Friday, December 6, 2019

2019 FOSS CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT IN COLONEL SAMUEL SMITH PARK


Volunteers needed!

How it’s done?


See the attached park map and link to the Winter Bird Count List for Colonel Sam Smith Park. Print the list.


Go out in to the park area shown on the map on December 26 (Boxing Day) and look for birds . Keep track of the time of day you visited the park, all the bird species you saw in the park or on the water as well as how many of each species you found. Send a list along to Brian at FOSS (see address below) so we can add them to the overall Christmas Bird Count. If the weather is poor on the 26th then use the 27th for your count.

Here is a link to a printable list for you to use for your count.

Try to send a photo with or without birds. We will try to place some of the photos on the FOSS website (no faces please)
Send your Bird Count to:  Brian Keaveney, President of FOSS, at masters@sympatico.ca by Dec. 28th.


You can scan your list and send the scan by email or just include the data in the body of the email. Results will be posted on the FOSS website.


Note: Bring a colour bird book with you to help identify birds or ask another birder that day.


Make it a fun family outing and stay warm


Brian Keaveney

Monday, December 2, 2019

SUMMARY: MINUTES FOSS STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING - NOVEMBER 25TH, 2019


Summary: FOSS Steering Committee Meeting
November 25th, 2019
6:30PM, LAMP, 185 5th Street, Etobicoke

  • SKATE WITH SANTA: December 7, 12-4pm. Colonel Sam Smith Skating Trail. Come visit the FOSS table after the Lakeshore Santa Claus Parade https://lakeshoreparade.ca/. Get your FOSS brochures, memberships, and buttons. Play the “habitat game”.
  • NEW TORONTO HOLIDAY MARKET: December 14, 10am-3pm. 2 Colonel Sam Smith Drive (Humber Interpretive Centre). In support of LAMP Community Health Centre. https://www.facebook.com/newtoholidaymarket/. Join FOSS in making kid-friendly seasonal crafts using natural materials such as pine cones, acorns, bark, and moss. FOSS t-shirts, hats, memberships and Col. Sam bird calendars will be for sale. 
  • PUMPKIN PARADE AT COLONEL SAM PARK: Deemed to be a great success. FOSS thanks all visitors, especially those folks who brought so many spectacular pumpkins. Another Pumpkin Parade is planned for 2020. Suggestion for future participants: use baby food jars as wind protection for your candles.
  • BIRD FEEDERS: Once again, FOSS has installed (and will maintain) five bird feeders around the perimeter of the skating trail. Thanks to the volunteers who make this project a success.
  • BOXING DAY (DECEMBER 26) BIRD COUNT: FOSS encourages both individuals and families to participate and to contribute to this “citizen science” project. Check the blog for a list of birds previously observed in Col. Sam. Submission details for both observations and photos to be announced. Rain/snow date: December 27.
  • BEAVER-CUT TREES: Beavers have cut down several larger trees in Col. Sam. FOSS will request mesh be placed around remaining vulnerable trees.
  • UNWANTED/DANGEROUS TREE STRUCTURES: In spite of some dismantling by authorities, the structures have been rebuilt in the trees to the east of North Creek. Refer to last month’s report provided below for more details.
  •  “GOINGS-ON” IN COLONEL SAM: Smoke has been seen billowing out of the area creating a possible fire hazard. Concerned park users have reported individuals engaging in sex nearby. A mattress has already been removed. The builders appear to be young students. FOSS has notified Humber College as well as neighbourhood high schools. FOSS has submitted a report (complete with photos) to 311. FOSS urges concerned park users to do the same.
  • ON-GOING CONCERNS:   DRUG/GARBAGE PROBLEMS AT COL. SAM: Discarded drug paraphernalia and litter are on-going detriments in the park, particularly in the North Creek area. Visitors are asked to notify the police at 416 808-2200 for drug infractions and 311 for trash build-up. Any problems reported to 311 are greatly strengthened when accompanied with a photo.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

FIRST EVER FRIENDS OF SAM SMITH PARK 2020 CALENDAR

SAMPLE IMAGES FROM CALENDAR
CALENDARS ARE AVAILABLE FOR PREORDER NOW!

