...it was a juvenile! Three Canada Geese and a Common Loon flew overhead, all calling loudly, and flying towards the north. I heard a very soft "kiddick-kiddick" west of cell 4, but only once, and then nothing - could there be a Virginia Rail out there after all? We hadn't heard any Sora or Virginia Rails there this year and thought they must have moved on to a better location since their usual nesting area west of cell 4 had "dried up".

An Alder Flycatcher and a Gray Catbird were calling briefly west of cell 4, an Eastern Phoebe sang from the north side, and an Indigo Bunting was singing near the SE corner. There were several Bank and Barn Swallows as well as many Cedar Waxwings, all hawking insects in the area. There were also still a few Yellow Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, Chestnut-sided Warblers, American Redstarts, and Warbling Vireos. There was a dead mole lying on the roadway at the south side of cell 4, and it looked quite fresh with no obvious signs of trauma. This is the second dead one I've seen in that area...wonder what is happening to them. The Virgin's Bower is in full bloom now...quite pretty as it sprawls through the tall grass and chicory plants along the roadway north of cell 4. Water level remains high in all cells, so no shorebird habitat.

Virgin's Bower (Clematis virginiana)   photo  photo2

(although similar in appearance to the non-native "sweet autumn clematis", this native vine has toothed leaves)
reference: http://ontariowildflowers.com/main/species.php?id=2086

Directions to Bracebridge Ponds/Henry Marsh: see my Area trails map (click on trail sections and markers for info/photos; click Map or Satellite button at upper right to switch views)

 

 

Re(3): Loons!
Posted on August 6, 2013 at 10:06:38 PM by jhansen

We have a pair of loons on Spence Lake (Muskoka River). They have been around since June and have a pair of chicks. The chicks are getting quite big now and seem to be sprouting some adult feathers. We have had several great close up views of them by kayak.

 

 

Re(2): Loons!
Posted on August 5, 2013 at 07:40:28 AM by Debbie Adams

A pair of Loons have been hanging around the bays by Walker's Point Marina since June. Haven't spotted any chicks yet but hopeful they might nest late.

 

 

Re(1): Loons!
Posted on August 2, 2013 at 06:34:57 PM by missyinmuskoka

Carol, this is encouraging. I have been looking for chicks on Kahshe lake since mid June without any success. Kathy Jones from the Canadian Lakes Loon Survey said to hold out until late July since we did have some flooding in the early summer which could have made the loons re-nest, or nest late. We have always had at least 2 pairs with chicks on our lake but sadly none this year yet.

 

 

Loons!
Posted on August 2, 2013 at 10:58:26 AM by Carol Wagg

In late June/early July we had numerous sightings of a pair of loons on Doe Lake and always watched for any evidence of a chick but no luck. They seemed to disappear for awhile, and then a few days ago we heard them calling again a few times. This morning we caught sight of one, then another, and then a third somewhat smaller. We are hopeful that it is a chick, but too far across the lake for a good look.

 

 

The Artful Garden
Posted on August 1, 2013 at 08:16:50 PM by Leslie

I dropped in to see the Artful Garden yesterday and was amazed at the variety of birdlife in amongst the exhibits. This show features sculpture, pottery and other arts/crafts exhibited in the Partridge's fabulous gardens. Hummingbirds were everywhere, and there was family of cedar waxwings not 5 feet from me at the first garden in a tree. At one point a bluebird and a song sparrow perched on a sculpture at the same time, and there were a number of chipping sparrows swooping around throughout the entire exhibit. I also saw robins, redwing blackbirds and goldfinches perched either on or near the various pieces of sculpture, and a winter wren was flitting through the underbrush by the driveway. It was really quite wonderful. If you get a chance, the exhibit runs until August 11th at 1016 Partridge Lane, Bracebridge. I think I'll go back -- this time with my camera!

 

 

Darners
Posted on August 1, 2013 at 05:09:28 PM by Peter Mills

To everyone out swinging nets for dragonflies in cottage country:
Keep your eyes peeled for the rarer and more southern Green-striped Darner among the swarms of Canada Darners.

photo - (above)    photo - (below)

 

How's this for comparison? Females Green-striped (above) and Canada Darner (below). Note how much more bevelled the "flag" or backwards-pointing-offshoot of the front thoracic stripe is on a Canada than the blocky, squared-out flag on the Green-stripe.

Also, on S2 (segment 2 of the abdomen, counting out toward the tip) in both of these females there is colour that rides the seam with S3. In Canada this line of colour is complete from top to bottom (look basically where the bottom edge of the wing crosses S2), and in Green-stripe it is broken ever-so-slightly (again, where the bottom edge of the wing crosses S2)

 

 

Red Milkweed Beetle
Posted on July 31, 2013 at 09:14:33 PM by tedthevideoman

Found this fellow on some sweet potatoe vine today.  photo

 

 

Re(1): American Copper...the other side
Posted on August 3, 2013 at 05:20:58 PM by Barbara Taylor

Ted, did you send your butterfly over here today? A first for our yard. Seems the weedier our lawn gets, the more varied the wildlife. Besides the Bugleweed the butterfly is feeding on, we have a few patches of Sheep Sorrel...apparently that is its larval host plant, so hope to see more of these butterflies around next summer. Here are a couple shots of the upperside, dramatically different from the underside. (Bracebridge)
American Copper photo  photo2   and the underside for comparison... photo3

reference: http://www.cbif.gc.ca/spp_pages/butterflies/species/AmericanCopper_e.php

 

 

"Hands up!" its the Fuzz
Posted on July 30, 2013 at 09:41:25 PM by tedthevideoman

American Copper in our Garden today!  photo

 

 

Re(1): ~32 hummingbirds at a feeder
Posted on July 30, 2013 at 08:32:17 PM by Barbara Taylor

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

 

 

~32 hummingbirds at a feeder
Posted on July 30, 2013 at 07:45:38 PM by George Bryant

With apologies, hummingbirds seem to be the most popular bird board subjects, so here goes. To-day as we played bridge at a cottage on Nine-Mile Lake, we observed three hummingbirds patronizing one large feeder at noon, expand to eight (two-three males, the rest juvs. /females) in view at one time by five p.m. including five sitting at the tubes—reminiscent of an Ecuador bird lodge. I read that you can determine the number of hummers at your feeder by multiplying the maximum number visible by four.
Normally peak hummer activity at our cottage is the third week of August. With the past two weeks of fall weather, will the hummers leave early?

