Winter birding in the Greater Toronto Area

Sat/Sun, December 10-11: A weekend of early winter birding in the Greater Toronto Area in search of winter waterfowl, grebes, loons, Arctic gulls, late and lingering songbirds, roosting owls and eagles, hawks and falcons! In particular, Western Lake Ontario is very impressive in its waterfowl variety, with highly-sought-after species (such as scoters, Harlequin Duck and even King Eider) sometimes being right close to shore. We will certainly endeavour to observe a wide array of species. The general flow is as follows: Saturday begins at 9:00 a.m. with Scarborough Bluffs and ends with Downsview Park by 4:30 p.m.

What to pack/What to know: Please dress for the season, and be sure to take a look at the forecast for the region in which we will be birding a few days out from the tour. Please pack a cooler with the food and drink of your choice, including a lunch. Pack your optical and photographic equipment, as well as your field guides should you wish to consult them during the tour. Please also pack your spotting scope, if you have one.

Parking in municipal parking lots: There will likely be hourly parking fees involved during this tour. Please be prepared to pay with either coins or by credit card at parking lot pay stations.

AccommodationsClients must take care of their own Hotel/Motel/Air BnB/B&B selections and reservations. We will be beginning Saturday’s tour at Scarborough Bluffs and ending at Downsview Park. We will be beginning Sunday’s tour day at Colonel Sam Smith Park and ending at LaSalle Park, in Burlington.

Dinner: Group dinner(s) will not be arranged for this weekend tour due to peak cold/flu/COVID-19 season.

Traveling to-and-from our birding stops: Before each subsequent birding stop, clients will be given the address of the site. They must use their GPS (Google Maps, or other) and travel to the following destination by following the GPS.  Due to high traffic/numerous intersections in Toronto, there will be no “lead vehicle” and we will not travel to-and-from sites by caravan.

Communication: We will share updates via a text thread. We will communicate through this group chat should an issue arise (an example being a client taking a wrong turn and missing the meet-up location).

eBird Checklists: I will take care of all of the checklists for the day, and share them with you when the tour is complete. Your eBird statistics will automatically update when you accept the checklist. If you are not an eBird user, that is perfectly fine; I will email the checklists when I arrive home. You’ll be able to browse through the sightings list without having to be an eBird user.

Washrooms: I will do my best to schedule a washroom break every 90-120 minutes.

Activity rating: 2/5. Multiple relatively short walks each birding day.

Meet-up time and location (Saturday): Scarborough Bluffs Park @ 9:00 a.m. Park at “Bluffers Park parking” located at 1 Brimley Rd. South.

Meet-up time and location (Sunday): Colonel Sam Smith Park at 9:00 a.m. (parking lot right near the end of Colonel Sam Smith Park Drive).

Duration: 8 hours of birding on Saturday and 6 hours of birding on Sunday. Each day, we will take snack/washroom breaks throughout the day, and I will also schedule 30-min lunch breaks.

Cost: $400 for both days, or, $225 for Saturday, and $175 for Sunday. I do not have a preference when it comes to payment type; I accept e-transfer, cash and cheque.

Payment deadline: Wednesday, December 7th by 5:00 pm.

Register for this outing by using this sign-up form

When registering please input the date you’re registering for. If both days, please write “both days” in the date field. Many thanks.

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