Grebes and Tundras and a Harlequin, oh my!

Dufferin Islands, Niagara Falls on March 5th

The birds (Tufted Titmouse, House Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Dark-eyed Junco, White-breasted Nuthatch, Red-bellied Woodpecker) were hungry.   What could we do but feed them with what little we had to offer!

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

House Sparrow (female)

House Sparrow (female)

Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse (singing)

Tufted Titmouse (singing)

As we toured along the Niagara River we encountered a small flock of Tundra Swans.

Tundra Swans on the Niagara River

Tundra Swans on the Niagara River

Lift Bridge

I popped by yesterday.  Almost all the waterfowl have departed.  I’m glad I caught this chap before he left.

Red-breasted Merganser (male)

Red-breasted Merganser (male)

Spencer Smith Park, Burlington

Twice last week and even yesterday, I had no trouble finding Tundra Swans.

Tundra Swans in flight at Spencer Smith Park

Tundra Swans in flight at Spencer Smith Park

Tundra Swans at Spencer Smith Park

Tundra Swans at Spencer Smith Park

Colonel Samuel Smith Park, Etobicoke

I cartwheeled (well, not really) into Colonel Samuel Smith Park last Saturday.   What a mighty chorus!  Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles, Song Sparrows, American Robins, and Red-necked Grebes were all in full voice.

American Robin

American Robin

Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Next stop was the marina.

American Wigeon

American Wigeon

White-winged Scoter at Colonel Samuel Smith Park

White-winged Scoter at Colonel Samuel Smith Park

Red-necked Grebes at Colonel Samuel Smith Park

Red-necked Grebes at Colonel Samuel Smith Park

I took a look at what I thought was a rather small duck.  Oooo, the Harlequin Duck!

Harlequin Duck

Harlequin Duck

Harlequin Duck preparing to dive

Harlequin Duck preparing to dive

I hung around for a while waiting to alert other birders.   One birder I met informed me this was likely the same duck I had seen at Humber Bay Park West.  She told me the Harlequin was smitten with one of the Redheads and that she had seen it trying to do the ‘wild thing’ with a Redhead.

Later on three of us were viewing the bird.  One of the chaps was from up north (North Bay or Owen Sound, can’t remember), the other was an octogenarian.  What a thrill it was to meet both.  A bit later on we heard and observed two large groups of Tundra Swans heading in a westerly direction.

A lone Horned Grebe was also enjoying the day at the marina.

Horned Grebe

Horned Grebe

Humber Bay Park East, Toronto

Now that I had the Harlequin in hand, I rethought my planned visit to Humber Bay Park.  I decided to go anyway.  Happy I did as I had even better views of a pair of Red-necked Grebes and Common Grackles.

Red-necked Grebe

Red-necked Grebe

Looks so contemplative

Looks so contemplative

Red-necked Grebes at Humber Bay Park East

Red-necked Grebes at Humber Bay Park East

Common Grackle

Common Grackle

Nice to see a red squirrel.

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel

Bronte Provincial Park Campground, Oakville

Everyone told us we were pretty much guaranteed to find owls here. No luck for us.  No regrets.  Got an eyeful of this somewhat large Northern Mockingbird.

Northern Mockingbird at Bronte Provincial Park campground

Northern Mockingbird at Bronte Provincial Park campground

Lasalle Marina, Burlington

As most of the waterfowl have moved on, I took the opportunity to get up close and personal with a domestic duck and an American Coot.

Domestic Duck

Domestic Duck

American Coot on the beach

American Coot on the beach

Two small flocks of Tundra Swans flew by heading to their breeding grounds.

Tundra Swan flying over Lasalle Marina

Tundra Swan flying over Lasalle Marina

Hendrie Valley, Burlington

It was Hendrie Valley’s turn on Sunday morning.  The park remains very bird rich.  Lots of American Tree Sparrows.

American Tree Sparrow

American Tree Sparrow

Downy Woodpeckers were chasing each other all along the boardwalk. Spotted my first chipmunk of the season.

Hi, buddy!

Hi, buddy!

At the west end a Turkey Vulture glided slow and low.

Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture

I had seconds to zoom in on these two.

Red-tailed Hawks

Red-tailed Hawks

Even more exciting days ahead as the migrant birds return for the summer!

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