Nov 182017
 

The news about the American Chestnut trees that I have been bringing along up near Kinmount for the last 15 years is not good, I’m afraid. First: None of the nuts I planted last Fall sprouted so I had no new seedlings to plant this year. Second: I think because we had such a cold and wet Spring, only one of my three trees produced blossoms. Being dioecious (separate male and female trees), this meant there was virtually no hope of producing viable nuts this Summer, unless there are surviving American Chestnut trees nearby. Third: I hope it was due to a late frost but the new growth of leaves on all three of my trees exhibited noticeable deformation, although the remainder of the trees remained healthy-looking until they dropped their leaves. I’m hopeful that this isn’t a symptom of that devastating blight.
I am happy to report though that we saw bats at our cabin regularly through the Summer. I would say that their numbers are coming back up there. We also saw quite a few Monarch butterflies; more than in the past several Summers. We have never seen so many Moose as this summer: Two siblings (I presume) together on a game camera in the Spring, one big bull Moose in September and another, different bull Moose just a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, only two days after we saw the first bull Moose in our meadow, huge rack and all, my wife had a collision with him on Crystal Lake Road. Miraculously, and thankfully, she was completely unhurt, although the car was extensively damaged. The only other bit of good news coming from that is that the Moose ran off into the woods, apparently unhurt. The Moose we caught on camera a couple of weeks ago was younger, with a smaller rack and he appeared healthy.
We saw a Quail crossing Fire Route 397, and I believe they are considered endangered in Ontario now. For the first time ever we captured a Pine Marten (I believe) on a game camera. We also caught many does, a few bucks, several foxes, turkeys, raccoons, porcupines, rabbits, coyotes/wolves/coywolves . . . and a hunter trespassing on our property, shotgun in hand, who stole one of our game cameras. As always, notifying the police is a waste of time. He better not have shot one of our quail, or anything else for that matter.

Michael Doran, Peterborough

Pine Marten – Gord Belyea

American Chestnut leaves and nuts (Wikimedia)

Nov 142017
 

I sent you a note about this time last year about a small flock of Sandhill Cranes passing over Lakefield. Well, this year they have been joined by some friends. At about 2:30 this afternoon, November 17, about 4 flocks of the size of the group in the picture passed over Lakefield, some calling with the deep rolling kr-r-r-oo as described in an old Peterson guide book. One big flock circled about for awhile south of us – probably up over the Lakefield quarry – until it reformed into two or three smaller flocks and then they followed a couple of groups that passed about 10 minutes earlier and seemed to be heading west to northwest. There were probably over 200 birds in total…. a wonderful sight.  Bill Buddle

Sandhill Cranes – November 17, 2017 – Lakefield – Bill Buddle

 

Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) (1)
– Reported Nov 14, 2017 09:58 by Travis Cameron
– Lakefield (General), Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Flying west over County Road 29 ~250m south of Maples Corners.”

An immature Snowy Owl in flight – probably a female (Karl Egressy)

 

We are witnessing scores of Mourning Doves this fall here near Bailieboro, ON. We’re in the country, so we’re used to these birds, but this is unbelievable. They are in at least two flocks. I counted 30 in one. And they eat berries; just ask my car. L. Harries

Mourning Dove – Karl Egressy

 

Here’s a picture of three Trumpeter Swans (two adults and one juvenile) that I photographed on Upper Buckhorn Lake on Nov. 12, 2017.  Derry Fairweather

Trumpeter Swans – November 12, 2017 – Buckhorn Lake – Derry Fairweather

 

I had a Yellow-rumped Warbler at my feeder yesterday, November 12. Hopefully , the seeds will sustain/attract it until December 1st for the official winter bird list! So far, the resident Red-bellied Woodpecker has ignored the suet and chooses the feeder seeds every time. It is certainly a different behaviour for a woodpecker. Michael Gillespie, Keene

Yellow-rumped Warbler at feeder – Nov. 28, 2014 Franmor Dr. Ptbo – Sue Prentice

 

I found this lovely Witch Hazel blooming in a wild area of Ecology Park today, November 12. It could so easily be overlooked! I read that they bloom at this time of year in order to take advantage of the lack of competition for the few flies and moths that are still active. We did see both that day.   Sue Paradisis

Witch Hazel 2 – Ecology Park – Nov. 13, 2017 – Sue Paradisis

 

 

Witch Hazel – Ecology Park – Nov. 13, 2017 – Sue Paradisis

 

 

 

Nov 122017
 

Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata) (1)
– Reported Nov 11, 2017 10:04 by Donald A. Sutherland
– Lakefield–Sewage Lagoons, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “male”

American Wigeon (Mareca americana) (1)
– Reported Nov 11, 2017 10:04 by Donald A. Sutherland
– Lakefield–Sewage Lagoons, Peterborough, Ontario
– Comments: “male”

Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata) (1)
– Reported Nov 12, 2017 09:11 by Matthew Garvin
– South Chemong Lake off Arnott Rd., Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Female/immature type. Diving near shore. Great looks. Large bulky beak, white crescent at base of beak and white spot rear of eye. No white wing patches.”

