Toronto Area

Toronto Lakeshore and Toronto IslandsTop

September 2 2017 (Saturday) Toronto Islands

Leader: Gavin Platt.

24 participants enjoyed a good day's birding on Toronto Islands on Saturday. Migrants were fairly widespread and we ended up with a collective total of 76 species. Nothing particularly rare was found, but we had a good mix of species including 18 warblers. Close views of fall-plumaged Bay-breasted and Blackpoll low down in the same tree provided a good opportunity for study. A large number of Cape May Warblers was also nice to see.

May 6 2017 (Saturday) Toronto Islands

Leader: Gavin Platt.

(Location was moved due to flooding on the Toronto Islands.) Seven birders braved the forecasted poor weather yesterday to look for birds at the Leslie St Spit in Toronto. The weather ended up cooperating (no rain). Although it was a little slow, we still managed a good mix of birds. Highlights included an American Bittern, 2 Short-billed Dowitchers, nice looks at an early Semipalmated Sandpiper, a Red-throated Loon and 2 cooperative Cape May Warblers. Hopefully the weather will be a little better in September for the fall Toronto Islands OFO trip.

December 11 2016 (Sunday) Toronto Lakeshore

Leader: John Schmelefske.

Our OFO waterfront field trip west of Toronto took place yesterday with 12 participants. We were greeted by a calm pleasant morning, which gradually deteriorated into windy snowfall by the end of the day. Our tally for the day was 42 species. A very cooperative Northern Shrike greeted us at the beginning of the day. Our most common birds of the day were Redhead and Greater Scaup which floated in huge rafts relatively close to shore on the West side of Humber Bay Park. Great viewing! We had Northern Shoveler, American Widgeon, Cooper's Hawk and Great Blue Heron as well. We had no luck with the rarer waterfowl that have been reported in the area recently, and even scoters were hard to find. The day ended at Sedgewick park looking for land birds. This local hotspot provided a great ending to the day with Ruby-crowned Kinglet , Orange-crowned Warbler, Winter Wren, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow and Tufted Titmouse. Thanks to Barry Coombs for manning the checklist and navigation!

September 3 2016 (Saturday) Toronto Islands

Leader: Jay Peterson.

Twenty five OFO members joined me today for the fall outing under sunny skies. Temperatures were very comfortable and winds were light. We easily beat last year's total of 46 species with 85 today! Some more favourable winds during the last few days helped a lot in that respect. Our highlights include 21 species of Warbler. A surprising amount of American Redstarts today and they were the most numerous bird we encountered. Estimating at least 70. Warblers in general were very numerous and that made everyone happy. Over twenty Wilson's, plenty of Bay-Breasted and Blackpolls, a few lingering Yellow, a handful of cooperative Common Yellowthroats, Northern Parula, Blackburnian, Cape May, Canada, Ovenbird, Black-throated Blue and Green Warblers, Yellow-Rumped, an impressive showing of Magnolia, Tennessee, Nashville, Black & White, Chestnut-sided and two Pine Warblers. On Hanlan's Point we had an early Orange-Crowned Warbler showing very well for the group as it was moving through the Goldenrod. Hanlan's was teeming with birds in places. Great eyes in our group spotted a Common Nighthawk roosting in a tree and a skulking Green Heron in the pond. I had a brief look at an Olive-Sided Flycatcher in that area too but it didn't stick around long. A Great-Blue Heron and two Great Egrets were nice as well. We had one Philadelphia Vireo to go with the numbers of Red-Eyed and Warbling. Sharp-shinned and Cooper's Hawks put in appearances and a Merlin was spotted on Algonquin Island. We watched an Osprey at Hanlan's Point. Two Northern Rough-Winged Swallows, two Purple Martins. Barn Swallows. Chimney Swifts, Caspian Terns. Two Yellow-Bellied Flycatchers, Great-Crested and Least. Eastern Wood-Pewee, Eastern Kingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird. House and Carolina Wren, Baltimore Orioles, Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks, Savannah Sparrow and Scarlet Tanagers. Thanks to Andrew Don and Gavin Platt for all their help spotting good birds today. Since I'm not sure if I will be in Toronto next year this was my final OFO trip on the Islands. I'd like to thank everyone who joined me over the last six years. I enjoyed all of the great conversations and the memories of fun outings. Gavin Platt will be taking over for 2017 and I will leave the group in his very capable hands.

May 28 2016 (Saturday) Leslie Street Spit, Toronto

Leader: John Carley.

Today, 15 OFO members took advantage of hot, sunny conditions and birded the Spit and Baselands (Toronto? s premier birding location) from 8 am to 3:30 pm, observing a group total of 71 species. Highlights, in addition to the alternate-plumaged Red Knot sighting previously posted (seen at the south end of Cell One), were 34 Whimbrel , 3 Ruddy Turnstones, and a Sanderling, all seen along the east beaches of the endikement arm. A Yellow-billed Cuckoo was seen by some along the Spine Road north of Cell One, but was not relocated later. The Baselands ?wet woods? were generally quiet, with only 8 species of warblers. A Blackpoll was seen later at the cross-road south of Cell Three. Two male Orchard Orioles were observed, one at the Spine Road at the south end of Cell One; the other at Triangle Pond. Additionally, 5 butterfly species were observed. Thanks to all participants, and special thanks to Bob Cumming and Lynne Freeman who helped co-lead in the morning.

May 7 2016 (Saturday) Toronto Islands

Leader: Jay Peterson.

We had a very pleasant day weather-wise with a nice sunny morning and warm temperatures. Clouds moved in during the afternoon but we remained dry. Fourteen participants including myself today. Birding remains slow in the Toronto area compared to this date historically. That being said we managed to find 66 species and the Richmond Hill Naturalists found two we didn't (Hermit Thrush and American Woodcock). Our highlight was easily a dashing Blue-Winged Warbler on Algonquin Island. Thank you to Andrew Keaveney in his persistence to get everyone on this bird as it was elusive. - Nine Warbler species included the Blue-Winged. - Blackburnian (heard) - Common Yellowthroat (heard) - Black-Throated Blue - Yellow (easily the most numerous) - Yellow-Rumped - Palm - Black and White - Nashville We had only a few Baltimore Orioles. Blue-Grey Gnatcatchers, Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks, Eastern Towhee, Great Egrets, Common Raven, Caspian and Common Terns. Carolina and House Wren, Red-Bellied Woodpecker and a few Common Loon flyovers on Wards. For those who stayed with me to Hanlan's we picked up a few more species with Brown Creeper, Eastern Meadowlark and Savannah Sparrows. Also Cliff and Northern Rough-Winged Swallows and five Brown Thrashers. We had two Least Flycatchers as well. Thank you to everyone who came out. It was an enjoyable group.

December 13 2015 (Sunday) Toronto Lakeshore

Leader: John Schmelefske.

Our group of 22 birders encountered low numbers of waterfowl along the lakeshore today. In spite of this we had a reasonably successful outing with 40 species recorded. We had a Great Blue Heron at Humber Bay Park. Our highlight along the lakeshore was a male Harlequin duck at Colonel Samuel Smith Park. We were just discussing how slow it was and wouldn't it be nice if we got a Harlequin Duck, when Adam Capparelli spotted one in the water just off shore. The bird was not in full adult plumage. We also had a flock of 13 Cedar Waxwings. Our Visit to Sedgewick Park in the afternoon was well rewarded with Orange-crowned Warbler, Blue-Headed Vireo, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Winter Wren and Hermit Thrush. The Winter Wren was particularly engaging. It was exploring some holes in the side of a concrete retaining wall. At one point it carried a twig into one of the holes, and then it seemed to be forging inside another hole. We weren't sure whether it was feeding or preparing a nocturnal roost. Our entire group was thrilled to get such prolonged views of what can be a very illusive bird. All in all a rewarding day in spite of the low numbers of waterfowl! The warm weather made up for the occasional light rain.

September 5 2015 (Saturday) Toronto Islands

Leader: Jay Peterson.

The annual fall outing went well as we had 19 hopeful participants on a beautiful day. Temperatures were comfortable at 25 degrees and winds continued easterly throughout the day. We were hopeful but not especially lucky as the stationary front over the region meant few migrants and we were only able to tally 41 species. To my fellow OFO trip leaders let it be known I have thrown down the gauntlet with all these birds. Just try and beat 41! :) We did have a few uncommon island species. The highlights were four Sanderling on the beach near Centre Island Pier. We also had a Raven on the airfield. Only seven Warbler species and I felt like shaking trees for them. Magnolia (6) Nashville (1) Blackpoll (2) Blackburnian (1) Wilson's (1) Chestnut-Sided (1) American Redstart (1) One Blue-Grey Gnatcatcher, Warbling Vireos, Swainson's Thrush, Cooper's and Sharp-Shinned Hawks, American Kestrel. One Red-Breasted Nuthatch, Belted Kingfisher and Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds. Despite a very quiet day the good company and conversations made the time fly by and fun was had by all.

May 23 2015 (Saturday) Leslie Street Spit, Toronto

Leader: John Carley.

Today, on a cool but sunny day, approximately 40 birders joined Garth Riley and me for the annual OFO walk on Toronto's Leslie Street Spit. We wish we could report another stunning rarity such as Monday's Swainson's Warbler, but birding today was quiet, with low numbers. However, the group recorded a total of 74 species. Highlights were a distant Black Scoter, Black-crowned Night-Herons on nests, Willow Flycatchers, a Philadelphia Vireo on the Baselands near Unwin Avenue, and at least two Gray-cheeked Thrushes on the Baselands. 14 species of warbler were reported - the prominently perched singing Wilson's (again, in the Baselands) was the highlight. Additionally, 5 species of butterfly were noted - the most interesting was a fresh Silvery Blue.

December 14 2014 (Sunday) Toronto Lakeshore

Leader: John Schmelefske.

Approximately thirty individuals attended this field trip, with relatively mild weather and low winds making the day quite pleasant. A great beginning to the day was a Male King Eider in handsome juvenile plumage just off the walking bridge about a ? kilometer east of Humber Bay Park. One of our young attendees picked up Snowy Owl at a considerable distance down the shoreline. As it turned out our total of 52 species was aided considerably by the presence of younger eyes. We birded Humber Bay East Park and Colonel Sam Park, and then made a dash to Sedgewick park to end the day with a sampling of warbler species. Highlights were: Red-necked and Horned Grebes, Green-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, American Widgeon, White-winged Scoter, all three mergansers, Ruddy Duck, American Kestrel, Snowy Owl, and Mockingbird,. We ended the day at Sedgewich Park in Oakville where we were treated to Nashville, Wilson?s, Orange-crowned and Yellow-rumped warblers, as well as both Kinglets, Winter Wren, and Song Sparrow.

September 6 2014 (Saturday) Toronto Islands

Leader: Jay Peterson.

