Wetlands – Cootes Paradise Marsh- Hamilton

History of Cootes Paradise Marsh

September 3, 2013

Blue Heron in flight

Blue Heron in flight

Prior to the 20th century, the nutrient-rich, shallow waters of Cootes Paradise thrived as a coastal freshwater marsh habitat. Almost 100 percent of Cootes Paradise was covered with emergent aquatic plants like wild rice and submergent plants like wild celery, providing food, shelter and migration stop-overs for a variety of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects. The lush wetland also provided ideal spawning, nursery and adult habitat for many fish like bass, perch, pike, herring and trout. This lead to its protection, first as a fish sanctuary in the 1870’s, and then as a wildlife preserve in 1927, and finally through the formation of the Royal Botanical Gardens in the 1930’s.

Green Heron

Green Heron

The plentiful flora and fauna of Great Lakes coastal freshwater marshes did not go unnoticed by settlers in the 1800s. Cootes Paradise and its surrounding natural habitats offered abundant fishing and hunting opportunities, fertile farmland and convenient access to water. However, human settlement of Hamilton Harbour and its surrounding natural lands brought with it several Stressor’s  that, over time, had a cumulative impact on the natural abundance of Cootes Paradise and neighboring lower Grindstone Creek marshes. Throughout Cootes Paradise’s watersheds, agricultural practices and residential, commercial and industrial development contaminated connecting creeks with sewage effluent, eroded soil and sediment and chemical runoff and destabilized flow patterns. In 1852 the Desjardins Canal, a shipping channel dissecting the marsh was recut through the centre of Burlington Heights directly connecting the marsh to the lake water levels, and disconnecting it from the Grindstone Creek marshes. In 1957 the lake water level became regulated with the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway further disrupting natural water cycles in the marsh.

Blue Heron in Flight

Blue Heron in Flight

Black Crowned Night Heron

Black Crowned Night Heron

Introduced European and Asian species thrived in this altered environment. Among the first non native species (1870’s) the common carp was purposely introduced as a replacement for the disappearing salmon. The feeding and spawning behaviors of non-native carp uprooted and destroyed marsh plants and re-suspended sediment muddying the waters. By the end of the 19th century, in addition to the rapidly rising carp population, exotic plant species like purple loose-strife and reed manna grass, also purposely introduced to North America, began successfully out-competing and eradicating, native plants in the wet meadow areas.

Green Heron and Dinner

Green Heron and Dinner

fishing technique

fishing technique

As human pressures on the watersheds increased, the decline in the health and biodiversity of Cootes Paradise became markedly visible. By the 1930s Cootes Paradise experienced a 15% permanent reduction in marsh vegetation, and by 1985 the level of plant loss reached 85% of its original coverage. This permanent loss of aquatic flora had a direct negative impact on water quality and the fish and wildlife inhabitants and economies of Lake Ontario. Since its dramatic decline began the Garden’s has been focused on restoring Cootes Paradise, with carp removal first attempted in the 1950’s.

Waiting in splendour

Waiting in splendour

Concerns over environmental degradation led the International Joint Commission to designate Hamilton Harbour as one of 42 Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes. In 1986, the Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan was initiated to address this environmental degradation in the Harbour and key remaining areas like Cootes Paradise and lower Grindstone Creek. Under this plan, a variety of new conservation projects and monitoring programs have been implemented by a variety of stakeholders to control pollution, restore and improve fish and wildlife habitat and communicate the health status of the wetlands.

My Favorite area for wildlife

My Favorite area for wildlife

For the last four years, I have been Biking the Harbourfront trail, Hiking into Cootes Paradise and learning more each day.As you notice, the Wildlife seem’s to be getting better in our wetlands.

Blue Heron Tongue

Blue Heron Tongue

Heron Gathering Heat

Heron Gathering Heat

Enjoy The Images

Doug Worrall Photographer

The Hendrie Valley Hamilton

Hamilton Canada offers a birder a great opportunity 

10/09/13

I am a firm believer “the early bird gets the worm”, in the case of Hendrie Valley-Hamilton-Canada , “The early Bird gets the Seed”The birds are waiting for you, and will land on your hand.

We had a Downey Woodpecker almost fly into my  chest he was so eager.

Enjoy the images and information

Doug Worrall

Good morning

Good morning

Located on Plains Road, this thriving wetlands ecosystem is part of the Royal Botanical Gardens parklands. Free to explore, the beautiful sunny wooded trails circulate through marshes, on boardwalks and across small bridges. You’ll see chipmunks, geese, turtles and tons of birds – bring feed if you want to see them
eat out of your hand. You’ll also see just as many photographers and birders! It takes about 60-90 minutes to leisurely explore. Paid parking is in the lot across from the RBG entrance. Once there, look for the large trailhead sign that says “Cherry Hill Gate”

Natural

Natural

Nuthatch

Nuthatch

An area that a friend has taken me two times now and, each time we discover different trails to explore. is the Hendrie Valley Trails of the Royal Botanical Gardens.The Trails are rich with diversity,plenty of wildlife, and a pleasant quiet ,short hike.

