A FEW NEW IMAGES DUE TO CHANGE 2015

A FEW NEW IMAGES

We are Corm, We are CormorantsM343

22/09/15

After deep regret of loss of many animals into extinction in The Great Lakes area, have been forced to change to a new technique.Due to the lack of Pollution laws in ontario, the lack of

“Yogis” Parks officials and the lawless attitude of the Human CONDITION, in Ontario Canada–Hamilton seems to be the worse of the worse

, albeit all change, well, Most change is good, or at least good for you, I must learn daily therefore I enjoy, and grasp change.I adhore

Sunrise

Sunrise

change that is forced upon Mother Nature by Greed of the Human animal, I am happy to say, sure I draw electricity, and use the Health system, and electronics, other than

Springtime Canada

Springtime Canada

that would prefer to be off the GRID and not having to see the lack of Empathy, Emotional intelligence,Common sense, and just plain, good manners. People take advantage of there so called

friends, (which I find despicable, disgusting and NOT HUMAN) whatever is happening to Human,s  I blame each individual—-Themselves, I am a good person, and love myself, Sure there are

Pier Hamilton

Pier Hamilton

many who love themselves, but walk right by a man crawling on the ground asking for spare change so he can bend his mind around why the world is the way it is, Why are Humans so cruel, I

Red Winged black bird

Red Winged black bird

understand  homeless people, can so easily see my self homeless, Just to get away from dealing with Money grabbers, thieves, and corrupt Government officials, corrupt police and the sick

Green Heron

Green Heron

Television CULTURE. I am not going to touch People that Hold onto there GODS as a form of self preservation, believe whats best for you, Myself I beleive in My God, My god loves people, not

Green Heron

Green Heron

makes Judgments, My God is always there for me, and all he askes is me to share of myself, help those who need the help, Therefore I don’t skip the downtown area, I grasp those people and let

Green Heron

Green Heron

them know they are loved, Yes I give Homeless, food, Money whatever they, ask,If they are honest and say they are saving to get drunk, I will try to help them with words, but wont help them

Cuteness overload

Cuteness overload

escape, will help them to deal whats around them, but they are usually young strong bodied boys, and will suggest they find another way they are still young, you see they have 100,s of dollars in

Cootes Paradise

Cootes Paradise

tattoos, but are still bumming money, or they have Doc Martin Bova boots, costing well over 200$,

 

JUST MT THOUGHTS

 

ENJOY THE IMAGES

 

DOUG WORRALL

PHOTOGRAPHER

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

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

Things To Do Victoria Day Hamilton

What To Do Victoria Day Hamilton

Saturday May 19 2012

Hamilton Harbour

Over the last week I have been seeing the very quick change from Spring to Summer.Each day I would experience a new treat.Today was no exception. Being quite cool with  NW winds this morning it was still cloudy at 8AM by Hamilton Harbour and Cootes Paradise. Then the sun came out and viewing my images from last year at this time I noticed I saw my First Deer. Today I saw my first Five Deer. Two gracefully pounced into the woods when they saw me chasing them with stealth. Something a Nature photographer must learn.

Whitetail deer

Whitetail deer

Whitetail deer

This summer I highly suggest checking out Hamilton Harbourfront Park, which is easily accessible by car, e-bike, bus, or ride the Tramway from Haida all the way into Cootes Paradise. The Harbourfront Park not only offers activities, festivals and events all year long, but a place where you can take in the many sights and sounds of the RBG Centre. You can also bike, walk, hike, kayak and canoe into Cootes Paradise. Should you drive there, you’ll find ample parking close to all the amenities.

Last year, after biking the trail for three months, I still have much to discover, observe, and accomplish as a photographer. It seems the potential is endless, as each day the water beckons me to awaken before first light and immerse myself in Mother Nature’s cycle, which is always brimming with life.

Turkey Vulture

Proud mother

Blue Heron

I welcome you to join me on a journey to the hidden gems in Hamilton, Tobermory, Niagara Falls, and many other places. My hope is that together we enjoy an enlightening experience, to gaze through the camera lens together, to see the power, beauty, and wisdom of Mother Nature’s gift

Dundurn Castle is an historic chateau built to house Sir Allan MacNab, later prime minister of the united Province of Canada between 1845 and 1856. He hired architect Robert Wetherall and construction of this stately home was completed in 1835. It became the property of the City of Hamilton, and in the late 1960s, it was restored as a Centennial project. It is now designated as a National Historic Site.

Dundurn Castle

It operates as a civic museum, and its grounds house other attractions. Dundurn Park, and associated green spaces, is a favourite for wedding portraits. The Hamilton Military Museum is housed in an outbuilding which was relocated when York Street was widened as York Boulevard in the 1970s. Another outbuilding, the Cockpit Theatre, occasionally housed outdoor events and dramas.

