Birding at CCIW, Tommy Thompson Park, Lasalle Marina

 

My feet hurt.  Last Sunday my destination was a well placed picnic bench.

Picnic bench

Picnic bench

From here I could comfortably observe the Double-crested Cormorants and Caspian Terns on the colonies at the northeast shoreline of the Canadian Centre for Inland Waters.

Nest building Double-crested Cormorants

Nest building Double-crested Cormorants

Ground nesting Double Crested Cormorants

Ground nesting Double-crested Cormorants

Heading to nest under construction

Heading to nest under construction

Truthfully, I was hoping to get some in flight photographs of the Caspian Terns but they weren’t budging. They were otherwise quite animated.

Caspian Terns fighting for fish

Caspian Terns fighting for fish

Two Caspian Terns

Two Caspian Terns

On the return journey to the parking lot I accidentally flushed three Black-crowned Night-herons. Once they returned to the tree two of the three resumed their watch.

Two Black-crowned Night-herons

Two Black-crowned Night-herons

Pressing forward I stopped at the shore to take a closer look at the trees on the islands. Lo and behold there were at least 25 herons roosting in the trees.  Here are the two larger groups.

Eight Black-crowned Night-herons

Eight Black-crowned Night-herons

Six Black-crowned Night-herons

Six Black-crowned Night-herons

This sign is self-explanatory.

CCIW sign

CCIW sign

Heading back along the beach strip this Northern Flicker’s foraging on a front lawn caught my attention.

Northern Flicker on front lawn

Northern Flicker on front lawn

Northern Flicker foraging for ants on front lawn

Northern Flicker foraging for ants on front lawn

At 8:00 a.m. on April 25th I joined approximately 40 participants on the Leslie Street Spit/Tommy Thompson Park spring bird walk. The walk, sponsored by the Toronto Ornithological Club, was led by members of the Friends of the Leslie Spit.  All levels and ages of birders were represented.  FYI, a total of 316 bird species have been recorded at Tommy Thompson Park/Leslie Street Spit. It is not only Toronto’s number one birding location, it is car and pet free.

As at 2:30 p.m. 66 species were observed. While the opportunity for photographs wasn’t optimal, familiarizing myself with the parks’ hot spots including the area known as the Wet Woods was true goal.  New species for me were the Rusty Blackbird, Common Raven, Great Horned Owl, Iceland Gull and Blue-winged Teal. Here are some of the beauties we found:

Garter snake

Garter snake

Cooper's Hawk

Cooper’s Hawk

Melanistic (black) garter snake

Melanistic (black) garter snake

Rusty Blackbird

Rusty Blackbird

Canvasbacks

Canvasbacks

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Killdeers mating

Killdeers mating

Killdeer in flight

Killdeer in flight

Some disappointing news put me in a bit of a bad mood on Sunday. I actually gave thought to returning home but I soldiered on to Lasalle.   So glad I did. The resident Carolina Wren posed for three of us for about five minutes.

Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren

The star of the day was a male Hooded Merganser. His proximity to the shore captured our attention. Usually, these are skittish birds. After a short while it became clear that this gorgeous merganser was smitten by a female Mallard. He followed her everywhere, stood guard and when necessary sent the male Mallard packing. It was quite the hilarious sight.

Male Hooded Merganser

Male Hooded Merganser

Object of  Hooded Merganser's affection

Object of Hooded Merganser’s affection

Male Hooded Merganser chasing male Mallard

Male Hooded Merganser chasing male Mallard

The merganser is guarding the mallard (she is somewhat hidden on right).

The merganser is guarding the mallard (she is somewhat hidden on right).

Male Hooded Merganser chasing off Male Mallard

Male Hooded Merganser chasing off Male Mallard

Utterly smitten Hooded Merganser

Utterly smitten Hooded Merganser

Er...maybe a bit crazed looking here

Er…maybe a bit crazed looking here

Birding can indeed lift your mood!

 

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