Archive for the ‘Bird Survey Outings’ Category

Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park, Foleyet, Ontario

June 7th, 2014 No comments

Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park, Foleyet, Ontario

Well, we made it from Ottawa to Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park without incident. Leaving Ottawa before sunrise made for a pretty early wake-up call but would also allow us time to stop a long the way more often and also allowed us time to get the tents set up before dark. The new lake side boardwalk and docking area in Temagami was nice to see and as good as any a reason to stop and stretch our legs. After a short leg-stretch stop, we were on our way again soon to reach Timmins in time for a short lunch break.



Quite a bit of road construction along the way but, for the most part, the skies were blue and the winds were light – no fog, no rain, no snow! Along the way we saw moose at two different locations along the highway and black bears at two other locations. When I see moose and bear grazing along the ditches in broad daylight I usually assume that the bugs are plentiful in the woods. Such was the case. When we stopped at the campsite to set up our tents, the mosquitoes and black flies were quick to find our bare skin – out came the DEET before we went for a short walk along the shoreline. The Bonaparte’s Gulls were along the shoreline again and park staff indicated that they had seen some birds picking up sticks along the roadway so that it would appear that these gulls are in fact breeding in the area. Other wildlife spotted during our short walk included Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies, Red Squirrels, Cedar Waxwings, a Yellow-Rumped Warbler (a.k.a. Myrtle Warbler), many fast flying Dragonflies and a small blue butterfly.


Since it was Friday night, the restaurant at Ivanhoe Air was open, so, with tents set up, it was off for supper before getting into the sleeping bags for a few winks before the 4AM alarm would go off.

Breeding Bird Survey 2014

June 4th, 2014 No comments

Last minute packing is underway as I prepare to join Gerhard Bruins once again for our foray into the northwoods of Ontario.  I’ve joined Gerhard for a number of Breeding Bird Surveys, Christmas Bird Counts, and other birding activities.  He carries the binoculars while I carry the camera (s). During any given outing, he might view 30 – 100 species while I am happy to get decent photos of 5 – 10% of total sightings.

RON_3465-Magnolia-Warbler While he is counting and recording numbers, I provide some of the location information, GPS info, descriptive prose and maybe work in time for a photo of a passing butterfly or moth or bear or moose or … and then off we go to our next scheduled stop.

Our normal BBS day starts at about 4AM with the expectation that we’ll be back near civilization around noon.  Then, it’s back to the campground to pack tents and head to the next campground location (if available) or motel nearest to the start of the next day’s route. Rarely in tent or bed before 10PM or 11PM, it makes for a pretty long day!


To see the blog entries for some of our previous birding outings start here: Birding Surveys.

Most of our BBS routes are outside of normal telecommunications tower coverage and I can’t get WiFi in most tenting locations so blog entries for our 2014 Breeding Bird Survey blogs will be entered later in June or ….

Categories: Bird Survey Outings, Ontario Tags:

Breeding Bird Surveys

June 8th, 2013 4 comments

June 4th, 2013 – Once again, I’m out in Northern Ontario along with my birding friend Gerhard Bruins conducting breeding bird surveys to add to the databases of Environment Canada and the Canadian Wildlife Service. Four days of early mornings, plenty of black flies and mosquitoes, and a few nights sleeping in tents. We would prefer to tent but this year the Ontario government has decided not to open a couple of the Provincial camp sites that we normally use. Happily Ivanhoe Lake wasn’t one of the closed sites since it is the one that we drive to on our first day (900 km from Ottawa to Ivanhoe). (iPad photos used for quick uploading enroute. Nikon photos will be added later.)


An added bonus at Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park was a flock of Bonaparte’s Gulls that were scouring the water ripples along the beaches for food items. This individual bird seemed to have the process and the location down pat.


June 6th – three surveys completed and one to go. So far plenty of birds have been dutifully recorded by Gerhard based on sightings and songs. Added to the feathered counts, we have sighted numerous rabbits, a few fox, a wolf, a lynx, plenty of bears and tonight our first bull moose. Today we are back in Wawa, where water, water everywhere seems to have been the theme since last Fall and local lakes and rivers continue to be at high water and flood levels and the waterfalls are putting on quite a show.