Fireworks Hamilton Harbour

Operating Hours Victoria to Labour Day: Daily 10 am – 4 pm Labour Day to Victoria Day: Open Tuesday to Sunday 12 pm – 4 pm. The admission prices is $10 and also includes a ticket to the Hamilton Military Museum.

Great Blue Heron

Canada’s largest Botanical Gardens, the RBG has five garden areas, including RBG centre, Hendrie Park, Laking Garden & the Arboretum. It also has four nature sanctuaries, including Cootes Paradise, Hendrie Valley, Rock Chapel & Berry Tract.

RBG Centre – The main centre for the Royal Botanical Gardens, the Centre has indoor greenhouses with a vast collection of cactus & exotic plants and flowers. Most popular is the Mediterranean Garden(cool, so bring a coat), where the bloom season is actually winter!

Pier

Hendrie Park – Gardens featured include Rose Garden (beautiful @ June & Early Summer), Medicinal Garden (herbs & spices), Small-flowered Clematis, Garden Lily (Lilium) Collection, Scented Garden (plants with attitude!), Thyme Garden, The World of Botany, Vines, Climbers and Espaliers, Kids’ Gardening Zone (plant veggies), The Morrison Woodland Garden, Border Buffet (whole collection of plant borders to give you creative edge), Queen Beatrix Narcissus Collection (daffodil gift that Queen Beatrix gave during her visit in 1988) & a Collection of Canadian-Originated Trees. This garden really tickles of five of your senses & offers a comforting atmosphere.

It is open all year (except Christmas & New Years), from 9 a.m. to dusk. Remember the gardens are seasonal, so come when your favourite flowers are in bloom.

The Hamilton Waterfront Trail (7.5km):Known for its heavy industrial waterfront, Hamilton will surprise new visitors. The past decade has dramatically changed the waterfront bringing with it new recreational uses and restored natural and cultural features.

Sunset Hamilton Harbour

Shake it up baby

The trail follows Hamilton Harbour from Princess Point (Cootes Paradise) through Bayfront Park, Pier 4 Park, the Discovery Centre and on to HMCS Haida. You’ll also find Williams Coffee Pub, a Waterfront Ice Cream stand and the Hamilton Harbour Queen Cruises nearby

At Cootes Paradise there is an impressive staircase with a cycling trough leading to Dundurn Park and some amazing lookouts. From here you can connect to Burlington via York Street- extreme caution is needed when crossing the ramp from the 403.Note: The staircase at Coote’s Paradise is quite large and steep and can be a challenge for cyclists with full paniers.

Main Access Points (with parking)  Hamilton Waterfront Trail:

Dundurn Park-York Blvd.

Bayfront Park-Harbourfront Dr and Bay St.

Pier 8 – Canada Marine Discover Centre

HMCS Haida at Catherine St.

The Haidia

Enjoy The Images and the bountiful wildlife this weekend

Have a fun Holiday 🙂

Webster Falls

Doug Worrall Photographer

Yearly Nature Images Hamilton Trails

Nature Images And Hamilton area Trail Systems

January 2nd 2012

Sunrise 5:30 A.M. May 2011

A Happy New Year to all from DW Photography and readers images and our writers. Special thanks to Jacqueline, Lois and Steve

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the readers here at DW Photography.Each passing year brings many obsticles to the revitalization of our natural habitat

throughout the world, We are still destroying  what we should be preserving. More than any time on our calendar our best friend Mother Nature needs our help.

Pick your small piece of nature and keep it clean and healthy. Find garbage that other people have left behind. Take ownership “stewardship” of your environment more than ever this year.

Thanking you in advance

Doug Worrall

“Living in Hamilton has many perks with the proximity of Lake Ontario and Hamilton Harbour.  By foot,  Bike,  Bus or drive down to the Harbourfront Park,  Cootes Paradise,  Princess Point,  The Harbourfront Trail is very long with many attractions starting in Hamilton then Burlington and further.”

June 5AM 2011

Known for its heavy industrial waterfront, Hamilton will surprise new visitors.

Sunset Hamilton Harbour

The past decade has dramatically changed the waterfront bringing with it new recreational uses and restored natural and cultural features.

Dundurn Castle April 22 2011

The Hamilton Waterfront Trail (7.5km):

Harbourfront Trail

follows Hamilton Harbour from Princess Point (Cootes Paradise) through Bayfront Park, Pier 4 Park, the Discovery Centre and on to HMCS Haida. You’ll also find Williams Coffee Pub, a Waterfront Ice Cream stand and the Hamilton Harbour Queen Cruises nearby.

Kayaking Cootes Paradise

At Cootes Paradise there is an impressive staircase with a cycling trough leading to Dundurn Park and some amazing lookouts. From here you can connect to Burlington via York Street- extreme caution is needed when crossing the ramp from the 403.

