Monday, July 27, 2009

GROUND CONTROL TO MAJOR ENJOYMENT


Some of the the most interesting things to see at Sam Smith park are not flying in the skies, roosting in the trees or swimming around on the lake or in the pond. You can have lots of fun just watching your step and keeping your eye on the ground!

Many birds, such as the killdeer, lay their eggs in nests built in the soil. Have you ever seen a bird pretending to have a broken wing? It is a killdeer trying to lead you away from the eggs it has laid on the ground!






Perhaps you have seen a blur crossing your path or wiggling into the bushes? It may be a local snake which has been hatched in the rocks near the observation deck. Juvenile snakes are just starting to be seen as summer heats up!







Even some spectacular, colourful plants in all their glory are only a glance away down into the meadow. The bumblebees certainly are their biggest fan!

So, the next time you are passing through the park, watch out for that mink, groundhog, or many other of our grounded treasures!





Photos courtesy of Walter Weary and George Raikou.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

FROGS NEAR THE OBSERVATION DECK


There has been much concern over the last few years regarding the drop off in the frog population in Sam Smith park.

Last week, George Raikou was able to photograph some frogs in the pond near the observation deck.

Hopefully this is an indigenous species and not a pet that has been released into the wild.

Any confirmation on this from the photograph here, is welcomed.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

COOPER'S HAWKS HAVE FLEDGED



There was some concern after the storm on Saturday, which appears to have wiped out the nest of the Cooper's Hawks near the playing oval.

Happily, two fledglings were spotted on Thursday morning, in the fir trees, just north of the Powerhouse. The juveniles were vocalizing quite loudly and flying from tree to tree in the sunny weather.

If you are lucky and patient, you may be able to spot them for yourself the next time you are walking the path between the south parking lot and the two schools.

Great to see another generation of hawks in and around Sam Smith Park. The first of these pics depicts one of our hawks eating their prey.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

GREBES HAVE PRODUCED AN EGG, AND A SECOND PAIR OF GREBES

Update August 3:The grebes are incubating at least 1 egg as of the end of July. Both the female and the male are taking turns incubating and also are now defending their nest site against a SECOND pair of grebes now residing in the yacht club basin!

Update July 15: The grebes have returned to their original nest site. The female is sitting on the remnants and may be heavy with another egg.
Let's hope for success!

Update July 12: In the aftermath of Saturday's powerful storms, which caused much damage to the vicinity, the egg and nest were gone as of Sunday morning. Hopefully the grebes will return next year to try again. Many friends of Sam Smith have certainly enjoyed watching them over the last few months.
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George Raikou has photographed the grebes tending to a new egg near the eastern end of the yacht club basin.

Last year this pair nested in the reeds nearby and also laid eggs. The eggs were found scattered about afterward, so this year the birds have built the nest offshore.

Here's hoping for more eggs in the next few days and some successful hatches by early August.