Muskoka Bird Board - Archived Reports from January - March 2014
 
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Deer carcass on Bracebridge trail
Posted on March 30, 2014 at 11:52:20 AM by Barbara Taylor

Just a warning if you plan a hike with young children or dogs...a bit of a messy sight.

This morning we came upon a very fresh, partially eaten deer carcass right in the middle of the trail a short distance north of Meadow Heights Dr. as you go down into the Beaver Creek ravine (trailhead at the vacant lot #77 Meadow Heights Dr., Bracebridge)

 

 

Re(1): Red-shouldered Hawk, Robin - Bracebridge
Posted on April 1, 2014 at 07:53:53 AM by catmaclean

I saw a red-shouldered Hawk circling yesterday afternoon, Huntsville.

 

Red-shouldered Hawk, Robin - Bracebridge
Posted on March 30, 2014 at 10:40:18 AM by Al Sinclair

At 10:30 this morning a Red-shouldered Hawk was calling and circling over a traditional nesting territory here. At the same time an American Robin was scolding in a tree beside the yard apparently not pleased at the 2ft plus snow cover.
On 118E 8km east of Bracebridge.

 

 

Spring Migration 2014
Posted on March 30, 2014 at 09:25:27 AM by Barbara Taylor

I've delayed posting my list of migration websites until we finally got more normal springtime temperatures and a bit of bare ground. But the birds don't want to wait...this morning a Robin showed up in our yard (Bracebridge).

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have reached Tennessee, Chimney Swifts have been reported in North Carolina, and a Purple Martin has been spotted in Ontario north of Leamington. Several Red-shouldered Hawks have already been tallied over Beamer Hawkwatch in Grimsby, and Broad-winged Hawks aren't too far behind...many have been streaming by the Texas hawkwatch stations. And keep an eye on the Hamilton Peregrine Falcon webcam...they are spending more time at their nest ledge now in preparation for egg laying.

The following collection of websites will be helpful in following the 2014 Spring Migration. Some of these websites include data from past years which will give you an idea of peak migration times...or just check the recent posts on regional email lists to see what's coming our way.


Hummingbird Migration Map

Purple Martin Migration Map

Chimney Swift Migration Map

Journey North (First Sightings of Orioles, Barn Swallows, Loons, Monarch Butterflies, and more)


HawkCount - daily reports

Niagara Peninsula Hawkwatch (Beamer) - Open House April 18

Recent Posts from ONTBIRDS

Other Regional Email Lists


Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station (Toronto's Leslie St. Spit) - Spring Bird Festival May 10th

Long Point Bird Observatory

Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory - Spring Birding Festival May 10-19

Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory


Migration of Birds

 

 

Common Grackle
Posted on March 29, 2014 at 02:15:04 PM by janice house

Just saw a lone grackle on the peanut feeder in the back yard
(Doe Lake Rd., Gravenhurst)

 

 

Muskoka Field Naturalists - next meeting April 3
Posted on March 29, 2014 at 01:11:34 PM by Barbara Taylor

MFN meeting Thursday, April 3, at 7:30 p.m., in Gravenhurst
Severe Weather and Changing Patterns with Geoff Coulson
Geoff is the Warning Preparedness Meteorologist with Environment Canada, and will be presenting a talk on climate change and what it means for our weather.

Meetings for February through June are held at the Muskoka Boat & Heritage Centre (Grace and Speed) at Muskoka Wharf, 275 Steamship Bay Road in Gravenhurst.
All meetings commence at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise indicated. Visitors welcome to attend.
source: MFN website - http://www.muskokafieldnaturalists.com

 

 

Red-winged Blackbird -- Henry Marsh
Posted on March 29, 2014 at 12:12:38 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning a very optimistic Red-winged Blackbird was singing at Henry Marsh (first one I've seen this year). Along the trail east of the marsh there were a few Purple Finch, American Goldfinch, and Dark-eyed Juncos in full song, as well as a Brown Creeper. (Bracebridge)

The trail is still in excellent condition even after yesterday's rain...snowshoes not needed.
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 swit

 

 

GB Herons and singing Purple Finch
Posted on March 29, 2014 at 11:08:24 AM by diannawolfe

Was happy to hear our first singing Purple Finch yesterday, amidst the chorus of Goldfinches. Later in the afternoon, three Great Blue Herons soared over, looking for open water in our well-frozen ponds. Needless to say, they kept flying south. (Kilworthy)

 

 

Northern Shrike
Posted on March 28, 2014 at 06:11:49 PM by TheCardys

Northern Shrike seen overlooking a meadow in Grassmere east of Huntsville, just off hwy 60.

 

 

Algonquin Park Birding Report: 27 March
Posted on March 28, 2014 at 10:28:34 AM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (Mar. 27, 2014) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Reports of new arrivals this week were limited to Herring Gull and
Red-winged Blackbird.

A Pine Marten was observed at the Visitor Centre on the 22nd and 23rd, but
seeing it again may be difficult since its visits are relatively brief.

Tomorrow (Friday, March 28), you will be able to watch live streaming
video of the Visitor Centre bird feeders via the Algonquin Park Webcam at:
http://www.algonquinpark.on.ca/virtual/webcam/index.php

Information about Algonquin Park birding workshops is presented below,
with permission of the Ontbirds coordinator.

BOREAL SPECIALTIES:
Spruce Grouse: Try Spruce Bog Boardwalk. Males have started to display.

Black-backed Woodpecker: A male was excavating a fairly deep cavity in a
dead tree about 150 metres south of the foot bridge at West Rose Lake along
the Mizzy Lake Trail on the 21st. Many of these cavities created in March
and early April will be abandoned later. Most nest cavities of this
woodpecker that get used are excavated from mid April to mid May.

Gray Jay: Continue to be seen on Opeongo Road, at Spruce Bog Boardwalk
and along the Wolf Howl Pond/West Rose Lake section of Mizzy Lake Trail.
Females are now incubating eggs in most of the 24 nests found by researchers
this year.

Boreal Chickadee: One was observed along the old railway bed section of
Mizzy Lake Trail on the 21st; and two were at the suet cage opposite the
trail register on Spruce Bog Boardwalk on the 26th, allowing great photo
opportunities.

WINTER FINCHES:
Purple Finch: About 20 were at the Visitor Centre feeders and others were
seen along the highway this week. Some males are in full song.

Red Crossbill: One was seen on Opeongo Road and two were along the
highway, on the 21st.

White-winged Crossbill: Two streaked independent juveniles were along the
old railway bed section of Mizzy Lake Trail on the 21st. These birds were
likely hatched far from Algonquin. The "winter breeding period" (January to
March) of the White-winged Crossbill is associated with abundant white
spruce cones (acc. to Benkman).

Pine Siskin: A single bird was observed along Opeongo Road on the 21st.

American Goldfinch: Small numbers continue to be seen, at the Visitor Centre
feeders and along the highway.

Evening Grosbeak: Up to 30 were at the Visitor Centre feeders this week,
especially in the morning.


Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists
with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).

The Friends of Algonquin Park is offering birding workshops as part of
its Experience Algonquin Workshop Series:

The "Demystifying Algonquin Park Bird Song Workshop² will be held on
May 31/June 1, 2014. Through indoor and field excursions, discover the
techniques necessary to identify birds and their songs, comparing similar
songsters, and learn how to use today¹s advanced technology to assist in
making an identification. Pre-registration is required.
For more information see: http://tinyurl.com/apbirdsong

The "Identifying Confusing Fall Warblers Workshop² will take place on
August 23/24, 2014. Algonquin Park¹s many warbler species often appear very
similar and can overwhelm birders when found in large multi-species flocks.
Participate in an indoor session to learn techniques to separate confusing
fall warblers and then spend the remainder of the workshop using your newly
acquired skills in Algonquin Park's best birding areas to identify these
fall migrants. Pre-registration is required.
For more information see: http://tinyurl.com/apfallwarblers

Good Birding!
Ron Tozer
Algonquin Park Naturalist (retired)

 

Re(1): RWBB #1 and other signs of spring
Posted on March 27, 2014 at 02:56:29 PM by janice house

We had our first purple finch and American robin this morning. The red-winged blackbird is still at our feeders.

 

 

RWBB #1 and other signs of spring
Posted on March 27, 2014 at 09:25:15 AM by John Challis

Finally! A few signs of spring. Saw and heard my first red-winged blackbird this morning, on Green River Drive in Washago.
And my wife just reported a male purple finch at one of our feeders.
The goldfinches are beginning to show patches of colour change in their plumage.
Canada geese have been congregating in small clusters.
And we have seen American crows and blue jays carrying nesting material.
Lastly - I switched the down parka this morning in favour of a lighter jacket.

 

 

Turkey Vulture
Posted on March 26, 2014 at 08:01:10 PM by TheCardys

Saw one lone Turkey Vulture soaring over Windermere Rd near where it meets Deebank today, Wed March 26. Was coming in very low with a couple Ravens harassing it.

 

 

Re(3): Canada Goose
Posted on March 27, 2014 at 01:07:01 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning a lone Canada Goose came in and circled low over Henry Marsh, honking loudly all the while...probably didn't like the completely iced in condition. Two Canada Geese were sitting on the ice next to a small area of open water on the Muskoka River near the Riverside Inn. (Bracebridge)

 

 

Re(2): Canada Goose
Posted on March 26, 2014 at 06:48:47 PM by FrancesGualtieri

I saw one flying overhead while I was outside yesterday digging out of the snow what was supposed to be next year's wood supply.
Frances Gualtieri
Vankoughnet

 

 

Re(1): Canada Goose
Posted on March 26, 2014 at 03:34:18 PM by Jim Griffin

Had one standing in shallow water by the landing at the rd 10 bridge in Port Sydney Monday afternoon and one fly over in a northward direction yesterday afternoon.

 

 

Canada Goose
Posted on March 26, 2014 at 01:24:03 PM by janice house

a lone goose flew over our yard yesterday, Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst

 

 

Many Bald Eagle sightings around Huntsville...Photo
Posted on March 25, 2014 at 03:09:30 PM by Al Sinclair

There have been many sightings of Bald Eagles around Huntsville this winter. This photo was taken on Mar 24 by Thor Pederson on Chub Lake just south of town. The deer went down on March 23.  photo

 

 

A peck of these are in the area.
Posted on March 25, 2014 at 02:10:02 PM by michaelhatton

Storm today has brought all the regular suspects, including many Downy and Hairy examples, to the suet and seeds. There is a lineup! (Leonard Lake)  photo

 

 

Pileated woodpeckers
Posted on March 24, 2014 at 08:45:11 PM by dinnymccraney

We had 3 pileated woodpeckers here this morning along with 3 bluejays and our usual flock of goldfinches. Quite a colourful sight!
Could one of the woodpeckers have been the offspring of the other two?
(Bracebridge)

 

 

Barred Owls calling
Posted on March 24, 2014 at 01:51:47 PM by Barbara Taylor

Around 11 a.m. this morning we were walking the trails north of Meadow Heights Dr., when we came upon some noisy Blue Jays and a Raven. They seemed rather upset about something in the woods nearby, but it was too far away to see anything. As we stood there a Barred Owl began calling to the south of us. Then another Barred Owl called just north of us, about where the Jays had been. Several Woodpeckers were drumming and Purple Finches and American Goldfinches were singing along the trail near Beaver Creek. Ahhh, the sounds of spring...now if it would just warm up a bit.

Directions: see Google Map
(Access to the snowshoe trails is via the vacant lot between #75 and #79 Meadow Heights Dr., Bracebridge. The trails are currently in excellent condition and hard packed so no need for snowshoes.)

 

 

Re(2): Red-winged Blackbird in Dwight
Posted on March 23, 2014 at 12:50:29 PM by J. Gardner

Had a redwing two days ago... he turned and headed for Florida.. J. Gardner

 

 

Re(1): Red-winged Blackbird in Dwight
Posted on March 23, 2014 at 11:56:13 AM by janice house

one showed up here this morning, Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst

 

 

Red-winged Blackbird in Dwight
Posted on March 23, 2014 at 09:39:43 AM by Rick Stronks

Despite the cold weather, there must still be some migration going on. We had a Red-winged Blackbird show up at our feeder this morning.

 

 

Purple Finch, Ruffed Grouse Bala
Posted on March 23, 2014 at 09:23:35 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

A beautiful male Purple Finch just stopped by in my pin cherry trees. What a treat and glad I just refilled the feeders.

For two days a brightly coloured male Ruffed Grouse has done its darndest to eat every single bud it could get to from the pin cherry trees. First time I have ever seen one here in these trees. Yes, lots of pictures!

 

 

Merlin
Posted on March 22, 2014 at 04:31:29 PM by janice house

Around 2:30 I heard one calling then saw the merlin about an hour later, Laycox Rd & Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst

 

 

Snowy owl
Posted on March 22, 2014 at 11:15:22 AM by John Challis

Gayle here; I saw what I believe to have been a snowy owl flying over Hwy. 11 at Ardtrea yesterday morning. (between Orillia and Cumberland Beach)

 

 

Re(2): Flying Squirrel problem
Posted on March 22, 2014 at 09:24:14 AM by Debbie Adams

Thanks for that info. I'll go looking for a small animal trap.
We can't find where they are getting in, but suspect it may be somewhere along the bottom of the siding. Where exactly is a mystery though.
We hear them in random spots in the outside walls. When I tap the wall from the inside, I can hear them hiss at me. Cheeky!

 

 

Re(1): Flying Squirrel problem
Posted on March 22, 2014 at 08:02:34 AM by Wayne Bridge

We had the same problem two years in a row a few years ago. I used a small animal live trap - I think I bought it at Home Hardware in Huntsville - and that worked wonderfully. I used peanuts in the shell, "glued" down with peanut butter, as bait. As I recall I caught 7 or 8 over the 2 years and released them out in the countryside well away from any urban areas. The problem stopped when I closed up the spot they were using to get in.

