“Bird Day” Weekend – Colonel Samuel Smith

Whimbrel Watch: Colonel Samuel Smith Park

As May 25th was the birthday of a dear family member we elected to celebrate a bird-day weekend!  On May 24th  we headed Colonel Sam for the whimbrel watch and spring bird festival.  We made three trips to whimbrel point.  On the second trip we were told we had missed three whimbrels. On our third and final pass we were fortunate to be present when a group of 16 black-bellied plovers, 1 ruddy turnstone and 1 dunlin flew by.  No further whimbrels were observed that day.

Black-Bellied Plovers and a Ruddy Turnstone at Colonel Sam Smith Park, Toronto, ON

Black-Bellied Plovers and a Ruddy Turnstone

Black-Bellied Plovers, Dunlin, Ruddy Turnstone at Colonel Sam Smith

Black-Bellied Plovers, Dunlin, Ruddy Turnstone

Much of our day was spent exploring the park.  While there were slim pickings in the warbler patch we did encounter a northern flicker, northern waterthrush and an alder flycatcher.

Northern Flicker at Colonel Sam Smith Park, Toronto, Ontario

Northern Flicker

Northern Waterthrush at Colonel Sam Smith Park, Toronto, Ontario

Northern Waterthrush

Alder Flycatcher at Colonel Sam Smith Park, Toronto, ON

Alder Flycatcher

This bobolink was quite the performer.

Bobolink (Male) at Colonel Sam Smith Park, Toronto, Ontario

Bobolink (Male)

These were our surprise finds.

Orchard Oriole at Colonel Sam Smith Park, Toronto, Ontario

Orchard Oriole

Northern Rough-Winged Swallow at Colonel Sam Smith Park, Toronto, Ontario

Northern Rough-Winged Swallow

Tree swallows were the adorable species of the day.

Tree Swallow in nest box at Colonel Samuel Smith Park, Toronto, ON

Tree Swallow

Tree Swallow in nest box at Colonel Sam Smith Park, Toronto, ON

Tree Swallow

Do not try to photograph swallows in flight without a tripod if you are prone to dizziness, vertigo, etc.  Good grief!
At the marina, patience netted a still photograph of this barn swallow.

Barn Swallow at Colonel Sam Smith Park, Toronto, ON

Barn Swallow

No visit to Colonel Sam would be complete without photographing the red-necked grebes.  I understand the marina is charged with the placement of buoys thus alerting boaters and other watercraft users to the presence of nests.

Red-Necked Grebe on nest at Colonel Sam Smith Park, Toronto, ON

Red-Necked Grebe

As we journeyed along a foot path we noted two grebes close to the shore.

Red-Necked Grebe close-up Colonel Sam Smith Park, Toronto, ON

Red-Necked Grebe

Red-Necked Grebe close-up Colonel Sam Smith Park, Toronto, ON

Red-Necked Grebe

Red-Necked Grebe approaching nest Colonel Sam Smith Park, Toronto, Ontario

Red-Necked Grebe

I heard voices up ahead.  Lo, there was a nest about three feet from the shore.  We came upon a party of about six individuals.  A birder expressed alarm that the area was not cordoned off given that (1) an unleashed dog or an overenthusiastic observer could easily up-end the nest and (2) the longer we all stood nearby the greater the risk that a seagull or other predator could snap up the egg.  Hopefully the powers that be will remedy the situation.

Red-Necked Grebe Egg at Colonel Sam Smith Park, Toronto, ON

Red-Necked Grebe Egg

RBG Arboretum

Our last trip of the weekend was a visit to the arboretum at Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington to participate in the Biodiversity Celebration, particularly the bird banding demonstration. The birthday birder not had opportunity to release a catbird into the wild, she spotted this great-crested flycatcher.

Great-Crested Flycatcher at Colonel Sam Smith Park, Toronto, Ontario

Great-Crested Flycatcher

We didn’t linger too long because the heat was unbearable.  We later headed to Easterbrooks for caribou track ice cream.  Yummmmmmmmmmmmmm!

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