Birding Checklist

In Port Colborne it is possible to view all of the following birds throughout the year. Bring your binoculars and good luck!

  • American Bittern
  • American Coot
  • American Goldfinch
  • American Redstart
  • Barn Swallow
  • Belted Kingfisher
  • Black Tern
  • Black/White Warbler
  • Blackburian Warbler
  • Black-crowned Night Heron
  • Blue Jay
  • Blue-Winged Teal
  • Bobolink
  • Brownhead Cowbird
  • Brown Thrasher
  • Bufflehead
  • Canvasback
  • Cardinal
  • Catbird
  • Chipping Sparrow
  • Common Gallinule
  • Common Grackel
  • Common Tern
  • Common Yellowthroat
  • Double-crested Cormorant
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Eastern Kingbird
  • Field Sparrow
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Green Heron
  • Grosbeak
  • Herring Gull
  • House Wren
  • Indigo Bunting
  • Killdeer
  • Mallard
  • Marsh Wren
  • Mourning Dove
  • Myrtle Warbler
  • Northern Oriole
  • Pintail
  • Purple Martin
  • Red-eyed Vireo
  • Red-tailed Hawk
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Redhead
  • Ring-billed Gull
  • Ring-necked Pheasant
  • Robin
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • Rufous-sided Towhee
  • Scarlet Tanager
  • Slate-coloured Junco
  • Song Sparrow
  • Sora
  • Spotted Sandpiper
  • Swamp Sparrow
  • Tree Swallow
  • Whistling Swan
  • Wood Duck
  • Yellow Warbler
 
 

Bird Watching

Because of its location on the north shore of Lake Erie, Port Colborne offers good opportunities for birdwatching during spring and fall migration periods.

Local wetlands are nesting areas for waterfowl, and stopping points for Whistling Swans. Significant numbers of gulls, terns and cormorants nest on the shoreline near Nickel Beach. The nearby eastern breakwall has been designated as an Important Bird Area (IBA) because of its colonies of Common Terns, Ring-billed Gulls, Greater Black-backed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Double-crested Cormorants and Black-crowned Night-Herons. Local stands of Carolinian forest are popular with songbirds.

 
 

Observation Points

Port Colborne is a useful starting point for some of the birding areas along the Lake Erie shoreline. The city itself lies at the entrance to the Welland Canal, and is served by Highway 58 from Welland to the north, and by Highway 3 paralleling the shoreline.

From the Highway 58 intersection, Mud Lake is east almost 1km on Highway 3 to the light at Elm Street (Regional Road 80). Turn north here and drive 3.5 km to a small parking lot on the east side of the road. From this drive-off are two paths, one around the lake, and the other along the south side of the lake to connect with a boardwalk and trail running around the east side of the lake and into the cattail marsh.

Mud Lake is noteworthy for all the usual marsh species in summer and breeding records of several species of duck, including Ruddy. There is a controlled hunt here. On the other side of the road from the above parking lot is the local landfill site, which may yield interesting gulls.

The remaining sections of Wainfleet Bog, a massive peat bog now much reduced by drainage and development, can be reached from two points. Again taking the intersection of Highways 58 and 3 as a departure point, drive north on Highway 58 for 1.4 km to Barrick Road on the west. Turn and drive 1.3 km to the point the road dead-ends at a peat farm, currently called F.A.Y. Farm. Ask for permission at the office to go in and drive north across a small bridge about 1 km on a dirt-peat road, which leads to a small drive-off on the left side near some dense shrubs. A trail starts here and runs north, eventually into open untouched bog. Be sure to mark or otherwise note the point you enter the open bog, as it is easy to lose track of your position. Northern Harrier, Short-eared Owl, and Lincoln's Sparrow have all nested in this area.

To reach the second access point drive west on Highway 3 from the Highway 58 intersection 5.4 km to Wilson Road, which crosses the bog to the north. On the east side of Wilson there is a trail which runs through the poplar-willow woodland. After several hundred metres this comes out into mostly open bog, and eventually arrives at untouched areas of bog. This trail has to be watched for as it grows over. It runs east off Wilson near Garringer road that comes in from the west. Whip-poor-wills breed adjacent to Wilson.

Just 0.8 km west of Wilson Road is the intersection of Highway 3 and Regional Road 30. To visit Morgan's Point turn south on 30 and drive 3.1 km (the road turns and runs west) to Morgan's Point Road on the south. Turn left and drive to the end (1.6 km), where the point attracts shorebirds and other waterfowl.

Farther west along Highway 3, the flat farmland in the area west of the village of Wainfleet in Haldimand-Norfolk has sod farms that can attract numbers of plover and other shorebirds in the fall (mid-September is best). Specific locations vary; currently farms at Winger and Mount Carmel are the best. It is a matter of driving the roads in the area, most of which are laid out on a grid pattern, and watching for suitable fields.

East of Port Colborne (some 14 km east of the Highway 58 intersection) is the Point Abino Road. This runs south some 6 km to Point Abino, a privately owned point with wooded hills that have some Carolinian species in summer (Acadian Flycatcher is regular in woods at Abino Hills west of the point reached from Holloway Bay Road) and which concentrate migrants. Access to the point road is uncertain - permission may or may not be given at the gate - and parking is difficult.