June 7, 2013 – Another beautiful day to be outside. Although the temperature was only +4C when we left the motel in Wawa at 4:30AM, the temperature has now climbed into the mid teens with no clouds in the sky and only a light breeze.

June 8, 2013: Safely back home after 3000+km of driving and many, many hours checking for birds at the 200 observation locations that constitute our data gathering points on four separate routes.

 – – – – – – – – – Northern Ontario BBS 2013 posts completed – – – – – – – – –

The following links relate to this June 2013 Breeding Bird Survey:

Day 1 – Ottawa to Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park

Day 2 – Singe Lake Route

Day 3 – The Shoals Route

Day 4 – Little Tukanee Lake Route

Day 5 – Goldie Lake Route

Breeding Bird Surveys (2013) – Day 5

June 7th, 2013 No comments

Breeding Bird Surveys (2013) – Day 5 – June 7, 2013

Today’s survey route is pretty straightforward with a start point at the junction of Hwy #17 and the road to Dubreuilville. Although there is traffic to contend with, there are generally places with sufficient space to pull off the highway with good visibility in both directions. The day started with a nice sunrise over misty waters and clear skies continued for most of the day. Unlike the two previous days there were no clouds on the horizon, so the sunrise, although still pleasant, lacked the brilliance of the previous two days.




Around every twist in the road there is apt to be some surprise when we are conducting these surveys. Sometimes it is a black bear or two or a large moose. On previous days, it was a half dozen bears at various locations. Today’s excitement was a medium-sized moose enjoying breakfast in a roadside marsh. The previous evening, a large bull moose had turned around and headed back into the woods as we approached. Moose are big animals and a constant hazard to drivers especially when one is driving at night or in the early morning hours as we often are.


This was the last of our four survey routes in this area for 2013 and for all four days the weather had been perfect in all directions.  Only the black flies were a bit of a nuisance in some locations on some of the routes.


When I speak of black flies as being a bit of a nuisance in some locations, this short video which I posted on my Flickr account provides some idea of what I’m talking about ! 🙂

Black flies attack car mirrors

Our only disappointment today was the lack of Bald Eagles at the Dubreuilville dump.  This year, when we arrived, the dump still had plenty of Starlings and Herring Gulls in the area but fewer Ravens than on previous visits and no Bald Eagles were in sight. Probably just bad timing on our part. Oh well, time to be homeward bound.


– – – – – – – – – Northern Ontario BBS 2013 posts completed – – – – – – – – –

The following links relate to this June 2013 Breeding Bird Survey:

Day 1 – Ottawa to Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park

Day 2 – Singe Lake Route

Day 3 – The Shoals Route

Day 4 – Little Tukanee Lake Route

Day 5 – Goldie Lake Route

Wawa, Ontario – Tourist Points of Interest – Mackenzie/Bethune Cemetery

June 6th, 2013 No comments

Wawa, Ontario – Tourist Points of Interest – Mackenzie/Bethune Cemetery

Access to the MacKenzie/Bethune Cemetery location is from a small pull-off a short distance above the bridge at Silver Falls. The trail through the woods is rather steep but also fairly short so not too difficult to reach the cemetery.  While we were visiting the cemetery our attention was drawn to the sound of many American Redstarts in the nearby bushes. These quick little birds were darting from location to location in the dim light of the underbrush and, although they occasionally came into the open, I and my camera were not quick enough to record their delightful colours.

