Friday, August 29, 2014

INVASIVE SPECIES THREAT TO WETLANDS

The Toronto Star recently published this article about the growing threat of the invasive species "phragmites" on wetland areas.  Sam Smith Park visitors will have noticed that this plant is now present in our own wetlands, displacing native bulrushes.  This poses, for example, problems for nesting Red Winged Blackbirds who find the long, slender reeds too weak to support nest building.

Click on article title below to read more and to see the Conservation Authority's response to the issue.

"Invasive phragmites hurting bird population on Leslie St. Spit"

The invasive species crowds out native vegetation that waterfowl and shorebirds use for food and shelter, threatening to put a dent in the birder's paradise .....

Phragmites australis, known as "phrag", has spread rapidly along shorelines in Ontario and crowds out native growth .....

Feasting on moisture, the plant proliferates in wetlands and marshes, along lakeshores, and in the disturbed soil bordering highways ..... 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

MORE PHOTOGRAPHS OF YELLOW CROWNED NIGHT HERON

Thanks to Ed McAskill for sending us these pics of our southern visitor.  You can see more of Ed's work on his Flickr website.

The Yellow Crowned Night Heron is a nocturnal heron of the
southern swamps and coasts.  The range map for the species explains the interest local birders have shown in this bird's unexpected presence in our region.  This bird is a juvenile or immature.

The Black Crowned Night Heron is native to our area - a number of them feed and roost in Sam Smith Park.






Thursday, August 21, 2014

RARE JUVENILE YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT HERON IN SAM SMITH PARK

Birders have been delighted over the last week  by the appearance of a very unusual visitor to our park.

Many thanks to Heather Jack for the wonderful photographs.

Report from David Pryor posted on ONTBIRDS ...

"The juvenile Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron has been roosting in a tree along with an adult and juvenile Black-Crowned Night-Heron, low to the water, on the north east side of the island in the marshy cattail overflow pond located about 50 yards due east of the southernmost parking lot.   The bird was best seen from the gravel path which runs north and south on the east side of the pond
In comparison to the other juvenile bird (which is clearly a Black-
Crowned), the bird's upper mandible is largely blackish while the lower mandible, other than the tip, appears somewhat pale.  The bird has grayish rather than brown upper parts, has much more finely spotted wings, seems to be longer-necked and legged, as well as showing a blunter, thicker bill. This bird's call was is relatively high-pitched, almost like a scream."

Sunday, July 20, 2014

LAKESHORE KAYAK CLUB

Every year, we are seeing more and more people in kayaks and canoes exploring the Lake Ontario shoreline in and around Sam Smith Park
The explosion of kayaks, in particular, along the whole Toronto waterfront is huge.  Torontonians are discovering the simple pleasure of being out on the water in a self-propelled craft quietly gliding in to the bays and the rivers that run in to the lake, looking out for wildlife along the shores and enjoying the relaxed pace that paddling can provide.
Along the lake here, we are blessed with a number of these possibilities - the lake itself and the Credit and Humber rivers.  And for the slightly more adventuresome, there are the Toronto Islands with their secret lagoons and beautiful inner waterways.

A local group has recently formed to provide interested recreational kayakers the opportunity to join others for leisurely social paddles.  The Lakeshore Kayak Club has a website where you can request to be put on their contact list.  Their inaugural paddle is on Tuesday August 12th., 2014 along the Humber River. 

Go the website for details.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

GLOBE & MAIL ARTICLE ON THE BENEFITS OF GREEN NATURAL SPACES IN URBAN AREAS

"Cities are the main human ecosystem – 60 per cent of us now live in metropolitan areas with more than 100,000 people – but they also make us sick, depressed and anxious. By contrast, being around blue water, green trees and space makes us healthier, more productive, even more generous – a positive effect known as “biophilia.”"

