Col. Sam Smith Park, Toronto, Snowy Owl and possible (??) but improbable Female Barrow's Goldeneye

Theresa Dobko dobko at
Mon Jan 28 13:59:47 EST 2002

Saw the Snowy Owl until Noon today, Monday at Sam Smith Park, "hunkered" 
down by a small stump 3/4 of the way down the easterly dock as Maris 
Apse reported.  It blends in so well it is not always visible from all 
angles and a scope is really helpful in spotting it.  A gorgeous bird.

While we were there, we checked out the waterfowl.  At the west end of 
this little marina there is a bridge you can cross over so you can see 
the bay outside of Sam Smith.  In the water just west outside of the 
marina there was a small group of Goldeneye performing courtship 
rituals.  One of the females was spotted away from the others, closer to 
the concrete shoreline near the houses and had a very bright yellow bill 
that was yellow almost to the base, with just a strip of grey on the 
bill at the base.  The other females only had yellow at the tips of 
their bills.  Also, the angle of the forehead was different from the 
other two females present.  Both have led me to wonder if it is a female 
Barrow's Goldeneye.  However, as I am not familiar with the species I 
would just encourage those already going out there to see the Snowy Owl 
who might be familiar with a female Barrow's to take a look and to 
report back to Ontbirds if you can confirm my guess.

Also seen, a Red-Tailed Hawk and female Kestrel actively hunting and 
perching close to the ground, and a pair each of Common Merganser and 
Hooded Merganser, within Sam Smith itself.


Col. Sam Smith Park can be found by exiting Lakeshore Blvd. W. at 
Kipling Avenue and driving south into the park.  If you park close to 
the turning circle at the far southern end and take the closest path 
that takes you slightly southwest, you'll come to the marina.   

Theresa Dobko <dobko at>

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