 

 

Re(1): Cecropia Larva
Posted on July 30, 2013 at 08:28:39 PM by Barbara Taylor

That's great Eleanor...amazing that you noticed it in the tree at such a distance. Larry Durkee posted a photo of a Cecropia Moth in early June, but I haven't seen any of the Giant Silkmoth species or their larvae this year. The Luna Moth caterpillar I found last summer was parasitized and although it still spun up a cocoon, it didn't make it through the winter. There is a theory that the decline in Giant Silkmoth populations is partly due to a non-native Tachinid Fly, Compsilura concinnata, that was introduced to try and control the Gypsy Moth population. Reference.

If anyone is interested in seeing the lifecycle of the Cecropia from eggs to caterpillars (all instars) to cocoon to moth, there is a good sequence of photos at http://www.wormspit.com/cecropia.htm and at http://lifecycle.onenessbecomesus.com/caterpillar.htm

 

 

Cecropia Larva
Posted on July 29, 2013 at 09:19:26 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Early Thursday afternoon I noticed some odd looking texture 20 ft from my window in a pin cherry tree.
With binos and camera I found this. photo

A pretty amazing looking caterpillar that I had never seen before. I identified it in a caterpillar web search. It appears to be in it's 5th instar. It eats like it is chewing with a pair of scissors. In between finishing off leaves it rested for about an hour. photo2 (Taken through my windows.)
It stayed around the same leafy branch until late Saturday afternoon. Sunday after the rain I wasn't able to find it again. I did get lots of pictures and video in the meantime. They have a pretty precarious life. Hope it makes it!

 

 

Re(4): I'm wondering about Monarchs
Posted on August 1, 2013 at 07:58:09 PM by Leslie

I have been seeing them daily on Meadow heights, Bracebridge, around the milkweed - Although not many. I heard Ed Lawrence on CBC a few weeks ago advising people to leave a few milkweed plants around; just hope it's not good advice but a bit late to matter...

 

 

Re(2): I'm wondering about Monarchs
Posted on August 1, 2013 at 03:24:58 PM by diannawolfe

A Viceroy caused momentary excitement here this afternoon. Still no Monarchs...

 

 

Re(4): I'm wondering about Monarchs
Posted on July 31, 2013 at 08:27:56 AM by catmaclean

We have a few monarchs in our field in Huntsville. Some are very pale others a normal colour. Have yet to see any caterpillars

 

 

Re(1): I'm wondering about Monarchs
Posted on July 30, 2013 at 06:03:52 PM by diannawolfe

None here in Kilworthy. I work from home, from an office overlooking my garden, so plenty of opportunity for sightings. Last year many Monarchs touched down on our abundant milkweed, with >15 caterpillars found throughout the summer. Not one this year.

 

 

Re(1): I'm wondering about Monarchs
Posted on July 30, 2013 at 01:36:42 PM by Al Sinclair

None seen yet this year 8km east of Bracebridge
Sightings from Bracebridge could include some of the 571 captive raised Monarchs released by a charity fundraiser on July 7.

 

 

Re(3): I'm wondering about Monarchs
Posted on July 30, 2013 at 11:06:49 AM by GayleCarlyle

We have seen two monarchs all summer, neither of them in our garden, just out on visits around Washago.
I always let the milkweed grow around our property for food for the butterflies but so far have only had the tussock moths, and hundreds of them.
Very sad to have no monarchs. Hope next year is better. Someone suggested that the heavy tornado action in the US Midwest earlier this summer either killed the monarchs or blew them off course.

 

 

Re(1): I'm wondering about Monarchs
Posted on July 29, 2013 at 09:50:40 AM by Barbara Taylor

Five Monarchs at the Bracebridge Ponds yesterday, the most we've seen all summer. Maybe they blew in on the strong south-west winds.

 

 

Re(1): I'm wondering about Monarchs
Posted on July 29, 2013 at 05:07:41 PM by janice house

I saw one monarch near our house, Geoff took a photo of a viceroy in our yard, Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst

 

 

Re(2): I'm wondering about Monarchs
Posted on July 29, 2013 at 08:59:23 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I have seen 2 in my garden and 1 roadside.

 

 

Re(1): I'm wondering about Monarchs
Posted on July 29, 2013 at 07:54:52 AM by Carol Wagg

We have had half a dozen sightings in the past two weeks, probably three monarchs in all. Doe Lake Rd

 

 

I'm wondering about Monarchs
Posted on July 29, 2013 at 07:05:02 AM by Alex Mills

I know the Monarch Butterflies got off to a poor start this year, but there was hope it was just a delayed effect. I have not spent as much time in the field this summer as usual, but I have yet to see one, so I am thinking it remains a very poor year for them. Is anyone seeing monarchs in Muskoka and vicinity?

 

 

Bluebirds
Posted on July 28, 2013 at 09:33:48 PM by Carol Wagg

It seemed to take forever, but the bluebirds fledged two weeks ago. We never saw that happen, but realized the nestlings were no longer being served. We braved the deerflies to see the parents delivering insects into a large tree over the course of several days. Then they all seemed to disappear. To our surprise, they have reappeared in the yard and the young are coming out to hunt. We have seen three babies. There was one spoiled egg left in the nest. What a delight to get a fairly good look at them today! Doe Lake Road, east of Gravenhurst.  photo  photo2  photo3  photo4

 

 

Hummingbirds are everywhere
Posted on July 28, 2013 at 08:15:47 PM by michaelhatton

Many many hummingbirds almost every evening around Leonard Lake.  photo  photo2  photo3

 

 

Re(1): Great Blue Heron - Gravenhurst
Posted on July 29, 2013 at 06:06:40 AM by tjhatton

On the prowl, fantastic looking shots of a legendary fisher bird.

