Muskoka Bird Board - Archived Reports from July - September 2017
Return to the Index of Archived Reports
Go to the Muskoka Bird Board




Re(1): Dunlin
Posted on October 1, 2017 at 04:50:47 PM by Barbara Taylor

The Dunlin was still there this morning, but we couldn't find it later as we were leaving. Lots of Turkey Vultures were heading south today...counted 22 in just 20 minutes. A few Ring-necked Ducks were newly arrived in cell 1.  photo



Posted on September 30, 2017 at 12:22:49 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds we found a Dunlin in cell 2 on the south beach. Three Rusty Blackbirds were along the roadway north of cell 4. Two Orange-crowned Warblers, a Palm Warbler, a few Yellow-rumped Warblers, and several White-crowned, White-throated, Swamp, and Song Sparrows were in the weeds and shrubbery where it was sheltered from the wind north of cell 4. No new Ducks...still a few American Wigeon, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Mergansers, Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal, American Black Duck, as well as many Mallards and Wood Ducks. A Belted Kingfisher flew by, headed for Kerr Park. There were three Eastern Phoebes, an Indigo Bunting, and some American Goldfinches by the Lagoon Lane gate.



Ichneumon Wasp
Posted on September 28, 2017 at 11:58:37 PM by Barbara Taylor

This large Ichneumon Wasp visited our garden today and stayed put long enough for me to get a photo.  It appears similar to one in the genus Therion.
Family Ichneumonidae: (Bracebridge)  photo



Winter Finch Forecast
Posted on September 26, 2017 at 05:05:07 PM by Barbara Taylor

Ron Pittaway has posted his annual Winter Finch Forecast. You can find it at:



Snapping Turtle hatch
Posted on September 26, 2017 at 02:19:28 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there were four tiny Snapping Turtles walking along the roadway west of cell 4. Their shells weren't much bigger than a toonie. There were two Solitary Sandpipers and twenty-four American Pipits at the dumping ponds. A single Rusty Blackbird was at the west side of cell 4. The only Warblers seen were two Yellow-rumped, three Black-throated Green, two Common Yellowthroats, and a Palm.  photo  photo2



American Wigeons
Posted on September 24, 2017 at 12:45:12 PM by Barbara Taylor

The number of American Wigeon at the Bracebridge Ponds has grown to six as of this morning. All were in cell 2 along with several Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal, a Northern Shoveler, American Black Duck, and many Mallards and Wood Ducks. A Northern Pintail and a Pied-billed Grebe were in cell 1. A Bufflehead, a Common Goldeneye and five Hooded Mergansers were in cell 4. Also in cell 4 there was a Greater Scaup in close proximity to a Lesser Scaup, allowing for a good comparison of the two male birds. The only shorebird seen was a Semipalmated Sandpiper at the south end of cell 2. About a dozen American Pipits were along the middle roadway. A Green Heron was in the ditch north of cell 4. There were very few Warblers...only a couple Yellow-rumped, four Common Yellowthroats, and a Palm.



Flower Flies
Posted on September 23, 2017 at 08:14:24 PM by Barbara Taylor

These hot sunny days have brought out the Flower Flies (Syrphidae). I managed to get photos of eight different species that were in our garden recently. (Bracebridge)

You can see them all in my Flower Flies photo album
Here's a preview:  photo


There is a great online resource including an interactive photographic key covering all genera of Syrphidae in the Nearctic Region at
A subset Field Guide to the Syrphidae of Northeastern North America is at



Black-bellied Plover
Posted on September 21, 2017 at 11:55:57 AM by Barbara Taylor

Late this morning as we were leaving the Bracebridge Ponds, a Black-bellied Plover came in from the east, calling as it circled around. Unfortunately it seemed to be frightened off by a helicopter that flew right overhead and the bird disappeared from view, heading away high to the north-east. We waited a short time to see if it would circle back, but it didn't return. There is a lot of freshly exposed mud along the south shoreline of cell 2 now, but most shorebirds have probably already migrated south of us.



Re(1): Bracebridge Ponds waterfowl
Posted on September 22, 2017 at 03:00:25 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds the Pied-billed Grebe was still in cell 1. A single Northern Pintail was hiding in plain sight on the cell 2 south beach amidst all the other "brown ducks" (Mallards, Green-winged and Blue-winged Teal, Wood Ducks). There were four American Wigeon and two American Black Ducks in cell 2. A Bufflehead, a Lesser Scaup, and a few Hooded Mergansers were in cell 4. A Semipalmated Sandpiper was the only shorebird seen.



Bracebridge Ponds waterfowl
Posted on September 20, 2017 at 02:04:55 PM by Barbara Taylor

There are still many Wood Ducks at the Bracebridge Ponds, but only a few males are in their colourful breeding plumage. Several male Mallards are part way through their molt. There was a pair of Ring-necked Ducks in cell 4 this morning, the first I've seen since spring.

Other waterfowl species seen today:
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
American Wigeon
American Black Duck
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Lesser Scaup
Common Goldeneye
Hooded Merganser
Pied-billed Grebe



Roaming Deer
Posted on September 20, 2017 at 01:46:47 PM by Barbara taylor

Early this morning two does and this fawn strolled through our yard. They were on their way to an apple tree across the street. (Bracebridge)  photo



Bumper crop of cherries
Posted on September 18, 2017 at 02:50:42 PM by Barbara Taylor

We've been seeing a lot of Robins recently as they feast on a bumper crop of cherries in a large Black Cherry tree at the edge of our yard. This afternoon they've been joined by Scarlet Tanagers, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, a Pileated Woodpecker, and two Swainson's Thrush, all eating the cherries. A couple days ago there was a Raccoon and a Chipmunk foraging in the tree. (Bracebridge)

addendum: at 6:50 p.m. a Raccoon walked through our yard, headed straight for the cherry tree, and after a quick climb it is now feeding on the cherries.



Grey Tree Frog
Posted on September 15, 2017 at 10:42:09 PM by George Bryant

Your description matches pix of the above as posted by B. Taylor Jul. 27--our only pure green (at times) frog.


--and frogs
Posted on September 15, 2017 at 12:34:38 PM by John Challis

There have been a few very small (1.5 to 2 cm) young frogs out on the road lately; bright green with black along the eye. They don't have the roughish skin of grey treefrogs, so I'm wondering if other species are such a bright green in their early stages. Peepers?



Posted on September 15, 2017 at 12:33:51 PM by John Challis

There's a dead tree standing in the marshy pond at the end of our property, where a pair of great crested flycatchers had nested this summer. It's also been a popular perch for the Northern flickers. But today, the topmost branch was home to a belted kingfisher. Unless he/she (it was in silhouette so couldn't tell) was hunting for frogs he was in a bad spot for breakfast.



Cecropia caterpillar update
Posted on September 14, 2017 at 02:48:35 PM by Barbara Taylor

The Cecropia Moth caterpillar we found on September 4th is still actively seeking out leaves to eat! The tree doesn't have many left and they can't be very nutritious at this point. Here is a photo from this morning and below it is one from earlier this week.  photo  photo2



Re(1): American Pipits
Posted on September 16, 2017 at 01:47:12 PM by Barbara Taylor

There were a couple Pipits at the Bracebridge Ponds this morning. The water level has come down a bit in cell 2, but the only shorebirds seen were a Solitary Sandpiper and a Lesser Yellowlegs. A Pied-billed Grebe was in cell 1.



American Pipits
Posted on September 13, 2017 at 08:57:01 AM by janice house

On my bird walk this morning a small flock of pipits flew over calling. Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst


Bear Visit
Posted on September 12, 2017 at 07:27:40 AM by janice house

This morning we found the bird feeders on the ground and the metal pole bent over touching the ground. Several of the seed feeders were pulled apart. The bear never touched the peanut feeders.


Re(2): Marsh Wrens
Posted on September 17, 2017 at 01:55:21 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there was a Marsh Wren singing in the cattails at the southwest corner of cell 1. Blue-headed Vireos were also singing, at the edge of the woods west of cell 2. Three Ruby-crowned Kinglets were spotted there too.



Re(1): Marsh Wrens
Posted on September 12, 2017 at 01:44:05 PM by Barbara Taylor

No sign of the wrens this morning. When I arrived, the edges of all the roadways had just been mowed, so the birds may have moved elsewhere. The Trumpeter Swan came flying in from the west again and landed in cell 2. There was a Northern Pintail and three American Wigeon in cell 1, as well as several Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal, American Black Ducks, Wood Ducks, Mallards, and Hooded Mergansers. A Lesser Scaup and a Common Goldeneye were in cell 2. A Bufflehead was in cell 4. A Lesser Yellowlegs was on the beach at the south end of cell 2, while two Solitary Sandpipers and a Spotted Sandpiper were at the dumping ponds. Two Philadelphia Vireos were seen north of cell 4.



