[Ontbirds]Migration trickle etc., on the Toronto islands

Norman Murr normurr at sympatico.ca
Thu Aug 16 08:07:14 EDT 2007

Good morning out there.

  Yesterday, Aug. 15th Naish McHugh, Margaret Liubavicius, Ed O'Conner and I went down to the Islands to check migration progress if any. Birding wasn't as lively as it will surely get by next week but we did see some nice birds and early migrants among the 56 species observed.
 Many hundreds of Cormorants. If you need a Cormorant fix then just hop the Wards Island ferry in the early morning and watch the thousands over and in the harbour and thousands more off the south of the eastern gap. Black-crowned Night-herons, Osprey overhead, a Solitary Sandpiper at Snug Harbour, Caspian and Common Terns, 100+ Chimney swifts over wards in the morning mixed in with 100's of Tree and Barn Swallows, a sight to see, 5 Belted Kingfishers, Olive-sided, Willow and Least Flycatchers, Eastern Pewee and Eastern Phoebe, and 50 Eastern Kingbirds with most of them beside the eastern gap on Wards as they vied with about 35 Cedar Waxwings for the Gnats, Gray Catbirds, N. Mockingbird, Carolina and House Wrens, Purple Finch, lots of yellow warblers and single Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Canada, and Black-and-white Warblers, single N. Waterthrush and Common Yellowthroats, and 40 plus Baltimore Orioles.
Migration - It has begun and the next couple of weeks should be very interesting..

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 1st boat to Wards Island (my preferred starting point) is 6:35 am and the 2nd is 7:00 am Monday to Friday. 

The 1st is at 6:35 am and the 2nd boat is at 7:15 am on Saturday, Sunday and Holidays.

The 1st boat to Hanlans Point is 8:00 am and the 2nd boat is at 8:30 am Monday to Friday.

The 1st is at 8:15 am and the 2nd boat is at 9:15 am on Saturday, Sunday and Holidays.

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 (up to a $10 bill) there if you want to chance it).

There are coffee shops across from the ferry docks in the building on the northwest corner and they are open early. food and beverages on The Islands when open are very expensive i.e. soft drink around $2.50 ( now $3.00). If you are birding from Wards the soft drink machine beside the fire station sells juice, iced tea, etc. for $1.00.

For a detailed ferry schedule check the following web site. 



There is a map of the Islands at each of the Island side ferry docks and the City side.

Norm Murr
Richmond Hill, ON

"Sils mordent, mords les"

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