LINK - How green cities are better for us physically and psychologically

Friday, July 4, 2014

SUMMARY - MINUTES FOSS STEERING COMMITTEE - JUNE 24TH, 2014



Summary: Minutes of the FOSS Steering Committee Meeting

June 24, 2014

8:40 PM, Keaveney Residence, Etobicoke

  •          FOSS supports No Jets Toronto and CCFEW’s opposition to expansion of Billy Bishop (Toronto Island) Airport. FOSS has forwarded a letter outlining its concerns to the City clerk’s office. The letter will now be scheduled for consideration. See blog for details.
  •     FOSS-initiated off-leash informational signs for dog walkers have now been erected in several CSSP locations. The signs are also being considered for use in other city parks.
  •    The entire semi-circle of benches formerly located on the north side of CSSP marina has been destroyed by the City over lack of maintenance funds. Two other benches remain solely due to the personal initiative of a member of the yacht club. FOSS plans to contact city authorities advocating that the benches be restored, repaired or replaced. A yacht club member is also responsible for building the nesting platforms for the Red-necked Grebes.
  •    To encourage the nesting of Purple Martins, FOSS is seeking permission to move the yacht club’s martin house from its present location to a more suitable one near the water’s edge.
  •     FOSS has submitted a formal letter to Councillor Grimes outlining specific suggestions/requests for improvement to the dog park.
  •    FOSS supports the development of a community vegetable garden at the originally suggested location only, i.e. in the field found on the south side of Lakeshore Blvd. just west of the Rabba store. Attendees at a meeting held on March 3 unanimously agreed with this location. As of April 17. Councillor Grimes is still not in favour of this site.
  •    FOSS is concerned that proposed alternate sites (farther south or near the dog park) may be environmentally detrimental. FOSS also questions if there are alternate future plans for development of the Lakeshore Blvd. site that are comparable to the new Humber College welcome centre at the SW corner of Lakeshore and CSSP Drive. FOSS advocates open public consultation.
  •    As part of its new welcome centre, Humber College plans to protect some green space on the SW corner of CSSP Drive and Lakeshore Boulevard. FOSS advocates the preservation of crab-apple trees presently at that location. FOSS also supports plans being considered by Humber to reconstruct the Women’s Gazebo located on college grounds.
  •    Report all coyote sightings in CSS Park. See blog for details.

Friday, June 6, 2014

NEXT GUIDED BIRD WALK IN PARK - SATURDAY, JUNE 14TH.

The next CCFEW Bird Walk is Saturday, June 14th 
9:00am - 11:00am at Colonel Samuel Smith Park
Leader: Don Burton
Meet in the south parking lot (where the road ends) of Colonel Samuel Smith Park. MAP
On our June walk we typically expect to find a wide variety of birds that breed in or close to the park.  A star attraction in recent years have been the Red-necked Grebes.  There are currently four active nests in the park.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

SUMMARY - MINUTES FOSS STEERING COMMITTEE - MAY 27TH, 2014



Summary: Minutes of the FOSS Steering Committee Meeting

May 27, 2014

7:00 PM LAMP, 185 5TH Street, Etobicoke

  • FOSS has submitted a formal letter to Councillor Grimes outlining specific suggestions/requests for improvement to the dog park.
  •  FOSS supports the development of a community vegetable garden at the originally suggested location only, i.e. in the field found on the south side of Lakeshore Blvd. just west of the Rabba store. Attendees at a meeting held on March 3 unanimously agreed with this location. As of April 17, Councillor Grimes is still not in favour of this site.
  • FOSS is concerned that proposed alternate sites (farther south or near the dog park) may be environmentally detrimental. FOSS also questions if there are alternate future plans for development of the Lakeshore Blvd. site that are comparable to the new Humber College welcome centre at the SW corner of Lakeshore and CSSP Drive. FOSS advocates open public consultation.
  • As part of its new welcome centre, Humber College plans to protect some green space on the SW corner of CSSP Drive and Lakeshore Boulevard. FOSS advocates the preservation of crab apple trees presently at that location.
  • FOSS supports CCFEW’s opposition to expansion of Billy Bishop (Toronto Island) Airport and has written city council voicing its concerns. See blog for details.
  • FOSS President, Brian Keaveney, thanked all volunteers and members of the Steering Committee for making Colonel Samuel Smith Park’s annual clean-up day (Sunday, April 27) and the Spring Bird Festival (Saturday, May 24), such a great success.
  • Thank you to all entrants in the FOSS-sponsored spring photography competition. Winning photos are now showcased on the blog.
  • The semi-circle of benches formerly located on the north side of CSSP marina has been destroyed by the City over lack of maintenance funds. Two benches remain solely due to the personal initiative of a member of the yacht club. A yacht club member is also responsible for building the nesting platforms for the Red-necked Grebes.
  • For more information about kids’ (Grades 1-8) nature classes scheduled to be held in CSS Park during May and June, contact Jimmy Vincent (416.675.6622 ext. 5009/jimmy.vincent@humber.ca) at the Humber Arboretum. Be sure to mention the CCFEW subsidy. The park is readily accessible by TTC bus.  
  • Report all coyote sightings in CSS Park to FOSS. See blog for details.
  • FOSS-initiated off-leash informational signs for dog walkers have been delivered to the Park Supervisor and are expected to be visible soon.