WILD WINGS 2020: The Birds of Col. Sam Smith Park

Something new! I've created a calendar featuring the beautiful birds that are seen in the park: Those that breed here and those that pass through the sanctuary that is Col. Sam Smith Park.

A portion of sales will go towards the Friends of Sam Smith Park (FOSS) and the LAMP Community Centre. Calendars are $20 each (plus shipping).

Contact me SOON with your orders! This calendar will also be on sale at the Lakeshore Grounds Holiday Market on December 14, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Look for the FOSS tables!

Many thanks to FOSS for their sponsorship.

Nancy Barrett

You can contact Nancy directly at goldengooseproductions@yahoo.ca

Saturday, November 2, 2019

FIRST EVER SAM SMITH PARK "PUMPKIN PARADE" - SOME IMAGES

We had 45 imaginatively carved pumpkins last night at our inaugural "pumpkin parade".  Thanks to all those who participated.  FOSS volunteers had their work cut out to keep the candles burning in the strong chilly wind, but perseverance paid off and everyone had a good time.  There were other challenges and some learning curves ... but all of that will just make next year's parade all the better.









Thursday, October 31, 2019

SUMMARY: MINUTES FOSS STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING - OCTOBER 28TH, 2019

Summary: FOSS Steering Committee Meeting
October 28th, 2019
6:34PM, LAMP, 185 5th Street, Etobicoke

PUMPKIN PARADE AT COLONEL SAM PARK: Friday, November 1. Drop-off begins 5:00PM onward. Pumpkin lighting 6:00-7:00PM. Location: the traffic circle next to the south parking lot. FOSS will compost all pumpkins afterward.

METAL SIGN NEAR YACHT CLUB: The original sign was stolen and later found (in pieces) in the water. The city has indicated that a new sign will be erected in a more secure location.

APPLE ORCHARD: FOSS is pursuing heritage status for Colonel Sam’s apple orchard as possible protection against future development.
NON NATIVE TREE PLANTINGS AT COLONEL SAM: TRCA plans to remove these plantings.

“GOINGS-ON” IN COLONEL SAM: Several structures/platforms have been erected in the trees to the east of North Creek. Smoke has been seen billowing out of the area creating a possible fire hazard. Concerned park users have reported individuals engaging in sex nearby. A mattress has already been removed. The builders appear to be young students. FOSS has notified Humber College as well as neighbourhood high schools. FOSS has submitted a report (complete with photos) to 311. FOSS urges concerned park users to do the same.

SHORELINE EROSION: The City plans to fix shoreline erosion and trail flooding problems in November. Smaller stones have already been placed as infill behind the larger rocks.

NEW BENCHES AND BRIDGE MAINTENANCE: Several new benches have been installed throughout Colonel Sam. The bridge near the yacht club has received new decking.

HOLIDAY MARKET AT HUMBER COLLEGE: DECEMBER 14, 10am to 3pm. Details to be announced. Watch blog for details.

ON-GOING CONCERNS:
DRUG/GARBAGE PROBLEMS AT COL. SAM: Discarded drug paraphernalia and litter are on-going detriments in the park, particularly in the North Creek area. Visitors are asked to notify the police at 416 808-2200 for drug infractions and 311 for trash build-up. Any problems reported to 311 are greatly strengthened when accompanied with a photo.

Friday, October 4, 2019

RECENT HEADLINE : "NEARLY 3 BILLION BIRDS LOST IN OUR LIFETIME"

Scientists called the results "staggering": a net loss of almost 3 billion breeding birds in the U.S. and Canada since 1970, according to a new study in the journal Science. The across-the-board losses include many common, beloved species such as Dark-eyed Juncos and Red-winged Blackbirds. 

