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Wednesday April 26th, 2017

Posted at 9:00am

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You might spot a Marbled Godwit feeding and resting at the Hillman Marsh Shorebird Celebration. Photo courtesy of Jean Iron, Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Bird enthusiasts from around the world make Leamington their destinations each May, and Hillman Marsh is ready to greet these guests from May 1st to 22nd at the new and improved Shorebird Celebration.

“Building on the successes of our partnership with the Ontario Field Ornithologists (OFO), we have expanded the Shorebird Celebration to 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 Wednesdays through Mondays to help guests identify these stunning creatures.” 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 in late winter to produce the desired habitat: water levels are reduced so mud flats appear in preparation for shorebird arrival. Wild rice is grown each summer and harvested in the fall. “The remaining stubble encourages organisms to proliferate and provides for the shore and water birds each spring. 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.

Entrance fees are just $6 per vehicle, or special spring birding passes are available. More information about the Shorebird Celebration is available at www.erca.org/birding.

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