Harlequin Duck + Wood Duck + Red-winged Blackbirds

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Colonel Samuel Smith Park

These Redhead ducks were, in human terms, the epitomy of poise and refinement.

Pair of Redhead ducks

Pair of Redhead ducks

Gorgeous couple

Gorgeous couple

Protective male Redhead duck

Protective male Redhead duck

Humber Bay Park West and East

Second try for the Harlequin Duck was successful.  Turns out the last time I was in the wrong area.  As the French don’t say, “Le ooops!”   I immediately found it east of the gazebo, as reported!

Harlequin Duck at Humber Bay West

Harlequin Duck at Humber Bay West

Harlequin Duck

Harlequin Duck

Harlequin Duck (male)

Harlequin Duck (male)

Finally a bit of sun to show his true colours

Finally a bit of sun to show his true colours

A steady stream of birders came by to have a look at the Harlequin and his neighbours, including American Wigeons.

American Wigeon

American Wigeon

The group of waterfowl included a randy Common Goldeneye.

Wow, he's got her pretty much submerged. The bit below his beak is the crown of her head.

Wow, he’s got her pretty much submerged. The bit below his beak is the crown of her head.

I'm not quite sure how to describe her expression

I’m not quite sure how to describe her expression

Having lost my daily quota of innocence, I decided to explore Humber Bay East.

Nearby condominiums

Nearby condominiums

Rock Pigeons atop Spirit House

Rock Pigeons atop Spirit House

Spirit House signage

Spirit House signage

I then turned my attention to Gadwalls.

Grooming pair of Gadwalls

Grooming pair of Gadwalls

Elegant pair of Gadwalls

Elegant pair of Gadwalls

A birding couple I met earlier in the morning at Colonel Samuel Smith directed me to a Wood Duck on the opposite bank.  I moved to a spot closer to the Wood Duck.  As I scanned the shoreline for it Mallards flew in seeking to be fed.  I begged, “just one sec, guys” as I was focused on finding the Wood Duck.  They kept flying in and as I begged for more patience I heard what sounded like a whistle.  Turns out the Wood Duck flew in with the Mallards! I took a couple photographs, tossed some sunflower seeds, then made ample use of the opportunity.

Handsome Wood Duck

Handsome Wood Duck

Wood Duck

Wood Duck

Wood Duck at Humber Bay East

Wood Duck at Humber Bay East

So many colours

So many colours

Wood Duck profile

Wood Duck profile

The last bird I photographed at the park was an American Robin.

American Robin on sumac

American Robin on sumac

Bronte Marina

My hope of getting a bit closer to these Common Mergansers was thwarted by a nearby barking dog.  Pity!

Two male, four female Common Mergansers

Two male, four female Common Mergansers

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Windermere Basin

Sunday morning while dawdling at Windmere Basin I heard the unexpected call of a Red-winged Blackbird.  Yes, folks, they are baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

Newly arrived Red-Winged Blackbird

Newly arrived Red-Winged Blackbird

Lift Bridge

I toyed with bypassing the Lift Bridge but, as I am wont to do, I changed my mind.  Good thing I did.  At one point there were eight of us photographing the two Peregrine Falcons.  This is what we observed!

Heading for one of his favourite spots

Heading for one of his favourite spots

Almost there!

Almost there!

Feathers flying as he consumes the Red-winged Blackbird

Feathers flying as he consumes the Red-winged Blackbird

Here’s a close up of a bit that fell. (He showed it to me. I asked if I could take a photograph.  I said, “you know we’re sick right?”  He had some fantastic stories about these falcons and their hunting styles, etc. Really nice chap. I’m normal. LOL!)

Messy eater drops this bit

Messy eater drops this bit

A photographer sitting on the bench directly below the falcon just about flipped her lid when this landed near her!

Fresh from above!

Fresh from above!

As is his routine, he delivered a portion to his partner.

He delivers a portion of the Red-winged Blackbird to his partner

He delivers a portion of the Red-winged Blackbird to his partner

I couldn’t wait to get home to show the photographs of the blackbird bits to my daughter.  She was studying hard and I wanted to take her mind off her studies for a moment. She said I was sick!  I am not sure what upset her more, the fact that I photographed the blackbird bits or that the bird had just migrated here only to be consumed by a falcon.  Either way, my plan worked!

Tips

Be on the look out for returning raptors.  I saw a Turkey Vulture this week.

Olympic Woods in Dundas is now off limits.  The RBG has erected no trespassing signs.  The long and short of it is Olympic Woods is a designated sanctuary.  Our local naturalist group will be in discussions with the RBG to see if they can arrive at a mutually agreeable position regarding access to the area.

 

 

 

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