One of the great urban wilderness surprises of Toronto is located out on Lake Ontario. It’s a 5km stretch of land known as Tommy Thompson Park, or the “Spit”.
The park is only accessible on weekends and holidays. With a strict no dogs policy it has turned into a urban haven for wildlife and birdlife. You can easily spot herons, egrets, cormorants, geese, swans, ducks, falcons and other birds here. You can spot beaver huts and if lucky – maybe coyotes or other more elusive creatures. Definitely one of the best places in Toronto for wildlife viewing.
I was lucky to stumble across a hungry American Mink (Neovison vison), also called an Eastern Mink or Little Black Mink, as it is the smallest subspecies of mink. He was darting along the shoreline in search of food. He scampered across the rocks, stopped for a nice big yawn, then dove into the water. The mink is the largest member of the weasel family in this part of the world.
He swam out about 30m before diving down and disappearing for a couple of minutes. When he finally emerged, swimming back to shore, I saw he had caught some dinner. It was some strange looking blobby fish that had a white fin. As ugly as that meal looked, the mink sure liked it and hid behind some rocks to devour his tasty meal back on the beach.
If you’ve ever wondered “what do minks eat?”, well apparently ugly fish is on their menu! Judging by the shell piles on the beach, this mink had a steady diet of mussels as well, which I had expected him to find on this swim.
It’s the first time I’ve come across a mink in Toronto, but hopefully not the last. Great to see such a cool creature only a short hike away from the Toronto skyline!