Saturday, May 21, 2016

THIS YEAR'S FRED BODSWORTH MEMORIAL WHIMBREL WATCH HAS STARTED - TIM MCCARTHY'S FIRST VERY ENCOURAGING REPORT FROM "WHIMBREL POINT" VIA "ONTBIRDS"



Tim McCarthy posts his first whimbrel report on ONTBIRDS.

(The Ontario Field Ornithologists operates an electronic mailing listserv called ONTBIRDS that notifies birders of interesting Ontario sightings.   ONTBIRDS is a good way to keep on top of what's being seen in our park as migration begins to accelerate as well as keep up with other interesting Ontario sightings.  On average, there are about 6 - 8 postings a day and Sam Smith Park is frequently one of them.)
 
Click here to find out more about Fred Bosworth.

 
From Tim Mccarthy via Ontbirds:

Today we went out with a Whimbrel not a Bang (sorry, T.S.)

Believe it or not, around 8:50 this a.m. we were overflown by no less than 30 of our favourite chicken-sized shorebirds. So wonderful to hear again their thrilling, hairs up the back, wild kind of song!  Not only have we been so lucky but if you've been reading Ontbirds reports lately you would see that there've been a good many more Whimbrel reports than has been usual, from places that we'd never heard from before. Lots of other shorebirds, too. That means, of course, if you can get out to those places tomorrow you will see lots of shorebirds. Their apparent increase in birds observed has to come from one or a number of good-news reasons:

There are more serious people out there looking for shorebirds. Yes, that holds credence for many reasons, not the least of which is more and more baby-boomer retirements these days to put more knowledgeable birders on the spots, more sophistication in finding and identifying and quicker location through social media. More spotters, same birds.

There has been a favourable pattern of weather lately? Well, I'm not much of a weather man but there certainly has been a change in winter and spring this year. Whether the weather is favourable for shorebirds or just a fluke will require much tiresome analysis from the tiresome analysis folks. Meaning we're seeing our birds plus somebody else’s'?

Or how about this one?  Because of all mankind has been doing to help these birds, both in their winter and summer grounds their populations have finally begun to increase. Don't know if I'm going to live to see that one. It just might be true for Whimbrels but I can't see it happening to everybody everywhere.

So what?

So I'm asking you all because I want to know.

Here's what's making me so goofy. Today we at the Whimbrel Point saw:


31   Whimbrels

2     Semipalmated Plovers

62   Dunlin

3     Spotted Sandpipers

3     Least Sandpipers

3     Black Bellied Plovers

18   Short Billed Dowitchers

50+  Unidentified Peep Sandpipers

10   Common Loons

Innumerable Cliff Swallows, so good it is to see them back under the eaves of the Treatment Plant


Pretty good day for the first one, huh?


Thanks to all the folks who came out to help and especially to those who came to learn. You are all more than welcome to come back anytime.

If anyone is interested in filling in the afternoon shift, say, from Noon 'til 5 or 6, we really need you as the Whimbrels have been showing up late sometimes and I know we missed 'em. I'll show you how to keep Reports if you're new and I'll make sure you're comfortable in the seat before all the morning shift goes stumbling off and you start getting swamped by Whimbrels!

Happy Birding,

Tim

SAM SMITH PARK'S SEVENTH ANNUAL BIRD FESTIVAL - SATURDAY, MAY 28TH


Friday, May 6, 2016

THEY'RE BACK - BIRDERS, PHOTOGRAPHERS AND, OF COURSE, THE BIRDS!


Spring migration for songbirds has started and Sam Smith Park, recognized as a noted birding hotspot, is being invaded by birders and photographers looking for the colourful migrants in the thickets, wooded areas and along the creek while the ever photogenic Tree Swallows enjoy celebrity in the Swallow Field.  The Red Necked Grebes in the bay are building their nests on their floating platforms and exotic waterbirds like the elegant Pacific Loon and the striking  Harlequin Duck have recently popped up to delight birders looking to add to their annual sightings list or even their life list.  And, of course, the Whimbrels will be coming soon.  It's a great time to be in Sam Smith.

