20th November: I am starting a new section of the blog. It will chronicle bird sightings in the park by our resident birder, Ken Morin. Below are the first three postings:
1st November 2017
Today’s walk produced many Robins squawking about and jostling over food, a Song Sparrow, two female Downy Woodpeckers hammering away, Black capped Chickadee, Cardinals, Goldfinches, a Fox Sparrow, House Finches and a White throated Sparrow (see photo below) grooming itself on a log. Looks like the migrants are passing through and the winter residents starting to take up posts.
Today’s trip through the ravine produced some new seasonal birds: a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk and several kinetic Golden crowned Kinglets.
The Hawk was perched in a bare tree just past the children’s garden as I was walking along the alley way. Nothing like the cold glare of a predator to send chills up one’s spine. The Kinglets jumped across my path just before the Bathurst Bridge, golden cap strips prominent. There were three Fox Sparrows on the path at the Windley entrance.
When we spot sparrows it is normal to assume they are the House variety due to prevalence. The Fox Sparrow is larger with a streaky white breast and a long red tail, a bigger bird overall. Be on the lookout for migrating sparrows this time of year and also varieties that winter here reappearing, such as Chipping, and Tree Sparrows. The usual Cardinals and Chickadees respond to phishing.
After a disappointing day yesterday (12 Robins in an oak tree) this walk proved more fruitful. The Robins were heard in the background all along the path, finally found a pack of them at the little pond before the dog park. Seems to be their preserve. The “Rocks” (TTC entry door?) produced a good variety. First I was drawn to the spot by a drumming woodpecker, a Downy male hammering away. As I stood observing it, more birds came into view on both sides of the path. White throated Sparrow,
White crowned Sparrow and a Song Sparrow flew in; several Juncos flushed, their white outer tail feathers prominent, a Chickadee stopped to peck at some seeds and a White breasted Nuthatch got in on the act with its upside down search. Two Crows cawed by overhead, always check the sky when this sound is heard, it may be a warning for a hawk nearby. Finally, a pair of Golden crowned Kinglets appeared deep in the reeds low to the ground. foraging. Kinetic little guys, constantly on the go. As I left the park, Blue Jays were squawking. All in all an enjoyable time spent. As the daylight hours grow shorter all sightings are a joy.
Just a word on the White throated Sparrow. It appears in two morphs (hence Polymorphic) a black and white capped version and a black and cream capped type. The same bird with two different colourations! They interbreed also.
First walk of 2018 arranged
Miles Hearn will lead a nature walk for the Toronto Field Naturalists on Wednesday 31st January, starting at 10 am from the subway entrance on Heath St W. We are invited to join them. I have posted the walk on the web site.