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Algonquin Park Birding Report: 4 to 18 October

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (Oct. 18, 2018) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Noteworthy observations during the two-week period included: SNOW GOOSE (twelve in a large flock of migrating Canadas photographed over the Old Airfield on October 13); NORTHERN SHOVELER (two photographed high over Opeongo Road on October 17, a new latest fall date for this very rare species in Algonquin); YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO (one photographed amid snow flurries along Opeongo Road on October 17, the second latest fall date for this very rare bird here); VIRGINIA RAIL (one seen along the edge of Costello Creek a little beyond the Opeongo Road north bridge on October 17, a new latest fall date for Algonquin); BOHEMIAN WAXWING (a few at the Airfield and near Head Creek Marsh in the start of an expected flight; see Ron Pitttaway’s Winter Finch Forecast:; and LAPLAND LONGSPUR (up to a dozen at the Old Airfield and ten along the Mizzy Lake Trail railbed at West Rose Lake).

The cone crop is poor in Algonquin this year, and the Visitor Centre feeders are not operational yet, but some winter finches are being seen in the Park. Reports included: EVENING GROSBEAK (fifteen near Head Creek Marsh on October 5); PINE GROSBEAK (one along the railbed at the chain gate east of Arowhon Road on October 17 was the first sighting this fall); PURPLE FINCH (a few are being seen regularly); COMMON REDPOLL (no Algonquin Park reports but a few nearby; one was reported at Tory Hill, Haliburton County, and two were at a Huntsville feeder for several days during the period); Red Crossbill and White-winged Crossbill (no reports); PINE SISKIN (sightings of one or two flying over are frequent, and a few small flocks have also been noted); AMERICAN GOLDFINCH (small numbers are still being seen).

Boreal Residents: SPRUCE GROUSE (seen fairly regularly along the Mizzy Lake Trail railbed near Wolf Howl Pond and at Spruce Bog Boardwalk); BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER (observed frequently along the Mizzy Lake Trail railbed); CANADA JAY (regular from the winter gate northward on Opeongo Road and at Spruce Bog Boardwalk) and BOREAL CHICKADEE (reported along the Mizzy Lake railbed and along the Old Railway Bike Trail between the Airfield and Head Creek Marsh, where at least four appeared to be moving westward with a large number of Black-capped Chickadees on October 5).

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 daily from 9 am to 5 pm until October 29. 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:

Ron Tozer, Algonquin Park Naturalist (retired), Dwight, ON

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