Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Toronto Islands

Me on the Island!

What a cool place this Island was!  For years I've had people tell me that I need to visit the Toronto Islands, but I've never fully understood why until now (and probably too for a completely different reason!)  This was the first Ontario Field Ornithologists (OFO) bird hike that I've ever been on, I'd suggest that everyone goes at some point.  Many of these guys..are awesome and know their stuff!  About 20ish people showed up, a lot less from last year as the weather forecast had looked pretty grim.  I didn't mind, smaller group number to me means more birds!

We took the Ferry first to Ward's Island and wandered our way around the Island.  We saw so many cool birds here!  Long-tailed ducks were hanging around the harbour along with Barn Swallows sweeping up bugs in the sky.   We then wandered around the Island and saw so many birds!

Tree Swallow peeking out of its nest
 To name a few:

  •  Horned Grebe, 
  • Chimney Swifts, 
  • Northern Flicker, 
  • Least Flycatcher, 
  • Warbling Vireo, 
  • Carolina Wren, 
  • Hermit Thrush, 
  • Gray Catbird, 
  • Yellow warblers, 
  • Chestnut-sided Warbler (Absolutely beautiful
  • Black-throated Blue Warbler, 
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler,
  •  Blackburnian Warbler, 
  • Black-and-White Warbler, 
  • American Redstart, 
  • Chipping Sparrow
  • White-throated Sparrow
  • White-crowned Sparrow
  • Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
    American Redstart
  • Baltimore Oriole
  • Northern Parula (Also super beautiful!)
  • Gadwall
  • Blue-gray gnatcatcher (on their nests!)
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Buffleheads
  • Caspian Tern
  • Palm Warbler
  • Rough-winged Swallow
  • Swainson's Thrush
We then walked around Algonquin Island where I got to see my first Eastern Towhee!  What a cute little bird!  And also saw my first view of the Toronto skyline.  I must admite, for not being a huge city kinda was stunning.  And especially stunning that this little gem could be so close!  

We then went to Center Island, which is the is the main island. It has an amusement park, farm, airport, and a bunch of other little things on it.  It's kinda cool!  We saw a few new birds that we hadn't seen on the previous islands and even a few reptiles!  At one point on the trip my friend Brenan who came found a little Garter snake!  What a cutie it was, the way he was so calm made me wonder how anyone could be scared of something so tame and sweet.  We also found a few turtles including a map turtle, and then later near the airport an American Toad.  Here's a few of the other "New" birds we saw on Centre Island:
Map Turtle
  • Savannah Sparrow
  • Cliff Swallow
  • Cape May Warbler (Super pretty!)
  • Field Sparrow
  • Belted Kingfisher
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • Bobolink
  • Purple martin
  • Scarlet Tanager
A beautiful male Scarlet Tanager

Bobolink over by the airport!
The day turned out to be so beautiful, the Islands were beautiful. It's the perfect place to just spend a day and relax.  In total we saw about 80 species of birds, including 14 different types of just warblers.  Amazing!  Going out with people who know their birds by sight and sound helps you to really learn, especially if you ask a lot of questions like I do.  If ever you are bored on a weekend, going on a guided tour is a great way to spend a day.  You learn a lot about birds and you also meet some great people and make contacts!

Maybe see ya around on the Island one day!

Brenan scouting the lake

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