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Algonquin Park Birding Report: 29 March

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (Mar. 29, 2018) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Following seven days with sunshine but cold temperatures, Monday started clear and cold but the thermometer rose well above freezing during the day. After birders (including myself with the OFO Young Birders) had no luck finding Spruce Grouse during the cold and sometimes windy weekend, some observers were able to locate at total of at least eight individuals on Monday as males were inspired by the warmer conditions to actively display to females (grouse, that is). A few new migrants arrived this week, including Common Grackle (March 26), Northern Flicker (March 27; ties second earliest spring date), and Hooded Merganser (March 28). The unsafe driving conditions on Opeongo Road improved and it was re-opened to public vehicles (north to the winter gate) on Saturday. Two American Martens were observed regularly at the Visitor Centre this week.

Here are some locations where birders observed the listed species during the past week:

-Spruce Grouse: reports on Monday included: two displaying males and three females on Spruce Bog Boardwalk near the trail register box; two females along Opeongo Road; and a male near km 22. A male was seen near the Spruce Bog register box again today.

-Black-backed Woodpecker: birds were seen, or heard drumming and calling, at Spruce Bog Boardwalk, Opeongo Road, Costello Lake, Mizzy Lake Trail parking lot, and Mew Lake Campground.

-Canada Jay (Gray Jay): seen regularly at the Trailer Sanitation Station, Spruce Bog Boardwalk, Opeongo Road and the Logging Museum Trail.

-Boreal Chickadee: no reports, again.

Winter finches continued to be numerous this week:

-Evening Grosbeak: about 20 to 30 Evening Grosbeaks came daily to the Visitor Centre feeders.

-Purple Finch: small numbers, including singing males, seen widely.

-Red Crossbill: still good numbers, especially getting salt and grit along the highway. A male and female with a young bird were observed at the Visitor Centre on Saturday. Often seen getting grit below the Visitor Centre viewing deck.

-White-winged Crossbill: lower numbers than Reds, but widespread; regularly seen well at the Visitor Centre.

- Pine Siskin: the most common finch; a continuing green morph individual was photographed on Saturday at the Visitor Centre.

-American Goldfinch: good numbers continue.

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 will be open on Easter Weekend (March 29 to April 2) from 9 am to 5 pm. The Visitor Centre is also open with limited services on weekdays from 9 am to 4 pm. Get your park permit and Information Guide (with a map of birding locations mentioned above) at the East Gate, West Gate or Visitor Centre. Locations are also described at:

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