RON_3517-MacKenzie-Bethune- Read more…

Breeding Bird Surveys (2013) – Day 4

June 6th, 2013 No comments

Breeding Bird Surveys (2013) – Day 4 – June 6, 2013


Today’s route was a two-part route with the approximate half-way point being the small town of White River, Ontario (Winnie-the-Pooh town). The first half of the route was new to us so we had scouted out the route the night before and found that the gravel road was in good condition with no washouts, a great improvement over the gravel road conditions of the survey route of the day before. As we arrived at the starting point for today’s survey, the mist hung heavy over the silent waters of the lakes, ponds and valleys along the route. Soon after our survey began, the rising sun began to paint the sky in a broad assortment of colours and, with each turn in the road, the sky changed the show for the beginning of a new day. Read more…

Breeding Bird Surveys (2013) – Day 3

June 5th, 2013 No comments

Breeding Bird Surveys (2013) – Day 3 – June 5, 2013


Today’s Breeding Bird Survey route would take us over a series of logging/recreational roads west of The Shoals Provincial Park.  Because the park has been closed this year, our morning would begin much earlier when the alarm went off at about 3AM at our motel in Chapleau, Ontario.  This particular route had caused us problems in previous years due to washouts, so, with the stories of high water and record rainfall and snowfall levels we began the day not certain that we would even be able to reach the starting point for the survey route. Read more…

Breeding Bird Surveys (2013) – Day 2

June 4th, 2013 No comments

Breeding Bird Surveys (2013) – Day 2 – June 4, 2013
The first of our four days of bird surveys began at about 5AM on a logging road to the east of Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park where we had set up our tents the night before. The survey route covers 25 miles of a well-used logging road and, as the signs indicate, we need to be alert for the rumbling sounds of logging trucks with their billowing clouds of dust especially when the sun is not yet high in the sky. This particular logging road is quite wide and in good condition unlike one of the other roads that we would be on later in the week.

RON_3429-Logging-road-signs RON_3430-Logging-road-sign


My role in these survey activities tends to be primarily that of driver and information recorder with Gerhard getting to leave the safety of the car to face the swarms of insects that are up bright and early just waiting for fresh blood. This year, the black flies were at nuisance level at many of the survey locations but not as bad as we had encountered in some other years. Thankfully, recent cold spells must have killed off some of the adult mosquito populations since mosquitoes were not a significant issue this year. Read more…

Breeding Bird Surveys (2013) – Day 1

June 3rd, 2013 No comments

Breeding Bird Surveys (2013) – Day 1 – June 3, 2013

This was the fourth year that Gerhard and I had teamed up to conduct breeding bird surveys for Environment Canada on four prescribed routes between Ivanhoe Lake and White River, Ontario. Our first day was always a very long drive since our destination was Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park where we hoped to pitch our tents before nightfall with a bit of time left over to get something to eat for supper and to still have a bit of daylight left to explore the shoreline and a few of the trails in the area. To do so meant that we had to leave Ottawa before sunrise (about 5AM) and drive the 900 km distance with only quick breaks for nourishment and gas along the way. On our first day’s drive, last year, we encountered heavy fog as we departed the city but, this year, the weather cooperated and we had clear driving until about the time that we reached the Montreal River crossing at Latchford. As we headed further north from that point, we encountered, first, a few intermittent rain showers and then a few more showers and then, as we got closer to Timmins, Ontario, the weather had deteriorated into showers composed of a mixture of rain and snow which made driving a bit more difficult. The wet stuff, although white in the air as it passed our windows, melted immediately when it hit the ground so was interesting to experience but not a significant danger. Standing at the side of the road, however, signalling traffic to stop or go would definitely be less pleasant in such inclement weather.

RON_3375-Slushy-rain-and-sn RON_3376-Spring-snowfall-ne

Read more…

Wawa, Ontario – Tourist Points of Interest – Northern Lights Falls

June 13th, 2012 No comments

Wawa, Ontario – Tourist Points of Interest – Northern Lights Falls

A visit to this small falls was on our list from the day before and, once we had completed the breeding bird survey on the Dubreuilville route, we stopped on our way heading south and took the short hike through the woods to see this delicate waterfall.  The falls is a short distance from Hwy 17 just south of the location of Northern Lights Motel where we had stayed the night before. (More Wawa entries)

The path to the falls is not too tough but can be a bit slippery. The small rope assist to get down to the base of the falls and back up again was a welcome sign considering the slipperiness from the rainfall of the day before.

Quite mystical to stand by the riverside at the base of the falls not far from a major highway and enjoy just the sound of the tumbling water.

One last view and then grab the rope and head back up to the car where Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies were waiting to greet us.



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