Guest Post - Tommy Thompson Park, Toronto

About an hours run from downtown Toronto is Tommy Thompson Park (TTP). Located on the Toronto waterfront, TTP is a unique urban wilderness found on a man-made peninsula, known as the Leslie Street Spit, which extends five km into Lake Ontario and is over 500 hectares in size. It is teeming with wildlife !!!

I spent the day there today to see what I could spot and, although it was very hot and sunny, there was much to see. In fact too much so I will just give you the highlights!

Herptiles
There is obviously a very healthy snake population as I stopped 3 times to watch snakes cross the path. They were far too quick for me to get a photo but were all easily identified as Eastern Garter Snakes. Beautiful colours and not dangerous (luckily). In the ponds and bays there were also plenty of turtles but they were a little shy so I only managed to get a good look at one, which I think is a Midland Painted Turtle due to the red on its side.

Midland Painted Turtle

Birds
The birds were everywhere – many small warblers, most of which I could hear but not see! Apart from the sea birds there were some beautiful Great Egrets and also a passing Great Blue Heron. In one particular clearing I was watching a large number of Swainson’s Thrushes when in swooped a Peregrine Falcon. The Thrushes did not appear to be too concerned, even when the Peregrine parked itself at the top of their tree. I sat and watched the Peregrine for quite a long time as it appeared to be quite at ease watching its dinner…..

Peregrine Falcon



Further down the same path I came across a Belted Kingfisher, which is an amazing bird and the only species of kingfisher in the park, so a bit of a scoop!

Finally though I found the bird that I have been looking for quite some time, a common bird for Toronto but one that I have never been able to find – the Blue Jay – a bird that is so amazing the local baseball team named themselves after it.

Blue Jay
Blue Jay

Insects
The park was also full of grasshoppers & crickets, millions of them and they were very annoying. The other very common sighting was caterpillars, once again in large numbers and very hairy. I attach a couple of photos and am glad that I did not touch any of them as apparently they have some very nasty ones here !!




All in all a great day out and a place that  I am sure to visit again.



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