[Ontbirds] Yellow-throated Warbler and other surprises on the Leslie Street Spit

Norman Murr normurr at sympatico.ca
Sat Sep 16 21:42:58 EDT 2006

A very good evening.

 Today I again took a trip to The Leslie Street Spit and on the way Margaret Liubavicius joined me and off we went on an all day bird filled trip as well as a surprise filled trip. It started out nicely with 8 Rusty Blackbirds on The Base and went uphill from there despite the again cloud covered morning.

 As we walked along out along the Causeway then the Outer Arm to Pipit Point, across the Flats to the Lighthouse and to the end of the main road area, onto Peninsula B and The Peninsula D we came up with the following birds and though we had only 79 species of birds we did have quality.

 Pied-billed Grebes, N. Shovelers, Canvasback, Redheads, Greater Scaup, Bufflehead, all 3 Mergansers, Great Egret, N. Harriers, Sharp-shinned and Cooper's hawks, 3 Merlins, Black-bellied Plovers, Caspian Tern, Common Loon, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Belted Kingfishers, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Eastern Wood Pewees (1 Calling), 4 Vireos including Philadelphia and Blue-headed, 5 Thrushes including 2 male Eastern Bluebirds (a surprise), Swainson's and Grey-cheeked Thrushes ( 1 Gray-cheeked on The Flats, a surprising area), Brown Creepers,  Winter and House Wrens, American Pipits, only 16 Warbler species but they included a real Orange-crowned Warbler and the subject Yellow-throated Warbler, Lincoln's Sparrows and 14 Rusty Blackbirds.

 The Orange-crowned Warbler was well seen as it fed in low shrubs and brush on Pipit Point and the Yellow-throated Warbler was an adult bird well seen as it fed in the tops of the Cottonwoods on Peninsula D. It was feeding and travelling with Yellow-rumped, Blackpoll and Bay-breasted Warblers.

 A couple of other surprises involved non birds. Along the outer arm we found a dead 22" long Eastern Milk Snake (Lampropetis trianguleum triangleum) with V shaped patch on nape (collected and frozen). It had apparently been killed by a bicycle. We also observed a Mink crossing the main road onto the base of Peninsula D. The Milk Snake may be the first for The Spit, I really don't know. If anyone has any other info on this species or would like to have the specimen (I will keep it for awhile) then contact me in private.

Long winded Directions, etc.


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. – 6 pm at present.


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.

If you do not want to walk out on the outer arm then at the Quonset hut continue straight ahead on the right hand road. There is a viewing area on your right almost as soon as you start on this road. This overlooks the 1st Bay and can be good for Waterfowl, Gulls and Shorebirds. Check the woods beside here for Passerines.

The small point on your right just before you get to the 1st Bay Overlook and opposite the road split is called Peninsula X and can be good anytime especially in spring and fall during migration.

Just past the 1st Bay Overlook is the sailboat road that leads onto Peninsula D and to the banding station and along this road and on the peninsula it is a very good in season for Passerines and Owls.

Continue along the main road and you will cross a swing foot bridge and the peninsula on your right is Peninsula C and on your left is the Triangle Pond and further along the road on your right is Peninsula B with a short road going down onto it.

Beyond the road onto Peninsula B on your right is Peninsula A and the pond on your left is alternately called The Small Pond or The Goldfish Pond and the area behind it and over to Pipit Point is called The Flats, good for Short-eared Owls in season as well as migrating Sparrows.

NOTE:- During breeding season DO NOT go onto Peninsula C, Peninsula B, or Peninsula A further than the warning signs.


NOTE:- The official hours for The Spit are 9 am to 6 pm (weekends and holidays only of course) but the unofficial hours are sunup to sundown. To date no one has questioned any birder, jogger, cyclist, etc. about the use of The Spit from sunup to sundown.

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 weekends and holidays because they are still building it.

Norm Murr

Richmond Hill, ON

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