[Ontbirds] Toronto Islands- Short-eared Owl, Orange-crowned Warbler & Sharp-tailed Sparrows

Norman Murr normurr at sympatico.ca
Fri Oct 10 15:18:41 EDT 2008

Margaret Liubavicius and I just birded Hanlans Point this morning and below are some of the birds we found.

Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper's Hawks, Merlin, Sanderling, Dunlin, Short-eared Owl, Y-B Sapsucker, Eastern Phoebes, Winter Wrens, lots of both Kinglets, Hermit Thrushes, migrating American Pipits, Horned Larks, Cedar Waxwings, and 150+ A. Goldfinches, Orange-crowned Warbler, many Yellow-rumped Warblers, 96 Palm Warblers, A. Tree Sparrow, 14 Field Sparrows, Savannah, Song, Lincoln's and Swamp Sparrows, many White-crowned and White-throated Sparrows and 2 Sharp-tailed Sparrows ( well seen in the sun ). 

TORONTO ISLANDS ( Ward’s Island to Hanlan’s Point - without side trips is 5 km ) 

Now on the Fall Schedule.

If you are on the subway southbound stay on it and get off at Union Station, walk south on Bay Street ( on the east side of the station ) for about 1 km to the ferry docks at the foot of Bay Street at Queen’s Quay and you are there. The entrance to the ferry docks ( well signed ) is on the west side of the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel.

To get to the Toronto Islands from the Union GO Station on the TTC. 

You may transfer to either the # 6 or #6A Bay St. TTC bus on Bay Street just outside of the east entrance to the GO Station. They both go down Bay Street to Queen’s Quay. When running there is a street car ( #509 Harbourfront ) that goes from the Union Station to Queen’s Quay ( no transfer required ). 

For those that choose to head down to the docks on Sunday before the Subway opens you can catch the #320 Yonge St. Blue Night bus. This bus will let you off right across the street from the ferry docks entrance. This bus is the night time 97B Yonge St. bus.

If in an auto on the Gardener Expressway or on Lakeshore Blvd, then exit at Bay Street and drive south to Queen’s Quay, there are lots of parking lots nearby (fee). These parking lots are located just a block north of the ferry docks with more a block east of the ferry docks.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 or check the following web site


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.The 1st boat to Ward’s 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 and Holidays. ( Note:- On Sundays the first ferry to Ward’s is at 7:45 am )The 1st boat to Hanlan’s 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. But - There is a change machine ($5, $10 and $20 dollar bills) there if you want to chance it.

There is coffee shop ( Treat’s Café ) 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 e.g. $3.00 plus. If you are birding from or on Ward’s the soft drink machine beside the fire station sells Coke-Cola, juice, iced tea, etc. for $1.25 and up and there are drinking fountains through out. Washrooms are also located at the fire station.PS - There is a map of the Islands at each of the Island side ferry docks and the City side and a small brochure is now available at the ticket booth and in the schedule containers that also contains a map of the islands.

Norm Murr
Richmond Hill, ON

"Sils mordent, mords les"

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