I’m thrilled to be part of the BirdCanada.com community! I’m an amateur birder from Toronto and will be guest-posting on the 26th of every month. In addition to my posts on this website, you can also read my musings about birds on Ontario Nature’s blog every Monday.
Birding never ceases to surprise me. Apart from teaching me (weekly!) the art of patience, and learning to relish in the seemingly ordinary details, birding has also brought about an unexpected appreciation for the Southern Ontario landscape. Sadly, I have to admit that before I started birding, I thought Ontario was rather boring and wholly flat. I sought excitement elsewhere, and any time my husband or I had time off, we couldn’t wait to flee our familiar surroundings. I had no idea there were fabulous natural parks within a two hour driving distance of Toronto! Sand dunes, beaches, forests, rolling hills, endless trails — it turns out all of that is in my backyard.
This morning, I discovered yet another place I’d never been to before. About 45 minutes west of Toronto, on the shores of Lake Ontario, I saw the most stunning Wood Duck (Ais sponsa) at LaSalle Marina in Burlington.
The duck was nestled in a sea of mergansers, most likely napping with its head folded in on its neck. We stood around admiring the Wood duck’s white lines — almost as if someone had delicately painted them on — when suddenly the bird shivered, shook its head and awoke from its slumber to put on a little show for us. The gorgeously colored duck had a chance to show off its colors in the sunshine — a greenish, purplish, blueish head against a brilliant blue winter sky. The duck made my morning. And nearby, there were coots walking tentatively on the ice, displaying their enormous feet, picking at the ice and birdseed like chickens!
And slightly beyond the marina, we walked along a woodsy path amidst old white pines, saw scores of pine siskins, nuthatches, goldfinches, and downy woodpeckers feasting on whatever seed and winter fruit they could find. What joy to escape my usual urban rhythm; for a few hours, I was transported to a quiet, luminous winter landscape where the only sounds I could hear were swans trumpeting greetings to one another and ducks cackling something in return. A wonderful and necessary reminder of the world beyond my office.
Happy birding, and see you all next month!