Friday, August 7, 2015 found me peeved and frustrated (understatement of the year) at Metrolinx given their plan to close the Bay Street concourse for TWO years, thus adding extra time and stress to commuters.
I find a good long walk re-sets my mood. With bridge camera in hand I headed to Hanlan’s Point Beach in Toronto to check for shorebirds. Could not have asked for a more fabulous morning. While waiting for the ferry a sane, middle-aged, sun-loving gent (it was obvious he enjoyed extended stays at the clothing optional beach) was singing, “You are my sunshine”. I could help but smile.
On the beach there were about 10 Least Sandpipers, 2 Killdeer and 1 Spotted Sandpiper.
After returning to land I lunched at Brookfield Place and viewed their photography exhibit.
I then walked through of Union Station, identifying the most “efficient” paths for my arrivals and departures. Having some time to kill prior to boarding my train I photographed my surroundings.
Next stop was the parking lot of CCIW. The previous Saturday I spotted an unusually high number of Killdeer in the parking lot. I swooped in to find nine resting near the water’s edge.
Still restless, I headed over to Van Wagners Beach with the ultimate goal of visiting a pond at Confederation Park to look for Wood Ducks. At Van Wagners I checked in on the mockingbirds. Their nest was empty. I have yet to see the juveniles.
Cedar Waxwings were actively feeding at the edge of the beach trail. As I turned into the entrance way to the pond I was delighted to find Baltimore Orioles, Northern Cardinals and Eastern Kingbirds.
The Wood Ducks in this pond are uber skittish. Stealth mode is mandatory. Fortunately, four were present some distance from the east side of the bridge.
Kingbirds and waxwings were skimming the water and landing on a fallen tree. Imagining this was ideal for uncluttered photographs I walked slowly and quietly to that area of the pond. Their activity was not curtailed by my presence.
As I turned to leave I spotted a night-heron on the opposite bank. As it looked rather odd I took a few photographs and left. I struggled with IDing the heron. I suspected it was a juvenile yellow-crowned but the pictures I saw online and in my guides were not identical to what I saw in terms of leg and eye colour but the thick beak was a constant. Late at night, an American member of an ID group confirmed my suspicions. Still racked with doubt I e-mailed a photograph to the Hamilton Naturalist Club early Saturday morning. The bird was ultimately confirmed to be a Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron, a rare visitor!