Muskoka Bird Board - Archived Reports from July - September 2016
 
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Northern Pintail
Posted on September 30, 2016 at 12:05:26 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a female Northern Pintail in cell 1 along with the continuing American Coot, three American Wigeons, female Northern Shoveler, and the Pied-billed Grebe. Other birds seen included Hooded Merganser, Lesser Scaup, Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal, American Pipit, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Palm Warbler, and Yellow-rumped Warbler. As I was leaving there were several Dark-eyed Juncos and Sparrows east of cell 3 where it was sheltered from the wind, including a Lincoln's Sparrow.

 

 

Dark Eyed Junco
Posted on September 29, 2016 at 05:51:35 PM by janice house

This morning I spotted a junco feeding in the neighbours driveway with some white crowned and chipping sparrows. Monday morning I did not have my binoculars and saw white outer tail feathers when the birds scattered and was hoping it was a vesper sparrow

 

 

Leucistic Robin
Posted on September 29, 2016 at 05:12:24 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon a large flock of Robins moved through our yard. Several stopped long enough to take a bath, including this interesting one.

photo1  photo2  photo3  photo4   If they come back, I'll try to get a better photo. (Bracebridge)

references:
http://birding.about.com/od/identifyingbirds/a/leucism.htm
http://www.sibleyguides.com/2011/08/abnormal-coloration-in-birds-melanin-reduction

 

 

Re(1): Hair snake/ Gordian worm
Posted on September 28, 2016 at 07:24:50 PM by michaelhatton

Thanks for posting this item. Below is a link to a description of just how strange this creature is, and the experience of its likely host. I would love to see an example, though I'm sure I'd also find it very very creepy.
https://www.wired.com/2014/05/absurd-creature-horsehair-worm/

 

 

Hair snake/ Gordian worm
Posted on September 28, 2016 at 05:20:32 PM by George Bryant

One was wriggling about in a little pond on our beach today. It was 12" white, wire-thin, extended and twisting slowly. I have only seen these strange critters a few times in my life, mainly in my childhood. Perhaps they were more common then? Last time was thirty years' ago in a pond on Limestone Island, Georgian Bay. A remarkable animal.

 

 

Northern Shoveler
Posted on September 27, 2016 at 01:14:17 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a female Northern Shoveler at the north end of cell 1 along with 70 or so Wood Ducks. The American Coot, Pied-billed Grebe, and three American Wigeon were all at the west side of cell 1 where it was sheltered from the wind. Other birds seen included Turkey Vulture, American Pipit, Savannah Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Mallard, Lesser Scaup, Hooded Merganser, Least Sandpiper, Philadelphia Vireo, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Palm Warbler, and about a dozen Rusty Blackbirds.  photo

 

 

American Copper
Posted on September 25, 2016 at 08:00:16 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning after it warmed up a bit, I found a few Butterflies enjoying the sunshine - Clouded Sulphurs, Cabbage White, and this American Copper which looks like it got nipped by a bird. (Bracebridge)  photo

 

 

Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst/Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on September 25, 2016 at 05:46:02 PM by janice house

Wonderful day birding, this morning there was a Lincoln's sparrow, eastern bluebird and an American kestrel by the old sheep farm on Doe Lake Rd. To finish off the day we had a juvenile yellow- bellied sapsucker tapping in the white birch and 3 rusty blackbirds in the backyard

 

 

Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Posted on September 24, 2016 at 03:13:19 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a Yellow-billed Cuckoo at the west side of cell 4. Unfortunately I only managed to photograph a blur as the bird flew out of sight to the south along the pipeline. There were some Rusty Blackbirds around cell 4 feeding on grasshoppers and worms. One Blackbird stood out as being very different from the Rusties it was with...it had a yellow eye, appeared more black than brown overall, and had a very blue sheen on its lower back and wings, and some brown (not rust) on its upper back. (A possible immature Brewer's Blackbird?
- not familiar with the species) An American Coot was at the south end of cell 1 (found yesterday by Michael Hatton).

 

 

Rusty Blackbirds
Posted on September 23, 2016 at 01:52:18 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there were two Rusty Blackbirds north of cell 4. There was also a large number of newly arrived White-crowned Sparrows, about 30 in total.  A Lincoln's Sparrow was near the NW corner of cell 4 along with a Blue-headed Vireo, a Least Flycatcher, and a couple Palm Warblers. An Orange-crowned Warbler was foraging in a sheltered spot near the entrance to the dumping ponds. The only other Warblers seen were a couple Common Yellowthroats, an American Redstart, and five Yellow-rumped Warblers. The three Wigeons and the Pied-billed Grebe were still in cell 1 along with seven Hooded Mergansers, two Green-winged and a Blue-winged Teal. Several large skeins of Canada Geese were flying south, including about 140 birds pictured below.

Lincoln's Sparrow:  photo

Canada Geese:  photo

 

 

Killdeer
Posted on September 22, 2016 at 06:18:30 PM by janice house

This afternoon there was a killdeer flying and calling over the old Zellers store in Bracebridge.

 

 

wild turkeys
Posted on September 22, 2016 at 03:40:56 PM by dinnymccraney

Mom and Dad took their 9 young ones for a fall stroll on the South Muskoka Golf course at noon today

 

 

Winter Finch Forecast
Posted on September 22, 2016 at 03:19:55 PM by Barbara Taylor

Ron Pittaway has posted his annual Winter Finch Forecast.
You can find it here: http://www.jeaniron.ca/2016/finchforecast16.htm

 

 

Re(1): Bear in town
Posted on September 22, 2016 at 03:37:49 PM by dinnymccraney

wonder if its the same bear I had at the end of June? He was definitely on his own, and the one people keep seeing seems to be alone as well.
Great photo of the buck!

 

 

Bear in town
Posted on September 22, 2016 at 01:54:24 PM by Barbara Taylor

Just before 1 p.m. today I happened to see a Black Bear (yearling?) strolling up a neighbour's driveway and out of sight, heading west towards the ravine between Glendale Rd. and Rockwell Ave. Apparently there have been a few earlier sightings of this small Bear in the area, although this is the first I've seen it. There are apple trees nearby so perhaps it has found some. (Bracebridge)

This morning I came across these three Deer by an apple tree west of cell 3 at the Bracebridge Ponds.  photo1  photo2

 

 

Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst
Posted on September 22, 2016 at 08:45:34 AM by janice house

Last night a warbling vireo was calling, this morning there were several pine warblers and a blue headed vireo calling and flitting at the top of the white pines on Laycox Rd. 200+ grackles were in our yard and our neighbour's yard.

 

 

Citronella Ants
Posted on September 19, 2016 at 07:46:58 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon around 4:30 p.m. I noticed several "Citronella Ants" crawling up from the ground between two patio stones. They were getting ready for their annual nuptial flight. This is the only time we see them. About an hour later all the winged ants had flown away and the rest had disappeared back underground. The large reddish-brown ants with wings are the queens, the slightly smaller black ants with wings are the males, and the yellow-orange ants are the workers. (Bracebridge)  photo1  photo2  photo3

The species might be Lasius claviger. references:
http://www.eol.org/pages/600033/overview
http://bugguide.net/node/view/584822/bgpage

 

 

Re(1): Lincoln's Sparrow
Posted on September 20, 2016 at 12:20:54 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a Lincoln's Sparrow perched in a small Willow near the SE corner of cell 4. Three American Wigeons were in cell 1, including an adult male. The Pied-billed Grebe was still in cell 1, along with two Blue-winged Teal. Seventeen Green-winged Teal were in cell 2. A Green Heron flew up from the NW corner of cell 1. A Great Crested Flycatcher and a Yellow Warbler were near the viewing stand north of cell 2 and a nearby Warbling Vireo was singing its spring song. Two Philadelphia Vireos and a Gray Catbird were west of cell 3 near the apple tree. Only a few Warblers west of cell 2, including a Tennessee and Northern Parula.  No shorebirds seen.