Marsh Wrens
Posted on September 11, 2017 at 03:50:44 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there were two Marsh Wrens at the Bracebridge Ponds in the cattails at the south end of cell 1. One of the birds was singing for a while. The Trumpeter Swan came flying in from the west again and landed in cell 2.



Compton's Tortoiseshell
Posted on September 10, 2017 at 06:30:26 PM by janice house

I was visiting Moira on Houston Rd north of Bracebridge today and the butterfly landed on the siding above her deck. Her deck is loaded with plants and flowers.


Re(1): Creature Feature
Posted on September 10, 2017 at 10:52:20 AM by J. Gardner

Super collection and photos of a good array of critters. Must bend over my milkweeds and have a look. Thanks Barbara. J. Gardner



Creature Feature
Posted on September 10, 2017 at 09:49:13 AM by Barbara Taylor

It's amazing what you can find on milkweed plants if you look a little closer. Here are some photos from the past few days, including a nice green coloured Gray Tree Frog. (Bracebridge)

Spotted Lady Beetle, Coleomegilla maculata (a native ladybug, also known as Pink Spotted or Twelve-spotted Lady Beetle)  photo

Reference - life cycle photos:


Red Milkweed Beetle photo

Milkweed Leaf Beetle  photo

Milkweed Tussock Moth caterpillar  photo

Small Milkweed Bug  photo

Short-winged Meadow Katydid?  photo

Gray Treefrog  photo

Monarch Caterpillar (don't think this one will become a butterfly...too late)  photo



Re(1): Skipper Id
Posted on September 9, 2017 at 09:49:38 PM by George Bryant

Yes. This is a Leonard's Skipper. The chestnut background colour and highly contrasting cream spots are diagnostic (cf. Sid Daniels, my house guest). Laurentian is most similar but not in Muskoka and too late.



Skipper Id
Posted on September 9, 2017 at 06:52:19 PM by missyinmuskoka

Hi all. This skipper was hoping around my flower bed this am. It looks like a Leonard's skipper but need your expertise to confirm. With thanks  photo



Re(1): Pied-billed Grebe
Posted on September 6, 2017 at 10:56:12 AM by Barbara Taylor

This morning a Pied-billed Grebe was at the west end of cell 3. The Wigeon and Pintails were still in cell 1. A Lincoln's Sparrow was at the fenceline east of cell 1. A Merlin was being pestered by Barn Swallows as it tried to preen while perched in a dead tree north of cell 4.



Pied-billed Grebe
Posted on September 5, 2017 at 12:31:26 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a Pied-billed Grebe, American Wigeon, and Northern Pintails in cell 1. Solitary and Spotted Sandpipers were in the dumping ponds. Philadelphia and Blue-headed Vireos were at the south side of cell 4. A Bonaparte's Gull was in cell 4.



Cecropia Moth Caterpillar
Posted on September 4, 2017 at 04:30:45 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning we found a huge 5th instar Cecropia Moth caterpillar. It must be very close to spinning its cocoon. (Bracebridge)

Whoa! What's that in the cherry tree?  photo

Wow, a Cecropia Moth caterpillar!  photo1  photo2





Re(1): Cecropia Moth Caterpillar
Posted on September 8, 2017 at 07:06:07 PM by michaelhatton

Great photos. If I was a bird I'd stay well clear of this fellow.



Remaining Hummingbirds
Posted on September 4, 2017 at 01:19:51 PM by michaelhatton

Am seeing female and sub-adult hummingbirds at this time. Maybe most of the adult males in my neighbourhood have left for warmer climes. Perhaps the slight, dark dotting or streaking on the throat and neck of this continuing, regular visitor to our feeder is suggestive of a sub-adult male?  photo1  photo2  photo3



Fall Warblers
Posted on September 3, 2017 at 09:04:46 PM by Alex Mills

I enjoyed spending some time with a large mixed group of songbirds on Saturday morning (September 2) at Magnetawan. There were 11 species of warblers, including Tennessee, Palm, and Canada. I also found a couple of Empidonax flycatchers, and a mix of sparrows, with them.



Shorebirds and Pintails - photos
Posted on September 3, 2017 at 02:37:36 PM by Barbara Taylor

Around 2 p.m. there were three Northern Pintails in cell 2 at the Bracebridge Ponds. Also a Greater and a Lesser Yellowlegs and a Semipalmated Sandpiper were on "the beach" at the south end of cell 2. Earlier this morning while it was still raining, there were about thirty Lesser Yellowlegs, four Stilt Sandpipers, two Solitary Sandpipers, a Dunlin, a Least Sandpiper, and two Semipalmated Sandpipers on the beach. Unfortunately when a Mallard flew out from the shore, the whole bunch of shorebirds flew up too and after some circling, they decided to head south, as the rain had eased off. The birds are definitely on the move today...worth a check later. There were several Swallows hawking insects at the west side of cell 4, mostly Barn, but also Tree, Bank, and at least one Cliff Swallow.

The best my little camera could do...just for the record shots:  photo1  photo2

Stilt Sandpipers photo



Algonquin Provincial Park Odonata Count -- Results
Posted on September 3, 2017 at 11:12:32 AM by Peter Mills

Algonquin Provincial Park's 21st Annual Dragonfly and Damselfly Count was held on July 6th 2017.

The day finished at a tally of 71 species. Our average is 51 species over the 21 years. However, much has changed over that time. Far more people participate now than in the past, and we are also more informed about productive places to visit within the study area. Using only the last ten years of data our species diversity ranges from 63 to 71, with 67 being average. So, by either measurement, it was a good day. Our best day ever was our 2015 count when we recorded 72 species.

A few highlights, or noteworthy points:


This species has declined in our sampling area over the last ten years—probably because the ditch near Lookout Trail becomes less favourable as it slowly transitions from a grassy seepage to a dense thicket of alders. This ditch is the only reliable place for this species within the circle.


We have detected this species on only 52% of our counts. It is common in certain places (Eos Lake and parts of the Sunday Creek Complex, and to a lesser extent Beaverpond Trail), but is often finished by the time our count takes place.


This species is effectively absent from Algonquin's ode fauna aside from a series of small pools in the ditch along the Martin Lake Forestry Road. Azure Bluets appear to be excluded from Algonquin for some reason, but they find favourable conditions (or a lack of competition) in these pools that has allowed long-term persistence at this site.


This species is new for the count. It was first found in the Park in 2011 by Bruce Ripley. It has since showed up a handful of other places in the Highway 60 corridor and the Park's "east side", but remains unreliable. Maybe these sightings are from very small or short-lived populations that establish from migrants. Congrats to Chris Evans, Ruth Noland-Flores, Brent Turcotte, and Stephanie Keeler for this find.


Along the Highway 60 corridor Green Darners are common in the spring [migratory arrivals], are almost totally absent throughout the summer. They appear again in mid-late August as tenerals that head south. Bat Lake is the most reliable place for this species in our area and it may be present in the adult form throughout the summer at this unique lake.


We had none this year. Simply as a point of interest, we have detected this species on only 20% of our counts. It is usually finished in our area before our count takes place.


Like the Harlequin Darner, this species is at the tail-end of its flight-period during our count. We have detected them only on a third of our counts.



This species is fairly common at sizeable creeks and rivers in June in Algonquin. We have found them on 71% of our counts.


Despite a concerted effort at the Opeongo Docks at the witching hour, we did not find any shadowdragons this year. Our count is slightly early for this species; we only get them about a third of the time.


This species is rare in Algonquin and perhaps only a vagrant. However, the fact that we have detected low numbers on four out of the five most recent counts may suggest it is becoming more common.






The Cameron Lake Forestry Road (off of the Opeongo Road) remains the best bet to see this Genus, many of which breed in the bog at km 3. Please note that while this is a public-access road, only foot-traffic is permitted. No motorized vehicles or bicycles are allowed.

Thanks to everyone for a great day, and especially to Colin Jones who organized this event and collected data before I was around.

Our most common species for the count remain:




Our three rarest are:

1. ELFIN SKIMMER (once; one in 2008)

2. EBONY BOGHAUNTER (once; one in 2015)

3. FORCIPATE EMERALD (twice; one in 1996 and one in 2014)

I always hope to find forcipata on count day. Permitting a few statistical assumptions about how we sample our area, it looks like it requires about 1500km of wandering/a mere 380 hours to passively intercept one of these beasts. No wonder no one likes to miss a swing.

