[Ontbirds] Toronto Islands - Shorebirds including Baird's Sandpipers and some Warblers

Norman Murr normurr at sympatico.ca
Thu May 29 15:37:29 EDT 2008

Good Day

 This morning I did a fast stroll through The Islands and even though migration never really stacked up to previous spring migrations it was a pretty good month down there and now the migration we did get is winding down but there were still a few good birds to see this morning.

 I did find 5 Blackpoll, 6 Wilson's, 2 Canada and 1 Mourning Warbler and Willow Flycatchers have finally arrived on territory. You can still find Red-eyed Vireos and a million Warbling Vireos along with Great Crested Flycatchers, Eastern Wood-Pewees, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Gray Catbirds, Chipping Sparrows and plenty of Baltimore Orioles.

 Before I went to catch the ferry back to the city I checked the beach on the west side of the airfield fence on Hanlans Point and there I found a male Northern Pintail, Caspian Terns, all 6 Swallow species, 7 Ruddy Turnstones, 38 Dunlin, 2 Baird's Sandpipers, Pectoral, Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers, 32 Black-bellied Plovers, Semipalmated Plovers and the usual Spotted Sandpipers and Killdeer.

 I suggest that on the slim chance that someone may go over there to find these Shorebirds that you go early before the "Boys Of Summer" start trolling the beach or  taking up residence in the bushes. The shorebirds today were constantly disturbed by these gay blades and also by aircraft taking off overhead.


TORONTO ISLANDS ( Wards Island to Hanlans Point - without side trips is 5 km ) - Now on the Spring Schedule.

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 ( $6.50 adult / $4.00 for seniors and students ( all fares are return ) ) 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 ( before 7:30 ) 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 drinks $3.00. If you are birding from Wards the soft drink machine beside the fire station sells juice, iced tea, etc. for $1.00.and $1.25.

For a detailed ferry schedule check the following web site. http://www.toronto.ca/parks/island/springschedule.htm 

PS - 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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