I’ve been happily wandering lately, focusing primarily on waterfowl. Below is a brief synopsis of the various stops.
Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlington
As the birds of Hendrie Valley were understandably more interested in each other than in their visitors, I walked over to the RBG to view the amphibian exhibit followed by a walk on the grounds. Whilst poking about a Turkey Vulture and two Bald Eagles flew over.
Van Wagners Pond and Confederation Park, Hamilton
A surprise find at Van Wagners’ Pond was a solitary Red-necked Grebe. Song Sparrows were plentiful at Confederation Park. One Killdeer was present on the south side of Hutch’s Restaurant and another five on the grounds of the go cart track.
Burlington Lift Bridge Canal
A lovely Horned Grebe kept us entertained. The Peregrine Falcons did not come out to play.
Canadian Centre for Inland Waters, Burlington
Well, I had always known this as CCIW but I have now learned the proper name is Fish & Wildlife Habitat Islands & Footpath. Ring-necked Gulls are the dominant species on the Islands. They will soon be displaced by an increasing number of Double-crested Cormorants. Can’t wait for the return of the Black-Crowned Night-Herons, Caspian and Common Terns.
Ward’s Island, Toronto
Having taken Thursday off work to “run errands” a trip to Ward’s Island was in order. I had an hour or so to walk around the harbour. I was delighted to find a small pocket of Golden-crowned Kinglets and a pair of American Coots. Long-tailed ducks outnumbered all other species. Scaups, Red-necked Mergansers, a Horned Grebe, and Common Goldeneyes were also present.
Bronte Harbour, Oakville
Saturday’s trip to Bronte Harbour was a bid to check if the Snowy Owl was present. A local birder suggested it may have been resting at the Suncor Pier. Highlights were Barn and Tree Swallows, Red-necked Grebes, Redhead ducks, Horned Grebes and a Common Loon.
Shoreacres Park, Burlington
The next stop, Shoreacres Park, was pretty quiet. We saw but were not quick enough to photograph a Carolina Wren and a White-throated Sparrow. We heard and then peered into the pines to photograph this Brown-headed Cowbird.
Tollgate Ponds, Hamilton
Word has spread about the arrival of a rare Neotropic Cormorant. Many birders were present along the stretch and more were added to our numbers in search for the bird. The bird had been seen earlier in the morning. By the time we left it had yet to be spotted among the throng of Double-crested Cormorants. All was not lost as we did enjoy the company of the Double-crested Cormorants, Ring-billed Gulls, a Horned Grebe and a Groundhog.
Windermere Basin, Hamilton
Four birders headed over to Windermere Basin to check for the Neotropic Cormorant. It wasn’t spotted here either. There were, however, a few waterfowl but they were extremely skittish. A distant photograph showed the group included Northern Shovelers, Gadwalls, Scaups and Ruddy Ducks. On land, we were treated to aerial displays by European Starlings. A Killdeer in the field also caught our attention.
LaSalle Marina, Burlington
Finally the ice has disappeared. There were at least 10 birders present, one working with a 2,400 mm lens! The mix of waterfowl included Trumpeter Swans, Horned Grebes, Scaups, White-winged Scoters, Redhead ducks, American Black Ducks, Common Mergansers, American Coots, etc. The four Horned Grebes diving along the parking lot edge and the Red-breasted Mergansers’ mating ritual captured our attention.
Today the ease of photographing this Golden-crowned Kinglet increased my joy.
And, finally, today a fellow birder provided me with his recipe for homemade beef jerky. The marinade (powdered garlic, onion powder, paprika, brown sugar, liquid smoke, salt, pepper, Worcestershire and soy sauce) sounded good. Quite honestly the look of beef jerky reminds me of mummified body parts. He did show me fabulous photographs he took of Great Horned, Short-eared and Snowy Owls.
Sure was nice to be out and about and I’m thrilled to bits that the ice has left Lasalle Marina. The birds there have had a rather taxing winter.