If you live in Ontario, you’ve likely figured out that when it comes to frigid winter temperatures, you basically have two choices: 1. Stay warm & lazy indoors or 2. Bundle up and get out there. Today, urged on by cabin fever, I chose to brave the cold and enjoy the great outdoors!
The temperatures were in the -6 to -8C range, and with constant wind it was much colder. Wearing great new boots, long johns and an excellent balaclava mask along with many layers of clothing, the day turned out to be a beautiful one to be outside!
Toronto’s Leslie Street Spit was today’s destination. The Spit is located at the south end of Leslie Street east of Toronto’s epicenter. If you’ve never heard of the Leslie Spit, it’s a weekend-only day use park operated by the Toronto & Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). It’s also commonly referred to as Tommy Thompson Park.
The Spit is a very important bird area, where many species choose to nest during mating season. Because of the importance of this area to birds and other wildlife, pets are not allowed, which even as a dog owner, I understand and appreciate.
Today, the bird populations were very low compared even with other winter visits. Chickadees were spotted in small numbers, and a Northern Shrike and Kestrel were reported by other birders.
For me, the highlight of the day was seeing two different Great Horned Owls, with some assistance from another birder. Even looking specifically for these amazing creatures, they are SO difficult to spot in trees! Their coats blend in very well with both evergreens and dead wood, making it quite a challenge to see them even at close range.
It was a pleasure to make today’s trip to the Spit, and even with what I’d guess was over 10 kms of walking, it was well worth the time!
If you get a dose of cabin fever, do yourself a favour and get out. Afterwards you may be tired and your limbs may ache, but it really is a great way to spend a sunny weekend day!