Saturday, November 26, 2011

November 24, 2011 Algonquin Park birding

Spent the day birding various sites along Hwy. 60 in Algonquin Park. Conditions were good, no snow and small ponds were frozen while the larger lakes were wide open. There was lots of finch activity over head with White-winged Crossbill and Common Redpoll being the most wide spread in small numbers. While a few Pine Siskin, American Goldfinch, Red Crossbill and Evening Grosbeak were noted. The Algonquin Specialties, Spruce Grouse ( Spruce bog Trail), Gray Jay (various locations) and Boreal Chickadee ( Wolf Howl Pond/Mizzy Lake Trail) were observed but no luck with Black-backed Woodpecker. Along Opeongo Lake Road a couple of Ruffed Grouse were observed feeding at Costello Lake. No Moose, but 1 White-tailed Deer, a number of Muskrat, and Red Squirrels were seen.

Courtsey of Ron Tozer
Algonquin 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). Get your park permit and the park tabloid (with a map of birding locations mentioned here) at the gates. Locations are also described

The Visitor Centre at km 43 has recent bird sightings, feeders and information. The centre will be open on weekends only until December 27, from 9 am to 5 pm. The Visitor Centre restaurant will not be open this winter but visitors are welcome to bring a packed lunch and use the seating

area. Hot and cold beverages, and light snacks are available to purchase, as well as the use of a microwave.

Birders visiting during the week may be able to enter the Visitor Centre to view the feeders and exhibits. Check in with staff to find out what birds are being seen.

A male Spruce Grouse feeding in a Balsam Fir along Spruce Bog Trail.

Ruffed Grouse feeding in the leaf litters along Opeongo Lake Road.

A small group of female Hooded Mergansers were the only waterfowl noted.

The Gray Jay was easiest to locate along the old railway bed along Mizzy Lake Trail.

White-winged Crossbills were founded feeding in spruce trees at Spruce Bog Trail, Wolf Howl Pond and along Hwy. 60.

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