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Algonquin Park Birding Report: 7 to 14 March

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (Mar. 14, 2019) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.


There were a few more signs of eventual spring this week. Temperatures were above freezing for at least part of most days. The average snow depth compacted and melted down to 80 cm from the 83 cm here three weeks ago (whoopee!). Crows are becoming widespread. Ravens were seen carrying nest material. The Canada Jay researchers had found a dozen nests under construction by March 7. One of a pair of BALD EAGLES was seen at an apparent nest at Kiosk in the northern part of Algonquin on March 9. If the nest is used by the eagles, it will be at least the eleventh breeding location known in the Park. Today, a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK at km 16 may have been a wintering individual but a MERLIN at the West Gate was probably a migrant. With the exception of the Oxtongue River and Smoke Creek, there is very little open water yet along the Highway 60 Corridor.


BOREAL RESIDENTS: A single SPRUCE GROUSE was observed at Spruce Bog Boardwalk on March 9 and 12. A male BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER was seen on the left side of the road at the curve before the parking lot of the Trailer Sanitation Station on March 12. Two or three BOREAL CHICKADEES were in the forest bordering Mew Lake Campground on March 13 and one was at the Opeongo Road winter gate today. CANADA JAYS continued to be seen most regularly at Spruce Bog Boardwalk, Opeongo Road and the Logging Museum trail.


WINTER FINCHES: Up to 16 PINE GROSBEAKS were seen daily at the Visitor Centre feeders, but lower numbers by week’s end likely indicated the start of birds returning northward. As many as a dozen COMMON REDPOLLS visited the feeders and the continuing Greater Common Redpoll (rostrata) was photographed on a couple of days. A few PINE SISKINS were reported at the Visitor Centre and Mew Lake Campground, perhaps birds on the move. Siskins have been very scarce here this winter. AMERICAN GOLDFINCH reports included about five at the Visitor Centre all week and a dozen at Mew Lake on March 13.


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 daily March 15 to 17 and on weekends afterwards from 9 am to 5 pm. The Visitor Centre is also open with limited services on weekdays in winter 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: www.algonquinpark.on.ca

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

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