[Ontbirds]Gyrfalcon on the Leslie Street Spit

Norm Murr normurr at sympatico.ca
Sat Nov 5 18:56:21 EST 2005

Good evening.

 Today I again went down to The Spit to see if I could get lucky again and I did in spades.

 After a long walk and some fine birds I started back towards the city and after crossing the footbridge I paused to take a break after 5 hrs of walking. I turned and noticed a Herring Gull flying towards me but quickly realized that this bird wasn't flying like a Herring Gull but appeared to be a Raptor and indeed it was. I quickly put up my binoculars as the bird sailed pass me not 50 or 60 feet away and as it passed it turned it's head and gave me a dirty look (I think) and I was looking at an adult Gray Phase Gyrfalcon. Even his pale moustache was visible it was so close. This bird without much effort continued on (without any wing noticeable movement) in the direction of the base. I lost site of it as it dipped below tree level again so I do not know where it went or if it turned back somewhere.

 I post this not so some one can head for The Spit tomorrow but as a heads up to birders along the north shore of Lake Ontario.

 Other birds on The spit of some interest were T. Vulture, A. Wigeon, N. Pintail, Green-Winged Teal in numbers, good numbers of Hooded Mergansers, Common Loons, B-C Chickadees still moving thru (88), lots of A. Pipits (137), Snow Buntings, E. Meadowlark, and Fox Sparrows.

 There are 15,000+ Long-tailed Ducks on the lake and 3000+ L. Scaup in the bays.


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 (4:30 PM) as your car will be locked in at that time.

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. The "SPIT" is only open on the weekend as they are still building it.

Norm Murr

Richmond Hill, ON

normurr at sympatico.ca

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