Bee eye reflect

Bee eye reflect

Wildflowers

Wildflowers

A smaller scale version of Cootes Paradise, this area which includes the 100 hectare Grindstone Creek Valley stretches to the end of Carroll’s Bay and contains the finest collection of floodplain wetlands on western Lake Ontario. Transferred to the Royal Botanical Gardens in 1941 for ecological protection, the area features slopes forested with old growth trees, a 60 hectare river mouth marsh complex, and 4 creeks. Major access points are along Plains Road and include the RBG Centre and Cherry Hill Gate.

Blue Jay

Blue Jay

Cardinal

Cardinal

This is a great spot to see birds and assorted waterfowl. You will see in this area that a large project is underway to create new banks along the water’s edge and also provide a system that works as a natural barrier against invasive carp. This has been facilitated through the re-use of over 100,000 discarded Christmas trees.And other equally intelligent moves to keep the marsh as pristine as possible.

Downey Woodpecker

Downey Woodpecker

Osprey

Osprey

Following the trail through the Grindstone Creek Delta, you soon arrive at a spectacular boardwalk that borders Grindstone Creek providing an excellent vantage point to watch nesting birds and observe beavers and other wildlife. This is a great place to bird watch and if you bring some seed along you can have some fun feeding the friendly birds by hand.

female Cardinal

female Cardinal

Wild Orchid

Wild Orchid

Sources:Wikipedia-Burlington Tourist,Cam Goede

Doug Worrall Photographer

Pelicans in Hamilton Canada?

Pelicans in Hamilton Canada

Wednesday August 21 2013

 American Pelican

American Pelican

On Sunday August 18 2013 I saw a large bird in middle of Cootes Paradise  lake -What a shock to understand it was a PELICAN, I never had an idea that Pelicans would ever come this far off-course, they do go up to North Bay and stay west of Southern Ontario.These images were taken in Hamilton Canada , the lake is actually a wetlands called Cootes Paradise. The Harbourfront Trail runs into Cootes paradise from Harbourfront Park. Hamilton has a Harbour that is part of the  Lake Ontario Ecosystem-very close too Toronto Canada.

Below is some interesting information, and Images, Enjoy

Doug Worrall

friend and Cormorants

friend and Cormorants

The American White Pelican is a very large bird weighing about 6-7 kg, with white feathers and black wing tips. It has a large orange-yellow bill and pouch, a short, stout tail, webbed feet and a wingspan of up to three metres. Juvenile birds have greyish feathers during their first summer and autumn. This bird usually does not stray far from the water.

 Pelican flying

Pelican flying

American White Pelicans are found across the north-central and western United States. In Canada, they are found from the interior of British Columbia, east to northwestern Ontario. These birds migrate south to the Gulf Coast states and Mexico. Ontario has about 10 per cent of the world’s population of American White Pelicans.

 Pelican in flight

Pelican in flight

 

American White Pelicans nest in groups on remote islands that are barren or sparsely treed located in lakes, reservoirs, or on large rivers. Remote islands offer eggs and chicks some protection from predators. Pelicans nest in slight depressions in the ground with sticks and vegetation piled up around them. Their diet is mainly fish.

Threats

Changes in water levels can have a major impact on breeding American White Pelicans. High water levels can flood nests whereas low water levels can make nesting colonies susceptible to more predators, such as coyotes, through land-bridges. Disease (e.g., avian botulism and West Nile) and human disturbance are also threats. American White Pelicans are also susceptible to shooting, oil spills and water contamination on their southern wintering grounds.

The Ministry of Natural Resources tracks species at risk such as the American White Pelican . You can use a handy online form to report your sightings to the Natural Heritage Information Centre. Photographs with specific locations or mapping coordinates are always helpful.

 Pelican never came back yet

Pelican never came back yet

  • Report any illegal activity related to plants and wildlife to 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667).
    • Volunteer with your local nature club or provincial park to participate in surveys or stewardship work focused on species at risk.
    • Private land owners have a very important role to play in species recovery. You may be eligible for stewardship programs that support the protection and recovery of species at risk and their habitats.
    • Bird Studies Canada is working to advance the understanding, appreciation and conservation of wild birds and their habitat in Ontario and elsewhere.