 

 

Great Blue Heron - Gravenhurst
Posted on July 28, 2013 at 05:50:24 PM by michaelhatton

The resident Muskoka Wharf GBH was posing today.  photo1  photo2  photo3  photo4

 

 

Re(1): Sundridge Sewage Ponds on Saturday
Posted on July 29, 2013 at 09:38:31 AM by Doug Smith

Alex -- I saw a kestrel yesterday, mid-morning, along the 118 west in Muskoka, near the Touchstone resort.

 

 

Sundridge Sewage Ponds on Saturday
Posted on July 28, 2013 at 03:36:14 PM by Alex Mills

A visit to the Sundridge Ponds on Saturday at mid-day (July 27) did not yield too much. There were about 15 Barn Swallows and about 10 Bank Swallows wheeling about, but no Trees or Cliffs. There were a few shorebirds: one Killdeer, two Spotted Sandpipers (one with, and one without, spots), a Greater Yellowlegs, and a couple of peeps in flight. There were several ducks including a lone duckling and a female Ring-necked Duck.

There has been discussion among naturalists about the scarcity of Kestrels, but there was a pair near Burk's Falls this morning (July 28).

 

 

Imperial Moth Caterpillar
Posted on July 28, 2013 at 09:42:35 AM by janice house

This morning on my doggy walk I spotted a caterpillar that did not make it to the other side of the road. I believe this is close to the time I saw this caterpillar last year. Also heard a very vocal ruby crowned kinglet, Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst.

 

 

Greater Yellowlegs
Posted on July 25, 2013 at 08:47:05 PM by Doug Smith

While walking down the main street in Port Carling yesterday morning I heard a 3 noted 'dew, dew' dew' call overhead, which I took to be a greater yellowlegs.

 

 

Re(2): Bees at last!
Posted on July 28, 2013 at 09:13:37 AM by Barbara Taylor

Janice, there is a lot of variability within species and depends whether the bee is a queen, worker, or male too. Your description is similar to Northern Amber Bumble Bee (Bombus borealis) or Yellow Bumble Bee (Bombus fervidus). Check the following reference.

Bumble Bees of the Eastern United States by Sheila Colla, Leif Richardson, Paul Williams
excerpt from key:
- Face pile predominantly black; thorax sides with the pile predominantly yellow … fervidus
- Face pile predominantly yellow; thorax sides with the pile predominantly black … borealis

The above guide and a bee poster can be downloaded in pdf format from:
http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/animals/bees.shtml

In some cases, bugguide.net and discoverlife.org can be useful.

 

 

Re(1): Bees at last!
Posted on July 26, 2013 at 04:13:46 PM by janice house

We have had lots of bees and butterflies mostly on beebalm and shasta daisies. I have seen one particular bee several times and it is not in my insect book. The thorax has yellow/black/yellow fat stripes and the abdomen is gold coloured with very faint really thin black lines, the bottom of the abdomen is black around the stinger area. This bee is not wide but bigger than most bees and longer. Any ideas? On Monday there were two hummingbird moths feeding on the beebalm.

 

 

Re(1): Bees at last!
Posted on July 26, 2013 at 10:29:49 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I, too, have lots of oregano in bloom and up to yesterday was very worried that there were almost no visitors to the flowers. They are usually covered by this time of the summer.
Your reports have made me hopeful!

 

 

Re(1): Bees at last!
Posted on July 26, 2013 at 06:54:01 AM by J. Gardner

Yesterday there were a number of bees (species unknown) on the hollyhocks... for the first time this summer. The hummer feeders are attracting wasps in numbers too. Incidentally, a mob of young hummers sucking the feeders dry... twice a day. June Gardner

 

 

Bees at last!
Posted on July 25, 2013 at 05:15:24 PM by Barbara Taylor

We have a large sprawling Oregano plant in bloom now, and it is amazing what has been attracted to the flowers...several species of Bees, Wasps, Flower Flies, Butterflies and even an Orange Mint Moth. I'm still going through my photos and will post a follow up. For now, here are a few:

Great Golden Digger Wasp (Sphex ichneumoneus): photo

Banded Hairstreak:  photo

Great Black Wasp (Sphex pensylvanicus):  photo

Orange Mint Moth (Pyrausta orphisalis):  photo  (note the tiny Flower Fly on bottom left flower)

Tricolored Bumble Bee: photo1  Leaf cutter bee: photo2  Honeybee: photo3

 

 

Re(1): Little Glassywing?
Posted on July 25, 2013 at 05:21:36 PM by Al Sinclair

I agree, Little Glassywing. Note the white at the base of the antenna clubs. We had one on the Bala Butterfly count in 2012, first record for Muskoka we think. They are moving north apparently, climate change. We will have to add this one to the Muskoka list.

 

 

Little Glassywing?
Posted on July 25, 2013 at 03:41:16 PM by Barbara Taylor

Just found this Skipper in our yard. It appears to be a Little Glassywing, although I don't see that one listed on my Muskoka Butterfly Checklist...so either I'm wrong about the ID or my list needs updating. Any help with an ID would be appreciated. These are the best photos I could get as I had to be wary of several Great Black Wasps that were getting quite upset that I was poking around "their" flower patch. (Bracebridge)

photo1  photo2  photo3  photo4  photo5

 

 

Osprey
Posted on July 24, 2013 at 10:29:55 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there was an Osprey flying around Henry Marsh. A Belted Kingfisher was perched in a dead tree at the west side of the marsh near the trail. There were four Otters (one adult with three young) at the beaver dam along the trail heading east from the marsh. (Bracebridge)

 

 

Merlins in Gravenhurst
Posted on July 24, 2013 at 08:22:33 PM by DBurton

I heard 2 Merlins making a fuss in front of my yard and saw 1 young Merlin land on a power line and lose its balance temporarily. On the power line on the opposite side of the street was the adult with a dead bird hanging from its talons. A Robin was on the same wire next to it, obviously upset. I suspect it was the parent of the victim.