 

 

Lincoln's Sparrow
Posted on September 19, 2016 at 12:17:15 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds we were hoping to see a Swainson's Thrush feeding on the Virginia Creeper berries east of cell 1...but instead, a Lincoln's Sparrow popped up into view. The Pied-billed Grebe and American Wigeon were still in cell 1 along with two Hooded Mergansers and several Wood Ducks and Mallards. There were some Vireos feeding on webworms north of cell 2, including a Yellow-throated, three Philadelphia, and two Red-eyed. In the same area there was a Yellow Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Blackburnian, Black-throated Green and Palm Warblers. No shorebirds were seen. Two American Pipits called as they flew by. Many Canada Geese came in from the north and nine Turkey Vultures soared past after the fog lifted and the sun came out.

 

 

Swainson's Thrush
Posted on September 18, 2016 at 06:08:34 PM by DBurton

A Swainson's Thrush was eating Virginia Creeper berries in my neighbour's tree today. Yesterday the same berries attracted Philadelphia, Red-Eyed and Blue-Headed Vireo.
American Pipits found by George Bryant are still at the gravel piles beside the Cdn. Tire in Gravenhurst.

 

 

Butterflies
Posted on September 18, 2016 at 02:59:25 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning a few Butterflies were enjoying the warm sunshine in a sheltered area by Lagoon Lane in Bracebridge. There were Clouded Sulphurs, Cabbage Whites, Viceroy, Monarch, and this very worn American Lady.  photo1  photo2

 

There were also several bees and wasps visiting the Japanese Knotweed flowers...an invasive species, but apparently well-loved by insects.
reference: http://www.invadingspecies.com/invaders/plants-terrestrial/japanese-knotweed/

Interesting story from 2015 on Japanese Knotweed:
http://www.muskokaregion.com/news-story/5959692-resident-warns-district-compost-may-contain-invasive-species/

 

 

Yellow-throated Vireo
Posted on September 18, 2016 at 01:54:47 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there was a Yellow-throated Vireo with a nice mixed flock of warblers just east of the viewing stand at Kerr Park. An American Wigeon was in cell 1 at the Bracebridge Ponds.

 

 

12 American Pipits Gravenhurst Wastelands
Posted on September 17, 2016 at 06:02:20 PM by George Bryant

This afternoon I observed 12 pipits in the weedy gravel fields west of Gravenhurst Mall (Canadian Tire, Sobeys). This is lovely site for sparrows particularly later in the fall. My early fall date, but apparently about normal.

 

 

Re(1): Praying Mantis
Posted on September 17, 2016 at 02:04:58 PM by dinnymccraney

I found 2 tiny ones in the kitchen last week of August and first week this month. Doubt they will have a chance to mature before winter

 

 

Praying Mantis
Posted on September 16, 2016 at 03:01:50 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning we saw a few Praying Mantids flying around. This one landed in some Goldenrod and let me take a quick photo - its head is to the left, with front legs extended upward, positioned to grab its prey. In Ontario there are only two species of Mantid and both are introduced species - this one, Mantis religiosa (European Mantis), and Tenodera sinensis (Chinese Mantis).  photo  (Bracebridge)

references:
http://bugguide.net/node/view/22947
http://ninnescahlife.wichita.edu/node/691

 

 

Re(1): ID request - fall warbler
Posted on September 16, 2016 at 04:35:40 PM by Barbara Taylor

The Common Yellowthroat does tend to hold its tail up like a Wren when perched, and would show yellow on its throat. The American Redstart tends to flick its tail up when it lands on a perch, but its throat should look white, not yellowish (note the female does have a yellow area on its sides near the throat). Both will forage low in shrubs. In my experience the Common Yellowthroat usually responds to pishing, popping into view to check you out. It is also much less "hyper" than most other Warblers flitting about.

This website sorts out some of the characteristics of fall warblers: http://www.migrationresearch.org/mbo/id/fall_warblers.html

There is a downloadable East Fall Quick Finder as well as other comparison sheets from The Warbler Guide by Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle at: http://blog.press.princeton.edu/2013/07/25/downloadable-warbler-guide-quick-finders/

 

 

ID request - fall warbler
Posted on September 15, 2016 at 11:00:21 AM by John Challis

There were quite a few migrants calling along our street (Green River Dr., Washago) this morning, including one brown creeper who was singing his heart out. Only one bird came out into view though, and it threw me. I'm still learning fall plumage, so would like a hand with this. It was uniformly grey-green above, no wing bars, and I don't believe there was an eye-ring either. Underside was off-white, extending to its undertail coverts (only a quick glimpse as it ducked down into a shrub) and yellowish white at the throat.
One good behavioural trait: when it landed at another perch, it always flipped its tail, wren-like. It stayed low in the shrubs, too, and when I pished, another bird stirred in the same shrubs but didn't show itself.
Female common yellowthroat, maybe?

 

 

Waxwings with orange tail tips
Posted on September 14, 2016 at 08:35:22 PM by Alex Mills

From the Cornell Lab:

Cedar Waxwings with orange instead of yellow tail tips began appearing in the northeastern U.S. and southeastern Canada in the 1960s. The orange color is the result of a red pigment picked up from the berries of an introduced species of honeysuckle. If a waxwing eats enough of the berries while it is growing a tail feather, the tip of the feather will be orange.

 

 

Re(2): Pied-billed Grebe
Posted on September 14, 2016 at 02:37:53 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning the Pied-billed Grebe was still in cell 1. Cool, overcast conditions and a strong north wind made Warbler watching very "challenging" today to say the least. Most birds stayed back in the woods out of sight or blew past in a hurry. I was only able to find a couple American Redstarts, Blackburnian, a Wilson's, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Palm Warblers, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and Red-eyed Vireos. An interesting Cedar Waxwing had an orange tail tip instead of the usual yellow. Two Least Sandpipers were at the south end of cell 2.

 

 

Re(1): Pied-billed Grebe
Posted on September 14, 2016 at 09:00:53 AM by George Bryant

Sixteen species of warblers in one fall morning at an interior Ontario site is remarkably high. They may not do that well at Pelee or Long Point. Great reports.

 

 

Pied-billed Grebe
Posted on September 13, 2016 at 12:56:59 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a Pied-billed Grebe in cell 1.

Here are some of the other birds seen:
Blue-winged Teal  1
Green-winged Teal  2
Hooded Merganser  3
Green Heron  1
Least Sandpiper  1
Northern Flicker  1
Eastern Phoebe  3
Philadelphia Vireo  1
Red-eyed Vireo  4
Eastern Bluebird  1
Gray Catbird  2
Black-and-white Warbler  1
Nashville Warbler  2
Common Yellowthroat  4
American Redstart  2
Northern Parula  2
Magnolia Warbler  1
Bay-breasted Warbler  1
Blackburnian Warbler  3
Yellow Warbler  1
Chestnut-sided Warbler  2
Blackpoll Warbler  1
Black-throated Blue Warbler  2
Palm Warbler  4
Yellow-rumped Warbler  6
Black-throated Green Warbler  8
Wilson's Warbler  2
Scarlet Tanager  2

 

 

Sora
Posted on September 10, 2016 at 10:50:00 AM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a Sora at the south end of cell 2 towards the east side of "the beach".

 

 

Barred Owls calling
Posted on September 9, 2016 at 11:49:34 PM by Barbara Taylor

Two Barred Owls were just calling near our house for 10 minutes. Hope they catch the Skunk that wandered by earlier this evening...pheww! (Bracebridge)

 

 

Check out fall sparrows
Posted on September 9, 2016 at 12:32:26 PM by DBurton

I had a sparrow flock turn up in my driveway a few times this week. There were quite a few juvenile birds, mostly Chipping Sparrows, but some others including a pink-billed individual that turned out to be a juvenile Field Sparrow. There may have been more, but the flock was very skiddish, so I have just the one for now. This is a first occurance of Field Sparrow in my yard. Last year around this time I had Vesper Sparrows among a Chipping Sparrow flock in Sundridge, so it's a good idea to check each bird carefully this time of year.

