Algonquin Park Birding Adventures- Day 1

6:00 AM

It's always nice to have a change of scenery, especially in the winter. Recently I headed north to Algonquin Provincial Park to take in the spectacular winter scenery and wildlife. Birds are a great reason to visit Algonquin in the winter as many finches, including Evening Grosbeak, Pine Siskin and crossbills both overwinter and pass through the park. In addition to the wintering species, there are the "Algonquin specialties" (boreal species) including Spruce Grouse, Boreal Chickadee and Black-backed Woodpecker which can be observed in the park year round. Lots of birders flock (pun intended) to the park during the winter months in search of the spectacular bird life. Mammals are also cause to visit the park, American Pine Martens, moose, fox, otters and wolves call Algonquin home and can be observed year round. 
Spruce Grouse (Falcipennis canadensis)
Male Spruce Grouse

The weather during our visit was ideal, it was cold (-11⁰C with the windchill) but sunny most of the time. Our first stop yielded two of the three birds we were really hoping to see, Spruce Grouse and Boreal Chickadee. Yay!
Spruce Grouse (Falcipennis canadensis)
Male Spruce Grouse
Spruce Grouse (Falcipennis canadensis)
Male Spruce Grouse

Boreal Chickadee (Poecile hudsonicus)
Boreal Chickadee

Boreal Chickadee (Poecile hudsonicus)
Boreal Chickadee

In addition to these outstanding birds we had close encounters with Black-capped Chickadees, Red-breasted Nuthatches and lots of Red Squirrels. The Red Squirrels put whole show of their own. They live very busy lives chasing each other, caching food and chattering to the neighbours. Hilarious!
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)- Male
Male Red-breasted Nuthatch
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)- Female
Female Red-breasted Nuthatch
Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)
Red Squirrel
Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)- Cone Cache
Squirrel Cache

We made it to the Visitors Center just after lunch and had a bite to eat while enjoying the spectacular views. The Visitors Center has an awesome bird feeding setup- with three stations, plus a few other feeders. Shout out to WBU Toronto for the donation of the pole systems, feeders and bird food. :) Thanks to Jim, Lynda and the WBU Toronto staff, visitors to Algonquin can enjoy lots of spectacular birds up close during the winter months: wbu.com/toronto At the bird feeders we spotted several Evening Grosbeaks, Pine Siskins, American Goldfinches, Black-capped Chickadees, Downy Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpeckers, one lonely female Pine Grosbeak, a lady Ruffed Grouse and one American Tree Sparrow.  There were also many Ravens and Blue Jays flying about.
Evening Grosbeak (Coccothraustes vespertinus)
Male Evening Grosbeak
Evening Grosbeak (Coccothraustes vespertinus)
Male Evening Grosbeak
Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus)- Green Morph
Green Morph Pine Siskin
Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus)- Green Morph
Green and Regular Pine Siskins
Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus)
Female Ruffed Grouse
Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus)
WBU Feeding Station and Female Ruffed Grouse

Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis)
Snow Buntings
Day 1 in Algonquin Park treated us to lots of great birds and great weather. The snow came in the late afternoon and we called it a day. The weather for the following day was sunny and cold. Stay tuned to see what Day 2 had in store on our next blog post!

Good birding!

~Kristen Martyn

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