[Ontbirds] Toronto Islands - Sharp-tailed Sparrows, Orange=crowned Warblers, etc.

Norman Murr normurr at sympatico.ca
Thu Oct 5 21:42:40 EDT 2006

Hello Eh!

 Today Ian Cannell, Margaret  Liubavicius and I birded The Islands again and a beautiful and birdiful day it was.

 As the ferry was pulling in to the dock at Hanlans Point at 8:15 am Margaret and Ian spotted a large flock of small birds descending into the area beside the dock and after we got off of the ferry we went over to that area and discovered hundreds of White-throated and White-crowned Sparrows as well as 100 or so Dark-eyed Juncos. From here it was uphill with  some nice species observed.

 We found an Orange-crowned Warbler near the ferry dock and another one at the southwest end of the airfield fence and along the western side of the same fence Ian spotted a Sharp-tailed Sparrow. No LeConte's Sparrow or Sedge wren spotted so it seems that they have moved on.

 Some of the other birds we found were Turkey Vulture, Cooper's Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, 46 Eastern Phoebes, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Winter Wrens, 100's of both Kinglets, Gray-cheeked Thrushes, Swainson's Thrush, 87 Hermit Thrushes, Blue-headed Vireo, 8 Warbler species, 13 Sparrow species including the above mentioned Sharp-tailed, Eastern Towhee, Chipping, Field, Vesper, Savannah, Fox, Lincoln's, Swamp, and hundreds of White-throated and White-crowned Sparrows and dark-eyed Juncos, Eastern Meadowlarks and Rusty Blackbird.

 While birding we stopped to talk to a couple of other (reliable) birders and they informed us that they had found another Sharp-tailed Sparrow in the beach grasses behind the west side of the airfield and flushed a Short-eared Owl as well, they had also observed several American Pipits and a Bald Eagle heading west.

TORONTO ISLANDS (Wards Island to Hanlans Point - without side trips is 5 km)

To get to the Toronto Islands from Queen and Yonge Streets on the TTC. If your on the subway southbound stay on it and get off at Union Station, walk south about 1 km to the ferry docks at the foot of Bay Street at Queens Quay and you are there. If in an auto on the Gardener Expressway or on Lakeshore Blvd, then exit at Bay Street and drive south to Queens Quay, there are lots of parking lots nearby (fee).

There is a fee for using the island ferries ($6.00 adult / $3.50 for seniors & students) and to find out the sailing times you can phone (416) 392-8193. There are washrooms on the islands as well as the city side at the ferry docks and you can pick up a schedule at the docks or check on line.

The ferries are on the fall schedule and the first boat to Hanlans is at 8:00 am Mon. to Fri. For other days and times check the detailed schedule at the bottom of these directions. Starting Tuesday, Oct. 10th they go to the Winter schedule with only limited service to Hanlans with the first boat at 11 am so I was told.

If arriving in early am you must obtain your ticket from a machine just inside the gate so be sure to have $1.00 and $2.00 and/or 25 cent coins before you arrive at the docks as there is no place to get change and the machine does not make change. (There is a change machine there if you want to chance it).

There are coffee shops across from the ferry docks in the building on the northwest corner and at Union Station and they are open early. Food and beverages on The Islands when open are very expensive i.e. soft drink $2.75 plus. But not available until next Easter. :-))

For a detailed ferry schedule check the following web site. 


Norm Murr

Richmond Hill, ON

Sils mordent, mords les

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