CLICK HERE to find out more about this massive decline and the causes behind it. 

This alarming study reminds us again of the importance of protecting and enhancing the natural environment, even in small pockets like Sam Smith Park, if we want our children and grandchildren to enjoy the presence of birds and other wildlife.

There are helpful actions that can also be taken around the house.




Sunday, September 22, 2019

RECENT WHIMBREL POINT PLANTINGS



NOTE FROM BARBARA KEAVENEY ....

First, TRCA, Toronto Region Conservation Authority, went in and dug up all the burdock in this area by the roots.  Black tarp was laid down in spring.
   
Plastic mat was removed this week, and a hemp mulch mat was laid over the whole planting area.  This will break down in 3-5 years- enough time to give the new plants a good start.  After plants were put in the ground, a layer of tree mulch was laid on the whole area as well, and the plants were all watered by a couple of very energetic volunteers!

Species planted - Alleghany Blackberry; Flowering Raspberry; Red Osier Dogwood; Pasture Rose; St. John's Wort; 3 Eastern White Pine.

2 samples of each species were measured and statistics recorded.  These sample plants have a green ribbon on them, which should not be removed.  This site will be monitored by TRCA for the next 5 years, and the progress of these individual plants will be recorded for comparison purposes.  

Thank you to Jacob Mokrzynski and the TRCA for organizing this whole project!

Barbara

MARINA SHORELINE PATH MAINTENANCE INFO - STARTS OCTOBER 14TH

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), in partnership with the City of Toronto, is planning to undertake minor maintenance repairs on an existing seawall structure in Colonel Samuel Smith Park in order to protect against the hazards of shoreline erosion and address public safety concerns. The seawall is located along the inner shoreline of the park near the Lakeshore Yacht Club.

Works are tentatively scheduled to commence the week of October 14, 2019 and are anticipated to take three weeks in duration. The maintenance works will address damage to the seawall and adjacent brick platform that was caused by the 2017 and 2019 record high lake level events. Repairs will include the replacement of rock material behind the seawall and the placement of gravel underneath the platform to fill existing voids. This work will strengthen the existing shoreline, help stabilize the park trail, and provide increased protection to park users.

The site will be accessed by Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive from the intersection of Kipling Avenue and Lake Shore Boulevard West. Trucks will enter the park from the cul-de-sac at the end of Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive and travel to the work area along the park trail. All deliveries will be guided by a Traffic Control Person who will direct trucks down the main trail to the work area while watching for pedestrians and cyclists. The trail within the immediate work area will be closed to park users to ensure public safety. Several "Notice of Construction" and "Trail Closure" signs will be placed along the trails leading to the work area to notify park users of the upcoming construction and available detour routes. Work hours will conform to City bylaws with activities taking place between 7:00 am and 5:00 pm daily. It is estimated that a total of 20-25 truck deliveries will be required to supply project materials. The majority of deliveries will take place in the early stages (first week) of the construction timeline, with a range of 2-4 deliveries per day during this time.


Prior to the commencement of construction activities, TRCA will provide a Notice of Construction letter that can be posted on school bulletin boards to inform students, parents, and staff members. TRCA and its drivers are aware of the multiple school campuses in the vicinity of the access route and student safety will be of utmost importance throughout the duration of the works. A map which highlights all school locations, crosswalks, and trail crossings along the access route will be provided to all delivery drivers to ensure that extra caution is taken while proceeding through these areas (please see attached map). Traffic Control Persons will facilitate the navigation of trucks within the park, further ensuring the safety of all park users and students in the area.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

NEW SAM SMITH PARK MAP WITH LOCATION NAMES

We have finally put together a map of the park with landmarks labelled on it, the purpose being to standardize location postings.  This should improve the accuracy of wildlife sightings, especially for those unfamiliar with the park.

