Surveying the Mixed Forests

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Eastern White Pines

This past week I finished up the remaining point count routes, which included a route through coastal mixed forests along the extreme eastern edge of Frontenac Provincial Park. I accessed the habitat via a lengthy stretch of the Cataraqui Trail. Weather was perfect for surveying and it was fabulous to get and see this area of the park. Dominant species encountered during the morning were Yellow-rumped Warbler, Pine Warbler, Chipping Sparrow, Black-and-white Warbler and Red-eyed Vireo with a few “goodies” mixed in here and there.

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Atop a ridge looking to Buck Lake

The survey route passed through a wide variety of habitats but the main target was mature mixed forest occurring along shorelines of large lakes in the area. Most lakes around here are steep in slope along the perimeter and lined with a high percentage of Eastern White Pine and Eastern White Cedar but I wanted a route that could be accessed relatively easily on foot.

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Waterfall near Slide Lake

I was impressed with the high number of clear, gravel bottomed, moving streams in this area of the park. Since early June I’ve been logging locations of suitable stream habitat for breeding Louisiana Waterthrushes with the intention of returning in May, 2009 to inventory populations of this species in Frontenac Park. This particular stream was quite a torrent along its length, ending with a flourishing waterfall as it emptied into South Bay of Buck Lake.

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Prairie Warbler habitat

The most significant finding of the morning was of a small colony of Prairie Warblers along the sloped and scrub-bearing banks of Slide Lake!

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Prairie Warbler habitat

This is fairly typical habitat for this rare warbler in Ontario-rocky shorelines of lakes with a large component of successional scrub habitat.

I recorded this video with my ancient Canon A70 point and shoot camera to try and capture some audio of the singing males. A male flew into the small tree directly behind where I sat for a break at the end of the day and sang repeatedly at close range. I wish I’d had my HD camera as this particular male remained very close for about 10-20 minutes.

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3 thoughts on “Surveying the Mixed Forests

  1. The song is clear enough to recognize on another hearing. Thanks for posting it.
    What a fabulous area to roam around in. Very nice that it is a park!

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