Tuesday 3 October 2017

Algonquin Adventures

This past weekend, my family made the trip up to Algonquin Provincial Park for a weekend of exploring one of my favourite places. Due to the recent weather, bird life was at a minimum, but I still managed to find over 45 species, which is decent given the time of year.

We drove up on Friday, so Saturday morning I awoke in Dwight at the hotel (Mom doesn't like it when there is no running water readily available!) I did a little bit of birding around the property, and I came up with a decent list.

Rusty Blackbird

Once in the park, we stopped by the Old Railway Bed first. We didn't bother to walk very far as there were just too many people using the trail!

There was a tame Common Raven near the parking lot (if you can call it that!) One would wonder if it is the same bird as the one hanging around the Art Centre in July.

There was also a tame Red Fox along the road. Apparently he is over 12 years old!

The ONLY Gray Jay of the weekend was seen along the road near the fox. It was the only Algonquin speciality I saw all weekend. Quite ironic actually, as last fall it was the only one I DIDN'T see!

We stopped by the Visitor Centre after the railway bed. It was packed! The line for the restroom was out the front door, there was a 30 minute wait time for the restaurant, and the observation deck was shoulder to shoulder if you even wanted to attempt to look off of it. It certainly was not fun!

The only good things reported in the sightings log was a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker seen by Blake, and a Red Squirrel seen at someone's campsite.

Birds were far and few between at the VC, but I did see a late Eastern Phoebe and some Pine Siskins.

Beaver Pond Trail was perhaps the most eventful trail walked.

Although it started out slow, it wasn't long until birds starting popping up, including Red-breasted Nuthatches and my first Rusty Blackbirds for the park.

Red-breasted Nuthatch

American Pipits covered the exposed mud, and I counted over 50.

A single Green-winged Teal caused some confusion, but I was eventually able to ID it from photos.

Crossbills weren't as plentiful as I thought they would be, but they were present. There was a pair of Red Crossbills that allowed for close study. White-winged Crossbills flew over at one point as well.

Red Crossbill

Later in the evening, I went to the Old Airfield. It was quite quiet except for an American Woodcock.

Wolf Track

I birded the hotel property again the next morning. I found a few more species than the previous day.

Palm Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Driving in the park to our next location, there was a Great Blue Heron on a rock in Lake of Two Rivers. It was quite a spectacular sight.

Opeongo Road was more or less disappointing. I hiked back into a spruce bog along the road hoping for a Spruce Grouse, but one never materialized. I did however find a trio of late Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers. They were the only birds here that would pose for a photo!

After Opeongo, we visited the Spruce Bog trail. Red-breasted Nuthatches were common.

I gave up on finding grouse, and decided to focus on finding sparrows in the grass. I walked to the edge of the open bog, and then started slowly making my way through the grass, stopping to pish every so often. Swamp Sparrows responded immediately.

I heard some insect-like chips, and my mind instantly went to Le Conte's Sparrow. So for about 15 minutes I stood shin deep in water and mud, pishing and wading through the grass hoping to flush something. That I did...a grasshopper!

I guess I must have disturbed this Great Blue Heron.

After Spruce Bog, it was time to head home, but not before spotted my only Common Loon of the weekend!

It is always a thrill and an adventure to visit Algonquin. I hopefully will be back soon!


  1. I found that there were more people there than I have ever seen for this time of year. Despite lack of birds, it is always nice to get up there.

    1. Definitely. At least the scenery was nice!

    2. Ha! It looks like we were all in the park at the same time! Awesome shots!

    3. Thanks! I saw your post, and you got some great ones too! I would have loved to explore the back country, but my travelling companions probably wouldn't have been up for it :-)

  2. Quinten, what an amazing photo of the Great Blue Heron on the rock!

  3. It was a beautiful weekend. To many people for my liking. Not much in wildlife because of it. Quinten you have some great shots. Love the Loon. Thanks to everyone's comments always nice to see. Very encouraging. Happy birding everyone.