The names are based on personal knowledge and what we understand to be common park usage.  We had to invent some new ones. 

While understanding that it is, essentially, an impossible task to come up with something that satisfies everyone in every detail, hopefully our efforts will, in time, prove useful.

The map can be downloaded here. 

Friday, September 13, 2019

CITY OF TORONTO STUDY OF EXISTING OFF-LEASH AREAS - OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE EXPERIENCES AND SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT

It has long been felt that poor conditions at the Sam Smith Park off-leash area are not very attractive to dog owners and, in fact, push owners to walk their dogs in the environmentally sensitive areas of the park, often off leash. The more appealing the dog park becomes, the more people will use it, leading to fewer off-leash dogs in unsanctioned areas.

FOSS has previously written to Councillor Grimes with suggestions for dog park improvements .....


The City of Toronto is currently conducting a formal study of existing off-leash areas. The purpose of the study is to identify necessary/desired improvements.  Here is the link to the study.

There are three ways to take part in the study:
  1. Take the online survey. It's critical to get your thoughts documented.
  2. Attend one of the pop-up consultations at a dog park this fall.
  3. Write imalczewski@swerhun.com  (Ian works for Swerhun Facilitation, and has been hired by Thinc Design (the City's consultants) to be the point person on the project. You could also email dola@toronto.ca, the general inbox for dogs off-leash areas.
The survey is pretty good. Know that if you identify yourself as a dog owner, you'll get the full survey, giving you the chance to express feedback on dog park design and more. If you say you don't have a dog, you'll only get a handful of questions. One question is about negative effects to the environment by off-leash dogs. Please tell it like it is. Please also include any solutions you'd like to suggest, if you wish.


PASSENGER PIGEON TALK BY GLEN COADY - THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 19TH


Click here for more information and to book free ticket.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

REMINDER - 2020 FOSS PHOTO CONTEST

We hope all you nature and wildlife photographers out there are filling your camera cards with images from Col. Sam Smith Park for next year's Nature Sanctuary Photo Contest!


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

STILL LOOKING FOR REPORTS OF ANY SIGHTINGS OF DRONES HARASSING WILDLIFE IN THE PARK

FOSS has put out a call for anyone who has witnessed an incident of a drone being used in Sam Smith Park to disturb wildlife.
Please send reports to our email address.

Meanwhile, our feathered friends fight back ......



Thanks to Alastair Scott for these images ....

Friday, July 19, 2019

FLORENCE MERRIAM BAILEY, PIONEERING NATURE ACTIVIST AND ORNITHOLOGIST







Link to an interesting article about Florence Merriam Bailey, who evolved from an activist for bird habitats to an environmentalist who pioneered modern bird-watching techniques.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

NESTING TURTLES

Sam Smith turtles are being seen near the pond and wetland areas of the park scratching out their nests in the adjacent gravel and dirt areas.

Grace Hunter, who led a study of nesting turtles when working at the Wildlife Research Centre in Algonquin Park, wrote an article about her study that appeared in Cottage Life magazine.

Here is a link.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

CALL OUT FOR VIDEO, PHOTOS OR ACCOUNTS OF DRONES HARASSING WILDLIFE IN SAM SMITH

There have been reports of drones in Sam Smith Park being flown close to the grebe nest platforms, the tree swallow boxes and, last winter, the snowy owl on the docks. This and any other kind of disturbance of wildlife is a park bylaw offence and should be reported immediately to the City’s Municipal Enforcement Office.
This can now only be done by calling 311or emailing 311@toronto.ca A response is supposed to happen within 48 hours. Bylaw officers, the few that there are, are no longer assigned to specific parks and cannot be contacted personally. Everything is now handled centrally.
Clearly, this process is sadly lacking!
FOSS is trying to gauge the extent of the problem. If you have observed this kind of behaviour or, better still, if you have photos or video, please contact FOSS at friendsofsamsmithpark@gmail.com