Whitetail Deer

Like Flies on

Male American Goldfinch

The Hamilton Beach Recreation Trail:

Skyway Bridge

Lift bridge

 follows the Lake Ontario shoreline for about 8 km taking people from Burlington under the Lift Bridge to Confederation Park and into the former Stoney Creek. Interpretative panels describe the history of Hamilton’s waterfront and explain the restoration process. Please note there is a new way to cross the very busy Eastport Drive/Beach Blvd.-take the path that goes under the bridge rather than crossing the road.

Getting the shot

Webster Falls

Gosling shaking all about

Blue Heron Harbourfront Park June 15 2011

Dundas Conservation area

  • Confederation Park – Van Wagner’s Beach Rd. and Centennial Parkway
  • Van Wagner’s Beach beside Lakeland Community Centre – Van Wagner’s Beach Rd. East of Confederation Park
  • Beach Blvd south of lift bridge

Juvenile Black Crowned Night Heron

Night Heron

Signet and pen June 2011

Hamilton Waterfront Trail

Rainbow trout

Harbourfront Park

The Pride of baltimore leaves hamilton harbour

The Pride of baltimore

  • Dundurn Park-York Blvd.
  • Bayfront Park-Harbourfront Dr and Bay St.
  • Pier 4 Park – Leander Dr. and Guise St.
  • Pier 8 – Canada Marine Discover Centre
  • HMCS Haida at Catherine St.

Photographers

The Speed of Deer

Lois McNaught

Steve Loker

Jacqueline

Doug Worrall

HAVE A GREAT YEAR

Doug Worrall Photography

Success stories for Cootes Paradise

Success stories for Cootes Paradise-Lake Onatrio

Sunday December 17 2011

Gosling shaking-it-all-about

“Nearly 60 per cent of original wetlands have been destroyed on the Canadian side of Lake Ontario, even more between Toronto and the Niagara River. In some parts of southwestern Ontario, the loss has reached 90 per cent, one of the highest rates in the world.”

As Site Coordinator after two years of documenting changes within our wetlands and Lake Ontario,  my outcome leaves me with little Optimism, but mostly first hand knowledge of negative consequences from Pollution from high and low waters. Raw affluence still engorges Cootes Paradise leaving animals coated in an oily substance. The usually white mute swans are a dirty green for two months of the last year 2011. Yet compared to 20 years ago many gains have been made.What happens in Lake Ontario directly affects our wetlands.

The Next post will be on the oiling of Mute swan eggs and the probable lack of Signets next year unless wild ones can mate and not have there eggs tampered with.

Doug Worrall

Sunrise

Sunrise 5-30 May 21

Walleye, sharp-toothed, gold and olive in colour, appear to be back in Lake Ontario, after decades of very low number. Lilies grow in wetlands that were once sodden mud flats. Shimmering fish sparkle beneath the water’s surface, tiny glimmers of hope that Lake Ontario can be renewed and return to full health again.They are signs that the fish, wildlife and birds that were extirpated — locally extinct — can return to make their home in and near the lake’s waters.The losses have been extreme. Nearly 60 per cent of original wetlands have been destroyed on the Canadian side of Lake Ontario, even more between Toronto and the Niagara River. In some parts of southwestern Ontario, the loss has reached 90 per cent, one of the highest rates in the world.

Invasive species continue to threaten the biodiversity of the lake. They include the zebra mussel and the parasitic sea lamprey, which attaches itself to fish with its sucker mouth.Still, there are pockets of improvement. “The sheer number of waterfowl that rest on the lake during migratory period are more than anyone would believe, well over a million,” says ecologist Tys Theysmeyer. “It does remind you it is a great lake.”“Think back to the days when Lake Ontario and Lake Erie were being written off and polluted and unhealthy,” biologist Marion Daniels says of the 1960s and 1970s. Those would be the days when algae bloomed, when dead smelt littered the shoreline, when foam bubbled grey and noxious.“That’s been reversed in a lot of different ways.“We have to take care of the little things. If we’re successful in taking care of the little things, little things become big improvements.”Here are some recent ecological success stories in and around Lake Ontario.

Lake Ontario

The common carp, a half million pounds of sucker-mouthed, whiskered, heavy-scaled bottom feeders, had overtaken Cootes Paradise, part of the Royal Botanical Gardens between Hamilton and Burlington. It looked like a mud flat. Carp, introduced in the late 19th century as a replacement for salmon, sucked up sediment, rototilled plant life and left the water, polluted by runoff from agricultural land use and urban sewage, a murky mess. In one of North America’s largest wetland rehabilitation projects, which included a fishway to keep out the carp, it has become a true marshland paradise with waving cattails, pelicans (during spring migration), mink, muskrat, perch, sunfish and pike. Fifty native plants once at risk have returned. Most delightful: yellow water lilies and wild rice.