The morning started with a little rain but it soon relented and left eleven of us with a pleasant day with temperatures between 17 and 21 degrees and light winds out of the west. Beginning our day at Wards we found several mixed-species flocks that kept us busy and our necks sore. A small price to pay for a morning full of bird activity. A total of 60 species for the day. Our thanks to Barry Coombs who kept our tally and will submit our group's findings to E-bird for those who would like the totals. We had nice looks at an OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER at Wards and then our other main highlight was a COMMON NIGHTHAWK that gave us some brief looks as it flew north. We ended up with twelve species of Warbler including:YELLOW, MAGNOLIA, BLACKBURNIAN, BLACKPOLL, BAY-BREASTED, AMERICAN REDSTART, NORTHERN PARULA, TENNESSEE, YELLOW-RUMPED, BLACK & WHITE, CHESTNUT-SIDED, CAPE MAY

We also found three species of VIREO: one PHILADELPHIA, WARBLING & RED-EYED. SCARLET TANAGER, BALTIMORE ORIOLES, BLUE-GREY GNATCATCHERS & RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET. We had eight CHIMNEY SWIFTS and a few BARN SWALLOWS as well. RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (3). SWAINSONS THRUSH, GREAT-CRESTED FLYCATCHER, EASTERN WOOD PEWEE.

As the day went on and we made our way to Hanlans we had several SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS, one COOPER'S and two MERLIN. Three GREAT EGRET on the day. Waterfowl included GADWALL, WOOD DUCK and a female HOODED MERGANSER.

Other people we stopped to converse with offered their findings of a Common Yellowthroat and a Billy Bishop security officer was sure he had a small flock of WHIMBREL on the airport fields early this morning.

In non-bird related sightings: one Beaver at the eastern gap and a Neanderthal on Hanlans.

A good day and thanks to those who joined me.

May 10 2014 (Saturday) Toronto Islands

Leader: Jay Peterson.

A beautiful sunny day on the Islands for 27 friendly OFO members today. We had temperatures of 16-18 degrees and winds changing to the west up to 35 km/hr. We managed to find quite a lot of bird activity; especially in the morning on Ward's. Species total for the day was 93. Below are some of the highlights we encountered.

On Algonquin we heard and saw a BLUE-WINGED WARBLER and it afforded us some great looks. While we were watching it a CLAY-COLOURED SPARROW called from a nearby yard. Ward's Island gave us some stunning looks at a SCARLET TANAGER. We had a total of six INDIGO BUNTING males that delighted our group. At least two WILSON'S WARBLER were present this morning as well. Both singing consistently. I can only estimate around 50 BALTIMORE ORIOLES throughout the day. There were a few ORCHARD ORIOLES as well. Certainly a myriad of colours to enjoy. Other highlights today included at least six male BOBOLINK near the airport fence on Hanlan's. Two RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER (Ward's), CANVASBACK and a lingering GREATER SCAUP at the pond adjacent to Gibraltar point. A couple of CASPIAN TERN calling. Also near the airport fence there is a wet area with calling VIRGINIA RAIL. CHIMNEY SWIFTS have arrived and one of our group noted a RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD on Algonquin island. LEAST and GREAT-CRESTED FLYCATCHERS, one EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE. We also noted a couple of SWAINSON'S THRUSH and two confiding WOOD THRUSH. About 3,256,435 Midges. :)

16 species of Warbler BLUE-WINGED (1) WILSON'S (2) AMERICAN REDSTART (3) BLACKBURNIAN (1) COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (1) NORTHERN PARULA (1) BLACK-THROATED BLUE (4) BLACK-THROATED GREEN (1) NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (2) YELLOW (70+) YELLOW-RUMPED (26) MAGNOLIA (4) CHESTNUT-SIDED (3) NASHVILLE (6) BLACK & WHITE (5) PALM (6)

Not the numbers the Ontario shoreline was seeing yesterday but certainly a good day was had by all AND almost everyone continued all the way to Hanlan's where we finished up and got on the 4:15 ferry.

December 15 2013 (Sunday) Toronto Lakeshore

Leader: John Schmelefske.

Eight hardy individuals turned up for today's outing where we covered the lake shore west of Toronto. Fortunately the snow storm had abated by the time we arrived, although the deep snow made for strenuous walking. We had a respectable total of 41 species.

Trip Highlights

Humber Bay Park:

- great viewing of a Short-eared Owl flying west over the water, a first for some group members

- adult Black-crowned Night-heron south of the walkway over the Humber River, another first for some

- Rough-legged Hawk, Great Blue Heron and Northern Shoveler

Colonel Sam Park:

- Good looks at a perched Sharp-shinned Hawk

- Numerous Robins and a Northern Mockingbird

Oakville Harbour/16 Mile Creek - No Ross's Goose

Sedgewick Park

- Pine Warbler, 2 Yellow-rumped and Winter wren.

- We dipped on the Orange-crowned and Nashville

Bronte Harbour:

- Snowy Owl

- We were surprised to see house sparrows sheltering in abandoned cliff swallow nests on a dockside building.

September 1 2013 (Sunday) Toronto Islands

Leader: Jay Peterson.

Despite a rainy forecast there were twenty nine stalwart birders ready for a long walk on the islands today. The weather turned out nice with no rain and an afternoon of sun with comfortable temperatures around 25C. A strong wind mostly out of the east kept birds out of sight and even though most of us had trouble finding birds on this day we still managed to tally 59 species. A couple of small pockets of warblers on Ward's and one on Hanlan's gave us most of our Warblers. We had 13 species of warblers with one Common Yellowthroat, Cape May, Blackburnian, one Blackpoll, Bay-breasted, Black-throated Green, Yellow-rumped, several Magnolia, Chestnut-sided, Nashville, American Redstart, Black-and-white and Wilson's. A few other notable birds, a few Red-eyed Vireos along with Warbling and two Philadelphia. Quite a few birders on Ward's got a look at Yellow-bellied Flycatchers while we were trying to keep moving from stinging ants. Eastern Wood-Pewees and one Least Flycatcher. We had two Swainson's Thrush. Caspian Tern. Great looks at a Great Egret on Algonquin and a couple of accommodating Great Blue Herons. We had one flyover Black-crowned Night-Heron. Two or three Baltimore Orioles. House Wren and we noted both Nuthatches. We had at least two Red-breasted which have been scarce on the islands this fall. We had one Osprey near Hanlan's and one flyover. Five Sharp-shinned Hawks as well. Swallows have pretty much moved on but there were still a few Tree and a couple of Barn. Chimney Swifts and a few Blue-grey Gnatcatchers. Sparrows were scarce with just House and Song. A nice day with good company and I was happy that most of the group continued right to the end at Hanlan's where we finished up at 3:15. Even when there are not many birds around one can make the most of a Sunday of birding.

May 25 2013 (Saturday) Leslie Street Spit, Toronto

Leader: John Carley.

The annual OFO Leslie Street Spit outing today (May 25th, 2013) saw 38 participants take advantage of a sunny but cool ( 8 degrees, rising to 16) day to tally 82 species overall.

Notable sightings included 13 Whimbrel on the cobble brick beach east of the lighthouse, a male Orchard Oriole at goldfish pond, and at least 8 Canvasback males in the cell 1 and embayment D areas. Also in cell 1 were Least and Semi-palmated Sandpipers, Dunlin, and a Short-billed Dowitcher. Twelve warbler species were seen in the "wet" woods, including Parula, Cape May, and a male Blackpoll at eye level! Yellow-bellied, Willow, and Least Flycatchers were also seen in the "wet" woods, as was a Philadelphia Vireo.

Thanks to Garth Riley, co-chair of Friends of the Spit, who co-lead the trip.

December 16 2012 (Sunday) December 16 2012 (Sunday) Toronto Lakeshore

Leader: .

13 hardy birders explored the Lake Ontario shoreline west of Toronto today. Persistent rain was met with persistent birding. The species total of 46 was modest but hard-earned. Highlights included three grebe species at Colonel Samuel Smith Park (no Eared Grebe), Mockingbirds at both Colonel Sam and Humber Bay and a surprise ending with 4 warbler species seen at Sedgewick Park. We picked up Nashville, Orange-crowned, Cape May and Yellow-rumped all in a short period of time. Also present at Sedgewick were Ruby-crowned Kinglet and American Robin. We missed the Blackpoll, but certainly weren?t complaining. This was a real hotspot!

May 26 2012 (Saturday) May 26 2012 (Saturday) Leslie Street Spit, Toronto

Leader: .

25 birders joined Garth Riley and me (we're co-chairs of Friends of the Spit, and OFO members) as we lead the annual OFO walk through the urban wilderness of Toronto's Leslie Street Spit.

In total, 66 species were observed (along with 12 species of butterfly) on this generally overcast 25 degree day with slight lake breezes.

Highlights were 2 Whimbrel seen along the east side of the endikement, blackpoll warblers singing in the "wet woods"(now dry woods) and one at Embayment C, and a first summer male Orchard Oriole being harassed by a Baltimore Oriole along the Spine Road opposite the Outer Harbour Marina. Three empidonax were seen singing: Least, Willow, and Alder. Finally, the singing and displaying mockingbird had a reasonable imitation of a car alarm in his repertoire!

The "wet woods"were quite quiet, with very few migrants. The best patch of warblers was a small concentration that included a female Canada Warbler at the copse just north of Goldfish Pond.

December 5 2010 (Sunday) Toronto Lakeshore

Leader: Dave Milsom.

15 OFO members attended today’s outing. The weather forecasts probably disuaded many but the sun shone throughout the day and it was warm in sheltered spots off the lake.

50 species included 25 species of duck. Best finds were White‐winged and Surf Scoters in rough waters off Millen in Stoney Creek; many Canvasbacks and Redheads, 25 Ring‐necked and about 200 Ruddy Ducks off LaSalle Park in Hamilton; 5 Northern Pintail, 6 Green‐winged Teal, 4 Double‐crested Cormorants and 30 Northern Shovelers on Red Hill Creek leading into Windermere Basin. There were all 3 swan species and 12 American Coots at LaSalle Park. We also found all 3 mergansers, a Black‐crowned Night‐Heron, Northern Mockingbird and 4 Song Sparrows at Humber Bay Park East, 2 Peregrine Falcons at the lift bridge in Hamilton, and at day’s end 2 Yellow‐rumped Warblers at Sioux Lookout in Burlington.

August 28 2010 (Saturday) Toronto Islands

Leader: Ian Cannell.

The beautiful sunny day we enjoyed on the Islands today was matched only by the nice group of birders who made it a pleasure to lead this outing.

As has been usual for the past three years a large group of birders showed up to practise their skills at identifying those “confusing fall warblers” and practise they had, in full.

After 2 or 3 hours we had progressed no further than a few hundred metres from the Ward’s Island ferry dock as wave after wave of warblers, vireos, flycatchers and other species flew into a few willows in front of us. A beautifully plumaged male Canada Warbler was a big favourite as was a cooperative male Black‐throated Blue Warbler. Philadelphia Vireos and Yellow‐bellied Flycatchers were other popular sightings.

