Colonel Samuel Smith Park: Grebes

Hendrie Park

Saturday morning started with a nip into Hendrie Park where the following announced spring’s approach:

I was introduced to Rightie this morning!  Look closely and you will see the right leg is missing.  I’ve been told of two other chickadees at the park nicknamed Leftie and Stumpie.

black capped chickadee

Black capped chickadee

Colonel Samuel Smith Park was our park of the day.

According to the park’s website Sam Smith is the number 3 bird hotspot in Toronto.

Sam Smith Park is the #3 Bird Hotspot in Toronto eBird, an on-line bird records database recently developed a “Hotspot” tool that, among other things, summarizes data from locations known to be good places to find birds: hotspots. According to this database, 237 different species of bird have been recorded in the park. That is a testament to diversity and quality of the habitats found at this city park. From the eBird database, here’s a list of the top ten Toronto hotspots (in terms of number of species) as of December 2, 2013.

Rank

Location

Species

1

Toronto Islands

268

2

Tommy Thompson Park

261

3

Colonel Samuel Smith Park

237

Here are two views of the Snowy Owl.  It was impossible to get closer. We chanced upon a birder who kindly showed us the owl’s favourite roosting spots.

snowy owl

snowy owl

snowy owl

snowy owl

Here are a pair of gorgeous red-necked grebes enjoying the open water and each other’s company.

Red-necked Grebe

Red-necked Grebe

Click to view at a larger size.

I am of the belief that we shouldn’t sanitize a public park too much such that we are robbed of educational moments.  See below.  We stood discussing the possible identity of the predator, noting the orderliness of the kill, etc.

half eaten greater/lesser scaup

Greater/lesser scaup

We watched the somewhat comical mating dance of the red-breasted merganser.  He cut quite the dashing figure and certainly captured our attention and admiration.

Click to view at a larger size.

The gadwall is lovely to behold.

Gadwall (Male)

Gadwall (Male)

If you have the opportunity to visit Colonel Samuel Park, please do.  It is vast, pet-friendly and the views it offers of the city are quite spectacular.

CN Tower Toronto Skyline

Toronto Skyline

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