Thursday, November 20, 2014

SNOWY OWLS APPEAR TO BE MOVING SOUTH AGAIN THIS WINTER

SNOWY OWL WITH TRACKING DEVICE
 During the winter of 2011, historic number of Snowy Owls moved south and sightings were common in this region and further south.  Last winter was also another bumper year ... "Snowies" were seen as far south as North Carolina and a pioneering one even ventured out to sea and was observed in Bermuda!  These winter irruptions are thought to occur because of variations in cyclical prey and predator populations in the Arctic (lemming populations typically crash every four or so years), but the exact dynamics still leave many questions.
SNOWY OWL SIGHTINGS - NOV, 2014
A fairly quiet winter was expected this year, but there are indications that another "snowstorm" may be in the air .... probably not of the magnitude that was seen last saw last winter.
This bodes well for those of us who eagerly anticipate the first sighting of this magnificent bird in Sam Smith Park and scan the yacht club dock, waiting for our guest(s) to appear.

Sightings can be tracked at Project Snowstorm.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

LOCAL ARTIST SHARES PAINTINGS OF THE PARK

Michael Earle, a local artist, has kindly allowed us to publish three of his paintings.  
He says, "Sam Smith Park means so much to me and I hope that shows in the paintings."  
Michael, we definitely think it does!  Thank you.



Friday, November 7, 2014

OPEN HOUSE INFO - SAM SMITH PARK ENVIRONMENTALLY SIGNIFICANT AREA


City staff have prepared a report for the Planning and Growth Management Committee proposing action on an Official Plan Amendment to add additional Environmentally Significant Areas to the City's natural heritage system. Sam Smith Park is one of them (see previous FOSS post on this - it includes a link to the full report).

Friends of Sam Smith Park is concerned that the area being considered for designation and protection  appears to be limited to the lakefill portion of the park south of the Waterfront Trail and does not include the two bird-rich areas to the west and east of the oval sports field - North Creek and the Dogwood Thickets.

FOSS has submitted a formal request to the City to extend the proposed ESA to include these two areas.  The map shows the areas we are suggesting.  We have also provided a description and list of birds that are commonly seen in these two birding hot spots (see below).

The City is holding an open house to invite Torontonians to share their views on the draft changes.  It is on Thursday, November 27th, 2014 at 6.30 p.m. at the Etobicoke Civic Centre, 399 The West Mall in the Council Chamber foyer.

It is important to be there to support the City's report and to lend weight to the the inclusion of the two added areas.  Please mark this in your calendars.


BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON
"North Creek"


A small, historically important, wooded creek that runs down to a marsh on the west side of the sports oval.  It is bordered by a spruce woodlot, shrubs and meadow.


·         10 species of Flycatchers (including Western Kingbird)

·         6 species of Thrushes

COOPER'S HAWK
·         3 species of Mimidae

·         5 species of Vireos

·         25 species of Warblers (including Hooded Warbler and Yellow-Breasted Chat)

·         10 species of Sparrows

·         6 species of Blackbirds (including Orchard Oriole)

·         Many other species: Merlin, Cooper’s Hawk, Northern Raven, Northern Saw-whet and Long-Eared Owls, both Crossbills and Grosbeaks.

·         Black-Crowned Night Herons roost and have nested in the spruce trees for over a decade.





EASTERN TOWHEE
"Dogwood Thickets"


A newly enlarged woodlot on the east side of the sports oval.  In 2010 and 2011, volunteers added new bird-friendly shrubs and

trees to the existing woodlot.  Those include Silver Maple, Serviceberry, Red Osier Dogwood, Hawthorn, Tamarack, White Spruce, Balsam Poplar, Cedar, Raspberries and Elderberries.  This area has become the “hot spot” in Sam 
Smith Park for birders and photographers.


SCARLET TANAGER
·         9 species of Flycatchers

·         7 species of Thrushes (including Bluebirds)

·         6 species of Vireos (including White-Eyed Vireo)

·         26 species of Warblers (including Cerulean, Blue-Winged and Golden-Winged Warblers)

·         5 species of Woodpeckers

·         Many other species: Eastern Screech Owl, Eastern Towhee, Scarlet Tanager and nesting Blue-Grey Gnatcatchers.



MORE INFO - HUMBER COLLEGE WELCOME CENTRE


Last Monday evening, Humber College held an open house for the community to look at plans for the project.  Humber College staff and their Design-Build partner PCL were there to answer questions.
They handed out an information package which can be seen online if you follow this link.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

SUMMARY: MINUTES FOSS STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING OCTOBER 28TH, 2014



Summary: Minutes of the FOSS Steering Committee Meeting

October 28, 2014

  7:00 PM LAMP, ROOM 302, 185 5th Street, Etobicoke

  • Jorge Ture, the new park supervisor, has agreed to allow FOSS to repair two benches in addition to the two that the Lakeshore Yacht Club previously repaired.
  • FOSS’ president will congratulate Mark Grimes on his re-election.
  • FOSS plans to complete a Park Friends Group Survey.
  • FOSS has submitted a letter and an accompanying map advocating that CSS Park be designated an Environmentally Significant Area (ESA).  The Steering Committee has added two additional areas complete with a list of wildlife found therein.
  • FOSS has asked a prominent local birder to investigate the feasibility of CSS Park’s being designated an Important Birding Area (IBA).
  • Members of the Lakeshore Yacht Club (LSYC) regularly maintain park facilities as part of a good neighbour policy.
  • FOSS advocates a Monarch butterfly/pollinator garden near the site of the viewing platform. TRCA will assist with plants, but will not provide a second sign. The field with numerous swallow boxes (north of the marina) has been named “Swallow Field”.
  • FOSS discussed the status of the Men’s Picnic Shelter with the park’s supervisor and was informed that the city has no funds for repairs. Instead, FOSS was provided with a fundraising guide prepared by the city. FOSS will seek possible grants for this project.
  •  Excessive Grass Cutting:  FOSS’ president will meet with Park Supervisor Ture in the spring to outline the areas that need not be cut.  FOSS will supply a map of the areas of concern.
  • An action plan is required to cope with the daytime parking problem in the south parking lot.
  • “Humber College Welcome Centre” informational meeting –Monday, November 4- Room A170- 7-8:30 p.m. 3199 Lakeshore Blvd. West. FOSS has several environmental concerns.
  • “Toronto Official Plan” Informational meeting Thursday, November 27, Etobicoke Civic Centre. 6:30-9 p.m.