Cooper’s Hawk & Hercules Club at Thompson Memorial Park: September 12, 2020

My last TDSB walk was on March 12th.

walk at Ashbridge’s Bay

Since then, I have gone by myself to 180 different locations and made posts of each. It was good to walk once again with others today though, as you can see, group members now look a little different.

Thomson Memorial Park is the site of the Scarborough Historical Museum and includes historical houses of the founding family as well as the adjacent St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (1818) and Cemetery.

It also includes woods and meadow lining a section of Highland Creek.

If you have a birdfeeder and look at it often enough, you will eventually spot a Cooper’s Hawk.

Cooper’s Hawk

They are bold and aggressive predators of other birds.

Cooper’s Hawk

The species was named in 1828 by Charles Lucien Bonaparte in honor of his friend and fellow ornithologist, William Cooper.

Cooper’s Hawk

Today we spotted one high in the sky. The crow-size and rectangular tail are diagnostic.

Cooper’s Hawk

We also saw a far off Red-tailed Hawk.

Red-tailed Hawk

Species list: great blue heron, red-tailed hawk, Cooper’s hawk, mourning dove, belted kingfisher, common flicker, downy woodpecker, blue jay, American crow, black-capped chickadee, red-breasted nuthatch, gray catbird, black-throated blue warbler, northern cardinal, American goldfinch. (15 species)

American Crow

Some insects:

Japanese Beetle
Crane Fly (Thanks to Ken Sproule for identification)
Woolly oak leaf galls (produced by tiny wasps)

Some botany:

Horse-chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)
Sycamore Maple (Acer pseudoplatanus)
Sycamore Maple (Acer pseudoplatanus)
Black Raspberry (Rubus occidentalis)
Wood Nettle (Laportea canadensis)
Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens grandulifera)
Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens grandulifera)
Panicled Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum)
Calico Aster (Symphyotrichum lateriflorum)
Calico Aster (Symphyotrichum lateriflorum)
Purple-stemmed Aster (Symphyotrichum puniceum)
New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)
Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis)
Zigzag Goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulis)
Bull Thistle (Cirsium vulgare)
Field Sow-thistle (Sonchus arvensis)
Jerusalem-artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus)
Chinese chestnuts
Great Burdock (Arctium lappa)

Hercules Club can be a small tree  or an unbranched shrubby cluster of shoots from underground stems. They can grow from 6 – 16 feet high in a season which earn them their name. Hercules Club is being cultivated in a garden here.

Hercules-club (Aralia spinosa)
Hercules-club (Aralia spinosa)


From the charm of radiant faces,
From the days we took to dream,
From the joy of open spaces,
From the mountain and the stream,
Bronzed of sunlight, nerves a-tingle,
Speed we back again to mingle
In the battle for our bread.                                – Leslie Pinckney Hill (1880–1960) 

Miles Hearn

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