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Nature walk – Scarborough Bluffs

Today’s nature walk with Miles Hearn took us to the Scarborough Bluffs, a treasure along the waterfront east of Toronto and a place I haven’t visited in many years.

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turkey vultures, Scarborough Bluffs

It’s a lovely place to walk, with many birds and a rich variety of plant life. By this point, I’m learning that the key to successful birding is to learn the calls and songs of the birds. That way, you’re alerted to the presence of a particular species by what you hear, then you can start looking around to find the bird creating that particular song.

I’m pretty much a newbie to bird identification. Sure, I can recognize a good number of common birds, but after that, my knowledge drops right off. Early in the walk, Miles recognized the song of a brown thrasher. This bird has a varied repertoire of sounds, but it is distinctive in that it sings a phrase twice then moves on. After hearing one, we started to follow the sound and found it high up in a tree. I was able to snap a couple photos…

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We heard and saw quite a few Baltimore orioles this morning. With my slow point & shoot camera I had a difficult time getting a good shot of one, but finally managed a shot which, if not great, is at least recognizable.

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Baltimore oriole

We saw a couple different warblers. There were quite a few yellow warblers. They have a distinctive song, which Miles described as “cherry cherry, cherry cherry sweet.”  This is one of two warblers which next in Ontario. The other (which we didn’t see today) is the pine warbler.

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yellow warbler

And, there were yellow-rumped warblers, a bird which is just passing through.

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yellow-rumped warbler

Perhaps the best sighting of the day was a bobolink. This bird is usually found in fields, but the one we saw was up in a tree.

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bobolink

Here are a few other bird pics I snapped this morning. In total we identified about 25 species this morning.

The plant focus of our walk was also a great learning experience. Of course I recognized some of the plants, like this huge forsythia…

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Another plant highlight for me was the marsh marigold…

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The next shot of a fern-like plant is yarrow. DSC03544.jpg

And growing near it was this clump of sweet clover.

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I’m learning it is common in the spring to come across plants with last year’s berries still attached. That’s the case with this high-bush cranberry.

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high bush cranberry

Here’s a selection (by no means complete) of some of the plants we identified today.

I’m learning so much on these walks!

 

 

 

 

 

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