Sunday, April 26, 2009

RAINY DAY BIRDING SUGGESTION FROM WALT

What can you do on a rainy or snowy day when it is hard for some of us to get out and enjoy nature? Why not use the power of the internet to keep your eye on nature from the comfort of your own home? Here are a few of my favourite webcams to keep checking over the next few months, to watch the eagles and falcons, hatch, grow and fledge.

Hamilton Falconwatch...(4 eggs to be ready by Mother's Day)
http://falcons.hamiltonnature.org/

Eagles near Duke Farms (3 chicks already!!)http://www.dukefarms.org/page.asp?pageId=565

Various BC Eagle webcams (you can watch in our evenings, still daylight there!) http://www.hancockwildlifechannel.org/index.php?topic=cam-sites

Or...go to www.earthcam.com
and search for your favourite bird species! Enjoy!

Posted by Walt Balenovich

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

RARE (FOR ONTARIO) WESTERN GREBE IN PARK

If you were in the park for clean-up day last Sunday, you probably saw many birders with scopes and cameras. The bird they were chasing is the Western Grebe, a prairie bird that rarely pops up in Ontario. It has been in the waters off the western headland for a few weeks now, sometimes within feet of the shore, hanging out with red-necked grebes. It is an extremely elegant bird and easy to spot. A folk name for this fairly large bird is "swan-necked grebe"; if you see it, you'll know why. The bird is best known for its courtship display - two birds will rear up and patter across the surface of the water.
Check out the two grebe nesting platforms that TRCA have put in the bay. One is close to the spot where there used to be an observation deck, until it was burned. That vantage point is well used by wildlife photographers. It is about a meter from shore and is supported by four blue floats. Hopefully, red-necked or horned grebes will use it and eventually become park residents.

PLANT EXCHANGE

PLANT EXCHANGE: LEGS GARDENING EVENT OF THE SEASON
MAY 9, 2009


Lakeshore Environmental Gardening Society (LEGS) is presenting their semi-annual Plant Exchange at the Assembly Hall, on May 9th, 9-1 pm. The Plant Exchange is designed to allow gardeners, the community, and locals to come out and exchange plants, seeds, and any unwanted tools. This is the true spirit of environmentalism: reuse, reduce, and recycle. The day is filled with plenty of activities and interest for everyone. For more information and to register for the talk, email: info@legsetobicoke.ca or call 416.347.5449.

ETOBICOKE GUARDIAN - PARK BIRDERS

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

SKATING TRAIL MEETING

Last Tuesday, Allen Valk and two other members of the FOSS executive were invited to attend a meeting at The Assembly Hall organized by Sheila Paxton, our Councillor's Executive Assistant. Irene Jones, former Councillor, and Brian Bailey from CCFEW were also present as well as City staff and skating trail consultants. The latest drawings were shown to us. They show the trail running through the woodlot north of the Power House and further east (closer to North Creek) than was indicated in the concept design we were shown last year. Trail level would be maintained by building retaining walls and by excavation to a height and depth of approximately one metre. Trees would be removed and additional trees and understory would be planted. It was made very clear to us that the City is determined to begin construction very soon and intend to have it up and ready for next Winter, in spite of significant community opposition.
FOSS members went over our concerns and explained the compromise solution we had previously sent to the Councillor. They can be seen in the previous post http://friendsofsamsmithpark.blogspot.com/2009/04/open-letter-from-foss-to-councillor.html
Sheila Paxton told us that she would take our views to the Councillor and City staff and get back to us, but indicated that changing existing parking agreements would probably be "impossible" and that it was very late at this point to make changes to the design. Oh for that Citizens' Management/Advisory Board!!!

Posted by Terry Smith

Monday, April 20, 2009

VIDEO HISTORY OF HOSPITAL GROUNDS

This is an interesting twelve minute video history of Lakeshore Physciatric Hospital and its grounds made by Rogers Television as part of their "Structures"program. It reinforces the concept of the whole site as being a place of education, healing and restoration and shows the long standing community involvement in its development.

SPRING CLEAN UP - 2009

Many thanks to all those who participated in yesterday's spring clean-up day in the park. It was a well attended event and the park is a much cleaner and pleasant place for your efforts. Special thanks to Alan Roy for his tireless efforts in ensuring the success and enjoyable atmosphere of these events.

