Our extended warm climate and protected parklands featuring Carolinian habitat attract rare southern birds that do not travel farther north. The opportunity to see these birds in abundance makes Chatham-Kent one of the best places to bird watch in all of North America.
Take a look at what's new in 2017 for birders in Chatham-Kent and Windsor-Essex-Pelee Island here.
Migration in Chatham-Kent begins in early March with the return of waterfowl. Early songbirds and shorebirds follow in April. Within weeks full migration occurs with the arrival of numerous colourful species. Reverse migration in the fall is equally remarkable.
Festival of Flight - Rondeau, May 1- 21 , 2017 www.rondeauprovincialpark.ca 519-674-1750
Norm Chesterfield Birding Day, Wheatley, May 17, 2017 www.ontarioparks.com/park/wheatley 519-825-4330
Lands that jut into shallow waters, inland creeks, marshes and lush forests make this area a popular stop for numerous species that travel along the main migratory corridor. Chatham-Kent’s birding hotspots – Rondeau and Wheatley Provincial Parks, the Blenheim Lagoon and the St. Clair National Wildlife Area offer up-close views and room to leisurely explore the tranquil surroundings.
Forested swamps at Rondeau Provincial Park attract the endangered Prothonotary Warbler that consistently breeds at the park. In any given year, more than 275 species are sighted at Rondeau.
Further south, birders can view impressive numbers of waterfowl and wrens that prefer the inland marshes and shallow creeks at Wheatley Provincial Park. Here, birders may also spot the uncommon Little Blue Heron or the Mississippi Kite.
As many as 20,000 geese, ducks and swans blanket the 242-hectare wetland at the St. Clair Wildlife Area near the small French community of Pain Court. The best views are from atop the observation tower or along the scenic trail.