Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

May 11, 2009

High Park in early May

This weekend we went to High Park on our annual May search for the Orioles return to the city; but with it came some other great surprises.

The Orioles were found within minutes from exiting the car where we parked at High Park. I haven't heard that song since last August but I didn't forget it. Funny how it sticks with me even if I only see these birds for maybe a span of 4 weeks per year.

We know a "hot spot" in the park where we are pretty much guaranteed to see some Orioles and were not disappointed. That rush of excitement upon first glances of their return is something only one who appreciates our feathered friends can understand. I bet more people would be stunned by the visual beauty of an Oriole if they just stopped and looked at one (not that they are easily seen).

In the span of the next hour or so we happened to see a number of Ruby Throated Hummingbirds in the same area. I didn't expect to see them in the area already. It is early May and frost is still happening the occasional night. They were quite attracted to some shrubs we learned are called "Weigelas". The bright red flowers and the nectar within are a real treat for the Hummingbirds. The one thing about Hummingbirds is that they do not stop moving... so good luck in photographing one, especially still in the ranks of being an amateur photographer like myself.

A number of very small birds buzzed about the area too and we had no idea what they were. We made mental notes of a lot of the details about them... blue grey backs, dark wings, white undersides, long tails, white rings around the eyes, overall size, etc. With the help of our friend Lynda at our local Wild Birds Unlimited store, and a guide book we saw a new species to us... a Blue Grey Gnatcatcher. Another tough one to photograph, constantly moving and often higher up in the trees.

A lot of other new calls and songs were heard but nothing else stood out in our sights as a new species to identify.

I wanted to make mention that a visit to High Park is not just about the birds. Sure, it's a big part of it, but any outing to a park/forest/waterfront is also just about enjoying the day. Taking in the warm sun and enjoying all around us. To be surrounded by trees or water sure is nice. The less concrete I see, the better. The lack of noise of the passing cars and trucks as we go deeper into the park is great. I have learned over the last couple years that going out with just the mindset of seeing some birds is not the best way to go about things. I would get so wrapped up in just that, ignoring the beauty around me, the joy of what else the day and area had for me... and there are times when the birds just weren't around for whatever reason.

As the forests get greener everyday, the window for good bird spotting lessens... something others interested in attempting to watch the birds need to keep in mind. I will attach a few other of my favorite photos from this day out... enjoy! I am off to research these little Blue Grey Gnatcatchers as I know nothing about them, only now, that there is such a species.

A Chipmunk enjoyed our company as we tossed him peanut after peanut.

A male Red Winged Blackbird up in the tree, singing a song, waiting for some grub or enjoying the sun. Notice how the trees are still quite open? When it's full of leaves, the birds can hide in there quite well and then you can only hear them.

I am not sure what this flower is called but I saw a large patch of them. I got in close for this shot and didn't even notice the couple insects within until after I loaded the photo to the computer. Looks like 'Skeeters to me!

A bazillion red ants! Where's a Flicker when you need one? I've only seen it once when a Flicker attacks an ant site... quite a sight!

One of the many American Robins running about the grounds.

The Weigela plant as I mentioned... Hummingbird attractor and the Orioles seem to like it too.

Another neat looking flower off the path in the park. Please don't step on them.

The next Blog of mine below is also full of photos from High Park, the day before this one. If you like Northern Cardinals, check it out!


Angie in TO said...

The yellow flower is a daffodil babe. :)

We had quite the day didn't we? Can't wait to go back and check out the swallows and wood ducks!

Anonymous said...

You two must visit the Rouge Valley, Glen Eagles Vista, the Rouge Beach park at the foot of lake Ontario has a wetland and Port Union waterfront trail......take a romantic picnic and forget you are right at the edge of Scarborough. These places are so noisy with nature!

socurly said...

Ok again I have come up as anonymous??Should say Socurly.

Rob said...

Yeah, can't wait to go back once again and see those Wood Ducks along with that huge Swan nest we noticed as we left.

Socurly, I am kinda figuring anything that comes up about Rouge Valley and anonymous will be you. No worries. Hey, even sign off with your name at the end of a post (that would work).

Steve B said...

Hi Rob, I got out yesterday and saw quite a few Orioles. I was quite pleased to see them. They were quite vocal and certainly the boys were setting up their territories. I don't see as many Ruby Throats as I'd like.

Teena in Toronto said...

Wow! You guys saw a lot of birds!

And yes, that is a daffodil.

Were the trails dry? I want to take KC there but I don't want her to come home muddy.

Rob said...

I think I was in the Rouge a few times years ago. Don't be surprised if I ask you for directions.

That was THE MOST Hummingbirds I have ever seen in Toronto... EVER. Normally I see one in the yard every summer and always when I am not ready to see him. You know, think it's a Dragon Fly and then the light comes on in the brain... "Oh yeah, look at that Hummingbird" and then he's off again.

We were on the main paths, not the trails, so I couldn't tell ya T.

Jo-Anne said...

Awww, that Chipmunk is super cute!


Jo-Anne said...

High Park is a truly wonderful and magical place - have had some incredible bird experiences there .... and of course, no camera!

Please check your May 3rd blog for my answers to your Baltimore Orioles/location question. Sorry for the delay in replying!

T said...

aw, I love all the different birds. I so wish we had them here, all I get to see is pigeons, doves, little song birds, and did I forget to mention pigeons?!?

I never heard of a Flicker until you mentioned it, so I had to google it. Very interesting.

PS. Thank you for the nice comment on my blog regarding losing Jake. Much appreciated.