Male and female Surf Scoter – Omar Runolfsson

Black Scoter (Melanitta americana) (4)
– Reported Nov 05, 2017 15:57 by Iain Rayner
– Pigeon Lake–Sandy Point, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Female type. All black with pale cheeks and stubby bills. swimming with GRSC”

Black Scoter – Crossley ID Guide of Eastern Birds – Wikimedia

Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena) (1)
– Reported Nov 05, 2017 14:45 by John Bick
– Sandy Point Bay, Pigeon Lake, Peterborough, Ontario
– Map: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=p&z=13&q=44.4989386,-78.4914737&ll=44.4989386,-78.4914737
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S40328843
– Comments: “Gray coloured large grebe with long neck and long bill, pale on side of face. Diving in grebe-fashion.”

Red-necked Grebe on Otonabee – Tom Northey

Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) (3)
– Reported Nov 06, 2017 07:22 by Donald A. Sutherland
– Peterborough–Trent Rotary Rail Trail, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:

Snow Bunting (photo by Serena Formenti)

Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) (11)
– Reported Nov 05, 2017 14:45 by John Bick
– Sandy Point Bay, Pigeon Lake, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Feeding on seeds on ground near dock at Pigeon Lake Campers’ Resort. Took flight often showing white wing patches. All in winter plumage with rusty brown heads and eye patches, streaked backs.”

Snow Bunting (from Crossley ID Guide)

Nov 122017
 

Date: Sunday, 12 Nov 2017 11:47:24 -0500
From: Ron Tozer  rtozer@vianet.ca
To: ontbirds  birdalert@ontbirds.ca
Subject: [Ontbirds] Algonquin Park Birding Report: early November

Click here to visit up-to-date Ontbirds Archive

As of today, November 12, there is a heavy covering of snow on the ground and a few shallow ponds and small lakes along the Highway 60 Corridor are ice-covered. However, it is still fall even if it felt like winter on a couple of minus 15-degree mornings this week. There were fresh Bear tracks in the snow on the Visitor Centre parking lot yesterday, for example. Recent locations for observations of the boreal specialties are as follows:

Spruce Grouse: Spruce Bog Boardwalk, Mizzy Lake Trail rail bed section

Black-backed Woodpecker: Spruce Bog Boardwalk, Opeongo Road, Mizzy Lake Trail rail bed section

Gray Jay: Opeongo Road, Mizzy Lake Trail rail bed section

Boreal Chickadee: Mizzy Lake Trail rail bed section

The abundant cones on most conifer species in Algonquin appear to have been significantly affected by the sustained and unprecedented period of hot days in the latter half of September. The cones opened and limited inspection suggests that many (most?) of the seeds may have been released. It remains to be seen how this will affect finch numbers this winter.

There have been recent observations of nearly all of the expected finches, but in low numbers.

Pine Grosbeak: sightings of single birds on November 4 and 11.

Purple Finch: regular in low numbers.

Red Crossbill: regular in low numbers; four seen almost daily this week at the Visitor Centre. Recordings of larger-billed Type 1 and smaller-billed Type 3 confirmed by Matt Young (Cornell) recently.

White-winged Crossbill: low numbers present, but reported less frequently than Red Crossbill.

Common Redpoll: observations of one to four birds on October 20 and 21 but no reports since.

Pine Siskin: low numbers but likely the most numerous finch currently; 40 at Visitor Centre on November 8.

American Goldfinch: regular in low numbers; 17 at Visitor Centre on November 10.

Evening Grosbeak: one to three at Visitor Centre this week.

Good birding.

Ron Tozer, Algonquin Park Naturalist (retired), Dwight, ON

DIRECTIONS:

Gray Jay -Tom Northey Algonquin Park – March 2014

Algonquin Provincial Park is 2.5 hours north of Peterborough via Highways 28, 62, 127 and 60. 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 in winter. The Visitor Centre is also open on weekdays from 9 am to 4 pm with limited services, including self-serve hot and cold beverages plus snacks available in the restaurant. Get your park permit and Information Guide (with a map of birding locations mentioned here) at the East Gate or the West Gate. Locations are also described here.

Displaying Spruce Grouse – Tom Northey

Pine Grosbeak – Wikimedia

Nov 022017
 

Red-shouldered Hawk (lineatus Group) (Buteo lineatus [lineatus Group]) (1)
– Reported Nov 04, 2017 10:32 by Luke Berg
– Luke’s Yard, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S40302920
– Comments: “Adult at 1453h. ”

Red-shouldered Hawk (Brendan Boyd)

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) (1)
– Reported Nov 02, 2017 09:20 by Iain Rayner
– PTBO – Robinson Place, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S40260768

Peregrine Falcon (Wikimedia photo)

Oct 232017
 

 

 October 28 – For the second time this week, a Cooper’s Hawk was in my yard today. I knew it was around because a couple of dozen Mourning Doves flew out of the spruce tree they roost in.  Sue Paradisis

Cooper’s Hawk on Rock Pigeon – Helen Nicolaides Keller

 

 Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena) (2)
– Reported Oct 28, 2017 11:59 by Iain Rayner
– Pigeon Lake–Sandy Point, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Dirtyish cheeks and neck, long bill”

Red-necked Grebe. The grebe in the lower right is in winter plumage. – Wikimedia

 
October 27 – I had four Red-shouldered Hawks here at home today, plus nine Red-tailed Hawks, and one  Sharp-shinned Hawk for my hours sitting out in between chopping wood. The Red-shouldered Hawks were three adults and one immature, and the Red-tailed Hawks were about half and half. The Sharp-shinned Hawk? Couldn’t tell – a bit too high. For a little while at least, it was hopping around the sky here!! No more Monarchs since #532 on October 26 at Nephton. I don’t believe I’ve ever had a November sighting, but if I am going to, I’ll bet it will be this year. This last week of October is certainly the best week of the year, not only to count Red-tailed Hawks and Golden Eagles, but also Red-shouldered Hawks, as well. I am glad to be getting out and looking up.  Tim Dyson, Warsaw

Red-shouldered Hawk – Karl Egressy

 

Monarch – Saw a Monarch today, October 26, on Nephton Ridge, near Petroglyph Provincial Park. Was gliding southward about 50′ above ground despite temperature around 8C!  Drew Monkman

Monarch Butterfly – Terry Carpenter

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) (1)
– Reported Oct 27, 2017 07:50 by Scott Gibson
– Downtown – MNR Building, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:

Peregrine – often seen on MNR Bldg & sometimes clock tower in downtown Peterborough (Rick Stankiewicz)

Mallard: Here’s a photo of a leucistic (lacking normal pigment) Mallard photographed this summer near Whitaker Street, west of Armour Street North in Peterborough. The bird departed in early October. We nick-named the bird “Miss Vicky”!  Gord Young

Leucistic mallard – Whitaker Mills, Ptbo – summer 2017 – Gord Young

American Robin:  Watched a small flock today, October 23, feeding on abundant berry-like cones of Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginia) at Roper Park –  Drew Monkman

Robin feeding on E. Red Cedar berries at Roper Park 2017-10-23 – Drew Monkman

Berry-like cones of Eastern Red Cedar – Sept. 19, 2017 – PRHC – Drew Monkman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carolina Wren:  Turned up at my feeder today, October 23.  Phil McKeating, Creekwood Drive, near Harper Park in Peterborough

 

Carolina Wren (Wikimedia)

Black Scoter (Melanitta americana) (2)
– Reported Oct 23, 2017 07:44 by Iain Rayner
– Pigeon Lake–Sandy Point, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Female type. Black ducks with pale cheek”

Black Scoter – Crossley ID Guide of Eastern Birds – Wikimedia

 

Black-backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus) (1)
– Reported Oct 22, 2017 10:45 by Donald A. Sutherland
– Petroglyphs Provincial Park, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “calling (‘crick’) from high in Red Pine then in flight W over beaver pond; W side entrance loop road around 250 m N of locked gate at CR 56.”

Black-backed Woodpecker – Wikimedia

Snow Goose (Anser caerulescens) (1)
– Reported Oct 22, 2017 08:25 by Brian Wales
– Peterborough Landfill Wetland Project ponds, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “white goose with clear grinning patch along beak”

SNGO – Rice L. – Oct. 18, 2014 -Ron Mackay

 

Oct. 22 – Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) (1)
– Reported Oct 22, 2017 07:06 by Iain Rayner
– Ptbo – Yard – Bear Creek Rd, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:

Red Crossbill – male – Wikimedia

Oct 222017
 

Just had to share this with someone who would appreciate it! I live in Peterborough at 29 Weller Crescent. Today, October 22, at around 11:00 am, a Pileated Woodpecker landed on the chain link fence and ate the berries from the Virginia Creeper. I was able to watch him for a couple of minutes, and got to within about 20 feet. I was so struck by the perfect colour swatch on his head and the lines on his face. I don’t remember ever seeing one in the 22 years we have lived here. What a gift on a beautiful day! Now, back to cutting down the buckthorns in the woodsy back part of the yard!  Cathy Gogo

We always have Pileated Woodpeckers around our place on Buckhorn Lake. Usually they are on the cedar trees and all those trees are still standing with many holes in them. Tonight, October 6, they were on the maple trees. Curious as to why, but obviously they are finding insects. Wondering how healthy those trees are? Derry Fairweather, Buckhorn Lake
Note: I suspect there are carpenter ants in the maples. This doesn’t mean the trees are dying, however. D.M.

