Saturday, May 30, 2015

COME SHARE YOUR STORIES ABOUT THE LAKESHORE GROUNDS - LAKESHORE GROUNDS INTERPRETIVE CENTRE

  
 We are hosting our first community storytelling roundtable at The Assembly Hall on Sunday, June 7th from 1:00pm to 3:00pm.   Please register here.

We encourage people to come and share their 5 minute story about their personal relationship to the Lakeshore Grounds. People are welcome to just come and listen. The session will be audio-recorded, but no recording will be used without the written consent of the speaker. All forms and information sheets will be made available at the event.

At this event, you will learn about other opportunities to share your story. 


Location
The Assembly Hall
1 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive.
Toronto, ON. M8V 4B6


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

SATURDAY - 6TH ANNUAL SPRING BIRD FESTIVAL AT SAM SMITH PARK


HOW TO GET BLOG POSTINGS BY EMAIL

To get Friends of Sam Smith Park blog postings by email, use the above widget located on the blog homepage.

DAILY WHIMBREL WATCH HAS NOW STARTED AT SAM SMITH PARK

Tim McCarthy from the Toronto Ornithological Club is the guy with the binoculars scanning the sky.  The other person is Wayne Renaud.  Go out to Whimbrel Point, talk to the observers and learn about Whimbrels.

There are many posts on the bird in this blog - to read them, enter "whimbrels" in the search bar (top right homepage).

Here is Tim's first Ontbirds report from Monday.  (To follow Ontbirds, here's how to subscribe.)

From: Tim McCarthy on behalf of Ontbirds:

I suppose you'd wonder where today's participants in the inaugural Fred Bodsworth Memorial Whimbrel Watch had gotten to if I didn't send out this note.
Suffice to say if you didn't come out today you did not miss any Whimbrels. You would have , had you been as masochistic as we are and stayed at it most of the day seen 18 Common Loons, 261 White Winged Scoters and 8 Black Brant among the usual swallows terns etc. If you had gotten thoroughly cold and bored and came back with me to get a coffee from the "Timmies" that was closed on
First Year Male Summer Tanager
account of there being no kids at school you would have gotten a half-moulted Summer Tanager. (half green, half red.) That bird stuck around most of the day, passing East to West and back just North of the old heating plant, the one with the tall chimney. Look up in the trees, its probably still there.
But there aren't any Whimbrels yet. Now we don't freeze in the cold and later fry in the sun out there on the Bodsworth Bench for nothing. Well, sometimes.
When the Whimbrels come tomorrow they will be most amazing to see and hear. And if they land where we think they will, it may prove to be a landmark (pun intended) addition to their migration pattern and even to their well-being.
The Whimbrel Watch takes place from now until the end of May starting at around 6 am each morning at the Southernmost tip of Sam Smith Park, known as Whimbrel Point. Sam Smith Park is  at the foot of Kipling Avenue in New Toronto, easily accessible by car or bus from Kipling subway station. It can be a lot cooler out there than it is at home so read the weather and dress accordingly. Bring something to sit on, your bins and a 'scope if you can and slather on the sunscreen.
Tomorrow we're gonna get 'em. 

Tim McCarthy

ETOBICOKE BUTTERFLY FESTIVAL - SUNDAY, MAY 31ST., 10 A.M.

Click here for more information.

If you go, how about taking the wildflower seed bomb and milkweed seedling to Sam Smith Park and planting them there?

WHAT'S HAPPENING AT THE POWERHOUSE?

We are told that a cafe is being constructed on the second floor and that an elevator will also be installed.  Work is planned to end in October 2015.
This is all we could find out after calls to the City (311), the Councillor's office and the Ken Cox Community Centre.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

ROOSTING SAM SMITH WHIP POOR-WHIL PRETENDING TO BE JUST "A BUMP ON A LOG"

Thanks to Peter Wade for the photograph 

Often heard but seldom observed, the Whip-poor-will chants its name on summer nights in eastern woods. The song may seem to go on endlessly; a patient observer once counted 1,088 whip-poor-wills given rapidly without a break. By day, the bird sleeps on the forest floor, or on a horizontal log or branch.

Here is the Whip-poor-will's call - it really does say its name!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

BLACK LEGGED TICKS IN CSSP - LYME DISEASE ADVISORY FROM RECENT PARK VISITOR



Black Legged Tick

"JUST A WARNING TO ALL BIRD ENTHUSIASTS AND DOG OWNERS: We found a tick on our lab today. We walk her along the paths and avoid areas bushes near the harbour shores but we took her out to the Whimbrel Point area the other day where there are a lot more tall weeds and grasses and suspect this is where she picked up the tick. As you know black legged ticks now carry Lyme Disease as well as the deer tick and the public health has posted warnings about other serious tick transmitted diseases that have moved into the area. Protect yourselves with Deet repellents or vinegar water and pepperment oil or citronella based natural home-made repellents. Recipes for effective natural tick repellents can be easily found online!"

Saturday, May 9, 2015

RARE KENTUCKY WARBLER SEEN BY MANY BIRDERS IN PARK THIS MORNING



Thanks to Brian Bailey for this photograph
Sam Smith Park and a happy group of birders and photographers welcomed a rare visitor this morning.
  
