Here come the birds

Nancy and I joined the Toronto Ornithological Club today for its annual April jaunt to the Leslie Street Spit (aka Tommy Thompson Park) on the Toronto waterfront. A chilly day, but still lots of good sightings of birds headed up north for the 2010 breeding season.

Among the crowds of cormorants, ring-billed gulls and red-wing blackbirds were:

• several common loons in flight

• hermit thrushes by the bird research station

• a cooper’s hawk. The young woman running the bird banding station found a pile of northern flicker feathers that morning, apparently a victim of the cooper’s.

• a kestrel pair, hunting the sparrows

• a field sparrow and white-throated sparrow (“Oh sweet Canada Canada Canada” its unmistakable call, a favourite of mine and so evocative of the north woods)

• a kingfisher patrolling the shoreline

• tree swallows galore, along with a couple of barn swallows

• our expert guides heard a ruby-crowned kinglet but we didn’t see it

• a couple of yellow-rumped warblers flew by but we didn’t get a good look at them

• on the water: red-breasted mergansers, greater and lesser scaup, buffleheads (I love that name), lovely canvas-backs with their red heads, big herring gulls, American widgeons, long-tails, mute swans

• common and Caspian terns

The big wave of warblers is still a few weeks away.

Thanks to trip leader Hugh Currie and the club for an enjoyable morning. Look forward to seeing many of these birds up north this summer.

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