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Thursday, May 31, 2018


As feared, the recent replacement of the concrete cladding on the R.L. Clark Water Treatment Plant has removed the roof overhang that used to serve as a shelter for the Cliff Swallows' mud pellet nests.  That colony has survived there for many years.

A visit yesterday indicated that some pairs are starting to build nests under any alternative overhang they can find (doorways, windows, lights ..).  All in all, there look to be twelve nests under construction at this time.

Monday, May 28, 2018


Isaac got up bright and early the next morning to put up his feeder and fill it with seeds

Friday, May 25, 2018


“Nature's Sanctuary” - A Photography Exhibition/Competition featuring Sam Smith Park.

Sam Smith Park is the jewel of the Lakeshore - a tranquil, waterfront sanctuary of wetlands, woods, shore and meadow. It supports a magnificent web of life with a diversity of environments that provide food, habitat and protection for the many species of plants and the birds and animals that pass through or call it home.

The Photo Exhibition will showcase the diversity of wildlife and the beauty of the natural landscape in the park.  Friends of Sam Smith Park is interested in creating public awareness of the role that Sam Smith Park plays in supporting biodiversity and providing natural spaces for public enjoyment.

Anyone who has experienced the beauty of Sam Smith Park is invited to enter. Each entrant can submit 5 photos taken in the park. The photos must respect privacy restrictions – no discernible photos of people or boats will be accepted.

Fees for entry:
FOSS members – 5 photos for $20,
Non-members – 5 photos for $25 (FOSS membership included with fee)

● All entries must have the name of the photographer, the title of the photo, the address and phone number of the photographer and the applicant’s email address.
● All entries must be submitted by August 31, 2018
● Entries can be submitted online to in jpeg format - max size 1024 pixels.  Applications can be dropped off with entry fees at 64 Fourth Street with cash or check payable to Friends of Sam Smith Park.

● Successful photos that meet entry requirements need to be in a black frame, with white matting. All works must have rings or screw eyes on both sides at the back, placed not more than 6” down from the top and connecting wire.
Minimum size 8X10
● Successful entries will be notified by email or phone call soon after the judging.
● Call 416 251 5930 for more information.

The Assembly Hall provides insurance against vandalism or theft but not accidental breakage of glass or fragile article damage. Insurance expires on the pick-up date and time. A value must be given even if the work is not for sale.

All the photographs are protected under Canadian and international copyright law and may not be downloaded, reproduced, distributed or otherwise used except for personal, non-commercial purposes, without the express written consent of the photographer.

Thursday, May 24, 2018


The Toronto Region Conservation Authority staff will be trapping turtles along the Toronto Waterfront.  Please see below for project description.  

Trapping sites include:

Colonel Sam Smith Wetland - large pond
Humber Bay Park East/West;
Humber Marshes; and
Grenadier Pond.  
All trapping locations will be clearly identified with research signs.  Trapping activities have begun this week and will continue until the end July.

Turtle Population Dynamics of the Toronto Waterfront Wetlands

PROJECT DESCRIPTION The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) seeks to better understand the success of its restored coastal wetlands and use this understanding to improve future wetland restoration efforts.  Restored wetlands have received varying treatments and physical changes to repair impairments and/or enhance functionality. Turtles are long-lived and will colonize restored wetlands to varying degrees and over variable time spans depending on the quality of the wetland and its suitability for the specific turtle species.  The use of v16 transmitters will be used to spot check for turtles to aid in if future wetland restoration/enhancement/creation efforts. TRCA has not evaluated these restored wetlands with regards to turtle colonization and compared the restored sites to reference sites (control sites).  Specifically the project aims to examine:
1.        Turtle population demographics at multiple restored sites along the Lake Ontario waterfront
a.        Improve understanding of which wetlands hosts which species
b.        Discover and map resilient pockets of populations
c.        Examine sex ratios
d.        Examine assemblages and compare to reference wetlands
2.        Turtle movement at and between these sites 
a.        Discover connectivity (or lack of connectivity) between sites
b.        Better understand how turtles are occupying restored coastal wetlands during their critical life stages
c.        Understand resilience to climate change and habitat connectivity

Danny Moro
Project Manager
Restoration Projects | Restoration and Infrastructure
A: 9755 Canada Company Avenue, Woodbridge, Ontario L4H 0A3

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) |


Hello Whimbrel Fans

I really don't know what to say. today was the most amazing day I have ever seen at Whimbrel Point or anywhere else for that matter. The folks down at Machipongo, God bless 'em gave us the heads-up first thing. 3000 Whimbrels leaving the marshes. Sounds pretty encouraging , doesn't it? like maybe you might see a couple hundred fly past the point? Our brothers and sisters were right. They said get ready to stay out all day!

