Archive | March 2019

Algonquin Park Pine Martens

American (Pine) Marten

On March 16, 2019 I joined another Eastern Ontario Birding excursion to Algonquin Park. It was much colder than our previous visit in December (especially for mid-March!), and the goal of this tour was to visit Algonquin Park until mid-afternoon, and then do some driving around the farmland near Cobden to look for birds of prey before heading home. We started the day at the winter gate on Opeongo Road where we had our best bird of the park: a Boreal Chickadee feeding in the trees right above the parking area. Both nuthatches, some Black-capped Chickadees, and a Downy Woodpecker were also present; the Canada Jays and Blue Jays were noticeably absent. A walk down the road produced no finches, no Black-backed Woodpeckers, and no American Martens (also known as Pine Martens). It was a taste of things to come.

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Amherst Island Owls

Northern Saw-whet Owl

It’s not often I choose to make the trip to Amherst Island twice in one winter, but it’s been such a long, cold, snowy winter with few real birding highlights that I decided to indulge my thirst for a change of scenery and join Jon on another excursion to the famed island. We had had a fabulous trip in December with a large number of birds of prey including 31 Red-tailed Hawks, 16 Northern Harriers, 14 Rough-legged Hawks, 4 Bald Eagles, 4 American Kestrels, 2 Cooper’s Hawks, 1 Short-eared Owl, 37 Snowy Owls, and one 1 Northern Shrike (a songbird that feeds on voles and other birds). Other highlights included Northern Mockingbird, Swamp Sparrow, Winter Wren and Great Blue Heron. The weather was cooperative, and with little snow on the island, we were able to see many Meadow Voles (the chief attraction for all these raptors and owls) running around on the ground.

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