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Algonquin Park Birding Report: 8 to 15 November

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (Nov. 16, 2018) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Small lakes and ponds froze over on the cold night of Nov 10-11, and heavy snowfall occurred last night and today. Gates are now closed for the winter on the following roads: Arowhon, Centennial Ridges, Rock Lake and Opeongo (at Cameron Lake Road junction).

The following observations before the increased cold and snow set new latest fall dates for Algonquin: AMERICAN WOODCOCK (one flushed at the Airfield, Nov 10); GREATER YELLOWLEGS (one in a beaver pond between the East Gate and the Park boundary, Nov 8); GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL (adult with migrating flock of eight Herring and 12 Ring-billed gulls over the Visitor Centre, Nov 10); and DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT (adult at Opeongo Access Point, Nov 10). Observations of two other species tied the latest fall date: WINTER WREN (along Highway 60 near Peck Lake, Nov 12) and FOX SPARROW (at seed on the ground at the Visitor Centre, Nov 12). A rare-in-Algonquin adult GOLDEN EAGLE seen at Opeongo Access Point on Nov 10 was noteworthy.

Boreal Residents: SPRUCE GROUSE (no reports; try Spruce Bog Boardwalk and Opeongo Road north of the winter gate); BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER (reported along Highway 60 near Peck Lake on Nov 12 and on Big Pines Trail, Nov 13); CANADA JAY (best places to look are Opeongo Road from the winter gate northward and Spruce Bog Boardwalk); and BOREAL CHICKADEE (only report was one along the Mizzy Lake Trail rail bed, Nov 9).

Winter Finches: EVENING GROSBEAK (up to 25 at the Visitor Centre this week, but numbers variable); PINE GROSBEAK (becoming widespread, especially on roads after snowfall and sanding operations; up to 10 daily at the Visitor Centre); COMMON REDPOLL (small numbers seen occasionally); PINE SISKIN (one or two regularly at the Visitor Centre, and very small numbers elsewhere); AMERICAN GOLDFINCH (two at the Visitor Centre, Nov 11). No reports this week for Purple Finch, Red Crossbill and White-winged Crossbill.

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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