After a perilous journey from the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico and a non-stop flight across the Gulf of Mexico, a Kentucky Warbler found itself in Canada, way outside of its normal migration and summer ranges. (Coincidentally, one was also seen at Point Pelee this morning.)

This bird is a threatened species, primarily due to habitat loss - understory vegetation in deciduous forests.  

The breeding bird survey shows a 35% population loss from 1966 to 2001 even across its normal U.S. range.

By the way, a group of Kentucky Warblers is collectively known as a "derby" of warblers.

Its fortunate presence in our park this morning, as it foraged and fed along the banks of North Creek just east of the Powerhouse, illustrates the importance of safeguarding these precious spots.

Friends of Sam Smith Park lobbied for this area, as well as the Dogwood Thickets on the east side of the oval, to be included as an "environmentally sensitive area" during the recent public consultation process.

COYOTE ADVISORY SIGNS NOW IN PARK





For more information and links to Toronto Animal Services and TRCA advisories, please read a previous FOSS post on the subject.

Friday, May 8, 2015

MAY 23RD - UPCOMING EXHIBITION BY HUMBER COLLEGE THAT WILL LINK THE EXTINCT PASSENGER PIGEON AND PSYCHIATRIC SURVIVORS

There will be a new exhibition at Humber College in the L-Space Gallery in building L (the large building on the middle of the old hospital quadrangle - entrance near Tim Horton's). 

The  exhibition is called "Visualizing Absence" and it will "memorialize the histories of the former Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital Grounds".  It will run from May 22nd. to July 3rd.  The opening reception will take place on Saturday, May 23rd. at 3 p.m. (The day of the Spring Bird Festival which finishes at 1 p.m.).

For more information, please visit the "Visualizing Absence" website and/or Humber College's Interpretive Centre website.

One interesting aspect of the exhibition will be "prayergrams" which will be attached to trees in the park.  They will connect the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon with the names of 1,511 people buried at the Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital Cemetery, mostly in unmarked graves. 

To read more about the Passenger Pigeon, please check out a previous Friends of Sam Smith Park post about "Martha, the last Passenger Pigeon".

The 1,511 people buried in the Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital Cemetery (on the corner of Evans Avenue and Horner Avenue, about 2 km from the Lakeshore grounds) were institutionalized and hidden away in life and, in death, remain forgotten.

This project honours the Passenger Pigeon and gives a name and a voice to every person buried in the cemetery.

They are making 1,511 prayergrams out of biodegradable unbleached Kraft paper. Using water based paint, one side of each piece of paper holds part of a stenciled image of a Passenger Pigeon.   Using pencil and water based ink, each prayergram will give the gravesite location and the name of each person buried in the cemetery. 

Unbleached twine attaches the prayergram to a tree branch and, when the paper deteriorates, the twine can be used by birds and other small animals to make nests.

Monday, May 4, 2015

SUMMARY: MINUTES FOSS STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING, APRIL 28TH, 2015



                   Summary: FOSS Steering Committee Meeting                                         
                                         April 28th, 20 - 7:06 PM, LAMP, 185 5th Street Etobicoke

  • CSS Park Bird Festival: Saturday, May 23. 9AM-1PM. Kids’ activities. Nature displays. Photography contest. Door prizes. And much more.
  • CSS Park Cleanup Day: Sunday, April 19 was a great success. FOSS thanks all volunteers who helped pick up unwanted trash in the park. A special thank you to organizer Alan Roy.
  • FOSS also thanks all volunteers who helped plant bird-friendly trees and shrubs in the park on May 2.
  • FOSS is investigating the possibility of repairing the Men’s Picnic Shelter in CSS Park. A co-sponsor with some funding capability is required.
  • Thank you to the Weston Foundation and their Weston Family Parks Challenge for funding: 1. A new FOSS brochure (being printed and will be available for distribution soon), 2. A FOSS website (presently under construction), and 3. New Bird Checklists (now available).
  • Call 311 for any off-leash dog infractions. The city’s response is “complaint driven”.
  • FOSS Membership Renewals: See blog for membership form. Present members are encouraged to renew and individuals on FOSS’s contact list are welcome to join.
  • With the removal of trees for the new Humber College Welcome Centre (HCWC) on Colonel Samuel Smith Drive, FOSS advocates that native trees, not shrubs, be used as replacements and that the location and species be determined by the city’s wildlife/habitat specialist in conjunction with the Forestry Department.
  • FOSS also suggests that the trees be planted in clumps in order to duplicate the habitat that will be lost with the building of the HCWC.
  • FOSS’s suggestions concerning the replacement of trees have received supportive feedback from both Wanda Buote (Principal, Lakeshore Campus) and Hai Nguyen (Planner, Urban Forestry, City of Toronto).
  • Many additional trees in CSS Park continue to suffer severe collateral damage from the city’s overzealous grass and weed trimmers.
  • FOSS will provide representation/input related to the development of a planned 200 sq. ft. exhibit space highlighting the history of the Lakeshore Grounds.