Sunday, June 2, 2013

SAM SMITH PARK NEWS

Two of the nesting platforms are now being used by Red Necked Grebe families.  Both nests are reported to have three eggs in each according to a TRCA observer using a telescope at the recent Spring Bird Festival. Stewardship for the nests is provided by the Lakeshore Yacht Club.  Last year, the first successful breeding attempt yielded one pair with two chicks.  The chicks rode around on their parents' backs for the first few weeks to the delight of park visitors. (Photog: Julie Hyde)
Correction: There are now three platforms being used by grebes.  It is not known if there are eggs in the third.

One wonders what the grebes make of the large parasails drying in the wind overhead - monster predators hovering overhead to snatch unguarded eggs (which the gulls will do if the nest is unattended)?


One of the Purple Martin Hoses donated to FOSS and CCFEW has finally been installed by the Conservertion Authority.  It is located just inside the west fence of the yacht club.  It is able to be lowered and raised for annual cleaning and is behind the fence to deter vandalism.
In May 2010, Justin DiCiano from One Village Care, Councillor Grimes and Peter Kent (Minister of the Environment) presented Purple Martin houses, built by local youth, to Friends of Sam Smith and CCFEW for the park.  The beautiful birdhouses were hand made and “donated to honour the work and the effort that both organizations put into helping to maintain our parkland.”


The Purple Martin House is quite a way off from the water and quite low to the ground - generally not the best conditions for attracting birds.  Please report on any bird sightings and let's hope for success.


Some new Tree Swallow nesting boxes have recently appeared in the park.  They are beautifully constructed and meet the nesting dimensions required by the birds.  However, they have been placed way to close to each other.  Such close proximity creates harmful stress and aggression among nesting pairs. The Conservation Authority will soon reposition them in the park.  If anyone knows about the origin of the boxes, please let us know.  Park stewardship by the local community is to be encouraged, but it must follow guidelines that will be beneficial for the wildlife.  FOSS members have helped local children at the Spring Bird Festivals to build boxes and regularly clean out and sanitize them every spring.

When will the dangerous-looking observation deck be repaired?


As predicted, the Aussie Rules Football storage container has become, in a few short weeks, a canvas for taggers and graffiti "artists".  The City and footballers will have to constantly repaint to prevent it from becoming even more of an eyesore than it already is.
The tags on the storage unit were painted out the day after this post.
People are reporting seeing more Cottontail Rabbits in the park this year - possibly because of the current absence of foxes and coyotes.  One of the best places to chance upon one is along the two trails that run through the Red Osier Dogwood thicket just east of the oval playing field.

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