Long Point: An Important Refuge
Located south of Toronto on a peninsula in Lake Erie, this 40 kilometre-long stretch of land is an internationally recognized biosphere by the United Nations. Long Point is a resting destination for waterfowl that are migrating through Ontario in the spring and fall seasons such as the Northern Shoveler, Gadwall and Oldsquaw.
Pack some snacks and head out in the morning for a relaxing day as you watch for some of the 394 species of birds that have been documented inhabit the peninsula. Whether you are new to birding our consider yourself an amateur ornithologist, be sure to stop by the Long Point Bird Observatory for information about the province and a checklist of the birds you could potentially spot. Birders visiting Long Point are encouraged to report their sightings - especially if any rare birds from the checklist are spotted - to help with ongoing conservation efforts.
Bird watching may seem like a matter of walking out to an open field and looking up at the sky. While technically it can be this simple, there are a few tips you should know for a more successful and rewarding birding experience.
Carry a good field guide.
In addition to picking up the list of known birds from the observatory, you should stop by a local bookstore or go online to find an illustrated field guide that either is completely dedicated to or has an extensive section featuring the birds of Ontario. A field guide will help you to identify the birds you see based on their size, coloration and even flight patterns.
Pick up a pair of binoculars.
Bringing a pair of binoculars will really help to enhance the experience because it will make high flying birds easier to see, and in turn, easier to identify. When using your binoculars, if you spot a bird be sure to keep your eyes on your sighting and don’t look away for your binoculars. Keep them in your lap so they are easy to grab without looking and raise them to your eyes so that you don’t lose track of the bird.
For additional bird watching tips read articles such as 12 Bird Watching Tips for Beginners published on Nature Canada - enjoy!