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Hillman Marsh prepared to celebrate birding season

Black-bellied Plovers. (Source: ERCA) Black-bellied Plovers. (Source: ERCA)
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The Essex Region Conservation Authority is preparing for an influx of birders migrating to the region to snap, track and catch glimpses of special species in Leamington.

ERCA and Hillman Marsh Conservation Area will welcome enthusiasts from May 1 – May 21 for the Shorebird Celebration with a number of special hikes and activities planned in partnership with the Ontario Field Ornithologists (OFO).Hillman Marsh in Leamington, Ont. on Monday, May 1, 2023. (Gary Archibald/CTV News Windsor)

“We are thankful for our longstanding partnership with OFO who generously provide tips on how to identify these stunning shorebirds,” said Danielle Breault Stuebing, ERCA’s director of communications and outreach services, in a news release. “We are so happy to welcome them back.”

Hillman Marsh is an important destination for bird watchers as the wetland is unique in its ability to attract migrating shorebirds. ERCA points to the area’s mudflats for nutrition and the wetland’s ability to act as a resting area as combining factors that are an annual attraction for birds – bringing them close to the shoreline for patient photographers.

“Combined with Point Pelee National Park’s ‘Festival of Birds’, the birding opportunities in the Pelee/Hillman region during spring migration are unparalleled,” said Breault Stuebing.

Events are planned as follows:

  • May 5 at 10 a.m., Bird Names presentation in Anishinaabemowin with Joseph Pitawanakwat.
  • May 8 & May 11 at 3 p.m. – 5 p.m., Jean Iron, renowned Shorebird expert, will host Shorebird Identification Hikes
  • May 9 & May 16, at 2:30 p.m., Jess Rose, ERCA Environmental Educator, will host ‘Birding for Beginners’ Hikes
  • Wednesdays & Saturdays, OFO will help guests identify shorebirds from the Shorebird Viewing Blind

Entrance fees are $10 per vehicle or special birding passes are available.

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