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Friday, June 6, 2014


The next CCFEW Bird Walk is Saturday, June 14th 
9:00am - 11:00am at Colonel Samuel Smith Park
Leader: Don Burton
Meet in the south parking lot (where the road ends) of Colonel Samuel Smith Park. MAP
On our June walk we typically expect to find a wide variety of birds that breed in or close to the park.  A star attraction in recent years have been the Red-necked Grebes.  There are currently four active nests in the park.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


Summary: Minutes of the FOSS Steering Committee Meeting

May 27, 2014

7:00 PM LAMP, 185 5TH Street, Etobicoke

  • FOSS has submitted a formal letter to Councillor Grimes outlining specific suggestions/requests for improvement to the dog park.
  •  FOSS supports the development of a community vegetable garden at the originally suggested location only, i.e. in the field found on the south side of Lakeshore Blvd. just west of the Rabba store. Attendees at a meeting held on March 3 unanimously agreed with this location. As of April 17, Councillor Grimes is still not in favour of this site.
  • FOSS is concerned that proposed alternate sites (farther south or near the dog park) may be environmentally detrimental. FOSS also questions if there are alternate future plans for development of the Lakeshore Blvd. site that are comparable to the new Humber College welcome centre at the SW corner of Lakeshore and CSSP Drive. FOSS advocates open public consultation.
  • As part of its new welcome centre, Humber College plans to protect some green space on the SW corner of CSSP Drive and Lakeshore Boulevard. FOSS advocates the preservation of crab apple trees presently at that location.
  • FOSS supports CCFEW’s opposition to expansion of Billy Bishop (Toronto Island) Airport and has written city council voicing its concerns. See blog for details.
  • FOSS President, Brian Keaveney, thanked all volunteers and members of the Steering Committee for making Colonel Samuel Smith Park’s annual clean-up day (Sunday, April 27) and the Spring Bird Festival (Saturday, May 24), such a great success.
  • Thank you to all entrants in the FOSS-sponsored spring photography competition. Winning photos are now showcased on the blog.
  • The semi-circle of benches formerly located on the north side of CSSP marina has been destroyed by the City over lack of maintenance funds. Two benches remain solely due to the personal initiative of a member of the yacht club. A yacht club member is also responsible for building the nesting platforms for the Red-necked Grebes.
  • For more information about kids’ (Grades 1-8) nature classes scheduled to be held in CSS Park during May and June, contact Jimmy Vincent (416.675.6622 ext. 5009/ at the Humber Arboretum. Be sure to mention the CCFEW subsidy. The park is readily accessible by TTC bus.  
  • Report all coyote sightings in CSS Park to FOSS. See blog for details.
  • FOSS-initiated off-leash informational signs for dog walkers have been delivered to the Park Supervisor and are expected to be visible soon.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


While the this year’s Spring Bird Festival was taking place, Whimbrel watchers out on “Whimbrel Point” were in the midst of their special mission for that day - the dedication of a brand new park bench to naturalist, journalist and author Fred Bodsworth.

Fred,who died in 2012, is remembered for his work with the Federation of Ontario Naturalists and for numerous other bird related endeavours, including taking part in the annual Whimbrel watch through the Toronto Ornithological Club at Sam Smith Park.

But he is remembered most for his landmark 1954 novel “Last of the Curlews”.  The Eskimo curlew, which once made its migration from Patagonia to the Arctic in flocks so dense that they darkened the sky, was brought to the verge of extinction by the wanton slaughter of game-hunters.

Following the doomed search of a solitary curlew for a female of its kind, Fred Bodsworth's novel is a haunting indictment of man's destruction of the natural world.

"The male called wildly for her to follow," Bodsworth writes at the sad climax of the tale. "But the female didn't move. He circled and re-circled above and his plaintive cries must have reached her, but she didn't call back."

Nearly a decade would pass after the publication of “Last of the
Curlews” before the last known curlew drew the Caribbean hunter's deadly fire in 1963.

Since then, there have been sporadic reports of Eskimo Curlew sightings throughout North America, but most have been dismissed as mistaken glimpses of a look-alike bird - the slightly larger Whimbrel.

Fred’s writing of “Last of the Curlews” may well have helped prevent other species from following the bird's path to oblivion.
Afforded protection by the Migratory Birds Convention Act of 1917, the Whimbrel population rebounded from intense market hunting in the 19th century. However, the population has undergone a 50% reduction over the past 20 years.

Hence the importance of the annual Whimbrel Watch at Sam Smith Park and the absolute rightness of a bench dedicated to Fred at “Whimbrel Point”.

Friends of Sam Smith Park member Bruce Wilkinson recently installed a sign and image on the pole next to the bench to mark the event.