When we finally left the Ward's cottage area and headed west, we enjoyed seeing an Olive‐sided Flycatcher from Snake Island, at the very top of the highest bare snag, as is typical for this species.

Snake Island is a good place to find this species at this time of year.

If you have an opportunity to get over to the Islands in the next few weeks, particularly after northerly winds overnight you can be pretty sure of a great day of birding.

Two things:

Be sure you have the correct ferry schedule; it’s the summer schedule now, but will change to the fall schedule on Sept. 7th.

New ferry ticket machines are now in place, just outside the entrance to the ferry dock.

The good news is that they will now accept credit cards.

The bad news is that they are far from intuitive to use.

To use them:

Use the two buttons at the left to scroll up or down to choose the kind of ticket you want (Adult, or Seniors, etc.).

Then select the number of people for whom you want tickets on the number pad below.

Then push the green “Print” button.

The screen will then display the amount it expects from you.

Either enter the correct change in the yellow slot below ($6.50 adult or $4.00 Seniors) or enter your credit card.

Then push the green “Print” button again.

Finally remove the ticket when it drops down into the slot at bottom right (note that multiple tickets will be printed if you paid for more than one person).

I provide these details because I had to help most people to figure out how to use these new machines.

December 3 2009(Saturday) Toronto Lakeshore

Leaders: Hugh Currie, Tyler Hoar.

With Dave Milsom out of town, Tyler Hoar and Hugh Currie led the group of about 25 in his place. Highlights included 2 Northern Pintail (one at East Humber and one at Colonel Sam Smith Park), 8 Green‐winged Teal (it is getting late) , 6 Ruddy Ducks (refugees from Hamilton Harbour?), 4 Black‐crowned Night‐Herons, a coot, a Northern Shrike, 5 Northern Mockingbirds, and last, but definitely not least, a female Northern Parula at Bronte Bluffs Park late in the day.

September 3 2009 (Saturday) Toronto Islands

Leader: Ian Cannell.

The outing this year was again well attended. Unfortunately, there were perhaps more participants than there were birds. The Islands were as quiet, bird‐wise, as I’ve seen them; not completely surprising as the migration‐friendly northerly winds overnight have continued to be absent (but wait for the coming week to change that).

In spite of that, thanks to the good eyes and ears of our birders, we did find a few nice birds. Highlights were obligingly sedentary Yellow‐billed Cuckoo and Cooper’s Hawk and a nice fly‐over Osprey.

Other species included Blue‐gray Gnatcatcher, Baltimore Oriole, CedarWaxwing, Eastern Wood‐Pewee, Least Flycatcher, Great‐crested Flycatcher, Sharp‐shinned Hawk and 8 species of Warbler. Total number of species was 42.

6 December 2009 Toronto Lakeshore

Leader: Dave Milsom.

21 participants attended the OFO outing today.

Only 45 species were recorded on our visit to Humber Bay, Colonel Sam Smith and Marie‐Curtis parks.

The wind was very strong off the lake so few birds were visible in the waves and on land.

Highlights were: Large flocks of Greater Scaup and Redhead at Humber Bay Park West; 20 + male Green‐winged Teal on Mimico Creek; 2 Red‐necked Grebes; all 3 Mergansers; only 1 Great Black‐backed Gull; a female Belted Kingfisher on Etobicoke Creek (at Marie‐Curtis park); 2 Brown Creepers; 6 Golden‐crowned Kinglets; 3 Northern Mockingbirds; 1 Snow Bunting (Humber Bay); Song, American Tree, White‐throated and White‐crowned sparrows.

5 September 2009 Toronto Islands

Leader: Ian Cannell.

Thirty‐five enthusiastic birders enjoyed a sunny day on the islands and had plenty of birds to enjoy, as well as the afternoon spectacular air‐show from the CNE.

Here is the complete list of the species encountered:

15 Warbler species: Common Yellowthroat, Tennessee, Chestnut‐sided, Nashville, Magnolia, Blackburnian, Bay‐breasted, Blackpoll, Black‐and‐white, Wilson's, Canada, Black‐throated Blue, Black‐throated green, American Redstart, Ovenbird.

Flycatchers: Least, and Great‐crested Flycatchers, Phoebe, Eastern Wood‐Pewee, and Eastern Kingbird.

Great Egret, Osprey, Sharp‐shinned Hawks (21), Merlin, American Kestrel, Belted Belted Kingfisher, Philadelphia, Warbling and Red‐eyed Vireos, Black‐capped Black‐capped Chickadee, Cedar Waxwing, Swainson's Thrush, American Robin, American Goldfinch, Baltimore Oriole, Carolina Wren.

Scarlet Tanager, Ruby‐throated Hummingbird, Blue Jay, Northern Cardinal, Common Grackle, Mourning Dove, European Starling, American Crow, Gray Catbird.

Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Red‐breasted Nuthatch, Blue‐gray Gnatcatcher, Black‐crowned Night‐Heron, Great Blue Heron, Rock Pigeon, House Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Canvasback, Mallard, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Double‐crested Cormorant, Caspian Tern, Ring‐billed Gull and Herring Gull.

The surprise bird of the day was a cockatiel flying above us on Ward's Island and early arrivals at the ferry docks were entertained by a mink.

My thanks to all the participants, who made the day so pleasant and particular thanks to Norm Murr, who helped us all find and decipher those “confusing fall warblers”.

30 August 2008 Toronto Islands

Leader: Ian Cannell.

Forty‐three enthusiastic birders enjoyed a sunny day on the islands today and had plenty of birds to enjoy. Here is the complete list of the 71 species (+ “Traill’s“ Flycatchers) seen:

20 Warbler species: Yellow, Common Yellowthroat, Tennessee, Chestnut‐sided, Nashville, Magnolia, Blackburnian, Bay‐breasted, Blackpoll, Black‐and‐white, Connecticut, Wilson’s, Canada, N. Parula, Cape May, Black‐throated Blue, Yellow‐rumped, Black‐throated green, American Redstart, Ovenbird. Flycatchers: Olive‐sided (3), Yellow‐bellied, Willow/Alder, Least, and Great‐crested Flycatchers, Eastern Wood‐Pewee and Eastern Kingbird. Cooper’s Hawk, Sharp‐shinned Hawks, Belted Kingfishers, Warbling, and Red‐eyed Vireos, Black‐capped Chickadees, Cedar Waxwings, Swainson’s Thrush, American Robins, American Goldfinch, Baltimore Orioles, Northern Mockingbird, Ruby‐throated Hummingbirds, Blue Jays, Northern Cardinals, Mourning Doves, European Starlings, American Crow, Gray Catbird. Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Red‐breasted Nuthatch, Blue‐gray Gnatcatcher, Brown‐headed Cowbird, Purple Martin, Tree, Barn, Cliff and Northern Rough‐winged Swallows, Chimney Swift, Black‐crowned Night‐Heron, Great Blue Heron, Common Nighthawk, Rock Pigeon, House Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Mallard, Long‐tailed Duck, Red‐breasted Mergansers, Canada Geese, Mute Swans, Double‐crested Cormorants, Spotted Sandpiper, Ring‐billed Gull and Herring Gull.

A Common Buckeye Butterfly pleased the lepidopterists among us.

Many thanks to all the participants, who made the day so pleasant and particular thanks to Norm Murr, Dave Milsom, Hugh Currie and the other expert birders who helped us all decipher those “confusing fall warblers“.

Reported by Ian Cannell

7 December 2008 Toronto Lakeshore

Leader: Dave Milsom.

13 hardy birders attended the OFO Outing today to Humber Bay Park, Colonel Sam Smith Park and Marie Curtis Park.

45 species were found, despite strong north‐west winds keeping birds low down for most of the day.

Best finds were 2 Yellow‐rumped Warblers foraging along the lake edge at Humber Bay Park East, a male Green‐winged Teal, 5 American Coots, 7 American Wigeon and at least 25 Redhead Ducks. We later heard that a male Harlequin Duck had showed up after we left, and that there was a Pied‐billed Grebe at Grenadier Pond in High Pk.

On Mimico Creek at the bridge over Lakeshore Blvd. were one Killdeer and a Great Blue Heron.

At Col. Sam Smith Park an adult Northern Shrike fed on a Meadow Vole which it had skewered onto a Hawthorn tree. An American Kestrel appeared to be eating a sparrow before it flew off with its meal. In the bay was a Red‐necked Grebe.

At Marie Curtis Park a mixed flock included 2 Brown Creepers, both Red‐breasted and White‐breasted Nuthatches, Downy Woodpecker and several Northern Cardinals. We “dipped” on the Yellow Warbler found yesterday but did see an adult and an immature Bald Eagle, a Cooper’s Hawk, a Song Sparrow and a Golden‐crowned Kinglet.

Reported by Dave Milsom

9 December 2007 Toronto Lakeshore

Leader: Dave Milsom.

Today's OFO outing attracted 32 members and friends, who enjoyed a very good day of winter birding. A total of 56 species included the following highlights: At Humber Bay Park (foot of Park Lawn at Lakeshore) a Killdeer, Northern Shrike, Northern Mockingbirds, White-winged Scoter, female Black Scoter, Ruddy Duck, Horned Grebe, an American Coot and 3 Common Loons were seen.

At Colonel Sam Smith Park (foot of Kipling Ave.) were American Kestrel, American Pipit, 4 Red-necked Grebes, Winter Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglets, and 8 Snow Buntings. At the north end of Grenadier Pond (Ellis Ave.) at High Park, Chris Escott discovered a Virginia Rail in the cattails. Also seen here were 3 Swamp Sparrows and a Great Blue Heron.

Reported by Dave Milsom.

10 December 2006 Toronto Waterfront

Today’s OFO outing was attended by 31 participants on a beautiful sunny day, visiting Humber Bay Park East and West, Sunnyside, High Park and Kingsmill Park. Our 48 species included some interesting birds. At Humber Bay Park we saw Yellow‐rumped Warbler, Northern Shrike, Cooper’s Hawk, Belted Kingfisher, Ruddy Duck, Common, Red‐breasted and Hooded Mergansers, American Coot, Red‐necked Grebe, and White‐winged Scoter; and at High Park we saw Carolina Wren, a red morph Eastern Screech‐Owl, Red‐bellied Woodpecker, Brown Creeper, Red‐winged Blackbird, and White‐throated Sparrow. Missed were Harlequin Duck, which was seen yesterday at the mouth of the Humber River, and Orange‐crowned Warbler seen yesterday at Kingsmill Park.

Led and reported by Dave Milsom.

Long-tailed Duck
Female
Photo: Mark Peck

Greater White-fronted Goose
Photo: Sandra and Frank Horvath

Common Eider
Female
Photo: Barry Cherriere

Canada Goose
Photo: Emily Burton

Long-tailed Duck
Photo: Homer Caliwag

Hooded Merganser
Photo: Sandra Hawkins

Canada Goose
Photo: Max Skwarna

Mallard
Photo: Daniel Cadieux

Barnacle Goose
Photo: Sandra and Frank Horvath

Long-tailed Duck
Photo: Francine Ouellette

Surf Scoter
Female in front
Photo: Sandra and Frank Horvath

Cackling Goose
1 Canada Goose (rear) and 2 smaller Cackling Geese
Photo: Jean Iron

Blue-winged Teal
Photo: Sandra and Frank Horvath

White-winged Scoter
Photo: Gabriel Lau Kin Jock

Tundra Swan
Photo: Carol Horner

Durham Region and
Lake Ontario MarshesTop

August 6 2017 (Sunday) Durham Region and Lake Ontario Marshes

Leader: Rayfield Pye, John Stirrat.

