Lagoon Report XXIII

Pier at sunrise, Centre Island, Toronto Islands

Pier Sunrise

The Centre Island pier stands in stark silhouette against the colours of a predawn October sky.

Sunrise twilight panorama of Toronto skyline, Centre Island, Toronto Islands

Golden Hour I

Sunrise on the Toronto skyline yields lovely pastel contrasts as seen from Centre Island in this 2011 update to the skyline series.  The Port Lands still remain conspicuously absent from the image, but the sky cranes are moving steadily eastward:  how many years until this is a historical photograph?

Great blue heron wingtip feathers, Doughnut Island, Toronto Islands

Wingtip Flight

A great blue heron takes flight near Doughnut Island, wingtip feathers outstretched mere inches from the surface of the water.

Hatching monarch butterfly and chrysalis, Ward's Island, Toronto Islands


A monarch butterfly stretches its wings for the very first time, mere hours after emerging from its chrysalis.

Closeup of mink eating a crayfish, Centre Island, Toronto Islands

Crayfish Delight

In our continuing series of Wildlife Sticking Their Tongues Out, a Centre Island mink crunches through a crayfish, consuming it entirely shell and all.

Baby and adult northern map turtles, Doughnut Island, Toronto Islands

Size Differential

Northern map turtles show the size differential between young and old, basking on a log near Doughnut Island.  The 2011 season was a great one for map turtles.

Panting great blue heron, Trout Pond, Toronto Islands

Hot September Sun

A great blue heron stands on the tern raft in the centre of the trout pond, panting in the hot September sun with its tongue on full display.  This might be the start of an odd new wildlife theme, hot on the heels of this black-crowned night heron and canada goose.

Face of a snapping turtle, Blockhouse Bay, Toronto Islands

Uncommon Eyes

The distinctive eye and beak of a large snapping turtle, seen here surfacing in Blockhouse Bay.  I spent a wonderful hour floating over this fellow, watching him (her?) hunt through the late-summer plant life on the bottom of the lagoon.

Great blue heron in strong sidelight, Algonquin Island, Toronto Islands

Shining Light I & II

A great blue heron hunts in the September light off of Algonquin Island, evoking the image of this great egret from September of 2008.

Double-crested cormorant in strong side light, Doughnut Island, Toronto Islands

Hiding In Broad Daylight

A cormorant proves hard to see even in broad daylight, the low September sunlight casting many background areas into dark shadow.

Great blue heron in flight, Long Pond, Toronto Islands

Straight as an Arrow

A great blue heron takes flight in Long Pond, primary and secondary flight feathers outstretched.

Wood Ducks, Doughnut Island, Toronto Islands

Woody Couple

A lovely wood duck couple, stopping over on their fall migration, grace the waters off of Doughnut Island.

Dekay's Brown Snake, Ward's Island, Toronto Islands

Sniff THIS!

A Dekay’s Brown snake tests the winds on a Ward’s sidewalk.

HMCS Montreal, Eastern Gap, Toronto Islands

Dangerous Love

HMCS Montréal, a Halifax-class frigate, passes through the eastern gap after Labour Day weekend and the Toronto International Air Show.

Canvasback duck, inner harbour, Toronto Islands

Canvasback Haze

A rarity for these parts, this elusive canvasback spent the summer here, often visible around Sunfish Cut.

Horned Grebe, Inner Harbour, Toronto Islands

Grebe Horns

A lovely horned grebe, migrating through, swims in the inner harbour.  Painfully shy, they were absolutely not interested in hanging out with the photographer.

Six Northern Leopard Frogs, Ward's Island, Toronto Islands

An Amphibian Gala

A good sign:  six northern leopard frogs have their own gala day on a piece of wood near the Eastern Gap.