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Showing posts from October, 2015

Animal of the Month

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Welcome to Animal of the Month for October 2015. Every month, we will announce our favourite animal that has been featured on the blog at some point during the month.

Which animal has been our favourite this month?

Contenders
Barn Owl
Kestrel
Kingfisher
Meadow Pipit


Winner: Kingfisher
The highlight this month has to be the Kingfisher. It was a surprise sighting whilst at Papercourt Meadows and definitely a welcome one. The numerous great views it gave us whilst it sat out in the open is the reason for it being my AotM.



A Barn Owl and a Stunning Sunset

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On 7th and 8th of October, Short-eared Owls were reported back at Papercourt Meadows. So we got our layers on and headed off to the meadows for a Sunday evening walk. We arrived around an hour and a half before dark, and set off around the field. We could see a few twitchers already waiting, which was a promising sign of their presence, but the twitchers seemed to be looking more for the Barn Owl than the Short-eared. Regardless, we headed over to the opposite side of the reserve to our favourite spot to see if an owl was around.


As we crossed the meadows, we came across numerous small groups of small birds. When they settled on the fenceposts, we realised they were in fact Meadow Pipits and Stonechats. The pipits were looking particularly healthy, which is a good sign.

When we reached our spot, the light was already fading quite quickly. We stood and waited for a bit, but soon realised that actually the owls may not still be here. It had been a few days since the last sighting, and the…

Guest Post - Tommy Thompson Park, Toronto

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About an hours run from downtown Toronto is Tommy Thompson Park (TTP). Located on the Toronto waterfront, TTP is a unique urban wilderness found on a man-made peninsula, known as the Leslie Street Spit, which extends five km into Lake Ontario and is over 500 hectares in size. It is teeming with wildlife !!!
I spent the day there today to see what I could spot and, although it was very hot and sunny, there was much to see. In fact too much so I will just give you the highlights!
Herptiles There is obviously a very healthy snake population as I stopped 3 times to watch snakes cross the path. They were far too quick for me to get a photo but were all easily identified as Eastern Garter Snakes. Beautiful colours and not dangerous (luckily). In the ponds and bays there were also plenty of turtles but they were a little shy so I only managed to get a good look at one, which I think is a Midland Painted Turtle due to the red on its side.

Birds The birds were everywhere – many small warblers, most…

Mist at the Meadows

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The evening is no doubt the best time to visit Papercourt Meadows, when the owls hunt over the long grass and the light begins to fade. We decided to take a trip to see what was around. 

We began our walk by cutting across the middle of the reserve, before turning right and heading down towards the far end of the meadows. We saw a few Stonechats, and the Kestrel was sat on the wire as it always is. There are two resident kestrels at Papercourt, and we saw both of them over the course of the walk, mainly sat on wires but occasionally hunting.
It was a beautiful evening, and the meadows looked fantastic with the evening light shining over the grass. We followed the river around the side of the reserve, and as the sun went down further, the meadows seemed to glow, and the river turned golden. As we continued down the river, we caught a glimpse of a Barn Owl hunting in a field on the opposite side. I'd forgotten how much I love watching owls glide over the meadows and, although it was j…