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Where are our loons?
Where are our loons?
Ron Tozer’s Algonquin Park Birding Report: March 3-10 2016
The first flush of spring migrants was associated with sustained very mild temperatures during the last four days and resulted in sightings of European Starling on the 8th; Canada Goose and Common Merganser on the 9th; and Snow Bunting, Common Grackle and Brown-headed Cowbird today. The cowbird was six days earlier than the previous earliest date for the Park.
Noteworthy observations this week included: Bald Eagle at km 29 on the 3rd and over Spruce Bog Boardwalk on the 7th, Golden Eagle flying low over Arowhon Road at the rail bed crossing on the 6th, and Northern Saw-whet Owl calling in the evening along Opeongo Road on the 3rd.
Construction work continues at the Visitor Centre, but visitors can access the south end of the viewing deck and see the suet and seed feeders there. The feeder in the Visitor Centre parking lot attracts many birds also.
Spruce Grouse: Sightings of one or two occurred near the start of Spruce Bog Boardwalk every day from March 5 to 8, in a significant increase of success in locating this elusive species.
Black-backed Woodpecker: Single birds were seen along the Mizzy Lake Trail rail bed on the 3rd and 4th, and one was noted at Spruce Bog Boardwalk on the 7th.
Gray Jays: They are still regular at Spruce Bog Boardwalk, on Opeongo Road and along the Mizzy Lake Trail rail bed. Gray Jay researchers have now located nests under construction of fourteen pairs in the Highway 60 Corridor.
Boreal Chickadee: Two to four were observed along the Mizzy Lake Trail rail bed on four days this week. One was reported at the Spruce Bog Boardwalk suet feeder on the 6th. Listen for their vocalizations to help locate these birds.
Pine Grosbeak: One was seen along the Mizzy Lake Trail rail bed on the 3rd; seven were in Mew Lake Campground on the 5th; and two were along Opeongo Road on the 8th. The warmer temperatures will likely result in this species heading northward soon; the average date of the last spring sighting is March 27.
Purple Finch: As many as 50 were at the Visitor Centre feeders this week.
Red Crossbill: Two to four were observed getting grit along the Visitor Centre driveway on four days this week.
White-winged Crossbill: One was heard calling in flight over the Mizzy Lake Trail rail bed on the 3rd.
Common Redpoll: On March 3, five were seen along the Mizzy Lake Trail rail bed and eight were noted at Spruce Bog Boardwalk.
Pine Siskin: Numbers are increasing at the Visitor Centre feeders, peaking at about 140 this week. A pair was observed copulating at a feeder near Oxtongue Lake a little west of the Park on the 5th, indicating that nesting is underway. A "green morph" Pine Siskin photographed at the Visitor Centre feeders on the 6th and 7th was only the second Algonquin record of this recognizable form.
American Goldfinch: After no reports of this species here for a month, three were seen at Spruce Bog Boardwalk and one was at the Visitor Centre on the 5th, and six were noted at the East Gate on the 7th and 8th.
Evening Grosbeak: About 70 continued to come to the Visitor Centre feeders this week. A few were also noted at Spruce Bog Boardwalk, near the locked gate on the Opeongo Road and at the East Gate.
Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).
Ron Tozer Algonquin Park Naturalist (retired) Dwight, ON