My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

Famous for a Reason [Guest Post]

A Suet Bandit (Pine Martin)

Guest Post by Marg (aka makeupanid)

Last weekend I traveled to Algonquin Park with a Flickr friend and fellow birder. You would think being a birder that I would have been to Algonquin recently but I haven’t been there in years! I wanted to add Gray Jays and Pine Grosbeaks to my Life List-which is the only reason I was willing to get up at 4 a.m. on a weekend. I get enough of that during the week with my regular job! Algonquin has famous the world over and for a good reason. It is a Nature Lovers paradise. The boreal forest sweeps across it and it is full of birds, mammals and I’m sure reptiles too. But I was there for birds and some mammals-a Pine Marten and Fisher were on our species list. No luck on the Fisher but as you can see we got the Pine Marten-you can read all about him by clicking on the photo. This post is about birds.

-14C (6.8F) upon arrival

I wanted to see Gray Jays and Pine Grosbeaks, Spruce Grouse, Boreal Chickadees, Three-toed Woodpecker, and Black-backed Woodpecker-I wasn’t asking for much-was I? The very first bird we saw was a Pine Grosbeak at the Park Gate feeder. And later on one posed very nicely for us at the Visitors Center feeder. My very favorites were the Grey Jays, they are cute and tame.

Too Cute (Gray Jay)

The Gray Jays are adorable-Sibley calls them oversized chickadees and that’s just what they are like. These ones turn their noses (bills) up at sunflower seeds, and peanuts-they only wanted cheese! Of course we obliged. They also are incredibly smart -being corvids-they hide their food and only visit their nests 1 to 2 times a day to keep predators away. We only saw the males because the females are already on the nests. I did see the Black-backed Woodpecker but no photo-it was fleeting just enough of a look for a check! The Three-toed Woodpecker obliged us for quite awhile, it was nice seeing a woodpecker with yellow on his head for a change. No luck on the Spruce Grouse (others saw one briefly but not me) I only saw his tracks in the snow. The Boreal Chickadee did not show himself either, but I heard him and he has a much deeper voice than his Black-capped cousins. We kept telling the Black-caps to bring their cousin to us but they were not listening to us. Guess I’ll just have to go back sometime!

Camp Robber

I’ve met many wonderful people on Flickr-Mon@rch being one of them! I’m sure he thought I was insane the first time I emailed him, I was so excited to meet another bander. Even though I am not a bander yet-I am in training (if only I could quit my full time job I would become one quicker!) There is so much to learn.

Three-toed Woodpecker on a Birch


Marg is a great friend, amazing photographer and I would consider her a bird bander. I am honored to have her as a regular visitor on this site and now she has done a guest post about her amazing adventure to Algonquin Park. I was only kidding when I first mentioned the guest post but she seemed to have outdone herself in writing a post about birds that would be all lifers to me. Thanks for helping provide such amazing photos and content to this the Mon@rch Nature Blog! And thanks for being such a great friend!!!

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18 responses

  1. I want to be the first to say what a wonderful post this is Marg! All of these birds/mammals would have been lifers for me (well except the Black-capped Chickadee)! One day I will have to visit Algonquin Park and also see all these birdies!

    4 April 2008 at 7:42 pm

  2. Marg

    Aw (I’m blushing)
    A great field trip would be to Algonquin-you can rent Yurts there (hint, hint) Thanks for inviting me to post

    4 April 2008 at 8:08 pm

  3. Great post and excellent photos Marg thanks for sharing! 🙂

    4 April 2008 at 8:33 pm

  4. I have never been to Algonquin Park (I live in Ontario! :-0) and wouldn’t have thought it was a winter destination. The Grey Jay is very cute for sure. I will have to look up the Three-toed woodpecker. I knew something Canadian was on Monarch’s blog when I saw the temperature in celsius.

    4 April 2008 at 9:02 pm

  5. Now that would be a lovely trip. Wonderful pictures and narrative. It’s so nice the way the love of nature brings nice people together :0)

    4 April 2008 at 9:46 pm

  6. Those photos are awesome! Pine Martins have such beautiful coats. The Grey Jay is just the cutest thing. I’m going to have to get my passport so I can come up and visit that area in one of our future vacations. I looked it up on Google and what a great destination that would be!

    5 April 2008 at 12:30 am

  7. This was a fabulous post. I was happy to see a pine martin on here – cute little critters! I’ve only seen a couple myself! I’m still trying to get an eye-full of a boreal chickadee but we’ll see. I’m just waiting for the right planets to align (or for one to show up at the feeder – that will work too… I’m pretty sure I heard one today.) Beautiful shots and a great read. Thank you Marg and thanks Monarch for sharing her beautiful work.

    5 April 2008 at 1:29 am

  8. Wonderful post. What exciting birds. I am really inspired by your experience!

    5 April 2008 at 6:36 am

  9. Marg

    Thanks for the kind words everyone and really I should have said Algonquin was in Ontario! Here’s their link so you don’t have to Google ;D

    5 April 2008 at 8:27 am

  10. Great post. So cool to see those Gray Jays. They are wonderful! I’d love to see them someday!

    5 April 2008 at 10:32 am

  11. @ Marg – hey maybe one day and Yurts?? Wouldn’t that be cold? You are more than welcome to write more if you want! I love your input!
    @ Pinar – thanks and doesn’t she take great photos?
    @ Ruth – So many great birds and I must visit this place one day!
    @ Cathy- wouldn’t’ it! It is great that nature is a way of sharing with everyone!
    @ Linda – Marg takes great stuff! It sounds like a place we all should visit!
    @ aullori – Thanks and I would have loved to see or hear that boreal chickadee! Thanks for sharing!
    @ threecollie – I never knew about the place until Marg visited!
    @ Marg – anytime and thanks for the link?
    @ Liza – thanks and all would be lifers to me!

    5 April 2008 at 12:03 pm

  12. Lisa at Greenbow

    Wow, I had to go all the way to Alaska to see Pine Grosbeak and Three-toed Woodpecker. What great pictures too. Thanks for sharing.

    5 April 2008 at 3:35 pm

  13. Sounds like I should visit there. What type of camera did you use to take the photo of the Gray Jay flying?

    5 April 2008 at 5:47 pm

  14. NatureShutterbug

    What a great post (on a great site) – and very neat photos. Love the one of the cheese connoisseur. This certainly is a multi-dimensional site. Hope you guest post again, Marg.

    5 April 2008 at 10:33 pm

  15. @ Lisa – I never knew they were as close are they are! One day I must have to visit them!
    @ Samuel – you shouldn’t be that far away from there!! I think Marg is using the D70 or D70s (like my older camera)!
    @ NatureShutterbug – thanks and I was talking to marg today about the Cheese! Isn’t that funny?

    5 April 2008 at 11:08 pm

  16. I once got CLOSE to Algonquin Park, but my ex was too cheap to go all the way. I regret that to this day & feel I MUST correct that before I die…
    Lovely photos!

    6 April 2008 at 7:57 pm

  17. Marg

    back again as to Yurts-not cold! Some friends stayed in one in January and the first night they were too warm because they couldn’t figure out how to turn the heat down.

    Yes Samuel-a D70 like Mon@rch’s old one-I just caught up and he upped the ante ;D

    Natureshutterbug-they are quite the food gourmets!

    btw the Pine Grosbeak link didn’t work-here’s the right one (I hope)

    7 April 2008 at 7:37 pm

  18. I am going to an area where I will have a remote chance of seeing a Three-toed Woodpecker.-That would be a real treat! I’ve never seen or heard of a Pine Martin before-very interesting-thanks.

    8 April 2008 at 9:44 pm

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