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Algonquin Park Birding Report: 17 to 24 January

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (Jan. 25, 2019) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Saturday to Tuesday of this week produced the coldest stretch of days here so far this winter, reaching below minus 30 degrees C by Tuesday. Fortunately, a good number of birders came to Algonquin Park despite the cold and some interesting observations resulted.

Black-backed Woodpecker reports were of one between posts 4 and 5 on the Bat Lake Trail and a female initially heard tapping and then seen about a kilometre down Rock Lake Road from the gate at Highway 60, both on Jan 19. Canada Jays continue to be regular at Spruce Bog Boardwalk (especially near the suet feeder) and Opeongo Road north of the winter gate. There were no reports of Spruce Grouse or Boreal Chickadee this week but look for them at Spruce Bog and Opeongo Road.

The single female Evening Grosbeak continued daily visits to the Visitor Centre feeders, as did up to 19 Pine Grosbeaks. The three redpolls coming to those feeders that began on the weekend produced lively discussion among observers there concerning their identification and subsequently by other birders viewing the many photographs taken and posted on eBird and Facebook (Ontario Birds). The prevailing opinion among experts was that the trio consisted of a “Southern” Common Redpoll (flammea), a “Greater” Common Redpoll (rostrata) and a “Southern” Hoary Redpoll (exilipes). This occurrence showed once again that extensive viewing in the field and numerous photographs showing all important features well are often required in redpoll identification. The Greater Common Redpoll and the male Hoary Redpoll were still coming to the Visitor Centre feeders on Jan 24. The only other winter finches reported this week were a single Pine Siskin (Jan 18) and about four American Goldfinches each day at the feeders.

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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