[Ontbirds] TOC outing Sunday, March 5, Humber Bay Park East and points West

Tim McCarthy TimMcCarthy_5 at hotmail.com
Tue Mar 7 21:13:56 EST 2017

>From Tim Mccarthy

Posted with permission of Ontbirds

Hi Fellow Birders

I apologise that nothing was posted here from our TOC outing of last Sunday. Garth Riley, who was supposed to lead the thing was suddenly called away (to go birding down south, the louse) so Kai Millyard, the designated assistant guide, asked me if I would help out. Never led a group before but I like Kai so I said 'What the heck?" The day before the walk, Saturday, Kai and I scouted the route and found some pretty good birds though not a lot of them, 2 of them being Yellow Rumped Warbler, just off the road to the end of Humber Bay park West, in the thickets out behind the little building about halfway to the end that kind of looks like a boat house. Its on the East side of the road along with a little parking lot. And at the very  West end of that road an Osprey flew over our heads. A fellow there remarked that he had seen that bird for 3 days running so you might see it too. Just keep looking up. Now I realize that I'm talking about birds that move around, and weren't even there for the walk. But because they are movers if you want to see them there tomorrow there might be a chance, so go. As for birds seen on Sunday's actual walk, well I guess you can read that report on E-Bird. If you were there, well, you'd of already seen them. If you weren't there well, so what?

So morning of the outing, Kai calls me, sick as a Red-tail that's just swallowed a Teddybear. Leaving who as the leader? OMG its me!

Luckily, Justin Peter showed up just in time , and volunteered to be the actual leader, leaving me to do the colour. I love that guy. He taught us so much on that walk about aging and sexing ducks and gulls and stuff like that. If you are ever out with Justin make sure you stay close to him and listen. The man is a fountain of knowledge.

Now me, come Sunday I failed to put anybody on to the Yellow rump, unfortunately, but I did produce a few other goodies who are on territory right now. This means that you can go right out there and see them today. Guaranteed. And the weather won't be nearly as bad as it was last week, Better than reading about somebody else's sightings, right?

If you want to see a Northern Mocking Bird all you need to do is drive out to the end of the road on Humber Bay Park West. When you get to the parking lot on the right at the very end of the road you will see a berrybush about 10 feet from your car. The Mocker is in that bush. Well, most likely, anyway. This time of year Mockingbirds are getting hard up same as everybody else, and spend most of their time defending a good source of food like that Berry Bush.

While you are driving around by the water, look out into the lake for all kinds of ducks. It is their mating season and if you watch closely, you can see  lots of interesting behaviour which is the real showpiece of this season.

I'm working on imitating some of their dances. Told you I was doing colour.

The rest of the goodies all appeared at Col. Sam Smith Park. The immature King Eider was on the East shore of the Red-Necked Grebe pond. You could reach out and touch him almost. I think a couple of our photographers in the group my have tried to do just that. Regrettably, I was not close to the event or I would have asked them to stop. Folks were disappointed that the big fellow didn't look like he does in their field guide, but if you take a good close look, you would see that in a sort of muted way, he is very beautiful. All immature and female ducks are like that. Beautiful little guys. Borrow my scope if you like. That's why I carry it.

To round out our day, which contained no real rarities other than the Eider, I want to introduce you to a real challenge which no doubt is still present just where we found it (well, Justin found it - I let him). Hard to find, hard to see, and almost impossible to photograph well, is one of my favourite birds, and one of the world's cutest. Just to the Northeast of the Southernmost parking lot at Sam Smith is a culvert which joins the pond to a little marsh. Start looking there, I mean really focus. Watch for any movement. Pish a little if you like. Follow the little creek Northwards and I guarantee within a couple of hundred feet you will find a Winter Wren.

Now how was that? An outing report before you do your outing.

See you at Whimbrel Point,


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