Breeding Bird Surveys (2013) – Day 2

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.


The survey process involves stopping at 1/2 mile intervals along a 25 mile route and then listening for and looking for various species that are in the woodlands along the roadway or flying overhead.  In some of these spots there is lots of song and activity while in other locations, the woods can be quite silent. Of course, each time that a logging truck went by, everything quieted down for a bit and Gerhard would have to wait awhile before starting the 3 next minute observation period.


We are usually at the start of each of the survey routes at about 5AM and hope to complete the route by about 10:30AM although with logging trucks and other vehicles passing by, the completion time is quite variable and varies considerably with each different route and each day.

Back at Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was busy looking for grubs and delectable insects on the ground around our tents. Each time his search was successful, the bird would fly back to a nearby tree to enjoy the meal providing me with time to get my camera out of the back seat of the car.


RON_3440-Yellow-bellied-sap  RON_3437-Yellow-bellied-sap

We were happy to see that the Bonaparte’s Gulls were still in the area so, before heading off down the road to our next locations we stopped long enough to observe these lovely small gulls working the shoreline ripples.



We normally try to tent at Shoals Provincial Park for the next segment of the surveys but this year we had to stay in a motel in Chapleau. More comfortable than sleeping in a tent but adds an extra hour to our start time and I prefer tents to 3AM wake-up alarms!!!  For those interested, this is what the Provincial website says about The Shoals Provincial Park:

“This park will not operate during the 2013 season. There will be no staff on-site and facilities will not be maintained. The park will remain a protected area and visitors can continue to enjoy the park for day-use, free of charge. The park will be gated and access is on foot.”

As I looked out of our motel window, this Raven was skipping across the pavement and looked a bit like the pavement was too hot for its feet, which, given the outside temperature, was not the reason so the reason for the walking style will remain a mystery to me.


Began the day with warning signs about logging roads so it only seems reasonable to end this blog entry with this sign seen at the Chapleau airport.


– – – – – – – – – 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

About Ron

Ron has long had an interest in photography and traveling and, in recent years, has had more time to devote to both activities. Long a Pentax user, Ron switched to Nikon gear when he went digital. The advent of the digital SLR camera, and the ease of the internet blogging process, has provided a venue for sharing his photography and travel experience at the local, national and international level. More about Ron
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