The weekend closure of Victoria Street across the Lynde Shores Marsh forced a change of starting point to Hall's Road. From there, this year's trip covered Cranberry Marsh, Darlington Provincial Park, Corbett Creek Marsh and a storm water pond east of Lynde Creek. The group of 25 members tallied 63 species on a sunny but cool day. Despite driving a circuitous route to places most of the group had never been, nobody got lost. Some highlights include: Herons and Bitterns: Green Heron, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Least Bittern Shorebirds: Least Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs, Spotted Sandpiper, Killdeer, Piping Plover Flycatchers: Eastern Kingbird, Eastern Phoebe, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Willow Flycatcher, Traill?s Flycatcher Warblers/Vireos: Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Pine Warbler, Warbling Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo Other: Indigo Bunting, Marsh Wren, Common Loon, Pied-billed Grebe, Baltimore Oriole, Wild Turkey, Osprey, Ruby-throated Hummingbird

April 30 2017 (Sunday) Durham Lakeshore

Leader: Geoff Carpentier.

Five of us braved the fairly high winds and very cool temperatures today along the Durham Waterfront on the OFO walk. In total we saw 73 species ibcluding several types of sparrows, two warblers, a pair of gnatcatchers but very little else of excitement. Over the lake at Thickson and Cranberry hundreds of shallows of 4 species were foraging. When we got to Darlington Provincial Park we found a pair of piping plovers. The male arrived a couple of days ago and it looks like the 2nd bird arrived overnight. We haven't confirmed the sex of the second bird but it did appear to be closely associated with the first one. Will submit the banding colours from the legs and try to get a positive ID on both birds. Thanks to those Hardy Souls who shared the day with me.

October 16 2016 (Sunday) Durham Waterfront

Leader: Geoff Carpentier.

Well what a difference a day makes as yesterday's sunshine gave way to rain. When we started it was pouring and we almost aborted but thank goodness we didn't for the rain stopped 15 minutes into our walk and didn't resume until we finished after lunch. Seven weather worthy OFOrs joined me along the waterfront. We stopped at Corner Marsh in Ajax, Cranberry Marsh, Pringle Creek, Lynde Creek and Thickson Point as we searched for lingering birds. A total of 45 species birds made an appearance. Pipits, a Marsh Wren, a hybrid Black-Mallard, some White-winged Scoters and a Semipalmated Plover at Ajax brightened our day. The Brant remained elusive today. Two hardy (foolhardy?) Monarchs cruised the shore southbound. Nonetheless the weather was kind and the participants pleasant. What more can we ask? Thanks to all who attended.

August 14 2016 (Sunday) Durham Region and Lake Ontario Marshes

Leader: Rayfield Pye, John Stirrat.

This year's Durham Region trip followed a different route from past trips. Instead of covering Cranberry Marsh from the east side, we went to the west side from the south platform at Halls Road, then to Pringle Creek east of Whitby Harbour followed by Darlington Provincial Park and, for some of us, the west berm of Oshawa Second Marsh. This route allowed us to cover the shorebird areas that were available this year - Pringle Creek, Darlington Beach, and the north-west corner of Second Marsh. A total of 66 species were recorded. Shorebirds: Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Least, Spotted and Semipalmated Sandpipers, Short-billed Dowitcher, Killdeer, Semipalmated, and the last of the Darlington Piping Plovers. Flycatchers: Eastern Kingbird, Willow/Alder (Traill's), Eastern Wood-Pewee, Eastern Phoebe, and Olive-sided (our last bird of the day). Passerines: Yellow, Pine, Yellow-rumped, Black-and-white Warblers, Northern Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Baltimore Oriole, Cedar Waxwing, Red-eyed and Warbling Vireos Other highlights: Great Egret (2 unbanded), Osprey, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Common Loon, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

April 17 2016 (Sunday) Durham Lakeshore

Leader: Geoff Carpentier.

Fifteen OFO-ers joined me on the Durham Waterfront outing today. The birds and the weather were perfect. I decided to focus on Cranberry Marsh and Second Marsh so we could maximize out sightings in a relaxing mode and we were not disappointed. We found 69 species. 18 species of waterfowl including Trumpeter Swan, Wood Duck, Redhead, Ruddy Duck were seen. A nice Tom Wild Turkey strutted his stuff for us. Common Loon (flyover), several American Coots and Pied-billed Grebe were spotted. The first influx of Double-crested Cormorant were at Second Marsh as was a lovely adult Little Gull that put on a spectacular aerial display for us in perfect light. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Eastern Phoebe and an early-ish Bank Swallow were nice treats. Many Brown Creepers, and both Kinglets (often showing their red crowns), Yellow-rumed Warbler, Hermit Thrush and a Winter Wren were part of an influx of new arrivals. Sparrows were well represented by American Tree Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, White-throated Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow and Song Sparrow.

October 18 2015 (Sunday) Durham Waterfront

Leader: Geoff Carpentier.

20 OFOers joined me today on the Durham waterfront walk. We focussed our attention on Cranberry Marsh, Thickson Woods and Second Marsh locales and were not disappointed. The cool weather kept us bundled up but the birding was very good and the company great. Highlights included in our total of 64 species were: - 4 Horned Grebes - 16 species of waterfowl - 5 Great Egrets - 6 raptors including a Bald (immature) and Golden Eagle (adult) - Killdeer and Lesser Yellowlegs - several American Pipits - a late Swainson?s Thrush and many Hermit Thrushes - Nashville Warbler - Blue-headed Vireo and Eastern Phoebe - Fox & Savannah Sparrows and Eastern Towhees - several Rusty Blackbirds - Common Raven Thanks to all who attended.

August 9 2015 (Sunday) Durham Region and Lake Ontario Marshes

Leader: Rayfield Pye, John Stirrat.

Another great sunny day for birding starting at Lynde Shores CA and covering Cranberry Marsh, the foot of Gordon Street, and Darlington PP. The fall migration is just starting but we still found 61 species for the day seen or heard by most. Highlights: Warblers included Yellow, Nashville, Black-and-white, Common Yellowthroat, Tennessee, and American Redstart. Vireos - Red-eyed, Warbling, Philadelphia, and Blue-headed. Flycatchers - Eastern Kingbird, Willow (singing) plus Alder/Willow (Traill's), Eastern Wood Pewee and Olive-sided. Others - Baltimore Orioles, Cedar Waxwings, Blue Jays, Chickadees, WB Nuthatches, Grackles, Song and Swamp sparrows, Goldfinches, Cardinals, Catbird, Robins, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Red-winged Blackbirds. The marsh contained Great Egrets (2 with green wing tags), Great Blue Herons, Black-crowned Heron, Canada Geese, Mute Swans, Mallards, Green and Blue-winged Teal, Wood Ducks, Gadwall, Common Gallinule plus shorebirds - Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs, Least, Semipalmated, and Spotted sandpipers, Killdeer, Semipalmated and American Golden plover, and Short-billed Dowitcher. Raptors seen were Osprey, Sharp-shinned, Merlin, and Kestrel.

May 2 2015 (Saturday) Durham Lakeshore

Leader: Geoff Carpentier.

It is with some embarrassment that I report that the many OFOers who attended the Durham Lakeshore walk today had a marvellous outing .. albeit without me! I apologize to each and all of you for my absence. It was one of life's little glitches - I simply forgot. I know that many of you carried on without me and had a great day. I'd like to thank Mark Cranford for helping guide the guideless and for Roland and Deb for trying to find me. The good news is I have been found ... as a consolation, if anyone would like to go out tomorrow I will be happy to meet you at 8:30 at Cranberry Marsh and we can trace part of today's route. I would ask however that anyone who wants to go email me privately tonight so I can judge the participation. I won't be going down to the lakeshore if no one emails, so please don't just show up at 8:30 at the lakeshore. If no one chooses to go and I don't blame you as I'm apparently pretty unreliable, I shall stay home and do some sort of penance. Well, today I finally finished the OFO walk I didn't start yesterday. The results were excellent ... 84 species including the Glossy Ibis, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Raven (Thickson's), 5 species of warblers, Carolina Wren, Mockingbird, House and Marsh Wren, Purple Martin (2 colonies), Red-necked Grebe and one adult Little Gull (Oshawa) were found. Swallows were very thin and the colony at Thickson's was dismal as we only saw 5 or so individuals when there used to be hundreds.

October 19 2014 (Sunday) Durham Waterfront

Leader: Geoff Carpentier.

15 members joined me today on the Durham waterfront to search for migrants. It was a fantastic day with 81 species recorded.

The hawk flight was spectacular with the following sightings:

  • Turkey Vulture - 385
  • Cooper's Hawk - 1
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk - 66
  • Red-shouldered Hawk - 7
  • Red-tailed Hawk - 32
  • Golden Eagle - 1 immature - first fall
  • Bald Eagle - 2 immature - 1st and 3rd fall
  • Northern Harrier - 5
  • American Kestrel - 6
  • Merlin - 1
  • Peregrine Falcon - 1 adult

Other birds:

  • 8 spp. of waterfowl including a few White-winged Scoters
  • 5 species of shorebirds - Greater Yellowlegs, Pectoral Sandpiper., Least Sandpiper, Dunlin and Blackbellied Plover
  • 4 species of warblers - Orange-crowned (2), Nashville, Palm and Yellow-rumped
  • pipits
  • lots of loons but no Pacific ? birds were very far out in the lake so visibility was challenging
  • 5 Great Egrets - no wing tags
  • 4 Eastern Phoebes
  • 1 Common Raven
  • 18 Pine Siskins and 8 Purple Finches

August 10 2014 (Sunday) Durham Region and Lake Ontario Marshes

Leader: Rayfield Pye, John Stirrat.

Another great weather day greeted 27 of us today at Lynde Shores CA. Although the fall migration hasn't yet started in earnest, we still managed 61 species seen or heard by most.

We had a few songbirds - Yellow Warbler, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Baltimore Oriole, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Red-eyed and Warbling Vireo plus a few flycatchers - Eastern Pewee, Eastern Kingbird, and Willow Flycatcher plus a few Traill's.

Cranberry Marsh was productive. Wood Ducks, Gadwall, Green-winged Teal, Common Gallinule, Barn Swallow, Chimney Swift, Caspian and Common Tern, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron and Marsh Wren but the only shorebirds were Lesser Yellowlegs, Killdeer and Spotted Sandpiper.

We did have some raptors - Osprey, Northern Harrier, and Red-tailed Hawk - probably all locals.

