Wood Ducks and many Asters still in Flower at High Park / October 7, 2019

In the wild, Wood Ducks are often very difficult to spot and once you do, they fly quickly away. After generations of association with people in High Park, the Wood Ducks here are very trusting.

Wood Duck (male)
Wood Duck (female)
Wood Duck (male)
Wood Duck (male)

Species list: mallard, wood duck, red-tailed hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, ring-billed gull, northern flicker, hairy woodpecker, downy woodpecker, yellow-bellied sapsucker, black-capped chickadee, white-breasted nuthatch, ruby-crowned kinglet, house sparrow, American goldfinch, song sparrow.  (15 species)

Black-capped Chickadee
Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Juvenile)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Juvenile)

There are fewer and fewer Aster flowers as the days go by in autumn.

Panicled Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum)
Purple-stemmed Aster (Symphyotrichum puniceum)
New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)
Sky-blue Aster (Symphyotrichum oolentangiense)

Other botany:

Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens grandulifera)
Pinkweed (Persicaria pensylvanica)
Black Oak acorn
Bush-honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera)
Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum)
Virgin’s Bower (Clematis virginiana)

Other nature:

Oil Beetle

Park scenes:

This morning’s group:


Several winters ago a barred owl showed up in the downtown district of Toronto. There was a tree at the back of the Y.M.C.A. building where it frequently spent the day. Birders enjoyed walking down an alleyway behind the “Y” and, with no more effort than looking up, adding it to their winter list.

The owl spent a most pleasant winter. For lunch it had only to knock a pigeon off the eave of a nearby building. Following this, a comfortable nap in the one and only tree in the neighbourhood got the day in rather nicely.

One of the employees at the “Y” developed quite an affection for the bird and started leaving the window of a vacant third-story room open in case the owl might like a warmer place to spend the night. Sure enough, the owl moved right in and would often roost on the foot of an old iron bedstead.

Birders didn’t like this at all at first because the bird was no longer easy to find from the street. However, word soon got around that if you wanted to see the owl you should ask for the caretaker. If the owl was in, he would say, “Yes, she’s up in her room.” He would then escort you to the door and there would be the owl looking at you whammy-eyed. (Gerry Bennett)

Miles Hearn

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