[Ontbirds] Fwd: Yellow Rail in Algonquin Park

Lev Frid lev.frid at gmail.com
Fri Oct 2 20:15:20 EDT 2015

Apparently this didn't send the first time?
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Lev Frid" <lev.frid at gmail.com>
Date: Oct 2, 2015 6:16 PM
Subject: Yellow Rail in Algonquin Park
To: <birdalert at ontbirds.ca>, "rick stronks" <rick.stronks at ontario.ca>, "Ron
Tozer" <rtozer at vianet.ca>, "Dan Strickland" <dan at grayjaystudy.ca>, "Dawn
Sherman" <publications at algonquinpark.on.ca>

Hi folks,

I was out looking for Nelson's Sparrows today in the Lake Travers marsh on
the East Side of Algonquin.

I usually walk transects of the marsh when I'm by myself, towards a wide
creek in the middle of the marsh to drive any birds to the edge where they
can be seen.

Imagine my surprise when amongst the various sparrows out runs a Yellow
Rail. I managed to corral it into a 2x2 metre "peninsula" of sedge in
between mudflats and spent an agonizing minute or so attempting to document
it with my phone, as it ran, periodically giving squeak calls, circles
around me and between my legs - my camera was useless at that distance. It
was a birding version of "whack-a-mole". It eventually managed to escape
the "sedge peninsula" without flushing and was not seen again.

This is the park's second record and first sight record, but I think they
are overlooked here on passage. The habitat here is ideal, especially this
year as the marsh is very dry. As evidenced they are remarkably difficult
to put up, tiny and extremely furtive. Something to keep an eye out for
while looking for sparrows here. I managed 5 Nelson's and two unidentified
ammos that escaped amongst lots of Swamp, Savannah, White-crowned and


Between Pembroke and Petawawa, go south off the Highway 17 bypass onto
County Road 26 and then right on Barron Canyon Road. Lake Travers is 72 km
down this winding gravel road. You can get a park permit and maps at the
Sand Lake Gate.

Accessing the marsh is not for the faint of heart. The best way is by
canoe. The other way is to park at the crossroads with the radio
observatory just before the Lake Travers access point and bushwhack towards
the lake. The marsh seems shallow but is riddled with deep trenches and
deep, sticky mud. Be very careful - you are a long way from help here. Hip
waders are strongly recommended.

Cheers and good birding,

Lev Frid

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