I headed to Col. Sam after finally accepting the Bronte Harbour grebes may not successfully breed this year. There were four Grebe families at Col. Sam’s marina. This family had the youngest chicks.
Red-necked Grebe chicks resting with parent
It certainly was an interesting morning. This Great Blue Heron was hunting just beyond the break wall along the pedestrian path. I sat still so as not to flush the bird. The heron had rather odd way of hunting, vis, running into the water in pursuit of fish. I eventually got a clear photograph but this shot was more interesting to me.
This Great Blue Heron ran into the water, missed the fish then returned to shore to resume the hunt for sustenance.
While following a Song Sparrow feeding a juvenile Brown-headed Cowbird, I heard juvenile Yellow Warblers calling for their parents in a nearby tree.
Yellow Warbler fledgling waiting to be fed
I chaperoned this Snapping Turtle, alerting cyclists, joggers, pedestrians, as it crossed the path.
Snapping Turtle marching towards pond on opposite side of pedestrian and cyclist path.
These young rabbits were romping, running through the covered picnic bench area, down the path, over to the woodlot and back. Ah, the joys of youth.
Two juvenile rabbits romping at Colonel Samuel Smith Park.
The flicker nest cavity I found back in April or May (can’t remember) is now home to two youngsters. I hung out for a bit waiting for the adult to return but I got hungry and left.
The tree cavity I found in April or May is now home to two juvenile Northern Flickers.
If you wish to get up close and personal with Wood Ducks, the Grenadier Pond at High Park is the place to be. There were multiple families along the stretch. If you stop anywhere along the length of the pond the ducklings and at times the adults climb the embankment seeking handouts.
female Wood Duck
Juvenile Wood Duck at High Park
Juvenile male Wood Duck having a bit of a rest
This Black-crowned Night-Heron, on the other hand, had no interest in supplementing his diet.
Black-crowned Night-Heron hunting
After lunching at the Grenadier Restaurant, we walked through the zoo, primarily to eyeball the recaptured capybaras. From time to time they would stand by the fence, likely missing their short-lived freedom.
The two famous Capybaras at High Park
As we admired the reindeer, a loud booming voice behind us commanded, “Hey, Tundra, come over. These people want to take a picture of you”. ‘Twas the voice of a chuckling volunteer, who answered all our questions and allowed us to feed Tundra a carrot.
Tundra – a male reindeer at High Park
Unbearable heat and humidity have caused me to abruptly abandon trips at Hendrie Valley. Fortunately, the mosquito population is non-existent although I heard a chap complaining about the horse flies. Now that I think of it, the same guy complained about the worms and caterpillars hanging from the trees weeks earlier.
Searching for Green Herons I chanced upon a relatively accessible Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers’ nest.
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher brings an insect to feed two hungry nestlings
Close-up photograph of the nestlings taken on June 30, 2016.
Days later I re-attended to check on the chicks. A fellow photographer I met on the boardwalk was keen to join in on the action. As we photographed the nest, this nestling, driven by hunger, fledged from the nest for a few minutes! What a treat.
Hungry Blue-gray Gnatcatcher nestling
One of the nestlings popped out of the nest briefly on July 3, 2016.
Rechecking days later, as expected the family had moved on. There are several Gnatcatcher nests in the park. Keep an ear out and you may find singles or a family foraging together.
Juvenile Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
A photographer and I had opportunity to photograph this Great Blue Heron.
Great Blue Heron climbing a tree trunk
Great Blue Heron in flight.
Suddenly, just west of the heron, there was the sound of fussing Red-winged Blackbirds. The cause of their protestation – a female Red-Tailed Hawk. The birds chased the hawk to the opposite side of the stream. Soon they were joined by American Crows. What a commotion! Together they mobbed the hawk away from their territory.
American Crows and Red-winged Blackbirds mobbing Red-tailed Hawk at Hendrie Valley.
This summer I’ve witnessed Red-winged Blackbirds chasing a pair of Belted Kingfishers. This male was able rest for a while, free of harassment, although a male Red-winged Blackbird did make an appearance but didn’t bother to rally the troops.
Here is a photograph of Eastern Kingbirds chasing an Osprey from their territory.
Eastern Kingbirds chasing Osprey from their territory
These birds were also spotted at the park:
This gorgeous male Indigo Bunting was photographed at Hendrie Valley. The female was rather skittish.
The juvenile Red-bellied Woodpecker was foraging on his own.
Somebody has bad breath (juvenile and adult Common Grackles)
Here a female Baltimore Oriole feeds her young berries plucked from a nearby tree.
Time spent at the Lift Bridge Canal and downtown Burlington have also been productive.
The parents of this recently fledged Barn Swallow enjoy the comforts this Jeep affords.
Male House Sparrow and his young at a parking lot
A female Mallard and her three sleeping ducklings – Lift Bridge, Burlington
I’m falling for the Common Terns. They hunt for fish at the tip of the pier at the Lift Bridge Canal, completely oblivious to the presence of humans.
Common Tern searching water for prey
Common Tern hovering over potential prey
Don’t let the weather deter you too much. There’s still lots around. If the birding is slow as it often does at the height of the day, some photographers switch to insects, (butterflies, moths, dragonflies), flowers, etc. I’m enjoying the ships at the Lift Bridge and the trains at Hendrie.