Fort Erie, the Bur and the Hooked Grebe

Lasalle Marina, Burlington

Last Friday after work while taking a relaxing stroll along the water’s edge we noted an American Robin’s nest  situate near the boat launch area. Further along we got a good look at a Black-crowned Night Heron.

American Robin

American Robin

Black-crowned Night Heron

Black-crowned Night Heron

Heading back to the car I spotted the Horned Merganser I photographed weeks ago in the company of a female Mallard. Well, he is now associating with a male Mallard.

Male Mallard and Male Hooded Merganser

Male Mallard and Male Hooded Merganser

The Mallard headed to shore. The merganser followed suit, stopping at the beachhead for a good five minutes or so grooming itself. He then left his buddy for deeper waters.

Male Hooded Merganser

Male Hooded Merganser

Hooded Merganser on the shore

Hooded Merganser on the shore

Fort Erie, Niagara Falls
On Saturday we took briefly visited Fort Erie to practice photographing terns in flight.

Common Tern

Common Tern

It was rather challenging and I was happy to leave after spying two Great Egrets east of where we were standing.  We stopped at a parkette near Happy Jacks Restaurant (their spring rolls are to die for!).  The egret moved from the rocks to the branch of a tree.  Neither the egret or the cormorant were spooked by our presence.

Great Egret

Great Egret

Double-crested Cormorant and Great Egret

Double-crested Cormorant and Great Egret

As we were passing a beautiful parkette along the lakeshore I noted a Purple Martin house.  I’ve been trying forever to photograph this species. I’ve only ever encountered them in flight.

Purple Martin house - Fort Erie

Purple Martin house – Fort Erie

Purple Martins

Purple Martins

Purple Martin

Purple Martin

We wove our way along, pausing at points that interested us including the grounds of the Fort Erie Museum.  These lads were practicing maneuvers.

Re-enactment practice at Old Fort Erie

Re-enactment practice at Old Fort Erie

Old Fort Erie period costumes

Old Fort Erie period costumes

Ultimately we stopped for a spell at Waverley Beach. I quite like this quiet, historic spot.  I walked the trail hoping to encounter a red-headed woodpecker.  I struck out but was happy hear the red-eyed vireo.  Sadly, the neighbourhood is under pressure from developers.

Carp

Carp

American Robin with multiple insects

American Robin with multiple insects

Red-eyed Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo

Red-bellied Woodpecker with grub

Red-bellied Woodpecker with grub

We lunched in Vineland.  Yummmmm!

Barbequed pork sandwich at Grand Oak Culinary Market, Vineland

Barbequed pork sandwich at Grand Oak Culinary Market, Vineland

Bronte Marina, Oakville

Prior to heading out Saturday morning I read “2 men and a boy decided that fishing near a nest was a great idea. To our horror the mom grebe decided to leave the nest to her man and was hooked by a lure.” This was the pair I photographed in the rain last  Sunday. Wildlife authorities attended the scene but were unable to catch the grebe.
When we arrived at the marina around mid-afternoon an outdoor wedding was well underway. It was amusing to witness curious passersby making themselves comfortable on nearby benches to watch the exchange of vows in both the Hindu and Chinese traditions.

Ooooh, a wedding!

Ooooh, a wedding!

Bride and groom

Bride and groom

When we arrived at the nesting site fellow birders updated us on the grebe’s status. The grebe was observed earlier swimming and catching fish for her young but appeared weak. We noted, as did all present, its attempt to remove the hook from its neck.

Close up of the hook

Close up of the hook

We understood another attempt would be made by the wildlife authorities on Sunday. We all hoped for a positive outcome.

It was delightful to see the young. Dad was busy bringing fish for his offspring.

Dad bringing fish to young

Dad bringing fish to young

Dad feeding young

Dad feeding young

Thanks dad!

Thanks dad!

Three of the five eggs were predated, likely by gulls.  The young remain at risk of predation by gulls and large fish.

Later on we photographed Barn and Cliff Swallows at the marina.

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Cliff Swallow

Cliff Swallow

Hendrie Valley, Burlington

What joy it was to visit Hendrie on Sunday after a prolonged absence. Many of the birds were busy nesting and/or feeding their young. A nice find along the main boardwalk was a pair of House Wrens attending to their hatchlings. The young were out of sight but the parents were actively going to and fro.

House Wren

House Wren

House Wren with caterpillar

House Wren with caterpillar

We learned about the artist Charlie Harper via a mug purchased locally.  While perusing his website I found this. Pretty neat!

Rounding the bend as I headed to the east end of the park, I flushed a female Wood Duck and 14 wee ones! They quickly hid in the nearby lilypads.

Female Wood Duck with 14 ducklings

Female Wood Duck with 14 ducklings

There is still much to see at this bird-rich park. The guys at Grindstone Creek advised Saturday was a great day for all manner of raptors. I saw Turkey Vultures, Osprey, Great-blue Herons and a Black-crowned Night Heron but not the Green Heron I was after.

I did manage to photograph these beauties:

Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfisher

Muskrat

Muskrat

Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting

House Sparrow and fledgling

House Sparrow and fledgling

Trio of Goslings

Trio of Goslings

Eastern Kingbird

Eastern Kingbird

Updates:
⦁ Bronte Marina Grebe: The hook was removed from the grebe’s neck on Sunday by the Toronto Wildlife Centre personnel. Click to see a series of photographs.

⦁ Hanlan’s Point Island: The Piping Plovers are featured in Sunday’s Toronto Star:

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2 thoughts on “Fort Erie, the Bur and the Hooked Grebe

  1. So glad for the update on the state of the Grebe. I do hope this is a happy ending! I saw the wild life people trying to do something earlier and I’m glad this worked out finally.

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