My second attempt at getting the Western Grebe that has been hanging out in Lake Ontario off of the southeastern tip of Ashbridges Bay Park ended in what can only be described as an epic fail.
O.K., it wasn't that bad but still...I was disappointed. The bird has been hanging out for a couple of months now and I had went to look for it earlier when it was originally sighted but to no avail. It takes some planning to get to Ashbridges Bay, though. Sometimes (at all times?), it sucks birding without wheels. The park is in the east end of Toronto and takes a good hour and a half to get to by transit. It requires a subway ride followed by a transfer onto the longest Streetcar route in Toronto, the 501. Admittedly, it's a relaxing ride, but it's LONG. By the time you get out to Coxswell where you need to get off, you're feeling the pressure of time. Most of the parks I visit for birding require similar planning (besides High Park, which is basically my backyard!).
Ashbridges Bay is a nice walk. It's quite similar in size and shape to Humber Bay East but without the marshy areas (at Ashbridges, there is a marina for small boats instead). From the park, you get a beautiful view of downtown Toronto as well as a full view of the Leslie Street Spit, closed through the week due to construction. I made my second visit to Ashbridges on Monday, March 23 in hopes that by some chance, the Western Grebe would be close enough to shore to see with my binoculars. The bird was either gone or too far out for me to see. Most posts on Ontbirds suggest bringing a scope but my loaned scope (thanks, Marianne!) is still in my room back home in Leamington. It's not easy to transport it on the Greyhound! So, I went hoping there would be another birder there with a scope but no luck.
I'll try again, or at least visit the park again. Other birds seen on Monday included a good number of Long-tailed Ducks, Common Mergansers, Bufflehead, a sing White-winged Scoter, and Lesser Scaup. Red-winged Blackbirds are out along with many robins, and a few Killdeer in an open field just north of the park.