[Ontbirds]Toronto Islands today

Norman Murr normurr at sympatico.ca
Mon Aug 18 17:37:27 EDT 2008

This morning Peter McParland, Ian Cannell and I birded Wards and Snake Islands and then headed home before the heat set in.

It was a relatively quiet morning but we did find some migrants among the large numbers of Cedar Waxwings, Robins and A. Goldfinch.

We spotted 2 Common Loons overhead early then walked on to find Black-crowned night-Herons roosting in the trees on Wards Island and Snug Harbour. While looking at some Warblers an Osprey flew past us low over one of the lagoons. Other birds seen were Black-billed Cuckoo, Chimney Swifts, R-T Hummingbirds, B. Kingfishers, E. Wood-Pewee, Willow and Least Flycatchers, E. Kingbirds ( 23 ), 5 Swallow species, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers ( 11 ), Yellow, Magnolia, Blackburnian, Black-and-white, Canada and Yellow-rumped Warblers as well as A. Redstarts and 21 Baltimore Orioles.

TORONTO ISLANDS ( Wards Island to Hanlans Point - without side trips is 5 km ) - Now on the Summer 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. You may also transfer to the # 97B TTC Bus on Bay Street just outside of the entrance to the GO Station that goes down bay Street to Queens Quay. 

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 and drinking fountains 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 ( see below ).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 7:00 am on Saturday, Sunday and Holidays.The 1st boat to Hanlans Point is 9:00 am and the 2nd boat is at 9:30 am Monday to Friday.The 1st is at 8:00 am and the 2nd boat is at 8:45 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. But - There is a change machine ($5, $10 and $20 dollar bills) there if you want to chance it.

There is coffee shop across from the ferry docks in the building on the northwest corner ( opens before 6:30 am on week days but only opens at 9 am on the Saturdays that it doesn’t rain ). You may also purchase do-nuts, etc. here.

Also just a little east on Queen’s Quay ( less than a block ) there is the "Kitchen Table" and they are open at 6 am - 7 days per week. Besides coffee you may also buy food and beverages at the Kitchen Table if you forget a lunch.

Food and beverages on The Islands when open are very expensive i.e. soft drinks $3.00 plus. 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. 


Norm Murr
Richmond Hill, ON

"Sils mordent, mords les"

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