So out we trudged in our warm clothes having been told it was going to get hot later but so what it was cold at 6am and after all we are Canadian. As long as we saw some Whimbrels who cares? I can't remember exactly when they started to come but I do remember having to put my lunch down to record the first bunch of birds. When the next bunch came and looked like they might land I went out as fast as I could and put out the signs to keep the dog walkers off. 

Then the flocks started. and they were not too afraid to land. In fact, for the rest of the day we practically had to beat 'em back with a stick. 

Just listen to this. I'll have the breakdown for you tomorrow but as of 6 pm when we were all out of the Park we had seen 4,458 Whimbrels, some 500 or so which for some time landed at Whimbrel Point,accompanied by dozens of BlackBellied Plovers and a few RuddyTurnstones and huge bunches of Dunlin.
We'll give you some breakdowns tomorrow. Right now I'm still shaking.

And I have to go to bed.

GoodNight and GoodBirds,


Monday, May 14, 2018


A call to binoculars for all birders!

Its time once again for the annual Whimbrel migration. These marvelous migrants give us a super show for a few days every spring. Almost the entire Eastern population of Numenius Phaeopus passes right over our heads between May 19 or so, through May 31st, with the flights peaking almost always on the morning of May 24th. As usual, we of the Toronto Ornithological Club will have as many heads as possible at Whimbrel Point, Sam Smith Park, to witness and record this spectacle of nature. In the past, the flocks numbering from a few to hundreds of individuals could be counted on to pass over Sam Smith park at Whimbrel Point, plus the stretch of Lake Ontario shoreline from Ashbridges' Bay to Mimico. On May 24th especially, the day's tally often runs into the thousands as these magnificent shorebirds pass in noisy flocks all the way from their staging area in the Delmarva Marshes (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia - isn't that cute)  to the Southern shore of James Bay and beyond to their summer breeding grounds. Although the Whimbrel's population status is listed as "of special concern" we are fortunate to be able to see so many of them.

Up until a few years ago Whimbrels almost always flew over Sam Smith Park without stopping. Lately this behaviour for reasons we do not fully understand has begun to change. Almost every day during the last half of may Whimbrels have been observed landing and resting at many places along their migration route. This means that instead of all passing over during the first early hours of morning the flocks can now be seen at various times all throughout the day.

We urgently need observers to watch for Whimbrels at likely places along the North shore of Lake Ontario from sunrise to evening especially if they have been seen on the ground. In order to document this phenomenon and incorporate it into our knowledge of Whimbrel migration we need as many Citizen Scientists as we can get out there recording and reporting. Because you can bet your bottom toonie that there are not enough professional observers to go around. Your observations, if sent to Ontbirds email address :    or to my email address: will ensure that the event will be recorded by the Toronto Ornithological Club and sent down to the the Nature Conservancy in the U.S. Please take the time to count the number of birds as best you can, include the time, date, location, and a rough description of weather, and whether the birds were flying or resting.

Here's your chance to actually do something for the preservation of this species. Don't just watch 'em fly around, this time lets get our observations together and do something positive for the conservation of these magnificent birds.

If you are interested in going the distance this year come out to Whimbrel Point at the Southernmost tip of Col. Sam Smith Park any morning from May 19 to May 31. As most folks who just want to see and hear these fabulous flocks just show up during early morning prime time ,May 23 to May 26, snap off a few photos, say gee-thanks and go home, we really need you to spend a bit more time helping out. The flocks start at daybreak and may go off and on all day. 12 hours at Whimbrel Point is a bit of a stretch for us, but we will manage it with or without your help.

With your help it will be so much better. See you there.

For an idea of where to watch these birds other than Sam Smith Park look for any relatively undisturbed spot along the North Shore of Lake Ontario and to a lesser extent, the North Shore of Lake Erie, especially near the mouth of a watercourse, with rocks along the shoreline. Daybreak is the best time but now they go all day. Don't expect to see them in a heavy rain but watch both before and after.

For reports on what is being seen please watch Ontbirds. I will report there every day with Whimbrel results as well as all the other Shorebirds we see.

For further intriguing reading, see the articles on the TOC website by superbirder (and photographer)Wayne Renaud -

TOC - Page Site - Toronto Birds>
Toronto Ornithological Club (TOC) is dedicated to the study of bird life in Toronto.

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