Trip 2 to Toronto Islands + Colonel Sam + Hendrie + Lasalle Marina

Last Saturday morning got off to a good start. I arrived at the ferry docks with sufficient time to have a one-on-one session with the ticket machine. I noted it is a repurposed parking lot ticket machine. If you decide to venture over prior to the arrival of attendants have coins and/or a credit card in hand. It does not accept paper money.

Warblers were present on Ward’s Island but as I had been there earlier in the week, I deferred to the two birders scoping the patch. I walked along to an opening in the trees and spotted a great egret flying by.

Great Egret at the Toronto Islands, Toronto, ON

Great Egret

Two cats were hunting birds, near a bird feeder and latterly in a small tree.

Confounded cat at the Toronto Islands, Toronto, ON

Confounded cat

Again, a good number of blue jays were observed and heard all over the islands. The birders counted 192.

The senior’s centre was a hub of activity. Here I spotted a brown creeper. I always love encountering these little beauties. I could watch them for hours on end. If you’ve never seen one, in searching for insects the creeper starts at the bottom of the tree and creeps upward in a spiral manner around the tree all the way to the top.

Brown Creeper at the Toronto Islands, Toronto, ON

Brown Creeper

An ovenbird was also present. This bird was originally named the golden-crowned thrush. The name change is a descriptor of the bird’s ground nest, “a hole in the leaves, like a little oven”.

Ovenbird at the Toronto Islands, Toronto, ON

Ovenbird

In the distance was a  yellow-bellied sapsucker.

Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker at the Toronto Islands, Toronto, ON

Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

The species of the day was the northern flicker. In researching the species I learned that on September 6, 1927 the yellow-shafted variety was designated the Alabama state bird. The bird is known locally as the yellowhammer. During the Civil War new cavalry soldiers wearing bits of brilliant yellow cloth on the sleeves, collars and coat tails of their new uniforms were greeted as “yellerhammer, flicker, flicker” by their more seasoned peers. Later on they noted the black dots on the bird’s breast reminded them of bullet holes and the grey uniforms matched with the bird’s feathers.

Northern Flicker on the ground at the Toronto Islands, Toronto, ON

Northern Flicker


Early Sunday afternoon we headed to Colonel Sam Smith for a stroll. A small group of northern shovelers were present in the larger pond. I’ve only ever encountered this waterfowl at Lasalle Marina during the winter so it was delight to get some decent shots. With their present plumage they blended in with the mallards and the gadwalls. However, the distinctive bill sets them apart from the others.

Northern Shovelers at Colonel Sam Smith in Toronto, ON

Northern Shovelers

Just west of marina, we observed a peregrine falcon heading out in a westerly direction.

Juvenile Peregrine Falcon flying over the Toronto Islands, Toronto, ON

Juvenile Peregrine Falcon

I headed to Hendrie where I spent some time photographing cedar waxwings. This species were once considered agricultural pest. In 1908 fruit growers in Vermont lobbied to make it legal to shoot the waxwings given the damage large flocks did to crops. The senate rejected their arguments once specimens of the birds were brought in. The senate found cedar waxwings too beautiful to kill.


At Hendrie, a green heron, a spotted sandpiper, a great egret, two great blue herons, immature bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, American crows, a turkey vulture, a Caspian tern were present as were the resident black-capped chickadees, white-breasted nuthatches, northern cardinals, et al.

American Crow at Hendrie Park in Burlington, ON

American Crow


The juvenile wood ducks continue to thrive in the area of the foot bridge. They have lost a lot of their skittishness.

Wood Duck posing at Hendrie Park in Burlington, ON

Wood Duck


A beautifully plumed male wood duck was spotted yesterday.

Male Wood Duck at Hendrie Park in Burlington, ON

Male Wood Duck

From time to time over the past month or so it is not unusual to find this raccoon seeking handouts from visitors to the park. Sooooo incredibly cute.

Racoon

Racoon

A few male red-winged blackbirds continue on at the park. This species was also considered an agricultural pest to the point bounties were offered. In the spring of 1749 the number of red-winged blackbirds were dramatically reduced in New England. Peter Kalm reported, “an immense quantity of worms appeared on the meadows, which devoured the grass, and did great damage, so the people repented of their enmity against the corn thieves for they thought they had observed that those birds lived chiefly on such worms before the corn was ripe”.

Red-Winged Blackbird between stalks at Hendrie Park in Burlington, ON

Red-Winged Blackbird

At Lasalle Marina I found a gorgeous male northern pintail in the company of mallards.

Male Northern Pintail at Lasalle Park in Burlington, ON

Male Northern Pintail

Cooler temperatures compel me to knit. Last week I picked up Knits of a Feather by Celeste Young at my local Chapters.

knits of a feather by Celeste Young

Knitting book

Thereafter, a visit to my favourite yarn store, Romni Wools, on Queen Street West, Toronto, was in order. Here is the pattern I chose:

Birds on a wire knitting pattern from knits of a feather by Celeste Young

Birds on a wire knitting pattern

I think of it as art imitating life.

European Starlings on Wires, Burlington

European Starlings on Wires

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