There were also a few butterflies seen - eight species including 11 Monarchs.

May 3 2014 (Saturday) Durham Lakeshore

Leader: Geoff Carpentier.

29 hardy soles wouldn't let the weather dampen their enthusiasm as we birded Ajax, Whitby and Oshawa today, where we visited Second Marsh, Thickson's Woods and Cranberry Marsh between the rain showers. A total of 74 species included: 9 Little Gulls with hundreds of Bonies, Virginia Rail, Common and Caspian Terns, Red-necked Grebe, R.B. Grosbeak and 2 Baltimore Orioles at Second Marsh, a Raven, House Wren, Chestnut-sided and Black-throated Green Warblers, several Rusty Blackbirds and a White-crowned Sparrow at Thickson's, 4 Common Loons, a pipit and a Wood Duck flying over the Go Station in Ajax and lots of ducks and swallows + 3 miserable looking Turkey Vultures at Cranberry.

October 19 2013 (Saturday) Durham Waterfront

Leader: Geoff Carpentier.

17 folks joined me today as we explored the Durham Waterfront from Ajax to Oshawa. The weather was kind and it didn't rain until we were almost done.

Seventy-one species were found including:

  • 1 Horned Grebe
  • 13 Common Loons
  • 2 Black Scoters
  • Lesser & Greater Scaup, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, White-winged Scoter, Long-tailed Duck and all three mergansers
  • 15 Ruddy Ducks
  • 9 Great Egrets (no wing tags)
  • 2 Lesser Yellowlegs
  • 1 Blue-headed Vireo
  • Marsh & Winter Wrens
  • lots of pipits
  • 1 Common Yellowthroat
  • Fox, Song, Swamp, White-crowned, White-throated and Field Sparrows & juncos several Rusty Blackbirds

It was a nice mix of birds on a nice fall day with a nice bunch of people. Thanks to all who joined me.

August 11 2013 (Sunday) Durham Region and Lake Ontario Marshes

Leader: Rayfield Pye, John Stirrat.

Great weather greeted the 33 participants on today's OFO Durham Marshes and that helped us to a total of 65 species seen (or heard) by most.

Despite overnight north winds with cooler temperatures, we saw no migrant songbirds. The only passerines were judged to be locals - Yellow Warbler, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Baltimore Oriole, Eastern Kingbird and Willow Flycatcher.

We spent most of the day at Cranberry Marsh (the only shorebird habitat in the area) so our totals were boosted by 9 species of shorebirds - Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Pectoral, Spotted and Least Sandpipers, Short-billed Dowitchers, Wilson's Snipe, Killdeer and a flyover of a small flock of Semi-palmated Plovers. We had great looks at Great Blue Herons, Black-crowned Night Herons and Great Egrets (no tags) and at least one person spotted a Least Bittern.

Waterbirds were well represented with highlights being Wood Ducks, both Teals, Pied-billed Grebes, Hooded Mergansers, Trumpeter Swans and a lone Moorhen that made a brief appearance. Caspian Terns and a Belted Kingfisher dove for fish in the open water. Both Marsh Wren and Swamp Sparrow sang occasionally.

A trip to the Lake Ontario shore gave us a Common Loon but nothing much else on the lake. An Osprey flew over Lynde Creek in the route back to the vehicles.

After lunch, we toured around Carruthers Creek Marsh and saw no new species but had good looks at Great Blues and Cormorants feeding on what looked like catfish.

May 5 2012 (Saturday) May 5 2012 (Saturday) Durham Lakeshore

Leader: Rayfield Pye.

Species seen or heard - 104. Rarities - none. Participants - 15.

We visited Oshawa Second Marsh, Sobey's Pond, Cranberry Marsh and Thickson's Woods.

Warblers - 14 species, Shorebirds - 5 species, Waterfowl - 15 species, Butterflies - small numbers of Red Admirals, American Lady's and Question Marks

August 14 2011 (Sunday) Durham Region and Lake Ontario Marshes

Leaders: Rayfield Pye, John Stirrat and Jerry Ball.

Day total‐ 75 species

20 birders met at the parking lot at Lynde Shores Conservation Area at 7:30 in the morning.

The Cranberry Marsh area produced 61 species. Highlights:

Great Egret‐ 6,

Wilson’s Snipe‐ 3,

Pied‐billed Grebe‐ 3,

Hooded Merganser‐ 1,

There were only a couple of small flocks of migrating songbirds.

Sobey’s Pond‐ 12 species

The group had excellent looks at Short‐billed Dowitchers and both Yellowlegs.

The Oshawa Second Marsh produced 37 species. Highlights:

Great Egret‐ 6,

Hooded Merganser‐ 3,

Bonaparte’s Gull‐ 2,

Merlin‐ 1

May 7 2011 (Saturday) Durham lakeshore

Leader: Geoff Carpentier.

29 OFOers joined me this morning as we birded the Durham waterfront. Stops included Duffins Creek/Rotary Park in Ajax, Hall’s Road/Cranberry Marsh, Whitby Harbour, Thickson’s Woods and Second Marsh.

We found 101 species. Highlights included:

1 Little Gull in a large flock of Bonaparte’s Gulls off Hall’s Road

several Common Loons and Horned Grebes

Trumpeter Swans, Redheads, Ring‐necked Duck were amongst the 15 species recorded

5 species of raptors–Red‐tailed, Cooper’s and Sharp‐shinned Hawks + Merlin and Northern Harrier

Virginia Rail at Second Marsh and Sora and Common Moorhen at Cranberry Marsh

1 Great Horned Owl in Thickson’s Woods

1 Chimney Swift at Rotary Park, Ajax

1 Marsh Wren at Second Marsh

1 Least Flycatcher and 3 Eastern Kingbirds at Second Marsh

2 Great Egrets and 3 BCN Herons at Second Marsh

1 Red‐bellied Woodpecker and a Yellow‐bellied Sapsucker at Thickson’s Woods

Blue‐headed and Warbling Vireos

1 Orchard Oriole at Second Marsh + lots of Baltimores everywhere

1 BG Gnatcatcher at Hall's Rd and two at Cool Hollow (Second Marsh)

1 Swainson’s Thrush at Thickson’s Woods

11 species of warblers

8 species of sparrows including one Fox Sparrow at Thickson’s Woods

3+ Bobolinks at Second Marsh

1 Eastern Meadowlark at Thickson’s and Hwy 401–an uncommon sighting in the city.

Thanks to all who came and endured my bad jokes.

October 24 2010 (Sunday) Durham Waterfront

Leader: Geoff Carpentier.

Despite heavy rain to start the outing, 7 hardy souls joined me as we birded the Durham waterfront. Tyler Hoar joined me for part of the adventure (unfortunately leaving just before we saw the Common Loons (see below) :‐) His knowledge and observational skills were most appreciated.

We started at Lynde Shores woods where we found several most cooperative and hungry Black‐capped Chickadees and sparrows at the feeders. As we worked through the woods we added Purple Finches, Fox Sparrow and Hermit Thrush. On the walk south toward Cranberry Marsh we had great looks at several Rusty Blackbirds, a phoebe, a catbird and many more Fox, White‐throats and White‐crowned Sparrows and a few more Hermit Thrushes. A Common Yellowthroat was in the tall weeds and about 6 deer sauntered across the road at one point.

At Cranberry we added most of the expected puddle ducks plus Hooded and Common Mergansers and Bufflehead and Northern Harrier that was hunting the marsh. Back at the car we drove to Pringle Creek where Trumpeter and Mute Swans slept on flats and two Greater and three Lesser Yellowlegs allowed great opportunities to compare these confusing species.

From here we headed east to Oshawa Second Marsh, where we birded the main marsh first adding lots of cormorants and Great Blue Herons, Pied‐billed Grebes, 47 American Coots, lots of puddle ducks including Wood Duck, a Marsh Wren, pipits and several Swamp Sparrows. The fields nearby were jumping with sparrows–Song, White‐throated, White‐crowned and a Chipping. A few Yellow‐rumped Warblers joined the melee and a Peregrine Falcon appeared overhead looking for lunch in the marsh. Golden‐crowned Kinglets offered great up close views, with one male showing his orangey‐red crest. In sleepy hollow we added Winter Wren, Ruby‐crowned Kinglet and a phoebe.

As we neared the shore, things got exciting as I scoped for Common Loons and Grebes–first I found a winter plumaged Common Loon, then several White‐winged Scoters and a few Long‐tailed Ducks, plus hundreds of Red‐breasted Mergansers. As I rescanned the area looking for Grebes, a beautiful breeding plumaged Pacific Loon was suddenly directly in front of us. It dove repeatedly so was unfortunately not seen by the entire group. (I understand it was relocated later by other parties near Oshawa harbour). Then two Common Loons flew into view going west to east–one was a Red‐throated (winter plumage) and the other was not identified due to distance, but appeared to also be a Red‐throated.

From here we went to Thickson's Woods where we added very little but did see about 50 Pine Pine Siskins, another Winter Wren and several Common Loons out on the lake. Then it was off to Duffin's Creek in Ajax, where we added a single Surf Scoter and a Killdeer.

Total count for the day was 68 species–not bad for a rainy day!

August 15 2010 (Sunday) Durham Region and Lake Ontario Marshes

Leaders: Rayfield Pye, John Stirrat.

Thirty two participants met at the parking lot at Lynde Shores Conservation Area at 7:30 a.m. and walked through the Lynde Shores woodlot down to Cranberry Marsh. We saw few species on the way there– mainly Eastern Kingbirds, Cedar Waxwings and American Goldfinches.

Once there, we did get to see a variety of Herons–Great Blue, Great Egret, Green, and Black‐crowned Night‐Herons. Waterbirds consisted of Mute and Trumpeter Swans, Common Moorhen, Pied‐billed Grebe,and Mallard ducks. Caspian Terns and a Belted Kingfisher patrolled the marsh. A small area of shorebird habitat yielded Lesser Yellowlegs, Least and Pectoral Sandpiper. The highlight was a great long look at a Least Bittern sitting in the cattails on the far side of the marsh.

We next went to the small woodlot and beach at the foot of Gordon Street in Whitby where we had Red‐eyed and Philadelphia Vireo, Black‐and‐white Warbler and Blue‐gray Gnatcatcher.

We stopped for lunch at the local Tims and then went to Oshawa Second Marsh where we added American White Pelican and Wood Ducks on the marsh and American Redstart, Yellow, Cape May, and Magnolia Warblers on the walk down to the lake. Some, unfortunately, were also introduced to “European fire ants”–nasty, little guys.

We had 68 species for the day–despite the heat and humidity and, for the third consecutive year, having virtually no shorebird habitat.

16 August 2009 Durham Region and Lake Ontario Marshes

Leaders: Rayfield Pye, John Stirrat.