 

 

Tricolored Bumble Bee
Posted on September 7, 2016 at 05:22:27 PM by Barbara Taylor

There have not been many bees in our yard this summer, so I was pleased to find this Tricolored Bumble Bee on some Sedum this afternoon. (Bracebridge)

photo1  photo2  Bombus ternarius - reference: http://bugguide.net/node/view/15062

 

 

Re(1): Trumpeter swan
Posted on September 6, 2016 at 12:48:54 PM by Barbara Taylor

I checked the Bird Board Archives and Trumpeter Swan K80 was seen on the Muskoka River near Santa's Village in Bracebridge in 2015 on May 20 and again August 24.

Wye Marsh also has a reporting form you can fill out for your sighting: https://www.wyemarsh.com/swan-sightings

 

 

Re(1): Trumpeter swan
Posted on September 6, 2016 at 08:47:03 AM by AlwynLane

You can report your sighting to ... trumpeterswan@live.com ... They appreciate any information they can get. Also they might be able to provide you some history on this particular bird. Also their FaceBook page 'Ontario Trumpeter Swans' has loads of info on these Swans. If you enter K80 into the search box top right of the page any posts with the number will come up.

 

 

Trumpeter swan
Posted on September 5, 2016 at 06:27:38 PM by IanP

The trumpeter swan I saw earlier this year I have been seeing at least once a week driving by the swamp. I finally got a good look on Friday, and it had a wing tag that says it was "K80". If anyone knows anything about tagged swans, please let me know.

 

 

Fisher eating apples
Posted on September 5, 2016 at 10:41:28 AM by Barbara Taylor

Early this morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a Fisher in the apple tree west of cell 3. I didn't know they would eat apples. There were three Otters swimming around cell 1. A Belted Kingfisher flew past, heading west. Five newly hatched Snapping Turtles were on the roadway east of cell 1. A large mixed flock of Warblers was moving along the edge of the woods west of cell 2. Highlights included two Canada Warblers, three Northern Parulas, some Wilson's, three Magnolias, and several Black-throated Greens.

Here's a poor shot of one of the Wilson's peeking out from the foliage:  photo

And there is hope Al...a fresh Monarch this morning:  photo

 

 

Re(1): Philadelphia Vireos
Posted on September 9, 2016 at 10:34:34 AM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there were only a few Warblers and Vireos at the edge of the woods west of cell 2, no shorebirds seen, and no new ducks.

Seen west of cell 2:
Philadelphia Vireo  2
Red-eyed Vireo  3
Common Yellowthroat  5
American Redstart  2
Northern Parula  2
Magnolia Warbler  1
Bay-breasted Warbler  1
Yellow Warbler  3   
Chestnut-sided Warbler  2
Yellow-rumped Warbler  4
Black-throated Green Warbler  1
Wilson's Warbler  2
Gray Catbird  2
Cedar Waxwing  2

Northern Flicker  1

 

 

Philadelphia Vireos
Posted on September 4, 2016 at 01:36:54 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a nice variety of warblers and vireos moving along the edge of the woods west of cell 2 until a Merlin shut things down. Some of the highlights were two Philadelphia Vireos, two Black-throated Blue Warblers (yipee!), Northern Parula, Magnolia, Blackburnian, and Wilson's. Although there is some freshly exposed mud at the south end of cell 2, no shorebirds were seen. There were many Ring-billed Gulls hawking insects over that area...there has been a large hatch of Mayflies. The lone male Scaup was still in cell 4. In cell 1 there were four more Scaup and two Ring-necked Ducks. A juvenile Cooper's Hawk was perched in a dead tree north of cell 4. Only two Turkey Vultures were seen migrating south. A juvenile Green Heron flew up from the south end of cell 1 as I was leaving.

This very worn and tattered Fritillary was at the south end of cell 4.  photo1  photo2

 

 

Monarch Butterfly sighting
Posted on September 3, 2016 at 05:13:43 PM by Al Sinclair

We saw this one in our yard on August 29. This was only the 3rd Monarch seen here this year and all were in August. A few years ago I wouldn't have bothered with a photo, now I'm worried it may be the last one I'll ever see.  photo

 

 

Barred Owl watching the fish pond
Posted on September 3, 2016 at 05:04:51 PM by Al Sinclair

This morning at 7:30 we noticed this owl sitting on the pump house roof. It flew down beside the pond and looked in the water, then flew across to the other side and looked again, then back up to the roof. Blue Jays noticed it then and harassed it until it flew back into the woods. In the pond there are frogs and fancy goldfish. In late May this year we saw a Barred Owl swoop down across the big pond and fly off with a frog.  photo

 

 

Re(2): Wilson's Warblers, Bala
Posted on September 4, 2016 at 08:35:19 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I saw that an OFO trip to the Toronto Islands counted 20 yesterday!

 

 

Re(1): Wilson's Warblers, Bala
Posted on September 4, 2016 at 02:42:02 PM by Barbara Taylor

I checked eBird, and there seemed to be a first wave of Wilson's into southern Ontario around Aug. 27-28, with several reports. This morning I had five at the Bracebridge Ponds.

 

 

Wilson's Warblers, Bala
Posted on September 3, 2016 at 10:06:27 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Male and female adult Wilson's Warblers here today! Seems very early! Photographed them in Nome, Alaska in June.

 

 

American Black Duck
Posted on September 3, 2016 at 08:53:49 AM by janice house

Geoff flushed a black duck from Beaver Creek this morning while on a dog walk, Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst. I have yet to see one this year.

 

 

Hawk migration picking up
Posted on September 2, 2016 at 01:50:19 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning I spent some time "hawk watching" at the Bracebridge Ponds by cell 4. There was a continual trickle of Turkey Vultures streaming by, with total count of 29 by the time I left. Most Hawks seemed to be taking a more westerly route so were too distant to identify - but I had at least one Red-tailed and four Broad-winged (including an adult perched in a dead tree). There were six Palm Warblers north of cell 2 by the viewing stand, as well as a small mixed flock east of cell 1 again. I asked if the water level could be lowered some in cells 1 and 2, so there should be a bit more exposed mud for any migrating shorebirds in a couple days.

To follow the Hawk migration, check the daily tallies at HawkCount.org, or scroll through reports submitted to Ontbirds.

 

 

Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on September 1, 2016 at 11:34:37 AM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a nice mixed flock of birds east of cell 1 where it was sheltered from the wind. There were three Scarlet Tanagers, Great Crested Flycatchers, Red-eyed and Warbling Vireos, and several Warblers, including Wilson's, Chestnut-sided, Yellow, Yellow-rumped, Common Yellowthroat, and an Ovenbird. Three Green-winged Teal were in cell 2, a few Hooded Mergansers were in cell 1, and a juvenile Green Heron was at the north end of cell 1. The male Scaup was still in cell 4. Only one shorebird was seen, a Spotted Sandpiper. Water levels remain high with barely any beach left at the south end of cell 2. Thirty-six Canada Geese flew overhead in a vee heading south.

 

 

Ragged Rapids Rd, Butterflies
Posted on August 28, 2016 at 03:51:00 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Yesterday, Saturday August 28, 2016, I spent 2.5 hours driving Ragged Rapids Rd very slowly looking for butterflies. Not a single Monarch seen and almost no indication that any caterpillars had been feeding on milkweed any time during the summer.

The only butterflies seen were 2 or 3 fritillaries. One photographed that was in very poor condition with no photographs suitable for ID.

Lots of goldenrod and swamp milkweed in bloom but very few asters.

 

 

Re(1): ID help with a Hawk?
Posted on August 30, 2016 at 12:38:15 PM by michaelhatton

Thanks for the assistance.

 

 

Re(1): ID help with a Hawk?
Posted on August 28, 2016 at 08:21:19 PM by Ron Tozer

I believe this is a juvenile Broad-winged Hawk, as does an experienced observer that I asked to look at the photos.

 

 

Re(1): ID help with a Hawk?
Posted on August 28, 2016 at 11:02:44 AM by Al Sinclair

Check juvenile merlin.

