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Algonquin Park Birding Report: 4 to 11 April

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (April 11, 2019) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

The snow this week measured 75 cm at the West Gate and 60 cm at the East Gate; exceptionally deep for this time period. Open water remains scarce but there was some increase in limited areas of bare ground facing the sun. First-of-spring species included: Brown-headed Cowbird and Sandhill Crane (April 5); American Woodcock (April 6); Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (April 7) and Mourning Dove, Horned Lark and Golden-crowned Kinglet (April 10). The single Horned Lark appeared to be a Northern (alpestris) and was three days earlier than this subspecies has previously been recorded here. With the wintery conditions it could be expected that five of the nine new arrivals were later than the average date here, but the other four were earlier.

Three SPRUCE GROUSE were observed at “Bat Lake” (either along the trail or at Bat Lake itself) on April 6. RUFFED GROUSE were observed at the Visitor Centre and along its driveway. There were no reports of BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER. A BOREAL CHICKADEE has been present around a feeder in Whitney (Highway 60 immediately east of Algonquin Park) for most of the winter and was still in the area on April 6 and 10. Try listening for it at Camp Bongopix (79 Galeairy Lake Road, off Highway 60 near the bridge over the Madawaska River) and along nearby Riverside Crescent. Birders were regularly seeing CANADA JAY at Mew Lake Campground, Spruce Bog Boardwalk, Opeongo Road, and the Logging Museum trail this week.

The only winter finch reported this week was COMMON REDPOLL. Changing daily numbers at the Visitor Centre ranged from 2 to 31 and suggested birds moving northward.

American Marten was observed at Mew Lake Campground near the recycling facilities, Spruce Bog Boardwalk near the suet feeder, and 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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