This 40-kilometre-long sandy peninsula in Lake Erie is renowned
worldwide as an important refuge and stopover point for migrating
birds, especially waterfowl. Unique to the country, the delicate
nature and varied habitat of the peninsula is recogized as a "biosphere
reserve" by the United Nations.
Long Point is actually a sand spit built by deposits of sediment
carried by southwesterly winds and shore currents -- a process that
began more than 4,000 years ago and continues today. Next to the
sand beach which stretches the length of the peninsula, low ridges
and dunes are covered by a thick blanket of sedge, grass and trees.
On the other side, the boundary between land and water is blurred
by marshes and wetlands.
The southerly location, and climate tempered by the waters of Lake
Erie, provide ideal habitat for thousands of migrating and mating
waterfowl, shorebirds, spawning fish, reptiles, amphibians and plant
species, many of which are threatened or endangered in Canada.
The marshes and wet meadows support native plants such as the grass-of-parnassus,
fringed and bottle gentians, ladies-tresses orchids and sneeze weed.
Cottonwoods, red cedar, turkey-foot and prairie grasses grow on
the sand dunes and beaches.
A bird checklist available at the park lists 321 recorded species,
of which 131 have nesting records. Resident amphibians include the
rare Fowler's toad, and there are a variety of harmless reptiles
such as the eastern hog-nosed and black garter snakes. In early
June, up to seven species of turtle can be seen making their annual
trek from the marshes to the sand dunes to lay their eggs.