A Ramble Around Humber Bay West Park in Toronto Finds Odd Ducks and an Agile Mammal

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.

Photo of Redhead Pair on Still Lake on NaturalCrooksDotCom

Flat Calm and a Bit Foggy

Photo of Common Goldeneye Mirror On NaturalCrooksDotCom

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.

Photo of Long Tailed Duck Female Nonbreeding on NaturalCrooksDotCom

This is a female Long Tailed Duck in its non-breeding plumage, if I’m reading my field guides correctly.

Photo of Long Tailed Duck Male Nonbreeding on NaturalCrooksDotCom

And this is a male, also still in non-breeding plumage.

Photo of Coot Eating Weeds on NaturalCrooksDotCom

This American Coot was diving for weeds. It would bring a bill-full back to the surface and then pick and eat them.

Photo of American Wigeon Wary of Wharf on NaturalCrooksDotCom

These American Wigeon were a bit wary of the watchers on the wharf. They skirted around the shore keeping a close eye on us.

Photo of Lesser Scaup On NaturalCrooksDotCom

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

Photo of Redhead Female Tai Chi on NaturalCrooksDotCom
Photo of Bufflehead Male Warming a Pink Foot on NaturalCrooksDotCom

Tai Chi seemed to be popular.

Photo of Bufflehead with Bubbles on NaturalCrooksDotCom

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

Photo of Red Winged Blackbird Male On Old Nest on NaturalCrooksDotCom

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.

Photo of Horned Grebe and Redhead on NaturalCrooksDotCom

This Horned Grebe appeared a few times in the midst of the flock of diving Redheads.

Not Everything Fishing Was a Duck

Photo of Mink By Ice on NaturalCrooksDotCom

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

Photo of Harlequin Duck Male Watery on NaturalCrooksDotCom

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.

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