See you next year,



Posted on September 3, 2017 at 08:33:33 AM by Barbara Taylor

While checking some milkweed plants for late Monarch caterpillars, I found some Asian Ladybugs (Harmonia axyridis) and their larvae. They were on plants infested with aphids. Two days later most of the aphids had already been eaten and one of the ladybug larvae had become a pupa. I believe the yellow aphids are Oleander Aphids, another non-native insect. Here are some photos from the past few days. (Bracebridge)  photo1    adult ladybug photo2    larva photo3   pupa photo4   aphids photo5


Oleander Aphid references:

Asian Ladybug references:



juvenile rose breasted grosbeaks
Posted on September 1, 2017 at 03:30:15 PM by dinnymccraney

For the past few weeks, 3 young rose breasted grosbeaks have been frequenting the feeder. It's interesting watching the colour is definitely a male and possibly a second as well.Lately they are battling over the seed with the male cardinal who has been resident here since the spring. He mated with the female who was here alone all winter.



Re(1): Giant Swallowtail
Posted on August 30, 2017 at 09:22:35 AM by Al Sinclair

There were 2 records in Muskoka in 2016 both in Huntsville. One was Aug 25, the other around that time by Lev Frid and Ken Morrison. No photos captured.



Giant Swallowtail
Posted on August 29, 2017 at 12:47:18 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds we found a gorgeous Giant Swallowtail butterfly by the south-east end of cell 4. We had excellent looks as it flew around, sometimes alighting on white asters for a milli-second, but it kept moving west with a strong wind blowing it along. It was very hyperactive, in constant motion, and disappeared into the shadows of the woods (possibly to avoid the many waxwings hawking insects nearby or to get out of the wind). Eventually the butterfly came back into sight by the south-west corner of cell 4. I tried to grab a photo, but no luck as it kept on flying way out over the pipeline and after a brief chase I lost it.

Is this a new species for the Muskoka Butterfly Checklist?




Black-crowned Night-Herons
Posted on August 29, 2017 at 10:34:05 AM by diannawolfe

Rob and I had a first summer Black-crowned Night-Heron hanging out with an American Bittern in a large wetland on our property in Carling (just north of Parry Sound) last night. After about an hour, a second BCNH flew over, kworked a couple of times, and the youngster flew off with it. We were surprised to see them this far north.



Re(1): sphinx moth caterpillar - photo
Posted on August 29, 2017 at 06:43:46 PM by Barbara Taylor

Looks like a match to the brown form of the Virginia Creeper Sphinx Moth larva (see It does appear to have the "continuous subdorsal-lateral line, separating myron from other Darapsa species" referenced at You could try getting the caterpillar to the pupa stage and keep it over the winter...then you would get to see the moth.



sphinx moth caterpillar - photo
Posted on August 28, 2017 at 09:16:23 PM by John Challis

Well, it took a battle with technology, but we have prevailed and an odd creature appears below. Gayle discovered a lovely little caterpillar about 2 or 3 cm in length on our grape vine that appears to be a Virginia Creeper Sphinx Moth caterpillar. Can anyone confirm?  photo



Re(1): Katydid - ID?
Posted on August 30, 2017 at 01:46:06 PM by Barbara Taylor

Bob Bowles has told me it is a Bush Katydid in the genus Scudderia. Unfortunately there are several species that can only be told apart by looking at their supra-anal plates and I don't have any photos that show that detail. Bob guessed it might be Scudderia septentrionalis, the Northern Bush Katydid.

I found this online guide to separating the Bush Katydids, but I think the insect would have to be captured in order to get a photo at those angles!



Katydid - ID?
Posted on August 28, 2017 at 08:07:56 PM by Barbara Taylor

I found this large Katydid on a milkweed leaf today at the Bracebridge Ponds. It was out in the open next to cell 4, but not very far from the edge of the woods there. Does anyone know which species it might be?  photo1  photo2  photo3  photo4



Re(1): Cape May
Posted on September 4, 2017 at 12:44:58 PM by michaelhatton

Great image.



Cape May
Posted on August 27, 2017 at 10:56:56 PM by tedthevideoman

last 2 days in my Mum's Spruce, Killdeer Crescent BB  photo



Posted on August 27, 2017 at 12:30:52 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning a Bald Eagle came soaring in over the Bracebridge Ponds and flushed all the gulls out of cell 4. Yesterday the same thing happened...both days right around 11:30 a.m. Several Turkey Vultures were on the move today, and two launched from atop the cell tower visible to the NW. A Broad-winged Hawk was circling by cell 4. The website has daily reports from various Hawkwatch sites that operate during this southward migration season, including Hawk Cliff at Port Stanley.



Re(1): Warblers on the move
Posted on August 27, 2017 at 03:26:02 PM by Barbara Taylor

Another large mixed flock just passed through our yard. This time there was a Cape May, Black-throated Green, Wilson's, Black-and-white, Nashville, Yellow, American Redstart, Yellow-rumped, and many Red-eyed Vireos. Several Robins and a Scarlet Tanager were in the Cherry Tree again. (Bracebridge)



Re(2): Warblers on the move
Posted on August 25, 2017 at 09:15:30 PM by Alex Mills

This morning at Magnetawan I had a Northern Parula and a male Mourning Warbler in a mixed flock.



Re(1): Warblers on the move
Posted on August 24, 2017 at 05:24:25 PM by DBurton

Yesterday I had a Black-Throated Blue right outside the window with 2 Redstarts. There is also a Carolina Wren around here somewhere; I have heard him only twice this summer, and they normally sing all the time. We have an abundance of House Wrens, so he might be getting chased off.



Warblers on the move
Posted on August 24, 2017 at 04:01:28 PM by Barbara Taylor

A nice mixed flock just passed through our yard, including several Nashville, Magnolia, Chestnut-sided, and American Redstarts. There were also two Scarlet Tanagers eating ripe cherries high in a Black Cherry tree. (Bracebridge)



Re(1): Northern Mockingbird Gravenhurst YMCA
Posted on August 23, 2017 at 04:41:10 PM by janice house

George, shouldn't you be swimming in Pine Lake?



Northern Mockingbird Gravenhurst YMCA
Posted on August 22, 2017 at 04:09:15 PM by George Bryant

I have seen and heard the Bracebridge Mockingbird(s) but never one in Gravenhurst. Today one sat in a dead Carolina Polar for 15 minutes before dropping down to the railway corridor, the habitat of choice at least for Toronto Mockingbirds. This brings to eight species I’ve recorded from inside the Gravenhurst Y pool.



Barn Swallows
Posted on August 21, 2017 at 12:08:04 PM by Barbara Taylor

Yesterday at the Bracebridge Ponds there were several Swallows feeding over the cells, including some recently fledged young Barn Swallows. Not as many this morning, but some were resting in the same dead tree at the west side of cell 4. There were three Northern Shovelers, seven Blue-winged Teal, and a Lesser Scaup in cell 1, two Green-winged Teal in cell 2, a Bufflehead and a Hooded Merganser in cell 4, as well as Mallards and Wood Ducks scattered about. Some Bonaparte's Gulls are still hanging around.  photo  photo2



Re(2): Common Nighthawks
Posted on August 24, 2017 at 04:14:50 PM by Barbara Taylor

At this time of year the Cedar Waxwings are coming together in large flocks. We've been seeing anywhere from 20-50 of them hawking insects and feeding on cherries at the Bracebridge Ponds recently. It would be unexpected to have Bohemians here now so could be a good record...any chance there is a photo?



Re(1): Common Nighthawks
Posted on August 20, 2017 at 08:04:05 PM by J. Gardner

Sitting watching nighthawks hunting overhead, just a few minutes ago. Forecast... snow. Ted Gardner told me that he has had a sizeable flock of Bohemian Waxwings in the last couple of days... Meadow Heights. J. Gardner



Common Nighthawks
Posted on August 20, 2017 at 07:51:40 PM by Barbara Taylor

Nighthawks are on the move south. Two just flew over our house a few minutes ago and this morning we saw three fly by at the Bracebridge Ponds.



11 Bonaparte's Gulls Bracebridge lagoons
Posted on August 18, 2017 at 08:13:14 PM by George Bryant

There were 10 at the far corner of Cell four, plus one brown-backed juvenile very close at the north-west corner at 4:30 pm. Juvenile Bonies are seldom seen as they moult out of this plumage in August,this bird may never have seen a human before. My first Muskoka BOGU. The Trumpeter Swan was in Henry Marsh for the Bert Cross Family Nature Reserve celebration.



Re(1): Monarch emergence
Posted on August 22, 2017 at 09:46:47 AM by Carol Wagg

Wonderful to see. I have seen more monarchs this year than I have over the past several. Thanks for rescuing the caterpillars and sharing the photos.



