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Tuesday September 9th, 2014

Posted at 2:00pm

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Holiday Beach Conservation Area, named North America’s third best raptor watching location by Audubon Magazine, is once again ready for the Migration Celebration at the annual HawkFest on September 13th and 14th and 21st and 22nd.

“Every September through November, Holiday Beach becomes a migration hot spot as fall winds carry migrating hawks, songbirds, hummingbirds, dragonflies and butterflies across the skies and past the hawk tower,” explains Kevin Money, Director of Conservation Services for the Essex Region Conservation Authority. “There’s no better place in Canada to witness this migration spectacle and see a wide variety and huge quantities of these majestic raptors.”

Throughout the Festival, visitors can climb the tower to watch and identify the hawks in flight. Part of Holiday Beach’s unique experience is the Adopt-A-Hawk program, offered in partnership with the volunteers from the Holiday Beach Migration Observatory. “You can actually have your picture taken with a banded hawk or songbird, and then release it back up into the sky,” Money goes on to say. “Observe the banding program in action and learn about the scientific information gathered on the various types of birds for migration research.”

Visit with a live Great-horned owl and Peregrine falcons at the Canadian Peregrine Falcon Foundation tent, and visit a variety of nature themed booths. Make a nature craft, go on a scavenger hunt and see water insects up close and through the microscope in the Kids Zone.

As well, on Saturday September 13th, enjoy a special show by Zoo To You from 10:30am to 12noon.

On Saturday, September 20th, there are a number of late afternoon and evening workshops to be enjoyed. Discover the art of digiscoping to take incredible long distance shots of wildlife with US wildlife photographer Jerry Jourdan at 2pm. At 5pm, enjoy a Blue Sky photography workshop with tips for capturing beautiful images of birds in flight with Ted Kloskey of Henry’s Cameras.

At 7pm, we are pleased to welcome the Royal Astronomical Society (RASC) for a Dark Sky Night. “Birdwatching from Holiday Beach can even be done at night by observing deep sky objects such as the Eagle Nebula and Wild Duck Cluster through RASC Windsor’s astronomical equipment,” says member Matt McCall. “Lose yourself in the dense starfields of the Milky Way above Lake Erie’s horizon & view other sights including the double star Albireo in Cygnus the Swan. The ringed jewel of Saturn is still visible low in the west after sunset.” Visitors are encouraged to bring their own telescopes and binoculars to the dark sky night, and the RASC experts will also have their large professional equipment available for everyone to share.

All hikes and workshops are offered free of charge with your admission of $10 per car. The best raptor viewing time is from 9am until noon when the hawks fly low.

The Holiday Beach Conservation Area is located on County Road 50, on Lake Erie near Malden Centre approximately 15km southeast of Amherstburg.

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