Pileated Woodpecker on maple – Oct. 2017 – Derry Fairweather

Oct 212017
 

Oct. 21 – Narrow-winged Tree Cricket – Rob Tonus found this very late tree cricket on the grass beside the Rotary-Greenway Trail, just south of Nichol’s Oval Park. Note the reddish cap. This species sings at only at night, producing a mellow trill of variable length (usually 2-10 seconds). It is reminiscent of an American Toad. Drew Monkman

Narrow-winged Tree Cricket (Oecanthus niveus) 2 – Nichol’s Oval – Oct. 21, 2017 – D. Monkman

 

Oct 21 – Snow Goose (Anser caerulescens) (1)
– Reported Oct 21, 2017 15:44 by Warren Dunlop
– Peterborough Landfill Wetland Project ponds, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Media: 1 Photo
– Comments: “adult, white morph”

Snow Geese (Marcel Boulay)

 

October 20 – Monarch butterfly – I saw a very late Monarch today on County Road 16 at Edenderry Line. This is my latest date ever. There were also 10 Wild Turkeys in the same field.  Drew Monkman

Monarch on Boneset flowers – Drew Monkman

 

October 20 – Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) (1)
– Reported Oct 20, 2017 08:02 by Iain Rayner
– Peterborough–Fairbairn Street wetland, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Calling and then finaly seen moveing through hedgerow. Well seen from close distance. Black back head and tail, rusty sides. White patch on wing and white either side of tail”

Eastern Towhee – Karl Egressy

October 17 – Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus) (1)
– Reported Oct 17, 2017 20:00 by Michael Mechan
– James McLean Oliver Ecological Centre, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:

Northern Saw-whet Owl (Dave Heuft)

October 15 – Just looked out the window and there were Chipping Sparrows everywhere. I was counting and at 18 when the White-throats came back again and I gave up. They are loving the spruce and birch seeds.    Sue Paradisis

Chipping Sparrow – Karl Egressy

 

 

October 14  – American Pipit (Anthus rubescens) (1)
– Reported Oct 14, 2017 17:23 by Amie MacDonald
– Peterborough–Loggerhead Marsh, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:

American Pipit (from The Crossley ID Guide of Eastern Birds)

October 14 – Lincoln’s Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii) (3)
– Reported Oct 14, 2017 09:23 by Chris Risley
– Trent University: N. end of DNA building, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:

Lincoln’s Sparrow – Wikimedia

 

October 11 – Virginia Opossum

On or about this date, Hugh Kidd trapped and released a Virginia Opossum at the east end of the 7th Line of Selwyn, near the Otonabee River. Report via Leo Conlin

Opossum on Johnston Drive, south of Peterborough – Mary Beth Aspinall – Feb. 2014

Oct 132017
 

11 October 2017 – Project FeederWatch celebrated its 30th anniversary last winter, thanks to dedicated participants who observe birds at their feeders. The information collected through this project over three decades allows scientists to measure important changes in North America’s winter bird populations over time. All are invited to join in this fun and easy activity, and help Project FeederWatch achieve even more!

Since Project FeederWatch began, more than 69,000 participants have counted more than 142 million birds and submitted over 2.5 million checklists. This wealth of information has allowed researchers at Bird Studies Canada and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to track impacts of climate change on bird communities, incidence of disease in wild birds, bird population declines and expansions, and other significant topics. Nearly 30 scientific papers have been published using data from Project FeederWatch.

Project FeederWatch also provides learning opportunities and enjoyment to its community of volunteers. Catherine Swan of Brantford, ON, wrote: “I have been doing FeederWatch since it began and have enjoyed every year. My whole family is now hooked on identifying birds and counting them. Thanks for the fun!” If you have a bird feeder or yard that attracts birds, why not pursue an interest in these fascinating animals while contributing to a valuable North America-wide project?

Through an annual registration of $35, participants fund Project FeederWatch – it’s free for Bird Studies Canada members. Canadian participants receive a subscription to BSC’s magazine BirdWatch Canada, a poster of common feeder birds, a calendar, last season’s results, and access to online data tools. Bird Studies Canada and Cornell Lab of Ornithology also share expert advice to help participants identify, understand, and look after feeder birds.

To join, visit www.birdscanada.org/feederwatch or contact the Canadian coordinator at 1-888-448-2473 or pfw@birdscanada.org. In the United States, call 1-866-989-2473.

Armstrong Bird Food and Wild Birds Unlimited are national sponsors of Project FeederWatch in Canada. The partnerships aim to inspire more Canadians to discover the fun of FeederWatch and the importance of Citizen Science.

Project FeederWatch is a joint research and education project of Bird Studies Canada and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Oct 122017
 

October 10: I had my first two Dark-eyed Juncos today. Sue Paradisis, Peterborough

Dark-eyed Junco by Marcel Boulay

October 9: Today there was a Peregrine at the Buckhorn Lock. I was travelling south when it flew over the bridge at handrail height and landed in a tree about ten feet away from the east (lower Buckhorn) side of the bridge. Have other people seen that one or do you think it was passing through?  David Beaucage Johnson, Curve Lake