 

 

Flying Squirrel problem
Posted on March 21, 2014 at 11:16:48 PM by Debbie Adams

We seem to have flying squirrels living in the outside walls of our home. We've put out live mouse traps and while they want to get at the bait (peanut butter) they can't get inside the traps. Actually, it's amusing watching them trying to get in.

Can anyone suggest another method to catch them so we can release them in a different location?
Thanks

 

 

Great blue heron
Posted on March 21, 2014 at 11:34:48 AM by John Challis

This morning at 7:30 a great blue heron flew over the Green River. It circled a few times over the wetlands near Boyd's Creek and then began working its way further north.
I don't give it great odds for finding a place to hunt for food given the amount of snow cover. But if it finds a place where the water's moving and there are lots of minnows and shiners I suppose it will survive until warmer conditions prevail.

 

 

Algonquin Park Birding Report: 20 March
Posted on March 21, 2014 at 09:37:01 AM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (Mar. 20, 2014) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

New arrivals were limited to two Mourning Doves on the 15th, as abnormally
cold temperatures, virtually no open water and lingering deep snow on the
ground continue to discourage northward movement by migrants.

One to three Ruffed Grouse and three Wild Turkeys are being observed around
the Visitor Centre on most days.

An adult Bald Eagle, some Common Ravens and several Eastern Wolves
(mostly at night and near dawn) made short work of the carcass of a
road-killed deer placed in the Sunday Creek valley off the Visitor Centre
during the last few days of March Break.

BOREAL SPECIALTIES:
Spruce Grouse: A male and female were seen near the edge of the Sunday
Creek Bog south of the highway opposite Spruce Bog Boardwalk on the 15th.

Black-backed Woodpecker: One was observed along Spruce Bog Boardwalk
on the 19th.

Gray Jay: Continue to be seen along Opeongo Road, at Spruce Bog Boardwalk
and along the Wolf Howl Pond/West Rose Lake section of Mizzy Lake Trail.
Some females are incubating eggs now, and so there is a reduction in the
number of individuals available to be seen.

Boreal Chickadee: One was noted along Opeongo Road on the 15th.

WINTER FINCHES:
Purple Finch: Up to 30 were at the Visitor Centre feeders this week.

Red Crossbill: Flyovers were noted at Beaver Pond Trail on the 15th, and two
were seen at Brewer Lake on the 19th.

White-winged Crossbill: Two were along the northern part of Opeongo Road
on the 14th; four were at Spruce Bog Boardwalk on the 16th; and one was at
Brewer Lake on the 19th.

Pine Siskin: Four were reported along the highway on the 15th.

American Goldfinch: One or two are regular at the Visitor Centre feeders,
and small groups are being seen along Highway 60 and Opeongo Road.

Evening Grosbeak: Up to 43 were at the Visitor Centre feeders this week,
especially in the morning.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists
with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).

Good Birding!
Ron Tozer
Algonquin Park Naturalist (retired)

 

 

Gull over Indian River
Posted on March 19, 2014 at 07:21:08 PM by Doug Smith

There was a lone gull flying over the Indian River in Port Carling yesterday. Too far away for an ID, but possibly a sign of spring!

 

 

chipmunk
Posted on March 18, 2014 at 09:26:22 AM by John Challis

Our first chipmunk around the house made a bold foray through the empty lot beside our house in Washago last Saturday morning. It hasn't reappeared since, and given the cold I don't blame it. Maybe when the thermometer creeps back above the freezing mark today?

 

 

Re(2): Washago Centennial Park Dock
Posted on March 18, 2014 at 08:59:17 AM by janice house

Stephanie and the gentleman from King City with the wonderful Kowa scope made it possible. No sign of the trumpeter swan with the fishing line hanging from it's bill

 

 

Re(1): Washago Centennial Park Dock
Posted on March 18, 2014 at 07:24:13 AM by Goodyear

Yeeaahh, Janice!! Fourth time is the charm!!

 

 

Washago Centennial Park Dock
Posted on March 17, 2014 at 09:40:20 PM by janice house

At Centennial Park dock tonight, great blue heron fly by, immature bald eagle, 2 red foxes out on the edge of the ice, common, red breasted and hooded mergansers, male bufflehead, male wood duck and finally barrow's goldeneye (7:15), 300+ common goldeneye, 50+ trumpeter swans, 2 mute swans, lots of mallards

 

 

Snow Buntings - Bracebridge
Posted on March 17, 2014 at 08:48:17 AM by Goodyear

Late yesterday afternoon we saw 14 Snow Buntings at the hospital helipad in Bracebridge.

 

 

Redhead
Posted on March 16, 2014 at 00:00:23 AM by SueReese

One male Redhead duck on the river for a short while this morning with a handful of Common Goldeneyes. South of Little Falls at Washago.

 

 

Algonquin Park Birding Report: 13 March
Posted on March 14, 2014 at 09:57:54 AM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (March 13, 2014) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Migrants (Northern Saw-whet Owl, American Crow and European Starling)
observed this week gave us hope that winter may eventually subside.

The Visitor Centre exhibits and restaurant are open daily from 9 am to
5 pm during March Break (March 8 to 16, inclusive).

Information about Algonquin Park birding workshops is presented below,
with permission of the Ontbirds coordinator.

BOREAL SPECIALTIES:
Spruce Grouse: One was seen at Spruce Bog Boardwalk on the 9th.

Black-backed Woodpecker: One was drumming at Spruce Bog Boardwalk on
the 9th and two were heard drumming in black spruce along Opeongo Road
on the 10th.

Gray Jay: Being seen along Opeongo Road, at Spruce Bog Boardwalk and along
the Wolf Howl Pond/West Rose Lake section of Mizzy Lake Trail.

Boreal Chickadee: Three were observed at Spruce Bog Boardwalk on the 9th,
and three were noted along Opeongo Road at the open gate on the 10th.

WINTER FINCHES:
Purple Finch: Up to 30 were at the Visitor Centre feeders this week.

Red Crossbill: A few were reported at various locations this week, including
20 along the highway at km 30 on the 10th.

White-winged Crossbill: Nine were along Opeongo Road on the 8th and 9th;
12 were over Spruce Bog Boardwalk on the 8th; and three were near Killarney
Lodge on Lake of Two Rivers on the 11th.

Pine Siskin: Three were along Opeongo Road on the 8th, and two were reported
along the highway near Killarney Lodge on the 11th.

American Goldfinch: A few are regular at the Visitor Centre feeders, and
small groups were frequently seen along Highway 60.

Evening Grosbeak: About 40 were at the Visitor Centre feeders this week,
especially in the morning.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists
with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).

The Friends of Algonquin Park are offering birding workshops as part of
their Experience Algonquin Workshop Series:

The "Demystifying Algonquin Park Bird Song Workshop² will be held on
May 31/June 1, 2014. Through indoor and field excursions, discover the
techniques necessary to identify birds and their songs, comparing similar
songsters, and learn how to use today¹s advanced technology to assist in
making an identification. Pre-registration is required.
For more information see: http://tinyurl.com/apbirdsong

The "Identifying Confusing Fall Warblers Workshop² will take place on
August 23/24, 2014. Algonquin Park¹s many warbler species often appear very
similar and can overwhelm birders when found in large multi-species flocks.
Participate in an indoor session to learn techniques to separate confusing
fall warblers and then spend the remainder of the workshop using your newly
acquired skills in Algonquin Park's best birding areas to identify these
fall migrants. Pre-registration is required.
For more information see: http://tinyurl.com/apfallwarblers

Good Birding!
Ron Tozer
Algonquin Park Naturalist (retired)
Dwight, ON

 

 

Huntsville Nature Club Meeting, March 25, 2014
Posted on March 12, 2014 at 05:33:13 PM by BevEaston

On Tuesday, March 25, the Huntsville Nature Club will present a talk by Dan Strickland about his recent trip to Madagascar, a naturalist’s paradise of endemic bird families, lemurs and chameleons. The meeting is at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church Hall on West Street at 7 pm. Guests are always welcome. A $3 donation is appreciated.

For more information regarding the Huntsville Nature Club, contact Ken Morrison (705) 789-1407.

 

 

Re(1): otter shenanigans
Posted on March 13, 2014 at 03:16:03 PM by coreyhkh

possibly any of those but they are very playful by nature so it could of just been having fun.

 

 

otter shenanigans
Posted on March 11, 2014 at 04:29:13 PM by John Challis

Yesterday morning I watched an otter engage in some fascinating activity downstream from our place on the Green River, Washago. It climbed up onto a dock -- or the metre-deep mound of snow on top of the dock -- and then did a rapid series of handstands, hopping up and down on its hind feet with its tail undulating in waves behind each hop.
It then climbed down from the dock, sniffed around and did a few rolls in the snow, dipped into the water, rolled in the snow again, and then climbed up on the dock and repeated its bum-bounce routine.
Would it have been expressing musk? Purging a bit of gas? I've never seen this sort of performance before.

 

 

Gull and Jays feeding
Posted on March 11, 2014 at 03:02:13 PM by Debbie Adams

We just spotted our first Gull of the year while we out walking on the lake. (Lake Muskoka)
It was swooping up and down along the shoreline and then headed towards Port Carling.

Also, we noticed on the weekend Jays feeding each other.
(Walker's Point)

 

 

Re(3): Brown Creeper singing
Posted on March 16, 2014 at 09:02:00 PM by missyinmuskoka

I have been hearing and seeing one for the last couple of weeks but finally got a photo of him or her... What a challenge! They are quick!  photo

 

 

Re(2): Brown Creeper singing
Posted on March 14, 2014 at 02:02:29 PM by janice house

I heard one last night, it seemed to be following us down the road unless there were several ( Doe Lake Rd/ Laycox Rd Gravenhurst)

 

 

Re(1): Brown Creeper singing
Posted on March 11, 2014 at 12:24:51 PM by catmaclean

I finally heard one this am along with Purple Finches and Red Breasted Nuthatches  (Huntsville)

 

 

Re(1): Brown Creeper singing
Posted on March 11, 2014 at 07:28:24 AM by Wayne Bridge

There was one singing in the woods behind our house yesterday morning [Kearney - half hour NE of Huntsville].

 

 

Brown Creeper singing
Posted on March 10, 2014 at 05:19:23 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there was a Brown Creeper singing along the trail between Henry Marsh and the Bracebridge Ponds, near the east end. (First time we've heard its spring song this year.)

You can listen to a Brown Creeper at: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/brown_creeper/sounds.
The Macaulay Library is another great online source of bird calls and songs.

 

 

Re(1): Trumpeter Swan in Washago needs help
Posted on March 10, 2014 at 04:25:05 PM by janice house

Susan Best has answered my post on the Simcoe Board, the Trumpeter Swan Restoration folks have been notified. She was there twice today but did not see the swan, please post on the Simcoe Board if you see the swan, thanks.

 

 

Trumpeter Swan in Washago needs help
Posted on March 9, 2014 at 07:36:00 PM by janice house

I just back from my 3rd attempt to see the Barrows Goldeneye. There is a swan with a big tangle of fishing line hanging from its bill hanging about the dock at Centennial Park. A nice couple from Barrie are feeding the swans corn, they had made several phone calls for help but did not received a reply before they left for home. The swan seems able to eat but keeps shaking its head trying to dislodge the fishing line. p.s. also present was a male northern pintail, a red breasted merganser pair and several hooded mergansers.

 

 

White-winged Scoter -- Bala
Posted on March 9, 2014 at 01:23:15 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning we were in Bala, so checked out the open water below the falls. There was a White-winged Scoter (most likely same bird first reported by Rick Stronks Feb. 17) as well as several Common Goldeneyes and a few Common Mergansers. The Scoter swam in very close to where we were standing on the bridge...figures, no camera with us, but at least we had great looks with our binoculars.

 

 

Glen Orchard - Port Carling - Black-backed Woodpecker, Long-tailed Duck, R. B. Mergansers, Greater Scaup?
Posted on March 9, 2014 at 09:13:07 AM by Goodyear

During yesterday's tracking outing in Glen Orchard we saw recent activity of a Black-backed Woodpecker - a large pile of bark chips below a hemlock with large bare patches about a metre long. After the outing four of us stopped at Port Carling to check the river. At Steamship Bay there was a male Red-breasted Merganser, along with several Common Goldeneye and a few Common Mergansers. A lone Canada Goose was under the docks near the LCBO and two dead birds were floating at the edge of the ice. One of the dead birds was an adult male Red-breasted Merganser, the other was hard to make out, but it looked like it might be a Red-necked Grebe. From Hanna Park we saw more Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers, along with a female Long-tailed Duck, two more Red-breasted Mergansers, and two scaup. The scaup were distant or in bright sparkling water, but they looked to be Greater Scaup 80% of the time (rounded head, bulging cheeks, bright white sides, large spatulate shaped bills with large nail), but then fooled us the other 20% of the time and looked more like Lesser Scaup - headscratchers! No sign of the Red-headed Woodpecker.

 

 

Algonquin Park Birding Report: 6 March
Posted on March 7, 2014 at 04:17:35 PM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (Mar. 6, 2014) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Good winter bird viewing opportunities continue in Algonquin, and some
amelioration of temperatures is making birding much more pleasant.

The Visitor Centre exhibits and restaurant will be open daily from 9 am to
5 pm during March Break (March 8 to 16, inclusive). This is a great time to
come and see the big flock of Evening Grosbeaks at the feeders there, a rare
experience in southern Ontario since the 1980s.

BOREAL SPECIALTIES:
Spruce Grouse: One was seen at the entrance to Spruce Bog Boardwalk
on the 1st.

Black-backed Woodpecker: One was at campsite #96 in Mew Lake
Campground on February 26.

Gray Jay: Being seen along Opeongo Road, at Spruce Bog Boardwalk and
at Leaf Lake Ski Trail entrance.

Boreal Chickadee: Try the Wolf Howl Pond/West Rose Lake area on Mizzy
Lake Trail and the black spruce section along Opeongo Road (which is open
and plowed to the access point on Lake Opeongo).

