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Algonquin Park Birding Report: 25 October to 1 November

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (Nov. 1, 2018) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

A heavy covering of snow occurred early in the week, but most of the snow has now melted during recent rain and higher temperatures. Mild conditions resulted in late observations for several species.

A very successful one-person “pelagic” on October 28, covering most of Lake Opeongo after an overnight snowfall and during periodic snow squalls, yielded photographs of RED-NECKED GREBE (total of 21 at three locations), DUNLIN (5), WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER (1; new latest fall date here), PECTORAL SANDPIPER (6) and GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL (first winter; new latest fall date for this very rare gull here). The shorebirds were feeding amid snow on exposed mud areas at the mouth of Hailstorm Creek. Lake Opeongo is Algonquin Park’s largest lake and is mostly inaccessible except by watercraft.

Boreal Residents: SPRUCE GROUSE (try the Wolf Howl Pond area along the Mizzy Lake Trail railbed, and Spruce Bog Boardwalk); BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER (seen along Mizzy Lake Trail railbed, and along the Track and Tower Trail starting from the southwest corner of the Old Airfield); CANADA JAY (the most reliable location is Opeongo Road north of the winter gate); and BOREAL CHICKADEE (one was found along the Mizzy Lake Trail railbed today).

Winter Finches: There is good species variety, but numbers are fairly low and many birds appear to be moving through. EVENING GROSBEAK (single flyovers were reported, and a small flock was at the Visitor Centre on several days); PINE GROSBEAK (an adult male was at the Visitor Centre with Evening Grosbeaks on October 26 and 27, and a single bird was noted on Lake Opeongo on October 28); PURPLE FINCH (a few are still here); COMMON REDPOLL (becoming widespread in relatively small numbers); RED CROSSBILL (small groups seen on three days this week); WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL (three reports of one or two birds); PINE SISKIN (usually one or two seen at a time, but 30 reported at the Old Airfield on October 26); and AMERICAN GOLDFINCH (a few still present).

Noteworthy observations included: LONG-TAILED DUCK (six on Lake of Two Rivers, October 26, were the first this fall); ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK (singles on October 28 and 29); GOLDEN EAGLE (one over Highway 60 near Smoke Lake today); BOHEMIAN WAXWING (ten at the Old Airfield today); LAPLAND LONGSPUR (three at the Old Airfield, October 27 and today); and LINCOLN’S SPARROW (a late bird was along the Mizzy Lake Trail railbed on October 27).

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. 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:

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

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