Although a little milder this week, conditions were still more winter-like than
spring-like. Ice remains thick and “to-the-shore” on lakes and there is an
average of 25 cm of snow on the ground with more forecast for the coming
weekend. However, some migrants pushed northward to reach Algonquin Park
despite the continuing scarcity of bare ground, open water and warmth. Spring
arrivals reported this week included: Song Sparrow (April 7); Pine Warbler
(April 8; earliest ever by one day); Ring-necked Duck, Common Goldeneye and
Tree Swallow (April 9); Brown-headed Cowbird (April 10); and Sandhill Crane and
Belted Kingfisher (April 11).
A male Spruce Grouse was seen on the plowed roadway at the north end of Opeongo
Road on April 10, but reports were lacking at Spruce Bog Boardwalk this week.
Canada Jays (Gray Jays) continued to be observed at the Trailer Sanitation
Station, Spruce Bog Boardwalk, Opeongo Road and the Logging Museum Trail. There
were no reports of Black-backed Woodpecker or Boreal Chickadee.
Winter finches in lower numbers than earlier, including Purple Finch, Red
Crossbill, White-winged Crossbill, Pine Siskin and American Goldfinch, are
still being seen along the Highway 60 Corridor. The first reported Common
Redpolls since late February were two at the Visitor Centre and one along
Opeongo Road on April 7. A few Evening Grosbeaks are coming for sunflower seed
at the Visitor Centre, at Spruce Bog Boardwalk and near the locked winter gate
on Opeongo Road.
Ron Tozer, Algonquin Park Naturalist (retired), Dwight, ON.
DIRECTIONS: Algonquin Provincial 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. Kilometre markers along Highway 60 in the Park go from the West Gate (km
0) to near the East Gate (km 56). The Visitor Centre exhibits, bookstore and
restaurant at km 43 are open on weekends from 9 am to 5 pm. The Visitor Centre
is also open with limited services on weekdays from 9 am to 4 pm. Get your park
permit and Information Guide (with a map of birding locations mentioned above)
at the East Gate, West Gate or Visitor Centre. Locations are also described at:
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