WINTER FINCHES:
Purple Finch: Small numbers continue to be regular at the Visitor Centre
feeders.

Red Crossbill: A few reported along Highway 60 and Opeongo Road.

White-winged Crossbill: Observed at Spruce Bog Boardwalk and along
Opeongo Road.

American Goldfinch: A few are regular at the Visitor Centre feeders, and
along Highway 60.

Evening Grosbeak: About 35 were at the Visitor Centre feeders this week,
especially in the morning.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists
with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).

Good Birding!
Ron Tozer
Algonquin Park Naturalist (retired)
Dwight, ON

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 Information Guide (with a map of birding
locations mentioned here) at the East Gate or the West Gate. Locations are
also described at: www.algonquinpark.on.ca

The Visitor Centre exhibits and restaurant at km 43 are open on weekends
from 9 am to 5 pm during winter, and daily during March Break (March 8
to 16).

The Visitor Centre has recent bird sightings and information. It is usually
possible to access the building on weekdays in winter from 9 am to
4 pm. Visitors are welcome to bring a packed lunch and use the restaurant
seating area on weekdays. Hot and cold beverages, and light snacks are
available to purchase then, as well as the use of a microwave.

For more information see the Algonquin Park events calendar at:
http://www.algonquinpark.on.ca/involved/calendar/

 

 

bald eagle
Posted on March 5, 2014 at 10:19:01 PM by John Challis

Immature bald eagle seen this afternoon over the Green River in Washago - once coasting over the open water at the bend by Green River Drive near Cooper's Falls road and again in "downtown" Washago over open water. Seen by Gayle during the day, not me.

 

 

CBC Radio - snowy owls
Posted on March 5, 2014 at 02:34:08 PM by janice house

At lunch today there was a gentleman speaking about the snowy owl irruption of 2014, the website is Project Snowstorm

 

 

Photos of the Barrow's Goldeneye at Washago
Posted on March 5, 2014 at 10:04:01 AM by Al Sinclair

This link was posted on Ontbirds by Arni Stinnissen of Orillia. You should not look for this bird until after 5pm as they feed elsewhere during the day. It would be nice if we could find it somewhere in Muskoka, maybe on the north side of the Severn river (I need this one for Muskoka).
http://www.flickr.com/photos/astinnissen/

 

Purple Finches and Bluejays
Posted on March 5, 2014 at 09:51:07 AM by dinnymccraney

Lots more colour at the feeders this morning with the return of these birds. (Bracebridge) Perhaps spring really IS around the corner??

 

 

Long-tailed Duck etc
Posted on March 3, 2014 at 07:02:13 PM by CliffRummenie

Today 1:30 at Port Severn:
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) 2
Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) 6
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 6
Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis) 1 male non breeding
Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) 70
Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus merganser/serrator) 2

 

 

Re(5): Frozen Lake Huron
Posted on March 6, 2014 at 08:05:23 AM by Al Sinclair

The link between zebra mussels and fish eaters like mergansers is the Round Goby, an invasive species that eats mussels. This link has been identified as the cause of recent botulism outbreaks in birds in the great lakes.

 

 

Re(4): Frozen Lake Huron
Posted on March 5, 2014 at 10:53:44 PM by John Challis

I seem to recall mention of scaups being heavy consumers of zebra mussels in Lake Erie. Checking some of the literature, both scaups and goldeneyes seem to be the ones that mainly take advantage of zebra mussels on the Great Lakes (several research articles from the 1990s make reference to them). I didn't find any reference to red-breasted mergansers but this could be a new opportunist in the last decade. I found a video of a pair of mallards picking zebra mussels off a dock post taken out of the water (at least so claims the person who posted the video; it's hard to tell what they're pulling off the wood but they're going to a lot of effort).

 

 

Re(3): Frozen Lake Huron
Posted on March 3, 2014 at 05:31:57 PM by Al Sinclair

It seems to me that big water bird sightings inland never happened back in the 70s and 80s when the lakes froze over every year. So I'm thinking there must be more birds trying to winter on Lake Huron and Georgian Bay now, maybe because of climate change or maybe the presence of a new food source like zebra mussels or round gobies. An interesting thing for me is that until spring 2013 I didn't even have Red-breasted Merganser on my Muskoka list, now they're all over Muskoka. So I would say there must be a population increase on the great lakes maybe caused by the presence of invasive species like zebra mussels.

 

 

Re(2): Frozen Lake Huron
Posted on March 3, 2014 at 04:54:54 PM by Peter Mills

Neat puzzle to figure out!

First of all, I see by scrolling back that actually Al Sinclair beat me to the news more than a couple of weeks back.
Below are two more photos: one from February 8th, and the other from the 10th.  photo1  photo2

The clouds complicate the pictures a fair bit, but it looks like most of the final sealing over happened around then, especially on the west shore of Lake Huron proper.

So, did all these cottage country big-water ducks fly from there to here? It is a good point to bring up that waterfowl could already be moving northward, but I don't think that scoters and red-breasted mergansers in particular ever associate with these small parcels of open water. I don't think I've ever seen either of those species on small inland rivers, even in migration. It seems like pretty good evidence to me that this is due to the frozen lake, and maybe that because it is late winter their body condition is poor and that's why they haven't flown to "greener pastures" like Lake Ontario which is still very open. (Lake Erie looks mostly frozen now too)

 

 

Re(1): Frozen Lake Huron
Posted on March 2, 2014 at 09:51:05 PM by Barbara Taylor

What's the consensus thinking on these "inland birds"?
Were they wintering on Lake Huron/Georgian Bay and have been forced off the lake as it froze up? Or are they early migrants which headed north, but unfortunately didn't find the usual open water when they got here?

P.S. -
NOAA has a great website where you can monitor the ice on the Great Lakes. If you go to the Lake Huron page you can see the modeled ice concentration which gets updated every day. Also, you can see the ice conditions for the past 60 days by clicking the Animation link underneath the GLSEA Composite of all the Great Lakes (top left diagram). The Lake Huron page

 

 

Frozen Lake Huron
Posted on March 2, 2014 at 07:52:47 PM by Peter Mills

It seems like Lake Huron and Georgian Bay have frozen over with all these reports of big-water ducks and such inland in cottage country.
This photo was taken today: photo

 

 

Winter waterfowl, Eagles, and a Robin
Posted on March 2, 2014 at 06:37:12 PM by Goodyear

We toured some of the open water areas today looking for waterfowl. Some of the highlights were 1 Red-necked Grebe at Port Carling, the continuing White-winged Scoter at Bala which was just below the falls and gave great looks,and male and female Long-tailed Ducks and 8 Red-breasted Mergansers at Port Severn. At Port Severn we also had great looks at a first year and an adult Bald Eagle as they lazily circled the locks area. An American Robin drinking at a small hole in the ice at Bala was unexpected but made for a welcome sign of spring.

 

 

Red-headed Woodpecker still in Port Carling
Posted on March 2, 2014 at 06:12:45 PM by Rick Stronks

Kelly and I saw the Red-headed Woodpecker today in Port Carling

 

 

Great Gray owl
Posted on March 2, 2014 at 10:03:19 AM by Stan fairchild

I saw a Great Gray owl at Burks Falls on hwy 520 just passed Pete's hill rd north side

 

 

Muskoka Field Naturalists - next meeting March 6
Posted on March 2, 2014 at 09:43:49 AM by Barbara Taylor

MFN meeting Thursday, March 6, at 7:30 p.m., in Gravenhurst

CANADA'S EVERGLADES with David Featherstone
David is the manager of watershed monitoring with Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority. His program will bring the amazing Minesing Swamp to life. The wetland is the largest and best example of a fen bog in southern Ontario and one of the most diverse undisturbed wetland tracts in Canada.  It provides habitat for over 400 plant species (11 provincially rare) and 206 species of birds. There will be a canoe or car hike arranged for a later date if enough interest is shown.  

Meetings for February through June are held at the Muskoka Boat & Heritage Centre (Grace and Speed) at Muskoka Wharf, 275 Steamship Bay Road in Gravenhurst.
All meetings commence at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise indicated. Visitors welcome to attend.
source: MFN website - http://www.muskokafieldnaturalists.com

 

 

Another Merganser rescue - photo
Posted on March 1, 2014 at 06:25:27 PM by Barbara Taylor

Lisa Prasuhn reports today "found a beautiful red breasted merganser on a highway near Alliston - took him to rehab facility in Pefferlaw. He was exhausted and probably starving. I found the bird around 7:30 am intersection of industrial bypass and Church st."

Here is Lisa's photo: Red-breasted Merganser rescued near Alliston

 

 

Algonquin Park Birding Report: 27 February
Posted on February 28, 2014 at 09:34:17 AM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (Feb. 27, 2014) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Winter continues unabated in Algonquin, but a few very early signs of spring
are being noted. Barred Owls and Northern Saw-whet Owls are calling near the
Park, and likely within it as well although unreported. Researchers have now
found eight Gray Jay nests under construction.

Tomorrow (Friday, February 28), you will be able to watch live streaming
video of the Visitor Centre bird feeders via the Algonquin Park Webcam at:
http://www.algonquinpark.on.ca/virtual/webcam/index.php

BOREAL SPECIALTIES:
Spruce Grouse: One was observed feeding in a spruce at campsite #1 in
Mew Lake Campground on February 22. Although infrequently seen in this
campground, Spruce Grouse inhabit nearby spruce stands bordering the
Madawaska River.

Black-backed Woodpecker: Try the Wolf Howl Pond/West Rose Lake area
on Mizzy Lake Trail.

Gray Jay: Seen regularly along Opeongo Road and at Spruce Bog Boardwalk.

Boreal Chickadee: The Wolf Howl Pond/West Rose Lake area on Mizzy Lake
Trail and the black spruce section along Opeongo Road continue to produce
sightings.

WINTER FINCHES:
Purple Finch: Regular at the Visitor Centre feeders, and elsewhere along
Highway 60 such as the entrance to Mew Lake Campground where they are
frequently seen feeding on ash seeds.

Red Crossbill: A few are being seen and heard at various locations along
Highway 60 and Opeongo Road.

White-winged Crossbill: Good locations to observe this species include
Spruce Bog Boardwalk and Opeongo Road.

American Goldfinch: A few are regular at the Visitor Centre feeders.

Evening Grosbeak: About 45 were at the Visitor Centre feeders this week,
especially in the morning.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists
with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).

Good Birding!
Ron Tozer
Algonquin Park Naturalist (retired)
Dwight, ON

 

 

Cooper's Hawk
Posted on February 27, 2014 at 05:50:53 PM by Barbara Taylor

A Cooper's Hawk has been staking out the neighbourhood, but until today I've only caught quick glimpses of the bird as it swooped through our yard. This afternoon it almost got a Mourning Dove off the feeder, but after a flurry of feathers, the hawk came up empty. It perched just long enough for this quick shot. (Bracebridge)  photo

 

 

yellow goldfinches
Posted on February 27, 2014 at 10:59:53 AM by dinnymccraney

My goldfinches are turning yellow! Can spring be far behind???

 

 

...and two on the river at the Centre St. Bridge
Posted on February 26, 2014 at 03:43:53 PM by Goodyear

There are now four Red-breasted Mergansers in the Huntsville downtown area. Two adult males on the river at the Main Street Bridge, and an adult male and what appears to be a first winter male (with black feathering coming in on the face) on the river at the Centre Street Bridge.

 

 

Two Red-breasted Mergansers - Huntsville - Main St. Bridge
Posted on February 26, 2014 at 11:05:45 AM by Goodyear

There are now two male Red-breasted Mergansers on the river at the Main Street Bridge in Huntsville, along with 200+ Mallards, and several Black Ducks.

 

 

Purple Finches
Posted on February 26, 2014 at 10:33:05 AM by Jim Griffin

Have the first purple finches at my feeders in Port Sydney today, it has been a quiet winter for birds so this pair is an improvement.

 

 

Red breasted mergansers Parry Sound
Posted on February 26, 2014 at 09:13:42 AM by Stan Fairchild

Red-breasted mergansers ,along with common Goldeneyes and greater scaup are now staying in the open fish cages on Parry Island as it is the only open water around.
They Are finding lots of food as well as the Eagles that have been there all winter.

 

Merganser rescued near Barkway
Posted on February 25, 2014 at 01:58:32 PM by Al Sinclair

Monday afternoon Peggy Beatty on Ben Lk Rd noticed a bird on the snow in the field near their house. It eventually walked over to the house and spent the night beside the wall. They caught it this morning put it in a box and gave me a call, described it as having orange legs and a long bill. I suggested it was likely a merganser and they should take it down to Washago where there is open water. They looked it up and agreed but weren't sure if it was a common or red-breasted. They took it to Washago and it swam away apparently unharmed. It must have been looking for open water and flew until it was exhausted and had to land. They have to run across open water to take off so it was stranded.

 

 

spruce grouse - Algonquin Park
Posted on February 24, 2014 at 04:42:02 PM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Keir Weseloh on ONTBIRDS (Feb. 24, 2014) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

A spruce grouse on camp site #1 at Mew Lake camp grounds in Algonquin park.
At the back of the camp site, feeding on Spruce tips.

 

 

Re(2): Kowa Spotting Scope for Sale
Posted on February 27, 2014 at 03:54:24 PM by eleanor kee wellman

Scope sold!

 

 

Kowa Spotting Scope for Sale
Posted on February 24, 2014 at 04:17:01 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

A friend who lives in Scarborough has a Kowa T883 Spotting Scope for sale with a 20x 60 eyepiece and Manfrotto 128 RC tripod for the low price of $1600. On sale new the price would be $3550. The price is FOB Toronto (Scarborough) Contact me if you are interested.

I paid $1600 for mine used about 8 years ago without the tripod!

The scope itself without eyepiece is $2099 from B & H.

