On Boxing Day of 2012, my husband and I did our yearly tradition of sitting down by the docks at Sibbald Point Provincial Park and drinking coffee.
Unlike this year's deep freeze, Lake Simcoe was still open and there was a cold, (not Arctic) nip in the air. In my usual gaze across the lake, I noticed Trumpeter Swans. Not one, but — amazingly — 16 of them!
It was awe inspiring and awakened my curiosity to such a degree, that I'm currently writing a story about Harry Lumsden of Aurora, detailing his achievements in re-introducing the Trumpeter Swans back to Ontario. As with all stories it requires research, interviews, and a trip to LaSalle Park in Burlington Bay to view the swans.
The stars must have been in alignment, because it just so happened that on the day I went to visit the majestic birds, the Ontario's Trumpeter Swan Restoration Society was having an information day. Their goal is to bring awareness of a detrimental proposal that would see additional boat docks built in the very location the birds use as a migratory resting ground.
Needless to say the Society is very concerned. Bringing swans back to Ontario has not only been a labour of love, but a very long process. Until they were reintroduced, the last recorded Trumpeter Swan in Ontario was shot in 1886 at Long Point, but I will talk more about that in my article, which will be published in an upcoming issue of Lake Simcoe Living Magazine.
What I wanted to tell you is that if you get the opportunity to go down to Burlington Harbour and walk on the ice amongst these birds, you will be moved not only by their beauty, and size, but by the shear numbers.There are often 100 plus swans there daily, and loads of ducks! The honking of the birds sounds a bit like a congested New York street.
Normally, the best viewing is between December and February, but, until the waters to the north open up they will remain.
If you get a chance to go, which I highly recommend, be sure to dress warmly, and don't forget you camera and, of course, a steaming cup of Java.
Useful DataLaSalle Park is in Burlington, Ontario
The Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre Website
(When reporting swan sightings, please include, Date, Location/GPS Coordinates, Wing# or Leg Band #.)