Category Archives: Nature Walk Reports

Coots at High Park: October 21, 2020

We had several American Coots this morning during a walk which had moments of heavy rain.

American Coot with Mallards

I use the word “coot” in its ornithological meaning; not its secondary meaning of “humorous or eccentric old fellow” although there were likely a few of those as well.

American Coot

Coots are members of the “rail” family and are best identified by their whitish beaks which can often be seen at great distances.

American Coot
American Coots

In Ontario, coots are found in the breeding season on shallow ponds and lakes with submerged vegetation near the surface often near stands of reeds.

American Coot
American Coots
American Coot
American Coot

Other birds:

Red-tailed Hawk
Mallard (female)
Wood Ducks
Wood Duck (female)
Wood Ducks
Wood Duck (female)
Wood Ducks
Wood Duck (male)
Wood Ducks
Wood Ducks
Wood Ducks
Wood Ducks

Species list: great blue heron, mallard, wood duck, red-tailed hawk, ring-billed gull, blue jay, black-capped chickadee, white-breasted nuthatch, red-breasted nuthatch, American robin, Swainson’s thrush, ruby-crowned kinglet, house sparrow, northern cardinal, American goldfinch, white-throated sparrow. (17 species)

Park scenes:

Chipmunk

Some botany:

Autumn-olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)
Red Oak (Quercus rubra)
Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus)
Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)
New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)
Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)
Glossy Buckthorn (Rhamnus utilis)
Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis)
Arrow-leaved Aster (Symphyotrichum urophyllum)

Today’s group:

NATURE POETRY

I come from haunts of coot and hern,
I make a sudden sally
And sparkle out among the fern,
To bicker down a valley. – Tennyson

Miles Hearn