[Ontbirds] Toronto Islands - W-W Crossbills and R-N Ducks

Norm Murr normurr at sympatico.ca
Fri Feb 3 07:57:14 EST 2012

Good Morning

Yesterday Margaret Liubavicius, Ian Cannell and I headed for the Toronto Islands to se if any of the reported crossbills had made it into the Toronto area and indeed some have.

Following are some of the birds we found, some possible spring arrivals and some obviously northern visitors.

4 nice male Ring-necked Ducks, 18 Lesser Scaup, Hooded Mergansers, 100s of Greater Scaup, Redheads, Common Mergansers and Common Goldeneyes, 75+ White-winged Crossbills in 2 or 3 flocks, 50+ American Goldfinch, 35+ Cedar Waxwings, A. Robins, Golden-crowned Kinglet and Pine Siskin.

The crossbills were actively feeding on cone seeds on the tall Spruce Trees on Algonquin Island, great views.

One sighting of interest was seeing a female Hooded Merganser come up from a dive in a lagoon with a frog in it’s beak, a surprise sighting not to be expected in February as in all other years that I have birded down there the lagoons are usually frozen solid and support hockey playing residents.


Alert: – If the city employees go on on strike or are locked out there will be no ferry service to The Islands and the private boat will be for island residents only.

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.

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 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.
1. If arriving in early am ( before 7:30 ) you must obtain your ticket from a machine just outside 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 ). 
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. 
A new Second Cup Coffee Shop has opened in the southeast area of Bay St. and Lakeshore Blvd and opens at 7 am 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 am - 7 days per week. Besides coffee you may also buy food and beverages at the Kitchen Table if you forget a lunch. 
There are no concession stands open on The Islands. The drinking fountains through out are turned off until Spring. Washrooms are also located at the fire station and on the north side of Centre Island just west of the gardens. 
- There is a map of the Islands at each of the Island side ferry docks and the City side ferry dock. 
- The Ward’s Island washrooms are now open. 
- The ticket booths are being renovated at this time so the ticket machines have been moved inside the terminal and to get to these or the ticket booth keep to your right past the hoarding (follow the arrows) and go around and approach the booth from inside the terminal.

Norm Murr
303-48 Laverock Ave.
Richmond Hill, Ontario
L4C 4J5

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