 

 

Incurvate Emerald
Posted on July 24, 2013 at 10:25:45 AM by Peter Mills

This male Incurvate Emerald was photographed making low, slow patrols over a bog-pool at the Torrance Barrens.  photo

Habitat was with a sphagnum base and abundant sedge growth, Virginia Chain Fern, Black Spruce, and some Tamarack.

 

 

Re(1): Bracebridge Ponds - Bufflehead
Posted on July 23, 2013 at 01:25:35 PM by Goodyear

This morning, July 23, there was a single Bufflehead in cell 4.

 

 

Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on July 22, 2013 at 11:22:49 AM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Ponds there were numerous young Savannah Sparrows along the roadway north of cell 3. A few Swallows were perched on a wire near the dumping ponds - Tree, Barn, and Bank. In the shrubbery west of cell 4 there were several young birds that seemed to be making it on their own now...Common Yellowthroat, Yellow Warbler, American Redstart, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Warbling Vireo, Blue-headed Vireo, Eastern Phoebe, Swamp Sparrow, and Song Sparrow. Alder Flycatchers (one sang) and several Cedar Waxwings were hawking insects in the same area. There were only two adult Green Herons seen by cell 4 - perhaps the fledglings have been taken to a "safer" feeding area this year because the Great Horned Owl has been hanging around (it was north of cell 4 again yesterday morning, being harassed by Blue Jays). A Common Loon flew low overhead heading south-east. An Indigo Bunting was singing near the SE corner of cell 4 and also west of cell 3. Only Mallards and Wood Ducks in the ponds. Water level remains high in all cells so no shoreline for shorebirds.

A few Black-shouldered Spinyleg Dragonflies were at the south side of cell 4: photo

 

 

A Robin eyes the few remaining pin cherries
Posted on July 20, 2013 at 08:18:07 PM by michaelhatton

photo

 

 

Re(3): Pipsissewa
Posted on July 22, 2013 at 08:06:23 PM by dinnymccraney

Thank you..I shall have to be on the look out for it!

 

 

Re(2): Pipsissewa
Posted on July 21, 2013 at 09:38:39 AM by michaelhatton

It appears every year (so far) on our property at Leonard Lake, but only in very small numbers. Generally, it is found on our property in the shade of pines and oaks, in well drained soil, sits in a wintergreen bed, and just before it arrives the small area where we see it is peppered with ladyslippers. The latter come out a few weeks prior to the pipsissewa. We have many many more ladyslippers than pipissewa. Pipsissewa is an herb that some people use for medicinal purposes though I don't understand where you would find sufficient quantities to actually harvest. The books say it can treat heart or liver failure. I think that if I fall down outside with heart failure, maybe I will have the presence to reach for .... ! Our experience is that it blooms for about 7 to 10 days and it is really only the flower that is stand-out. I'm sure it is very easy to miss. But gorgeous when you find it.

 

Re(1): Pipsissewa
Posted on July 19, 2013 at 08:06:27 PM by dinnymccraney

This is beautiful and exotic looking. I have not heard of or seen this before. Where does it grow?

 

 

Pipsissewa
Posted on July 18, 2013 at 09:12:18 PM by michaelhatton

This year's Pipsissewa. Arrived shortly after the orchids left.  photo

 

 

Re(2): Another photo from the Bala Butterfly Count
Posted on July 19, 2013 at 06:54:25 PM by Al Sinclair

That was taken at Eleanor's I think, one of our Bog Copper sites. However they weren't out yet so we were looking at an unusual brown damselfly we found. Rick's photo later confirmed that it was a teneral male Skimming Bluet.

 

 

Re(1): Another photo from the Bala Butterfly Count
Posted on July 18, 2013 at 03:55:12 PM by Barbara Taylor

Al, what butterfly species were you seeing in that habitat?

 

 

Another photo from the Bala Butterfly Count
Posted on July 17, 2013 at 05:17:31 PM by Al Sinclair

Janet Fraser dropped off some photos from the butterfly count recently. This one shows all the tools of the trade.
George on the bins, Rick with the camera, Al with a net, Cyril with the notebook. Sid is in the background, he talks to them.  photo

 

 

Re(1): Sandhill Cranes: Pointe au Baril
Posted on July 17, 2013 at 10:05:11 AM by Al Sinclair

Who knew they could swim? Just found a video via google showing 2 small colts swimming like ducks. Thanks for sharing your observation.

 

 

Re(1): Sandhill Cranes: Pointe au Baril
Posted on July 16, 2013 at 10:49:48 PM by Carol Wagg

Thank you. Just wonderful to see.

 

 

Sandhill Cranes: Pointe au Baril
Posted on July 16, 2013 at 05:58:37 PM by MPerren

We have a pair of Sandhill Cranes that have successfully nested on E19 (Island name) near the open water in Pointe au Baril. Interestingly, we have seen them swim across our bay on both nights this past weekend. photo

 

 

Re(2): Pin Cherry Bonanza
Posted on July 16, 2013 at 06:18:55 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I am on the outskirts of Bala on a small lake in the bush. Yes, lots of other features that attract birds. Numerous feeders year-round and am maintaining suet this summer for the first time. Hairy Woodpeckers brought in the fledglings and went through 5 suet blocks in 2 weeks.

I have a water drip. Last year it brought in 7 warbler species but this year there is more natural water and fewer birds are using it. A bird bath works too. Protective cover helps.

 

 

Re(1): Pin Cherry Bonanza
Posted on July 15, 2013 at 08:40:49 PM by michaelhatton

Sorry, but just wondering about location? In town (Bracebridge or Gravenhurst?) or out of town .... any other features that help attract the birds? I have pin cherries but not that variety of birds. I'm west of Bracebridge, on water in a rural area. Thanks.

 

 

Pin Cherry Bonanza
Posted on July 15, 2013 at 11:27:47 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

The pin cherries in about 20 trees around my house are ripe and the birds are busy along with Eastern Chipmunks. Down Woopeckers, adult and juvenile Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Male and female Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, lots of adult and juvenile Purple Finches, /veerys, adult and juvenile Hermit Thrushes, robins. The Cedar Waxwings haven't been seen for a few days so they may have found other trees in the neighbourhood. A Red-eyed Vireo was just in looking for bugs etc.