Re(2): Monarch emergence
Posted on August 18, 2017 at 08:35:46 PM by missyinmuskoka

Thank you Al. The butterfly emerging covered roughly ˝ an hour of time. I took almost 500 images that I put together in the time-lapse. Here is the link to the caterpillar to chrysalis time-lapse.


Re(1): Monarch emergence
Posted on August 18, 2017 at 09:24:04 AM by Al Sinclair

Like it. Would be interested in seeing the other one to. Do you know how much actual time this video covers?



Monarch emergence
Posted on August 18, 2017 at 07:30:41 AM by missyinmuskoka

When the weeds were cut down on my cottage roads, I went looking for caterpillars. I found 8 and kept them well fed at my home. When they went into chrysalis's I built an outdoor screened in housing and have released 3 so far. I didn't know how to post this time lapse on this site, so if you are interested in seeing the process, I have posted in on my Flickr page. Not too sure if this link will work on this string or not. I also have a time lapse of the caterpillar changing to the chrysalis if anyone is interested in seeing that process too.



Chimney Swifts
Posted on August 17, 2017 at 01:02:54 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there were at least 30 Chimney Swifts heading south, feeding as they went. The Trumpeter Swan came flying in from the west around 10:40 a.m. and landed in cell must be moving back and forth from Henry Marsh where one has also been seen recently. Eight Bonaparte's Gulls were in cell 4 today.  swan photo

Bonaparte's Gulls (briefly flew over to preen at the south end of cell 2 where there is a small beach, then back to cell 4): photo



Coyote/wolf Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst
Posted on August 16, 2017 at 08:06:08 PM by janice house

Monday morning about 7:30 Oreo our springer spaniel alerted Geoff that something was different. I was on a walk with our cocker spaniel and just about home. The coyote/wolf was walking the fence line of the farm pasture across from our house. I grabbed my bins and managed to spot the beautiful creature hiding behind the grass/golden rod in the pasture that had not been cut. It was in beautiful shape and not ragged what so ever, and really tall. By that time a neighbour who walks her dog every morning was standing with Geoff at the end of our driveway. We all watched as it walked across open ground to the north west corner of the pasture and disappeared in the bush. Wow!



Re(2): Trumpeter Swan
Posted on August 16, 2017 at 12:36:44 PM by Barbara Taylor

No Swan this morning. Six Bonaparte's Gulls came flying in from the east and all landed in cell 4. Two Belted Kingfishers and a Green Heron flew low overhead. Several Cedar Waxwings were moving south in small flocks. A Mourning Warbler was near the old treatment plant. An Eastern Wood-Pewee was singing west of cell 2. Three Green-winged Teal were in cell 2, a Lesser Scaup and Hooded Mergansers were in cell 1, a Bufflehead was in cell 4, and several Mallards and Wood Ducks were scattered around.



Re(1): Trumpeter Swan
Posted on August 15, 2017 at 11:40:30 AM by Barbara Taylor

The Swan was absent this morning until about 11 a.m. when it came flying in from the west and landed in cell 2. Only three Bonaparte's Gulls were in cell 4. A Great Blue Heron was on the roadway west of cell 2...lots of small Leopard Frogs hopping around. As we were leaving, some noisy gulls caught our attention high above the industrial area east of the Ponds. They were harassing a very ragged looking immature Bald Eagle. Is the Bracebridge Landfill attracting Eagles?!



Trumpeter Swan
Posted on August 14, 2017 at 02:00:04 PM by Barbara Taylor

The Trumpeter Swan was still at the Bracebridge Ponds this morning. Five Bonaparte's Gulls were in cell 4. Yesterday a Bald Eagle had come in low over cell 4 and one of the gulls left the area...but back to five of them today. Warblers are on the move - a Wilson's Warbler was at the edge of the woods west of cell 2. There doesn't seem to be as many fall webworms this year, but maybe still too early. Yesterday we saw three Northern Waterthrush (two were singing) by the NW corner of cell 4, but no sign of them today. A Green Heron flew up from the little cattail pond just inside the treatment plant gate.



Re(1): Birds
Posted on August 18, 2017 at 04:24:52 PM by janice house

My bluebirds have fledged. This morning while walking the dog the bluebirds were eating elderberries from the bush which leans against my neighbour's deck. Bruce and Shannon were sitting quietly having their coffee watching the show, lovely!



Posted on August 13, 2017 at 11:40:16 AM by janice house

On Friday I arrived at the cottage (Skeleton Lake) around noon, a little brown bird was hopping along the road so I stopped. It flew up to a nearby tree branch then down again to the road; a hermit thrush with something in its beak. I watched if for at least a minute and saw it fly down to the base of a tree where it seemed to disappear. Apparently they nest on or close to the ground. Yesterday the female pileated woodpecker was on the peanut feeder in the basswood tree (Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst), she was feeding peanuts to a juvenile. Our bluebird babies are very vocal now, they are the first birds calling when I step outside in the morning.



Hummingbirds, hummingbirds
Posted on August 12, 2017 at 12:07:40 PM by dinnynimmo

For the past week we have had SIX!! hummingbirds at our 2 feeders. We have never had so many. Dinny Hurlings Point Bala



Photo of Merlin
Posted on August 11, 2017 at 03:32:49 PM by LindaActonRiddle

I finally got a good look at one of the Merlins in my neighbourhood. The pair often fly from high tree top to high tree top calling to each other. This one sat long enough for a photo!  photo



Red-Necked Grebe
Posted on August 10, 2017 at 07:35:39 PM by DaleWenger

Sorry for the late posting. Forgot my phone at home and worked all day. I saw a Red-Necked Grebe in Cell 1 this morning at 6:45am. He flew in from the south, stayed for about 15 minutes then flew back off to the south. May still be in the area.



Posted on August 10, 2017 at 01:42:01 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds this Dragonhunter kept moving along just ahead of us at the west side of cell 2. This is only the second time I've seen one at the Ponds.  photo photo2



Re(1): Bonaparte's Gulls continue
Posted on August 11, 2017 at 01:44:33 PM by Barbara Taylor

Five Bonaparte's Gulls in cell 4 this morning. They were spooked by a Bald Eagle flying in from the north-east and flew over to cell 2, but soon returned to cell 4. A Trumpeter Swan was in cell 3. There were several Viceroy butterflies flying today as well as a few Monarchs, White Admirals, and an American Lady.  Bracebridge Ponds map (north approx. at top, west at left):  map



Bonaparte's Gulls continue
Posted on August 10, 2017 at 12:40:41 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there were four immature Bonaparte's Gulls feeding in cell 4 at the Bracebridge Ponds. Two Solitary Sandpipers were calling while they flew around the main cells, and appeared to go down east of cell 1.



Eastern Bluebirds
Posted on August 9, 2017 at 07:15:21 PM by janice house

I have been watching my bluebird box in the front yard this last few days very carefully to see what the parents are feeding the young. The nest building started July 7th or 8th and I believe they will fledge very soon. I have had my scope focused on the nest box hole but unless the parents stop and turn their heads I can't see what they are taking into the nest box. So far, caterpillars big and small, grasshoppers, crickets, stink bugs (greenwings and body, that is what I call them). A juvenile is also hanging around but not helping to feed the nestlings. Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst



Red-spotted Purple?
Posted on August 9, 2017 at 12:20:02 PM by Barbara Taylor

Yesterday I thought I'd found a Red-spotted Purple, but there is a thin bit of white at the leading edge of the forewing where a White Admiral's white band would start. So perhaps an intergrade? (Bracebridge)  photo1  photo2



Re(2): Highly Aggressive Ruby-throated Hummingbirds
Posted on August 11, 2017 at 12:06:12 PM by michaelhatton

Different birds. There are at least 6 regulars, maybe as many as 10. Hard to tell as the colouration and perspective on size vary according to lighting, perch, wind, precipitation and avian attitude. When aggressive, they morph visually and dramatically into MMA fighting machines. They are also flying way too fast between the house and the trees, around corners, and in and out of the branches. You can often hear them coming, very briefly, before you see them going. Other birds scatter. Undoubtably some will make an error and not be around for migration. But it is hard to convince kids of any genre to take it easy. They think they are invincible.

Chipping Sparrows are now more abundant than I can recall, ever. AMGO juveniles have very recently showed up en masse at various times. Blue Jays have returned, but in small numbers. Chickadees have reappeared and it sometimes requires two hands to count the number present. My deck has become a flyway.



Re(1): Highly Aggressive Ruby-throated Hummingbirds
Posted on August 10, 2017 at 07:01:28 AM by janice house

Michael, wonderful photos! Same bird or several?



