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Algonquin Park Birding Report: 23 March

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (Mar. 23, 2017) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Again this week, no new migrant species were reported arriving in Algonquin Park. There were some days with well-above-freezing temperatures, but also some with strong, cold north winds and much colder than normal temperatures. And extensive deep snow cover, with a hard crust, remains.

Ruffed Grouse were regularly reported at the Visitor Centre feeder area and along the driveway, and the female Wild Turkey there appeared likely to successfully overwinter. Two Northern Goshawks were observed soaring below Cache Lake Dam along Track and Tower Trail on the 18th. A singing Northern Shrike, likely moving northward at this date, was observed at the Old Airfield on the 21st.

BOREAL SPECIALTIES
Spruce Grouse: One was along the trail from Mew Lake Campground to Track and Tower Trail on the 19th, another was in black spruce near northern Opeongo Road on the 20th, and one was along Whiskey Rapids Trail on the 21st.

Black-backed Woodpecker: One was found on Bat Lake Trail (20th).

Gray Jay: Best places to see them continue to be Spruce Bog Boardwalk, Opeongo Road near the locked gate and at the Logging Museum.

Boreal Chickadee: One continues to be seen at the suet feeder on Spruce Bog Boardwalk, although not as regularly as previously. Other locations where this chickadee was reported included Bat Lake Trail and the trail from Mew Lake Campground to Track and Tower Trail.

WINTER FINCHES
There were significant declines in the number of all finch species observed this week, likely in response to the longer days and some warmer temperatures.

Pine Grosbeak: The recurring female at Spruce Bog Boardwalk was present until at least March 20. A few of these grosbeaks were still being seen along the highway edge, but infrequently. Fourteen on the road at the entrance to Spruce Bog on the 19th may have been a flock moving northward.

Red Crossbill: Reports were widespread but typically involved only two or three birds at a time.

White-winged Crossbill: A few were reported on the 16th, but there were no sightings of this species after that.

Pine Siskin: Observations were widespread but involved very small numbers. The peak number counted at the Visitor Centre feeders was 15 this week.

American Goldfinch: The peak number at the Visitor Centre feeders was about 30 at the start of the week, and down to half that by its end.

Evening Grosbeak: The highest number at the Visitor Centre feeders was 50, half of the peak for last week. A few continue to be attracted to bird seed left at Spruce Bog Boardwalk and near the locked gate on Opeongo Road.


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

Good Birding!

Ron Tozer
Algonquin Park Naturalist (retired)
Dwight, ON


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

The Visitor Centre exhibits, bookstore and restaurant at km 43 are open on weekends from 9 am to 5 pm in winter. The Visitor Centre is also open on weekdays from 9 am to 4 pm with limited facilities, including self-serve hot and cold beverages plus snacks available in the restaurant.


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

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The Muskoka Bird Board is a place to share reports of birds and other nature sightings in Muskoka and surrounding areas. You may also post a question about birds or birding in general. You don't have to include an email address in your post. Remember to include the location of your sightings - even the nearest town or major crossroads would be fine. See the Posting Guidelines for more information and helpful tips about using the Muskoka Bird Board.

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