Lagoon Report XIX

Equinox bonfire, Ward's Island, Toronto Islands

Spring Light

The spring equinox bonfire ushers in the season in fine style — thanks Alice! Shifty winds kept the flames low from most of the trees, only a few came close to equaling the height of some previous years.  Still, you can’t beat curling your toes in warm sand after a long cold winter.

Fire performer, Ward's Island, Toronto Islands


Ariel braves the shifting flames of the 2011 equinox bonfire, hooping to the Arythmic’s beats.

Equinox Bonfire, Ward's Island, Toronto Islands


Shifty winds grab the equinox bonfire, making this a more difficult-than-usual evening for the fire performers.

Flowering Snowdrop, Ward's Island, Toronto Islands

Snowdrop Rain

Fresh from a March rain, a lovely early snowdrop prepares to flower on Third St.

Migrating Swans, Ward's Island, Toronto Islands

Trumpeter Airlines

High overhead, a “wedge” (thanks Don) of swans forms their familiar migratory v-shape.  Their black bills indicate that they’re either trumpeter or tundra swans, but trumpeters are often tagged, and since none of these appear to be tagged consensus is leaning towards identifying them as tundra swans.

Old Squaw duck, Algonquin Island, Toronto Islands

Numbered Days

And old squaw duck pauses between fishing dives, perfectly reflected in the lagoon’s surface.  Their days here this 2010-11 season are already numbered, as migratory birds begin to return to the Islands and increase competition for food.

Black-crowned night heron, Snug Harbour, Toronto Islands

Coniferous Perch

One of the first black-crowned night herons to return to the Toronto Islands in 2011 perches in snug harbour in this distant twilight shot.

Blackbird and Supermoon, Ward's Island, Toronto Islands

Super Moonsong

A freshly returned blackbird sings to an almost full “supermoon“, adding his voice to the rising cacophony of the wet meadow in springtime.

Garter snake, Ward's Island, Toronto Islands

Sandy Eyes

Fresh from its winter slumber, a Dekay’s Brown snake moves slowly into the sun to help shake off winter’s chill.

Chewing beaver, Ward's Island, Toronto Islands

Sandy Hands

A beaver eyeballs the camera on Ward’s Beach, its wonderful little hands treating a tasty branch like a cob of corn.

Beaver teeth, Ward's Island, Toronto Islands

Beaver Teeth

A beaver displays bad manners chewing with its mouth open and covered in food, tasty branches pulled into the waters off Ward’s Beach.

Sprinting mink, Blockhouse Bay, Toronto Islands

Mink Sprint

A mink, exposed in the open, sprints to safety across the thinning ice of Blockhouse Bay (click for larger image).

Spring Robin, Centre Island, Toronto Islands

Round is a Shape

An extremely round First Robin of Spring roots around in the undergrowth of Centre Island, signalling the official start of Spring (equinox notwithstanding).

Space shuttle Discovery and ISS over Toronto skyline, Centre Island, Toronto Islands

Swan Song

For the final time ever, space shuttle Discovery appears with the International Space Station over the Toronto skyline.  Undocked from the ISS the previous day, Discovery and the ISS form distinct trails as the shuttle’s deorbit preparations increase their separation distance. This is a series of ‘stacked’ images, 5-second exposures laid over top of each […]

Space shuttle Discovery and ISS over pier, Centre Island, Toronto Islands

Future Perfect

Capping a perfect mission and tracking southward, space shuttle Discovery (left) and the International Space Station (right) disappear into orbital sunset over the Centre Island pier, 16 hours before Discovery’s final landing at Kennedy Space Centre.

Cormorant Skull, Ward's Island, Toronto Islands

Cormorant Revealed

The pristine skull of a cormorant gives up its secrets on Ward’s beach.  The top half of the bill is hinged just in front of the eyes, and the lower half of the jaw is jointed in almost the same place to help swallow larger prey.

Mute swan, Outer harbour, Toronto Islands

Approaching Storm

A wounded mute swan sits on the ice pack of the outer harbour, waiting as a winter storm approaches.

Winter beaver, Ward's Island, Toronto Islands


A beaver, awkward on land, pushes its way through the snow on Ward’s beach.