 

 

ID help with a Hawk?
Posted on August 28, 2016 at 09:50:38 AM by michaelhatton

Looking for help on an ID for this hawk. Seen off Daventry Road, near Brain Lake in the northern part of Algonquin Park.

photo1  photo2  photo3

 

 

Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar update
Posted on August 27, 2016 at 02:50:27 PM by Barbara Taylor

I've been monitoring a Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar at the Bracebridge Ponds since I found it on a leaf July 25. Yesterday it was starting to take on a brown colour (photo below). That's the sign that it would soon start wandering about to find a good place to pupate and spend the winter. Today it was no longer resting on its silken mat on the leaf, so hopefully it is now a chrysalis.  photo

Previous post with photo taken Aug. 22
Previous post with photo taken July 25

 

 

Warblers on the move
Posted on August 27, 2016 at 02:30:48 PM by Barbara Taylor

Late this morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a large mixed flock of Warblers moving through the woods west of cell 2. I was able to get good looks at several, including two Tennessee, a Northern Parula, Bay-breasted, Wilson's, Blackburnian, Magnolia, Nashville, and Black-throated Blue. Nine Hooded Mergansers and two Blue-winged Teal were in cell 1. Three Broad-winged Hawks circled overhead before continuing their journey south. Two recently fledged Green Herons (second brood) flew down from a tree north of cell 2 onto the roadway not far from where I stood. After a good look around they moved out of sight down into cell 2. Here are a couple photos of one of them.  photo1  photo2

 

 

Snapper
Posted on August 23, 2016 at 07:34:43 PM by BrendaLaking

Barbara, I think I found the mama to the little snapper you missed running over the other day. She was at the far corner of cell 4.   photo  We saw many Familiar Bluets, Slender Spreadwings, Spotted Spreadwings, Eastern Forktails, White-faced Meadowhawks, couple of Black-shouldered Spinylegs, a female Cherry-faced Meadowhawk, Widow Skimmers, Common Whitetails, Twelve-spotted Skimmers, Common Green Darner, and other Darner sps. In butterflies we had Cabbage White, Clouded Sulphur, Northern Crescent, Least Skipper, Eastern Tailed Blues, and a few Monarchs.

 

 

Re(1): Cormorants v. Loons
Posted on August 22, 2016 at 07:53:21 PM by missyinmuskoka

I am the loon lake stewart for Kahshe lake, and we used to have 3 successful pairs. 2 years ago we had one pair with 2 chicks, and one pair with 2 dead eggs that never hatched. Last year we had one successful pair and they had 2 chicks. This year the suspected same pair only lay 1 egg, but is still rearing that chick. We have had increasing numbers of cormorants too.

 

 

Cormorants v. Loons
Posted on August 22, 2016 at 03:48:51 PM by George Bryant

On Saturday we spent 13 hours aboard the RMS Segwun on the 100-mile cruise through the three Muskoka lakes. We observed 100’s of cormorants but not one Common Loon. The Lake Muskoka Eleanor Island cormorant colony has been there for about ten years but I was surprised to see two new-to-me cormorant nest islands in Lake Rousseau. I suspect there are others. Although never nesting, loons once were a common feature of our lake, Pine Lake, near Gravenhurst. This year I’ve only heard them five times. The decline in our loons cannot be blamed on cormorants entirely. Canada Geese now dominate all the wetlands during nesting season and what self-respecting loon would be prepared to co-exist with geese?

 

 

Re(1): Northern Shovelers
Posted on August 22, 2016 at 06:33:17 PM by janice house

A merlin was calling from the top of the pine trees behind the Pentacostal Church? at Pine Street and Taylor Rd (Bracebridge) tonight at 5pm

 

 

Northern Shovelers
Posted on August 22, 2016 at 12:35:53 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there were two Northern Shovelers in cell 2 and also two Blue-winged Teal. A nice mixed flock of Warblers was at the edge of the woods west of cell 2, including several Chestnut-sided and Blackburnians.  The usual Gray Catbird and a Baltimore Oriole were west of cell 3 near the apple tree.  A Merlin was perched in a dead tree north of cell 4.

The Swallowtail caterpillar I posted about earlier in the summer has moved to a new leaf and is in its final 5th instar. Here are a couple photos from today.  photo1  photo2

 

 

Re(1): Painted Turtle shedding scutes
Posted on August 24, 2016 at 02:39:32 PM by dinnymccraney

Fascinating! Must show this to my grandson. Thank you as always for keeping us informed.

 

Painted Turtle shedding scutes
Posted on August 22, 2016 at 12:23:53 PM by Barbara Taylor

Yesterday I noticed this Painted Turtle with something stuck on its shell near the tail end. After a closer look, I realized it was "shedding its scutes". The new top layer that is revealed looks nice and clean now.
photo1  photo2  photo3
reference: http://www.turtleholic.com/turtle-shell-peeling/

not about scutes, but interesting: Painted Turtle Research in Algonquin Park

 

 

Re(4): Lark Sparrow
Posted on August 21, 2016 at 08:56:33 PM by ksmith

I was looking up an evening Grosbeak but never thought to look at a rose-breasted. That's it. I think it was a male juvenile. Thank you

 

 

Re(3): Lark Sparrow
Posted on August 21, 2016 at 08:06:40 PM by Barbara Taylor

Could the bird have been a Rose-breasted Grosbeak? In certain plumages they will show white spots on their wings and it is a larger bird than a Purple Finch. We had an immature male "Rosie" show up at our feeder Friday.

Karen, is this photo similar to your bird?
http://www.sialis.org/images/female_rbgr.jpg

Here's a webpage with several photos to check for similarities:
http://www.howardsview.com/Rose-breastedGrosbeak/Rose-breastedGrosbeak.html

 

 

Re(2): Lark Sparrow
Posted on August 21, 2016 at 11:19:07 AM by ksmith

It's the black lines over the face that are unusual but my first thought was a purple finch because the beak was the same. I will go with that one for now! Juvenile birds are tricky to ID.

 

 

Re(1): Lark Sparrow
Posted on August 21, 2016 at 10:23:45 AM by George Bryant

A young or female Purple Finch could fit that description and they do patronize Niger feeders.

 

 

Re(1): Lark Sparrow
Posted on August 21, 2016 at 09:27:59 AM by Al Sinclair

I think it would be unusual to see them at a feeder. They are ground foragers like most sparrows. They are a rare in Ontario, very few records for Muskoka. Can you get a photo?

 

 

Lark Sparrow
Posted on August 21, 2016 at 08:28:54 AM by ksmith

At my Niger Feedr this morning in Port Sydney area I saw a large bird, with a large finch beak eating Niger seed awkwardly because it was so big. It had a long tail, black streaks over its eyes and head and brown streaks on its breast and white dots over its back and wings. It's body colour was a dull grey/pale brown. I am taking a guess and would like to know if this is possible. A juvenile Lark Sparrow?

 

 

Great Black Wasp
Posted on August 20, 2016 at 12:41:49 PM by Barbara Taylor

Several Great Black Wasps have been visiting our Oregano patch. This one was unusually calm and let me get some close-up shots. I have not found them to be very aggressive, but since they are so large and fly around at great speed, they can be a bit intimidating. (Bracebridge)  photo1  photo2  photo3  photo4

references:
http://bugeric.blogspot.ca/2013/01/wasp-wednesday-great-black-wasp.html
http://bugguide.net/node/view/5530

 

 

Re(2): Common Nighthawks
Posted on August 27, 2016 at 06:58:08 PM by janice house

I was out on the back deck and saw 1 nighthawk, looked back over the roof and lots more appeared. Conservative estimate at one point 40, they would disappear to the south west then another 20 would swirl over. Can't be sure if it was the original group or more joining the group, I watched for at least 20 minutes

 

 

Re(1): Common Nighthawks
Posted on August 20, 2016 at 06:59:28 PM by Barbara Taylor

Just came in from watching a flock of about 30 swirling around overhead feeding on flying insects as they migrate.

 

 

Common Nighthawks
Posted on August 19, 2016 at 07:06:49 PM by Barbara Taylor

They are on the move tonight...so far counted six flying over our house. (Bracebridge)

 

 

whip-poor-will
Posted on August 18, 2016 at 08:59:09 PM by John Challis

We had a whip-poor-will calling in our backyard right now. Green River Dr, Washago. I've never heard one at this time of year before; must be a young teenager strutting his stuff.