 

 

Re(3): Eastern Hognose Snake - Henry Marsh
Posted on July 15, 2013 at 11:21:17 AM by Barbara Taylor

I'm going to send in the reports as soon as I get a few more details. Last time we saw that species near Henry Marsh was in April 2010 - it was right on the trail not very far in from the Henry Rd. parking area. In April 2008 the Huntsville Nature Club found one along the trail out by the marsh.

So it's nice to know the species is still in the area. A tractor went through this morning to cut down the very tall grass along the trail east of the marsh all the way over to Kerr Park...hope the snake was well off the trail at the time.

 

 

Re(2): Eastern Hognose Snake - Henry Marsh
Posted on July 15, 2013 at 09:49:43 AM by GayleCarlyle

This is a species at risk and should be reported to the Ministry of Natural Resources NHIC in Peterborough. They are working to identify areas where these species are thriving and also to get population estimates.
If anyone finds the snake again, try to get the exact location by GPS.
You might also contact the Muskoka Conservancy, Kristen Field, to let them know about the snake too.

 

 

Re(1): Eastern Hognose Snake - Henry Marsh
Posted on July 14, 2013 at 03:58:47 PM by coreyhkh

Hi barb I also found this snake a week ago and forgot to report it.
It was a female judging by the size.

 

 

Eastern Hognose Snake - Henry Marsh
Posted on July 14, 2013 at 01:26:57 PM by Barbara Taylor

Bruce Ripley sends this report and photo:
On July 12th I found an Eastern Hognose Snake at Henry Marsh. It was in the wooded area a couple hundred metres east of the viewing platform. A first for me.  photo
Cheers
Bruce Ripley

 

 

Butterflies and more
Posted on July 13, 2013 at 02:35:50 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at Henry Marsh we were treated to a single Monarch Butterfly feeding on some Blue Vervain flowers. There were a couple White Admiral Butterflies as usual near the "T". We also saw an American Bittern flying across the beaver pond, and a Broad-winged Hawk circling overhead.

Along the "deer fly trail" between Henry Marsh and the Bracebridge Ponds we heard several birds singing - Magnolia Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Ovenbird, Common Yellowthroat, Scarlet Tanager, Veery, Red-eyed Vireo, Winter Wren, and White-throated Sparrow were some of them. Two Eastern Comma Butterflies were seen east of the dip.

At the Bracebridge Ponds we found a Striped Hairstreak Butterfly just inside the Lagoon Lane gate, and a male Eastern Tailed-Blue north of cell 4. An Eyed Brown and Northern Crescent were west of cell 4. There were three Green Herons west of cell 4 and an Indigo Bunting was singing north of cell 4. There used to be very few Mourning Doves at the Bracebridge Ponds, but for some reason there are huge numbers this year...counted 40 north of cell 4, and at least another 25 in the area SE of cell 1. Also found two more Calico Pennant Dragonflies by cell 4 - both young males, markings not fully turned red yet and yellow pterostigma.

Striped Hairstreak photo

Calico Pennant photo  (looks like some water mites attached to underside of abdomen)

 

Directions to Bracebridge Ponds/Henry Marsh: see my Area trails map (click on trail sections and markers for info/photos; click Map or Satellite button at upper right to switch views)

 

 

Re(2): Dragonflies
Posted on July 13, 2013 at 01:45:11 PM by Barbara Taylor

I haven't been seeing many bees or butterflies around here either. But as you noted, very few earwigs and so far hardly any Rose Chafers...first time ever that they didn't destroy the Peony blooms.

 

 

Re(1): Dragonflies
Posted on July 13, 2013 at 11:06:48 AM by J. Gardner

Happy to know that you have a good selection of dragonflies down there. We have very few indeed, to go along with few butterflies of any sort, and few to no bees. We have no big corn fields around this part of the country, so I have no idea what is happening to our bees. Best of all... we have few earwigs. Now, can somebody do something to make the Deer Flies almost disappear??? June Gardner Hurdville.

 

 

Dragonflies
Posted on July 12, 2013 at 07:16:56 PM by Barbara Taylor

Yesterday there was a nice selection of Dragonflies at the Bracebridge Ponds including Common Whitetail, Widow Skimmer, Common Green Darner, Twelve-spotted Skimmer, Dot-tailed Whiteface, and White-faced Meadowhawk. Several Eastern Pondhawks were around the NW corner of cell 4, and one was feasting on a Bluet Damselfly. A Calico Pennant was at the north side of cell 4...haven't seen one at the Ponds since 2008!
Calico Pennant male:  photo

Eastern Pondhawk female:  photo

Eastern Pondhawk male:  photo

 

 

Green Heron
Posted on July 12, 2013 at 09:46:49 AM by janice house

A green heron landed in the creek behind the house last night, they usually just fly over. Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst

 

 

Re(1): Scarlet Tanager
Posted on July 12, 2013 at 03:24:57 PM by missyinmuskoka

Barbara....Thank you for your never ending bird education. I appreciate all of it. How crazy to think it could be a mix of the two!
Corey & Terry... Thank you for your comments. My ISO was 1600 in order to even get the shot. He was singing and moving from branch to branch. THe other 50 images had leaves & branches in front!

 

 

Re(1): Scarlet Tanager
Posted on July 12, 2013 at 01:57:52 PM by Barbara Taylor

Hmmm...the splashy yellow wingbar makes me wonder if there is a bit of Western Tanager mixed in at some point in that bird's family tree. Apparently the two species do hybridize.

 

 

Re(1): Scarlet Tanager
Posted on July 12, 2013 at 11:51:11 AM by coreyhkh

Wow I wish I could get them in the open like that.