Peregrine – Karl Egressy

October 6: I have been hearing this annoying screeching coming from my maple tree out front in the evening for the past few weeks. It started during a hot weather spell in mid-September, and hasn’t stopped since. It starts soon after the sun sets and lasts all night, until the break of dawn. I thought at first it was some kind of bird, but after doing some research, I found that it is, in fact, an insect: a Common True Katydid. Hard to believe a bug can make such a loud, annoying noise, but apparently katydids do. The odd thing is that we live much farther north than what I thought was the katydid’s usual range…we live on the outskirts of Ottawa, about 40km to the East. In any event, I have attached a sound clip I took this evening (be sure to turn up the volume, I didn’t have the record volume at maximum when I recorded the clip). Although it’s annoying, I feel a little sad for the poor thing. I do believe he may be calling for a mate, but I doubt he’ll find one this far from home. Lynne Laviolette-Snyder, Embrun, ON (near Ottawa)

Common True Katydid (Wikimedia)

October 8: I spotted a Blue-spotted Salamander on a piece of armour stone at the waters edge on the upper portion of Buckhorn Lake last night. The worm on the hook was not me trying to catch the salamander; it was for reference.  We were catching crayfish.  I saw the salamander at 10 pm last night. It was approximately 9″ in length with blue spots all over its body but mainly on the tail, feet and lower portion of body.  Shawn Filteau

Blue-spotted Salamander – Shawn Filteau

 

 

Oct 122017
 

Happy to report that between October 5th to 7th we were able to deliver twenty-three Snapping Turtle hatchlings to shallow muddy areas on our stretch of the Indian River. But the event was puzzling in a couple of ways.

Back on July 1st we witnessed an adult Snapping Turtle in our gravelled turning circle spend at least an hour, probably more, excavating a hole and laying her eggs. Although we couldn’t see the eggs from our vantage point in the house, we observed her finally swinging side to side, bracing herself using front feet and tail as she covered in the hole with her hind feet. We protected the site with chicken wire weighed down with stone on all sides, and so far this covered site shows no indication of disturbance or any natural breakout. However, on October 5th after spotting a number of hatchlings wandering around on the gravelled turning circle and driveway, we identified the source and it was one totally unknown to us: – a small hole about four inches wide, which was about 18 feet away from the protected area. It was from here that we could see hatchlings emerging.

All the hatchlings that we found had absorbed their sacs. Only one looked very poorly but after a while perked up while it was sitting in a shallow tray with some water. Apart from the twenty-three, there were another three we found that had been crushed by traffic on the road. We actually saw only six emerge from the nest over the three days, some with a bit of help, while most of the others were found wandering around and may have first emerged on October 4th when we were away for the day. Almost all of the latter were heading west up the gravelled surface towards the road, a distance about 320 feet, whereas the river is about 270 feet away on a downward slope in the opposite direction. If we hadn’t regularly monitored the drive with some help from interested neighbours, most of the hatchlings would probably have either been run over on the road or perished for lack of appropriate habitat.

This is not the first time that we have had hatchlings choosing to go westwards, away from the river, rather than heading east towards water. This is in stark contrast to our first encounter with hatchlings back in 2007, when we encountered seven young snappers on our property; all were heading east towards the river following a stone path alongside our house. Something appears wrong, but we don’t know what.

Stephenie Armstrong

Snapping turtles – October 2017 – Peter & Stephenie Armstrong

Snapping turtles 2 – October 2017 – Peter & Stephenie Armstrong

Snapping turtles 3 – October 2017 – Peter & Stephenie Armstrong

 

Oct 062017
 

Nelson’s Sparrow (Ammodramus nelsoni) (1)
– Reported Oct 05, 2017 16:55 by Scott Gibson
– Fairbairn marsh, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “continuing; hoping to get some pics today but much skulkier than on Monday; only catching few quick glimpses.”

Nelson’s Sparrow (Ammodramus nelsoni) (1)
– Reported Oct 05, 2017 09:45 by Dan Luckman
– Peterborough–Fairbairn Street wetland, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Continuing bird”

NOTE: For details about identifying the Nelson’s Sparrow and hear its song, click HERE

Nelson’s Sparrow (photo by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren)

 

Oct 022017
 

I live in Northumberland County – Baltimore to be exact, 10 km north of Cobourg near the Balls Mills conservation area. We are surrounded by forest. Our own property is 3 acres of forest that backs on to Baltimore creek. Beyond that is a mix of forest, marsh and farm land. Anyway, Since July I have noticed that there are no more Red Squirrels around! There used to always be 3 or 4 hanging around, getting into my feeders and making a racket! It’s so quiet without them that it’s bothering me now. I’ve had one Gray Squirrel (black colour morph) come by a few times, and they are actually rare to see in this forest environment normally. What could account for their sudden disappearance? We’ve lived here 5 years now, and they’ve always been around. I’m assuming a predator of some kind might be present, but I expected the space to be re-populated rather quickly. I have a game camera set up on, and I’ve caught everything you can name – coyote, fox, raccoon, deer, etc. I even caught a blurry image of what I believe to be a Fisher.  In past years they would be busy gathering all the cones from the conifers, but this year the cones are all still there and it’s a bumper crop! Anyway, I was wondering if you might provide some insight or opinion?