Twenty one participants met at the parking lot at Lynde Shores Conservation Area at 7:30 a.m. and walked through the Lynde Shores woodlot and traveled down to Cranberry Marsh. With no north winds to spur the birds south, we saw few species on the way there–warblers were limited to Black‐and‐white, Canada and Magnolia; flycatchers to Willow, Pewee and Eastern Kingbird; sparrows to Song and Savannah; other passerines were Baltimore Oriole and many Cedar Waxwings and American Goldfinches. Some of us were sure we had an American Bittern fly by.

The only shorebirds seen were Greater Yellowlegs on a very small mudflat area in the marsh but we did get to see a variety of Herons–Great Blue, Green, and Black‐crowned Night‐Herons. Waterbirds consisted of Mute and Trumpeter Swans, American Coot, Common Moorhen, Pied‐billed Grebe, Green and Blue‐winged Teal, Black, Wood, and Mallard ducks. A Caspian Tern and a Belted Kingfisher patrolled the marsh. The highlight for some was a short look at a Least Bittern peeking through the cattails on the far side of the marsh.

We next went to a small woodlot and beach at the foot of Gordon Street in Whitby where we had Osprey, Philadelphia Vireo, Blue‐gray Gnatcatcher, Hairy Woodpecker and Spotted Sandpiper.

We stopped for a quick bite at the local Tims and then went to Darlington Park where we added Northern Mockingbird, Northern Flicker and finished with a juvenile Bald Eagle.

With the birds dwindling and the heat rising, we decided the eagle was an appropriate finish.

All in all, we had 73 species for the day ‐‐ despite the heat and, for the second consecutive year, having virtually no shorebird habitat.

John Stirrat

17 August 2008 Durham Region & Lake Ontario Marshes

Leaders: Rayfield Pye, John Stirrat.

Thirty‐four participants met at the parking lot at Lynde Shores Conservation Area at 7:30 a.m. and walked through the Lynde Shores woodlot and traveled down to Cranberry Marsh. We saw a few warblers on the way there – American Redstart, Yellow, Tennessee, Magnolia, Nashville, and Black‐and‐white. We saw a few shorebirds on a very small mudflat area – Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Short‐billed Dowitcher, Semipalmated Plover, and Killdeer. At Second Marsh, we had Black, Caspian and Common Terns, Bonaparte’s, Ring‐billed and Herring Gulls, American Coot, Common Moorhen, Green, Great Blue and Black‐crowned Night‐Herons.

We stopped for lunch on the Darlington Nuclear Station property but there was nothing of note in the small wetlands and finished at the Samuel Wilmot Wetlands south of Newcastle where we found our last shorebird – a Spotted Sandpiper, and the best bird of the day – an Olive‐sided Flycatcher. All in all, we had 77 species for the day (despite having virtually no shorebird habitat) plus 13 butterfly species and 7 dragonfly/damselfly species.

Reported by John Stirrat.

19 August 2007 Durham Region & Lake Ontario Marshes

Leader: Rayfield Pye.

Participants ‐ 22 (one visitor from Arizona). Highlights: all of the wetlands had shorebird habitat. At Cranberry Marsh we had a Willet, 2 Short‐billed Dowitchers, and 2 Black‐bellied Plovers. At Pumphouse Marsh we saw a Merlin being chased by a flock of peeps. We observed 4 migrating and 2 local Osprey. At Whitby Mental Centre we observed 3 Red‐headed Woodpeckers. In total we had 87 species (including 13 shorebirds).

Reported by Rayfield Pye.

13 August 2006 Durham Region and Lake Ontario Marshes

Fifteen birders met at 7:30 a.m.. Sixty‐eight species were found. The highlight was the pair of Red‐headed Woodpeckers at the Whitby Mental Health Centre. There were small flocks of migrating warblers, vireos, and flycatchers at several locations. Our largest flock of Eastern Kingbirds was about 15. There were five Great Egrets at Cranberry Marsh along with the usual assortment of waterfowl. With the lack of habitat, there were only a few shorebirds there. We finished the day at the new conservation area in Bowmanville at Westside Marsh. Here Osprey, Black‐crowned Night‐Heron, and Green Heron were very cooperative.

Reported and led by Rayfield Pye.

14 August 2005 Durham Region and Lake Ontario Marshes

Leader: Rayfield Pye.

Eighteen individuals met at Lynde Shores parking lot at 7:30, with overcast skies and forecast of showers. We lucked out with only a couple of showers. It was an excellent day for fall birding.

The first stop was the rejuvenated Oshawa Second Marsh. From the open area beside Lake Ontario we had excellent views of families of Ruddy Ducks, Common Moorhen, American Coots, and Wood Ducks. There were lots of Green Herons and Black-crowned Night-Herons and a single Least Bittern. Our best warbler flock of the day was in the low willows next to the marsh. There were lots of migrating Eastern Kingbirds and other flycatchers.

Next we made several stops in the Whitby Harbour area. Wilson's Snipe Solitary Sandpiper, and Pectoral Sandpiper at the bridge were the best birds.

After lunch we visited Corner Marsh in Ajax. Highlights were a group of Hooded Mergansers, Common Terns, and a family of Baltimore Orioles.

There was nothing new at Hydro Marsh but the shorebirds were close enough that everyone was able to get a good look at them.

We ended the day with over 75 species of birds and only 1 butterfly (Monarch).

Reported by Rayfield Pye

15 August 2004 Durham Region and Lake Ontario Marshes

Leader: Rayfield Pye.

Thirty-five participants met at the parking lot at Lynde Shores Conservation Area at 7:30 AM. On the walk down to Cranberry Marsh the best birds were a Cooper's Hawk, a Broad-winged Hawk, and large numbers of Eastern Kingbirds. At Cranberry Marsh, a Great Egret, an American Coot, and Ruddy Ducks were the highlights. At Oshawa Second Marsh, we especially enjoyed a Green Heron, Wood Duck, and a Cooper's Hawk, which challenged an American Crow. At Whitby Harbour, we were able to study four species of Gulls sitting on the breakwall.

After lunch we stopped at the pool beside the Sobey's warehouse where we saw Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs and Semipalmated Plover and a family of American Kestrels. On the grounds of the Whitby Mental Health Centre, the resident adult and juvenile Red-headed Woodpecker put on a display. We then walked westward to the mouth of Lynde Creek where we spied Northern Mockingbirds and our only warbler flocks of the day.

17 August Durham Region and Lake Ontario Marshes 2003

Leader: Rayfield Pye.

Between the Ajax waterfront trail and Sobey's pool in Whitby, some highlights were: Hydro Marsh--four swallow species, one Osprey and Baltimore Oriole; along the Ajax waterfront trail--Black-billed Cuckoo, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, White-breasted Nuthatch, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Warbling Vireos; Cranberry south marsh--two immature Soras, Virginia Rail, Marsh Wren, Solitary Sandpiper; Cranberry Marsh east side--Northern Harrier, Cooper's Hawk, Ruddy Ducks, American Coots, Common Yellowthroat, two Ospreys (one with fish) and at Sobey's pool-four Greater Yellowlegs, Semipalmated Plovers, Semipalmated Sandpipers, American Kestrel.

Reported by Doug Lockrey

18 August 2002 Lake Ontario Coastal Wetlands - Durham Region

Leader: Rayfield Pye.

About 16 OFO members met at the Pickering GO station at 7:30 AM.

Frenchman's Bay: (Pickering) Water levels were high with very little shorebird habitat. Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs and a few Least Sandpipers were seen. There were a few Caspian Terns and Common Terns. A Great Crested Flycatcher was one of the few migrant songbirds seen all day.

Hydro Marsh: (Pickering) We saw 30 shorebirds of four species, a couple of Black-Crowned Night-Herons and a few Great Blue Herons. A Green Heron flew by.

Corner Marsh: (Ajax) No shorebird habitat. A couple of Greater Black-backed Gulls were on the beach and a couple of Trumpeter swans (tag # 431) among the Mallards. We saw two Green Herons as well.

Cranberry Marsh - east side: (Whitby) Highlights among the waterfowl included, American Coot- 40+, Wood Duck - 15+, Ruddy Duck - several families, and a Pied-billed Grebe.There was a single Sharp-shinned Hawk migrating westward. We watched a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk and a juvenile Northern Harrier in a aerial battle that lasted for a couple of minutes.

Second Marsh: (Oshawa) Great Egret - at least 2, Mute Swan - 30+, lots of Common Terns and Caspian Terns. Darlington Nuclear Station- Wetland: (Clairington) The highlight here was a single Pied-billed Grebe. A Green Heron flew by.

Butterflies: Common Sulphur, Orange Sulphur, Pearl Crescent, Ringlet, Cabbage White, and Eastern Tailed Blue were common. Monarch numbers are starting to increase and there were a couple of Black Swallowtails and a Red Admiral.

Reported by Rayfield Pye

26 August 2001 Durham Region and Lake Ontario Marshes

Led by Rayfield Pye.

The OFO field trip to the lakeshore marshes in Durham Region was attended by fifteen partcipants. Hydro Marsh and Corner Marsh were very good, while Cranberry Marsh and Thickson's Woods were quiet.

At Hydro Park we studied an immature Common Moorhen. We also had a fine flock of seven species of warblers near the parking lot, including Canada Warbler. Everyone had excellent views of seven species of shorebirds in the marsh.

At Corner Marsh, the views were truly excellent with the warblers and vireos at eye level along the bridge. Magnolia and Wilson's were most common.

The number one highlight of the day was the Green Heron that put on a fishing show at Hydro Marsh.

Day totals: 68 species of birds and 6 species of butterflies.

Tricolored Heron
Photo: Sam Barone

Great Blue Heron
Photo: Sandra and Frank Horvath

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Photo: Barry Cherriere

Black-crowned Night-Heron
Photo: Sean Tamblyn

Great Blue Heron
Photo: Don Wigle

Tennessee Warbler
Photo: Carol Horner

Prothonotary Warbler
Photo: John Millman

Magnolia Warbler
Juvenile
Photo: Sandra and Frank Horvath

Kirtland's Warbler
Female
Photo: Ken Newcombe

Blue-winged Warbler
Brewster's hybrid
Photo: Brandon Holden

Bay-breasted Warbler
Photo: Frank and Sandra Horvath

Hooded Warbler
Photo: Sam Barone

Common Grackle
Photo: Daniel Cadieux

Rusty Blackbird
Photo: Sandra and Frank Horvath

Eastern Meadowlark
Photo: Sandra and Frank Horvath

Bobolink
Photo: Mark Peck

Red-winged Blackbird
Photo: Carol Horner

Western Meadowlark
Juvenile
Photo: Sandra and Frank Horvath

Common Grackle
Photo: John Millman

Leslie Street SpitTop

May 27 2017 (Saturday) Leslie Street Spit, Toronto

Leader: John Carley.

