[Ontbirds] Toronto Islands - Thursday, Friday and Saturday

Norman Murr normurr at sympatico.ca
Sun Apr 26 07:01:03 EDT 2009

Migration has started to pick up on The Islands. It was a cold windy start on Thursday but yesterday made up for the cool weather with a hint of Summer.

Following is a list of some of the birds we ( Ian Cannell, Margaret Liubavicius, Alfred Adamo and myself )  have been finding down there.

 Wood Duck, Canvasback, Lesser Scaup, all 3 Mergansers, Great Egret, Turkey Vultures, N. Harriers, Sharp-shinned and Cooper's Hawks, 3 Sandhill Cranes overhead, Caspian and Common Terns, Common Loons, Belted Kingfishers, 25+ Sapsuckers, 50+ Flickers, Least Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher, 10+ E. Phoebes, Blue-headed Vireos, Cedar Waxwings, Veery, Swainson's Thrush, 35+ Hermit Thrushes, Wood Thrush, 10+ Brown Thrasher, 4 Carolina and 20+ Winter Wrens, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Purple Martins, 12 to 14 Cliff Swallows, Pine Siskins, Purple and House Finches, 35+ Yellow-rumped Warblers, 8 Pine warblers, (Yellow) Palm Warbler, Ovenbird, 12 Sparrow species including 10+ Fox, Swamp, White-crowned, 100+ White-throated, Savannah, Tree, 10+ Chipping, Vesper and 10+ Eastern Towhee, E. Meadowlarks and 9 Rusty Blackbirds.

A nice start to The Islands migration season.


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

Now on the Spring 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. http://www.toronto.ca/parks/island/summerschedule.htm

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. There are some drinking fountains operational. 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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