Smallmouth Bass

Marshlands: Bogs, swamps and shallow water — like the South Pasture Swamp at the Royal Botanical Gardens — are threatened by agricultural, industrial and urban development. In the past, wetlands were considered breeding grounds for mosquitoes that should be drained or paved. But they are to be treasured. They brim with more life than any other ecosystem — 200 species of birds and 50 species of mammals are dependent on wetlands, which are often sanctuaries for endangered species.

Life in raw sewage

Raw Sewage Our Wetlands

Wetlands: Black-crowned night herons — these are at Cootes Paradise — are wetland-loving birds that rest communally by day and fish by night. They are one of the 300 species of birds found at the Royal Botanical Gardens.

Black Crowned night heron

Return of the native

The water is cold and fast-running, the gravel clean in Duffins Creek, which spills into Lake Ontario at Ajax, creating a perfect nursery for Atlantic salmon. It’s one of four waterways — including the Credit River, the Humber River and Cobourg Brook — rehabilitated in the past six years to welcome the once-flourishing native species, which vanished at the end of the 19th century. Dams, deforestation, agricultural runoff had made the streams inhospitable. Add to that overfishing — there were reports of thousands being caught in single night. Now, trees are being planted on the banks to increase shade and lower water temperature, and fences are being erected to prevent livestock from polluting the stream and damaging spawning beds. Strains of salmon from Nova Scotia, Quebec and Maine have been hatched and released in Duffins Creek, some 800,000 so far. Scientists are watching to see which is the hardiest and are hoping for signs of wild reproduction.

Gosling May 13

Gosling May 13 2011

Atlantic salmon: Since 2006 some 2.5 million young Atlantic salmon have been released into creeks and rivers that empty into Lake Ontario, a collaborative effort by 50 environment-minded citizens, government and private companies. A native species — descended from saltwater fish that adapted to freshwater — Atlantic salmon were last seen in local streams in 1896.

Big birds

Trumpeter Swan

The big-winged birds have returned. Trumpeter swans, the largest of North American waterfowl, had not been seen in Ontario since the 19th century. They had been hunted to near extinction. Hundreds now overwinter in Burlington Bay thanks to the work of volunteers led by retired Ministry of Natural Resources biologist Harry Lumsden, who started a swan restoration program in 1982. Now the indigenous species with the memorable honk is self-sustaining. Another impressive bird, the bald eagle, hadn’t been seen near Lake Ontario in more than 50 years. Last fall, five were spotted at Cootes Paradise in the Royal Botanical Gardens, and one pair has made a nest there, the first on Lake Ontario in decades. There were hopes that the couple might reproduce this year, but it’s likely the male is too young to breed. Once threatened by DDT — they’d eat fish contaminated by the now-banned pesticide — they have an abundance of catfish and sunfish and lots of forested real estate where they can thrive.

Trumpeter swan: the black-billed birds (different from the orange-billed mute swans) were wiped out in Ontario until restoration efforts in the 1980s. There are now about 700 Ontario trumpeters, a population that is growing but still considered fragile.

Mute Swans

Bald eagle: Once close to extinction, the bird with the 2.4-metre wingspan has finally returned to Lake Ontario, including Hamilton. Bald eagles need a generous amount of marsh space, 30 hectares or more, and a mature forest in which to nest.

Wildflowers

Tiny, sparkly wonders

“It’s not super sexy,” says Gord MacPherson, “but the minnows are back.” Decades ago, the emerald shiner had fallen victim to a lake awash in detergent, fertilizer and sewage. The five-centimetre-long, iridescent fish had been displaced by alewife and smelt — you may have seen the latter washed up on the shore, says MacPherson, manager of habitat restoration for the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. The shiners’ return signals a new balance in a clearer, cleaner lake. “On a nice summer day, when the lake is really calm, you can see bazillions of them. When I was a kid you couldn’t see them because of the algae.”

Wetland runoff foggy April 19

‘White bonfires’

Lake Ontario’s shifting, restless dunes, what the poet Al Purdy called “white bonfires in the sunlight,” are continually being restored. The world’s largest freshwater sand barrier is at Sandbanks Provincial Park, near Picton. The dunes are still recovering from 19th century disturbances, when local farmers sent their cows to graze on the dunes — the loss of vegetation led to widespread erosion. Entire trees could be lost beneath the blown sand. Rehabilitation efforts include planting trees — 50,000 in the past five years — and marram grass, a native species. Fencing and walkways help reduce trampling and the impact of wandering visitors.

As seen above so is below

Sources “The Spec, Google, Wikipedia

Doug Worrall Photographer