Thousands of migratory birds set to delight during Warblers and Whimbrels 2014
As sure as the sun rises, Presqu’ile Provincial Park is once again playing host to thousands of tired, hungry songbirds and shorebirds as they pass through the Brighton area on their way towards their forest and Arctic summer homes via the welcoming peninsulas and treelines of one of Ontario’s best migratory hot spots.
Although some birds will trickle through Presqu’ile after the waterfowl arrive in March, the second big wave of migration happens in May. Presqu’ile celebrates this event with its annual Warblers and Whimbrels Festival. The festival, which takes place during the May long weekend every year, is one of the coolest things about spring in this part of the province.
“Presqu’ile is a bit of a magnet for these migratory birds because of the geography, the habitat and the way the park sticks out into Lake Ontario,” says David Bree, park naturalist at Presqu’ile. “These birds are on a very long journey and crossing the Great Lakes is very difficult for the smaller songbirds, depending on the winds, so they love to stop and feed and rest in these little points that jut out into the water. Shorebirds on the other hand are incredible flyers and come here to feed and rest during their long journey to the Arctic.”
It’s a rite of passage for many die-hard paddlers and it’s only a couple of weeks away….an ice out canoe trip. So what’s the attraction? It’s a moment of celebration, a time for paddlers to break free of the winter blahs, the sweet spot before the annoyance of spring bugs. As long as you’re well prepared, an ice-out paddle can be the ultimate early spring adventure. Continue reading Ice-Out Canoeing: A spring tradition for adventurous paddlers
How cool would it be to close your eyes and hear thousands of birds yodeling en masse as they lift off in search of their next feeding ground?
“You’ll never forget it, once you experience it,” says The Pinery’s natural heritage educator Alistair Mackenzie.
If you head to The Pinery Provincial Park (about 230 km southwest of Toronto) over the next few weeks, you might just see and hear up to 60,000 tundra swans passing through on their way to their Arctic breeding ground. Starting from their southern winter home in Chesapeake Bay and moving north, the swans are in a race against time to reach their final breeding ground at Hudson Bay. But don’t wait—the swans will likely be gone by the last week of March or first week of April. And if there’s too much snow, they may overfly The Pinery altogether or stop in smaller numbers. Continue reading Just passing through: head to The Pinery to see and hear migrating tundra swans