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Algonquin Park Birding Report: early November summary

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (Nov. 12, 2017) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.


As of today, there is a heavy covering of snow on the ground and a few shallow ponds and small lakes along the Highway 60 Corridor are ice-covered. However, it is still fall even if it felt like winter on a couple of minus 15-degree mornings this week. There were fresh Bear tracks in the snow on the Visitor Centre parking lot yesterday, for example.

Recent locations for observations of the boreal specialties are as follows:

-Spruce Grouse: Spruce Bog Boardwalk, Mizzy Lake Trail rail bed section

-Black-backed Woodpecker: Spruce Bog Boardwalk, Opeongo Road, Mizzy Lake Trail rail bed section

-Gray Jay: Opeongo Road, Mizzy Lake Trail rail bed section

-Boreal Chickadee: Mizzy Lake Trail rail bed section


The abundant cones on most conifer species in Algonquin appear to have been significantly affected by the sustained and unprecedented period of hot days in the latter half of September. The cones opened and limited inspection suggests that many (most?) of the seeds may have been released. It remains to be seen how this will affect finch numbers this winter.

There have been recent observations of nearly all of the expected finches, but in low numbers.

-Pine Grosbeak: sightings of single birds on November 4 and 11.

-Purple Finch: regular in low numbers.

-Red Crossbill: regular in low numbers; four seen almost daily this week at the Visitor Centre. Recordings of larger-billed Type 1 and smaller-billed Type 3 confirmed by Matt Young (Cornell) recently.

-White-winged Crossbill: low numbers present, but reported less frequently than Red Crossbill.

-Common Redpoll: observations of one to four birds on October 20 and 21 but no reports since.

-Pine Siskin: low numbers but likely the most numerous finch currently; 40 at Visitor Centre on November 8.

-American Goldfinch: regular in low numbers; 17 at Visitor Centre on November 10.

-Evening Grosbeak: one to three at Visitor Centre this week.


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 services, 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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