Spring has arrived and many of our flights of fancy have turned to the skies and the colorful migrants which are slowly making their way north through Sarnia. When many people think of spring birding, journeys to the legendary Long Point and Point Pelee often come to mind. Although these places are brilliant for birding, you do not have to travel so far to see the wonders of spring migration. In fact, you don’t even have to leave the city. Canatara Park is a terrific spot to watch birds.

Spring (neo-tropical) migrants are making their way back to Canada from South and Central America and for many, Canatara is a welcome spot to stop, feed and rest.

The majority of the species found in the park in May are continuing on a trek to breeding grounds in Northern Ontario. With decreasing amounts of forest coverage along the Mississippi Flyway, places like Canatara are becoming increasingly important. In fact, the entire shoreline area in Sarnia is part of an important migratory corridor.

Waterfowlflywaysmap

Cartography done by Karl Musser.

This is just the dry information. What is really exciting is what you can find in Canatara Park in May. There have been over 30 species of warblers recorded, particularly in Tarzanland. This small portion of the park, roughly located on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Christina Street, is huge in its potential for attracting spring migrants. Warblers, small songbirds with beautiful voices often described as the “crown jewels” of the bird world, are abundant in May. Orioles, tanagers, grosbeaks and finches, all of which are commonly found in Tarzanland in May, also pose competition for this title.

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole

Tarzanland is not the only part of Canatara where birds are abundant. Lake Chipican and the surrounding vegetation also provide habitat for various species. If you are interested in ducks and other waterfowl, a scan of Lake Chipican can be fruitful. Herons and ducks are usually hanging around the lake, while rarer species like white pelican have also been recorded. A walk around the lake will allow you another chance to look for warblers and sparrows, as well as scouting out blackbirds and pheasants which enjoy the cover along the shoreline.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Canatara Park is a great place to go bird watching. Early-morning and after-dinner walks through Tarzanland will be the most fruitful.

For more information on this topic or any other nature-related subject, contact us.

Written by Sarah Rupert

* Thanks to the Sarnia Observer who originally published this series and granted LWI permission to use it online.

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