Warblers, Long-Tailed Ducks, Distant Snowy Owls and a Coyote

Having a smashing time photographing birds over the Christmas holidays. ‘Tis totally awesome to be unfettered by schedule and obligations.

First stop is Sedgewick Park in Oakville.  This is a sad story.  The warblers here will perish due to failure to migrate. Due to the presence of a treatment plant, the area is a few degrees warmer than elsewhere thus affording midges and their kin to thrive.

Female orange-crowned warbler at Sedgewick Park in Oakville, Ontario

Female orange-crowned warbler

Male Wilson's warbler eating at Sedgewick Park in Oakville, ON

Wilson’s warbler

There were a number of house finches at the park.

Three male and one female house finch at Sedgewick Park, Oakville

Three male and one female house finch

I visited Ward’s Island in search of a white-eyed vireo.  Came up empty but while waiting for the ferry, the long-tailed ducks came by to offer comfort.

Female long-tailed duck, Ward's Island Dock, Toronto

Female long-tailed duck

Male long-tailed duck at Ward's Island dock, Toronto

Male long-tailed duck

There are a great multitude of long-tailed ducks at the Lift Bridge area in Burlington.  Many of our local photographers spend their time here taking flight shots. The comraderie is wonderful.

Male long-tailed duck in flight at Lift Bridge, Burlington, Ontario

Male long-tailed duck in flight

Female and male long-tailed duck at Lift Bridge, Burlington, Ontario

Female and male long-tailed ducks

Female long-tailed duck at Lift Bridge, Burlington, Ontario

Female long-tailed duck

A gorgeous male red-breasted merganser was amid the throng.

Male red-breasted merganser and female long-tailed duck at Lift Bridge, Burlington, Ontario

Male red-breasted merganser and female long-tailed duck

On the opposite side of the bridge what I initially thought was a mourning dove was actually an American kestrel.

American kestrel at Lift Bridge, Burlington, Ontario

American kestrel

On the beach was a great black-backed gull, the largest North American gull. The photograph demonstrates the size difference.  At Spencer Smith I noticed the waterfowl departed when this gull arrived.  I only recently learned that this gull will eat seabirds and waterfowl.

Ring-billed gull vs. Great black-backed gull size comparison, near Spencer Smith Park, Burlington

Ring-billed gull vs. Great black-backed gull size comparison

Three snowy owls have been recently reported at Bronte Harbour, in Oakville. I found one and a common merganser.

Yesterday evening we stopped in at Colonel Samuel Smith Park in Etobicoke to view the snowy owl.  We were at the main pond when we noticed a coyote walking from the island to the mainland and later noticed a juvenile night heron readying for the evening’s hunt. A female hooded merganser was also here.

Coyote at Col Sam Smith Park in Toronto, ON

Coyote

Coyote crossing the pond at Col Sam Smith Park in Toronto, ON

Coyote

Female hooded merganser at Col Sam Smith Park in Toronto, Ontario

Female hooded merganser

The snowy owl was indeed at the marina.  We watched as it was harassed by a ring-billed gull.

I’ll report on my trips to Hendrie and LaSalle next time.  In the interim, I’ll share what I’ve learned from photographers.  If you’re interested in snowy owls, there are two in the vicinity of the new hospital in St. Catharines.  I’ve been told Holland Marsh and Pearson Airport are also good locations.  I already told you about Bronte.  Last weekend a photographer captured a peregrine falcon vs. snowy owl encounter at the beach near the Lift Bridge.

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