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Entries in waterfowl (1)

Monday
Mar082010

Duck Watching in Toronto 

After a long and arduous winter we are beyond eager to get out bird watching.  With the forecast calling for sunny skies and warm temperatures on Sunday, we decided to visit our two favourite spots in Toronto:  Leslie Street Spit and High Park.    Finally, some weather we could work with!

We left Barrie in mornings first light, giddy in anticipation at what the day would hold for us.  We arrived to overcast skies and a crisp breeze which quickly became irrelevant as we walked along Lake Ontario. We were greeted by a great many Common Mergansers and Long Tail Ducks.

About an hour into our journey the skies opened up, providing us with added vigor.  We were surrounded by water and a ton of ducks.  All the while we could hear the racket of one of the worlds largest Ring-billed Gull breeding populations, as seen below.

As we walked around, we noticed that certain areas where access had been denied last year was now open.  We decided to head in as we could see many ducks off in the distance.  We quickly realized why the area was closed from April 1 - September 1:  we were walking through the breeding grounds for the myriad of Double-crested Cormorants and Black-crowned Night Herons that make the Spit their home during the temperate months.  It most certainly wasn't the highlight of our walk , but we were rewarded with two lifers - a White-winged Scooter and a Redhead Duck.  We also spotted a pair of Gadwalls (only our second time seeing them) flying in, and had a close encounter with some very cute Buffleheads.

After five wonderful hours of walking around, the inactivity of the winter months caught up with me.  I was growing weary so we started to make our way back.  Along the way Nate took this photo, which happens to contain 7 species:  Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Mallards, Buffleheads, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup and American Widgeon.

Though tired, we made a quick stop at High Park.  By this time it was around 3pm, the park was busy and the walking trails by Grenadier Pond were VERY mucky.  There were many swans, both Mute and Trumpeter, Mallards and Canada Geese.  Up the hill, we spotted a Merlin, some Cardinals, Golden-crowned Kinglets and of course, House Sparrows.

 

We started the day hoping to see 40 species in total - we ended up with 33, mostly water fowl.  Despite missing our target, we were very happy with the day.  In fact, if weather permits, we intend to return next weekend, as we are eager to capture some early migrants.

Happy birding!