You can use Ebirds to check out daily bird sightings in the park - here is the link.

AND DON'T FORGET TO COME TO THE SPRING BIRDING FESTIVAL

 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

NEW INFORMATION SIGNS FOR THE WHIMBREL WATCH THIS YEAR

Tim McCarthy with the TOC sign

From about May 20th and on, Whimbrels will pass Sam Smith Park on their long and arduous, northern migration route.  Whimbrel Point, the most easterly headland, has, in past years, been a place where the birds have rested. But, in recent years, the birds have had to give up on this place to stop over due to increased human and dog traffic.
This year, the Whimbrel Watch team, headed up by Tim McCarthy from the Toronto Ornitholigical Club (TOC), will place information signs leading to Whimbrel Point in the hope that people, especially dog walkers, will respect the birds' need for a chance at a well earned touchdown and draw attention to the important work that the monitoring team will be doing.

There has been a lot of discussion about whether fencing off the point during migration is what's required for the birds' welfare.  Instead, for now, the opportunity to educate won out over restrictions.  Let's hope this turns out to be a successful strategy.

There have been many previous posts about Whimbrels on this blog.  To see them and learn more about these intrepid travelers, enter "whimbrels" in the search bar at the top right of the home page and follow the links.

COYOTE REPORT

A coyote pup has recently been seen in the park.  Please pay attention to the advisory signs, especially if you are walking a dog.


Here are some links about coyotes in parks that give more information.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

SWAN FREED FROM CARELESSLY DISCARDED FISHING TACKLE - RAISES LARGER QUESTION OF ANGLERS' RESPONSIBILITIES TO WILDLIFE.



"Salman Almoteb and CCFEW member Brian Bailey are shown removing two fish hooks and several feet of fishing line from a distressed Mute Swan tangled close to shore. Bruce Wilkinson was able to snag the line with a long branch and pull the Swan within reach. The bird seemed to know they were helping it and did not struggle. Fisherman should be more aware of what can happen when they discard tackle like this in the water or close to shore. Thankfully this had a happy ending."

Report from Sam Smith Park yesterday.

There have been other reports from the park like this of waterbirds being tangled up in discarded fishing line, hooks and lures carelessly left by fisherman in the bay.  Fishing is legal in Sam Smith and our park is becoming ever more popular for this activity.  Anglers need to be made more aware of their responsibilities to wildlife.  The City of Toronto is quite clear about this in their bylaws.
 

 


Maybe what Sam Smith Park needs are signs like the ones posted around Grenadier Pond in High Park where they have similar problems?

Friends of Sam Smith Park will follow up on the feasibility of this with the City of Toronto's Parks Department.

Friday, April 29, 2016

"WILD BIRDS UNLIMITED" OFFERING BEGINNER BIRD HIKES IN SAM SMITH PARK BEGINNING MAY 7TH.



Spring Bird Hikes for Beginner Birders 
Have you wanted to get started in the fun and exciting hobby of bird watching but were not sure how to begin? We are here to help you. Spring migration is ramping up, many of our local birds are returning to the area while others are passing through. Now is the time to start wandering the local hot spots to get a look at the birds in their spring finery.
Wild Birds Unlimited has hikes planned through the peak weeks of migration. We will be birding one of the local birding hot spots, Colonel Samuel Smith Park.
The staff of Wild Birds Unlimited will be leading the hikes. Kyle and Jesse will be our main hike leaders supported by Barb, Lynda and myself.To learn a little more about Kyle and Jesse check out their bios.
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Hike Details

  1. Please call the store and sign up for the hike or hikes you wish to attend. Please provide the number of attendees.
  2. We will meet in the back parking lot of Wild Birds Unlimited in Toronto (5468 Dundas Street West) at 7:30 am.
  3. We will carpool if possible and leave for the park by 7:45 am.
  4. Hikes will run until 10 am.
  5. Hikes will be cancelled due to inclement weather. Call the store Friday during working hours (10 am - 6 pm) for a hike update.
  6. These hikes are free.
  7. Store telephone number - 416-233-3558
Hike Schedule
 
Hikes will take place on the following Saturdays: April 30
May 07

May 14

May 21