Colonel Sam, Humber Bay East + Burlington

December 19, 2015

Colonel Samuel Smith Park, Etobicoke

The morning was cool, very overcast and windy.  Did my heart good to see evidence of winter’s approach.

Ice formation

Ice formation

After searching in vain for the Snowy Owl and Harlequin Duck reported during the week I spent some time with American Wigeons.

American Wigeons (2 males and 2 females) foraging with Mallards

American Wigeons (2 male and 1 female) foraging with Mallards

male and female American Wigeons alongside Mallards

male and female American Wigeons alongside Mallards

male American Wigeon (foreground)

male American Wigeon (foreground)

Lots of Gadwall.  Someone estimated their number at 50.

Male and female Gadwall

Male and female Gadwall

Nearby a Mink ran across the rocks.

Mink

Mink

The Red-necked Grebes were sporting their winter plumage.

Red-necked Grebe

Red-necked Grebe

I understand the need for tagging but this form is rather uncomfortable to look at.  Anyhoo, I submitted the number and hopefully within two weeks I’ll have some information about this Canada Goose.

Don't like the optics

Optics is offputting

On my way out I spotted this resourceful squirrel.

Tim Horton's was closed. This squirrel did the best he could under the circumstances.

Tim Horton’s was closed. This squirrel did the best he could under the circumstances.

Humber Bay Park East, Toronto

Lots of Hooded Mergansers here, at least 30.

Hooded Merganser (male)

Hooded Merganser (male)

Bad hair day

Bad hair day

He's right to stiffen his neck and not look back!

He’s right to stiffen his neck and not look back!

Found American Wigeons, Long-tailed Ducks, Buffleheads, Redheads, Scaups and all the usual waterfowl.

Waterfowl and Toronto skyline

Waterfowl and Toronto skyline

Left to right - Bufflehead (female), American Wigeons (male, female)

Left to right – Bufflehead (female), American Wigeons (male, female)

Some visitors tossing bread attracted Ring-billed Gulls.  While this one accosted me, its comrade pooped on my travelling companion.  I believe this is known as the distraction technique.

hovering Ring-billed Gull

hovering Ring-billed Gull

December 25, 2015

I brought home-made goodies including maple bacon cupcakes to the Christmas dinner.  I sampled one before leaving home.  They were divine.  After dinner my hosts advised they only eat turkey bacon.  Seriously?  Turkey bacon?

P.S. If you would like the recipe, e-mail me.
December 26, 2015

Lasalle Marina, Burlington

The waterfowl must have been informed of my previous grumbling.  Canvasbacks, Buffleheads, Redheads, Scaups, Common Goldeneyes, American Coots, Red-breasted Mergansers were within camera range.

Common Goldeneye courtship behaviour

Common Goldeneye courtship behaviour

Greater Scaup (male)

Greater Scaup (male)

Greater Scaup (female) with a find

Greater Scaup (female) with a find

I never tire of a singing Carolina Wren.

Singing Carolina Wren

Singing Carolina Wren

During the song I heard a rattling nearby to the right of where I was positioned. Ah, a Winter Wren.

Winter Wren

Winter Wren

Winter Wren with insect

Winter Wren with insect

Winter Wren singing

Winter Wren singing

Winter Wren in underbrush

Winter Wren in underbrush

Winter Wren

Winter Wren

Winter Wren

Winter Wren

Lift Bridge, Burlington

Long-tail Ducks fled as a patrolling Great Black-backed Gull approached.

Fleeing Long-tailed Ducks

Fleeing Long-tailed Ducks

“Its resemblance to the bald eagle was striking, as it soared aloft…It surely seemed to be a king among the gulls, a merciless tyrant over its fellows, the largest and strongest of its tribe.” Source: Birds of North America

Patrolling Great Black-backed Gull

Patrolling Great Black-backed Gull

Spotted this “brave” soul on the water.

Heading out on the frigid water

Heading out on the frigid water

Tollgate Ponds (Eastport Drive), Burlington

Loads of Canvasbacks here!

Canvasbacks

Canvasbacks

This is a blown out photograph of the Great Black-backed Gulls on the tip.

Group of Great Black-backed Gulls

Group of Great Black-backed Gulls

Below is a better photograph taken in March.

Great Black-backed Gulls (Niagara River, March 2015)

Great Black-backed Gulls (Niagara River, March 2015)

These gulls congregate where prey concentrate.  Their diet includes waterfowl.  They have a particular fondness for Horned Grebes.

Wrapping up 2015

Pleased with the year.  Four highlights – (1) leaving work at 9:00 a.m. advising receptionist I would be taking an early, long lunch hour in order to see the Piping and Wilson’s Plovers; (2) ditching work to see the juvenile American White Pelicans, (3) stumbling upon a juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-heron and (4) the joy of observing juvenile birds and their parents at Hendrie Valley and CCIW.

Wishing you and yours all the best for 2016!

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