Friday, 9 May 2014

The North Shore of Lake Ontario

The North Shore of Lake Ontario 
Peel and Halton Counties
4 May 2014

      Miriam had to put in a few hours at the artists' cooperative in Carlisle so I drove down with her and took advantage of a free afternoon to do a little birding along the north shore of Lake Ontario.
     My first stop was at the foot of Hurontario Street in the south end of Mississauga, where the street basically runs into the lake. This is an area that has been developed with high end condominiums featuring a pleasant aspect to the waterfront, with a gazebo and trails.   
     Offshore were a couple of Horned Grebes Podiceps auritus, resplendent in their breeding plumage. I don't know how we got to call this species Horned Grebe in North America, and this is the name adopted by the IOC in its quest to standardize the English name of birds the world over. I doubt it is going to happen! In other parts of the English speaking world the bird is called Slavonian Grebe and in French it is Grèbe esclavon, indicating some common origin for the name.
     In any event, regardless of its nomenclature it is a vision of transcendent beauty at this time of the year.

       Farther west, I checked out Bronte harbour and was delighted to see a posse of Caspian Terns Hydroprogne caspia, decked out in crisp black and white with a stunning blood red bill. 

      In addition there was a very large number of Double-crested Cormorants Phalacrocorax auritus, seemingly having at least one refuge to live out their lives undisturbed by the unconscionable and senseless culls of recent years.
For an excellent discourse on this bird I highly recommend the recently published book The Double-crested Cormorant, Plight of a Feathered Pariah by Linda R. Wires, magnificently illustrated by Barry Kent MacKay. It should be must reading for every birder, bird lover and ornithologist.

Raft of Double-crested Cormorants

Leaping into a dive
Group close to the breakwater
Close up of head showing nuptial features

Frontal View
Side View

     I left Bronte Harbour and went to pick up Miriam. We drove home and were greeted by a Chipping Sparrow Spizella passerina and a pair of American Goldfinches Spinus tristis.

Chipping Sparrow

American Goldfinch - Male

American Goldfinch - Female



  1. Well that was a fun birding trip. Thank you! I especially love your tern photos! And the American Goldfinches in their summer clothes are enough to brighten anyone's day! Have a great weekend.

  2. Your photo of "Group close to the brakewater" is very beautiful !

  3. What a wonderful series, David.
    My favorite pictures are 4 and 13.
    Have a great weekend.
    Greetings Irma

  4. Fantastic birds.. Nice pics. Cheers!!!..

  5. these are all delightful photos David; the Caspian Terns are striking with the red bill, and I love the American Goldfinch

  6. Lovely. I like the goldfinch,nice colour!

  7. They all are fabulous birds, thanks David.

  8. I've really enjoyed reading this beautifully illustrated post, David.

    Slavonian (Horned) Grebe is a far from common bird in UK but I'm hoping to see a few in Scotland in a couple of weeks time.

    So sorry to hear of the persecution of the Cormorant. Will try and uncover the story.

    Best wishes to you both - - - Richard

  9. I thought I had already responded but apparently not so.
    All those beautiful birds David and you will enjoyed by seeing all these feathered friends.