Essex Region – Bird enthusiasts from around the world make Leamington, Ontario one of their bucket list destinations each May, and Hillman Marsh is ready to greet these guests from May 1 – 19 at the Shorebird Celebration.
“We are so thankful for our partnership with the Ontario Field Ornithologists (OFO), which allows the Shorebird Celebration to be hosted six days per week over a three week period,” explains Danielle Breault Stuebing, ERCA’s Director of Communications and Outreach Services. “Experts from OFO will be at the Shorebird Viewing Shelter from 3pm – 5pm Tuesdays through Sundays to help guests identify the stunning shorebirds.” There are also bird identification signs at the shelter highlighting distinguishing characteristics.
The shorebird habitat at Hillman Marsh is unique in North America. The managed habitat creates the perfect combination of mudflats to provide nutrition and a resting area for migrating shorebirds. “Hillman Marsh is a fabulous place, especially in spring, to see numerous waterbirds and shorebirds feeding regularly prior to their migration north,” adds Dave Milsom of OFO. The marsh is managed annually to produce the desired habitat: water levels are reduced so mud flats appear in preparation for shorebird arrival. “The birds are often very close to the shoreline which makes for exceptional viewing. A large bird blind is open for visitors to photograph and study the birds,” he explains.
“Combined with Point Pelee National Park’s Festival of Birds, the viewing opportunities in the Pelee/Hillman region during spring migration are unparalleled, and visitors travel here from around the world,” Breault Stuebing goes on to say.
Entrance fees are just $6 per vehicle, or special spring birding passes are available. More information about the Shorebird Celebration is available at essexregionconservation.ca
New this year, on May 13, ERCA will partner with 4th Wall Music as they present The Nature of Song at 6pm. This outdoor performance will feature the beautiful artistry of this chamber music group set against the backdrop of the stunning marsh. Admission for this performance is by donation, and guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets.
For more than four decades, Essex Region Conservation has been sustaining and enriching the environment of the Windsor-Essex-Pelee Island region to ensure it is the Place for Life.
Danielle Breault Stuebing
Director, Communications & Outreach Services