 

 

Snapping Turtle hatch
Posted on August 18, 2016 at 03:50:38 PM by Barbara Taylor

Yesterday I almost drove over this little guy at the Lagoon Lane deadend. I carried it to the edge of cell 3 so it was well away from any traffic. (Bracebridge)  photo1  photo2

 

 

Re(1): Feeder Activity
Posted on August 16, 2016 at 06:41:30 PM by ksmith

My feeder in Port Sydney was mobbed this past weekend. The weeke before the goldfinches fought bitterly over the Niger seed. This weekend just pass I had 6-8 on the feeder at the same time. Lots of juvenile chickadees, WBNH, RDNH. Did the cooler weather and rain bring them out?

 

 

Feeder Activity
Posted on August 16, 2016 at 03:58:24 PM by George Bryant

Remarkable to us, our cottage feeders are now a hive of bird and mammal activity—by far the busiest since we put them up four months’ ago. Amongst other species, dozens of goldfinches (where do they all nest?). several Downy Woodpeckers (usually we have none), multi-Song, Chipping and White-throated Sparrows darting under the feeders, then taking cover in the junipers. Many Red-breasted and White-breasted Nuthatches, the latter readily hopping about the rocks. Still the odd male hummingbird but many female-types squabbling at the window feeders. Family groups of Blue Jays and Purple Finches are now regulars. Not a feeder bird but this morning three Pileated Woodpecker were on one tree by the window. The hundreds (I exaggerate) of endearing chipmunks and red squirrels are forever finding new ways to access the dangling feeders. Feeders are retired to the toolshed at sunset. If neglected, raccoons are guaranteed to knock them all down and destroy several. No bears reported since my tidi-bin was tossed into the road in June.

 

 

Re(1): Bumble Bee - ID?
Posted on August 11, 2016 at 02:09:33 PM by Al Sinclair

That's the same species I had here this week. I am calling it Northern Amber Bumblebee based on the colour of the body segments and distribution maps as shown the Bumble Bees of North America (2014). The queens are easier to photograph it seems. I tried to capture photos of a worker here on different days with poor success because it was constantly on the move. Nice clear shot of the leg spines and stinger. Queens and workers both sting.

 

 

Bumble Bee - ID?
Posted on August 11, 2016 at 11:41:38 AM by Barbara Taylor

Yesterday this very large Bumble Bee (queen?) spent several minutes nectaring from the snapdragons in our garden. It was not collecting pollen although it sure got covered with it as it crawled down into each flower. After reviewing all my shots, it appears the bee has a spine on its leg - see third photo. The last photo seems to show a stinger on its tail. (Bracebridge)

photo1  photo2  photo3  photo4  photo5  photo6

 

 

Birds on the Moon River
Posted on August 10, 2016 at 06:16:46 PM by DinnyNimmo

This morning my son in law Doug Tate spotted a caspian tern on the river. We also saw a red breasted nuthatch fledgling in the tree in front of our place.It fluttered its way up the tree. Doug is wildlife biologist for Nahanni National Park.

 

 

Eastern Tailed Blues
Posted on August 9, 2016 at 09:55:20 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning I found two Eastern Tailed Blue butterflies at the Bracebridge Ponds - first ones I've seen this year.   photo  There were several Monarchs flying around the bumper crop of milkweed. The Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar in my July 25 photo was still on the same leaf, resting on its silken mat, but has advanced to the next instar.

 

 

Pileated Woodpeckers update
Posted on August 8, 2016 at 08:11:14 PM by Barbara Taylor

This evening I heard a Woodpecker hammering away at a dead pine tree out behind our house. This time it was the male adult Pileated with one of his offspring. The adult seemed to be showing the young male bird how to strip bark off the tree. He fed it something and then the young bird started knocking off big pieces of bark on the opposite side of the tree from its parent. Bark was flying everywhere!

On July 29 the female adult Pileated had visited our yard accompanied by a young female, but we haven't seen them since. (Bracebridge)

 

 

Another species - Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count
Posted on August 7, 2016 at 06:42:11 PM by Al Sinclair

Northern amber bumble bee (Bombus borealis)worker - in the yard today on hedge nettle. I could not get a good photo, moved too fast, but I think this one confirms it. We will see when the experts check my Bumble Bee Watch record.  photo

 

 

And the Plant is....
Posted on August 7, 2016 at 01:37:52 PM by Al Sinclair

Stonecrop (Hylotelephium telephium subsp. telephium 'Purple Emperor')
Hylotelephium telephium=Sedum telephium

 

Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count
Posted on August 6, 2016 at 09:56:32 PM by Al Sinclair

I'm only seeing one species in the yard this week, the common eastern bumble bee (Bombus impatiens). I entered these photos of a worker on a flower in Joan's garden. They want to know what flower it was on. Joan is away, does anybody know what it is?  photo1  photo2  photo3  photo4

 

 

Tick Found - Bracebridge
Posted on August 5, 2016 at 09:17:05 PM by Al Sinclair

I found my first tick in Muskoka a few days ago. Also saw another alarmist tick story in the media. Not that Lyme disease is not serious, but ticks are still rare in Muskoka from my experience. And this one is most likely a groundhog tick (Ixodes cookei), a species that does not transmit Lyme disease.

I say most likely because it is the most commonly found species in Ontario, it is small (sesame seed size), there are very few deer around us, we do have groundhogs and other small animals here including many deer mice, and it was found on the chin of an indoor house cat that has been hunting mice in an attached garage.

I hope the fear of ticks doesn't prevent people from getting out and enjoying nature in Muskoka. But I suppose just in case it is a good idea to tuck your pant legs into your socks even if it looks stupid.

Note: the background of these photos is a recycled paper envelope not my arm. We used the body rotation trick we found on Youtube to remove it from the cat. Just spin the body around with a Qtip until it lets go.

photo1  photo2

 

 

Great Spangled Fritillaries
Posted on August 5, 2016 at 05:25:31 PM by Barbara Taylor

Yesterday there were two Great Spangled Fritillary butterflies in our Purple Coneflower garden. They were a little nervous at first, but eventually I was able to get close enough for photos...thankfully before heatstroke set in. (Bracebridge)  photo1  photo2  photo3

 

 

Re(2): Shorebirds
Posted on August 8, 2016 at 02:37:42 PM by Barbara Taylor

More recent arrivals seen this morning at the south end of cell 2.

2 Killdeer
4 Spotted Sandpiper
1 Greater Yellowlegs
8 Lesser Yellowlegs
6 Least Sandpiper
2 Semipalmated Sandpiper

 

 

Re(1): Olive-sided Flycatcher and shorebirds
Posted on August 6, 2016 at 02:26:15 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds I didn't see the Olive-sided Flycatcher, but there was a calling Least Flycatcher and possibly a Yellow-bellied (only got a quick look). There was a little mixed flock of Warblers moving through the shrubbery north of cell 2, including a Cape May, Black-and-white, Chestnut-sided, Yellow, Yellow-rumped, and an Ovenbird. The long-staying male Lesser Scaup is still around...in cell 4. I didn't see the Pectoral Sandpiper, but there was still a Lesser Yellowlegs, two Solitary Sandpipers, and a few Leasts at the south end of cell 2. Seven Double-crested Cormorants flew around for a while, but didn't land.

Here's a poor shot of the Cape May:  photo

 

 

Olive-sided Flycatcher and shorebirds
Posted on August 5, 2016 at 01:47:53 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there were a few shorebirds along the south end of cell 2 - a Pectoral Sandpiper, Yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpipers, Least Sandpiper, Killdeer, and a Spotted Sandpiper. An Olive-sided Flycatcher was hawking insects from the top of a dead poplar near the NW corner of cell 2. Several Barn Swallows and a few Bank and Tree Swallows were also feeding in the area. A young Green Heron was at the NW corner of cell 1. Two Hooded Mergansers were in cell 1. I didn't see the male Lesser Scaup...has it left or did I miss it?

 

 

New Bird for Bala Yard List
Posted on August 3, 2016 at 01:47:57 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Juvenile Northern Parula this morning foraging in the pin cherries.

