Sioux Lookout Park
7 December 2013
It always seems to me that Sioux Lookout is a bit of an odd designation for a park in southern Ontario since not a single branch of the Sioux nation ever lived here! It would have been more appropriate perhaps to name it Mohawk Lookout, or Iroquois or Huron, all reflecting aboriginal people with a continuing presence in this part of Canada.
Be that as it may, Sioux Lookout Park is always a prime vantage point from which to view large aggregations of winter ducks, often quite close inshore.
Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula is one species guaranteed to be found there.
When courtship commences males engage in an elaborate ritual involving a great deal of head tossing and posturing. I was surprised to see some of this already taking place, as can be seen in the picture below (see bird on the right). It may represent early pair bonding or perhaps some sort of dominance display to other males.
This duck is quite tiny but lives on the water in the most awful of conditions at times. Lake Ontario is in fact a large inland sea and is subjected to substantial wave heights during winter storms.
Here is a mixed flock with Red-breasted Mergansers Mergus serrator, another species easily found at this time of the year.
This female Red-breasted Merganser obligingly swam close to shore as though posing for a picture.
Many small groups were constantly diving for food and seemed to have success every time.