Thursday, October 15, 2009

Birding Eastern Ontario October 12-14, 2009

Spent 3 days birding various sites in eastern ontario. Overall the birding was interesting but the weather was cool with lows of -4c and highs only reaching 5 or 6 c. We started in Algonquin Park on Oct. 12th and were surprised at the lack of bird activity. We did manage to find 2 spruce Grouse along Opeongo Lake Road. The male grouse was very active displaying but the female wasn't interested. Along the arrowhow road/ Old railway bed that leads to West rose lake there wereat least 5 very friendly Gray Jays, all color banded, part of an on going study by Dan Strickland. Other birds of note including 2 Boreal Chickadees, 3 American Tree Sparrow and a Great Blue Heron. Unfortunately it appears that this maybe a lean winter for finches in the park. We didn't see any pine or spruce cones and had only 1 American Goldfinch and 1 Purple Finch fly over. Check out Ron Pittaway's "Winter finch Forecast". The following day we birded Prince Edward Point, an amazing contast to Algonquin, with 100's of sparrows, kinglets, and juncos. Highlights included 500+ White-throated Sparrow, 250+ White-crowned Sparrow, 100+ Chipping Sparrow, 35+ Fox Sparrow, 150 Dark-eyed Junco plus a few Eastern Towheee, Field Sparrow, Palm Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler and Blue-headed Vireo. The afternoon was spent on Amherst Island where we watched a small flight of Brant, 4 flocks totaling 1000+ heading south. Other highlights included 1 Northern Saw-whet Owl, 1 long-eared Owl, 2 Black-crowned Night-Heron, 2 American Bittern and 2 American Golden Plover. Due to strong winds, 25 km, the land bird activity was limited. The next day October 14th was spent birding various locations including Long Sault Parkway, Hoople Creek, Embrun, St. Albert and finally Milton road near Carlsbad Springs where 2 adult Ross's Geese were feeding in a flock of Canada Geese. Had great views!

Early morning at Spruce Bog.

Gray Jays were easy to find along the old railway bed off Arrowhon road.

One of the many banded Gray Jays in the park.

This Great Blue Heron was very successful catching its breakfast.

The Spruce Grouse is easy to miss but fortunately this individual was very active.

Definitely a show off!

No interest today.

An adult Bald Eagle was a nice surprise at Lake of Two Rivers

I think I can eat one more!

There was not shortage of sparrows at Prince Edward Point. The immature White-crowned Sparrow lacks the striking white and black head markings of the adult.

Amherst Island is famous for its "Owls". One of the first Northern Saw-whet Owls of the fall.

One of the Brant flocks observed over Amherst Island towards dusk.

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