Today was a warm, sunny almost spring-like day and I took full advantage of the welcoming weather to explore a park I’d never visited before called Humber Bay West. I was lured there, along with other bird fans and photographers, by recent reports of a male Harlequin Duck who’d been hanging around most of the winter. I found lots of interest, though, as well as the odd duck including a young mink.
Flat Calm and a Bit Foggy
After I first arrived, I explored the extreme tip of the park looking both out into Lake Ontario and west towards Oakville. The water was quick-silver and many of the ducks were resting, dotted around the gleaming water like drop-marks on my own unpolished bathroom mirror.
This is a female Long Tailed Duck in its non-breeding plumage, if I’m reading my field guides correctly.
And this is a male, also still in non-breeding plumage.
This American Coot was diving for weeds. It would bring a bill-full back to the surface and then pick and eat them.
These American Wigeon were a bit wary of the watchers on the wharf. They skirted around the shore keeping a close eye on us.
There was one male Lesser Scaup as well as a much larger group of Greater Scaup. I overheard this tidbit from the OFO field trip that arrived at my location just after I finished watching the Mink. When I noticed a Scaup that looked smaller and more “pointy” headed, I asked one of the more experienced birders if that was the Lesser. He said yes, so I am labeling this photo as a Lesser. (If I’m wrong, please leave a comment so I can update the caption!)
Ducks Making Moves
Tai Chi seemed to be popular.
Several male Bufflehead were busy trying to impress, intimidate and otherwise irritate each other. Here one male is literally swimming up a storm to captivate a female who appears totally uninterested but a bit annoyed.
Look Who Is Back For Spring
This male Red Winged Blackbird was perched on an old nest. It isn’t a Red winged’s nest: he was examining it for any insect-life.
This Horned Grebe appeared a few times in the midst of the flock of diving Redheads.
Not Everything Fishing Was a Duck
This mink popped up between the rocks only a few metres (yards) away from me while I was walking down a broad sidewalk. It dove several times under the ice but didn’t emerge with anything to eat. It totally ignored several pedestrians and 6 dogs while I was watching.
The Male Harlequin Duck Came Close
Much to our surprise, the male Harlequin Duck did come quite close to the gazebo observation deck for a few moments. Needless to say, even with a bird at point blank range, I couldn’t figure out how to adjust my camera to get a crisp photo. Still, my EYES had a wonderful look at his rusty, steel and crisp white hues. And I’m sure some of the photographers around me got some great snaps.
Do you have a favourite city park to ramble through? Please share your views with a comment.