Colonel Sam + Marlies Game

I had not planned on another trip to Colonel Sam so soon but as I had been invited to a Toronto Marlies afternoon game, I felt it best to maximize my morning at the park given its proximity to the Ricoh Centre.

Shortly after arriving at the park some time after 8:00 a.m. I chanced upon a black-crowned night-heron patiently yet elegantly seeking breakfast.

Black-Crowned Night-Heron at Colonel Samuel Smith Park, Toronto, Ontario

I think I see something!

Black-Crowned Night-Heron at Colonel Samuel Smith Park, Toronto, ON

Black-Crowned Night-Heron anticipating a meal

Black-Crowned Night-Heron fishing at Colonel Samuel Smith Park, Toronto, ON

Black-Crowned Night-Heron peering intently into the water

As I walked past whimbrel point I noticed movement in my peripheral vision. I turned and caught sight of a flock of birds flying back and forth around the point. I ran up to investigate. I took a few pictures of the birds in flight.

Dunlin flock at Colonel Samuel Smith Park, Toronto, Ontario

Dunlin looking for a spot to rest

Dunlin flying at Colonel Samuel Smith Park, Toronto, Ontario

Dunlin in Flight

A passing experienced birder told me that the birds would not land until I sat or went low to the ground. Once I did, joy beyond compare, all 20+ dunlin landed on the rocks right in front of me! I thanked my fellow birder most profusely for his advice.

Dunlin at Colonel Samuel Smith Park, Toronto, Ontario

Dunlin

Dunlin at Colonel Samuel Smith Park, Toronto, ON

Dunlin

The park is dotted with interpretive signs. One such sign reads, in part, “The northern mockingbird’s scientific name means “many tongued mimic” from its ability to imitate other sounds.  It is a very territorial bird and has been known to attack its own reflection.”  Wouldn’t you know it, I encountered a northern mockingbird. I stood afar and took a couple shots, then neared slowly to get closer shots. I stood a good distance away when suddenly and without warning the mockingbird assumed full control of our encounter. As I stood the bird hopped closer to me, then flew up to the fence, hopped closer to me, then back to the fence…all I could think was WWMD (what would mummy do) if the bird got any closer?

Northern Mockingbird at Colonel Samuel Smith Park, Toronto, ON

Northern Mockingbird

Northern Mockingbird at Colonel Samuel Smith Park, Toronto, Ontario

Northern Mockingbird

Northern Mockingbird Wing Flashing at Colonel Samuel Smith Park, Toronto

Northern Mockingbird Wing Flashing

After checking my field guide I learned that northern mockingbirds wing flash to distract predators.

Next, I checked in on the nesting pair of red-necked grebes near the water’s edge.

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

Red-Necked Grebe on nest

I wasn’t a few hundred feet away from the nest when I heard a commotion. Two of four off-leash dogs ran into the water to chase the grebe causing the bird to abandon the nest. I took a quick peek and was comforted by the sight of two eggs. In discussing the situation later, the consensus of local birders is that the pair will lose their eggs.

Red-Necked Grebe Eggs at Colonel Samuel Smith Park, Toronto, ON

Unattended Red-Necked Grebe Eggs

On a happier note, there is a family of six red-necked grebes near the marina!

Red-Necked Grebes and 2-Day Old Chicks at Colonel Samuel Smith Park, Toronto, ON

Red-Necked Grebes and 2-day old chicks

Red-Necked Grebes and 2-Day Old Chicks at Colonel Samuel Smith Park, Toronto, Ontario

Red-Necked Grebes and 2-day old chicks

Red-Necked Grebes and Chicks at Colonel Samuel Smith Park, Toronto, ON

Red-Necked Grebes and 2-day old chicks

Lastly, here are a few photographs I took at the June 1, 2014 Toronto Marlies vs. Texas Stars game. The Marlies lost 2-1 but it was a good game.

Marlies vs. Texas Stars Hockey Game at the Ricoh Centre

Snowing goalie = 2 minute penalty!

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