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Algonquin Park Birding Report: 6 to 13 December

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (Dec. 13, 2018) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

There were fewer reports this week, but some interesting observations. On Dec 8, a NORTHERN SHRIKE made an unsuccessful pass at one of the many Black-capped Chickadees coming to bird seed left by park visitors near the winter gate on Opeongo Road. A light-coloured redpoll was seen in a small flock of COMMON REDPOLLS late in the day at the Visitor Centre on Dec 12, and probably the same group returned today. Photos were taken which confirmed a HOARY REDPOLL, an apparent first year female showing buffy colour around the face. A SNOW BUNTING came to the Visitor Centre feeders on Dec 10. RUFFED GROUSE (one), WILD TURKEY (three) and COMMON GRACKLE (one) continued at the feeders all week. The Spruce Bog suet feeder is attracting BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES and RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES that readily come to the hand for food. A PINE MARTEN was photographed there this week as well.

Boreal Residents: SPRUCE GROUSE: one was seen at Spruce Bog Boardwalk on Dec 9. BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER: one was observed at Mew Lake on Dec 10. BOREAL CHICKADEE: no reports; try Spuce Bog Boardwalk and Opeongo Road north of the winter gate. CANADA JAY: seen at the Visitor Centre and Spruce Bog Boardwalk suet feeders, and along Opeongo Road from the winter gate northward.

Winter Finches: Reports featured continuing low numbers and fewer species. EVENING GROSBEAK: counts at the Visitor Centre feeders went from 34 (Dec 6) to zero (Dec 11 and 12), with two there today; this species appears to be still moving through the Park. PINE GROSBEAK: daily numbers at the Visitor Centre feeders ranged from six to seventeen; and in total, 41 were counted along the highway between the West and East boundaries on Dec 10. COMMON REDPOLL: from one to eight were at the feeders on four days this week. HOARY REDPOLL: one at the Visitor Centre (see above). There were no reports of other finches.

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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The Muskoka Bird Board is a place to share reports of birds and other nature sightings in Muskoka and surrounding areas. You may also post a question about birds or birding in general. You don't have to include an email address in your post. Remember to include the location of your sightings - even the nearest town or major crossroads would be fine. See the Posting Guidelines for more information and helpful tips about using the Muskoka Bird Board.

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