 

 

Re(2): Barrow's Goldeneye - Washago
Posted on March 3, 2014 at 04:22:06 PM by Barbara Taylor

That's too bad you missed it Terry. Karl Konze reports it was seen yesterday (Sunday, March 2nd) at 5:35 p.m., so might be worth another try.
see http://ontbirds.ca/pipermail/birdalert_ontbirds.ca/Week-of-Mon-20140303/035736.html

 

 

Re(1): Barrow's Goldeneye - Washago
Posted on March 2, 2014 at 08:23:53 PM by Terry & Marion Whittam

I searched for the Barrow's Goldeneye on Friday and Saturday 5pm to 6:15pm, but no luck.
Lots of Goldeneye's flew in each evening! A juvenile Bald eagle flew right over the Washago dock on Friday about 5:15pm checking out the ducks and trumpeter's. Counted 95 trumpeter swans on Friday.... a record for me!
Good birding,
Terry

 

 

Re(1): Barrow's Goldeneye - Washago
Posted on February 25, 2014 at 07:44:59 PM by Barbara Taylor

The Barrow's Goldeneye is still around. It was seen today by Andrew Keaveney, again after 5 p.m. when the Goldeneyes start streaming in from the north.

Here's a link to his report on Ontbirds: http://ontbirds.ca/pipermail/birdalert_ontbirds.ca/Week-of-Mon-20140224/035702.html
And this link takes you to his complete checklist on eBirds: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S17204188

 

 

Re(2): Hooded Merganser
Posted on February 24, 2014 at 02:09:17 PM by Barbara Taylor

John, there was a male Hooded Merganser at Washago first reported by Dave Hawke Feb. 9. And we reported one Feb. 16 near the Quetton St. docks, but it was at the opposite side of the road. So perhaps it has been hanging around and is the same bird David and Regan found yesterday...it's probably been playing hide-and-seek with you. ;)

The only other recent reports I've noted is one at the side of Hwy. 60 in Algonquin Park on Feb. 11, but it had disappeared by the time staff rescuers arrived. And eBird shows a sighting of a pair in Haliburton by the rapids Feb. 14 - photo.

 

 

Re(1): Barrow's Goldeneye - Washago
Posted on February 24, 2014 at 11:55:04 AM by John Challis

And here we've been watching the goldeneyes for weeks, occasionally speculating on the unlikelihood of a Barrow's being in theird midst. Good eye, David.
Further down river, where we live, there have been upwards of 70 goldeneyes rafting together during the day and chattering with their weird little calls. Likely the source of the fly-ins at the lake-edge at the town park later in the day.
The hoodie must be the first in the area; I've been keeping my eyes peeled for them but haven't seen any yet.

 

 

Re(2): Barrow's Goldeneye - Washago
Posted on February 24, 2014 at 07:11:49 AM by Goodyear

Unfortunately, Washago is in Simcoe County. Interestingly,most of the Goldeneyes were flying in to the lake for the evening, coming somewhere from the north/northeast!! We had been watching the swans for a while and were going to head home when small flocks of Goldeneye started arriving. A flock of about 20 birds put down and the Barrow's was in that flock. Perhaps they were coming from Cooper's Falls or the Kahshe narrows?

 

 

Re(1): Barrow's Goldeneye - Washago
Posted on February 23, 2014 at 08:50:43 PM by Doug Smith

Congrats David! A nice find. Does this count for Muskoka, being in Washago?

 

 

Re(2): Barrow's Goldeneye - Washago
Posted on February 23, 2014 at 09:02:17 PM by Doug Smith

The website below has some great photos showing the 2 species together, allowing for close comparison's, as described perfectly by David. Maybe there are more around right now!?
http://ksbirds.org/gallery/BAGO_SG_2005.htm

 

 

Barrow's Goldeneye - Washago
Posted on February 23, 2014 at 07:17:01 PM by Goodyear

On our way home from Guelph late this afternoon, we decided to stop at Washago to check out the swans and see what else might be around. We stopped near the bridge and dock on Quetton Street at Washago Centennial Park just after 5:00. Mixed in with a flock of Common Goldeneye was a male Barrow's Goldeneye. It was out on the open water of the lake and viewed through a scope. It had dark upperparts, which totally surrounded small spots of white on the shoulder area, a small dark spur at the front edge of the sides, and another line of white behind the white spots; a steep forehead, with a crescent of white on the face, a noticeably shorter, stubbier looking bill; the different head shape was quite evident when compared to the Common Goldeneyes beside it; it also had a larger, wider looking,helmet-shaped nape; from the rear the darker sides were quite evident and were what initially drew our attention to the bird. Unfortunately, when we spotted it, it was heading out towards the lake with most of the other Goldeneyes.

In addition to the many Common Goldeneyes, there were several Common Mergansers along with one male Red-breasted Merganser, a male Hooded Merganser, a male Northern Pintail, approx. 25 Trumpeter Swans, 2 Mute Swans, lots of Mallards close to the dock area along with a few Black Ducks. Many ducks were flying in from the north/northeast as evening fell. Where do they spend the day???

 

 

Bohemians
Posted on February 23, 2014 at 11:45:13 AM by DBurton

About 20 Bohemian Waxwings today at Lake Bernard Drive and Main Street in Sundridge.

 

 

Algonquin Park Birding Report: 20 February
Posted on February 20, 2014 at 09:56:36 PM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (Feb. 20, 2014) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Despite this winter's very cold temperatures and deep snow here, remnants
of earlier groups of Wild Turkeys still persisted this week: Mew Lake
Campground (1), Trailer Sanitation Station (2) and Visitor Centre (1).

The first Gray Jay nest under construction was found on the 18th. The nest
of this same banded pair was the first one discovered last year as well, but
on February 24, nearly a week later. Spring has sprung!

The frequency of calling by Boreal Chickadees increases from late February
through March and reaches a peak just before winter flock breakup. More
calling makes it easier to locate them in the dense spruce foliage they
frequent. Observations this week suggest that increased calling may be
starting to occur.

Numbers of both crossbill species continue to be low, but reports are
increasing as the weather improves and more birders are out looking.

The first Pine Siskin reports since early December occurred this week.

BOREAL SPECIALTIES:
Spruce Grouse: One was displaying along Spruce Bog Boardwalk on the
16th.

Black-backed Woodpecker: One was seen between Wolf Howl Pond and
March Hare Lake on the Mizzy Lake Trail on the 15th. Another was
drumming and calling at km 7 on Highway 60 on the 16th.

Gray Jay: Regular along Opeongo Road, at Spruce Bog Boardwalk, near
the East Gate, and in Mew Lake Campground.

Boreal Chickadee: On the 15th, eight were reported near West Rose Lake
on Mizzy Lake Trail; two were visiting the suet feeder opposite the register
box on Spruce Bog Boardwalk; and one was along Opeongo Road. Three
were seen on Bat Lake Trail on the 17th.

WINTER FINCHES:
Purple Finch: Up to 45 were at the Visitor Centre feeders, and small flocks
were observed along Highway 60.

Red Crossbill: Groups of two to seven were observed on Bat Lake Trail, on
Spruce Bog Boardwalk, along Highway 60, and at the East Gate this week.

White-winged Crossbill: Locations with small flocks included along
Highway 60, Mizzy Lake Trail, Bat Lake Trail, Spruce Bog Boardwalk and
Opeongo Road.

Pine Siskin: There were three on the Barron Canyon Trail (east side of
Algonquin Park) on the 15th; three along Opeongo Road on the 16th; and
three on Bat Lake Trail on the 17th.

American Goldfinch: Small flocks are present along Highway 60 getting
grit. There were 93 counted along the road on the 15th.

Evening Grosbeak: Up to 60 were at the Visitor Centre feeders this week,
especially in the morning.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists
with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).

Good Birding!
Ron Tozer
Algonquin Park Naturalist (retired)
Dwight, ON

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 Information Guide (with a map of birding
locations mentioned here) at the East Gate or the West Gate. Locations are
also described at: www.algonquinpark.on.ca

The Visitor Centre and restaurant at km 43 are open on weekends from
9 am to 5 pm during winter.

The Visitor Centre has recent bird sightings and information. It is usually
possible to access the building on weekdays in winter from 9 am to
4 pm. Visitors are welcome to bring a packed lunch and use the restaurant
seating area on weekdays. Hot and cold beverages, and light snacks are
available to purchase then, as well as the use of a microwave.

For more information see the 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

 

 

Saw Whet owls calling
Posted on February 20, 2014 at 08:34:10 AM by AndrewWagnerChazalon

Heard two owls calling on Feb 19 around 11 p.m., on Cedar Lane near Kirk Line. One was fairly close -- heard it calling repeatedly at various speeds and moving south, toward the river. The other was off in the distance, likely south of the river. Yay spring!

 

 

Barred Owl calling
Posted on February 19, 2014 at 09:16:12 PM by Al Sinclair

Heard the first Barred Owl this year tonight just after 6pm. Called 4 times in 10 minutes. Sign of spring! 8km east of Bracebridge.

 

 

Re(2): Raccoon
Posted on February 20, 2014 at 05:08:42 PM by Barb Staples

Every few years here, a black squirrel will get at the pure beef fat for a day then disappear, doesn't make a habit of it. I never knew it was not normal! On the other hand, red squirrels enjoy it daily as much as the birds do. They partake of the maple sap collecting every spring also. Sunny Lake, Gravenhurst.

 

 

Re(1): Racoon
Posted on February 20, 2014 at 02:03:32 PM by Barbara Taylor

Our suet has been disappearing too, but in our case it is a different thief...a Gray Squirrel! We've had the occasional Red Squirrel gnawing at the suet, but have never seen nor heard tell of a Gray Squirrel with a fondness for suet. This isn't the processed suet with nuts and seeds in it, just a plain hunk of raw beef fat. The particular Gray Squirrel is quite brown in colour -- so far all the other colour morph squirrels show no interest in the suet as usual. (Bracebridge)

 

 

Racoon
Posted on February 19, 2014 at 09:04:17 PM by Barb Staples

At this moment a burly raccoon is gobbling up the suet, has been here quite a while in spite of dog barking furiously from indoors. Sunny Lake, Gravenhurst.

 

 

Port Severn, Sightings
Posted on February 19, 2014 at 07:16:29 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

No ducks found at Big Chute but some at Port Severn. About 20 Common Goldeneye, at least 1 male and 2 female Red-breasted Mergansers, 3 Long-tailed Ducks.

 

 

New visitors
Posted on February 19, 2014 at 11:13:00 AM by JLS

Since Monday, 17th, we've been seeing an opossum eating seeds on the ground under our bird feeders. Seems to get along with the red squirrels feeding near by. Today, we also had a red fox visit the same area. It'll soon be time to take down the feeders in order not to encourage the bears. Last year, we were too late & new feeders were required this season!  (Washago)

 

 

Mergansers in Port Carling
Posted on February 18, 2014 at 08:08:53 PM by Doug Smith

Saw the pair of red-breasted mergansers in Port today, near the liquor store. Down at Hanna Park there was one male common merganser, along with 30+ goldeneye.

 

 

goldfinches and wild turkeys
Posted on February 18, 2014 at 02:09:49 PM by dinnymccraney

I knew it must be snowing out when I woke to see the goldfinches back at the feeders after an absence of a week.
Then as I was enjoying the view from the front window, 9 wild turkeys came running in single file down the middle of the road! When they saw 2 golden retrievers being walked ahead of them, they abruptly turned left and disappeared behind a house.(South Muskoka Drive)

 

 

Re(1): Red-headed Woodpecker Port Carling seen again today
Posted on February 18, 2014 at 04:34:32 PM by janice house

I was there yesterday around noon, no sign of the woodpecker at the home or at the park. I did hear some tapping but could not locate the bird.

 

 

Red-headed Woodpecker Port Carling seen again today
Posted on February 18, 2014 at 01:56:00 PM by Al Sinclair

The Red-headed Woodpecker was back again at 8 Harris St in Port Carling. I was just talking to Morley Stephen and he saw it at the feeder at 1:10.
 

 

 

Re(1): bird houses
Posted on February 20, 2014 at 04:42:15 PM by Barbara Taylor

Several cavity nesting birds in our area will use birdhouses - these include both Red-breasted and White-breasted Nuthatches, Black-capped Chickadee, Great Crested Flycatcher, House Wren, Tree Swallow, and Eastern Bluebird. If you're by a pond where you've seen Wood Ducks, you could try a birdhouse for them too. Barred Owls will also use a nestbox, but the size of the box and getting it attached high enough onto a tree makes the project rather difficult.

Here are a few references which should assist you:

Hinterland Who's Who:
http://www.hww.ca/en/issues-and-topics/nest-boxes-for-birds.html

Cornell Lab of Ornithology - Nestwatch:
http://nestwatch.org/learn/nest-box-resource-center/nest-box-construction-plans/

Stokes Backyard Bird Book has an easy birdhouse plan - go to p.125 and scroll through the pages at Google books

Stokes Complete Birdhouse Book has recommended dimensions for various species - scroll up a few pages to view the charts at Google books

Michigan Bluebird Society - Nestbox basics

North American Bluebird Society - Nestbox plans

Nestbox Builder: http://nestboxbuilder.com

 

 

bird houses
Posted on February 18, 2014 at 12:08:47 PM by fred

I would like to build several bird houses for birds in the Muskoka area.
Could you please suggest what birds are in need of accommodations?
Also, if you would be able to forward any specifications that would be suitable for their habitat.
Many thanks, Fred

 

 

Re(1): Muskoka open water tour
Posted on February 19, 2014 at 08:48:39 PM by Goodyear

We made a quick visit to Bala after work today and saw the White-winged Scoter. Didn't see the Grebe, but yet another Red-breasted Merganser (male) was below the falls, part way down the river. Both birds were viewed with a scope from the park beside the falls and from the public boat launch off of River Street.

