On the wildside

An American Robin.
An American Robin.

On a recent trip to Toronto on a lovely sunny Spring day down by Bluffers Park at the edge of Lake Ontario we had a pleasant leisurely lunch overlooking the marina.

We watched house sparrows, starlings and fast flitting barn swallows also busily searching for their lunch around the pretty house boats.

On the water, mallard and eider duck were quite happily dabbling, avoiding the boats.  

After lunch we took a lovely walk through woodlands with birdsong all around - though not any that we could recognise!

At the edge of the lake we were able to identify some of Canada’s more common birds - red-winged blackbird, American robin and common gracko. Red-winged blackbirds are very similar to our own blackbirds but with a red and yellow patch on their wings.

American robins are colourful and prolific, about the size of a song thrush with a rich rusty coloured chest, white eye ring and black head. The common gracko is very crow-like with shiny black feathers and a purply gloss on head and wings. It was good to see some Canadian birds at close range.

Canada Geese were honking loudly flying over the lake beneath the impressive bluffs.  

Back at the apartment the feeders attract the beautiful red-bellied woodpecker with its bright red crown and black and white barred upper parts, also the northern cardinal which has a cone shaped reddish bill, red body with a black face and pointy red crest - very beautiful birds but seemingly more in decline since the previous visit, three years ago. Some very colourful common Canadian birds. 

The local squirrels enjoyed their daily treat of peanuts scattered around the base of the trees. The small red and the much larger black squirrel kept us entertained with their acrobatics on the branches and descending over the high fence to reach the peanuts.

These squirrels seem to be able to survive here alongside one another reasonably well. 

We enjoyed a visit to nearby Edwards Botanical Gardens in the suburbs where another day of warm Spring weather brought daffodils, lilies and tulips a bit closer to showing their full flash of colour in the borders. We spotted a rather large groundhog quite happy to be fed peanuts among the rockery flowers. The heady scent of the many magnolia trees added to the beauty of the Park.

The land was purchased by Rupert Edwards in the 1940’s from a Scottish family who had farmed here for more than a century. The whole area was then landscaped with many beautiful trees, rockeries and flower beds making it into the quiet and tranquil haven it is today.

This Park is certainly well worth a visit for a couple of hours of unforgettable peacefulness amidst the hustle and bustle of the great city of Toronto.