Posted by Allan Valk, Chairperson, Friends of Sam Smith Park

CLEAN-UP 2009 - PHOTOGRAPHS






















MEMBERS URGED TO SUBMIT POSTS TO FOSS BLOG

Have you got some interesting perspectives, news, facts, history , observations or concerns that you would like to express about the park. The FOSS blog needs posts, including photographs and short videoclips, from members. Please forward them to Terry Smith tz.smith@sympatico.ca for publication. Thanks.

Friday, April 17, 2009

PARK BIRD WALKS

CCFEW, with sponsorship from Birds and Beans, is hosting two upcoming bird walks in Sam Smith. The dates are April 25th and May 9th. Walks start at 9 a.m. - meet in south parking lot.

CCFEW AGM

CCFEW Annual General Meeting
Thursday, April 23rd, 7:00pm
Guest Speaker: Ken Sharratt

“High Park Community Advisory Council - history and growing pains”

The High Park Community Advisory Council is probably the most successful park advocacy organization in the city. What can we learn from their experience to apply in South Etobicoke? We have several large parks, but only one group focused on a specific park, the Friends of Sam Smith Park (FOSS). What can we do to foster community engagement and cooperation with the City in our parks?
Join us in the Community Room at LAMP, 185 Fifth StreetThursday, April 23rd, 7:00pm Everyone is welcome!

Monday, April 13, 2009

UNFORTUNATELY, THE PARK'S FIRST GRASS FIRE OF THE SEASON









Quick work by park users and some FOSS members this evening prevented this grass fire on second bay from spreading. Youngsters had been seen running from the scene. The fire department arrived ten minutes after the emergency call was placed, only to find that it had already been taken care of.

Monday, April 6, 2009

COYOTES

Friend of Sam Smith Park member Kathy Sims comments on coyotes in urban parks in this morning’s Toronto Sun. The article included the following advice from wildlife experts ......
- Never feed a coyote.
- Consider leashing your dog in areas frequented by coyotes.
- Don't encourage interaction with a coyote.
- Don't leave garbage, pet food, fallen fruit or bird seed where accessible.
- Consider making your cat an inside pet and keep an eye on small dogs.
- Spaying and neutering protects dogs from coyote interaction.
- Don't run from a coyote if approached; stand still and make noise, such as clapping hands

Follow this link to read the full-page article
http://www.torontosun.com/news/torontoandgta/2009/04/06/9020171-sun.html

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

ONTARIO SPECIES AT RISK IN THE PARK

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources published its most recent Species At Risk In Ontario list in February 2009 (SARIO list). It can be viewed at http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/Species/2ColumnSubPage/246809.html

(Status definitions are given in the glossary at the end of the list) Habitat preservation for these species is one of the purposes behind the publication of the list.

There are a number of bird species on the list that I have observed in Sam Smith Park, especially resting and feeding during migration and in the naturalized areas that are most at risk from development. These birds include the Short-Eared Owl, the Golden-Winged Warbler, the Cerulean Warbler, the Hooded Warbler, and the Least Bittern. I am sure that there are many other species on that list, including amphibians, fish and reptiles that have been seen by others in Sam Smith.

Monarch butterflies are also on the list.

If you have been lucky enough to have seen any of these struggling species, please contact me (Terry Smith) at tz.smith@sympatico.ca

TREE SWALLOW NESTING BOXES



Tree swallow nesting boxes placed in the park to date have been very successful and are a big draw for park visitors. Unfortunately, there are always more potential tenants than nesting boxes and in a couple of weeks the annual struggle for occupancy will start all over again. It would be a great idea if FOSS members could increase the nesting capacity for these delightful birds by putting additional, simple-to-make boxes on stakes that are already in the park. Along the shore on third bay (east side) are a number of metal stakes that are ideal for this - see photo. Boxes are easily made from a 6' X 6" X 1" pressure treated board ($3 at Home Depot) and construction plans are available at http://www.coveside.biz/tree-swallow-house-plans.htm The clean-out side panel should be secured with a small screw to deter vandalism. Boxes should be placed facing any direction other than north and at about five feet. This would make a great school or interest project to do with your kids. If they were set up in the next few weeks, they would probably be occupied this year. If you need any help with this or want to discuss it, please contact Terry Smith at tz.smith@sympatico.ca.

LONE KYAKER PHOTOGRAPHED IN PARK BY GEORGE RAIKOU