Pierre Gilbert, Baltimore, ON

Note: Since Pierre wrote this (August 29), one Red Squirrel is now present. It may be that a predator such as a Barred Owl is responsible for the drop in squirrel numbers. That being said, small mammals like Red Squirrels and Eastern Cottontails go through population cycles in which abundance can vary dramatically. These are poorly understood as to cause.

Pierre also reports (October 1) that the usual forest birds that visit his feeders have completely disappeared. “Where I used to fill up the feeders daily and weekly, they now sit almost full for weeks on end. Usually in abundance, I almost never see chickadees (although I hear them around) or nuthatches. Could it be that there is such a good crop of natural food that they are simply not bothering with the feeders? The only frequent visitors I have are several woodpeckers (both small and large) that visit my suet feeder. Other then that, I’ve had almost no traffic.”

Red Squirrel – Terry Carpenter

 

Sep 302017
 

American Pipit (Anthus rubescens) (1)
– Reported Sep 29, 2017 07:56 by Iain Rayner
– Peterborough–Fairbairn Street wetland, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:

American Pipit (Anthus rubescens) (8)
– Reported Sep 29, 2017 07:38 by Donald A. Sutherland
– Peterborough–Trent Rotary Rail Trail, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:

American Pipit (from The Crossley ID Guide of Eastern Birds)

Sep 262017
 

I was walking in Burnham Woods on the evening of September 1 and came across these strange creatures all over a young beech sapling.  I could see them all rocking back and forth. Strangest sight. Sue Paradisis

Note: After a bit of research, I discovered they are a kind of woolly aphid called Beech Blight Aphids. Click here for more information. D.M.

Beech Blight Aphids – Sue Paradisis

Beech blight aphids 2 – Sue Paradisis JPG

Sep 262017
 

Over the past ten years, we’ve seen a marked decline in the number of Red Squirrels and a steady increase in the number of Gray Squirrels on our property. This year that imbalance may change. For the first time that we are aware, we have had two broods of Red Squirrels rather than just the one.

Back in May, an adult Red Squirrel was seen transferring her young family from a birth site in one tree to a nest cavity in our signature tall White Pine. The trunk separates into two part well above ground level, possibly providing a more commodious home. By May 21, five young were darting back and forth from the nest, exploring their immediate surroundings. It was most entertaining!

By the last week of May, only one youngster was still staying close by the nest cavity when an adult female Gray Squirrel took possession of the nest with five of her own family, chasing off the one remaining Red Squirrel. Again we were entertained by the little ones running about the tree branches and eventually out exploring the surrounding landscape.

On September 6, a Red Squirrel with five young took possession of the same nest cavity. She spent some time gathering new nest material to refurbish the bedding, then possibly tired and hungry after her exertions, took a break to consume fallen sunflower seeds below a nearby bird feeder. (In all three cases the adult female had teats visible on her underside.)

For the third time, we enjoyed the antics of little ones chasing each other about the tree until they too abandoned the nest to make their own way in the world. On September 7, I was able to capture a few photos of the youngsters in the tree and close up at the cavity entrance.

Here’s hoping the survival rate is good.

Stephenie Armstrong, Warsaw

Red Squirrel in White Pine – Stephenie Armstrong

Young Red Squirrel at nest cavity in White Pine  – Stephenie Armstrong

Young Red Squirrel emerging from nest cavity – Stephenie Armstrong

Sep 262017
 

On September 7, a Black Swallowtail caterpillar, was making its way up our gravelled drive. I moved it to a safer location.

On September 9 and 10, we had another new caterpillar in our front garden. It is a fifth instar larval stage of the Hermit Sphinx moth (lintneria eremitus).  It was head down feasting on the stem of an Oregano plant.  I fear our fiddling around to get some pictures proved something of an interruption for a while, but was still happily munching along later in the morning, soon to be changing into its pupal stage I expect.

On September 13, a juvenile Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was feeding on a cherry tree.

On September 18, we saw about 20 Broad-winged Hawks passing over our property in the morning.  Wonderful to see.

Black Swallowtail caterpillar – Stephenie Armstrong

 

Juvenile Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – Peter Armstrong

 

Broad-winged Hawk – Wikimedia

 

Hermit sphinx – Peter Armstrong

 

Hermit sphinx – top view – Peter Armstrong

 

Sep 262017
 

Meredith Carter and our planting crew found this yellowish caterpillar in Lakefield this Saturday during the TD Tree Planting event. I found a similar looking caterpillar – but more light green and pink – in late August up north in Dorset. Any idea what they are?  Erin McGauley

Note: I’m not sure of the species Meredith found, but I believe your caterpillar is a Waved Sphinx. I’ll update this posting if I find out anything more.

Unidentified caterpillar – Lakefield – Sept. 22, 2017 – Meredith Carter

Waved Sphinx caterpillar – Dorset, ON – Erin McGauley

Sep 262017
 

Last February, I photographed this Barred Owl, which was perched on my phone cable – 20′ from the front of the house, in Selwyn Township, just south of Lakefield. About 30′ to each side of him/her were my 2 bird feeders – and not a small bird in sight! It was early evening, and the owl was not one bit bothered that I was standing in the front window clicking away just to get its portrait! Ever optimistic, it stayed around for about 20 minutes. I was absolutely delighted to have it visit.

