Finally, a Snowy Owl

January 29 to 31st, 2016

Bronte Marina, Oakville
Late Friday afternoon found us at Bronte Marina. Walking the promenade, I observed waterfowl readying themselves for the night. While Common Mergansers headed elsewhere, Long-tailed Ducks and others headed for the safety of the marina and Canada Geese lined the shorefront of the beach. I imagine it’s a tough go. Likely unrefreshed sleep due to vigilance for predators.

Common Merganser (male)

Common Merganser (male)

Common Merganser (Male)

Common Merganser (Male)

Male Common Goldeneye leading partner to the marina for the night.

Male Common Goldeneye leading partner to the marina for the night.

Long-tailed Ducks heading to the marina for the night.

Long-tailed Ducks heading to the marina for the night.

Canada Geese arranging themselves along the shoreline for the night.

Canada Geese arranging themselves along the shoreline for the night.

Lasalle Marina, Burlington
I was still stretching and yawning as I landed at Lasalle Marina on Saturday morning. The sight of Canvasbacks perked me right up.

Canvasbacks (male on the left, female on the right)

Canvasbacks (male on the left, female on the right)

I chatted with the gentleman feeding the Canada Geese, American Black Ducks, Mallards and Trumpeter Swans.

Feeding frenzy

Feeding frenzy

Trumpeter Swans

Trumpeter Swans

Coming in for a landing.

Coming in for a landing.

We watched these two silently “wrastling”.   No clear winner, no wounds and no hard feelings.

Food fight!

Food fight!

Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, Mount Hope
Next stop was the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. But for the following observations, I wasn’t going to mention the trip.

These birds made a home in an engine.

These birds made a home in an engine.

High Flight

High Flight

We tarried for a couple hours. By turns we experienced pride, fascination, and humilty. We were moved and thankful.

This Avro Lancaster MK X was built in Malton, Ontario. Of the more than 7,300 Lancasters rolled of the production line, only two still fly today.

This Avro Lancaster MK X was built in Malton, Ontario. Of the more than 7,300 Lancasters rolled of the production line, only two still fly today.

Working on the plane.

Working on the plane.

North American (Canadair) F-86 Sabre MK6

North American (Canadair) F-86 Sabre MK6

Recruitment posters from the Second World War

Recruitment poster from the Second World War

Repurposed Bomb

Repurposed Bomb

WWII Recruitment Poster

WWII Recruitment Poster

Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, Mount Hope

Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, Mount Hope

We made plans to head over to Colonel Samuel Smith Park in Etobicoke to try for the Long-eared and Snowy Owls. As we headed to Highway 403, two horses fleeing their owner entered the roadway, galloping in our direction. They were about 50 feet ahead of us. We stopped and waved down traffic behind us as the owner and others captured and returned the horses to their corral.

Front row seat to horses on the run.

Front row seat to horses on the run.

Heading back home

Heading back home

All’s well that ends well.
Colonel Samuel Smith Park, Etobicoke
On arrival at Colonel Sam we checked for the Long-eared Owl. Turns out we weren’t the only ones looking.  Six birders/photographers were also pounding the footpaths. We were happy to learn the Snowy Owl was resting near the tip of the marina.

View of Colonel Samuel Smith Park's marina

View of Colonel Samuel Smith Park’s marina

The bridge camera afforded decent photographs.

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl

We tried again for the long-eared but no one had seen it. As a last ditch attempt I asked this Robin for the location of the owl.

Ask me no questions, I tell you lies!

Ask me no questions, I tell you lies!

Hendrie Valley, Burlington
On Sunday my first stop was Hendrie Valley.  Observations: Grindstone Creek was frozen. The passerines were quiet. A muskrat was looking for handouts. Two crows mobbed a Red-tailed Hawk. Convo: My off-trail buddy showed me photographs of a leucistic juvenile white-tailed deer he encountered at the park. Pretty incredible find.
Lift Bridge, Burlington
The Peregrine Falcons were hunting and vocalizing.

Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon

Pigeon was on the menu.

Waste not, want not

Waste not, want not

Canadian Centre for Inland Waters
Given the balmy weather, a walk at CCIW was in order. The path was clear and unobstructed. I didn’t linger too much here.

Female Common Mergansers looking for mates

Female Common Mergansers looking for mates

So, I didn’t nab species #200 but am glad to finally see a Snowy Owl.

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