We’re passionate about birds and nature. That’s why we opened a Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop in our community.
5468 Dundas Street West
Toronto (Etobicoke), ON M9B 6E3
Phone: (416) 233-3558
Fax: (416) 233-3293
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Mon - Fri: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sat: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sun: 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Our birding hikes are generally focused on forest, field and meadow but this time I thought a focused look at the local lakeshore would make for an interesting change of pace. The winter months do bring us some seasonal water based visitors which we will not typically see any other time of the year, and you can also see some surprises. On one of the few nice brisk winter mornings in January I went looking for ducks.
I started at one of our favourite local birding haunts, Colonel Samuel Smith Park (located at the end of Kipling Avenue). Starting from the east end of the free or most southerly parking lot I walked east past the frozen pond to the eastern shoreline of the park. In the small bay between Sam Smith and Rotary Park was a large sord of Mallard ducks (in flight called a flock but on the ground a sord). As I watched it became clear there was at least one different duck, although not a duck, an American Coot which is a member of the rail family. Not a common sighting in the winter months for our area.
As I continued my walk along the east shoreline there were quite a few female Bufflehead and Long-tailed Ducks but I did not see the males.
I cut across the park to the bay where the Lakeshore Yacht Club is located but I remained on the south side of the bay. This quiet bay was a good source of activity.
I located one Redhead duck but there were many American Black Ducks, Red-breasted Mergansers and Buffleheads. Out of this group the American Black and Redhead duck are here all year round. The Merganser and Bufflehead are typically only here in the winter months. As I was in the area of the yacht club I took a quick look for the semi-regular Snowy Owl but no luck.
I continued my hike by driving a little further west along Lake Shore Blvd. to Marie Curtis park. I entered the park off of 42nd street, or you can drive a little further and enter directly into the park. I walked from the parking lot and followed Etobicoke Creek towards the lake. The creek had lots of little ice flows moving with the waves and in amongst the ice was a Common Goldeneye. This duck is another winter only visitor. A very short walk takes you right to the lake. Out in the lake roaming around the mouth of the creek was a Hooded Merganser. This pretty little duck is another year round resident.
Leaving Marie Curtis I decided to head back east although there are many other potential lakeshore locations further west. I retraced my trip along Lake Shore Blvd. and went to Humber West and East. These two parks are located at the foot of Park Lawn Road and are split by Mimico Creek.
I didn’t stay long in Humber Bay West but at Humber Bay East there are some small ponds that allow some better close-up views of the ducks. I did get some good close views of Long-tailed Ducks and groups of Buffleheads. The Long-tailed Ducks are winter migrants from the far north where they nest.
Continuing a little further east you can stop at Humber Bay Shores. A great spring/summer/fall location for viewing butterflies, the Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat is in this park. In the winter you can see many species of ducks along the shore line. There were many Long-tailed Ducks, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye and Mergansers in the area. Dress warm and enjoy the ducks of the Toronto lakeshore.