Monday, January 22, 2018


Jeremy Bensette, a young birder known to many birders in Sam Smith Park, has broken the provincial record for seeing more bird species in one year.  He recorded 346 species in 2017.  The previous record was 343.
Jeremy was a frequent visitor to Sam Smith during that year and, in fact, was there at the very end of the December searching for the elusive Purple Sandpiper to top up his list (as reported in a previous FOSS post.)
Jeremy at Sam Smith Park leading birders in search for the Purple Sandpiper
The Toronto Star has published an excellent article on Jeremy's "big year" that can be seen here.

Congratulations, Jeremy!

Friday, January 19, 2018


Our “FOSS Winter Bird Feeder Project” is well under way, for the third year! 
Volunteers have set up 6 “feeding stations” around the Skating Trail at Col. Sam Smith Park- each consisting of a seed feeder and a suet feeder.  Different FOSS volunteers check and fill the feeders each day. 
We are getting an interesting variety of birds, a lot of squirrels, and a fair amount of attention and inquiries from skaters.  People are also stopping to thank us for our efforts!

The Urban Nature Store, on North Queen by the East Mall, is generously subsidizing our seed purchases again this year, which is greatly appreciated.
The next time you are by the Skating Trail, check out our feeders and see what is happening there.

Thank you to all of our faithful volunteers!

This photo of a goldfinch on one of our feeders was taken by Sandra Hawkins.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018


The Christmas Week Bird Count is over at Col.Sam. It is time to send me a list of all the birds you have seen from Christmas Day up to and including December 31.
The names are important. If you have numbers great as well. Also send a photo with or without birds of the park if possible.
Thank you and Happy New Year for 2018 from FOSS.

Brian Keaveney

Friday, December 29, 2017


Over the holidays, birders have been trekking out to the wintry headlands and bays in search of the Tufted Duck and the Purple Sandpiper which have graced us recently with their presence.
Both species are way out of their winter range and are generally referred to as "accidentals".  As we approach the end of the year, serious annual listers are anxious to catch a sighting of these last minute oddities to top up their totals.

Sam Smith Tufted Duck - Photographer Eric Baldo
The Tufted Duck is a common Old World diving duck, the Eurasian counterpart of our Ring-Necked Duck.  They sometimes wander to eastern North America from Europe and Iceland and are considered rare.

The Purple Sandpiper breeds in the northern tundra
Purple Sandpiper in winter plumage - Photographer Jean Iron
on Arctic islands and coastal shorelines in Eastern Canada and its winter migration route follows the eastern shoreline south to rocky ice-free coasts in the Canadian maritimes and, sometimes, as far south as the Carolinas.  Our visitor is definitely off course.

There have also been numerous reports of Snowy Owls seen in the park in the last few weeks.  They can generally be found in the marina either on the docks or on the frozen bay.