Sunday, February 3, 2013

Toronto Wildlife in the News

It's been some time since our last post. While it would be fun to go out and look at wildlife every day forever and ever, sadly sometimes other aspects of life intrude.

But it's worth mentioning that yours truly was featured (sort of) in a good article at Inside Toronto, part of a whole series on wildlife in Toronto. The article leads with my chance coyote meeting a few years back, and so I thought I'd throw up a couple of new heretofore unseen images from that day. Not sure why I didn't put these two shots up the first time.

The article also reveals the secret location of Area 51, something I vowed I'd never reveal. I did reveal it though, to the first reporter who asked! Not because I'm that desperate for attention, but because in the last couple of years the city, in its infinite wisdom, has 'improved' this park area and made it more accessible with a much bigger path and a connecting route to other parklands. The result is more people and less wildlife. It's nowhere near the treasure trove it used to be so there's no longer any reason to keep its location a secret. In the past you would have had to waterboard me to get me to tell.

Click to enlarge. The first image especially will show up much better.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Winter is Coming

Okay, I only say that Winter is Coming because I'm a Game of Thrones fan, however Fall really is coming, and, depending on your definition, it's already here.

Fall means bird migration, and migration periods are the best times to see and find birds in Toronto. Of course, you should have no trouble recognizing a Mallard if you see one, they're the most common type of duck in North America. While they do migrate they can be found in these parts all year around. Like the coyote and other very adaptable species, Mallards do very well in areas of heavy human settlement.

This shot of a Mallard male provides another example of our adage that it's better to have a good image of something common than a bad shot of something rare. One of my favorite shots. Click to enlarge.

Friday, July 6, 2012


Loyal Toronto Wildlife fans may remember this guy.

At the time, I identified this bird as a Sharp-Shinned Hawk, however it turns out...I'm wrong. Shocking I know. Even more shocking, it's not the first time I've made a raptor ID error. They can be very hard to tell apart.

This is, in fact, a Merlin. This is good news for two reasons, because a) Merlins are rarer than Sharp-Shins, and b) they're falcons, a Toronto Wildlife first.

Huge hat tip and thanks to reader Sean Hollis for pointing this out. And perhaps I don't say it enough, but I'm always happy to hear from anyone who feels I've misidentified something.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Butterfly Effect

It's a term from chaos theory, and in Toronto 'the butterfly effect' means you will never ever see any butterflies in the areas the city has created to attract butterflies. Where can you see them? Well, really, they could show up in most any park or backyard. And with their big colourful wings, you can get some great images without any specialized equipment, which isn't true of other insects.

Of course, you could go to the Toronto Zoo or the Humber Nurseries Butterfly Conservatory to get some shots, but that would be cheating. Realize that any images taken at those spots do not count as wildlife photography.

Pictured here, in order:  a Wood Satyr, a Female Cabbage White, a Skipper, a shy Acadian Hairstreak, and a pretty lame image of a Monarch. I apologize for that, however Monarchs are kind of like Canada Geese in that they're so common they get taken for granted, so when you need a good shot of one you never have it.

And be sure to check here and here if you think butterflies are always more attractive than their moth cousins.

Click, as we say, to enlarge.