Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

February 20, 2010

Water Birds

It's the winter of 2009/10... and this year, especially with the lack of snow, making the natural food still available for extended time (not buried) and many of my winter visitors to be more sporadic; I've taken an even bigger interest in the "winter water birds" of the GTA.

It's a new learning experience for me. In the past, I've only thought of Mallard Ducks, Canada Geese and Sea Gulls to be what is around the lake. Last Valentines Day, Angie and I discovered the Bufflehead Ducks down in Port Credit. They were so fun to watch, being smaller than most of the other species, and being divers for feeding (they disappear right down under the water for food).



A couple Canada Geese could swallow one of these little Buffleheads whole (if they were meat eaters). Just showing size comparison here...



This year, in search of Buffleheads, and with some knowledge that there is more to see in the lake over the winter... we went looking. This is some of what we have found.

The Trumpeter Swan. I didn't know we had two different types of Swans in the area (Mute and Trumpeter). The only difference I know of at this moment is the beak color. Black for the Trumpeter. Orange for the Mute.

The Trumpeter...


The Mute...


Another neat sighting was the Long Tailed Ducks. I'd say I am surprised to have never them before, but then again, I've never really spent any time down at the lake in the winter months. This is the male pictured here...



A pair of Long Tails having an afternoon nap on the lake...



Yet another interesting looking Duck is the Golden Eye. Their eyes are a piercing yellow color. In the sun, the sides of the male look silver, and with such a shiny black head.



There must be a technique to taking photos over the water. The more interesting of the Duck species seem to stay away from shore in the presence of humans (so I have noticed) and it makes it even more difficult to get a great shot with my camera.

Here are some mystery Ducks...



but on the 19th of February I made a discovery on the Humber River near my home, and I am wondering if those mystery Ducks above are the same as these below, Common Mergansers. I found a couple females and possibly one male. In time, with some research I will know for certain.







Lastly, let's not forget the most common of the area, the Mallards. They add color and life to the lake, rivers and ponds of the GTA all year long.



There's more to see, and I hope we do, before the winter ends.

4 comments:

Angie in TO said...

Just wanted to point out again, to anyone reading this, please do not feed the ducks bread. It is awful for them. Upsets their digestive system, causing pain and offers no nutritional value. If you enjoy feeding them, spend the money and purchase the duck feed you can buy, or just look at them, it's better then upsetting their tummies.

socurly said...

I wish I had more time to explore. I live vicariously through your blog! Oh I think I will drop the laundry and toilet brush today and just head over to the Port Union waterfront! There's a couple of swans I need to say hello to!
Angie, the Rouge beach park has posted signs in the past regarding feeding the birds. It asked not to feed them due to their own feces contaminating their marsh habitat. It has taken years to regenerate the area. Cars used to park right on the marsh. It also keeps the bird from migrating for food. People just don't know bread is bad. Though a goose tried to gulp my wedding ring right off my hand!

Jo-Anne said...

Hi Rob and Angie. People have been sighting Harlequin Ducks at Port Credit Marina and various locations along Lake Ontario.

Re: E76 Trumpeter Swan. If you have a moment, would you please report that sighting (and any other wing tagged Trumpeters) to the following site. Only takes a minute! Thanks.

http://www.wyemarsh.com/swan_sighting.html

I'm going to take a look through my pile of paperwork here to see if I have any notes on E76. :D

Angie in TO said...

Rob reported the swan and now we've been checking out Wye Marsh....so many places to visit!

Glad he didn't get your ring Socurly!