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Algonquin Park Birding Report: 3 to 10 March

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (March 10, 2016) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

The first flush of spring migrants was associated with sustained very mild
temperatures during the last four days and resulted in sightings of European
Starling on the 8th; Canada Goose and Common Merganser on the 9th;
and Snow Bunting, Common Grackle and Brown-headed Cowbird today.
The cowbird was six days earlier than the previous earliest date for the

Noteworthy observations this week included: Bald Eagle at km 29 on the 3rd
and over Spruce Bog Boardwalk on the 7th, Golden Eagle flying low over
Arowhon Road at the rail bed crossing on the 6th, and Northern Saw-whet
Owl calling in the evening along Opeongo Road on the 3rd.

Construction work continues at the Visitor Centre, but visitors can access
the south end of the viewing deck and see the suet and seed feeders there.
The feeder in the Visitor Centre parking lot attracts many birds also.


Spruce Grouse: Sightings of one or two occurred near the start of Spruce Bog
Boardwalk every day from March 5 to 8, in a significant increase of success
in locating this elusive species.

Black-backed Woodpecker: Single birds were seen along the Mizzy Lake Trail
rail bed on the 3rd and 4th, and one was noted at Spruce Bog Boardwalk on
the 7th.

Gray Jays: They are still regular at Spruce Bog Boardwalk, on Opeongo
Road and along the Mizzy Lake Trail rail bed. Gray Jay researchers have
now located nests under construction of fourteen pairs in the Highway 60

Boreal Chickadee: Two to four were observed along the Mizzy Lake Trail rail
bed on four days this week. One was reported at the Spruce Bog Boardwalk
suet feeder on the 6th. Listen for their vocalizations to help locate these


Pine Grosbeak: One was seen along the Mizzy Lake Trail rail bed on the 3rd;
seven were in Mew Lake Campground on the 5th; and two were along Opeongo
Road on the 8th. The warmer temperatures will likely result in this species
heading northward soon; the average date of the last spring sighting is
March 27.

Purple Finch: As many as 50 were at the Visitor Centre feeders this week.

Red Crossbill: Two to four were observed getting grit along the Visitor
Centre driveway on four days this week.

White-winged Crossbill: One was heard calling in flight over the Mizzy Lake
Trail rail bed on the 3rd.

Common Redpoll: On March 3, five were seen along the Mizzy Lake Trail rail
bed and eight were noted at Spruce Bog Boardwalk.

Pine Siskin: Numbers are increasing at the Visitor Centre feeders, peaking
at about 140 this week. A pair was observed copulating at a feeder near
Oxtongue Lake a little west of the Park on the 5th, indicating that nesting
is underway. A "green morph" Pine Siskin photographed at the Visitor Centre
feeders on the 6th and 7th was only the second Algonquin record of this
recognizable form.

American Goldfinch: After no reports of this species here for a month, three
were seen at Spruce Bog Boardwalk and one was at the Visitor Centre on the
5th, and six were noted at the East Gate on the 7th and 8th.

Evening Grosbeak: About 70 continued to come to the Visitor Centre feeders
this week. A few were also noted at Spruce Bog Boardwalk, near the locked
gate on the Opeongo Road and at the East Gate.

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

Ron Tozer
Algonquin Park Naturalist (retired)
Dwight, ON


Algonquin Provincial Park is three hours north of Toronto, via Highways
400, 11 and 60. Follow the signs which start in Toronto on Highway 400.
From Ottawa, take Highway 17 to Renfrew, then follow Highway 60 to the
park. Kilometre markers along Highway 60 in the Park go from the
West Gate (km 0) to near the East Gate (km 56).

In winter, the Visitor Centre exhibits and restaurant at km 43 on Highway 60
are open on weekends from 9 am to 5 pm. There is access to the exhibits and
limited services (including light snacks, coffee and other drinks) on
weekdays from 9 am to 4 pm.

Your park permit and Information Guide (with a map of birding
locations mentioned here) are available at the East Gate, West Gate and
Visitor Centre.

ONTBIRDS is presented by the Ontario Field Ornithologists - the provincial birding organization.
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