[Ontbirds] Toronto Islands Apr. 29 to May 6 - Birds of the week

Murr, Norman normurr at sympatico.ca
Fri May 7 08:46:11 EDT 2010

Good Morning

 There has been no large influx of Warblers on The Islands and certainly no fall out but with lots of walking, listening and looking 94 species of birds were found since April 29th.
 Waterfowl and Shorebirds are not really to be expected in any numbers or variety down there but Common Loon, Lesser Scaup, Canvasback, Hooded Merganser and Blue-winged Teal were seen.
 Also seen were Great Egret, Turkey Vulture, Sharp-shinned and Cooper`s Hawks, the Common Terns have returned to nest, Caspian Tern, 400+ Chimney Swifts on the 6th, Belted Kingfisher, a nice adult Red-headed Woodpecker, Sapsucker, Flickers, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, 5 of the 6 Swallow species (minus Bank), Winter and House Wrens, Catbirds, a good number of Brown Thrashers, Swainson`s and Hermit Thrushes.
  The Blue-gray Gnatcatchers have returned to nest as have many Warbling Vireos, Blue-headed Vireos are still being seen, beautiful male Purple Finches are passing through now and A. Goldfinch numbers exploded yesterday.
  In the Warbler department only 14 species have been found so far including Wilson`s, Cape May, Black-throated green, Ovenbird and N. Waterthrush. It is very hard to miss the Yellow Warblers and Warbling Vireos as they fill the air with their songs as do the many Baltimore Orioles. 
 In the Sparrow department Lincoln`s, Swamp, Chipping, Field, White-throated and as of yesterday many White-crowned are being noted and we have seen and heard several Eastern Towhees as we walk along.
 On the 4th we found 3 Bobolinks at the south end of the Island airfield along with an E. Kingbird. So far only a few Least Flycatchers have been found along with only 1 Willow Flycatcher.
 As mentioned above there are lots of Baltimore Orioles around and yesterday Margaret found a pair of Orchard Orioles near the Hanlans ferry dock.
 Hopefully a lot of the missing birds will pass through The Islands over the next week.

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. Washrooms are also located at the fire station and are always open and very clean. 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 and a Second Cup) 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's if 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 $3.25, Lemonade $3.25. And Water $ 2.00 to $3.00.

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

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