Highly Aggressive Ruby-throated Hummingbirds
Posted on August 9, 2017 at 10:33:55 AM by michaelhatton

Almost surprising are the number of RTHUs we have in our yard each year, seemingly without fail. They come, then they disappear (while nesting?), then they return en masse with young birds. Quickly, they become highly aggressive when defending a feeder, flower or weed in bloom. They seem fearless and determined.
While sitting or standing on the deck, we sometimes worry about the potential to be stabbed by an out of control juvenile. Parents need to control their offspring. Really.  photo1  photo2



Re(1): Northern Mockingbird - photos
Posted on August 9, 2017 at 09:13:59 AM by Al Sinclair

Good sighting for our area. Too bad it's in Haliburton not Muskoka. Thanks for posting it.



Northern Mockingbird - photos
Posted on August 8, 2017 at 08:11:44 PM by WilburBlackman

On Saturday, July 22, we (Jim Mitchell, Neal (my wife), and I) spotted a Northern Mockingbird at our cottage on Oxtongue Lake which is halfway between Dwight, Ontario and the West Gate to Algonquin Park on Highway 60. We observed it in the tree, on the yard lights, and on the ground several times with a black and later a green worm, caterpiller, or whatever. It stuck around for about 15-20 minutes or more. We took lots of pictures (about 50) in all sorts of poses and positions.  photo1  photo2



another colourful Caterpillar
Posted on August 8, 2017 at 04:27:58 PM by Barbara Taylor

I've been trying to get some closeup photos of the bumble bees in our garden, but as I reviewed the pictures I noticed something else on the flower...a caterpillar. I went back out to the oregano patch and managed to find it again. It appears to be the 5th instar of a Purple-lined Sallow moth larva. (Bracebridge)  photo1  photo2


Hodges #11064 - Purple-Lined Sallow - Pyrrhia exprimens



Re(5): Killdeers at the Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on August 9, 2017 at 09:11:36 AM by Al Sinclair

Sorry. I missed the photo date in the original post. Early July would be normal for this sighting.



Re(4): Killdeers at the Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on August 8, 2017 at 11:08:10 PM by bshier

So, to be clear, these photos were taken in early July, so it sounds like the juvenile Sandpipers were around at that time...and it explains why the Killdeer around the corner was relatively calm at that time.... I will change my post - many thanks for your help on this !!



Re(3): Killdeers at the Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on August 8, 2017 at 08:21:28 AM by Al Sinclair

Downy young are harder to id in all species (they don't show them in field guides). I think this has to be a Spotted Sandpiper. Must have been a second nesting as August is late in the breeding season to see downy young of this species. There were several pairs nesting at the ponds this year.



Re(2): Killdeers at the Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on August 7, 2017 at 10:25:17 PM by bshier

I assume it is... this was the other sibling....  photo



Re(1): Killdeers at the Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on August 7, 2017 at 06:44:42 PM by J. Gardner

Is this a killdeer chick? Unlike any I have seen. J. Gardner



Killdeers at the Bracebridge Ponds
Posted on August 7, 2017 at 05:52:56 PM by bshier

I was in Muskoka in early July and we came across two Juvenile Kildeers at the ponds, mom was not far away, and she remained quite calm while we were around.... my first post on the site... let's see if i can get this figured out...  photo



Re(1): Barred Owl Fishing - Video
Posted on August 10, 2017 at 08:12:52 PM by Doug Smith

That's a great video! It really looks like the owl knows what it is doing! Practice, I guess!



Re(1): Barred Owl Fishing - Video
Posted on August 8, 2017 at 04:08:36 PM by coreyhkh

wow thats crazy



Barred Owl Fishing - Video
Posted on August 7, 2017 at 04:04:42 PM by Al Sinclair

Approx 35 fish have disappeared from our backyard goldfish pond since May. I posted an infrared night photo of the owl previously beside the pond but it wasn't clear what it was doing.
So I set the camera to also record a 10 second video to get more evidence. The video capture at the kink below shows without a doubt that the owl is responsible for some if not all the missing fish.
OR on YouTube



gaspe, tropical kingbird
Posted on August 7, 2017 at 11:03:05 AM by John Challis

We were driving from the north side of the Gaspe Peninsula yesterday and received word through a friend of a friend that he had seen a tropical kingbird just outside Barachois, south of Perce. Exact coordinates even provided through his e-Bird checklist. As luck would have it, the rain was sweeping through Perce and Barachois in sheets so heavily that we couldn't see the Rocher Perce, could barely make out the road in front of us -- so we were disinclined to go traipsing through underbrush to hunt for rarities.



American Redstart
Posted on August 7, 2017 at 10:39:26 AM by michaelhatton

I recently saw one of these juveniles who was very curious about my presence. Then a week or so later I started to see more, in different locations, with varying hues of wing patch colour.  photo  photo2



Blue-spotted / Jefferson Salamander
Posted on August 6, 2017 at 09:13:58 PM by George Bryant

Yellow-spotted is abundant in s. Muskoka and always shows yellow spots; Blue-spotted is common and may or may not have large or small blue spots. The Blue-spotted/Jefferson complex is a moving target. Recently it was four species in Ontario, may now be two but will doubtless change again with more DNA analysis so I don't worry about being precise.



Salamander - ID?
Posted on August 6, 2017 at 01:59:32 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds this Salamander was on the roadway south of cell 4. It was very plain looking with no apparent spots, although in my photos there appears to be a couple milky blue areas on the tail. Not sure if that is a trick of the camera, an injury, or actual spots just starting to form.

(many tiny specks of gravel on the body)  photo



Re(1): Ads on the board
Posted on August 11, 2017 at 04:34:17 PM by Barbara Taylor

Apparently some ad blockers have begun serving up their own set of "acceptable" ads, which might explain why turning off the adblock stopped the ads from appearing on the board.

Please let me know if you are seeing ads on the Bird Board even after disabling any ad blockers in your browser. The board should be ad-free.



Ads on the board
Posted on August 6, 2017 at 09:56:54 AM by Barbara Taylor

You should not be seeing any ads when you visit the Bird Board. The ad-free status was renewed. However, I have recently learned that a Trending Articles ad will load on the board if you are using adblock with your browser. Apparently if you disable the adblocker, you stop getting the ad. I have contacted the hosting service about this but haven't heard back yet.

If you do see any ads on the Muskoka Bird Board please let me know. Also, as a general precaution while surfing the internet, it is probably best not to click on any ad since there have been instances where malware can be hidden in ads, even on reputable news sites.

My email:



Re(3): Bonaparte's Gulls
Posted on August 7, 2017 at 05:41:56 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there were three juvenile Bonaparte's Gulls feeding in cell 4. Five Least Sandpipers were at the south end of cell 2, and these two were on the roadway nearby.  photo



Re(2): Bonaparte's Gulls
Posted on August 6, 2017 at 02:08:58 PM by Barbara Taylor

Two juveniles were flying together at the north end of cell 2 this morning and later were feeding in cell 4.



Re(1): Bonaparte's Gulls
Posted on August 5, 2017 at 01:00:06 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there were two immature Bonaparte's Gulls at the Bracebridge Ponds, but no sign of the adult seen yesterday. One bird put on a great show feeding over cell 4 and then perched atop a pole for a rest. The other bird was swimming around cell 1 picking insects off the surface. Both were still there when we left at 11:50 a.m. as rain moved in.

An American Bittern flew up from the ditch north of cell 4 and a Green Heron was in the ditch by the dumping ponds. Several Swallows were feeding low over cell 4, including at least two Cliff Swallows. Six Chimney Swifts were feeding high above the ponds. Two Merlins went zipping past, but didn't seem to catch anything.

American Bittern:  photo

Bonaparte's Gull:  photo



Bonaparte's Gulls
Posted on August 4, 2017 at 01:19:52 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there were two Bonaparte's Gulls flying over cell 4 at the Bracebridge Ponds - an adult with a juvenile. They were picking insects off the surface and then went to rest atop a hydro pole. They spent some time preening, but suddenly flattened themselves and froze as a Merlin went flying past. After a while they flew off to feed over cell 4 some more before heading towards the south.


(just "for the record" photos as my little camera struggled aiming up into overcast skies - adult gull has the black head)   photo  photo2  photo3  photo4



Green Herons
Posted on August 3, 2017 at 01:00:08 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there were three young Green Herons in the ditch by the dumping ponds. A Greater Yellowlegs was at the south end of cell 2.



queries/observations: Breeding Bird Survey PORT CARLING, Ontario (68-052)
Posted on August 3, 2017 at 01:20:11 PM by Al Sinclair

Queries/observations from George Bryant answered below.

Thanks for posting your results. I found them quite interesting. I have a couple of queries/observations:

There were no cormorants, Canada Goose or Cowbirds. Hooray. But no Black-throated Blue Warbler!

