Saturday’s forecast served to thwart our planned trip to Colonel Samuel Smith and Humber Bay Parks. My first thought was a trip to Bird Kingdom in Niagara Falls or the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. Bird Kingdom is a fabulous attraction. We’ve been twice. The birds fly free and there is ample opportunity for the “thrill of the hunt”. Click here for more information.
We opted for the ROM to view the Biodiversity and Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibits. Our journey by GO Train was uneventful. On arriving in Toronto we learned there was no subway service between Union and St. Andrew Stations. We were happy to walk the warm underground path to St. Andrew where we boarded a train for Museum Station. We arrived at the ROM shortly after it opened at 10:00 a.m. I always find early mornings makes for more pleasant visits. We made a bee-line to the 2nd floor. Unlike the Museum of Natural History in New York, the ROM’s layout does not really afford the opportunity to take decent pictures. We did photograph a passenger pigeon. The last living passenger pigeon died at the Cincinnati Zoo on September 1, 1914.
There were a number of educational displays including that of a backyard feeder. It was here we learned about the 18th annual great backyard bird count. The count will take place from February 13 to 16, 2015. Please click here for more information.
After looking the second floor we headed to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit. There is a no photography policy in effect. I can tell you Canadians, Jess Findlay and Nick Hawkins, were Earth’s Diversity, Birds, category finalists! While the photographs are viewable here it is an infinitely better experience to appreciate the true quality of the work in person.
We left the museum at about 2:00 p.m. We wrapped up the day watching another set of “birds” – the Baltimore Ravens vs. New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks vs. Carolina Panthers! Sorry Ravens. Go Seahawks!
Sunday was much balmier. I visited LaSalle Marina, in Burlington. To my surprise, much of the bay was frozen. A good mix of waterfowl were in an area just west of the parking lot. The group consisted of trumpeter swans, mallards, ring-billed gulls, American black ducks, American coots, Canada goose, greater and lesser scaup, buffleheads, a pair of hooded mergansers, canvasbacks, a common merganser and a gadwall.
On the land, there were black-capped chickadees, dark-eyed juncos, Northern cardinals, downy woodpeckers, white-breasted nuthatches, a group of about 20 pine siskins high in a tree, house sparrows, a song sparrow, two golden-crowned kinglets, and one red-breasted nuthatch and a hungry Carolina wren. The winter wren did not take too kindly to me. As I made my way along the boardwalk the bird flew out from underneath it to a nearby log. It sat there scolding me for some time. When a dog walker and his charge passed by the wren flew to more distant log. From there, the bird continued to express its displeasure with me. Cheeky devil!
Feeding the trumpeter swans always draws a crowd.
The day was ended by watching Life Story on CBC. Horrors to Betsy, have you seen the bit about the Barnacle gosling? This is not for the weak of heart.