 

 

Bird bathing techniques
Posted on August 2, 2016 at 11:23:05 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning a Robin was in our birdbath making quite a splash, flapping its wings, puffing up its feathers, and shaking its tail. Later as I was adjusting the aim of our water sprinkler onto the garden, I noticed a Hummingbird fly through the spray. It perched on a branch where it received a gentle shower from the sprinkler, then preened while awaiting the next pass of the sprinkler. While at the Bracebridge Ponds, a Belted Kingfisher flew past me low over cell 4. It made several quick bellyflops onto the surface of the water, keeping its back and head above water. It reminded me of a skipping stone. The bird then settled on a perch to preen. This afternoon a young Blue Jay came to our birdbath for a drink and seemed to want a bath, but couldn't quite get up the courage to jump in. Instead, it took a beak full of water and threw it up over its head, repeating the procedure three times...not terribly effective from my vantage point.

 

 

American Copper
Posted on August 1, 2016 at 05:17:01 PM by Barbara Taylor

This American Copper butterfly was enjoying the oregano blooms in our garden this afternoon. It was hard to get a photo since several Great Black Wasps kept zipping by, making me and the butterfly very nervous. (Bracebridge)  photo1  photo2

 

 

Ontario Odonata
Posted on August 1, 2016 at 05:15:42 PM by BrendaLaking

For those interested in Dragonflies and Damselflies, it has recently come to my attention that the 7 volume series entitled Ontario Odonata that the TEA published containing the observations from 1999 to 2005 are now available for free download. Go to their website OntarioInsects.org and click on Publications and then click on Ontario Odonata - Annual Seasonal Summaries. This will take you to a new page where you can choose to look at a table of contents or the whole volume of any one of the seven. Lots of articles, not just observations.

 

 

Re(1): Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on August 1, 2016 at 02:22:11 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning started out very quiet too, but picked up after I flushed a Green Heron which in turn flushed a Merlin that had been perched near the dumping ponds. Seven Hooded Mergansers were in cell 1. The only shorebirds seen were a Killdeer and a Solitary Sandpiper near the south-west corner of cell 2. Two Otters were in cell 4. The continuing male Lesser Scaup was in cell 4 for a change instead of cell 2. A Mink has been hanging around the south end of cell 2, probably trying to catch an unsuspecting duck resting on the small beach.

 

 

Northern Harrier Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on July 30, 2016 at 06:36:05 PM by janice house

This morning I was surprised by the number of birds I heard and saw as it seemed quiet at first. I watched a northern harrier circling west of cell 4, it looked like it had a long piece of grass dangling from its talons, I assume it was a snake....

 

Re(1): Ruby Crowned Kinglet ?, Bala
Posted on August 3, 2016 at 01:46:54 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Chestnut sided has quite a green yellow head. I haven't seen it since so no further ID points.

 

 

Re(1): Ruby Crowned Kinglet ?, Bala
Posted on July 30, 2016 at 01:45:28 PM by George Bryant

How about a young Chestnut-sided Warbler? They certainly look different

 

 

Re(2): Ruby Crowned Kinglet ?, Bala
Posted on July 30, 2016 at 11:17:07 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I didn't think they should be here but no idea what it was. Not seen for the last 2 days.

 

 

Re(1): Ruby Crowned Kinglet ?, Bala
Posted on July 30, 2016 at 09:43:58 AM by Al Sinclair

Too early for ruby-crowned. They aren't normally seen here until the fall migration starts. The eBird rare sighting filter is set to "0" until September 6.

 

 

Ruby Crowned Kinglet ?, Bala
Posted on July 29, 2016 at 08:10:46 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

I have seen, what I am pretty sure, is a Ruby Crowned Kinglet foraging in the pine cherry trees several times. Way too fast for me to get any photographs so far. Lots of leaves to hide in as well.

Smaller than a warbler, no greenish colour on the head, white wing bars, white eye ring, no defined colour change between crown and cheek.

 

 

Pileated Woodpeckers
Posted on July 29, 2016 at 05:33:51 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon the female Pileated visited our yard with one of her offspring. They both went to work chipping the bark off a dead pine tree. Earlier in the year the male Pileated would collect bits of eggshell from the compost pile and carry them off, so we knew there were young birds in the nest. This was the first fledgling we've seen.

Hopefully more birds will return to our neighbourhood now that the Cooper's Hawk family seems to have moved on. Here is one of the young hawks trying to find a Chipmunk in the brush pile a few days ago.  photo1  photo2

 

 

Fawn Sphinx Moth
Posted on July 26, 2016 at 05:00:11 PM by janice house

Geoff found this moth on the side of Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst this morning while walking our springer spaniel. He got a photo on his phone and I also went to look at the moth, it moved when I touched it so was probably not warmed up yet. We checked the id in my caterpillar book.

 

 

Re(2): Muskoka Odonata
Posted on July 27, 2016 at 10:03:00 AM by Barbara Taylor

Bob Bowles said he will get in touch with Brenda to compare records. His Muskoka checklist currently has 103 species.

 

 

Re(1): Muskoka Odonata
Posted on July 27, 2016 at 07:39:11 AM by Doug Smith

Hi Brenda -- have you checked with Bob Bowles? He was involved in creating a list for Muskoka -- his e-mai address is on the Simcoe Nature Board -- http://www.boards2go.com/boards/board.cgi?user=SimcoeNatureBoard

 

 

Muskoka Odonata
Posted on July 26, 2016 at 04:04:58 PM by BrendaLaking

I am trying to compile a checklist of the dragonflies and damselflies of Muskoka. With dot maps from Catling and Brownell's book from 2000, and info from the now defunct Ode Atlas (thanks George), and my own records, I now have a list of 96 species. I am looking for recent records for the following species which were recorded in Muskoka prior to 1999 and were not on the Atlas: Amber-winged Spreadwing, Subarctic Bluet, Rusty Snaketail, Kennedy's Emerald, and Blue Dasher. Does anyone have records for these five? You can contact me at sirpippin@sympatico.ca Thanks, Brenda

 

 

Re(1): Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar - photos
Posted on July 26, 2016 at 01:52:56 PM by DinnyNimmo

Love your photographs, Barbara. Those are fascinating! I have never seen anything like those before. Dinny

 

 

Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar - photos
Posted on July 25, 2016 at 09:12:18 PM by Barbara Taylor

I was checking some Cherry trees this morning for Promethea Moth Caterpillars, but found this Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar instead. It was resting on its silken mat, which it returns to after feeding. This is one of the easiest caterpillars to find since they rest on top of a leaf instead of hiding underneath.  photo

 

Last year I raised a caterpillar I had found so I'd finally get to see a Tiger Swallowtail chrysalis which I've never seen in the wild. I've included a few photos from last summer below today's caterpillar.

Tiny caterpillar found July 1, 2015 (at this early stage, resembles birdpoop...good camouflage):  photo

Second instar (taking on a green tone):  photo

Last instar (markings near the head look like big eyes):  photo

Turned brown day before forming chrysalis:  photo

Chrysalis (you can see the silken sling attached to the branch):  photo1   photo2

 

 

Shorebirds
Posted on July 25, 2016 at 04:26:41 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there were a few shorebirds along the south end of cell 2 - two Lesser Yellowlegs, Least Sandpipers, Spotted Sandpipers, Killdeer, and two Wilson's Snipe. The male Lesser Scaup is still in cell 2, along with a Green-winged Teal, and several Mallards and Wood Ducks. A Hooded Merganser was in cell 1. There were two Green Herons at the west side of cell 4. A few Bank and Barn Swallows were flying over cell 1 along with three Chimney Swifts. Two Alder Flycatchers were calling west of cell 4.

 

 

Yellow Bellied Sapsucker
Posted on July 24, 2016 at 07:25:46 AM by janice house

Late yesterday afternoon a juvenile sapsucker was on my peanut feeder, he was back this morning. A common night hawk was calling last night around 9:30. Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst.

