31 March 2014

Attempts at spring

Scale-invariant melting
Something of a fixer-upper
A little early
 So there were reports of a possible tufted duck at Hanlan's Point, which is at one end of the giant and mostly treed or lawn'd sandbar referred to as the Toronto Islands.  It is important to know that in the winter, only the Ward Island ferry runs; this is at the other end of the Islands than Hanlan's.  (It's also, per the Ferry, winter until 12 April.)  So it's a 5km walk each way.

I'd been meaning to go for a camera walk yesterday anyway, it was supposed to be a pleasant day, and why not?

I even managed not to fall into any of the diverse excavations being undertaken on the Islands.  Something to do with both sewer and power, so far as I can tell, and it makes it really obvious how much of a sandspit the place is.

So I've got pictures of a lot of scaup; "blinding white flanks" is a terrible field mark for picking a possible tufted duck out when the common merganser have started arriving in fresh breeding plumage and are zipping about like green-headed U-boats racing for a better intercept position.  "Black back" is a terrible field mark when you're looking at scaup from astern, because their otherwise grey back goes black from that angle.  And friendships have ended over the shape of scaup heads, so that's not much help, either.  So I have, obviously, no tufted duck photos, because if there's one there, I couldn't find it.

Lots of mergansers and redheads and scaup, black duck, trumpeter and mute swans, mallards, bufflehead, and long-tailed ducks, plus ring-billed gulls, cardinals, singing away like video games of a certain age, red-winged black-birds practising their territorial calls, and what might well have been a tree sparrow.  (There are tree parts in the way in all the pictures.)  Oh, and a downy woodpecker.

So, very much like early spring; lots of ice still in the interior waterways, nothing's even thinking about leafing out, no passerine migrants yet, and it's still remarkably quiet over there.

Book at Kobo is still attempting to upload; have some idea what the problem is but it's not one I can fix.  (I have dark suspicions their tool chain is not set up to handle being given valid EPUB3.0 files.  It seems to go into shock.)


Mark Z said...

The island seems to attract those who find the city a bit much. :-)

Dan's class was privy to a long-tailed duck sighting on the island during a field trip back in early March.

Graydon said...

I have quite a bit to say about land tenure on the islands, but I'm pretty sure you could deduce the whole of it. :)

Good for Dan's class; there aren't as many this year as has been usual these last several. I did get some pictures; have to see if any of them will process respectably. (A bird that is layers of semi-translucent white over black is a photographic challenge. Never mind the implausible pink beak.)