Today, ten birders joined co-leaders Bob Cumming and me for the annual OFO outing at Toronto's Leslie Street Spit. From 8 am to 2:30 pm, at temperatures around 15 degrees, under overcast skies, with mist/fog advancing in the afternoon, we observed 75 species on the Spit, followed by an additional two during the Ashbridge's Bay "extension". Highlights at the Spit were 16 species of warblers in the Baselands meadows and wet woods (including both male and female Blackpolls and Wilson's Warbler), 4 Philadelphia Vireos at the south edge of the wet woods, and three empids; least, willow, and one yellow-bellied. A single Common Goldeneye at the Outer Harbour was a late-date sighting. Further out on the Spit , at Cell 2 and at Embayment D, 6 species of shorebirds were spotted, including Dunlin, 2 Sanderlings, 2 Ruddy Turnstones, a Greater Yellowlegs, Semipalmated Sandpipers, and many Spotted Sandpipers. Five swallow species were seen. Following the outing, a number elected to continue to Ashbridge's Bay to view the Ontbird-reported Franklin's Gull, with success!.

January 7 2017 (Saturday) Leslie Street Spit, Toronto

Leader: Garth Riley, Dan Riley.

Twenty-seven participants joined Dan Riley and I on a beautiful sunny winter day. The temperatures were quite cold -12C at the start but the forecast strong west winds never materialized, so it was actually surprisingly comfortable weather, plus all of the participants were bundled up, expecting the worst. After exploring the Leslie Street Spit (Tommy Thompson Park) for just under 5 hours the group managed a respectable 32 species of birds. The highlights were the continuing first year male King Eider, an adult male Northern Pintail, a fly over juvenile Bald Eagle and a Tundra Swan. The Tundra Swan gave the group the opportunity to study the subtle differences between it and the Trumpeter Swans that it was associating with. The remaining group ventured over a couple of blocks to check out the Lark Sparrow. After about a 15 minute wait we were awarded with excellent views of this continuing bird. During the drive over and at the Lark Sparrow location we added an additional 8 species, ending with a good total of 40 species for the day.

May 28 2016 (Saturday) Leslie Street Spit, Toronto

Leader: John Carley.

Today, 15 OFO members took advantage of hot, sunny conditions and birded the Spit and Baselands (Toronto? s premier birding location) from 8 am to 3:30 pm, observing a group total of 71 species. Highlights, in addition to the alternate-plumaged Red Knot sighting previously posted (seen at the south end of Cell One), were 34 Whimbrel , 3 Ruddy Turnstones, and a Sanderling, all seen along the east beaches of the endikement arm. A Yellow-billed Cuckoo was seen by some along the Spine Road north of Cell One, but was not relocated later. The Baselands ?wet woods? were generally quiet, with only 8 species of warblers. A Blackpoll was seen later at the cross-road south of Cell Three. Two male Orchard Orioles were observed, one at the Spine Road at the south end of Cell One; the other at Triangle Pond. Additionally, 5 butterfly species were observed. Thanks to all participants, and special thanks to Bob Cumming and Lynne Freeman who helped co-lead in the morning.

May 23 2015 (Saturday) Leslie Street Spit, Toronto

Leader: John Carley.

Today, on a cool but sunny day, approximately 40 birders joined Garth Riley and me for the annual OFO walk on Toronto's Leslie Street Spit. We wish we could report another stunning rarity such as Monday's Swainson's Warbler, but birding today was quiet, with low numbers. However, the group recorded a total of 74 species. Highlights were a distant Black Scoter, Black-crowned Night-Herons on nests, Willow Flycatchers, a Philadelphia Vireo on the Baselands near Unwin Avenue, and at least two Gray-cheeked Thrushes on the Baselands. 14 species of warbler were reported - the prominently perched singing Wilson's (again, in the Baselands) was the highlight. Additionally, 5 species of butterfly were noted - the most interesting was a fresh Silvery Blue.

May 25 2013 (Saturday) Leslie Street Spit, Toronto

Leader: John Carley.

The annual OFO Leslie Street Spit outing today (May 25th, 2013) saw 38 participants take advantage of a sunny but cool ( 8 degrees, rising to 16) day to tally 82 species overall.

Notable sightings included 13 Whimbrel on the cobble brick beach east of the lighthouse, a male Orchard Oriole at goldfish pond, and at least 8 Canvasback males in the cell 1 and embayment D areas. Also in cell 1 were Least and Semi-palmated Sandpipers, Dunlin, and a Short-billed Dowitcher. Twelve warbler species were seen in the "wet" woods, including Parula, Cape May, and a male Blackpoll at eye level! Yellow-bellied, Willow, and Least Flycatchers were also seen in the "wet" woods, as was a Philadelphia Vireo.

Thanks to Garth Riley, co-chair of Friends of the Spit, who co-lead the trip.

May 26 2012 (Saturday) May 26 2012 (Saturday) Leslie Street Spit, Toronto

Leader: .

25 birders joined Garth Riley and me (we're co-chairs of Friends of the Spit, and OFO members) as we lead the annual OFO walk through the urban wilderness of Toronto's Leslie Street Spit.

In total, 66 species were observed (along with 12 species of butterfly) on this generally overcast 25 degree day with slight lake breezes.

Highlights were 2 Whimbrel seen along the east side of the endikement, blackpoll warblers singing in the "wet woods"(now dry woods) and one at Embayment C, and a first summer male Orchard Oriole being harassed by a Baltimore Oriole along the Spine Road opposite the Outer Harbour Marina. Three empidonax were seen singing: Least, Willow, and Alder. Finally, the singing and displaying mockingbird had a reasonable imitation of a car alarm in his repertoire!

The "wet woods"were quite quiet, with very few migrants. The best patch of warblers was a small concentration that included a female Canada Warbler at the copse just north of Goldfish Pond.

May 28 2011 (Saturday) Leslie Street Spit, Toronto

Leader: Garth Riley.

Twenty birders turned out in the fog and mist at 8 am and seven hardy souls finished the day in the sun at 4:30 pm. A total of 86 species were seen by the group. Highlights were long views through the scope of a very co‐operative Gray‐cheeked Thrush, 19 species of warbler, close views of a roosting Common Nighthawk, 200 plus Chimney Swifts in a feeding frenzy over the (very) Wet Woods, 12 Whimbrel resting on the shoreline, and a few birders got looks at an young male Orchard Oriole and a Yellow‐billed Cuckoo.

I am also pleased to report that European Starling, Rock Pigeon and House Sparrow were not recorded on this outing. The Leslie St. Spit truly is Toronto’s Urban Wilderness.

Butterflies didn’t show until late in the day but there were several newly emerged Black Swallow‐tails and a single Spring Azure.

Thanks to all the particpants and their keen eyes.

May 29 2010 (Saturday) Leslie Street Spit, Toronto

Leader: John Carley.

Today approximately 40 OFO members and guests birded the Leslie Street Spit (Toronto’s Public Urban Wilderness) under cloudless skies, in phenomenally clement weather, and hot temperatures, amassing a total of 71 species. What you receive in weather is taken away in species count.

However, there were some excellent sightings. A Prothonotary Warbler reported by the TTPBRS was heard by a few and seen by one fortunate birder, in the dense underbrush at the water’s edge near the tip of Peninsula D. A Red‐bellied Woodpecker flew over the group on the Spine Road, and an alternate‐plumage Horned Grebe was seen near shore, well east of the lighthouse. Willow Flycatchers were heard and seen at many locations; and, for those 10 birders who hung on till the end, their patience was rewarded at 4 pm by a flock of 55 Whimbrel landing and joining others on the brick shingle beach on the east side of the endikement arm opposite Cell 1. We counted approximately 85 in all. When 9 Black‐bellied Plovers joined them, a small flock of 30 Whimbrel promptly flew off, leaving the remainder settled on the shingle.

Additionally, 10 species of butterfly were tallied.

24 May 2009 Leslie Street Spit, Toronto

Leader: John Carley.

Today, 44 OFO members, guests, and future members, walked the Spit and Baselands (Toronto’s Urban Wilderness) on the annual OFO Outing. A total of 85 species were seen; along with 6 butterfly species.

A highlight was two large flocks of Whimbrel: the first flock, seen at approx 10 am, was distant; the second flock at noon (of 140 to 175 birds ... numbers vary according to observers of a wheeling flock) was well‐observed as it wheeled and turned over the Eastern Endikement. Other highlights included two Black‐billed Cuckoos (one in the Baselands wet woods; the other at Embayment D); 16 species of warblers (most in the wet woods) including Mourning and Canada. Blackpolls were seen and heard in most wooded areas. Least, Willow, Alder, and Yellow‐bellied Flycatchers were observed in the wet woods.

Many thanks to all those who participated. To those who didn’t: come next year, to see how wonderful a day on The Spit can be.

1 January 2009 Leslie Street Spit, Toronto

Leader: Dave Milsom.

34 birders attended today’s trip to Leslie Street Spit and nearby Ashbridge's Bay Park. It was a beautiful sunny day with no wind. 43 bird species were tallied. Best finds were 4 Great Horned Owls (including 1 Arctic subspecies), 70 + Common Redpolls feeding on birch and alder seeds, Northern Shrike, all 3 Mergansers, White‐winged Scoters, Red‐necked Grebe, Northern Mockingbird, Golden‐crowned Kinglet and Northern Flicker.

We saw six Gull species: Ring‐billed, Herring, Greater and Lesser Black‐backed, and at Ashbridge's Bay 3 Iceland (Kumlein's) and a 2nd‐year Glaucous. Others on the Spit found White‐crowned Sparrow and Great Blue Heron.

Reported by Dave Milsom

25 May 2008 Leslie Street Spit, Toronto

Leader: John Carley.

We had a great day! A group that started out at 40 participants (+ or ‐) tallied 93 species on the Leslie Street Spit (aka Tommy Thompson Park). Notable among the 18 warbler species (most seen in the Baselands wet woods) were an obliging Mourning Warbler and large numbers of Magnolia Warblers and American Redstarts. An American Bittern was well‐viewed in reeds at the triangle pond. A Philadelphia Vireo was seen by all in the wet woods, and compared with nearby Warbling Vireos. Throughout our walk we were able to compare Least and Willow Flycatchers, later being able to add Yellow‐bellied Flycatcher to the comparison.

Join us on next year’s walk; at anytime, enjoy and appreciate the Leslie Street Spit, an urban wilderness in the heart of Toronto.

Reported by John Carley.

27 May 2007 Leslie Street Spit, Toronto

Leader: John Carley.

Approximately 21 participants ventured out on the OFO Leslie Street Spit birdwalk. Those present each received a copy of the new, hot‐off‐the‐press Third Edition of the Bird Checklist for Tommy Thompson Park/Leslie Street Spit. This list, now incorporating seasonal abundance codes, was produced and edited by a volunteer committee of three, with the assistance of TRCA staff. The list was published by the TRCA.

Under uniformly grey skies, 14 degree temperature, and low winds, 15 birders went the whole 11 kilometres, and were rewarded with a trip list of 68 species, including 15 warbler species. The trip started at 8 am, and ended at 4 pm, 2 minutes before the skies opened.

Highlights included great looks at a female Prairie Warbler, fleeting looks at a female Connecticut Warbler (both seen in the copse just north of goldfish pond), and great looks at a Whimbrel which flew around the lighthouse. The baselands woods produced 13 species of warblers, including a number of Blackpoll Warblers and two Canada Warblers. Numerous Willow and Least Flycatchers were spotted, and one Yellow‐Bellied Sapsucker was seen.

