We thoroughly enjoyed my daughter’s second annual “bird-day” weekend. Last year we did the whimbrel watch at Colonel Samuel Smith Park followed by the diversity festival at RBG. We are making progress. Last year we watched for three hours and came up empty. This year the 50+ whimbrels were some distance away. I’m afraid the closest view we had of a whimbrel was:
In the hour that we stood watch, a pair of Bonaparte’s Gulls and Common Loons appeared.
We left for a walkabout. During that time we saw Black-crowned Night-herons, Red-necked Grebes, a Magnolia Warbler, numerous Baltimore Orioles, an Orchard Oriole, Warbling Vireos, a flycatcher, swallows and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers.
We stopped briefly at the raptor exhibit to photograph an American Kestrel and a Peregrine Falcon.
On our return to Whimbrel Point we learned no other whimbrels were seen in our absence. We therefore left for High Park.
Just past the restaurant at High Park, we heard the familiar song of the Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. In this instance a pair were at eye level collecting spider silk for their nests. It was quite a fascinating sight. Such industry from these tiny birds.
A few paces later we were in the midst of the bird sanctuary. It was remarkably quiet. I asked a nearby birder if the area was usually quiet in the summer months. He advised it was best to visit in the morning. As High Park is a huge multi-use property, I asked him where the best birding spots were located. Not only did he provide us with directions to the Duck Pond, he personally walked us over, advising us what to expect in the area (Wood Ducks, Belted Kingfishers, Mink and Great Egrets), showed us where he had seen a Great-Horned Owl’s nest and also provided some safety tips.
The Duck Pond is near the children’s playground area. We observed 10 Wood Ducks in the pond. If you want stellar photographs of co-operative Wood Ducks this is the place to be.
He hasn’t spotted an egret this year but the Belted Kingfisher made an appearance as did the mink.
He stayed with us for a while photographing the birds but he had to leave. We thanked him profusely for his kindness. We couldn’t hide our glee.
Hunger soon gnawing at us. We walked through the zoo as we headed to the restaurant. This turkey caught our attention.
After lunch we took a look into the Grenadier Pond then decided to take advantage of the Open Doors tour of Colborne Lodge. This is the 19th century home of John and Jemima Howard, the couple who founded High Park.
At the end of the day, my little gosling was tired.