 

 

Muskoka open water tour
Posted on February 17, 2014 at 08:50:22 PM by Rick Stronks

Kelly and I decided to visit several spots in Muskoka with open water. Here are the highlights:

Baysville: 1 Common Merganser and 5 Goldeneyes;
Port Carling: 35 Goldeneyes, 1 Canada Goose and 2 Red-breasted Mergansers;
Bala: 25 Goldeneyes, 1 Red-necked Grebe and 1 White-winged Scoter (pictures on eBirds);
Kashe River: 2 Red-breasted Mergansers and 3 Goldeneyes.

Also saw the 50 Trumpeter Swans in Washago.

 

 

White-winged Scoter & Red-necked Grebe on the move
Posted on February 17, 2014 at 03:47:00 PM by Al Sinclair

Reported on eBird - many more sightings inland of these species this year due to higher than normal ice cover on the great lakes. Also click on the Bird Cast link in the story for more analysis.
White-winged Scoter & Red-necked Grebe on the move

 

 

Feb. 25 Huntsville Nature Club Meeting
Posted on February 17, 2014 at 11:02:53 AM by BevEaston

On Tuesday, February 25, the Huntsville Nature Club will present an illustrated talk entitled "The Great Lakes Marsh Monitoring Program: 18 years of surveying birds and frogs as indicators of ecosystem health" by Dr. Doug Tozer, Bird Studies Canada's Ontario Program Scientist. The meeting is at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church Hall on West Street, Huntsville, at 7 pm. Guests are always welcome. A $3 donation is appreciated.

 

 

Hooded Merganser, Bald Eagle - Washago
Posted on February 16, 2014 at 03:33:41 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon we drove down to Washago to check on the Trumpeter Swans. We counted 24 of them, several very close to the docks, along with many Mallards. They are fed corn there on a regular basis, so are quite "tame". While we were watching the swans, a Bald Eagle came in low, and circled around for a while, possibly checking out the ducks. There was a male Hooded Merganser swimming under the railway bridge on the opposite side of the street.

Once again, the windchill off the open water was brutal!

directions: see Google Map - Washago (Quetton St. docks)
(note: you can park at the construction site by the docks if they aren't working...like today. Otherwise you can park at Washago Centennial Park and walk over to the open water.)

 

 

Photos confirm Big Chute sightings
Posted on February 15, 2014 at 09:57:19 PM by Al Sinclair

Photos by Stephanie Casutt

White-winged Scoter - Big Chute - Feb. 13, 2014  photo

Red-necked Grebe - Big Chute - Feb 13, 2014  photo

Long-tailed duck - Pretty Channel Dam - Feb 5,6 2014 photo

 

 

Big Chute and Port Severn
Posted on February 15, 2014 at 06:21:05 PM by Goodyear

Earlier today we decided to take the long way down to the city and stopped at Big Chute and Port Severn to see if we could find some of the good ducks that had been reported earlier in the week on ebird. At Big Chute we found the Red-necked Grebe at the top of the locks in a small open lead of water, along with some Common Mergansers and Common Goldeneye. At the bottom of the locks we saw a male Red-breasted Merganser, and two Ravens were feasting on what appeared to be a White-winged Scoter - white in the wing, yellowish legs - far away even with scope view. At Port Severn we found 4 more Red-breasted Mergansers (3 male, 1 female), another Red-necked Grebe, and the male Long-tailed Duck that was reported earlier was still present. There were over 100 Common Goldeneye, 16 Common Mergansers, 12 Trumpeter Swans, and 2 Canada Geese also enjoying the beautiful sunshine.

 

 

Re(1): GBBC - Ontario reports
Posted on February 17, 2014 at 07:45:00 PM by Barbara Taylor

If you want to check what's been reported so far during the Great Backyard Bird Count, you can click on your County in the Ontario|eBird listings:
http://ebird.org/ebird/gbbc/subnational1/CA-ON/regions

As I post this, Muskoka is at #37 in the list. The list is sorted by number of species reported - no way to sort the counties alphabetically...I've asked the eBird folks if this option could be added in the future.


note: a species that is rare or unusual at this time of year may not appear in the list of reports until it has been reviewed and approved.

 

 

Backyard Bird Count
Posted on February 15, 2014 at 03:30:31 PM by Barbara Taylor

We've had a Cooper's Hawk patrolling the neighbourhood the past few days, so not much action around the feeders.

Here is our meagre backyard count for today - Feb. 15, Bracebridge:
Downy Woodpecker - 2 (1M, 1F)
Hairy Woodpecker - 2 (1M, 1F)
Blue Jay - 1
Black-capped Chickadee - 3
Red-breasted Nuthatch - 2
Mourning Dove - 2
Brown Creeper - 1

 

 

Swans
Posted on February 15, 2014 at 09:39:06 AM by JLS

At the Washago wharf, on Feb. 14th, I counted in excess of 50 trumpeter swans and equally as many mallard ducks. At one point this winter, more than 100 swans had been counted. They are very noisy at night!

 

 

Re(2): Now three at Port Carling
Posted on February 15, 2014 at 03:49:26 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Quite a change from Wednesday. There were about 15 Common Goldeneye in the open water by Hanna Park and no other species seen in an hour of watching.

 

 

Re(1): Now three at Port Carling
Posted on February 15, 2014 at 01:52:36 PM by Barbara Taylor

At noon today in Port Carling we found three Red-breasted Mergansers (2M,1F) as well as several Common Mergansers, and about 30 Common Goldeneyes. The Red-breasted Mergansers were closer to the bridge (best seen from LCBO), while most of the others were closer to the boat ramp at the foot of Bailey St. by Hanna Park. While we were parked by the boat ramp, a Wild Turkey wandered down to the water's edge on the opposite side of the river. We thought it might try to get a drink, but instead it surprised us by flying across the river to our side...must be a feeder nearby. We did a quick check along Harris St. for the Red-headed Woodpecker, but didn't see it.

Dress warmly if you go - the windchill coming off the open water was brutal!
directions: see Google map - Port Carling

 

 

Two more!!
Posted on February 14, 2014 at 07:19:42 PM by Goodyear

After work tonight, Regan and I tried for the Red-headed Woodpecker in Port (no luck), but we did find two male Red-breasted Mergansers. One was seen from Hanna Park and the other was seen near the bridge downtown. Lots of Common Mergansers, Goldeneyes, and a single Canada Goose.

 

 

Red-breasted Merganser
Posted on February 14, 2014 at 01:37:21 PM by Goodyear

What I assume to be the same male Red-breasted Merganser that first showed up a couple of weekends ago, is back on the river at the Centre Street bridge area in Huntsville.

 

 

Re(1): Red-headed Woodpecker - Photo
Posted on February 14, 2014 at 09:34:41 PM by Al Sinclair

Photo by Morley Stephen.  photo

 

 

Re(1): Red-headed Woodpecker
Posted on February 14, 2014 at 02:25:21 PM by Doug Smith

Just had a quick look at this woodpecker at Morley's as it flew off. It has been favouring a large black walnut tree beside Morley's property. He thinks there could be 2 around, because he saw one when he was snowshoeing yesterday as it flew over to Hanna park, and then saw another nearby, up in a tree.

 

 

Red-headed Woodpecker
Posted on February 13, 2014 at 10:23:32 PM by Goodyear

Morley Stephens of Port Carling has a Red-headed Woodpecker coming to the spruce tree in front of his store/home in Port Carling and also visiting his feeder. He has also seen it head over towards the Hanna Park area. Confirmed by photo. It has been around since Monday.

 

 

Re(1): Georgian Bay frozen over forcing birds inland
Posted on February 14, 2014 at 12:50:09 PM by Doug Smith

I was just walking over the bridge in Port Carling and noticed two large dark ducks in Steamboat Bay. I had no binoculars with me, but suspect they could be scoters. The water on the Muskoka side of the locks on the Indian River is open, so may attract some of these birds. I'll be sure to have binoculars next time!

 

 

Georgian Bay frozen over forcing birds inland
Posted on February 13, 2014 at 10:03:22 PM by Al Sinclair

Georgian bay is now completely frozen over forcing horned grebes, red-necked grebes, long-tailed ducks, red-breasted mergansers, and scoters wintering there to fly inland looking for open water. They are being found below waterfalls across central Ontario. In the first three days of this week, the Toronto Wildlife Centre has admitted 11 red-necked grebes.
Reported recently in Muskoka
Red-necked Grebe, White-winged Scoter at Big Chute
Long-tailed Duck at Port Severn
Red-breasted Merganser at Huntsville
Story in the Star at the link below

Birds struggle to survive in harsh winter

 

 

Algonquin Park Birding Report: 13 February
Posted on February 13, 2014 at 09:44:37 PM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (Feb. 13, 2014) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

A male Hooded Merganser was found on the side of Highway 60 near West
Smith Lake in late morning on February 11, but had disappeared soon after
when Visitor Centre staff arrived to rescue it. The wet pavement from
melting snow was probably mistaken for open water by the bird.

An adult male Northern Goshawk was mobbed by about 20 Blue Jays when it
hopped on the ground and then flew to a low branch near the Visitor Centre
feeders on February 7. It was likely hunting the Ruffed Grouse or red
squirrels that regularly frequent the area.

Among many events at the third annual Winter in the Wild Festival in
Algonquin Park this weekend will be guided bird walks at Spruce Bog
Boardwalk, from 10 to 11.30 am and from 2.30 to 4 pm on Saturday,
February 15. Details on all the festival activities are at:
http://www.algonquinpark.on.ca/news/winter_in_the_wild.php

BOREAL SPECIALTIES:
Spruce Grouse: Try Spruce Bog Boardwalk and Opeongo Road (accessible by
vehicle only to the locked gate).

Black-backed Woodpecker: One was observed near West Rose Lake on Mizzy
Lake Trail on February 11.

Gray Jay: Regular along Opeongo Road, at Spruce Bog Boardwalk, near the
East Gate, and in Mew Lake Campground.

Boreal Chickadee: Single birds were observed near West Rose Lake on Mizzy
Lake Trail on February 8 and 11, and along Spruce Bog Boardwalk on
February 8.

WINTER FINCHES:
Purple Finch: Up to 12 are coming to the Visitor Centre feeders,
and a few were occasionally observed along Highway 60.

Red Crossbill: Three were noted at Brewer Lake on February 8.

White-winged Crossbill: Four were at Spruce Bog Boardwalk and one was
along Fen Lake Ski Trail, on February 8.

American Goldfinch: Occasional at the Visitor Centre, and a few
were seen along Highway 60.

Evening Grosbeak: As many as 55 were at the Visitor Centre feeders
this week, especially in the morning.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists
with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).

Good Birding!
Ron Tozer
Algonquin Park Naturalist (retired)
Dwight, ON

 

 

Great Backyard Bird Count -- Feb. 14 - 17
Posted on February 13, 2014 at 03:34:51 PM by Barbara Taylor

This year's Great Backyard Bird Count begins tomorrow. You can find more information about how to participate at the GBBC website.

As usual, we will have our own informal count for Muskoka and surrounding areas.
Just post your species list here on the Bird Board for any of the four days Feb. 14-17

 

 

Re(1): Bird Count
Posted on February 13, 2014 at 03:25:04 PM by Barbara Taylor

You can enter your sightings by clicking "Submit Observations" in the menu at the top of the GBBC webpage once the count period starts Feb. 14-17, 2014. Or you can use a mobile device to submit your sightings - "during the count, a free GBBC BirdLog app is available for iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS7 or later as well as Android".

Here is an excerpt from the Great Backyard Bird Count webpage:
"If you have never participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count or any other Cornell Lab citizen-science project, you’ll need to create a new account. If you already created an account for last year’s GBBC, or if you’re already registered with eBird or another Cornell Lab citizen-science project, you can use your existing login information."

 

 

Bird Count
Posted on February 13, 2014 at 09:25:44 AM by JLS

Does anyone know where to send the sighting results of the Backyard Bird Count that takes place this w/e? Also has anyone spotted an Arctic Owl recently?
Thanks.
Judy

 

 

Chipmunk
Posted on February 12, 2014 at 12:55:43 PM by Doug Smith

A chipmunk was looking out from his home under the snow in our backwoods this morning. I'm sure it was wondering about the amount of snow! Probably will go back to bed for at least at few more weeks.

 

 

Re(2): Purple Finches
Posted on February 13, 2014 at 05:10:15 PM by Barbara Taylor

excerpt from Hinterland - Who's Who:
"During the daytime, the snowshoe hare rests quietly in sheltered spots called “forms,” under a bush, stump, or log. It dozes fitfully and grooms itself by licking its fur, but it is always alert."

I don't recall ever seeing a Snowshoe Hare in the winter. Unless it was moving it would probably blend in too well with the white snow. We did see one during the day in our garden one spring, but it had already changed back to mostly brown fur except for its white feet. And last summer we saw one during the day...but it was being carried by a fox trotting through the yard heading towards its den.

 

 

Re(1): Purple Finches
Posted on February 11, 2014 at 09:31:05 PM by coreyhkh

Where do the hares go during the day I see tracks all around my Dads place in Gravenhurst but I have never seen one.

 

 

Purple Finches
Posted on February 11, 2014 at 09:20:19 PM by Barbara Taylor

Today there were two small flocks of Purple Finches along the trail east of Henry Marsh. Some were foraging high up in Balsam Firs and a few seemed to be feeding on the seed pods still hanging in an Ash tree. There were also at least 40 Black-capped Chickadees, a couple Blue Jays, 6 Red-breasted Nuthatches and 4 White-breasted Nuthatch. Looks like there's been a population explosion in Snowshoe Hares with tracks criss-crossing the trail in many places. (Bracebridge)

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): Archived Reports now back online
Posted on February 11, 2014 at 07:22:40 PM by Barbara Taylor

The Bird Board Archives are back. Thanks again to the Muskoka Field Naturalists (MFN) for providing online storage space so the Archived Reports can be accessed by everyone.

