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Marie Curtis Park and the Arsenal Lands

Sound Baffles

We live between two wonderful large parks here in the SW corner of the amalgamated Toronto, Colonel Sam Smith Park to the east and Marie Curtis Park to the west. Marie Curtis, if you were wondering, was a well-liked politician in our area. Attached to Marie Curtis Park is an area known as the Arsenal Lands. Back during the Second World War, there was a small arms factory and test range on the site. One of the unique features on this site is a series of wooden sound baffles. These days, they are gradually breaking down and one day they will rot away. Back in the day, they were built to muffle the sound of testing at the machine gun range.

I’d say the most common bird we saw on today’s walk, led by naturalist Miles Hearn, was the American robin. We could hear them calling all morning, marking out territory.

American Robin

American Robin

American Robin
Garlic Mustard

We could see plenty of Garlic Mustard in the park this morning. I read this invasive plant was brought to Canada to be used as an herb. I don’t know anyone who picks this stuff to eat, but if you’re interested in doing that, I have plenty extra in our backyard, available on a pick-your-own basis.

Stinging Nettle

Another plant we saw emerging was Stinging Nettle. I understand it is a very nutritious plant, often taken in tea form, but be careful if you want to gather some. The “sting” of a Stinging Nettle just keeps on giving and I guarantee you won’t like it.

American Black Ducks
Red-breasted Merganser

We saw a pair of American Black Ducks in the creek, as well as quite a few hybrid Black Duck/Mallards which are known as “Bib” ducks, and one Red-breased Merganser.


There are still some Buffleheads in the stream.


Another Squirrel
Trembling Aspen

We saw two hawks, a Red-tailed Hhawk and a Northern Harrier, formerly known as a Marsh Hawk. The Harrier was on the move but was easily identified by the light area just behind the wings. The Red-tailed hawk hung out in a tree long enough for me to snap a couple pictures.

Red-tailed Hawk
American Goldfinch in Red Osier Dogwood

American Goldfinch

Mute Swans


The woods were alive with woodpeckers today. Here is a Hairy Woodpecker.

Hairy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

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