Snowless February

Today I, with my friend Nigel, head out to Humber Bay park in search of…you guessed it…ducks. Beause what else are you going to find in the middle of February when there is no snow?

Mallard

Mallard

Going later in the day (which isn’t thalate this time of year) gave us this beautiful golden light that reflected off our subjects. There were lots of mallards, but then again, when aren’t there lots of mallards? As we explored the park we came across something unusual none of the mallard groups – a white mallard. 

White Duck

White Duck

It’s not an albino. Its eyes, beak and feet are the same as the other mallards. Plus those other mallards seemed to have no issue with this weirdly coloured duck in their midst. So what’s up with its white feathers? Is it a spirit mallard, like the spirit bears from BC? I’m so curious to find out more.

I found out that it isn’t that uncommon for a mallard to be white due to Leucism. Leucism is the partial loss of pigmentation that can result in white, patchy or pale pigments. We see this in nature more than we realize – a white tiger, a white snake and, of course, the well known spirit bears from the west coast. 

So, essentially our white duck is a mallard in all respects except its white colouring. 

Swan

Swan

There was one other common bird hanging around – the swan. You have to watch out for swans. They can be one mean bird if they don’t like you and yet there they are paddling away, looking all graceful and stuff. I see you swan, being all handsome and unassuming, trying to pretend you’re not coming up with some evil plan to take over the world. lol 

As always it was a great evening out exploring the park and getting some unexpected photos and some fun close-ups. 

Duck Displays

After spending a couple hours taking photos of Santa and loads of children at work, I decided to stop by Humber Bay to get photos of the local water birds. It was beautiful weather – the sun was out and the temps were on the warmer side for early December.

Mallard taking a break

Mallard taking a break

The ducks were out in force. I’m not sure if that was the weather or if they always congregate here. It is a secluded spot and great shelter if the weather does turn. I just never suspected there to be so many of them.

male bufflehead

Bufflehead – male

There were so many types of ducks here. Its the most I’ve seen here at one time. There were Buffleheads, Gadwells, Hooded Mergansers and, of course, Mallards along with a few others.

Gadwell

Gadwell

The male mergansers were putting on quite the show. I’m not sure if they were trying to impress the ladies or just fighting between themselves. Whatever they were doing the ladies were unimpressed.

Merganser couple

Merganser couple

By the end of the day I had way too many photos of the ducks and it was time to get these photographs into the computer to see what I had captured.

Ducks of the Humber

Its a week later and I’m back on my bike, riding along the Humber River looking for that little Wood Duck I saw last week. As I looked in the regular “duck” spots all I found were the usual suspects.

Emerald Head
Emerald Head

The beautiful emerald head of the mallard swimming along the river, a female red winged blackbird scurrying along the riverbank and few more mallards hanging out on the shoreline in the hopes of a thrown treat. Not a huge variety of birds but enough to practice my bird skills.

Female Blackbird
Female Blackbird

I’ve never really noticed this before but the year old male ducks look a little patchy as they finally get their adult colouring.

Mallard
Mallard

Although I didn’t find the Wood Duck it was still a fun morning watching the mallards and blackbirds go about their business. Neither were too worried about us land animals.

Over Friendly Birds

Nigel and I headed to Humber Bay park with a special treat for our little feathered friends. Bringing along bird seed will usually guarantee that you will see some sort of bird. Sometimes they are the kind you don’t necessarily want hanging around. 

Canada Goose

Canada Goose

This Canada goose was terribly demanding. It squawked at us if we didn’t immediately hand over some seed. There were also a pair of mallards that were shovelling the food down. Honestly, some birds!

In the nearby pond some Gadwells were feeding on some algae. One got close enough for me to get a good shot. So even though some songbirds came by it was mostly the ducks and geese that pushed and shoved their way to the seed.

Gadwell

Gadwell

From Humber Bay we decided to make our way to Rattray Marsh in Mississauga and see if we could find some different birds. Turns out we were unable to find any different birds within lens range but we did spot a pair of mallards.

Female Mallard

Female Mallard

This female just stood and stared at us while her mate same quickly away. I guess she knew we weren’t much of a threat.

Birds, Birds and More Birds

Roy Ramsay and I got up extra early to catch the sunrise at Humber Bay Park in Toronto. Sunrise was a bit of a bust since clouds decided to roll in and obscure the view. We were not to be deterred and waited it out getting some good predawn shots in the hopes the sun would at least peak through. No go on the sun so that meant food – second breakfast here we come. That’s when things got good.

After filling our tummies we headed back into the park to wander and see what we could see. We lucked out big time. Everywhere we turned we found birds. And I mean everywhere. We found Mallards…

Mallard

Mallard

Not cool enough? How about Barn Swallows?

Trio of Barn Swallows

Trio of Barn Swallows

Or maybe some tree swallows?

Tree Swallows

Tree Swallows

Or a nice Robin close up?

American Robin

American Robin

I can see you’re particular. Okay, okay I get it you’re looking for something a little more exotic. A Red-breasted Merganser perhaps?

Male Red-breasted Merganser

Male Red-breasted Merganser

I’d say that’s pretty exotic, no? I mean really did you even know these hung out here in Ontario? Needless to say it was a pretty amazing morning – for birds not sunrises. I like when I get big surprises like this.