Thinking of going out for a walk? Want a change- why not take a walk at Wawanosh Wetlands. Oh sure, purists will argue that it never became the wetlands that were planned, but it has still become a great place for nature- in all seasons- and it can be a very nice walk.
Wawanosh can be hard to find if you don’t know exactly where it is. It is located at 6013 Blackwell Side Road, in Sarnia. The entry way is a narrow single- car width road entrance between two residential lots. There is a large sign at its entrance- but you don’t see it until you are upon it, so drive slowly. There is a small parking lot once you drive down the long laneway. As soon as I turn off Blackwell, the radio goes off and I open the windows to see what I can hear.
The parking lot sits at the edge of the first of two ponds. There are usually some ring-bill and herring gulls, a blue heron or two and mallards that you can see from your car in the first pond. If you are lucky there are a few even more interesting birds, like Bonaparte gulls, Caspian Terns and even more unusual finding like the Franklin’s gull was seen here in 2015. Wood ducks, Green Wing Teals and Black ducks might be seen and, of course, the ever present Canadian Geese will be there for certain.
But, come on, get out of the car- there is a 2.5 km trail awaiting you, and that does not include the midway connection to the Suncor Nature Way.
I have seen 140 different species of birds here. According to E-bird, the most different species seen by one person over the years is 178! 223 species have been recorded for this location on E-Bird. 25 kinds of Warblers, Soras, hawks, waxwings…you just have to look. And the ducks – on a good day you can see redheads, canvasbacks, ring-necks, ruddy ducks, buffleheads, coots, teals and wood ducks – and there’s more.
Not convinced yet? I’ve seen hummingbird moths and praying mantises, dragonflies and bees. There are butterflies in the open areas, sulphurs , crescents, swallowtails too! There are plants and flowers and thistles. If you like nature, Wawanosh will show you something to make you smile.
Keep your eyes open for the turtles, beavers and wild turkeys.
About 1/3 of the way around the outside trail there is a bench that looks over the second pond where you can relax, and then just behind you is the bridge that leads to Suncor nature way if you want to extend your walk. The trail at this point continues along the creek, but where it slopes back down to start the return journey- I turn back. It can get very muddy down there. That doesn’t deter everyone – don’t let it deter you! By this time I’ve usually already spent about 2.5 or 3 hours and its usually time for me to head back. If you are walking and not birding, the trail takes about 45 minutes to one hour.
Everyone who regularly goes to Wawanosh has their own path they take. I always start to the right of the parking lot and walk along the cedars…where I saw a Blackburnian Warbler at eye level. The first bend to the left is where I saw my first Palm Warblers. I then always walk up along the path to the bench and stop and then check the bridge- some times you can see warbles hawking insects there…and they are at or below eye level! I saw my first Redstart, Wilsons and Blackpolls warblers here. Then I continue the walk beside the creek where I saw my first Lambton County Golden Wing Warbler. I walk to the next bend and turn back, I return to the parking lot along the path between the two ponds.
It’s along here I see my Swallows, Waxwings, and hear the Marsh Wrens.
If it is waterfowl season before I turn into the parking lot I go and check out the viewing tower to the right along the front of the second pond. It is a shame that the phragmites are so tall, at 5’3 ½’ it can be hard to see all the ducks that are often on this side – but I make it work – just be prepared to lift the kids up so they can see too.
So, next time your thinking of a walk..think- why not Wawanosh- I’m sure you wont be disappointed.
Free access……picnic tables…
Port – A – Potty during the summer