 

Sources: Wikipedia-The Ministry of Natural Resoursces

 

Doug Worrall Photographer

 

 

Hurricane Sandy Bringing Rain and Strong Winds Southern Ontario

Hurricane Sandy bringing rain and strong winds to Canadian territory 

50KM winds sustained

Monday October 29 2012

This “Article” is a re-post from DW Photography at   http://pics4twitts.com/2012/10/29/hurricane-sandy-bringing-rain-and-strong-winds-southern-ontario/  The above image “Hamilton Harbour” was after 50 KM winds sustained for six hours, with Sandy, we are looking at much more.

Calm before the storm

Hurricane Sandy strengthened before dawn this morning and remains on course to hit Canada tonight with howling winds and drenching rain after blowing through the U.S. eastern seaboard.

Drought and strange weather

Hundreds of Air Canada flights have already been affected and the airline is advising travellers to check the status of their flight ahead of time.

Drought hits home

The Canadian Hurricane Centre expects the so-called Frankenstorm to punish parts of southern and eastern Ontario and western Quebec with potentially damaging winds up to 100 kilometres per hour.Below is am image after winds were 50KM an hour.

Results High Winds and rain

It is a massive storm with tropical storm-force winds that extend some 800 kilometres from its centre. Please do-not underestimate this storm

RBG Fishway low water

Fall ride

With the flooding and probable Canadian deaths from this storm comes much needed rain. The great lakes “our drinking water” is down over one foot.This storm will not make much difference, we need this too happen a few times a year.

Water One foot below level

 Stay safe

Yellow legs-look like little boots-ready for a flood

Photography

Doug Worrall

HAMILTON HARBOUR FISHING DERBY 2012

Friday August 10 1022

“only trace amounts of rain expected 40% chance” you will not melt

Also try  pics4twitts.com for more information and Images

Children and wildlife -Wonderful learning experience

Be aware of developing Thunder/Lighting Clouds/Wind and take cover- safely

Happy fisherman

One great delight is to see a child catch his or her first fish.The achievement an fascination in there eyes is worth there weight in Gold. Prizes will be rewarded to the three biggest {weighed} fish, for each species, so this includes Carp. Weights can reach very high for these large fish.

Big Carp

The Hamilton Harbour watershed covers an area of approximately 500 square kilometres at the western edge of Lake Ontario and is a region of great physiographic diversity as a result of extensive glacial and glaciofluvial processes. The watershed can be divided into four subwatersheds which drain into Hamilton Harbour and include Spencer Creek, Grindstone Creek, North Shore and Redhill Creek subwatersheds. The watershed supports diverse fish communities and offers unique aquatic habitats to both migratory and resident fish species. The Niagara Escarpment represents the region’s most prominent geological feature with its limestone and dolomite ridge bisecting the watershed as it extends from the Niagara River to Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula.

Lets go fishing today

Myself will be looking for the Wolf of the Lake (The Pike )

Bob’s Pike

Take your camera, wildlife is plentiful

Black crowned night heron

Fish

Hamilton Harbour

The wetlands function as a seasonal fish nursery for Lake Ontario, and despite the historical degradation, most historical species of fish can still be found using Cootes Paradise and in increasing numbers. As with birds and plants the location is the biodiversity hotspot for Canada with over 60 species present. Each spring thousands of spawning fish migrate in through the fishway from the harbour and lake, laying eggs and leaving shortly after, allowing the marsh to function as a giant fish hatchery.

fisherman

Annually between 5 and 20 million fish are produced for the lake depending on water levels and water pollution events. The species present reflect the degraded marsh habitat with the most common the Gizzard shad.

Jerry’s catch

 Also common are night time predators species Channel Catfish and Brown Bullhead, along with invasive species such as Alewife and White Perch. Popular angling species present in limited numbers include pike, Largemouth Bass, and Yellow Perch, but the large adults are only present in the marsh during the spawning season which is closed to fishing. The spring and fall season also brings several migrating salmon and trout to the marshes main inflowing river.

In 2007, when there was low water level in Lake Ontario and a favourable wind, all the water was pushed out of Cootes Paradise and the remaining carp swam out into Hamilton Harbour. RBG staff removed the fish gates and herded out the last of the carp, and then replaced the gates. Since then the Paradise has been relatively carp free. In the absence of these large destructive bottom feeders there is a gradual return natural native plant species populations.

Larcel caught a few 10 -15 pound carps

Now in 2012 Cootes Paradise is threatened once again by increasing numbers of Carp and Goby fish. Goby fish is a feral species that destroys our environment.

I have images of the Goby fish so if you catch one, “Dont throw it back in water, and especially donnot use as bait . Put the fish in the garbage to save our Great lakes …..please.The Goby grow too two and a half inches long, a very destructive, invasive species are  from  illegal Ballast water dumping by Ocean Craft . Remember the Zebra Mussels?

and Thanking  you in advance

Doug Worrall

Throw into trash receptacle please

Event is Date below:

The Hamilton Harbour Fishing Derby takes place this Saturday, August 11th from 8am to 12pm.  Prizes to be awarded at 1:30pm – – – THIS IS A FREE EVENT FOR ALL AGES!

