[Ontbirds]Sharp-tailed Sparrow, etc. on Leslie St. Spit

Norm Murr normurr at sympatico.ca
Sat Oct 8 20:40:31 EDT 2005

Good evening all.

 Today Andrew Jano and I found a Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow on the west side of the base of the Leslie Street Spit (Tommy Thompson Park) this was almost the last bird that we saw as we left the spit. The bird was in grasses/goldenrods about 100 yards directly west of the parking lot.

 This was just one of many good and common birds on the spit today. I headed out to Pipit Point first thing in the morning and on the way and at the point high overhead passed 300+ Double-crested Cormorants, 200+ Canada Geese and offshore in a half hour period I counted 52 Common Loons passing by (my hands got cold and I left Pipit Point). Also out here were 2 Northern Harriers, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine Falcon and overhead 2 Cooper's Hawks and a Rough-legged Hawk and a lot of Sparrows and Yellow-rumped Warblers.

 Here and in other areas of the spit I also found 2 more Cooper's Hawks, another Merlin, 15 Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, 16 Eastern Phoebes, 117 Swainson's Thrushes, 200+ Ruby-crowned and 300+ Golden-crowned Kinglets, 77 American Pipits, 2 Orange-crowned Warblers, 1000+ Yellow-rumped Warblers, 22 Palm Warblers, 300+ White-crowned and 500+ White-throated Sparrows, 250+ Dark-eyed Juncos, and 61 Rusty Blackbirds. These and a good number of other species made for a very birdie day out there and tomorrow looks like it may be a repeat. Look for Fox, Lincoln's, Chipping and Swamp Sparrows as well as Swainson's and Gray-cheeked Thrushes, Eastern Towhee, Winter Wrens, Brown Creepers, and Belted Kingfishers.

 I hooked up with Andrew who is a volunteer at the bird banding station in the afternoon and I was told that they banded many birds this morning even though they only employed a third of their nets. They banded Pine Warbler, Northern Parula, and 2 Scarlet Tanagers along with the more common birds.


To get to "The Spit" from Queen & Yonge Sts. Take the Queen Street Car #501 east to Leslie St. and walk south (about 2 km) or as far as you can go on Leslie St. at Unwin Ave. and you will see the gate and signage. You may also catch the Jones Bus #83 at the Donlands Subway Station or transfer to it at Queen St. and Jones Ave. and take it to Leslie St. And Commissioner St. (on Saturday only). By automobile you may drive to Lakeshore Blvd and Leslie St. then south to The Spit.

If before 9 am you can park either on Leslie St. or Unwin Ave., after 9 am the parking lot inside the gate is open, be sure to note the closing time as your car will be locked in at that time.

Pipit Point is the extreme left hand (southwest) point. When walking out towards the lighthouse you will come to a road going off to the left (at the Quonset hut or tin shed). Follow this road along the outer arm as far as it goes and at the T junction where the paved road goes off to the right continue straight onto the dirt road and you 

will end up on Pipit Point. NOTE:- This is a dead end road and also you are not allowed onto it during nesting season.

NOTE:- The spit is only open on the weekends and on holidays, at other times you will not be able to access the area. This area is extensive, 7 km to the tip, but be prepared to walk more than that. There is a van available after 9 am from Victoria Day weekend to Thanksgiving Day weekend that will take you out or back.

Norm Murr

Richmond Hill, ON

normurr at sympatico.ca

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