Answer: Right, no Black-throated Blue Warblers. I usually get at least one on this route but none this year. I am speculating that this was due to the cool wet weather in early June causing some species to nest late, maybe after a failure of a the first nesting. Here at home the resident male was quiet during that same time period but began singing again in late July.

Golden-crowned Kinglet and Northern Parula are the only species unlikely to be seen in southern Muskoka.

Answer: Agree. Both were north of Rosseau

June 28 seems awfully late. What were your date ranges?

Answer: The date range specified for this count is 05/28 to 07/07. I always run it at the same time for comparison purposes. I started doing it in late June initially because earlier I was trying to get our garden planted. But I think it was not a bad thing because from my recent experience of doing daily eBird checklists, birds sing more after their young hatch. So in mid June you get fewer birds singing than before or after.

(It would be interesting to conduct the same survey on Apr 28 and May 28 plus June 28 with good weather conditions to see how things change.)

Answer: It would be interesting but you realize that to do this count I have to leave the house at 4am to get to the first stop by the specified start time, 4:58am i.e. 1/2 hour before dawn. And you can't waste time as it has to be finished by 10am. And it would have to be done by the same person to get an accurate comparison.

Five hours to go 40 kms. allowing for 2 ˝ hour of stopping? Did you go via Raymond and Rosseau?

Answer: I see that I got my Ports mixed up in the original post. It should have said Port Sandfield not Port Sydney. 39.2km to be exact, stop one is at km zero. The count is misnamed I would say, maybe by the original counter Cliff McFadden who started the count in the late 1960s. The first stop is in Port Sandfield (not Port Carling) and goes north on Peninsula Rd to Rosseau and then north-west to Skeleton Lk on Aspdin Rd. It takes significant time to find the exact location of each stop as specified on the count data sheets. GPS data and local 911 signs and other landmarks are used. Also on these rds traffic is getting heavier every year so you have to find a safe place to park. The shoulder is too narrow in many spots now thanks to recent so called upgrades. I found you really have to hustle to get it done in 5 hrs.



Breeding Bird Survey PORT CARLING, Ontario (68-052)
Posted on August 3, 2017 at 08:16:49 AM by Al Sinclair

Results from 2017 and at the end results from previous 5 years.
Data collection method: Number of birds heard or seen by one observer in 3 minutes at 50 stops 0.8 km apart along the road from Port Sandfield to North side of Skeleton Lake.

Route Summary
Observer: S0839 - ALLAN SINCLAIR
Route: PORT CARLING, Ontario (68-052)
Run Method: 101-Standard BBS
  Route Summary Information
Date Route Run: 06/28/2017
Start Time: 4:58
End Time: 9:57
Start Temp: 9 °C
End Temp: 18 °C
Start Wind: 1-Wind direction shown by smoke drift [1-3 mph
End Wind: 3-Leaves, small twigs in constant motion [8-12
Start Sky: 0-Clear or few clouds
End Sky: 0-Clear or few clouds

Species  Total ind.
Wood Duck 3
Herring Gull 11
Common Loon 1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 6
Downy Woodpecker 1
Hairy Woodpecker 1
(Yellow-shafted Flicker) Northern Flic 8
Pileated Woodpecker 3
Eastern Wood-Pewee 2
Alder Flycatcher 1
Least Flycatcher 7
Eastern Phoebe 5
Great Crested Flycatcher 5
Blue-headed Vireo 2
Warbling Vireo 1
Red-eyed Vireo 83
Blue Jay 4
American Crow 5
Common Raven 5
Tree Swallow 1
Black-capped Chickadee 17
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1
White-breasted Nuthatch 5
House Wren 2
Winter Wren 6
Golden-crowned Kinglet 1
Veery 25
Hermit Thrush 13
Wood Thrush 2
American Robin 10
Gray Catbird 2
European Starling 2
Cedar Waxwing 10
Purple Finch 5
American Goldfinch 3
Ovenbird 19
Black-and-white Warbler 8
Nashville Warbler 5
Common Yellowthroat 16
American Redstart 10
Northern Parula 1
Magnolia Warbler 2
Blackburnian Warbler 10
Yellow Warbler 1
Chestnut-sided Warbler 23
Pine Warbler 3
(Myrtle Warbler) Yellow-rumped Warbler 4
Black-throated Green Warbler 10
Chipping Sparrow 9
Song Sparrow 12
Swamp Sparrow 12
White-throated Sparrow 6
Scarlet Tanager 3
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 2
Indigo Bunting 8
Red-winged Blackbird 15
Hooded Merganser 2
Wild Turkey 1
Mourning Dove 1
Broad-winged Hawk 1
Yellow-throated Vireo 2
Brown Creeper 1
Total Species : 62 Total ind. : 446
Vehicles 123

Results from previous 5 yrs
date, species, individuals
2016 Jun 29, 58, 425
2015 Jun 26, 57, 453
2014 Jun 26, 57, 396
2013 Jul 04, 64, 465
2012 Jun 27, 58, 533



Eastern Kingbirds
Posted on August 2, 2017 at 03:34:16 PM by Barbara Taylor

Today I walked the trail along Beaver Creek between Moreland Crt. and the entrance to the Covered Bridge subdivision. I managed to find 27 bird species, including an Eastern Kingbird hawking insects for its constantly begging fledgling. A Chestnut-sided Warbler and a House Wren were also busy feeding their young. (Bracebridge)

Eastern Kingbirds (young bird hidden behind leaves at upper left):  photo


27 species:
Turkey Vulture 1
Ring-billed Gull 5
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 2
Downy Woodpecker 1
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Eastern Kingbird 2
Blue Jay 2
American Crow 1
Black-capped Chickadee 5
Red-breasted Nuthatch 3
White-breasted Nuthatch 2
House Wren 2
Winter Wren 1
American Robin 3
Gray Catbird 2
Brown Thrasher 1
Cedar Waxwing 2
Black-and-white Warbler 1
Nashville Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 1
Chestnut-sided Warbler 3
Chipping Sparrow 2
Song Sparrow 3
Northern Cardinal 1
American Goldfinch 4



Cooper's Hawks
Posted on August 2, 2017 at 11:25:44 AM by Barbara Taylor

The neighbourhood Cooper's Hawk family was in the vicinity of Kevin Cres. and Glendale Rd. this morning. There were at least two juvenile birds whistling their begging calls as they flew after one of the adults. (Bracebridge)

This website has a couple good audio samples of the begging calls:



Fresh Monarchs
Posted on August 1, 2017 at 08:27:12 PM by Barbara Taylor

There were several very fresh Monarch butterflies flying around the Bracebridge Ponds this morning. Unfortunately there were also some that could not fly since their wings had not fully inflated after emerging from their chrysalis. It is important that butterflies can hang freely upon emergence or else their wings will be malformed. Perhaps these butterflies had to crawl up out of the thick mat of mowed grass at the roadsides as the plant their chrysalis was hanging from had been chopped down...not so great for delicate wings.  photo  photo2



Cliff Swallow
Posted on July 31, 2017 at 12:48:57 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there was a single Cliff Swallow amidst a few Tree Swallows feeding over the Bracebridge Ponds as they headed south. This is the first one we've seen in Muskoka since spring migration.



Re(1): Barred Owls - Night Shot
Posted on August 3, 2017 at 07:21:21 PM by Doug Smith

Al -- great shot! Interesting to think they might be fishing! Does your trail cam have a video mode? If so it might give you an idea of what the owl(s) are doing.



Barred Owls - Night Shot
Posted on July 30, 2017 at 08:42:48 PM by Al Sinclair

We have been seeing a Barred Owl in the early morning roosting in the hemlocks or on the pump house roof beside our goldfish pond. Recently the robins have been alerting us to its presence by constant scolding. And the fish have been disappearing all summer so we set up a trail camera to monitor it hoping to catch the thief.
Yesterday we captured a photo of a Barred Owl or maybe 2 side by side at the back edge of the water. Adult and a young one? Were they there for a drink or were they hunting the fish? You can see some fish swimming in the opposite direction. A day shot from the same camera is posted below for comparison.  photo  photo2



Bald Eagle
Posted on July 30, 2017 at 12:15:35 PM by Barbara Taylor

Around 11:30 a.m. today there was a Bald Eagle circling above the Food Basics parking lot...after gaining altitude it headed off to the southeast. (Bracebridge)



Re(2): sick finches
Posted on August 10, 2017 at 09:09:19 AM by LindaActonRiddle

I posted about a sick finch back on July 25th. I followed Al's advice: took down the feeder, cleaned it with a solution of chlorine and water, and allowed the birds to disperse for 4 days. When I put the feeder back the sick finch did not return and all others look healthy. I also found that sightings of sick birds and animals should be sent to Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, which I've done. From the description of trichomoniasis, it seems that's what the sick finch at my feeder was suffering from.



