Second Annual ‘Bird-day’

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:

Whimbrel stuffed toy

Whimbrel stuffed toy

In the hour that we stood watch, a pair of Bonaparte’s Gulls and Common Loons appeared.

Pair of Common Loons

Pair of Common Loons

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.

Magnolia Warbler

Magnolia Warbler

Black-crowned Night-heron in flight

Black-crowned Night-heron in flight

Black-Crowned Night-Heron

Black-Crowned Night-Heron

Black-crowned Night Heron

Black-crowned Night Heron

Red-necked Grebe on nest

Red-necked Grebe on nest

We stopped briefly at the raptor exhibit to photograph an American Kestrel and a Peregrine Falcon.

American Kestrel (captive)

American Kestrel (captive)

Peregrine Falcon (captive)

Peregrine Falcon (captive)

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.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher nicking spider silk

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher nicking spider silk

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher collecting spider silk

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher collecting spider silk

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher about to collect spider silk

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher about to collect spider silk

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.

Male Wood Duck's gorgeous eyes

Male Wood Duck’s gorgeous eyes

Male Wood Duck

Male Wood Duck

Male Wood Duck removing excess water

Male Wood Duck removing excess water

Male Wood Duck emerging from dive

Male Wood Duck emerging from dive

Female Wood Duck

Female Wood Duck

Female Wood Duck side profile

Female Wood Duck side profile

He hasn’t spotted an egret this year but the Belted Kingfisher made an appearance as did the mink.

Male Belted Kingfisher

Male Belted Kingfisher

Mink with fish

Mink with fish

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.

Turkey at the zoo

Turkey at the zoo

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.

1800's portrait

John Howard

Art

Art work

Bedroom No. 1

Bedroom No. 1

Cherry pit extruder

Cherry pit extruder

Child's bedroom

Child’s bedroom

How apt - Illustrated Natural History by J. G. Woods

How apt – Illustrated Natural History by J. G. Woods

Oldest toilet in Toronto

Oldest toilet in Toronto

At the end of the day, my little gosling was tired.

Gosling resting tired feet

Gosling resting tired feet

 

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