Colonel Samuel Smith Park + High Park + Humber Bay Park East

I intentionally haven’t visited Colonel Samuel Smith Park for a while because I got fed up of the number of off-leash dogs and, even worse, there is dog feces everywhere, on and off the trails. Hard to maintain watch for birds or enjoy the walk when you’re forced to remain hypervigilant for both the dogs and their droppings. I pity the City staff charged with cleaning up the mess.  Anyway, the visit was fruitful despite the drizzle, overcast sky and dog droppings.  Male Red-winged Blackbirds and American Robins have arrived and are calling from every quarter. I caught this American Robin taking a bath.

I ran into a genteel birder I met last year. He’s been birding at Colonel Sam for 20+ years.  Am so glad he has taken me into his confidence.  When he said, “Come, I’ve got something to show you”, I followed.  Folks, he led me right to the Snowy Owl!

Snowy Owl on ice at Colonel Sam Smith Park in Toronto, ON

Snowy owl

Snowy Owl resting on ice at Colonel Sam Smith Park in Toronto, ON

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl at Colonel Sam Smith Park in Toronto, ON

Snowy Owl

In addition to the above, I saw two Mink, American Black Ducks, a Red-necked Grebe, and other waterfowl.

American Mink on ice at Colonel sam Smith Park in Toronto, ON

American Mink

American Black Duck at Colonel Sam Smith Park in Toronto, ON

American Black Duck

American Black Duck preening at Colonel Sam Smith Park in Toronto, ON

American Black Duck preening

Red-necked Grebe in March at Colonel Sam Smith Park in Toronto, ON

Red-necked Grebe

Another birder was looking for Killdeer.  I heard it flying over about an hour later but couldn’t see it due to the fog.

If it interests you, a bird walk will be held at Colonel Samuel Smith Park on Saturday, March 21, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m.  This is an excellent opportunity to familiarize yourself with the park. Click here for the upcoming bird walk dates and reports of recent trips.

Next stop was High Park.  After lunching at the Grenadier Cafe we headed to the bird sanctuary.  We could hear the Evening Grosbeaks before we rounded the bend.  Four grosbeaks appeared.  Always a joy to see and hear these birds.

Evening Grosbeak eating at High Park in Toronto, ON

Evening Grosbeak

Evening Grosbeak eating sunflower seed at High Park in Toronto, ON

Evening Grosbeak eating sunflower seed

On our way out we saw our first chipmunk of the season.

Eastern Chipmunk at High Park in Toronto, ON

Eastern Chipmunk

We also noticed this recently posted cartoon.

Newly posted cartoon at Bird Sanctuary at Colonel sam Smith Park in Toronto, ON

Newly posted cartoon at Bird Sanctuary

Our final stop was Humber Bay Park East. This was our first trip to this park.  When we arrived early in the afternoon it was foggy and heavily overcast.

Foggy and icy Lake Ontario at Humber Bay Park East in Toronto, ON

Foggy and icy Lake Ontario

Walker in the fog at Humber Bay Park East in Toronto, ON

Walker in the fog

The above photographs were taken by my travelling companion.

Suddenly and without warning the fog dissipated. By then we hit a bird-rich patch near a foot bridge.  Here we had great views of a Red-Winged Blackbird, American Tree Sparrow, European Starling, and Red-Breasted Nuthatch.

Red-Winged Blackbird at Humber Bay Park East in Toronto, ON

Red-Winged Blackbird

American Tree Sparrow at Humber Bay Park East in Toronto, ON

American Tree Sparrow

Red-breasted Nuthatch at Humber Bay Park East in Toronto, ON

Red-breasted Nuthatch

As we pressed on westward we encountered the Air India Flight 182 Memorial.

Excerpt from Air India Flight 182 Memorial at Humber Bay Park East in Toronto, ON

Excerpt from Air India Flight 182 Memorial

Air India Flight 182 Memorial at Humber Bay Park East in Toronto, ON

Air India Flight 182 Memorial

Heading further west we found a lovely mix of waterfowl.  It was here we met a birder on the hunt for Green-winged Teal. We didn’t find it but we were treated to the sight of a pair of Gadwall.

Gadwall couple at Humber Bay Park East in Toronto, ON

Gadwall couple

We had excellent looks at Buffleheads, Mallards, Greater Scaups and a Red-Breasted Merganser.

Female Bufflehead at Humber Bay Park East in Toronto, ON

Female Bufflehead

Male Bufflehead at Humber Bay Park East in Toronto, ONv

Male Bufflehead

Female Mallard at Humber Bay Park East in Toronto, ON

Female Mallard

Greater Scaup catches a crayfish at Humber Bay Park East in Toronto, ON

Caught a crayfish

Male Greater Scaup at Humber Bay Park East in Toronto, ON

Greater Scaup

Red-breasted Merganser at Humber Bay Park East in Toronto, ONRed-breasted Nuthatch at Humber Bay Park East in Toronto, ON

Red-breasted Merganser

Red-breasted Merganser pre-dive at Humber Bay Park East in Toronto, ON

Red-breasted Merganser pre-dive

Red-breasted Merganser diving at Humber Bay Park East in Toronto, ON

Red-breasted Merganser diving

All in all, we had a fab day.  Soooooo glad we didn’t allow the weather to deter us.  The walks weren’t onerous.  We thoroughly enjoyed our first visit to Humber Bay East.  We’ll definitely return to explore further.

Lastly, feel free to mark your calendars and take advantage of the bird walks offered by the Toronto Ornithological Club.  Please click here for a list of outings.

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