Check out the new MFN website at www.muskokafieldnaturalists.com
David Goodyear has redesigned and updated the site to include a lot more information and many photos. Some parts are a work in progress, but there are already descriptions of several places to explore in Go Wild - Hotspots. Still to come will be local Bird and Butterfly Checklists and other goodies...stay tuned.

 

 

Bird Board archives currently offline
Posted on February 10, 2014 at 05:14:38 PM by Barbara Taylor

The Bird Board Archived Reports are not available at this time. Apparently this is due to recent updates of the Muskoka Field Naturalists website where the Archive files are stored. Hopefully they will be accessible shortly.

 

 

Starlings
Posted on February 10, 2014 at 02:55:34 PM by Debbie Adams

I never thought I'd get excited about seeing starlings, but in the sea of blue (40+ Blue Jays) 2 starlings showed up. We rarely see them here and when we do, it's in the spring.
(Walker's Point)

 

Re(1): northern shrike
Posted on February 7, 2014 at 05:39:28 PM by J. Gardner

Not one shrike this year. Not one hawk, Sharpie or otherwise. A very strange year round our feeders. J. Gardner

 

 

northern shrike
Posted on February 7, 2014 at 02:31:58 PM by Wayne Bridge

Had a northern shrike stake out my feeder area over the lunch hour today [Kearney - 30 mins N-E of Huntsville]. No success; birds seemed to know it was there.

 

 

Algonquin Park Birding Report: 6 February
Posted on February 6, 2014 at 10:05:57 PM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (Feb. 6, 2014) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

The seven Wild Turkeys regularly frequenting the Visitor Centre feeders
earlier in the winter have diminished to one now. The reduction may be due
to dispersal, predation and/or starvation. A few are still being seen along
the highway also, far from feeders. The deep snow and cold temperatures this
year have likely been hard on this species here. By 2002, turkeys had spread
into Algonquin from nearby populations derived from re-introduced birds. The
original southern Ontario range of the Wild Turkey did not extend northward
to Algonquin Park.

BOREAL SPECIALTIES:
Spruce Grouse: Try Spruce Bog Boardwalk and Opeongo Road (accessible by
vehicle only to the locked gate).

Gray Jay: Regular along Opeongo Road, at Spruce Bog Boardwalk, near the
East Gate, and in Mew Lake Campground.

Boreal Chickadee: Try Spruce Bog Boardwalk and Opeongo Road. One was
noted at Spruce Bog on February 1.

Black-backed Woodpecker: On January 31, one was observed on a dead conifer
near the Beaver Ponds area close to Heron Lake on the Ridge section of Fen
Lake Ski Trail, and another was seen on a dead hemlock near Dizzy Lake on
the Mizzy Lake Trail.

WINTER FINCHES:
Purple Finch: Up to 20 are coming to the Visitor Centre feeders,
and small flocks were occasionally observed along Highway 60.

White-winged Crossbill: Four flew over the Visitor Centre on February 2.

American Goldfinch: One is regular at the Visitor Centre, and a few
were seen along Highway 60.

Evening Grosbeak: About 35 were regular at the Visitor Centre feeders
this week, especially in the morning.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists
with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).

Good Birding!
Ron Tozer
Algonquin Park Naturalist (retired)
Dwight, ON

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 Information Guide (with a map of birding locations
mentioned here) at the East Gate or the West Gate. Locations are also
described at: www.algonquinpark.on.ca

The Visitor Centre and restaurant at km 43 are open on weekends from 9 am
to 5 pm during winter.

The Visitor Centre has recent bird sightings and information. It is usually
possible to access the building on weekdays in winter from 9 am to
4 pm. Visitors are welcome to bring a packed lunch and use the restaurant
seating area on weekdays. Hot and cold beverages, and light snacks are
available to purchase then, as well as the use of a microwave.

For more information see the 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

 

 

Muskoka Field Naturalists - next meeting Feb. 6
Posted on February 3, 2014 at 03:35:13 PM by Barbara Taylor

MFN meeting Thursday, February 6, at 7:30 p.m., in Gravenhurst
DESPERATELY SEEKING SPRING by David Hawke
David Hawke is a well known nature writer, photographer and speaker, who has worked on various projects in Simcoe County and Muskoka. He will present a narrated show (a touch humorous) of his photography focusing on early signs of spring. Copies of his book “Wetlands” will be available for sale at the meeting for $15 as will his reference book on the blooming dates of wildflowers, $5.

Meetings for February through June are held at the Muskoka Boat & Heritage Centre (Grace and Speed) at Muskoka Wharf, 275 Steamship Bay Road in Gravenhurst.
All meetings commence at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise indicated. Visitors welcome to attend.
source: MFN website - http://www.muskokafieldnaturalists.com

 

 

Sharp-shinned Hawk
Posted on February 3, 2014 at 02:14:33 PM by Debbie Adams

Two days ago, I found remnants of a Blue Jay near one of our feeders. Yesterday I noticed blood droplets on the ground by another feeder. Just now, I spotted a Sharp-shinned Hawk that I flushed from a tree when I went outdoors. It must be the one dining on our guests.
(Walker's Point)

 

 

Re(1): Red-breasted Merganser - Huntsville - off Centre St. Bridge
Posted on February 4, 2014 at 06:32:50 PM by CortneyLC

When I spotted the redhead it was the merganser that initially caught my eye.
He was still there at noon today (Feb 4) best visible from the KWH pipe plant parking lot swimming where the ice met open water before the bridge.

 

 

Re(1): Red-breasted Merganser - photo
Posted on February 3, 2014 at 06:19:14 PM by Goodyear

Here is a photo of the Red-breasted Merganser from this morning. It was still there this afternoon at 4:30.  photo

 

 

Red-breasted Merganser - Huntsville - off Centre St. Bridge
Posted on February 3, 2014 at 01:45:54 PM by Goodyear

I went over to look for the Redhead that was reported on the weekend. I didn't find it, but I did find a male Red-breasted Merganser. Red breast, white collar, shaggy crest, thin slightly upturned bill, red eye clearly visible. A good spot to look for it is from the parking lot for the Hunter's Bay Trail, next to KWH Pipe plant. I will post photos when I get home.

 

 

Redhead - Huntsville
Posted on February 2, 2014 at 10:31:15 AM by DavidL

A male Redhead was seen off the Centre St bridge this morning. The bird was seen on the east side of the bridge, towards the South shore. Several low quality photos taken.

 

 

Re(1): Spring songs
Posted on February 13, 2014 at 10:06:10 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning we walked the snowshoe trail north of Meadow Heights Dr. by Beaver Creek in Bracebridge. For the first time this year we heard some Purple Finches singing their spring song. There were also several Chickadees singing and Woodpeckers drumming.

 

 

Spring songs
Posted on January 31, 2014 at 04:32:09 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon along the trail east of Henry Marsh (Bracebridge) there were two Chickadees singing their spring song as if they were dueling for territory already. Then a Red-breasted Nuthatch began singing its spring song.

I kind of felt like singing too since the milder weather is such a nice change!
What a winter this has been so far...

 

 

Algonquin Park Birding Report: 30 January
Posted on January 30, 2014 at 10:18:21 PM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (Jan. 30, 2014) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Two or three Ruffed Grouse continue to provide great photographic and
viewing opportunities daily as they eat seed below the feeders at the
Visitor Centre.

A Bald Eagle calling in flight alerted birders to its presence over Spruce
Bog Boardwalk on January 27. A few Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles
regularly spend the winter in Algonquin Park, but they are observed
infrequently. These eagles feed mainly on wolf kills here.

A Boreal Owl was found dead on the front porch of a home near Oxtongue
Lake (Highway 60 west of Algonquin Park) on January 13, likely a window
kill. The specimen will be preserved. I mention it here since this species
has been extremely rare in southern Ontario this winter.

BOREAL SPECIALTIES:
Spruce Grouse: Try Spruce Bog Boardwalk and Opeongo Road.

Gray Jay: Regular along Opeongo Road, at Spruce Bog Boardwalk, near the
East Gate, and in Mew Lake Campground.

Boreal Chickadee: On January 27, one along Opeongo Road and two at Spruce
Bog Boardwalk were first detected by their calls and were with Black-capped
Chickadees.

Black-backed Woodpecker: No reports.

WINTER FINCHES:
Purple Finch: Three to eight are still coming to the Visitor Centre feeders,
and small flocks were occasionally observed along Highway 60.

Red Crossbill: Observations on Highway 60 were of four at Spruce Bog
Boardwalk and six between Opeongo Road and the East Gate on January 27.

White-winged Crossbill: Seven were noted along Opeongo Road on January 27,
and one was calling in flight at Spruce Bog Boardwalk on January 28. Two
were at Spruce Bog today.

American Goldfinch: One or two are regular at the Visitor Centre, and a few
were seen along Highway 60.

Evening Grosbeak: About 20 to 35 were regular at the Visitor Centre feeders
this week, especially in the morning. There were 60 there early on January
27.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists
with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).

Good Birding!
Ron Tozer
Algonquin Park Naturalist (retired)
Dwight, ON

 

 

Another Eastern Towhee wintering in Muskoka
Posted on January 30, 2014 at 03:42:34 PM by Al Sinclair

Ross Simpson near Bala reports that he has had a Towhee at his feeders since November. He sees it every day in the morning and evening, also sees it going into his snowmobile shed where he thinks it spends the night. From his description I think it is an Eastern not a Spotted. Ross says that anyone is welcome to come by and have a look. The address is 1157 Moon River Rd.

 

 

Film about Juncos
Posted on January 30, 2014 at 11:40:54 AM by Goodyear

Today on the American Birding Association's website there was a review of an intersting feature length film about juncos. The film, with a running time of 88 minutes, can be viewed in short segements of 5 - 20 minutes each. The movie, titled "Ordinary, Extraordinary Junco" can be viewed online or downloaded to your computer. Click on the video tab on the home page at www.juncoproject.org/

 

 

Blue Jays
Posted on January 29, 2014 at 01:55:38 PM by JohnEarl

Re Blue Jays, J.Earl - Yearley Road, Lots of bluejays, we have about 40, we also have about 17 mourning doves,they seem to mix in . We have three juncoes, three tree sparrows, two hairy woodpeckers and 10 or 12 black capped chickadees. The small birds are usually here first and the last to leave. All these numbers have been here everyday for quite a while. We have about 10 feeding stations. We've had a hawk here a couple of times, not sure if it was a sharp shinned hawk. Last week on a nearby walking trail on the farm I came across two bluejay remains, large wing marks were in the snow beside. I've started to add rolled corn to feed the hungry blue jays. Steel cut corn would be better. The blue jays sometimes just fill up their crop and fly away, now the sunflower seed bag is lasting longer, and corn is cheaper and you pay no tax.

 

 

Re(3): Blue Jays
Posted on January 29, 2014 at 12:35:44 PM by Debbie Adams

June, I've noticed odd behaviour too. I see their tracks in the snow where the garage doors meet the ground and it looks like they've been pecking at the concrete. Also, the paint seems to be peeling off the doors rapidly. Now I know why.
Pileated's have taken huge chunks of wood from railings and gazebo though.
(Walker's Point)

 

 

Re(2): Blue Jays
Posted on January 29, 2014 at 10:59:13 AM by J. Gardner

We have had 40 odd Blue Jays all winter too (Hurdville - Lake Manitouwabing) and do go through seed. But, this year they have become destructive, picking the paint off the wooden back steps, and the barn/cum garage, and the railing around the deck. They have made the railings look extremely shabby.

A friend asked Google why Blue Jays would do this, and the answer was that there is limestone (thus calcium) in paints and the birds were short of calcium. I have tried supplying egg shell to them, but it doesn't stop the behaviour. I wonder where those birds will be in the spring when I have to sand and repaint the railings. June GArdner

 

 

Re(1): Blue Jays
Posted on January 29, 2014 at 10:30:40 AM by janice house

We have 10 every day and 18 when it is really cold. They pig out on my finch seed too, my poor juncos and American tree sparrows get pushed out.

 

 

Blue Jays
Posted on January 29, 2014 at 10:01:52 AM by Debbie Adams

We seemed to have cornered the market on Blue Jays. I counted 40 on and around one of our feeders just now and there were plenty more in the trees and at other feeders. These numbers have been steady all winter long ... so have my trips to the feed store.
(Walker's Point)

 

 

Re(1): Are pine martens showing up in Algonquin this year?
Posted on January 28, 2014 at 04:40:20 PM by StuartImmonen

Apparently so!

 

 

Are pine martens showing up in Algonquin this year?
Posted on January 28, 2014 at 02:00:37 PM by coreyhkh

Hey everyone does anyone know if the pine martens are showing up this year in the park regularly?

 

 

Re(1): Bird Board update
Posted on January 29, 2014 at 07:50:18 PM by dinnymccraney

Thank you, Barbara, for this wonderful venue to share sightings and information. I have learn

 

 

Bird Board update
Posted on January 28, 2014 at 10:49:28 AM by Barbara Taylor

Archived Reports
The full set of posts for 2013 are now available online in the Archived Reports. You can also download the complete set of reports for 2000 - 2013 to your computer as a zip file. Go to the Archived Reports via the link near the top of the Bird Board. Thanks go out to the Muskoka Field Naturalists for providing storage space for the archived files in "their cloud".

New to the Bird Board?
Check out the "Posting Guidelines" link near the top of the Bird Board. I've included several handy tips about using the board. And if you want to do a test post or learn how to post a photo in your message, go to the Nature Photos Board and give it a try. You don't need to register before posting on that board.


Thanks to everyone for all your posts.
Barbara Taylor
email: muskoka_birder@hotmail.com

 

 

Northern Shrike - Huntsville
Posted on January 28, 2014 at 08:41:22 AM by Goodyear

This morning I saw a Northern Shrike sitting in a tree near the Highway 11/Main Street exit.

