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Monday, December 26, 2016


An American Mink was recently observed dragging a Common Muskrat across the ice in the bay and pulling it into it's winter den.

Thanks to Bruce Wilkinson for these images.

MORE OWLS .......

Thanks to Bruce Wilkinson for the photograph

Long-Eared Owl waiting patiently for lunch at two of the FOSS feeders south of the skating trail.  

It could be waiting for rodents attracted by seed spillage or, possibly, for small birds.

Friday, December 23, 2016


Better get a move on ..... winter is coming early this year!

Tardy Virginia Rail seen in Sam Smith Park yesterday - reported to E-birds and photographed by Ann Porter.  

Check out the link to see where it should be right around now.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Last week saw an unprecedented "invasion" of Long-Eared Owls in the park.  On one day, 13 individuals were reported. 

Unfortunately, that number has dwindled down to none.  It was supposed initially that there was not enough food (mice and voles primarily) to support such a large number and they just went somewhere else.

But, in the past few days, observers have witnessed raptor (hawk) attacks on the owls and found  a number of carcass remnants.  The suspect (or one of the suspects) was identified as a Northern Harrier, an uncommon visitor to the park.  It is not known if all the owls met the same fate or whether some moved on because of the threat.

Nature can appear to be very cruel sometimes.  But, on a brighter note, we do have nature in all its forms in our little park and we should be appreciative of that. 



To see a video of a truly amazing Long-Eared Owl migratory "invasion" of a small town in is Serbia, click this link ...

Monday, December 19, 2016


The president of FOSS will host a family oriented Christmas bird count on December 26, 2016 for Colonel Sam Smith Park. This is a spur of the moment idea which was started because Bird Studies Canada does not have a circle which includes our park for a Christmas Bird Count.

The count is informal and will not be shared with Bird Studies Canada. It could become a tradition. Families or individuals just need to download these two files. One is the map of the park and the second is the counting form.

The count can be at any time of the day. You do not need to pick a zone on the map to count in, just count wherever you are in the park. Identify the zone(s) you are in on the form.

When completed, send the form to me by listing your birds in an email, ( or scanning the count sheet and emailing the file, or printing it and mailing it to my address. Identify yourself and family if you wish or keep it private. I will tally the species and count and have a report placed on our FOSS website for all to see. Send a photo of a bird you identified on the 26th if you wish.

Brian Keaveney
President, Friends of Sam Smith Park (FOSS)

426 Valermo Drive

Etobicoke, ON
M8W 2L9