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Citizens Concerned About the Future of the Etobicoke Waterfront

Updated: Nov 23, 2022

December 2021 Bird Walk
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Our December 4, 2021 walk was lead by Marc Lichtenberg. This was Marc’s first time leading a CCFEW walk and just the second CCFEW walk since the start of Covid-19. This meant preregistration, masks, and no sharing of scopes. As expected we found a mix of year-round resident species as well as some winter visitors, but the mix was not quite what we might have expected. Samll passerines (perching birds) were virtually absent, but we made up for it with some less expected sightings.

At the start of the walk, we had a Red-tailed Hawk perched on top of the Powerhouse chimney and a Snowy Owl on top of one of the construction cranes at Humber College. We walked up to get a closer look at the Snowy Owl and got there just before it moved to another perch were it became almost invisible.

A bit later we got a much closer look at the Red-tailed Hawk on a low perch where it was being closely watched by a couple of Grey Squirrels.

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With not a single chickadee, woodpecker, or kinglet to be found, we made our way toward the lake, were we had a bit more luck with birds. In the pond, we found the American Wigeon X Mallard hybrid duck. This duck has been a resident on the West Toronto waterfront for many years. We also found a Cooper’s Hawk actively searching for its next meal.

Near the docks, we watched a parasitic feeding strategy of two American Wigeons who ambushed an American Coot every time it brought a fresh batch of vegetation back to the surface. (Wigeons don’t dive, but coots do.)

A highlight for many people, was finding not one, but two Long-eared Owls. Finding Long-eared Owls (or Screech, or Saw-whets) is always exciting for the participants, but it can be difficult to balance that with the well-being of the owls. Fortunately, both owls were in locations that made close approach virtually impossible. Harassment of owls is a concern that seems to get worse every year, and we certainly didn’t want to be part of the problem.

We finished the walk with 24 species of birds and two hybrids. Here is the full list of species:

Canada Goose
Mute Swan
Gadwall
American Wigeon
Mallard
American Wigeon x Mallard (hybrid)
Mallard x American Black Duck (hybrid)
Greater Scaup
Long-tailed Duck
Bufflehead
Common Goldeneye
Red-breasted Merganser
Red-necked Grebe
 

Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)
Mourning Dove
American Coot
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Double-crested Cormorant
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Snowy Owl
Long-eared Owl
American Robin
House Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
 

And here are some photos from the walk:

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A Long-eared Owl in deep cover.

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