We had lightly taken the announcement put on the Zoological Department’s Notice Board two months ago. The announcement was about the excursion to this popular Bird Sanctuary of Canada that was being planned for quite awhile, in fact it got canceled once in the past. It was not so now. Our joy knew no bounds on hearing the announcement of this exotic destination.
A perfect trip with equal number of boys and girls has been planned. We started as scheduled in the wilderness. The notice board at the entrance to the bird sanctuary declares 1961 as the establishment date of this Bird Sanctuary on 9,000 hectares of wildlife habitats and wetlands. Some students opted for bicycles that they hired at the park. Some preferred to take self guided nature trail.
There are more than eight kilometers of self guided hiking trails. The trails include the Cedar Trail, the Maple Trail and the Redwing Trail having a trail length of 2 to 6 km. Everybody selected different trails, but the one which I selected, took us in the dense lush forest rich in flora and fauna, mixed with canopy of ferns, mosses, shrubs, etc. Each was different from one another worth enjoying. A variety along the walk a great location for birds under a dense canopy!
Added to this is the delight of watching an assorted bird species, perhaps over a 200 of them during the right season. More than 100 species can any way be found during the year. Incidentally our visit is just the ideal time when these migratory birds arrive in flocks. We formed a group of seasoned birder who were future ornithologists and amateur naturalist. Equipped with powerful binoculars and telescopes we began our trail in the right earnest some trekked and others on bicycles as mentioned earlier.
Within an hour inside the park winding through these natural habitats, we had already spotted a lot of visitors and natives which were photographed and cataloged. Even casual visitors taking leisurely walk were glad to spot some raptors, waterfowl among other bird species. We also had a glimpse of the deer and passerine birds occasionally, it is a splendid site to have avian as well as wildlife together.
We could not stop marveling the conduct of some birds. We were in awe when some birds that were native of that sanctuary, were patiently waiting for a photo shoot. The scenery around were spectacular and in the foreground were these colorful birds chirping away ready to be photographed. Overall the trails were not challenging to walk. The Maple trail had some gentle slopes though here and there tree roots and rocks making a little uneven we had to push our cycles.
Weather was looking great fit for camping. For a while we settled in a small beach to cool off. It was an impressive picture perfect site with the mighty St. Lawrence at the back drop. Though the sites were immaculate and beautiful we camped in a travel trailer. The sites that selected for nature trails were great for a day trip. By the way, there are restrictions on liquor and dogs on the trail. The alcohol ban exists through the season in the entire area. However, it did not deter some brash enthusiasts who discreetly enjoyed themselves with beer and wine.
It was autumn and the atmosphere was pleasant. Special events and environmental programs organized by the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary was a great respite after the arduous trekking & cycling. We were later informed that these programs are a regular feature here. One of the highlights is the feeding of the geese. One would not have seen so many geese in one place. What a magnificent site to behold!
We had so many magical moments that blew our breath away.