Kingfisher and a Yellow-belly by the Don: September 30, 2021

Belted Kingfishers often sit on exposed perches about 5 – 20 feet over water. We had a good look at this one today:

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher

The Yellow-bellied Flycatcher spends the summer in dense spruce woods. We spotted a southbound migrant hunting for food by a pond:

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher

Other birds:

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
Wood Ducks
Wood Ducks
Wood Ducks
Song Sparrow This one sang a few times – unusual in fall.
Song Sparrow
Song Sparrow

Species list: great blue heron, wood duck, red-tailed hawk, belted kingfisher, downy woodpecker, yellow-bellied flycatcher, blue jay, black-capped chickadee, American robin, gray catbird, ruby-crowned kinglet, northern cardinal, American goldfinch, song sparrow. (14 species)

Don Valley views:

Red-eared Sliders
Grasshopper
A kind soul took hours to dig this out of the Don River and cart it up to the garbage bins.

Some botany:

Water Smartweed (Persicaria amphibia)
Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica)
Bur Oak acorn
White Ash (Fraxinus americana)
Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus inserta)
Red Oak (Quercus rubra)
Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)
Tansy (Tanecetum vulgare)
Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)
Wall Rocket (Diplotaxis muralis)
Hawthorn “haws”
Xanthium strumarium (cocklebur also called clotbur)
Purple-flowering Raspberry (Rubus odoratus)

Today’s group:

MAILBOX

After posting this salmon photo, I got an interesting letter.

Salmon

Hi Miles,
It is possible that the salmon you saw today are Atlantic salmon but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it. Atlantic salmon were native to the lake but by the end of the 19th Century we managed to eradicate them due to over-fishing, stream degradation, and a decline in the population of alewives. There have been efforts to bring them back going back decades now.

When I was a kid, the Ministry started stocking two non-native salmon varieties, coho and chinook (also called Kings). These are both Pacific salmon species. The province spent a lot of money stocking them, so much so that it spawned (excuse the pun) a commercial sport fishing industry which exists to this day. I don’t think we really know how successful natural reproduction of these two species is, but some people believe up to half of the chinooks caught in Lake Ontario and tribs are “wild” or un-stocked fish.
There are also lake trout, brown trout and rainbow trout in the lake. I’ve read that the lake trout population has done well in recent years and that the rainbows and the browns are successful spawners in Lake Ontario rivers.

The Ministry has been stocking Atlantic salmon for years, but I have not heard of anyone actually seeing an honest to God identified adult Atlantic salmon from the lake or one of her rivers. Still, there may be some around. A few years ago they took to stocking some in the Upper Credit and I’ve caught and released many tiny Atlantics while fishing the Credit for resident brown trout. Many of the regular fly fishers in the Upper Credit believe the Atlantics, if successful, will eventually displace the excellent resident brown trout fishery.

If you see really big salmon in local rivers, and they look like they are in rough shape, they are certainly chinooks, which die after spawning. Rainbow trout and coho trout look very much alike. Here is a Michigan site which provides great info on identifying the salmonoids. 

https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-350-79119_79146_82436-448671–,00.html


Eugene

Eugene thinks that the photo might be a chinook salmon.

NATURE POETRY

The morning breaks upon the shore, 
The day from slumber doth awake, 
Bestir, ye ships of life, and shake 
The drowsy anchor for the oar.                – George Reginald Margetson (1877–1952)

Miles Hearn

2 thoughts on “Kingfisher and a Yellow-belly by the Don: September 30, 2021

  1. William Rosenfeld

    It is perhaps worth noting that brown trout are not native although they have thrived in water too warm for native specked trout.

    Reply

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