Colonel Sam Smith Park

Harlequin Duck in Calm Water

Last weekend I returned to Colonel Sam Smith Park in Toronto, Ontario along Lake Ontario in an effort to locate a HADU that had been seen in the marina area. Sure enough upon arrival on the scene, a beautiful adult male HADU was swimming quite close to shore in the marina.  Every winter and early spring I look forward to photographing this species somewhere along Lake Ontario. HADUs, which are an attractive sea duck are seen occasionally in this part of the country and you can usually count on the odd one or pair hanging around for part of the winter.

Duck Soup

When I head out to photograph birds, things don't always work out as planned. In fact, it rarely goes as planned, but that doesn't mean it's all for naught. Take this past weekend when I set out to photograph a Western Grebe that was reported near the harbour in Port Credit, Ontario along Lake Ontario. Western Grebe is not very common in this part of the country and I thought if I headed out reasonably early in the morning I might have a chance of capturing a nice photo if it happened to be near shore. I quickly spotted it upon my arrival using my scope and observed it for quite some time.

Hermit Thrush Takes a Bath

This Hermit Thrush enjoyed taking a bath for several minutes along the edge of a small pool in Toronto (October 19). Cloudy skies at the time combined with a relatively fast shutter speed of 1/1250 s increased my ISO setting to 4000 or 5000 for these photos; however, I find the Canon 1D-X is pretty capable of handling the resulting noise, especially when noise reduction is applied as is the case here. Whenever possible I like to capture bird behaviours in my photos. This individual entertained me as it splashed around several times and seemed oblivious to my presence.

Townsend’s Solitaire – A Rare Visitor to the East

Townsend’s Solitaire is a common western bird, but here in Ontario it is rare. It rarely wanders farther east than the western prairies (Dunne 2006). On October 19, at Colonel Sam Smith Park in Toronto, one was found by David Pryor and reported on Ontbirds. I and several other birders and photographers had an excellent opportunity to see and photograph this one-day visitor. Seeing a lifer is always exciting; however, capturing some good photos is always a pleasant bonus.