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Black-crowned night herons

Over the past several days, there have been black-crowned night herons hanging out in Sam Smith Park. If you want to see them, head for the bridge just to the west of the yacht club and look north. You will likely see a couple people on the bridge with serious camera lenses. Sometimes the herons are on logs and other times in trees. A few evenings ago, I saw 4 of them at the same time.


I don’t have a fancy camera, but I do have a point and shoot job with a decent zoom on it. I brought it along when I walked The Partners into the park after dinner tonight and managed to get a couple decent shots from the bridge. I imagine the serious photographers with their crazy-big lenses capture the birds in hyper-detail.


Looking down into the water from the bridge I’ve seen the flashes of alewives, and I figure the night herons are hanging out to enjoy the easy pickings while these small fish are in to spawn. From the same bridge you’ll also see gulls diving for the alewives. It looks like there are plenty of fish to go around. It’s always a treat to see gulls feeding on fish instead of hanging out in fast-food parking lots, mooching greasy fries.

If you stop in at Sam Smith Park for a look at the night herons, take a walk to the field that is just east of the yacht club. I think of it as the swallow field because there is a big colony of tree swallows living there and they’re lots of fun to watch. There must be 40 houses there for them, and they filled up fast when the swallows showed up this spring.


A few evenings ago I was walking the path through this field and saw a Cooper’s hawk perched at the very top of one of the trees. Sam Smith Park is an awesome place to see all kind of birds. Later in the summer – in September – when the Monarch butterflies migrate through, this same field is an excellent place to watch dozens and dozens of these lovely butterflies.

We feel really fortunate to have Sam Smith Park a short walk from our home.


  1. Salvelinas Fontinalis

    While on the topic of neat birds (I love a good segue) the birding folks in Ontario are all abuzz with the confirmed sighting of a frigate at Point Pelee. The frigate is a tropical sea bird with a 6 foot wingspan and an in flight profile that resembles a pterodactyl. This is only the 3rd or 4th time a frigate has been seen in Ontario.

    • In his epic 912 Greens, Ramblin’ Jack goes on about wanting to join the Merchant Marine but the paperwork and hassle dissuaded him. Finally he just said frigate.

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