Category Archives: Nature Walk Reports

A Merlin at Ashbridge’s Bay / February 15, 2019

It is always a thrill to see a Merlin. This one stayed in one place for at least 15 minutes and I took many photos. Merlins are uncommon and feed almost entirely on small birds. Due to their smallish size (10 inches or so long), they used to be called the Pigeon Hawk. Today’s was a female showing a brownish back; not the blue back of the males.

Merlin
Merlin
Merlin
Merlin
Merlin showing yellow cere
Merlin

A Raven was feeding from trash on the road into the park and a Northern Harrier flew by during our walk. Here is today’s list:

Species list: Canada goose, mallard, bufflehead, long-tailed duck, lesser scaup, common goldeneye, common merganser, northern harrier, merlin, ring-billed gull, common raven, black-capped chickadee, red-breasted nuthatch, northern cardinal.  (14 species)

As usual at Ashbridge’s Bay, the chickadees were happy to see us:

Black-capped Chickadee
Black-capped Chickadee

Other birds that I was able to photograph:

Long-tailed Duck (female)
Lesser Scaup (male) with Long-tailed Duck (male)
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Buffleheads (male)

Common Goldeneye (female)
Common Mergansers
Northern Cardinal (female)

The Austrian Pine is a very common planted tree in the Toronto area:

Austrian Pine (Pinus nigra)
Austrian Pine (Pinus nigra) cone
Austrian Pine (Pinus nigra)

The golden fruit of Sea-buckthorn is found here:

Sea-buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides)

Here are scenes from the park on this 3 degree, windy and overcast (at the start) morning:

This morning’s group:

N

COMING UP: February 17 in Friends of Miles: Some Birds from Algonquin Park: Ian Valentine

February 20 in Articles: Sycamore Maple

NATURE POETRY

Winter is good—his Hoar Delights
Italic flavor yield—
To Intellects inebriate
With Summer, or the World—       – Emily Dickinson (1830–86)

Miles Hearn