Reported by John Carley.

28 May 2006 Leslie Street Spit, Toronto

The OFO walk today at the Leslie Street Spit in Toronto saw 35 people walk through the wet woods and out onto the Spit in misty foggy weather that gradually changed to sunshine by 2 pm.

A total of 70 species was seen, including 13 warbler species. Highlights included a Blue‐gray Gnatcatcher on a nest, a Warbling Vireo finishing its nest construction, 2 Philadelphia Vireos (one on sailing club road, the other out near goldfish pond), many Willow Flycatchers, an Olive‐sided Flycatcher (near Triangle Pond), and a pair of Orchard Orioles (a female carrying nest material, with a first‐year male) (near Embayment D). Warbler highlights included a singing Northern Parula (wet woods), 2 Blackpolls (one at D lookout, the other near goldfish pond), and 2 female Mourning Warblers (one just north of D lookout; the other on the trail towards the bridge.)

Reported by John Carley.

29 May 2005 Leslie Street Spit, Toronto

Leader: John Carley.

More than 40 participants joined together to tally 71. Highlights included 12 species of warbler, most notably a male Mourning Warbler, all seen in the "wet" woods at the Base lands (not too wet right now); a Red Knot in basic plumage seen at the Cell One shorebird habitat (the habitat was otherwise quite unproductive); and male and female Canvasback at the triangle pond (female was on a nest). Willow Flycatchers were on territory throughout the park and an early American Goldfinch nesting was observed in the "wet" woods.

Note that the current Lake Ontario Park planning exercise puts the Baselands, including the "wet" woods, in great jeopardy, as development and a Parks Canada "discovery centre" are being seriously considered (to the extent that soil studies have been conducted!).

The Spit is Metro Toronto's best birding spot, and is located at the foot of Leslie Street where it meets Unwin Avenue. The Baselands border Unwin Avenue; the Cell One habitat is South on the Spit peninsula, and the triangle pond is further south again, south of the bailey bridge. The Spit is currently open on weekends and holidays only, with no admission charge.

Reported by John Carley

30 May 2004 Leslie Street Spit, Toronto

Leader: John Carley.

We (36 of us) met at 8 a.m. at the base of the Spit (Tommy Thompson Park) parking lot near the intersection of Leslie Street and Unwin Avenue. We had 61 species total for the day, which was clear, sunny, and warm. Highlights included: Great Egret on nest (peninsula c), 12 Semipalmated Plover, Killdeer, including one on nest, numerous Spotted Sandpipers, one Whimbrel, Black-billed Cuckoo, Cedar Waxings, including 1 carrying nesting material at the goldfish pond), Wilson's Warbler (male), Canada Warbler (female).

Reported by John Carley

25 May 2003 Leslie Street Spit, Toronto

Leader: John Carley.

Twenty-eight observers took part in the OFO scheduled walk to Leslie St. Spit and Tommy Thomson Park. Birding was excellent, with a cumulative total of 87 species seen. The wet woods of the Baselands continue to be Toronto's #1 migrant trap... found there were 19 of our 20 warbler species, 4 vireo species, and a great number of other passerines. Highlights included male and female Mourning Warblers, a Blue-winged Warbler, a Clay-colored Sparrow, an extremely late Fox Sparrow, and Willow Flycatchers. Elsewhere on the Spit, approx 30 Whimbrel were seen flying by in the fog, a Surf Scoter associating with a Black Duck and a Greater Scaup was seen in Cell 3, and a Northern Mockingbird and Wood Thrush were noted at peninsula B.

Given the development plans for our waterfront, great vigilance will be required of the birding community to not only protect these Spit Baselands, but to make a clear case to the powers-that-be of their ecological value.

Reported by John Carley

26 May 2002 Leslie Street Spit, Toronto

Leader: John Carley.

Twenty observers participated in the OFO walk at the Leslie Street Spit (also known as Tommy Thompson Park).

A group total of 77 species were observed. Highlights were 9 Whimbrel, hundreds of Dunlin, 3 Canvasback, 11 species of warblers including male and female Northern Parula warblers. Noticeable by their absence were raptors: none were noted.

The Leslie Street Spit is open on weekends only. Proceed to the base of Leslie Street (at Unwin Avenue), park, and walk south. No private automobiles are allowed, and no dogs are allowed.

Reported by John Carley

2 June 2001 Leslie Street Spit

Led by John Carley.

Fifteen participants tallied a trip total of 58 species. Notable were an American Black Duck with seven ducklings at Embayment D, four male Canvasbacks at the new pond south of the Bailey bridge, at least five Willow Flycatchers singing at various points on the base lands as well as the peninsula, a Long-tailed Duck near the tip of the Spit, a Philadelphia Vireo plus two other vireo species, and six species of warblers in the wet woods southwest of the parking lot at the base.

The Leslie Street Spit, Canada's premier public urban wilderness, is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays only, with no admission charge. From Toronto's Lakeshore, take Leslie Street south as far as possible. The parking lot is at the terminus, adjacent to Unwin Avenue.

8 October 2000.Leslie Street Spit, Toronto

Led by Norm Murr.

The day started off well with an adult Peregrine Falcon passing low overhead, and a Great Crested Flycatcher and two Gray Catbirds at the gate as I waited for the outing participants to arrive. Fifteen of us then started off at 8 a.m. to walk through the west side of the base. As we moved along hundreds of blackbirds were migrating overhead. Song, Swamp, White-crowned and White-throated Sparrows made themselves known here and all along the Spit. The first of 21 Eastern Phoebes, 37 Hermit Thrushes, many Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets, and three Dark-eyed Juncos were well seen.

After passing through the second gate onto the causeway we started running into warblers such as Yellow-rumped, Nashville, Black-throated Green and Palm, more Phoebes, Swainson's Thrush, Brown Creeper and 4 Eastern Meadowlarks together, one of which posed at the top of a bush. As usual I took the group off-road at the point (X) just before the 1st bay and here we saw three Blue-headed Vireos and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. At the 1st bay and just beyond were a large number of Mute Swans, 12 Great Black-backed Gulls, American Wigeon along with their attendant American Coots and a female Northern Pintail. As we walked down the road onto peninsula D on the road we spotted 1 Swainson's Thrush and 5 Hermit Thrushes. A first observation for all of us was a Hermit Thrush eating an approx. 8” (20 centimetres) long Brown Snake. I don't know if the thrush killed this snake, but I do know that the boaters' automobiles and the conservation area van kill a number along this and the paved road. Also along the road we saw a Brown Thrasher and great views of 5 Rusty Blackbirds and 3 more Brown Creepers.

Carrying on to peninsula C for our noon break, a good number of Monarch Butterflies were seen as they warmed up and took flight. In the bays to our left were 200+ Lesser Scaup, 30+ Redheads, and Green-winged Teal, Bufflehead, Northern Pintail, Gadwall, Mallard and Black Ducks. On the lake off the outer arm a sharp-eyed birder spotted a male White-winged Scoter in the waves. We continued on to penninsula B to check the woods and the "Sparrow Field" where we were not disappointed with the sparrows. In the “Sparrow Field” we flushed 100+ sparrows at our feet including Song, Swamp, White-crowned, White-throated and the bird of the day, a first winter Clay-colored Sparrow that sat up on a dead branch for a good 2 minutes for all to see. Here in the bay were more American Wigeon.

We returned via the outer arm observing the waterfowl mentioned above as well as enjoying the beautiful day. We arrived back at the start of the Spit at 2:45 p.m. We saw a total of 58 species including the following hawks as we walked the Spit: 13 Sharp-shinned Hawks, two Red-tailed Hawks, two Cooper's Hawks and 11 American Kestrels.

To end the day as I passed the Tim Horton's on the way to a streetcar, I saw a very low flying Turkey Vulture eyeing the patrons as they came out with their Tim Bits!

Reported by Norm Mur

26 August 2000 Leslie Street Spit, Toronto

Led by Norm Murr

Norm Murr reports: Time 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Number of participants - 22, Number of Species - 54

The outing started for me at 7:00 a.m. As I stood near the gate, I observed 42 Chimney Swifts flying west and 6 Bobolinks landed near me before moving on west. At 8 o'clock we set off through the west side of the base with no birds sighted and continued onto the causeway where there was a pair of Black Ducks. On the peninsula just before the 1st bay an Ovenbird and Swainson's Thrush were seen by some. The 1st bay and Peninsula D continued the no bird trend except for another Black Duck. The walk along the road to the bridge produced Northern Harrier, Belted Kingfisher and Great Blue Heron. At the bridge, a Green Heron was on the large Beaver lodge. On the base of Peninsula C we found our only 3 other warblers: a Magnolia, a Black-and-white and a male Wilson's. In the bay beside C were 10 Hooded Mergansers. Continuing towards Peninsula B we found a Least Flycatcher, an Eastern Wood-Pewee and at least 6 Eastern Kingbirds as well as 2 Red-eyed Vireos.

On Peninsula B we stopped for lunch under the eyes of about 100 to 200 Double-crested Cormorants. While here we were entertained by the interaction of a Sharp-shinned Hawk and a Peregrine Falcon as they passed over low towards the west.

After lunch we headed towards the outer arm to look over the lake and the 4 inner bays. Not much to observe as we went along, but we did see 2 more Northern Harriers and in the bays we found 4 Lesser Scaups, 2 Greater Scaups, 6 Canvasbacks, 2 Common Goldeneyes and 1 Bufflehead. We all, still 22 people, then headed for home. The day ended the way it started with not many birds, but we did see another Northern Harrier and American Kestrel on the base and causeway.

Other birds seen: Black-crowned Night-Heron, Great Black-backed Gull, Caspian Tern (30+), Common Loon, 1 Black-capped Chickadee (unusual at this time of year), and American Pipit.

Ring-billed Gull
Ist Basic left, 2nd Basic front right, Definitive Basic back right
Photo: Valerie Jacobs

Bonaparte's Gull
1st basic
Photo: Mark Peck

Thayer's Gull
3rd Basic
Photo: Gabriel Lau Kin Jock

Iceland Gull
Kumlien's form Basic
Photo: Jean Iron

Herring Gull
Basic
Photo: Frank and Sandra Horvath

Pacific Loon
Photo: Mark Peck

Common Loon
Photo: Jean Iron

Pacific Loon
Basic
Photo: Jean Iron

Common Loon
Photo: Sam Barone

Common Loon
Photo: Mark Peck

Eastern Bluebird
Photo: Tom Thomas

Varied Thrush
Photo: Sam Barone

Eastern Bluebird
Photo: Valerie Jacobs

Varied Thrush
Photo: Frank and Sandra Horvath

Varied Thrush
Photo: Michael Nelson

White-eyed Vireo
Photo: Frank and Sandra Horvath

White-eyed Vireo
Photo: John Millman

Red-eyed Vireo
Photo: Frank and Sandra Horvath