Also, the owl was heard calling out about 2 or 3 AM one night just last week. Perhaps my bird feeders will get another visit from it soon! Looking forward to fall migration as I am sure you are.

Lynda Gadd

Barred Owl – Feb. 2017 – Selwyn Township – Lynda Gadd

Sep 262017
 

Over the last two weeks, we tagged and released all of the Monarchs we raised in the classroom.  I’m also sending along two photos I took of a Giant Swallowtail at Elmhirst Resort on Rice Lake this past weekend.   Stephanie Benn

Giant Swallowtail – Elmhirst Lodge – Sept. 24, 2017 – Stephanie Benn

Giant Swallowtail 2 – Elmhirst Lodge – Sept. 24, 2017 – Stephanie Benn

 

 

Sep 242017
 

Now’s the time to take in the beauty of autumn at Ontario Parks!

The 2017 Ontario Parks Fall Colour Report is LIVE! Check for the latest colour changes in up to 60 provincial parks across Ontario by using the report’s map and peak-viewing chart. Staff will be updating their park reports every week so check back often for the latest conditions. Climatologists predict brilliant reds and golds, thanks to an abundance of rain.

Mid-September to late October is prime-time viewing when campsites are plentiful and camp cabins and yurts are easier to book.

Algonquin Provincial Park is extremely popular on peak fall colour weekends. Before you visit Algonquin, this is what you need to know.

The Parks Blog also suggests other fall colour parks worth visiting. In Northern Ontario, try these parks. More park choices are found in this fall colour post.

Lots of special events are also planned. Visit the Ontario Parks’ calendar of events for details.

Ontario Parks posts regularly on Twitter and Facebook.

High-resolution, credited photography related to the above can be downloaded from a mini photo library here.

We’ll see you there!

Sarah McMichael

Leaf colour east of Apsley – October 1, 2012

Sep 242017
 

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) (1)
– Reported Sep 22, 2017 08:09 by McLean Smith
– 2 Woodland Dr, Peterborough CA-ON (44.3634,-78.2926), Peterborough, Ontario
– Map: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=p&z=13&q=44.363432,-78.292649&ll=44.363432,-78.292649
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39331356
– Comments: “I am not 100% certain as to the ID of this bird, but based on size, shape, and colouration, I am fairly confident in calling it a juvenile Northern Mockingbird. It was perched atop a spruce tree showing a bay to grey overall colouring, with faint mottling on the upper breast and a very faint eye line, with no other discernible features (I did not see it fly to confirm white patches). The only alternative ID I can think of is a juvenile Northern Shrike, but the head appeared too small in relation to the body. Any help or local checklists to confirm or deny would be much appreciated. ”

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) (1)
– Reported Sep 22, 2017 06:12 by Iain Rayner
– Ptbo – Yard – Bear Creek Rd, Peterborough, Ontario
– Map: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=p&z=13&q=44.5064687,-78.4726858&ll=44.5064687,-78.4726858
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39326314
– Comments: “Hooting to the south”

Barred Owl (Strix varia) (2)
– Reported Sep 21, 2017 17:00 by Chris Risley
– Cottage at Stumpy Bay, Peterborough, Ontario
– Map: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=p&z=13&q=44.7255067,-78.2984622&ll=44.7255067,-78.2984622
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39326758
– Comments: “calling across Stumpy Bay”

Sep 242017
 

Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius) (1)
– Reported Sep 22, 2017 10:30 by Scott McKinlay
– Millbrook Conservation Area, Peterborough, Ontario
– Map: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=p&z=13&q=44.1492506,-78.4480704&ll=44.1492506,-78.4480704
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39345272
– Comments: “Seen with a solitary sandpiper on a mud bar in Millbrook pond. It was slightly smaller than the solitary with browner, lighter upperparts; shorter brighter legs; white belly and breast extending up the side in front of the wing; and it bobbed it’s tail incessantly. ”

Spotted Sandpiper with dragonfly nymph in beak – Lower Buckhorn Lake – June 2016 – Robin Blake

Solitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria) (1)
– Reported Sep 22, 2017 10:30 by Scott McKinlay
– Millbrook Conservation Area, Peterborough, Ontario
– Map: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=p&z=13&q=44.1492506,-78.4480704&ll=44.1492506,-78.4480704
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39345272
– Comments: “Seen on a mud bar with a spotted sandpiper. It had longer legs than the spotted sandpiper, had slatey grey upperparts with fine white speckling, grayish breast, white belly, an eye ring, and straight dark bill about the same length as the head.”

Sep 222017
 

Ross’s Goose (Anser rossii) (1)
– Reported Sep 20, 2017 12:00 by Matthew Garvin
– PTBO – Edgewater road and Railway, Peterborough, Ontario
– Map: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=p&z=13&q=44.299988,-78.31236&ll=44.299988,-78.31236
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39300375
– Media: 6 Photos
– Comments: “Diminutive white goose similar in size to adjacent RBGU with flock of CANG North of the Railway bridge. Immature markings similar to sibley guide with dark ‘halo’. Flat base of the beak and little to no ‘grin’ patch. Head and beak aren’t as ‘dove-like’ as I’d like but I think I’m comfortable calling this a ROGO for now. Let the debate begin!”

