Monday January 2nd was a day off work in lieu of Boxing Day landing on a Monday this year, so The Missus and I had a look around for somewhere to pick up a few more species without traveling too far before the holidays made way for REAL LIFE. The Missus is a fan of Colonel Samuel Smith Park – it’s one of the top spots in Toronto.

The day began quietly, but I got a nice surprise looking out over the marina. Perched on a wooden post on one of the docks was a Snowy Owl. That’s a first-of-the-year and adds to our tally and is always a great sighting.

Much of the activity we witnessed today was out on Lake Ontario. It is unseasonably warm so far this winter, but that is not to say it isn’t cold in the more general sense! Many of the rocks along the shore were gripped in lake ice. This is more welcomed by our wintering ducks than it is by us mere humans. And so we saw plenty of Long-tailed Ducks, Common Goldeneye, Greater Scaups, a single Gadwall, Mallards and a few American Black Ducks. Far out on the lake was also a Common Loon. Hard to say if it was an adult (in winter plumage) or a juvenile. There were also a couple of Horned Grebes.

Out on Whimbrel Point, we witnessed an American Pipit hopping along the rocks before diving down into cover. We’d never seen one before! We were talking to another birder about our sightings when I noticed a bird of prey gliding over the marina. We pegged it as a Bald Eagle. Apparently it landed on the frozen ice in the marina and caused a stir amongst the photographers who were camped out watching the Snowy Owl from earlier.

As we were leaving, we saw a few common species that were new for this year. A few House Finches singing on the edge of the car park and some House Sparrows.

All-in-all, we saw 23 species today. 12 of them were seen for the first time this year and add towards our 250 target. Our total for the year stands at 37 out of 250.

You can watch the video of this trip here:

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Thanks for reading and watching. Happy birding!

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  • Great videos. Love the locations and commentary. Was wondering if you have mentioned anywhere a description of what gear you are using. What do you use to film the videos?


I’m Stu and I go by the nickname “BritHikesOntario”. I’m a displaced British bloke living in Ontario, Canada. I create videos, write stuff and take photographs that all aim to capture the essence of Ontario. Together with my wife, Sara, I enjoy showcasing the birds, landscape, nature and wildlife of this beautiful province!
I hope that you’ll enjoy discovering Ontario with me!