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Algonquin Park Birding Report: 13 to 20 December

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (Dec. 21, 2018) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

The weather was more birder-friendly this week, which resulted in more reports. Noteworthy for Algonquin were: a NORTHERN SHRIKE photographed just east of km 43 (Dec 15); nine BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS near the Visitor Centre parking lot feeder (Dec 18); and two SNOW BUNTINGS at the Visitor Centre (Dec 15). RUFFED GROUSE (one), WILD TURKEY (five) and COMMON GRACKLE (one) were at the feeders all week. A drumming male RUFFED GROUSE heard on Opeongo Road (Dec 18) was inspired by daylength like spring.

Boreal Residents: SPRUCE GROUSE: two were reported at Spruce Bog Boardwalk (Dec 15), including a female high in a tree near the entrance; and a female roosting in a tree was observed off the main trail at Spruce Bog (Dec 20). BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER: singles were on Spruce Bog Boardwalk (Dec 15 and 19); and two females were found on Opeongo Road (Dec 18). BOREAL CHICKADEE: one was photographed and there was possibly a second bird near the suet feeder, and one was far away from the main trail and its Black-capped Chickadee flock, on Spruce Bog Boardwalk (Dec 15). One was also photographed on this trail (Dec 16). CANADA JAY: seen at the Visitor Centre and Spruce Bog Boardwalk suet feeders, along Opeongo Road from the winter gate northward and along the Logging Museum trail this week.

Winter Finches: EVENING GROSBEAK: daily counts at the Visitor Centre feeders ranged from one to seven, and a single bird was seen on Opeongo Road (Dec 18). PINE GROSBEAK: from six to eighteen were noted daily at the Visitor Centre and a few were observed along the highway on some days. COMMON REDPOLL: up to ten were present each day at the Visitor Centre. HOARY REDPOLL: the first-year female continued to come to the Visitor Centre feeders all week and a male was photographed there as well (Dec 16). RED CROSSBILL: two were reported at Spruce Bog Boardwalk (Dec 15). PINE SISKIN: reports were of three (Dec 14) and one (Dec 16) at the Visitor Centre. AMERICAN GOLDFINCH: numbers observed increased this week, with from six to ten at the Visitor Centre (Dec 15 to 20).

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 December 21 (9 am to 4 pm), and December 22 to 23 (9 am to 5 pm), CLOSED on Dec 24 to 26, and OPEN on Dec 27 to Jan 6 (9 am to 5 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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