Rainbow trout

Pier 8

47 Discovery Drive

Hamilton, ON

Check in Stations:

While you are out fishing, take your camera, you may see some wonderful animals……………………

Pier 8 – Scoops Ice Cream Hut
HWT Centre – North Side
Bayfront Park Boat Launch
Fishway on Waterfront Trail
LaSalle Park Boat Launch
Marine Police Basin

3 age categories:

Child 10 and under
Youth 11 to 17
Adult 18 and over

Fishing, Environment and
Water Safety Demonstrations

_________________

1000 Free Fishing Rods for Children 12 and under

Rainbow trout

Silent Auction Fundraiser
9:00am to 1:30pm
Pier 8 – Hamilton Waterfront Trust

Information: Hamilton Waterfront Trust, Wikipedia

Rbg Fish-way escapee

Photography

Doug Worrall

Information Dragonflies-Butterflies – Hamilton

Did you know that they eat mosquitoes, have over 20,000 eyes

Wednesday July 18 2012

Dragon Flies so colourful

Wildlife This year at Harbour-front Trail, Cootes Paradise and the great lakes are few and far between.The lack of snow-pack , Spring rains has left the water level three feet less than last year, therefore less wildlife and fewer Images. Last year there was over 12 Signets born in Hamilton Harbour, this year due to the City of Hamilton Oiling Swan eggs and Canadian geese eggs there was only one signet born, all because they say the swans are causing e-Coli Bacteria and making it dangerous for people to swim in the water. I am against the oiling of eggs because the swans sit on the eggs for three Months without any offspring. People complain to the city that there is too much Canadian geese  droppings where they walk. The wildlife was here before us, please leave Mother Nature alone, Humans think they can control everything they come in contact with. Now look at the world we live in, nothing for children too be amazed and nothing to learn, It is like a Silent Spring-Shame- Shame

eight eggs and only one signet-city oils eggs Hamilton.

Readers at pics4twitts send me images quite often, Lois McNaught also walks the Harbour-front trail  Daily and has the same observations as most regulars, “where have all the wildlife gone?”

Morning Hamilton Harbour

Information on dragonflies. Did you know that they eat mosquitoes, have over 20,000 eyes, have been the subject of an old wives tale, and have even been mistaken for fairies? Find out many more interesting fact…

Dragon fly

Dragonflies

Usually living near water, the dragonfly is one of earth’s creatures that are not only very useful, but also beautiful. They belong to thee insect group Odonata. Dragonflies come in varied colors; their bodies often blue, green, purple, and even bronze. Their wings seem to shimmer as if made of silver, especially when under the moonlight.

Dragon fly

Starting out life as small nymphs underwater, they grow to be approximately three inches long, with a wingspan averaging two to five inches in width. While this may seem large for an insect, keep in mind that as they have evolved from pre-historic times, they have gotten considerably smaller. Evidence shows that at one point in time they may have had a wingspan of over two “˜feet’! One very interesting fact of the dragonfly is his six legs. Each of the legs is covered in short bristles. Using their bristle-covered legs to form an oval shaped basket allows them to scoop insects, such as mosquitoes, right out of the air. Dragonflies not only eat mosquitoes; they also keep the fly population and other flying insects under control.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

The Bee and the Butterfly

Surprisingly, dragonflies will spend only a very short part of their life span as actual dragonflies. They will live as nymphs for up to four years, shedding their skin up to fifteen times, yet when they finally mature into adults, the dragonfly stage, they will survive only a few months.

Mangrove Tree Nymph

Gray catbird

Dragonflies have fascinated modern man for years. They have become the basis of both legends and old wives tales. One such old wives tale refers to a dragonfly as a “˜darning needle’. An old legend tells of people who would wake up after falling asleep outside to find their ears and eyes sewn shut by these crafty insects. If dragonflies were seen swarming over a doorway, it was said to foretell of heavy rains on the way.

Painted Lady Butterfly on Coneflower

Painted butterfly.

For as long as man and dragonflies have coexisted, people have mistaken dragonflies for fairies. “˜Fairy tales’ have been told of little people fluttering about worldwide. Upon closer inspection, the fairies are found to be groups of dragonflies.

Question Mark Butterfly

Facts about Dragonflies

How fast can dragonflies fly? In excess of sixty miles and hour!

How many eyes does a dragonfly have? They have two main eyes, but each of these eyes are made up of approximately 20,000 to 25,000 tinier eyes, allowing them to zero in on the flying insects that are their daily meals.

Post and image Doug Worrall

Doug Worrall

 Photos by Lois McNaught