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Sunday, 24 August 2014

Visit to Tommy Thompson Park - Bird Research Station

We've been to Tommy Thompson Park at the Leslie Spit 4 (I think) times now. Always an awesome long walking day! Usually we see something cool. First visit, we saw mating Tree Swallows, a Mourning Cloak butterfly laying eggs, and a lot of birds we'd never seen before. Second visit, we saw Seagull nest and eggs, tons of stick carrying Cormorants, fishing Terns and lots of Barn Swallows. Third visit was earlier during this spring. This one was the most exciting, having spotted and gotten a not bad photo of a Garter Snake chasing a frog lol!

This visit was just as enjoyable! As well, we learned something new - Eastern King birds have a little hidden red flame on the top of their heads, similar to a woodpecker or a ruby crowned kinglet. The researcher there showed us it and said you'd rarely see this just viewing them in their habitat. The day ended up being cloudy and overcast, but despite that, we had an amazing 4 hour walk and lots of really memorable sightings.

Barn swallows were still zipping around catching the bugs that clouded the sky near the tops of trees, we spotted an Osprey high above carrying a huge fish in its talons (it was bigger than the one the fisherman caught that we saw lol!) as well as one perched out in the centre water area, a white egret lifting off in the large central marshy water area, tons of bumble bees were still present and working busily, terns, tons of grasshoppers, and lots of Cedar Waxwings were about though the red ants in the paths that lead to better views of them chased us back out onto the general paths. However, not before I actually ended up with a photo of a fledgling waxwing! And I thought it was just a sparrow and was about to delete it, till I looked closer. He even had the little power ranger mask lol!

We went sort of for Butterflyfest and sort of just on our own for a visit. We did see lots of caterpillars, a few butterflies, including Monarchs and a Viceroy. We did see a Monarch butterfly caterpillar, something I've never seen in person before. We petted the fuzzy caterpillars :-)

All in all, we had another terrific visit to Toronto's unique and spectacular park that is Tommy Thompson, at the base of Leslie St. on Lake Ontario.

The Tommy Thompson Bird Research Station was a wonderful experience. The staff is knowledgeable, caring and compassionate towards the birds they encounter in the nets and band, and it was a pleasure to experience just a small dosage of the amazing and important job they perform. Both John and I will be sponsoring a bird in memory of John's Mom who passed away recently, as she herself loved and cared for the animals and birds that made their home in her yard.


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