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Algonquin Park Birding Report: 21 to 28 March

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (Mar. 29, 2019) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

More first-of-spring species were reported, including: SONG SPARROW (March 21), COMMON GRACKLE (March 22), RED-TAILED HAWK (March 23), COMMON MERGANSER (March 24), TURKEY VULTURE (March 26), and WOOD DUCK and AMERICAN BLACK DUCK (March 27). Most of these sightings are near the average arrival time, but Turkey Vulture and Song Sparrow are about a week earlier than usual. A BOHEMIAN WAXWING calling in flight over the Airfield on March 28 was a noteworthy observation. The average snow depth is now about 56 cm. The few places with open water are not expanding significantly and some are covered with thin ice again on mornings after sub-freezing nights. However, the frequent sunny days this week certainly made it “feel” much more like spring.

BOREAL RESIDENTS: There were no reports of SPRUCE GROUSE this week, but males should be displaying more soon. Try Spruce Bog Boardwalk and Opeongo Road north of the winter gate. A BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER was observed at Spruce Bog Boardwalk (March 27). Two BOREAL CHICKADEES between the parking lot and the suet feeder of Spruce Bog Boardwalk were enjoyed and photographed by several birders (March 22 and 23). This elusive species should be vocalizing more frequently now. CANADA JAY continues to be seen regularly at Spruce Bog Boardwalk and Opeongo Road.

WINTER FINCHES: A single EVENING GROSBEAK was reported at the Visitor Centre on March 26. One PINE GROSBEAK was observed at the Visitor Centre until March 24, and two were at locations along Highway 60 on March 22 and 27. A few COMMON REDPOLLS were seen at the Visitor Centre and elsewhere on several days, with a high of 20 on March 28 at the Visitor Centre. Two RED CROSSBILLS were observed at the Visitor Centre on March 26 and a PINE SISKIN was noted on Opeongo Road on March 27. Up to six AMERCIAN GOLDFINCH continued at the Visitor Centre.

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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