 

 

Wild Turkeys Vankoughnet - photo
Posted on January 27, 2014 at 03:04:32 PM by Al Sinclair

From Stan and Helena Gragg, south of Vankoughnet -- photo
We have a flock of 37 or 38 that spend most of the day here and roost in trees nearby at night. They also spend time in the spruce trees eating spruce buds. Stan

 

 

Algonquin Park Birding Report: 23 January
Posted on January 23, 2014 at 10:06:10 PM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (Jan. 23, 2014) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

The finch species and numbers of individuals present here now are similar to
those seen when winter birding officially began on December 1. Pine
Grosbeaks have remained in the north where they are sustained by bumper
mountain-ash berry crops, as predicted in Ron Pittaway's annual winter finch
forecast. Most redpolls were expected to stay in the north because birch,
alder and conifer seed crops are generally good across the boreal forest. So
far they have, but a redpoll flight to southern Ontario may yet occur this
winter if food availability lessens in the north.

BOREAL SPECIALTIES:
Spruce Grouse: Try Spruce Bog Boardwalk and Opeongo Road.

Gray Jay: Regular along Opeongo Road, at Spruce Bog Boardwalk, near the
East Gate, and in Mew Lake Campground.

Boreal Chickadee: One was seen at Spruce Bog Boardwalk on January 19, and a
single bird was noted along Opeongo Road on January 19 and 20.

Black-backed Woodpecker: No reports.

WINTER FINCHES:
Purple Finch: Up to six are now coming to the Visitor Centre feeders.

Red Crossbill: One or two on January 18 and two on January 19 were at Spruce
Bog Boardwalk.

American Goldfinch: About three are regular at the Visitor Centre, and
others were seen along Highway 60.

Evening Grosbeak: Up to 49 were regular at the Visitor Centre feeders this
week..

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists
with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).

Good Birding!
Ron Tozer
Algonquin Park Naturalist (retired)
Dwight, ON

 

 

Re(2): Coywolf documentary
Posted on January 27, 2014 at 11:03:05 AM by janice house

We watched the program last night, it was really interesting. Several years ago my cousin lost his cat to a coywolf?? he lives near Steeles & Bathurst

 

 

Re(1): Coywolf documentary
Posted on January 26, 2014 at 03:32:15 PM by Al Sinclair

Videos from Haliburton. Eastern Wolf or Coywolf???
http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBU_1LQNKwOMMJO5AtOHLMg/videos

 

Coywolf documentary
Posted on January 22, 2014 at 07:09:05 PM by Barbara Taylor

Back in December there was a discussion on the Bird Board about the Coywolf.
In case anyone is interested, there is a PBS Nature documentary entitled "Meet the Coywolf" scheduled to show on WNED (Ch. 17) tonight (Jan. 22) at 8 p.m.

Or you can watch it online at another time on the CBC website here: http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/episodes/meet-the-coywolf

 

 

Re(1): Pileated Woodpecker
Posted on January 23, 2014 at 07:56:45 PM by dinnymccraney

I think "ours" must have flown over to your place! He has been here most of the winter, but not the last few days as I let the suet run out. Now it has been refilled, both male and female downys and hairys have moved in

 

 

Pileated Woodpecker
Posted on January 22, 2014 at 11:33:01 AM by Barbara Taylor

For several years we've had a female Pileated visit our suet cage on a daily basis, but not this winter. She was last seen mid-November, and as far as I know, she hasn't been back. A few days ago this male Pileated turned up and he was here again this morning. (Bracebridge)  photo1  photo2

 

 

Re(3): Wild Turkeys
Posted on January 21, 2014 at 07:53:15 AM by missyinmuskoka

I had two come to my feeders last weekend and stayed for most of the day. When my dogs came around they jumped into a tree... and then back down when my dogs were out of sight. They were very bold!

 

 

Re(2): Wild Turkeys
Posted on January 20, 2014 at 10:08:50 PM by tedthevideoman

Barb...those same Birds are roosting as I type in the trees in our back yard

 

 

Re(1): Wild Turkeys
Posted on January 20, 2014 at 06:40:37 PM by Debbie Adams

There are several rafters of turkey's here on WP and they come to our feeder in waves.
Early this morning coywolf tracks were spotted following turkey tracks by a neighbour.
This afternoon we spotted Raven's flying around overhead, so we're guessing it's turkey they are scavenging.
(Walker's Point)

 

 

Wild Turkeys
Posted on January 20, 2014 at 01:06:53 PM by Barbara Taylor

Around noon today there were 11 Wild Turkeys walking single file along the sidewalk next to Glendale Rd. Once they reached Kevin Cres. they crossed over to the west and went down into the ravine behind the houses. (Bracebridge)

 

 

Re(1): Fox at suet -- photos
Posted on January 21, 2014 at 08:30:34 PM by dinnymccraney

beautiful!

 

 

Fox at suet -- photos
Posted on January 19, 2014 at 09:25:35 PM by Doug Smith

This morning we had a treat for breakfast -- a fox visited our suet feeder!  photo1  photo2

 

 

Huntsville Swan Died
Posted on January 17, 2014 at 04:23:49 PM by Al Sinclair

http://www.muskokaregion.com/news-story/4322111-lead-poisoned-swan-dies-despite-community-effort/

 

 

Re(1): Bald Eagles, Gravenhurst Landfill
Posted on February 9, 2014 at 02:55:35 PM by BryanGrant

Sighting an eagle gets a wow from me. Since Nov I have seen eagles twice. Once in the Bancroft area and today Feb 9th while northbound on the 400hwy. I had just came up the knoll from the Holland Marsh about 300m south of hwy88 & 400. Not muskoka but sightings of eagles in Ont - wow

 

 

Bald Eagles, Gravenhurst Landfill
Posted on January 17, 2014 at 03:07:10 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

This morning Joyce and Hal Pegg saw an adult and immature Bald Eagle at the landfill.

 

 

Algonquin Park Birding Report: 16 January
Posted on January 16, 2014 at 09:40:25 PM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (Jan. 16, 2014) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Two or three Ruffed Grouse were feeding regularly under the Visitor Centre
feeders this week.

Wild Turkeys were noted along Highway 60 west of Lookout Trail and at
Opeongo Road, apparently coping with the recent cold and deep snow.

A Bald Eagle flew over the Visitor Centre on January 12.

Twelve Snow Buntings on the Visitor Centre parking lot the same day were
typical of high winter numbers in our contiguous forest habitat.

BOREAL SPECIALTIES:
Spruce Grouse: No reports. Try Spruce Bog Boardwalk and Opeongo Road.

Gray Jay: Regular along Opeongo Road, at Spruce Bog Boardwalk, near the
East Gate, and in Mew Lake Campground.

Boreal Chickadee: No reports. Try Spruce Bog Boardwalk and Opeongo Road.

Black-backed Woodpecker: A male and a female were at Tea Lake Dam on January
15.

WINTER FINCHES:
Purple Finch: Up to 25 are regular at the Visitor Centre, and others were
seen along Highway 60.

Red Crossbill: One was on the highway at Track and Tower Trail (km 24) on
January 12.

White-winged Crossbill: Four were observed at Spruce Bog Boardwalk today.

American Goldfinch: Up to 25 are regular at the Visitor Centre, and others
were seen along Highway 60.

Evening Grosbeak: Up to 45 were regular at the Visitor Centre feeders this
week..

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists
with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).

Good Birding!
Ron Tozer
Algonquin Park Naturalist (retired)

 

 

Huntsville Nature Club Meeting, January 28
Posted on January 16, 2014 at 10:37:09 AM by BevEaston

On Tuesday, January 28, the Huntsville Nature Club will present an illustrated talk, entitled, “Why did the salamander cross the road?”, by David LeGros, Natural Heritage Education Specialist in Algonquin Park. David will explore some of the challenges faced by amphibians in central Ontario, including crossing logging roads. We will learn how researchers are trying to rehabilitate unused logging roads to improve the migration and dispersal of amphibians in Algonquin Park.

The Huntsville Nature Club meeting takes place at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church Hall, on West Street, Huntsville, at 7 pm. Guests are always welcome. A $3 donation is appreciated. For more information regarding the Huntsville Nature Club, contact Ken Morrison (705) 789-1407.

 

 

Re(2): Tree Sparrows...Gone?
Posted on January 21, 2014 at 08:28:16 PM by dinnymccraney

Same thing happened with the goldfinches here.

 

 

Re(1): Tree Sparrows...Gone?
Posted on January 19, 2014 at 08:34:08 AM by Al Sinclair

False alarm, they were all back yesterday.

 

 

Re(4): Tree Sparrows...Gone?
Posted on January 17, 2014 at 10:46:06 PM by Debbie Adams

I've had one lone one all winter long and it's still here feeding happily when the Jays vacate the feeder.
(Walker's Point)

 

 

Re(3): Tree Sparrows...Gone?
Posted on January 17, 2014 at 03:01:23 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

One back this morning!

 

 

Re(1): Tree Sparrows...Gone?
Posted on January 17, 2014 at 09:15:06 AM by janice house

Mine come and go depending on the cold, sometimes six, I saw one this morning

 

 

Re(2): Tree Sparrows...Gone?
Posted on January 16, 2014 at 12:14:18 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

The four I had coming here, in Bala, have left.

 

 

Re(1): Tree Sparrows...Gone?
Posted on January 16, 2014 at 10:49:02 AM by Al Sinclair

OK they're not all gone. Had 4 here this morning. The milder weather may be be allowing them to forage in a larger area.

 

 

Tree Sparrows...Gone?
Posted on January 15, 2014 at 04:40:12 PM by Al Sinclair

We had 5 to 15 Tree Sparrows every day this winter until Jan. 11 when the weather was very warm. Since then they have disappeared. Went north or south? Anyone still seeing them in Muskoka?

 

 

The River at Port Sydney
Posted on January 15, 2014 at 12:48:02 PM by jim griffin

Our stretch of river north and south of the bridge has been quiet up to now, but there is life again. 6 common Goldeneye and a female common Merganser today; as well as, regular appearances by 2 or 3 River Otters sitting on the ice munching fish.

 

 

Re(1): Sharp-shinned Hawk
Posted on January 12, 2014 at 06:32:08 PM by Barb Staples

Yesterday the new-resident-SSH took the only male hairy woodpecker from the suet. The girls were back soon afterwards along with chickadees and nuthatches but blue jays did not return until today. Sunny Lake, Gravenhurst.

 

 

Sharp-shinned Hawk
Posted on January 12, 2014 at 04:21:45 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon some of the birds returned to our feeder as there was no sign of the earlier Shrike.
Oops! In came this Sharpie, sending them all flying off again. (Bracebridge)  photo

Even though it isn't a very cold day, the hawk was very fluffed up. It also kept pulling up its right leg into its body. Perhaps it took a hard hit when it missed its prey.

 

 

Bald Eagle at Baysville - photo
Posted on January 12, 2014 at 03:35:52 PM by Al Sinclair

Cathy VanCleif from Baysville took this photo Jan 11, 2014 on the river bank by her place.  photo

Bald eagles we see here in winter are most likely wintering birds from Northern Ontario. They scavenge at coywolf kills, roadkills and dumps. Sometimes are seen picking at dead fish frozen in the ice or fish remains left around fish huts. Numbers in Muskoka in winter have been increasing for several years. They have been recorded on the Gravenhurst-Bracebridge Christmas Bird Count for the last 6 years. This year there were 3 at the Gravenhurst landfill site.

 

 

Re(1): Squirrels
Posted on January 14, 2014 at 09:46:43 AM by Barbara Taylor

Possibly they had more successful and larger litters due to good food crops last year. There seemed to be a noticeable increase in the vole and mouse populations too.

 

 

Re(1): Squirrels
Posted on January 13, 2014 at 06:59:00 PM by J. Gardner

No idea why so many squirrels... somewhere in the cycle? The black squirrel is a colour phase of the Gray Squirrel. J. Gardner

 

 

Squirrels
Posted on January 12, 2014 at 08:20:03 PM by dinnymccraney

Any idea why are there so many squirrels this year?
Black ones seem to be in the greatest number, but several fat gray ones as well!

 

 

Re(1): Northern Shrike
Posted on January 12, 2014 at 11:52:49 AM by Goodyear

We too have had many squirrels today, 10+, and one chipmunk. We had 17 Purple Finches yesterday, but the sex ratio flipped: 13 were female, and only 4 male.

 

 

Northern Shrike
Posted on January 12, 2014 at 10:43:39 AM by Barbara Taylor

We were pleasantly surprised by the increased activity at our birdfeeder this morning. More Purple Finches had arrived as well as several Goldfinches and Blue Jays. But suddenly it was over in the blink of an eye as a Northern Shrike sent all the birds scattering up and away. The Shrike didn't catch anything, but now the yard is "quiet" again...except for eleven Squirrels (1 Red plus 8 black and 2 gray). There was a Flying Squirrel again last night too. And some Raccoon tracks in the fresh skiff of snow. (Bracebridge)

A Doe with her two offspring briefly checked out the spilled seed this morning  photo1

and the not-so spilled seed...  photo2

 

 

Re(1): Finches - Leonard Lake
Posted on January 12, 2014 at 03:45:20 PM by michaelhatton

On the west side of Leonard Lake we haven't seen Finches or Redpolls this winter, which is a significant and disappointing change from past years.
However, even in the recent warm weather, the Goldfinches number more than a dozen at the front, back, and above and below the main deck. They seem to have signed on to some sort of peace treaty with the dozen Chickadees, several Woodpeckers (mostly Hairy, but some Downy), multiple Nuthatches (White and Red Breasted), and daily visitations by the Blue Jay troop. While they won't eat side by side, they will come into near proximity and then keep an eye on each other while sorting out seed preferences.

photo1  photo2  photo3  photo4  photo5

 

 

Re(1): Finches
Posted on January 11, 2014 at 08:10:40 PM by dinnymccraney

I have had flocks of goldfinches since before Christmas. I can't keep the feeders filled!
I am also amazed at how many black and gray squirrels are out and about.(At least the dogs are getting lots of exercise!)