 

 

A Green Heron day
Posted on July 23, 2016 at 03:17:18 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there were four Green Herons around cell 4. This one was very co-operative and stayed perched in the tree as I slowly walked by:

photo1  photo2  photo3

Three recently fledged Green Herons were at Kerr Park and received a food drop from one of their parents. Here are some photos of the young birds:

photo4  photo5  photo6

 

 

Birds at Moon Wood, Bala
Posted on July 23, 2016 at 09:52:05 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

The only birds I have not seen yet that are seen most years here are Canada and Magnolia Warblers. After the extremes of last year seeing all those that have dropped by lately is heart-warming. It was thought that nesting hawks could have been the reason for last year's extremely low sightings so I guess they have found a site further away.

 

 

Re(1): Odonata
Posted on July 23, 2016 at 09:56:38 PM by George Bryant

Actually I have an Excel spreadsheet of Muskoka odes which I'd be happy to send to anyone. g.bryant@sympatico.ca

 

 

Re(1): Odonata
Posted on July 23, 2016 at 10:24:59 AM by George Bryant

There is no recent odonate list but Colin Jones' Algonquin Odonate Guide is all you need. There used to be an on-line Ontario Atlas but it has been taken down, possibly because species at risk were being shown. Muskoka has a few differences from Algonquin; e.g. Slaty Skimmer is abundant here while rare in Algonquin.

 

 

Odonata
Posted on July 23, 2016 at 06:50:50 AM by BrendaLaking

Can someone tell me where I can get an up to date checklist for Muskoka Odonata, a list of actually verified sightings, without the probables? Thanks

 

 

deer with young
Posted on July 21, 2016 at 02:10:17 PM by pmoase

the deer are now out with this years babes,please remind people to drive on the back roads with care even to drop the speed.little ones may be on road even after mom runs off.

 

 

Eastern Milksnake
Posted on July 21, 2016 at 01:38:23 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning I came across an Eastern Milksnake at Kerr Park. It was only about two feet long, so much smaller than the one I found June 16 by Lagoon Lane. I only managed to get this one photo for the record before it zipped off the trail into the leaf litter out of sight. I had been looking up at a family of Baltimore Orioles, so almost stepped on the snake!  photo

 

 

Re(1): Busy Bala, This Week
Posted on July 30, 2016 at 11:23:28 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Cedar Waxwings, F & M Black and White Warblers and F Scarlet Tanager in the drip.

Several F & J American Redstarts foraging. F or J Canada Warbler today. A very yellow warbler which must be a F Yellow Warbler foraging today.

 

 

Re(1): Busy Bala, This Week
Posted on July 20, 2016 at 10:15:25 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Missed m & f yellow-rumps coming into water drip!

Birds feeding young out computer room window - Blue Jay, chickadees, Purple finches

 

 

Busy Bala, This Week
Posted on July 20, 2016 at 09:59:37 AM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

Birds coming to find pin cherries - Cedar Waxwings, Purple Finches, Robins, Hermit Thrushes, Chickadees, Blue Jays

Birds Looking for insects in pin cherry trees - Black and White Warblers, one female seen several days in a row, Black-throated Blue Warblers, m & F, Red-eyed Vireos, phoebes, Scarlet Tanagers, phoebes

Birds coming into water drip - Mourning doves, flickers, Blue Jays, Purple finches, goldfinches, chickadees, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Scarlet Tanager, M

Animals making a nuisance of themselves - Red Squirrels, Gray Squirrels and racoons

 

 

Feeding flock...
Posted on July 19, 2016 at 08:25:34 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon at Kerr Park I came across a nice bunch of birds feeding in the shrubbery where it was sheltered from the wind. Finally, a mixed flock of warblers. There were more juveniles than adults. (Bracebridge)

Here's my complete list:
1 Mallard
1 Green Heron
20 Ring-billed Gull
1 Northern Flicker
1 Eastern Wood-Pewee (heard only)
2 Eastern Phoebe
2 Eastern Kingbird
1 Warbling Vireo
2 Blue Jay
2 Tree Swallow
3 Barn Swallow
4 Black-capped Chickadee
3 White-breasted Nuthatch
3 American Robin

1 Brown Thrasher
2 Cedar Waxwing
2 Nashville Warbler
3 Common Yellowthroat
3 Blackburnian Warbler
6 Yellow Warbler
4 Chestnut-sided Warbler
10 Yellow-rumped Warbler
1 Black-throated Green Warbler
2 Chipping Sparrow
3 Song Sparrow
1 Indigo Bunting
1 Baltimore Oriole
3 Purple Finch
4 American Goldfinch

 

 

Re(1): Cooper's Hawk
Posted on July 23, 2016 at 05:15:30 PM by Barbara Taylor

The young Cooper's Hawk was here again. It tried to catch a squirrel in the brush pile and then back to the Crows...photo

 

 

Cooper's Hawk
Posted on July 19, 2016 at 05:36:23 PM by Barbara Taylor

A juvenile Cooper's Hawk was just in our yard harassing a family of Crows. The young Crows seemed a little too nonchalant and a couple times I thought the Hawk was going to get one, but perhaps it was just "playing" with them. It ended up perched on a branch just inches away from two of the crows...wish I'd had my camera handy. (Bracebridge)

 

 

Re(1): Redhead - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on July 18, 2016 at 02:32:48 PM by Barbara Taylor

The Redhead was still in cell 1 at noon today. A family of Otters was in cell 4 towards the south end.

 

 

Redhead - Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on July 17, 2016 at 04:34:38 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a male Redhead hanging out with a bunch of Mallards in cell 1.  photo

 

 

Dragonhunter
Posted on July 16, 2016 at 10:23:31 PM by Barbara Taylor

I've never seen a Dragonhunter (Hagenius brevistylus) at the Bracebridge Ponds before. This one was at the north side of cell 2 this afternoon.

photo1  photo2  photo3  photo4

 

 

Re(2): Japanese Beetle breeding ground!
Posted on July 21, 2016 at 02:03:47 PM by pmoase

i have seen grackles eating these beetles.boy do they love them.

 

 

Re(1): Japanese Beetle breeding ground!
Posted on July 17, 2016 at 11:02:19 AM by DBurton

They are also congregating on rugosa rose flowers, virginia creeper, and grape vines. Has anyone seen any birds eat these beetles?

 

 

Japanese Beetle breeding ground!
Posted on July 16, 2016 at 09:54:02 PM by Barbara Taylor

I couldn't believe how many Japanese Beetles were feeding and mating on the Pickerel Weed in the Kerr Park pond today. Must have been 100 or more. Yuuuck!  photo1  photo2

 

 

Re(1): First of Year Monarch, Silver-spotted Skipper
Posted on July 17, 2016 at 09:13:20 AM by janice house

I saw my first monarch this morning, beautiful female feeding on dog bane on Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst

 

 

Re(1): First of Year Monarch, Silver-spotted Skipper
Posted on July 16, 2016 at 09:49:57 PM by Barbara Taylor

There were two Monarchs at the Bracebridge Ponds this afternoon...but might be from the Hospice Muskoka butterfly release a week ago. How long would they live?

I had seen a total of 3 Monarchs previously this year in Bracebridge well before the July 10 release fundraiser.  The first date I saw one was June 4 at the Bracebridge Ponds: photo

 

 

First of Year Monarch, Silver-spotted Skipper
Posted on July 16, 2016 at 09:37:29 PM by George Bryant

The old, doubtless soon-to-be abandoned ONR rail line provides a warm open corridor for northbound insects. Today in south Gravenhurst I observed my first of year Monarch (4), Orange Sulphur (1) and Silver-spotted Skipper (4), the last at a northernly Ontario location. As feared, the number of dragonfly and butterfly species and individuals was sharply reduced from two weeks' ago, the variety and profusion of attractive wildflowers providing compensation. The railroad is private property, trespassers could be prosecuted but the cultural paths paralleling the line allow one to view open areas from a discrete distance.

 

 

Re(1): Clay Coloured Sparrow
Posted on July 15, 2016 at 08:56:58 AM by janice house

Got the bird this morning, sitting at top of spruce trees along the edge of the road

 

 

Clay Coloured Sparrow
Posted on July 14, 2016 at 04:59:58 PM by janice house

This morning I heard the sparrow buzzing at 7am, 9am and this afternoon at 4pm. It is calling from our neighbours front yard (1185 Doe Lake Rd), just went by again and still can't see the sparrow.

