Trumpeter swans, flycatchers and geese

An early start to spring and open water in Swan Lake meant the arrival of four Trumpeter Swans on March 1st.

Two adults, an untagged male named Stouffie and a tagged female (P58) named Whit, plus two untagged juvenile swans stayed on the lake throughout March. The Ontario Trumpeter Swan Conservation group came and tagged the two juveniles (now U07 and U08). Hopefully the adults will stay and nest on the lake.

Swans Z23 and Y31 also visited during the spring bringing the total to six different Trumpeter Swans spotted on the lake.

You can help the Friends of Swan Lake Park (FOSLP) track who is visiting and how long they are staying by posting photos of your sightings on FOSLP’s Facebook page. To participate send a request to be a “friend” to [email protected].

On March 25, 170 area residents made the trek to the Markham Museum to hear Markham staff’s community update on the rehabilitation activities underway in Swan Lake Park.

Staff confirmed that another chemical treatment for Swan Lake water is planned for the summer of 2024 and that a $125,000 project to install fencing to restrict shoreline access for geese will be submitted for the 2025 budget.

Restricting geese access to the shoreline was recommended as part of the long-term water quality plan. However, the Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) outlined a more ambitious plan at a public meeting at the Swan Club in 2022. The TRCA had recommended using stoneware along the shoreline, upgrading two existing viewing locations plus two new locations for recreational nodes, styled after work they had done in other parks, such as Lake Wilcox. In addition, FOSLP had requested consideration be given to adding an additional water level recreational node near the new townhouses and a new viewing area along the western shoreline.

Markham’s 2025 plan includes fencing and the retrofit of two existing lake-level access points but rejects recommendations for any new features.  FOSLP has requested that staff provide council members with cost estimates for the features recommended by the TRCA and FOSLP so Markham council can decide on the merits of these additional shoreline improvements.

Other happenings at Swan Lake include the installation of nine birdhouses by FOSLP members. Cindy Knowles helped research the design and site placement of the birdhouses to attract Tree Swallows, Nuthatches, and Flycatchers, species the Toronto Region Conservation Authority says may decline in an urban environment like Markham if urban risks are not mitigated.

*Story submitted by Fred Peters.



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