 

 

Re(1): Finches
Posted on January 11, 2014 at 01:16:31 PM by missyinmuskoka

Hi saw one american goldfinch at my feeder this past week. It came at around 7:30 each morning. Today I have 4 coming consistently. I have not had any purple finches.

I miss the redpolls too :(

 

 

Finches
Posted on January 11, 2014 at 11:24:29 AM by Barbara Taylor

We had six Purple Finch and about a dozen American Goldfinch at our feeder yesterday. (Bracebridge)

Yesterday morning there were also a few Purple Finches near the dip in the trail east of Henry Marsh, as well as an American Tree Sparrow, a Blue Jay, and the usual bunch of Chickadees and Red-breasted Nuthatches.

 

 

Algonquin Park Birding Report: 9 January
Posted on January 9, 2014 at 10:27:28 PM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (Jan. 9, 2014) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Noteworthy birds in Whitney (east of Algonquin Park on Highway 60) this
week included: Common Goldeneyes (8) and Hooded Mergansers (2) on
the Madawaska River on January 4; a Northern Mockingbird along the river
near the highway on January 4 and 5; and Bohemian Waxwings (6) on
January 8.

A revised update of my book, Birds of Algonquin Park, including new
earliest and latest migration dates plus rarity records is now available at:
www.algonquinpark.on.ca/bap

BOREAL SPECIALTIES:
Spruce Grouse: A female was observed along Spruce Bog Boardwalk on
January 2.

Gray Jay: Regular along Opeongo Road, at Spruce Bog Boardwalk, near the
East Gate, and in Mew Lake Campground.

Boreal Chickadee: Seen at Spruce Bog Boardwalk, including on the suet feeder
near the trail register box.

Black-backed Woodpecker: Just three were found by 84 observers on the CBC
(January 4).

WINTER FINCHES:
Purple Finch: Up to 15 are regular at the Visitor Centre, and others were
seen along Opeongo Road and along Highway 60. There were 321 on the CBC
(January 4).

Red Crossbill: One on the highway at Found Lake and two at Lake of Two
Rivers on January 1.Two west of Beaver Pond Trail on January 4. Thirty-five
were seen on the Christmas Count on January 4.

White-winged Crossbill: A few along Highway 60, including 12 seen on the
Christmas Count on January 4.

American Goldfinch: A few are regular at the Visitor Centre and small flocks
are along Highway 60. There were 201 on the CBC (January 4).

Evening Grosbeak: Up to about 35 were regular at the Visitor Centre this
week, and a few were noted elsewhere as well.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists
with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).

Good Birding!
Ron Tozer
Algonquin Park Naturalist (retired)
Dwight, ON

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 Information Guide (with a map of birding locations
mentioned here) at the East Gate or the West Gate. Locations are also
described at: www.algonquinpark.on.ca

The Visitor Centre and restaurant at km 43 are open on weekends from 9 am
to 5 pm during winter.

The Visitor Centre has recent bird sightings and information. It is usually
possible to access the building on weekdays in winter from 9 am to
4 pm. Visitors are welcome to bring a packed lunch and use the restaurant
seating area on weekdays. Hot and cold beverages, and light snacks are
available to purchase then, as well as the use of a microwave.

For more information see the Algonquin Park events calendar at:
http://www.algonquinpark.on.ca/involved/calendar/

 

 

Wild Turkey - photo
Posted on January 8, 2014 at 07:31:40 PM by Barbara Taylor

Dennis Wilks sent this photo he took yesterday of a Turkey caught in an interesting pose.  photo
Great way to keep the snow off the feeder Dennis...we could have used one here too yesterday as the snow just wouldn't stop!

 

 

Re(1): 22nd Parry Sound Christmas Bird Count
Posted on January 6, 2014 at 06:56:06 PM by J. Gardner

Too bad the Kingfisher, still visiting the small open patch on the pond near the Seguin River bridge on the McDougall Road, out of Parry Sound, was spotted to late for that count. He has been seen by several folks, several times, still working that patch when it is open.The drainage seems to come from the McDougall Landfill, and the water is anything but pure. But, it doesn't freeze easily either. J. Gardner

 

 

22nd Parry Sound Christmas Bird Count
Posted on January 6, 2014 at 10:51:18 AM by smromaniuk

We were a bit thin on the field this year, as were the birds, braving 2+ feet of snow the week of the count and -20 degrees temps Friday night into Saturday morning. I said it probably wouldn't be a record year, but Sue suggested that it may break records... low ones! :) It is the 2nd coldest count in the 21 years the count has been active in Parry Sound. The coldest was in 2004 with thermometer temps only reaching a high of -24 (morning started at -29!).

We still had 12 field observers and 7 cozy feederwatchers. 28 species all told, including an unknown Buteo (Red-tailed or Rough-legged) and two count week birds (Northern Shrike and a Pileated Woodpecker. Only 936 individuals counted.

Common Goldeneye (25)
Greater Scaup (2) New species for count
Bald Eagle (5)
Unknown Hawk (1)
Northern Shrike (count week)
Herring Gull (80)
Great Black-backed Gull (1)
Iceland Gull (1)
Mourning Dove (5)
Rock Pigeon (64)
Wild Turkey (73) High record - 1st rec 2008
Hairy Woodpecker (18)
Downy Woodpecker (9)
Pileated Woodpecker (count week)
Blue Jay (160) Been very high last 3 years
Amercian Crow (8)
Common Raven (90)
Black-capped Chickadee (129)
White Breasted Nuthatch (7)
Red Breasted Nuthatch (5)
European Starling (106)
Northern Cardinal (2)
American Tree Sparrow (17)
Dark-eyed Junco (5)
Snow Bunting (33)
Purple Finch (2)
Common Redpoll (1)
American Goldfinch (83)

 

 

40th Algonquin Park Christmas Bird Count
Posted on January 5, 2014 at 10:07:38 PM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (Jan. 5, 2014) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

The 40th Algonquin Park CBC was held on Saturday, January 4.
Conditions for observing were fairly good, although a south wind of 20 kph
(with occasional gusts to 30 kph) until early afternoon caused problems
hearing birds such as woodpeckers. The temperature ranged from minus 14 to
minus 4 C. It was sunny in the morning and cloudy in the afternoon, with no
precipitation. There was almost no open water. The snow was knee-deep but
walking trails and the many places where people had snowshoed were well
packed down.

Total Observers: 84
Total Species: 24 (average is 28)
Total Individuals: 2,557 (average is 4,785)
Birds per Party Hour: 11 (low of 4 birds/party hour has occurred in two
previous years)
New Species for the Count: none

Noteworthy Species:
-Wild Turkey: 9 (new high count)
-Northern Saw-whet Owl: count week; one roosting (photos) was found as it
was being mobbed by birds on January 2 along the border of Visitor Centre
parking lot.

Finches: lower numbers than on any previous count with as many cones.
-Purple Finch: 321
-Red Crossbill: 35
-White-winged Crossbill: 12 (including some singing males)
-American Goldfinch: 201
-Evening Grosbeak: 73 (including 62 at the Visitor Centre feeders)

Notable Missed Species:
-Spruce Grouse (count week; female at Spruce Bog Boardwalk on January 2)

Complete count results will be posted at:
http://www.algonquinpark.on.ca

Ron Tozer
Algonquin Park CBC Compiler
Dwight, ON

 

 

Re(3): Purple Finches
Posted on January 7, 2014 at 12:25:06 PM by Doug Smith

We had 3 show up just before New Year's, but haven't seen any since.  (Uffington)

 

 

Re(2): Purple Finches
Posted on January 5, 2014 at 11:11:35 AM by Al Sinclair

Only had 1 here recently and it has moved on.
Hwy 118E 8km east of Bracebridge

 

 

Re(1): Purple Finches
Posted on January 5, 2014 at 10:43:17 AM by Goodyear

We have had them almost daily at our feeders (Meadow Heights Bracebridge) since 21 December, with a high of 18 on 2 January. There was also a post yesterday on Ontbirds of a large flock of about 50 Purple Finches at a feeder near Aspdin. The post stated they had been coming daily, but it didn't say when they first showed up.

 

 

Purple Finches
Posted on January 4, 2014 at 09:39:04 PM by Barbara Taylor

Are Purple Finches starting to move southward? We hadn't seen any this winter until a couple days ago when one showed up in our yard. Had another today at "the dip" in the trail east of Henry Marsh. (Bracebridge)

 

 

Re(2): Bald Eagles - Gravenhurst Landfill
Posted on January 6, 2014 at 10:25:49 AM by Goodyear

Hi Eleanor, We saw the eagles from the road outside the landfill. They passed overhead a couple times as they were being pestered by Ravens and one (an adultt) perched in a tree and was visible from the roadway. The other two were subadults, first/second year birds. We were on our way south and just made a quick stop to see what was around.

 

 

Re(1): Bald Eagles - Gravenhurst Landfill
Posted on January 6, 2014 at 07:49:11 AM by eleanor kee wellman

Are the eagles being seen from inside or outside the landfill site?

 

 

Re(1): Bald Eagles - Gravenhurst Landfill
Posted on January 5, 2014 at 08:15:39 PM by Debbie Adams

Is a subadult one without a white head? If so, I saw one last week at the dump. It was sitting on the ground and it was HUGE!

 

 

Bald Eagles - Gravenhurst Landfill
Posted on January 4, 2014 at 09:15:21 PM by Goodyear

This morning we saw 3 Bald Eagles at the Gravenhurst Landfill - one adult and two subadults.

 

 

Re(2): Trumpeter Swan in Huntsville rescued - Update
Posted on January 5, 2014 at 02:11:50 PM by coreyhkh

lead sinkers should be banned from use in Canada, there are plenty of alternatives.

 

Re(1): Trumpeter Swan in Huntsville rescued - Update
Posted on January 4, 2014 at 10:49:45 PM by Al Sinclair

It is being treated for lead poisoning caused by a fishing sinker.
https://www.facebook.com/huntersbayradio/posts/10152013673489300

 

 

Trumpeter Swan in Huntsville rescued
Posted on January 4, 2014 at 01:24:10 PM by Al Sinclair

Just noticed this on the Hunters Bay Radio twitter feed. Looks like someone decided the swan that has wintering in Huntsville for many years needed to be rescued. From the photos it appears that there is very little open water left. Last comment states that it has been taken to a vet in Barrie.
https://www.facebook.com/huntersbayradio/posts/10152012872614300

 

 

owl and raven
Posted on January 3, 2014 at 12:36:52 PM by John Challis

This morning in a brutal chill, a raven flew over our place, croaking in a rage. It circled over the trees to the north of our house, where I saw an owl hunched in the branches. The harassment continued for some time, until it was just too cold to stay outside. Couldn't tell the species from the distance but its body shape suggested a barred owl - also the most likely to show up.

 

 

Algonquin Park Birding Report: 2 January
Posted on January 2, 2014 at 06:42:16 PM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (Jan. 2, 2014) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

A revised update of my book, Birds of Algonquin Park, including new
earliest and latest migration dates plus rarity records is now available at:
www.algonquinpark.on.ca/bap

Six Wild Turkeys are daily visitors to the Visitor Centre feeders, as is a
Ruffed Grouse.

Pine Martens are being seen at the bird seed people leave near the open gate
on Opeongo Road, and in Mew Lake Campground.

The Visitor Centre is open daily, 9 am to 5 pm, from December 27 to
January 5. Opeongo Road is open and plowed right to the lake.

BOREAL SPECIALTIES:
Spruce Grouse: Try Spruce Bog Boardwalk.

Gray Jay: Regular along Opeongo Road, at Spruce Bog Boardwalk,
in the Wolf Howl Pond/West Rose Lake area, and in Mew Lake Campgrond.

Boreal Chickadee: Five were observed on the rail bed between Arowhon Road
and Wolf Howl Pond/West Rose Lake area on December 28, and one was seen
there on December 30. One calling on Opeongo Road at Cameron Lake Road
today was easily pished in for good views.

Black-backed Woodpecker: One was along the rail bed between Arowhon
Road and the Wolf Howl Pond/West Rose Lake area on December 29, and another
was reported along Opeongo Road on December 30.

WINTER FINCHES:
Purple Finch: Up to 20 are regular at the Visitor Centre, and some are being
observed at other sites along the highway.

Red Crossbill: Five were seen near km 33 on Highway 60 on January 1.

American Goldfinch: A few are regular at the Visitor Centre and occasionally
along Highway 60.

Evening Grosbeak: Up to about 35 were regular at the Visitor Centre this
week..

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists
with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).

Good Birding!
Ron Tozer
Algonquin Park Naturalist (retired)
Dwight, ON

 

 

Algonquin Park finches, etc.
Posted on January 1, 2014 at 07:36:21 PM by Ontbirds

*This report was originally posted by Angie Williams on ONTBIRDS (Jan. 1, 2014) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Some nice birds to kick off 2014, seen this morning along the Hwy 60 corridor: Red Crossbills (5) near km 33; Purple Finches (5) near km 40, and also at the Visitor Centre; American Goldfinches (6) also near km 40. There is still a large flock (approx 25) of Evening Grosbeaks at the Visitor Centre. 6 Wild Turkeys are hanging around near the feeders, too.
Happy New Year!
Angie & Ken Williams

 

 

Re(1): Snow bird
Posted on January 5, 2014 at 09:19:21 PM by Barbara Taylor

It resembles an American Avocet, but considering the weather, it was probably a verrry Blue-footed Booby!

 

 

Re(1): Snow bird
Posted on January 5, 2014 at 05:16:16 PM by John Challis

The bill would suggest a whimbrel, but I'm guessing an Arctic Tern for the Worse.

 

 

Snow bird
Posted on January 1, 2014 at 10:29:59 AM by Goodyear

We came across this "bird" yesterday while snowshoeing in the Beaver Creek Valley. I.d suggestions?? Happy New Year.  photo