 

 

Re(1): Scarlet Tanager
Posted on July 12, 2013 at 10:51:05 AM by Terry & Marion Whittam

Beautiful shot! Well done! Terry

 

 

Scarlet Tanager
Posted on July 12, 2013 at 08:02:34 AM by missyinmuskoka

Saw my first Scarlet Tanager singing yesterday on South Kahshe Lake Road South of Gravenhurst  photo

 

 

Re(4): Birding Bracebridge area in July
Posted on July 12, 2013 at 08:39:31 AM by Nerode

Thank you, all. Whatever we see we'll enjoy the visit even more thanks to your advice and assistance.
Neil

 

 

Re(3): Birding Bracebridge area in July
Posted on July 11, 2013 at 01:51:46 PM by John Challis

The farm fields south of Three Mile Lake, north of Bracebridge, sometimes have harriers (marsh hawks). I don't know if they have been reported there this year. There is a nice loop drive if you take Manitoba Street north, turn left at Beatrice Townline, head north on either Doherty Road or further along to Brackenrig Road, connecting from either of those choices with Windermere Road, and heading back east to Manitoba Street, which at that point has become Raymond Road.

 

Re(2): Birding Bracebridge area in July
Posted on July 10, 2013 at 10:45:17 PM by Al Sinclair

Look for Chimney Swift circling over downtown Bracebridge, Huntsville or Gravenhurst between 8 & 9PM. If you see them enter a chimney let us know the address.

 

 

Re(1): Birding Bracebridge area in July
Posted on July 10, 2013 at 09:23:24 PM by coreyhkh

Green Heron are at the lagoons and there is at least one bittern at Henry marsh.
The trail from the lagoons to the marsh is full of warblers but they are not calling much anymore so its harder to find them. But they are still there.

Yellow
Nashville
Canada
Magnolia
chestnut
redstart
yellow throat
oven
black and white
black throated blue
black throated green
Blackburnian-Warbler
Northern-Waterthrush
Pine

goodluck

 

 

Birding Bracebridge area in July
Posted on July 10, 2013 at 05:25:28 PM by Nerode

Hi,
I'm visiting Lake Muskoka (staying very close to Bracebridge) for a week starting Friday. My 9 year-old son is a passionate birder (and I've been happily drawn along with him). Not the best time for birds, but as we're from Alberta I expect we'll still see some new species.

Other than the Bracebridge sewage lagoons and Henry Marsh, does anyone have suggestions for locations? He'd love to see any new raptors (e.g. Red-shouldered hawk, Broad-winged hawk), either Cuckoo, Green Heron, Bittern or any of the warblers not likely here. Oh, and not to forget the Chimney Swifts!

Thanks for any suggestions.
On behalf of:
Bird Boy Canada

 

 

Re(2): Parasites on a pest
Posted on July 14, 2013 at 11:06:08 PM by John Challis

Thanks Barb! Who'd have known there were so many families and genera of mites.

 

 

Re(1): Parasites on a pest
Posted on July 12, 2013 at 08:03:19 PM by Barbara Taylor

Apparently it depends on the species of mosquito as to which mite it might be. ;)

Here are links to abstracts for two studies on the subject:
http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1645/GE-3105.1
http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/esa/jme/1975/00000012/00000001/art00008

 

 

Parasites on a pest
Posted on July 10, 2013 at 11:16:36 AM by John Challis

Last night I had the pleasure of swatting a mosquito and discovering it was covered in parasites. The mosquito was a little too bashed up to tell genus, at least in this photo. But maybe Bob Bowles would be able to venture a guess.   photo  Good to know that even these things can have their lives made miserable by pests. The parasites, seen enlarged through a 10x loupe with a macro lens, look to be a type of mite similar to chiggers. Anyone know what type of mite might like to bite a mosquito?  photo  I know they resemble chiggers because I am being driven mad by a dozen chigger bites right now. They're microscopic in size, but with a good magnifying glass, you can see a tiny red dot at the centre of the itching, swelling bite, where the larval form of the chigger has burrowed and is, according to sources, spitting into my skin to liquify cell proteins and then slurping the milkshake back up. They're not blood feeders; prefer skin cells. Feh.

 

 

Common newt
Posted on July 10, 2013 at 10:18:51 AM by GayleCarlyle

on the weekend I found a common newt resting at the bottom of our garden pond. I managed to scoop it out for a better look; pretty cool!
I've seen it a few times since then, popping up for some air and then swimming back down to the bottom.
Hoping it is eating the mosquito larvae and the tiny leeches.

(Washago)

 

 

Lawrence's Warbler, No
Posted on July 10, 2013 at 08:23:36 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

On Monday, July 8th, at approx 9 am and 11 am, the Lawrence's Warbler was not seen, heard or enticed out with the judicious use of a tape. Kingbirds, Common Yellowthroat, Indigo Bunting and Tree Swallows still singing in the area.

 

Blue Dasher in Gravenhurst
Posted on July 9, 2013 at 09:26:23 PM by diannawolfe

Today while hiking the Stone Road trail off North Muldrew Lake Road in Gravenhurst, I photographed a mature female Blue Dasher. While superficially similar to an Eastern Pondhawk, the Blue Dasher has a yellow-and-black striped thorax (Pondhawk mainly blue or green).  This appears to be at the extreme northern edge of the Blue Dasher range (Paulson). The Algonquin field guide (Jones et al.) indicates that the range of the Blue Dasher may be expanding northward, perhaps due to climate change.  Blue Dasher photo

Unfortunately, the deer flies outnumbered the dragonflies by millions...

 

 

Ontario's Southernmost Olive-sided Flycatcher
Posted on July 9, 2013 at 09:10:07 PM by George Bryant

At Axe Lake Road (aka Rome road) today, Rick Snider and I observed the Olive-sided Flycatcher atop a snag just south of the bridge over the lake outlet. We watched the bird for 15 minutes, returned 1/2 hour later, the bird had not moved. It never vocalized. I always figure July 12 is the end of spring birdsong but today in the boreal forest it was still impressive: Brown Creeper (I actually heard), Purple Finches, Scarlet Tanager also on a snag, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, etc. No Yellow-bellied Flycatchers--probably busy feeding young. We also noted a fresh Pink-edged Sulphur on the road by the cemetery. At the impressive Stistead Landfill bog, 1/2 km. past the dump on the road allowance we heard two Canada Warblers, saw Great Spangled and Atlantis Fritillaries. Thanks to David Goodyear for directions.