Re(1): sick finches
Posted on July 29, 2017 at 05:00:38 PM by Barbara Taylor

First thing would be to take down any bird feeders for a while. Sick birds may visit the feeders looking for an easy meal, but can spread their illness to healthy birds. Also empty any bird baths. In case the disease is the result of salmonella, make sure you wash up well afterwards, since humans can be infected too.

There is currently an outbreak of trichomoniasis in the Maritimes that is mainly affecting finches, but can also be an issue for other birds. It may be showing up here too. Hope not.

Here are some links about the problem:



sick finches
Posted on July 28, 2017 at 05:48:36 PM by edieov

Over the last month or so we have seen 3 sick finches, two goldfinches and one purple finch. Any ideas of what we might do?



Re(1): more Butterflies
Posted on July 29, 2017 at 08:00:38 PM by Barbara Taylor

More butterflies were enjoying the sunshine today...Clouded Sulphur, Great Spangled Fritillary, and American Copper. These two decided to check out our flower garden. (Bracebridge)
American Copper photo

Great Spangled Fritillary photo



Posted on July 28, 2017 at 02:39:40 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at Henry Marsh this Compton Tortoiseshell posed briefly for a photo. Other butterflies seen included Mourning Cloak, Red Admiral, White Admiral, Monarch, Summer Azure, and Cabbage White. (Bracebridge)  photo



Eastern Pondhawk
Posted on July 26, 2017 at 03:06:32 PM by Barbara Taylor

Yesterday we found a male Eastern Pondhawk at the Bracebridge Ponds. There was also a Spreadwing with a green metallic sheen on its abdomen, but it was too shy to get a close-up photo.
Eastern Pondhawk photo

Spreadwing sp.  photo



Re(1): Thousands of Grey Tree Frogs
Posted on July 26, 2017 at 01:54:31 PM by Barbara Taylor

Here are some photos of the frogs from this morning. There were also a few Monarch caterpillars on the milkweed plants that didn't get mowed down last Friday.  photo1  photo2  photo3  photo4



Thousands of Grey Tree Frogs
Posted on July 26, 2017 at 01:29:18 PM by George Bryant

At Bracebridge lagoons this morning Dominic Stones and I counted 50, Sid Daniels independently 70, just emerged tree frogs at spots around several lagoons, perched on Milkweed leaves or adjoining vegetation. Extrapolating to the whole lagoons, there must have been 1000's.
This was a first for us inveterate herpers, more tree frogs than we had seen in a lifetime. One would think the nighttime sound here of chorusing adults in May-June would be a din. We met Bob and Barbara Taylor who may post pictures of these, our most endearing anurans. We also saw an adult Green Heron, my first for the year.



Merlins calling
Posted on July 25, 2017 at 03:52:59 PM by LindaActonRiddle

For the last week I've heard Merlins calling to each other, high in the hemlocks and pine trees in my neighbourhood. I saw them today but did not get a photo although I did get an audio recording of their calls and compared it to those on iBird. Seems to be a pair, perhaps with young.



Re(1): Shabby or sick bird??
Posted on July 25, 2017 at 11:17:25 AM by Al Sinclair

Purple Finch. I agree, looks sick. Probably salmonellosis so shutting down the feeders would be a good idea.



Shabby or sick bird??
Posted on July 25, 2017 at 10:17:40 AM by LindaActonRiddle

Recently I saw a report on CBC about the problems that song birds in Nova Scotia are having with a bacteria. People are taking down their feeders and after using bleach to clean them, are putting them away for now. Have any of you seen sick birds? I think I may have one here in town. It's lethargic, hogs the feeder (easy way to get food), often closes its eyes when sitting in the sunshine, bobs its head up and down when eating, and looks unusually shabby. It's much larger that a Chipping Sparrow, but I cannot see any definite markings.  photo



Posted on July 24, 2017 at 11:59:21 AM by Barbara Taylor

We've often seen masses of Whirligig Beetles swimming around on the surface of ponds, but recently a few have been gathering in rain puddles. Yesterday their puddle had dried up and I was able to get this photo of one. I tried to see their two sets of eyes, but couldn't get a good picture without picking one up...and didn't want to do that since some species emit a rather awful smell. Here is a website with excellent photos and information about Whirligigs:  photo



Hairy Willow Herb
Posted on July 22, 2017 at 11:29:09 PM by Barbara Taylor

There is a small patch of this non-native plant (Epilobium hirsutum) growing in the ditch east of cell 3 at the Bracebridge Ponds. I only noticed it recently as it came into bloom. Unfortunately it can spread quite readily and likes moist can even co-exist with Purple Loosestrife.  photo1  photo2  photo3



Colourful Caterpillar
Posted on July 20, 2017 at 02:31:20 PM by Barbara Taylor

A few days ago we found this caterpillar on the ground at the Bracebridge Ponds. The closest match I've been able to find is the Speyer's Hooded Owlet Moth. Apparently they feed on asters, and there are many of those plants near the spot we found it.  photo1  photo2

Speyer's Hooded Owlet Moth (Hodges #10190 - Cucullia speyeri)



Re(1):Skipper ID
Posted on July 20, 2017 at 01:20:42 PM by Al Sinclair

The skipper is a Little Glassywing. Note the whitish spot just below the antenna club. Southern species relatively new to Muskoka. Still uncommon.



Butterflies and carrion (warning...close-up photos)
Posted on July 19, 2017 at 04:01:39 PM by Barbara Taylor

Over the past few days I've been seeing Eastern Tailed Blue butterflies at the Bracebridge Ponds, but a first for me was seeing one feeding on carrion. There was also a Skipper interested in the same dead mole a short time later (2nd photo). The large beetle in the first photo is a Hairy Rove Beetle which feeds on fly larvae and other insects.  photo1  photo2



Widow Skimmers
Posted on July 18, 2017 at 11:32:35 PM by Barbara Taylor

Today there were some Widow Skimmers flying around cell 4 at the Bracebridge Ponds...first ones I've seen this summer. Yesterday there was a nice Calico Pennant, but it wouldn't pose for a photo.
Widow Skimmer (male):  photo



Ads at top of board...
Posted on July 18, 2017 at 04:23:53 PM by Barbara Taylor

Please ignore them until I can get the hosting company to renew our "ad-free" service. Or use an adblock app.



Re(2): What is it? (see photos)
Posted on July 18, 2017 at 07:40:54 AM by Doug Smith

Thank you Al -- large is the word -- wow! I found a link to some info on its life cycle -- quite amazing.



Re(1): What is it? (see photos)
Posted on July 17, 2017 at 10:11:12 PM by Al Sinclair

Megarhyssa atrata - One of the giant ichneumon wasps. This one is parasitic on pigeon horntail wasp larvae.



What is it? (see photos)
Posted on July 17, 2017 at 08:42:50 PM by Doug Smith

My wife and I saw this wasp on a beech log in our woodpile -- does anyone know what species it is?  photo  photo2  photo3



Muskoka Conservancy - Special Guest Lecturer
Posted on July 17, 2017 at 06:14:13 PM by janice house

John Confer will present " The Curious Case of the Intermingling Warblers, dealings between Blue-winged and Golden-winged Warblers.
Wednesday July 19, 7pm to 9pm at the United Church on Dominion Street in Bracebridge. Admission by donation.



Re(2): Sandhill Cranes
Posted on July 17, 2017 at 08:26:28 AM by George Bryant

My guess is there are 20+ pairs of SACR in Muskoka District. Last year I saw a pair with a tiny orange "colt" on Torrance Barrrens. This June a presumed failed-nesting pair hung around a field on Hwy 169 west of Gravenhurst. Manitoulin, Algoma District just north of us has 1000's of nesting cranes. All in the space of a few years!



Re(1): Sandhill Cranes
Posted on July 16, 2017 at 09:13:22 PM by John Challis

Wow. Is this the first record we have of a nestling Sandhill crane locally (at least in recent decades)?



Sandhill Cranes
Posted on July 16, 2017 at 04:48:17 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon we took a trip out to Brooklands Farm on Butter & Egg Rd., but found they were closed today. So no farm fresh vegies, but we came up with something better instead...a family of Sandhill Cranes in the field next to the driveway. There appeared to be only one young bird with the two adults.  photo  photo2  photo3  photo4



Re(1): Blue Birds Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst
Posted on July 16, 2017 at 08:30:21 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon we saw a female Bluebird carry food to a nestbox along Ziska Rd. and then quickly fly off to gather there must be some nestlings.



