[Ontbirds]Algonquin Park birding report: October 4, 2006

Ron Tozer rtozer at vianet.on.ca
Wed Oct 4 08:47:37 EDT 2006

Increased birding activity in Algonquin Park this past week resulted in
more sightings than usual. Highlights included a Great Gray Owl and
a very early Pine Grosbeak.

The Great Gray Owl was photographed in the Wolf Howl Pond/West Rose
Lake area of the Mizzy Lake Trail on October 3. Probably the same individual
was reported from this area on September 19, with no subsequent observations
until now. A very few Great Gray Owls are resident in Algonquin Park, and
this bird is likely one of them, rather than being part of an early
southward movement from the boreal forest.

Four Red-necked Grebes on Lake of Two Rivers, October 3, were noteworthy.

The northern species which birders often seek in Algonquin were reported
as follows: Spruce Grouse (Opeongo Road, Spruce Bog trail); Black-backed
Woodpecker (Mew Lake); Gray Jay (Spruce Bog, Opeongo Road, Mew
Lake); and Boreal Chickadee (Wolf Howl Pond).

The Old Airfield produced Horned Lark, Eastern Bluebird, American Pipit,
Le Conte's Sparrow (on September 29, at the east end near Lake of Two
Rivers where the species appears annually in the long grass during the
period from late September through mid October), and Lapland Longspur.

Finches included a Pine Grosbeak at Wolf Howl Pond on October 3.
(The average first fall date for Pine Grosbeak here is October 27, with only
two dates earlier than October 3 known, on September 20 and 29.) A
few White-winged Crossbills continue to be observed, mostly calling in
flight. There have been no recent reports of Red Crossbill, but small groups
flying eastward were regular earlier in September. A few Pine Siskins flying
over were noted. Occasional Evening Grosbeaks were observed earlier in
September, but none were reported this week.

Ron Tozer (retired Algonquin Park Naturalist)
Dwight, Ontario
rtozer at vianet.on.ca

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.
Permits and information are available at the gates, including the Park
Tabloid that has a map showing the locations of all sites mentioned above.
Birders are encouraged to visit the Algonquin Visitor Centre at km 43 on
Highway 60 to report their sightings and learn about the latest occurrences.
The centre is now open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

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