The practice of bird-watching, of meditatively looking up, of observing our biodiverse surroundings, “can be a great way to manage and reduce stress, and increase imagination and self-awareness” (Ontario Parks, 2022). Bird-watching provides us an opportunity to access fresh air and to engage in physical activity, whilst “requir[ing] you to exercise the mental faculties involved in observation and identification that help to keep the mind sharp” (Ontario Parks, 2022). This summer, take advantage of the conservation areas, wildlife reserves, and parks perfectly suited for birdwatching located within the Durham Region!
McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve
Featuring “almost 400 different varieties of plants, trees, shrubs and wildflowers, as well as a number of native birds, mammals, and fish”, this wildlife reserve located at 1908 Colonel Sam Dr., in Oshawa is a bird-watcher’s dream (Ontario Trails, 2022). Access is free of charge, and the site is wheel-chair accessible.
Lynde Shores Conservation Area
An “important stopover point for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds”, the Lynde Shores Conservation Area boasts 5 km of looping trails and a cranberry marsh (Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority, 2021). Access is regulated by pay-and-display parking, costing 6$ per vehicle per day. Notably, the Conservation Area also offers canoe and kayak activities.
Oshawa Creek Trail
Spanning from downtown Oshawa all the way to Lake Ontario, this 10 km trail is a popular space for bird-watching, snowshoeing, and fishing (All Trails, 2022). Access to the trail is free, and dogs wearing a leash are welcome.
Cedar Valley Conservation Area
Located at 1510 Simcoe St N., in Oshawa, this 1.9 km trail offers beautiful birding sights. Access to the trail is free, and on-leash dogs are welcome.
Darlington Provincial Park
Offering multiple walkable trails, along with camping and boating facilities, the Darlington Provincial Park (located at 1600 Darlington Park Rd. in Bowmanville) is a well-rounded bird-watching site, with a “bird sightings board at the main park office” (Ontario Parks, 2022).
Offering multiple birding events throughout the year, Thickson Woods, located in Whitby, “is the last remnant of old-growth white pines on the north shore of Lake Ontario”, which provides “a vital resting place for countless migrating songbirds each spring and fall” (Thickson Woods, 2022). The Thickson Woods Land Trust urges visitors to stay on the paths and to not forage within the Woods, as to not disrupt the essential biodiversity of the space. Dogs are not allowed.
Harmony Valley Conservation Area
Located at 915 Grandview St. N. in Oshawa, this 28 hectare park includes “hardwood forests, coniferous plantations, open fields, meadows, and wetlands”, with the Harmony Creek flowing through the park (Oshawa, 2022). Dogs are welcome, and access is free.
Oshawa Valleylands Conservation Area
With trails spanning almost 7 km, this Conservation Area located at 219 Southlawn Avenue in Oshawa offers biking and walking trails, along with the opportunity to fish in the creek.
Heber Down Conservation Area
Located at 5000 Cochrane St. in Whitby, this Conservation Area offers “group camping, fishing, nature walks, and picnicking”, notably hosting the annual Kids Fishing Day in May (Conservation Ontario, 2022).
Durham East Cross Forest Conservation Area
A part of the Oak Ridges Moraine, this Conservation Area offers 7 km of marked trails, along with multiple activities, including horseback riding on sandy soils, snowshoeing, and birding (Kawartha Conservation, 2022). Located at 4531 Boundary Rd, in Nestleton Station, the Conservation Area provides free parking.
Greenwood Conservation Area
Located at 2290 Greenwood Road in Ajax, the Greenwood Conservation Area offers 283 hectares of “naturalized green space, natural trails, walking paths, and playgrounds”, including off-leash dog areas (Town of Ajax By the Lake, 2022).
Long Sault Conservation Area
Located at 9293 Woodley Rd. in Bowmanville, this conservation area offers 18 km of trails, including the Oak Ridges Moraine Trail. Parking is available for 6$ per vehicle per day. Dogs are allowed, but must be on a leash.
We will see you on the trails!
Until next time,
The Aves Coffee Co. team.
All Trails (2022). Oshawa Creek Trail. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/canada/ontario/oshawa-creek-trail.
Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority (2021). Lynde Shores Conservation Area. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from: https://www.cloca.com/lynde-shores.
Conservation Ontario (2022). Heber Down Conservation Area. Retrieved May 18, 2022, from: https://ontarioconservationareas.ca/component/mtree/conservation-authorities/central-lake-ontario/heber-down-conservation-area?Itemid=.
Kawartha Conservation (2022). Durham East Cross Forest. Retrieved May 18, 2022, from: https://www.kawarthaconservation.com/en/conservation-areas/durham-east-cross-forest.aspx.
Ontario Parks (April 7, 2022). Birding with benefits: therapeutic benefits of bird watching. Retrieved May 3, 2022, from: https://www.ontarioparks.com/parksblog/birding-benefits/.
Ontario Parks (2022). Darlington. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from: https://www.ontarioparks.com/park/darlington.
Ontario Trails (2022). McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from: https://www.ontariotrails.on.ca/index.php?url=trails/view/mclaughlin-bay-wildlife-reserve/.
Oshawa (2022). Harmony Valley Park. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from: https://www.oshawa.ca/Modules/Facilities/Detail.aspx?id=d8db0e51-b676-4f1b-9ed5-b4ba6f21a7a3.
Thickson Woods (2022). Home. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from: https://www.thicksonswoods.com/.Town of Ajax By the Lake (2022). Greenwood Conservation Area. Retrieved May 18, 2022, from: https://www.ajax.ca/en/play-and-discover/parks-trails-and-conservation-areas.aspx#Greenwood-Conservation-Area.