Blue Birds Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst
Posted on July 15, 2017 at 05:19:14 PM by janice house

I have a pair of bluebirds nesting in our front yard, last weekend I watched as they both brought in nesting material. The male had pine needles and a stiff twig in his beak and could not figure out why he could not get in the box, the twig finally broke. I did not see him/her for a few days and wondered with the rain if they had moved on. He has been all around the yard today. Friday night a downy woodpecker was roosting in another box that had been occupied by tree swallows. This morning another male bluebird was on the hydro wires down by the old sheep farm closer to hwy 11



Re(1): flying squirrels
Posted on July 25, 2017 at 09:49:52 AM by LindaActonRiddle

Lovely to read that others have discovered these nocturnal creatures! I have only seen a dead one on my lawn, sadly. It was probably trying to reach the feeders attached high up on my windows. I can only surmise that it glided to the window but hit it too hard, bounced off the surface, and ended up on the lawn below.



Re(1): flying squirrels
Posted on July 15, 2017 at 12:34:19 PM by missyinmuskoka

I can get up to 5 on my tree right outside my front door. They help themselves to my feeders in the winter :)



flying squirrels
Posted on July 14, 2017 at 08:04:55 PM by John Challis

While I'm posting, I should relate the discovery last weekend while I was walking the dog at night. My flashlight beam managed to land quite by accident on a pair of flying squirrels that were cavorting in a young maple on the shoulder of the road. I kept the dim edge of the beam on them so they wouldn't be too glare-struck, and they darted up and down the tree after each other for a moment, then leapt off towards another tree farther into the woods. The dog and I strained our ears to listen to their rustling in the foliage for a few minutes more, but they were out of visual range at that point.



Re(1): winter wren
Posted on July 15, 2017 at 05:12:09 PM by janice house

I have been trying to spot the winter wren at Dad's cottage for weeks, finally today I saw him/her. I stood for several minutes scanning the area where the call came from then the bird went silent. A few minutes later it called from 40 feet behind me, sneaky bird. (Skeleton Lake)



winter wren
Posted on July 14, 2017 at 08:01:10 PM by John Challis

There is a winter wren singing in the woods by our house right now. The robin has built a third nest in our garage, having already raised two broods there. So perhaps the wren has decided to create another generation as well.



Kestrel nestbox update
Posted on July 13, 2017 at 03:34:32 PM by Al Sinclair

Wilf Yusek reports that there were 2 birds carrying food to the box on July 10. His photo of the male at the box is below.  photo



Caspian Terns
Posted on July 13, 2017 at 02:22:34 PM by Barbara Taylor

At noon today there were two Caspian Terns standing at the end of a pier at the Muskoka Wharf in Gravenhurst, along with a few Ring-billed Gulls.  photo1  photo2  photo3



Hawk or???
Posted on July 11, 2017 at 03:54:43 PM by J. Gardner

Watched what I thought was a small hawk chasing two Mourning doves off my feeder. The bird made several passes at the doves which eventually flew up to the shed roof. The "hawk" turned out to be the female Rose-breasted Grosbeak which has been around for several days. The doves stayed put until the grosbeak left. Did not know that grosbeaks were so bold. J. Gardner Killdeer Crescent, Bracebridge.



Re(2): another big Swallow day
Posted on July 14, 2017 at 01:15:52 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there were about 300 Swallows at the Bracebridge Ponds, mostly Bank, but a few Tree, at least 20 Barn, and a couple Northern Rough-winged. There were four adult Green Herons flying in pairs towards two different locations...probable nest sites.



Re(1): another big Swallow day
Posted on July 10, 2017 at 12:29:50 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there were about 120 Swallows feeding over cell 4...they all appeared to be Bank Swallows, including many fledglings being fed in mid-air. A Merlin came in at top speed and sliced through the swirling mass of birds, but didn't seem to catch one. They all flew up very high and disappeared from view. Two Common Loons flew by, calling as they continued on to the northwest. No sign of the Green-winged Teal today. A pair of Chickadees were feeding four fledglings by the Lagoon Lane gate.



Green-winged Teal
Posted on July 9, 2017 at 04:06:49 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a pair of Green-winged Teal at the south end of cell 2. Yesterday there had been a Gadwall there, but no sign of him today. There were two large groups of Bank Swallows feeding over the cells - a rough count of 76 birds. Eventually they all flew off to the south. An adult Brown Thrasher was busy feeding two fledglings west of cell 3. One of the young Spotted Sandpipers was up the middle roadway without an adult has grown a lot in a short time, but still has fluffy downy feathers.

Green-winged Teal:  photo

young Spotted Sandpiper:  photo

Gadwall (from yesterday):  photo



Cardinal fledglings
Posted on July 8, 2017 at 01:58:36 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning our resident male Northern Cardinal was feeding three fledglings some yummy looking green caterpillars plucked from the lilac bush. Here is one of the well-fed youngsters. (Bracebridge)  photo



Carrion/Burying Beetles
Posted on July 7, 2017 at 02:40:29 PM by Goodyear

Last weekend at the Bracebridge Lagoons we found a dead mole slowly being eaten by several carrion beetles. Most of them appeared to be American Carrion Beetles:  photo

When we moved the mole a burying/sexton beetle (maybe Nicrophorus tomentosus?) came out from underneath:  photo

It was carrying several mites on its body. The mites apparently hitch a ride with the beetles from food source to food source. The adult beetle will lay eggs near/on the dead animal and the larva will hatch out to a food source. The mites eat the maggots and fly eggs that are also on the dead animal, thus reducing potential competitors of the burying beetle's larva. A symbiotic relationship known as phoresy, in which one species is carried about by another.



Re(1): Common Buckeye
Posted on July 10, 2017 at 06:59:26 AM by John Challis

We watched a Monarch laying eggs on the milkweeds at the side of our house a few days ago.



Common Buckeye
Posted on July 6, 2017 at 03:23:00 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a Common Buckeye butterfly west of cell 3...first one I've seen since several showed up in the area in 2012.

This seems to be a great year for Monarchs, with many sightings of the butterflies, but I haven't found any caterpillars so far.
mating Monarchs:  photo  photo2



Tree Swallows, front yard Doe Lake Rd Gravenhurst
Posted on July 5, 2017 at 07:15:53 PM by janice house

I had 2 of my 3 bluebird boxes occupied by tree swallows, the first box fledged last week and I emptied the box on Monday. The nest was sopping wet. Today at noon there were 3 swallows flying around the front yard, one was flying stiff winged like a spotted sandpiper, I assume a juvenile and it landed on the box I emptied. There is still some chittering from the second box....



South monck drive
Posted on July 5, 2017 at 08:01:42 AM by stuartpaul

Around 730 this morning I saw a bobolink and a barn swallow in the south monck highlands close to the golf course. I also saw a grey catbird and a yellow warbler in the shrub alder lowlands further north on the road.



Upjohn nature reserve
Posted on July 4, 2017 at 09:19:32 PM by stuartpaul

At around 730 this mornong I saw a pair of Great Crested Flycatchers around the western end of the main wetland. One flew into the wood duck box and out again. A kingbird was hunting close to the heron nest. There was a deer across the wetland and then the most shocking sound cut through the peaceful morning and the deer ran off. I realized it was the warning call from another deer. Ive never heard that in my life! Other birds of note were a brown creeper, and I heard a wren (type unknown) and a peewee. Nice morning but watch out for the mosquitos!



Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Posted on July 4, 2017 at 12:38:43 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds there was a Yellow-billed Cuckoo at the edge of the woods south of cell 4. It flew towards the pipeline out of sight. As we walked along, another Cuckoo flew up from the shrubbery and headed west as well. It showed contrasting rufous colour on its wings, but we didn't get a very good look at the bird and couldn't see the undertail or any obvious yellow on its bill. Neither bird made any detectable sounds on our approach or as they flew off.



White Pelican, July 3, Haystack Bay, Lake of Bays
Posted on July 3, 2017 at 09:52:42 PM by DanShire

White pelican seen in Haystack Bay, Lake of Bays. Near sunset.

This evening about 815 my wife and I saw a white pelican land near the east shore of Haystack Bay, south of Lumina Resort. The bird had the yellow bill with breeding crest, pink feet. Karen got a good look with binoculars(we've seen them before in FLA and Manitoba). No photo available. The bird was flushed by a boat, circled the bay and landed near Gardner Island/ Haystack Bay Marina. Seen in the dusk swimming westerly along the north shore of the bay toward Vimy Ridge Island.


Northern Harriers
Posted on July 2, 2017 at 11:55:50 AM by Barbara Taylor

Around 11 a.m. today there were two adult Northern Harriers (male and female) hunting low over a recently mowed field at the west side of South Monck Dr. An adult Eastern Kingbird was carrying food in its beak by the golf driving range, so there must be young ones nearby. (Bracebridge)