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Niagara Falls
Wednesday, May 22, 2024
NOTL nature on display during weekend wildlife hike
Melissa Smith takes a look through her binoculars to catch a glimpse of some waterfowl during the Hike Along the Lake Ontario Shoreline on Sunday. Melissa Smith takes a look through her binoculars to catch a glimpse of some waterfowl during the Hike Along the Lake Ontario Shoreline on Sunday. Julia Sacco

Every Niagara-on-the-Lake resident has seen the massive swarms of birds flying overhead during their drive around town, but what they may not know is that those little black passerines are starlings. 

Jean Hampson and Bob Highcock of the Peninsula Field Naturalists shared facts galore about the waterfowl, gulls and winter woodland bird species found in the area during their Hike Along the Lake Ontario Shoreline on Sunday.

As part of the weekend-long Birds On The Niagara celebration, 24 amateurs and seasoned birders alike came out to enjoy a hike with sites in NOTL. 

Hampson said that after reduced activities during the pandemic, the weekend of hikes and fun is “bigger and better than ever” this year.

“I love meeting all the new people that have not ever experienced birding before and see their enthusiasm. We hope they get the birding bug that we have after getting introduced.”

Melissa Smith is one of these newbies, she joined the hike in hopes of getting out into nature with a group.

“I’m just interested in nature,” she said.

“When I go out by myself I usually bring my dogs and then it’s pointless to look at birds, so this is perfect.”

The hike combined members and organizers from not only the Peninsula Field Naturalists but the Bert Miller Nature Club and the Niagara Falls Nature Club.

Tom Eles from Niagara Falls is a somewhat experienced birder and he was there to enjoy and observe wildlife in colder temperatures.

“I’m not an avid birder, but I like birding in the winter. In the summer, I like searching for reptiles and amphibians but in the winter that’s not available in this region.”

Hampson explained just how rich in wildlife NOTL and the Niagara region are, saying it is imperative that people go out and experience what our nature has to offer.

“The Niagara River is an important area so it’s important to introduce more and more people to the diversity that we have.” 

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