 

 

Re(2): Monarch Release Bracebridge
Posted on July 14, 2016 at 10:16:14 PM by Al Sinclair

The Bracebridge newspaper reports that 650 Monarchs were released.

 

 

Re(1): Monarch Release Bracebridge
Posted on July 14, 2016 at 03:11:53 PM by Barbara Taylor

A very fresh looking female Monarch was at Kerr Park this morning. There were also four Chimney Swifts flying around the viewing stand area.

 

 

Re(1): Monarch Release Bracebridge
Posted on July 11, 2016 at 06:36:34 PM by janice house

I have not seen any monarchs this year, we had a viceroy about 3 weeks ago in our yard. I check the milkweeds in my neighbourhood for eggs but so far no luck.

 

 

Monarch Release Bracebridge
Posted on July 10, 2016 at 10:35:20 PM by Al Sinclair

You may see some monarchs around Bracebridge this week. Muskoka Hospice fundraiser butterfly release was July 10. They have released around 500 in past years. I would feel better about this if I knew where these butterflies came from and what happens to the migratory instincts of their offspring when they mate with wild monarchs.
BTW I have not seen a monarch in Muskoka so far this year.

 

 

Re(1): Common Nighthawk
Posted on July 13, 2016 at 09:10:24 PM by janice house

Two birds calling and circling right now, really high...wow

 

 

Re(1): Common Nighthawk
Posted on July 10, 2016 at 09:46:31 AM by DBurton

Has anyone else been hearing Nighthawks? There numbers seem low this year.

 

 

Common Nighthawk
Posted on July 10, 2016 at 06:55:47 AM by janice house

Last night at 9:15 the nighthawk was calling and circling over the house, a hermit thrush was also calling. ( Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst)

 

 

18th annual Bala Butterfly Count results
Posted on July 9, 2016 at 04:36:57 PM by Al Sinclair

18th annual Bala NABA Butterfly Count results
Sponsored by the Muskoka Field Naturalists

June 25, 2016, sunny 24C to 29C, winds calm
Distance traveled on foot 3.5 km
19 species 1559 individuals (59 excluding European Skippers)
(In 2015 22 species 306 individuals (91 excluding European Skippers)
7 observers: George Bryant, Sid Daniels, Janet Fraser, Cyril Fry, Martha Gillier, Al Sinclair, Rick Snider
The weather was hot and sunny, excellent for counting butterflies, but numbers were lower than normal likely because of lack of rain in the 3 weeks before the count.

Canadian Tiger Swallowtail 4
Bog Copper 2
Great Spangled Fritillary 4
Silver-Bordered Fritillary 1
Silvery Checkerspot 1
Harris' Checkerspot 4
Northern Crescent 7
White Admiral 2
Eyed Brown 1
Little Wood Satyr 3
Common Ringlet 1
Northern Cloudywing 2
European Skipper 1500
Indian Skipper 1
Tawny-Edged Skipper 4
Long Dash 12
Hobomok Skipper 3
Two-Spotted Skipper 5
Dun Skipper 2

 

THE COUNTERS (minus Janet) Photograph by Janet Fraser: photo

 

 

Dragonflies
Posted on July 8, 2016 at 05:25:04 PM by Barbara Taylor

Yesterday afternoon I made a quick visit to the Bracebridge Ponds...hot, humid, and great weather for dragonflies. Along the roadway north of cell 4 there were at least 40 Common Whitetails, 20 Widow Skimmers, and a couple Twelve-spotted Skimmers. A Killdeer was still sitting on eggs. There were two Green Herons - an adult and a recently fledged young bird which still had white tufts of downy feathers on its head. A single Least Sandpiper was at the south end of cell 2.
Widow Skimmer (male): photo

Common Whitetail:  male - photo   females - photo

 

 

Bird songs this am
Posted on July 8, 2016 at 04:10:44 PM by John Challis

I guess the birds were encouraged by the scent of (potential) rain this morning. It sounded like early June.
Winter wrens have been at it several mornings lately, and there were a couple in full scat-mode during a half-hour bike ride. Also heard, or seen:
Catbird
Scarlet tanager
Great crested flycatcher
Chestnut sided warbler
Common yellowthroat
Blackburnian warbler
Ovenbird
Pine warbler
(and yesterday heard a black-throated green warbler)
Flicker, pileated and, I think, hairy woodpeckers
Indigo bunting
Swamp, song and chipping sparrow
A baby wood duck
..along with the usual gang of jays, chickadees, grackles, RWBBs and red-eyed vireos. Quite a chorus.

 

 

Pileated versus Hydro One Pole at Leonard Lake
Posted on July 7, 2016 at 09:07:58 PM by michaelhatton

photo

 

 

Broad-winged Hawks
Posted on July 7, 2016 at 08:51:01 PM by Barbara Taylor

This Broad-winged Hawk spent over ten minutes preening while perched in a pine tree by our house this afternoon. A second Broadwing was calling as it circled overhead. (Bracebridge)  photo1  photo2

 

 

Chimney Swift
Posted on July 6, 2016 at 08:41:50 PM by janice house

On the way to work this morning a chimney swift was chittering above the intersection of Manitoba St and Taylor Rd in Bracebridge, a cardinal was singing close to the skate board park behind the arena.

 

 

Sandhill Cranes in Raymond
Posted on July 5, 2016 at 12:42:51 PM by janice house

Tim Mason from Raymond ( Luckey Rd ) reports there are 4 cranes in the field across from his home. He believes it is the nesting pair from last year and their 2 offspring (previous year). Any thoughts? He also has a pair of black billed cuckoos nesting.

 

 

Kingfisher predation
Posted on July 3, 2016 at 12:23:25 PM by Barbara Taylor

I was hoping to announce some happy news that two Kingfishers had fledged at the Bracebridge Ponds yesterday, but sadly this morning I found they had already been killed by something. I guess they never made it up out of the ditch into a tree so they were very vulnerable.  Yesterday morning I hadn't realized they had left their burrow until I was leaving and saw the female adult carry a big frog into the nesthole. She soon came back out, still with the frog, and then went down into the ditch below. I took this quick photo as I walked past. One young bird is looking straight into the camera, and the other one is barely visible at the bottom left.  photo

 

 

Program Announcement
Posted on July 3, 2016 at 06:18:19 AM by janice house

Dr. John Confer of Ithaca College will be delivering an interesting talk on
the Northern Saw-whet Owl. His presentation entitled : The Northern
Saw-whet Owl in Your Back Yard, describes his fall banding station for
migrating Northern Saw-whet Owls on Hammond Hill near Ithaca, NY and
describes saw-whet migration and population dynamics in eastern North
America. Wednesday, July 20, at 7:30 at Bracebridge United Church. All are
welcome and admission by donation. This event is sponsored by the Muskoka
Conservancy.`

 

 

Black Tern
Posted on July 2, 2016 at 03:25:31 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds I was watching the many Tree, Bank, and Barn Swallows when a larger bird came into view...a Black Tern. It flew around picking insects off the surface of cell 2 for about 20 minutes, but left after repeated attacks by a Red-winged Blackbird and some Swallow adults protecting their fledglings feeding in the same area. I only managed to get very poor photos of the Tern, but you can make out its black head and underside if you squint. It had a fairly uniform gray back, wings and top of tail; head mostly black; breast and belly blotchy black and white; white undertail and vent; slightly forked tail; black bill.  photo1  photo2  photo3

 

 

Bracebridge Lagoons
Posted on July 2, 2016 at 07:50:31 AM by janice house

I was at the ponds around 2pm yesterday, 3 lesser yellow legs were in the south end of cell 2, a spotted sandpiper was bathing in the south end of cell 1, goldfinch and common yellow throat were bathing outside the gate in the water running from the culvert, lots of fledgling swallows in the trees by the gate and on the facility fence. Watch out as the adults are dive bombing. A kingfisher had what looked like a small sunfish in it's bill, it sat and called on the fence but did not go to the nest while I watched.