From Egret to Eagle

On Friday morning, Colonel Sam Park was dark and dreary. Birds observed in the low light were mere silhouettes. Even the Toronto skyline was dull and uninteresting. Two hours later I exited stage left.

The above stands in stark contrast to my visit a fortnight earlier. The sun brought all and sundry forth.

On revisiting the great egret it was evident the bird had grown accustomed to pedestrian and cyclist traffic. Given the exhibited level of comfort, I sat on the rocks mere meters above. The egret did not flinch one bit but rather carried on with its preferred activity.

Great Egret at Colonel Samuel Smith Park in Toronto, ON

Great Egret

Great Egret catches fish at Colonel Samuel Smith Park in Toronto, ON

Great Egret catches fish

Great Egret with fish at Colonel Samuel Smith Park in Toronto, ON

Great Egret with fish

Nearby, these juvenile caspian terns waited to be fed.
Caspian Tern with fish

Caspian Tern feeding young at Colonel Samuel Smith Park in Toronto, ON

Caspian Tern feeding young

Caspian Tern feeding young at Colonel Samuel Smith Park in Toronto, Ontario

Caspian Tern feeding young

These juvenile red-necked grebes appeared to be grappling with the reality of their independence.

Juvenile Red-Necked Grebes at Colonel Samuel Smith Park in Toronto, ON

Juvenile Red-Necked Grebes

The parkland is a lush and overgrown natural habitat. Paved and gravel footpaths afford peeks at the following species:

Downy Woodpecker at Colonel Samuel Smith Park in Toronto, ON

Downy Woodpecker

American Goldfinch in thistle patch at Colonel Samuel Smith Park in Toronto, ON

American Goldfinch in thistle patch

In addition to the above, a belted kingfisher, eastern kingbirds, two ruby-throated hummingbirds, warbling vireos, baltimore orioles, a mix of swallows and all the other usual suspects were present. An American mink made a brief appearance. A tree bore evidence of beaver activity. This raccoon was fast asleep in a treetop.

Sleeping Raccoon at Colonel Samuel Smith Park in Toronto, ON

Sleeping Raccoon

While scores of double-crested cormorants made their way around whimbrel point heading in a westward direction, a few have made themselves comfortable in the marina area.

Double-Crested Cormorants at Colonel Samuel Smith Park in Toronto, ON

Double-Crested Cormorants

Next stop was the Tim Horton’s near the park entrance for a bite and to recharge the camera battery. Just outside is a Little Free Library similar to this one.

Little Free Library

Little Free Library

The idea is: if you have a book, leave a book. If you need a book, take a book. I happily deposited a photography book I had with me opting for “Readings from Classical Rhetoric”. Flipping through the pages I noted the previous reader underlined, “…for just as different drugs dispell different fluids from the body, and some bring an end to disease but others end life, so also some speeches cause pain, some pleasure, some fear; some instill courage, some drug and bewitch the soul with a kind of evil persuasion.” The above was written by Gorgias (ca. 480-375 B.C.)

Suitably refreshed I headed back out to explore the east end of the park. A path led into a neighbourhood where this cat lounged atop a fence.

Neighbourhood Cat at Colonel Samuel Smith Park in Toronto, ON

Neighbourhood Cat

The day was wrapped up with a short visit to Lasalle Marina. My trek to a favourite lookout point was slowed by the presence of a number of individuals actively engaged in animated conversation. Finally, when I arrived at a clearing along the path all was revealed. The yacht was breathtaking to behold in such close proximity. I kid you not, four separate individuals, at different points along the path stopped me to provide information about the boat’s cost, its amenities and owner. If you are remotely curious, click here.

Luxury Yacht at Lasalle Park in Burlington, ON

Luxury Yacht

The exclamation point to the day of birding was observed mid-conversation!!!!!!!!

Bald Eagle flying at Lasalle Park in Burlington, ON

Bald Eagle in flight

Bald Eagle in flight at Lasalle Park in Burlington, ON

Bald Eagle in flight

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