Monday 11 March 2013

Harbour Square Park, Toronto, March 2013

At the southern end of Bay St. in Toronto, where it meets the shorefront, is the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal. At Google Earth ref; 43°38'24.13"N 79°22'36.23"W is a small park known as Harbour Square Park. It is well attended by dog-walkers looking for a quick and easy place to relieve their pets first thing in the morning. A wooden promenade stretches along the lakefront and from it, one can look out towards Toronto Island.

The water here is sheltered in the lee of the islands and was very calm this morning. The light on the previous evening had been poor and this morning, the sun was taking its own sweet time to come out from behind a thick bank of cloud close to the eastern horizon. I was impatient to get some pictures, so I started anyway.

Long-tailed Duck were feeding on mussels and fish that sheltered around the concrete, dock-like shoreline. They were close in, sometimes too close and wouldn't fit into the viewfinder. 

I cannot say why some of the males carried their long-tails, stiffly, out of the water, while others allowed it to trail in the water behind them.  I got the impression that it was dominance-related rather than a mood-influenced behaviour. The cocked- tail males had a more virile, energetic look to them whilst the trailing-tail males appeared submissive and passive.

Red-breasted Mergansers found good eating close to the bank too and dived for small fish along the wall. Most of them were females with the brighter males in their breeding colours appearing to be more wary and staying further from the bank.

The square, concrete bay at the southwest end of the park was probably an old dock. A single Redhead mixed with some Greater Scaup and American Coot, while a female Common Golden-eye dived for mussels in a shallow corner.

The sun works its way around to be full in your face by mid-morning. Its best positioning is in the early afternoon, by which time it has moved to behind your right shoulder as you look out across the water. The old dock gives a good angle to catch the early morning light and the reflections from the apartments make the water much more interesting.

Birds seen;

Canada Goose 5, Mute Swan 2, Mallard 8, Redhead 1, Greater Scaup 2, Greater/Lesser Scaup 8, Long-tailed Duck 50, Common Goldeneye 4, Red-breasted Merganser 25, American Coot 6, Ring-billed Gull 6, European Starling 8, House Sparrow 10

Harbour Square Park is so convenient from our hotel that I visited each morning and evening as I came and went. The list above represents an average over those visits in early March.

Visit the dedicated USA and Canada Page for more posts from Toronto including High Park.

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