 

 

Re(1): Eastern Tailed-Blue Butterfly
Posted on July 11, 2013 at 04:44:53 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there were at least three Eastern Tailed-Blues along the roadway near the north-west corner of cell 4. They seem to like the Birdsfoot Trefoil.

I managed to get a few photos: photo1  photo2  photo3

 

 

Eastern Tailed-Blue Butterfly
Posted on July 9, 2013 at 11:26:37 AM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds I found a very fresh looking female Eastern Tailed-Blue. It was about half way along the roadway at the north side of cell 4. There were several Common Whitetail Dragonflies in the same area, as well as both a male and a female Eastern Pondhawk.

 

 

Re(1): Great Horned Owl
Posted on July 7, 2013 at 04:41:35 PM by coreyhkh

I have seen that owl there a few times, I feel bad for it as the crows give him a hard time.

 

 

Great Horned Owl
Posted on July 7, 2013 at 10:35:23 AM by Barbara Taylor

This morning even though it was raining I decided to take a stroll around the Bracebridge Ponds...and very glad I did. As I walked along the north side of cell 4, I heard a Great Horned Owl give a couple hoo-hoos from a nearby poplar tree. Then a bunch of Crows found it. Eventually the Owl was tired of being mobbed and flew north through the woods out of sight.

There was a Wood Thrush singing at the edge of the woods south of cell 4 and a Pied-billed Grebe called a few times from the west side of cell 4. Two Hooded Mergansers were in cell 4, and four Green Herons were also in the area. A momma Mink with three young ones ran along the roadway towards me and then veered off into the weeds west of cell 4. An Indigo Bunting was singing SW of cell 4 and another was singing near the Lagoon Lane gate.

 

 

Re(1): Where have all the Monarchs gone?
Posted on July 9, 2013 at 05:01:09 PM by John Challis

None around our house in Washago either - and there's a bumper crop of milkweed around the house this year, too. The perfume is heavenly.
We saw one resting on the shoulder of Highway 169 (not a good sign) at the south end of town on Canada Day weekend and possibly another last Sunday on a trail west of Highway 11 at the end of Telford Line. That's it.

 

Re(1): Where have all the Monarchs gone?
Posted on July 8, 2013 at 03:18:02 PM by Barbara Taylor

We saw a Monarch this morning in Bracebridge, but it may have just been one from yesterday's Hospice Muskoka butterfly release event at Memorial Park.

 

 

Where have all the Monarchs gone?
Posted on July 7, 2013 at 08:20:54 AM by Catmaclean

Has anyone seen the Monarchs this year. Milkweed is in full bloom and nary a butterfly!
On the other hand many birds still singing....Scarlett Tanager, Veery, Hermit Thrush, Black-throated Blue and Green, Brown Creeper, Common Yellow Throat, White-throated Sparrow, PeWee. Nashville, and Yellow Rumped

 

 

Gray Catbird
Posted on July 5, 2013 at 07:01:16 PM by missyinmuskoka

Hi heard a sound coming from within the serviceberry bushes on South Kahshe Lake Road. It sounded like a cat meowing so I proceeded to look for a stray cat but found a grey bird eating the serviceberries. I later ID'd the bird as a Gray Catbird. If you have never heard a catbird, it is quite amazing how appropriately it is named.

 

Re(1): Fox Family
Posted on July 5, 2013 at 09:15:32 PM by dinnymccraney

Thanks..a real treat!

 

 

Fox Family
Posted on July 5, 2013 at 05:06:01 PM by Carol Wagg

We were entertained during breakfast on the back deck by a family of foxes frolicking in the field. I decided to try a new skill and posted my first-ever YouTube video. The foxes played for an hour, but I've posted less than two minutes. What a treat it was! (Doe Lake Rd, east of Gravenhurst)
foxes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qVm6Tid5_U&feature=youtu.be

 

 

Re(2): Elfin Skimmers and Common Nighthawk nest
Posted on July 11, 2013 at 09:06:02 AM by diannawolfe

That's what I expect, John. Perhaps the first was predated as this seems too late for a first brood but a little early for a second. Hard to know.

 

 

Re(1): Elfin Skimmers and Common Nighthawk nest
Posted on July 10, 2013 at 01:18:24 PM by John Challis

Nice shots! Would the egg be a second brood?

 

 

Elfin Skimmers and Common Nighthawk nest
Posted on July 5, 2013 at 11:59:12 AM by diannawolfe

A late afternoon wander at the Torrance Barrens netted male and female Elfin Skimmers (along with thousands of Sphagnum Sprites and a couple of Calico Pennants). The Elfin Skimmer is North America's smallest dragonfly, and you can see its tiny size in comparison to my hand the pictures below.

A Common Nighthawk was flushed from a nest as well. A single egg was present.

Elfin Skimmer   female photo    photo2

Common Nighthawk egg  photo

 

 

Re(1): Brown Thrasher
Posted on July 5, 2013 at 03:09:16 PM by janice house

most evenings this week a parent has been feeding a youngster in our backyard, Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst

 

 

Brown Thrasher
Posted on July 5, 2013 at 09:46:50 AM by missyinmuskoka

I saw 3 Brown Thrashers walking through the grass in Kerr park  photo

 

 

Re(2): Bear
Posted on July 4, 2013 at 10:52:01 PM by tedthevideoman

Don't recommend it, but I tree'd him after he took down a feeder at 4:30 pm....needless to say the birds will have to fend for themselves for a while.

 

 

Re(1): Bear
Posted on July 4, 2013 at 04:52:05 PM by jhansen

Good picture. How did you get him to pose so nicely?

 

 

Bear
Posted on July 4, 2013 at 04:39:31 PM by tedthevideoman

This is the 2 year old bear that been roaming through the Glendale/Meadow Hiegths nieghborhood the last few days  photo

 

 

Re(1): Frosted Whiteface?
Posted on July 4, 2013 at 06:52:59 PM by diannawolfe

I agree, a very brightly coloured Frosted Whiteface.

