[Ontbirds]Ganaraska Forest Finches and others

Ben Walters benwalters at sympatico.ca
Sat Jul 28 12:48:07 EDT 2007

Note a membership or day pass is required to be in the Ganraska Forest

Follow Doug McRae's Red Crossbill note I thought some might be interested in the finch numbers in the Ganaraska Forest.  The seed crop in the Ganaraska Forest was quite heavy this year which has made for good finch numbers.  Recently noteable has been a few singing male Pine Siskins and a pair (appeared to be entering a nest) in a Spruce plantation off Carscaden Road.  Purple Finches are literally everywhere in and over the forest.  Working in there daily since May researching birds it has been remarkeable that they are more common in the hardwood forests than the conifers.  The Ironwood and Beech crop was very large last year which is likely the driving factor.  Crossbills are less noticeable but are heard a few times a week.  A nest and many fledged young were observed in May and June of both Crossbill species but Reds well outnumbered White-winged.

The finches are spread throughout the forest and therefore it is difficult to give directions to any exact location.  It is difficult to give locations in the Ganraska Forest anyway.  They do seem to be easier to find in the West Forest (Durham County) than the Central Forest (Northumberland County).

Also of note has been the large influx of Hooded Warblers there this summer.  As the breeeding season for them is coming to an end I don't mind sharing this information but due to the large number of people playing tapes for birds (particularly a Louisiana Waterthrush that appears to have been driven off by people playing tapes after being there for at least 7 years), I will not give direct locations of any of them as they are not only there for our enjoyment.  If you are so inclined to look for them they are mostly in the west end of the west forest in the Wilcox Road area.  But PLEASE do not play tapes for them, enjoy them acting naturally.  Also in the west end of the forest are a few scattered Magnolia Warblers.  Early in the morning there are still good numbers of forest birds singing including less common species such as Blackburnian Warblers, Black-throated Blue Warblers and Blue-headed Vireos.  These species are all actually quite numerous in the Gnaraska Forest so llok for them anywhere.

To get to the Ganraska Forest follow Highway 115 (located east of Oshawa, west of Port Hope) to Durham Regional Road 9.  Take Durham regional road 9 east to Cold Springs Camp Road.  Follow Cold Springs Camnp Road north for approx. 3kms where you will see a large sign and entrance to the Forest.  turn right ande you will be at the gatehouse where you can purchase a permit and get maps.  Cold Springs Camp road continues north and is the dividing line between (Durham County = the West Forest and Northumberland County = the Central and East Forests).  If you are interested in purchasing a membership you can also enter the forest off Wilcox Road (further north on the 115 than Regional Road 9) and purchase a membership at Ganraska Leathercraft.  This is the better entrance birdwise.

Good Luck,
Ben Walters

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