Juvenile Ross’s Goose – Wikimedia

Ross’s Goose (Anser rossii) (1)
– Reported Sep 20, 2017 13:48 by Chris Risley
– Peterborough–Millennium Park, Peterborough, Ontario
– Map: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=p&z=13&q=44.3028834,-78.31688&ll=44.3028834,-78.31688
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39300738
– Comments: “small white goose in with Canada Goose; juvenile; photo shows no “grin” patch; dark line through eye”

Ross’s Goose (Anser rossii) (1)
– Reported Sep 20, 2017 13:05 by Scott Gibson
– Peterborough–Millennium Park, Peterborough, Ontario
– Map: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=p&z=13&q=44.3028834,-78.31688&ll=44.3028834,-78.31688
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39301019
– Comments: “small white goose, smaller than adjacent CANG, small rounded head, no ‘grin’ patch, dusky crown suggesting juvenile. Great lunch hour bird!”

Ross’s Goose (Anser rossii) (1)
– Reported Sep 20, 2017 15:05 by Ben Taylor
– engleburn ave, Peterborough, Ontario
– Map: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=p&z=13&q=44.30142,-78.3139104&ll=44.30142,-78.3139104
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39302520
– Comments: “Alerted by Chris Risley that colleagues had spotted a white goose on the River north of the Holiday Inn pedestrian bridge. I was able to locate it from our back yard ,hanging out with the Canada Geese just south of the Hunter Street bridge. I biked around to get a closer look and it seemed to be a match for the white juvenile Ross’s Goose pictured in Sibley’s but will amend as required once there is confirmation.”

Ross’s Goose – Otonabee R. – Dec. 4, 2014 – Drew Monkman

Sep 172017
 

A beautiful September morning greeted the ten early risers who took part in the Peterborough Field Naturalist’s Sunday A.M. nature walk today. We spent most of our time in the Promise Rock area of the Rotary-Greenway Trail, just north of Trent University at Lock 22. Songbird diversity and numbers were very good. We were able to use pishing to coax in three species of vireos and ten species of warblers. A female American Redstart was particularly cooperative as it flitted about in the open, only three metres away. Our second stop was the Lakefield Sewage Lagoons where we got good looks through the scopes at four species of ducks and more than a dozen cormorants. Many of the ducks were juvenile Wood Ducks and Hooded Mergansers.

Below is a list of all of the birds seen (38 species) as well as some of the goldenrods and asters that caught our attention. Several of the goldenrods had galls – the ball-shaped galls from Goldenrod Gall Flies and the tightly-packed leafy galls from a midge.

Birds (38 species): Double-crested Cormorant, Canada Goose, Mallard, Wood Duck, Lesser Scaup, Hooded Merganser, Turkey Vulture, Ring-billed Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Eastern Phoebe, Red-eyed Vireo, Philadelphia Vireo, Blue-headed Vireo, Blue Jay, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Marsh Wren, American Robin, Cedar Waxwing, European Starling, Magnolia Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Northern Parula, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, Black-and-White Warbler, American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat, Wilson’s Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Song Sparrow, Common Grackle

Flowers: Canada Goldenrod, Grass-leaved Goldenrod, New England Aster, Heath Aster, Calico Aster, Panicled Aster, Heart-leaved Aster

Other highlights: Huge seed crop on cedars, spruces, Sugar Maples; leopard frogs in grass at sewage lagoon; lots of fall colour, courtesy of White Ash, Staghorn Sumac, Poison Ivy and Virginia Creeper

PFN Sunday AM Nature Walk – Promise Rock area – (Drew Monkman)

 

Female American Redstart (Wikimedia)

 

Black-throated Green Warbler (Dan Pancamo)

 

Red-eyed Vireo – Karl Egressy

 

Canada goldenrod (left) and New England aster (Drew Monkman)

 

 

 

 

 

Sep 042017
 

At around 10 a.m. on Sunday, September 3, residents in the Tobin Court and Evans Dr area in the north end of the city, reported the sudden death of 12 Mallard ducks. Earlier a group of 14 ducks was observed walking up Tobin from a local pond just south of that location, munching on grass. They did not display any distress at the time. Moments later 12 of these ducks lay dead on residents’ lawns and driveways.The police were called as well as the MNR, Humane Society and the City of Peterborough. Public works attended the scene to remove the bodies. In the meantime 2 ducks which had been immobilized and stunned by the unknown contaminant were transferred to Shades of Hope Wildlife Rescue in Pefferlaw. Residents in the area are concerned about what could possibly have caused a quick death to so many ducks. According to one of the residents, the Peterborough Police will notify the MNR to investigate the sudden deaths.

Barb Evett (705-741-5396)

Mallard deaths – Ptbo – Sept. 3, 2017 – Barb Evett