 

 

Frosted Whiteface?
Posted on July 3, 2013 at 07:07:58 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there were several species of dragonflies around cell 4, including this one which I don't recall seeing there before. I think it is a Frosted Whiteface. Hard to tell from the photos, but there were no obvious markings on the sides of the thorax.  photo1  photo2

 

 

Re(1): Bala Butterfly Count Results
Posted on July 6, 2013 at 09:30:38 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I have seen one only monarch caterpillar on milkweed in my garden. Likely a result of the only adult sighting on June 8th.

 

 

Re(3): no Monarchs?
Posted on July 4, 2013 at 06:55:33 PM by diannawolfe

We saw a female Monarch on the south shore of Lake Nosbonsing (near North Bay) last weekend, but none around Muskoka.

 

 

Re(2): no Monarchs?
Posted on July 4, 2013 at 06:35:20 AM by J. Gardner

I have seen two Red Admirals and two Monarchs, and two or three swallowtails. Poorest butterfly season I can remember. J. Gardner Hurdville, Lake Manitouwabing

 

 

Re(1): Monarchs?
Posted on July 3, 2013 at 07:27:13 PM by Barbara Taylor

Yikes! No Monarchs.
Hope they are just delayed because of the earlier stretch of bad storms in the U.S., and haven't been wiped out by all the spraying for gypsy moths and mosquitoes.

Has anyone been seeing Monarch Butterflies in our area?

 

And now that I think of it, I haven't seen a Red Admiral yet.

 

 

Bala Butterfly Count Results
Posted on July 2, 2013 at 08:16:07 PM by Al Sinclair

It was a cool cloudy day so butterflies were hard to find. But those we did find were mostly sitting still providing good views of the identifying features and allowing close photos. There were 9 observers including the "Butterfly Whisperer" Sid Daniels (see him in the photo below).

SPECIES SEEN
6/29/2013
Canadian Tiger Swallowtail 2
Great Spangled Fritillary 3
Silver-bordered Fritillary 1
Silvery Checkerspot 3
Harris' Checkerspot 3
Northern Crescent 11
Mourning Cloak 1
White Admiral 2
Eyed Brown 1
Little Wood-Satyr 17
Common Ringlet 1
Least Skipper 2
European Skipper 13
Peck's Skipper 6
Tawny-edged Skipper 4
Long Dash 25
Hobomok Skipper 10
Dun Skipper 1
-------- STATISTICS --------
Species seen - 18

The Butterfly Whisperer and a Long Dash Skipper - photo

Peck's Skipper - photo

Least Skipper - photo

Great Spangled Fritillary - photo

 

 

Re(2): black bear
Posted on July 2, 2013 at 06:21:47 PM by jhansen

That same bear (most likely) has also been seen at the curve at the bottom of Glendale, yesterday and today, and my husband saw it in our backyard on Daleman Dr. today as well.

 

 

Re(1): black bear
Posted on July 2, 2013 at 02:24:37 PM by Barbara Taylor

Don Bailey reports a small bear was on their back deck earlier today, probably a yearling attracted to their barbecue grill. It ran off into the ravine heading west towards Rockwell Ave. Don called the MNR since the bear had a tag on each ear. The MNR said that means the bear has already been caught and released twice. (Bracebridge)

 

 

2 black bear cubs at Henry Marsh
Posted on July 1, 2013 at 08:28:38 PM by coreyhkh

Today I saw two black bear cubs in the marsh along the trail.
They where very very close.

 

 

Re(5): Dragonflys emerging flying
Posted on July 3, 2013 at 09:31:21 PM by NigelEves

Thanks Barb, for the websites. And yes, Al, I agree. The gold one is very likely to be a spiny leg, like the one on this website.
http://ronorenstein.blogspot.ca/2012/08/ontario-odonate-gallery.html

But mine is much prettier, lol.

 

 

Re(4): Dragonflys emerging flying
Posted on July 3, 2013 at 07:27:20 PM by Al Sinclair

OK That one is a Dragonhunter, Hagenius brevistylus. And after seeing the photos Barbara posted I think the one in your video is likely a Dragonhunter. Still think the one from Port Carling is a Spinyleg.

 

 

Re(3): Dragonflys emerging flying
Posted on July 3, 2013 at 05:13:21 PM by NigelEves

Thanks for the ID Al. It's hard to grasp how much the colour changes from saffron green to gold to this...

I took this photo in late July 2012 same locale.  photo

 

 

Re(1): Dragonflys emerging flying
Posted on July 3, 2013 at 06:56:16 PM by Barbara Taylor

I am not very experienced with dragonflies, but thought the one emerging in the video looks similar to a Dragonhunter (Hagenius brevistylus).

see these:
http://mamomi.net/Odonate_Behavior/Pages/Emergence_-_Dragonhunter.html
http://bugguide.net/node/view/23665/bgimage

 

 

Re(2): Dragonflys emerging flying
Posted on July 3, 2013 at 12:46:31 PM by Al Sinclair

Thanks for sharing your photos and video, helps us all learn more about the amazing natural world around us.

I think they are the same species. These are both in the "teneral" stage of their life history ie recently emerged. Dragonflies like these are harder to identify with certainty because they are pale and their sexual organs are not fully developed. After 1 or 2 weeks they mature and the identifying patterns are more visible.

The 2nd picture is certainly a Black-shouldered Spinyleg, Dromogomphus spinosus. The unique 2 long ovals separated by and "I" pattern on top of the thorax is visible. Also the short spines on the lower back leg can be seen if you look closely. The first photo is probably the same but the markings are not clear.

These are large dragonflies common in large river systems. I have seen them catch butterflies.

 

 

Re(1): Dragonflys emerging flying
Posted on July 3, 2013 at 12:18:33 PM by NigelEves

Can anyone ID these please? Are they the same species?
The first photo was taken of a newly emerged dragonfly on Sunday in Bala. photo
The second, July 7,2011 near Port Carling. photo
Thanks
Nigel

 

 

Dragonflys emerging flying
Posted on July 1, 2013 at 10:04:41 AM by NigelEves

I shot this video yesterday in Bala and posted it to youtube here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlWhgp3Q7VU
Does anyone know the species please?
Dragonfly video