Ontario Birding Day 3 (Algonquin Birding)

So, in the morning of the third day of the Ontario trip, we woke up after another short night before heading out into Algonquin Provincial Park for what we hoped would be a very good day of birding. We had five targets in mind (spruce grouse, gray jay, black-backed woodpecker, boreal chickadee, and any winter finches we could find) and after the great luck we had experienced the day before, we were hoping to find them all.
On our way through the park, we saw someone stopped on the side of the road. We asked them why they were stopped and they said that there was a moose! However, it had moved back into the woods and we only saw its legs.
Our first stop was to drive along Opeongo Road to see what we could find. We drove along and quickly came across a couple of gray jays along the road! You may not have known it, but the Algonquin gray jays (along with the chickadees) are famous for being willing to hand feed. So we pulled over and stood on the roadside holding bits of peanut butter crackers and hoping for a jay to come over. They were surprisingly friendly and we quickly had both of them along with some nearby chickadees hand feeding.

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Gray Jay Hand Feeding

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Black-Capped Chickadee Hand Feeding
We then moved on to the Spruce Bog Boardwalk, one of the best birding locations in the park. Our goals there were boreal chickadee and spruce grouse. We arrived at the suet feeder at the start of the trail where a photography told us that the boreal chickadee usually appears every half an hour. So we waited. After about 20 minutes the chickadee appeared. Boreal chickadees are one of my favorite birds so I was so happy to find the co

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Boreal Chickadee
We didn’t find any grouse though so we headed towards the visitor center to see what was coming to their feeders. On the way, we spotted a ruffed grouse on the side of the side of the road.

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Ruffed Grouse
We then moved on towards the visitor center. The visitor center feeders were really cool. The common visitors were redpolls, pine grosbeaks, downy and hairy woodpeckers, a single white-winged crossbill, both nuthatch species, chickadees and even snow buntings (it was really cool to see snow buntings in trees and on the visitor center roof.

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Snow Buntings

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Adult Male Pine Grosbeak

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White-Winged Crossbill

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Common Redpoll
Then, two hoary redpolls were spotted amongst the commons!

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Hoary Redpoll
It was really cool to see this bird and to be able to compare it to commons, which allowed me to see the subtle differences between them.
A pine marten also made two appearances while we were there!

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Pine Marten (in the Background)
We then left and headed into one of the nearby towns for lunch.
Lunch was delicious and afterwards we headed back into the park to try again for spruce grouse and look around for black-backed woodpecker. We found neither but we did find a leusistic chickadee!
We then headed back to our hotel in hoped of getting more then six hours of sleep that night. A few of us did end up going owling that night but we didn’t find anything.

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