Today was just an incredible lesson in "you never know what you will see". Tracy and I have been busy checking up on various Peregrine Falcon nesting pairs around the GTA, mostly in the westend as its closer to home.
On Sunday we wanted to check a few sites. We started our day at Holcim,in Mississauga,the old St Lawrence Cement plant. We spotted the pair fairly easily and set about trying to ID both adults. The female gave us some information. She had a black over green band and a silver USFG band. This means she is possibly from New York,but we have to confirm 100% when we are able to see the band numbers in the future. That was good news and we decided to leave for our 2nd stop at King St,in downtown Toronto, BUT WAIT, we got to the corner and saw a huge flock(murmuration is the new buzz word) of European Starlings twisting and turning in the sky. We watched looking for a bird of prey among them. The Starlings landed absolutely covering powerlines. While Tracy tried to get photos as a record of just how many there were,I spotted a Kestrel just beside us. We started taking photos of that perched atop a roadside tree. We decided again, time to move on, BUT WAIT, we hear a distress call(scream) of a Starling and then see a bird fly low across the road infront of us, landing on the grass across the road. Its our 3rd falcon species in one block! A Merlin has taken down a Starling and is finishing it off. It begins to eat when it is spooked from its meal by...a Redtailed Hawk in a tree behind it! The Merlin flew up to a powerline above the abandoned meal. Clearly it was interested in going back down to eat, as it looked down upon its lunch. Moments passed and finally it swooped down and made one aborted attempt before it successfully snatched up its prize and flew off out of sight to eat! What a series of events! No wonder the Starlings were wheeling all over the sky,4 predators within a block and 3 at one intersection!!
We finally proceeded to King St. We thawed out in the pizza joint near our chosen watch location and both adults flew in. We could only verify that the male was banded black over black,making it an Ontario produced and banded bird. The couple seemed uneasy and we half expected to see a 3rd Peregrine in the territory. We were frozen again after a couple hours so we moved on. We made quick stop ins at Islington and Bloor nestsite, where we found Angel was out but Jack was in. Continuing our "Tour de Peregrine" we dropped into the William Osler site,where OConnor was out but we found Hurricane on their favorite hospital H.
It was quite a day. Such as they are here are my photos of today, I hope to post a few of Tracys superior shots soon. Id love to post a story or 2 about the rare birds some of you have been seeing around Toronto and area. Please send them to me to post if U wish. Photos would be great too!