[Ontbirds] Toronto Islands - Warblers - What else ?

Norm Murr normurr at sympatico.ca
Tue May 17 18:09:22 EDT 2011

Today Jay Peterson and I hooked up for a visit to The Islands and though there was no big movement there were some changes.

A total of 24 Warbler species was found including Mourning, Orange-crowned, Golden-winged, Pine and N. Waterthrush.

Also found were Bobolinks, Blue-headed and Philadelphia Vireos, Indigo Buntings, Scarlet Tanagers, E. Kingbirds, E. Pewees, E. Phoebes and a big number of Least Flycatchers, Lincoln’s Sparrows, Field Sparrow, E. Towhee, many Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and Gray Catbirds and a nice Peregrine Falcon.

Another dull day but brightened by the variety of birds and I think Jay and I may have been seeing things as at about 9 am we saw a large bright light in the sky for about 2 minutes that we were sure was the sun, amazing. If it actually comes out and stays in the next few days it could be very birdy over there.

If anyone is planning on visiting The Islands this weekend then remember this is a holiday weekend and it will be crowded over there, especially Centre Island.

Norm Murr
Richmond Hill, Ontario

  If you are on the subway southbound get off at the TTC’s Union Subway 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 TTC’s Union Subway Station on the TTC you may transfer to the #6 or the #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. Go passengers arriving by train or bus must pay a fare to use the TTC bus or streetcar.

For those that need the fix if you have the time before heading down to the docks there are many coffee shops and fast food outlets in the Go Station when you get off of the subway at the Union Subway Station and they will be open as early as you can arrive there.

When running there is a street car (#509 Harbourfront) that goes from inside the TTC’s Union Subway Station to Queen’s Quay (no transfer required). 

For those who choose to head down to the docks on Sunday before the Subway opens at 9 a.m. you can catch the #97B Yonge St. Blue Night bus (Steeles Ave. To Queens Quay). This bus will let you off right across the street on Bay St. only steps from the ferry docks entrance.

You may also want to visit the TTC web page  http://www.ttc.ca/  for trip planning assistance.

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 or so west of the ferry docks.
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 city side 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 a.m. and the 2nd is 7:00 a.m. Monday to Friday. 
The 1st is at 6:35 a.m. and the 2nd boat is at 7:15 a.m. on Saturday and Holidays. ( Note:- On Sundays the first ferry to Ward’s is at 7:45 a.m. )
The 1st boat to Hanlan’s Point is 8:00 a.m. and the 2nd boat is at 8:30 a.m. Monday to Friday.
The 1st is at 8:15 a.m. and the 2nd boat is at 9:15 a.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Holidays.
If arriving in early a.m. ( 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 machines do not make change. ( BE SURE TO FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY ). The ATM machine at the docks is out of order again.
As of the start of the Spring schedule (April 15th) you will run into construction at the entrance to the ferry docks. Follow the arrows to either the ticket booth or the ticket machines. Construction of new ticket booths and entrance is now in progress and should be completed before the Summer season starts.
There is coffee shop ( Treat’s Café ) across from the ferry docks in the building on the northwest corner ( opens before 6:30 a.m. on week days but only opens at 9 a.m. on the Saturdays that’s if it doesn’t rain ). You may also purchase do-nuts, etc. here.
A new Second Cup Coffee Shop  has opened in the southeast area of Bay St. and Lakeshore Blvd and opens at 7 a.m. 7 days per week.
Also just a little east on Queen’s Quay ( less than a block ) there is the “Kitchen Table” and they are open at 6 a.m. - 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 are open but are very expensive i.e. Soft Drinks $3.25+, Lemonade $3.25+. And Water $3.00. 
The little Café on Ward’s straight south (about 250 yards) from the ferry dock is now open and has reasonable prices as well as a nice variety of food and very friendly operators / servers. 
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 (after 7:30 a.m.) and in the schedule containers that also usually contain a map of the islands.


More information about the ONTBIRDS mailing list