Just a quick update on my trip to High Park last Saturday. The weather was really great, cold but not bone-chilling and bird activity was decent. Immediately upon entering the park, I heard Robins and Chickadees singing as well as an abundance of Starlings (always present in large numbers). Just north of Colborne Lodge, I had Downy Woodpecker, Brown Creeper, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and White-breasted Nuthatch. There is an area just around the bend from the first parking lot in the park where someone puts out seed for the local birds and this keeps a number of the species just mentioned close-by (White-breasted Nuthatches always look like they're about to land on me and then turn in flight at the last second). In this spot, there were a lot of White-throated Sparrows feeding, a few Juncos, and a lot of House Sparrows. Overhead I heard a few flocks of Goldfinches. As I walked past this location, I saw an owl fly off in the distance (being harassed by songbirds). By its size, I would say Great Horned or Barred but I couldn't be sure. Still a nice sighting.
Later, I decided to check Grenadier Pond. There are still good numbers of Northern Shoveler, Hooded Merganser, Bufflehead, and Mallard. This time, I counted 5 Domestic Mallard types versus the three I've had consistently in the past. Only 1 pair of Mute Swan is present right now. Lastly, I had a single female Ruddy Duck on the pond. She actually swam right up to the shore into the shallows and preened for a while right in front of me. Sometimes I hate not having a camera.
Later on, on some trails, I had a flock of Common Redpoll fly over me while I was looking at a large group of Robins and Juncos (in another area where birds are often fed seed). In this location, I also had an interesting Junco that showed slight white wing-bars; not to the extent shown in Sibley's but not far off. I don't recall ever seeing this before.
Lastly, I have to report a Rufous Hummingbird right in Kingsville that has been hanging out at a feeder there for about a week now. Once again, a significantly rare bird is within short driving distance of my Leamington home and I can't go to see it! Although I was successful with my last chases, Northern Wheatear and White-faced Ibis, this bird is definitely going to go unseen by me. Oh well, there will be others!