I have planned to go see Niagara Falls, well, not planning maybe, but I have had a wish to go there for a very long time. So I already planned to go here when I booked my birding tours in Florida.
And as I am in Canada I can take the opportunity to see more of the country. I found a Guide in Peterborough on the BirdingPal web page. I will do two days in Toronto after Peterborough before going to the Niagara Falls.
Ontario is one of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada. Located in Central Canada, it is Canada's most populous province, with 38.3 percent of the country's population, and is the second-largest province in total area. Ontario is fourth-largest jurisdiction in total area when the territories of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are included.
It is home to the nation's capital city, Ottawa, and the nation's most populous city, Toronto, which is also Ontario's provincial capital.
Ontario is bordered by the province of Manitoba to the west, Hudson Bay and James Bay to the north, and Quebec to the east and northeast, and to the south by the U.S. states of (from west to east) Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. Almost all of Ontario's 2,700 km border with the United States follows inland waterways: from the westerly Lake of the Woods, eastward along the major rivers and lakes of the Great Lakes/Saint Lawrence River drainage system.
These include Rainy River, Pigeon River, Lake Superior, St. Marys River, Lake Huron, St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, Detroit River, Lake Erie, Niagara River, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River from Kingston, Ontario, to the Quebec boundary just east of Cornwall, Ontario. There is only about 1 km (0.6 mi) of land border, made up of portages including Height of Land Portage on the Minnesota border.
Ontario is sometimes conceptually divided into two regions, Northern Ontario and Southern Ontario. The great majority of Ontario's population and arable land is in the south. In contrast, the larger, northern part of Ontario is sparsely populated with cold winters and heavy forestation.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
To skip the information and to go straight to the TRIP REPORT click HERE
Do I need a visa to visit Canada?
Most travellers need a visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly to, or transit through, a Canadian airport.
What you need depends on:
• the type of travel document you will travel with;
• the country that issued your travel document;
• your nationality; and
• how you will travel to Canada.
If you do not have the proper documents, such as an eTA or visa, you may be delayed or prevented from boarding your flight to Canada.
Find out if you need a visa to travel to Canada
Most people need a visa OR an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to travel to Canada – not both. Some people may only need their valid passport. You can find exactly what you need on Canada Government's page: Find out if you need a visa to travel to Canada
• Choose your travel document from a list
• Choose your country from a list
• Are you a dual Canadian citizen? Answer yes or no
• What are you doing in Canada? Choose from a lsit
• Are you visiting your children or grandchildren? (required)
• How will you travel to Canada? Choose between LAND or AIR
Depending on the country you are citizen in you get different answer. If your a citicen in a country that can visit without a VISA like me you get the answer below:
You need an eTA to fly to a Canadian airport
You need an eTA. You don’t need a visitor visa.
is electronically linked to your passport
Most applicants get their eTA approval (via an email) within minutes. However, some requests can take several days to process if you’re asked to submit supporting documents. And there is a link to apply for an eTA.
I had to book a couple of tickets to get me where I wanted
• AOT Limousine between my home and Bangkok International Airport
I recommend the AOT or any other taxi service if you are leaving early morning. The price per trip is 1200 Baht comparing to around 220 Baht + about 80 Baht road toll. But the taxi can easily be 1000 baht if you´re getting desperate when not finding a taxi.
Early morning flight and it can be a hassle to find a taxi that want to take you to the airport so I book AOT and the car wait for me outside my apartment.
Leaving Suvarnabhumi and AOT have desks in the luggage claim area, where I use to book my car while waiting for my luggage. There are also desks just outside the custom and you cannot miss them.
I found two shuttle bus service from Toronto Airport to Peterborough:
• Century Transportation
• Benson Airport Shuttle
Century Transportation never answered my inquiry so I choosed Benson Airport Shuttle even though they were a bit more, maybe 15 or 20 Dollars. I got a reply from Benson Airport Shuttle, a very friendly and helpfull answer and I dediced to use them when I go to Peterborough.
Visit GO Transit to find trip planner and schedules. And Via Rail Canada is the only train company with DIRECT service between Niagara Falls and Toronto. But when I visit there is only one train per day.
And that is an early morning train so I will go with GO Transit and I will have to change to the bus about halfway. But anyway, visit Via Rail Canada's web page to find out more. Maybe they have more than one train per day when you are visiting.
GO Transit is a regional public transit system serving the Greater Golden Horseshoe region of Ontario, Canada. With its hub at Union Station in Toronto, GO Transit’s distinctive green and white trains and buses serve a population of more than seven million across an area over 11,000 square kilometres stretching from Brantford and Kitchener in the west to Newcastle and Peterborough in the east, and from Barrie in the north to Niagara Falls in the south. GO Transit carried 68.5 million passengers in 2017, and its ridership continues to grow.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Via Rail Canada (reporting mark VIA) generally shortened to Via Rail or Via; styled corporately as VIA Rail Canada) is an independent Crown corporation that is mandated to operate intercity passenger rail service in Canada. It receives an annual subsidy from Transport Canada to offset the cost of operating services connecting remote communities.
Via Rail operates over 500 trains per week across eight Canadian provinces and 12,500 kilometres of track, 97 per cent of which is owned and maintained by other railway companies, mostly by Canadian National Railway (CN). Via Rail carried approximately 4.39 million passengers in 2017, the majority along the Corridor routes connecting the major cities of the Quebec City–Windsor Corridor, and had an on-time performance of 73 per cent.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
• Niagara Airbus
Going back to Toronto Pearson International Airport and I will use Niagara Airbus service. They have a shuttle bus and they will pick me up at Radisson Hotel & Suites Falls view in Niagara Falls and drop me at Radisson Suite Hotel Toronto Airport
Visit Niagara Airbus web page for information. It was very easy to book on line and the staff was very helpfull and friendly if you needed help via e-mail.
Rent a car
As I could not go on my original trip 2020 due to the Vovid debacle I will go noe, three years later. But I cannot find my guide in Peterborough. So I decided to rent a car for the whole stay in Canada.
• I will use a rented car in Canada
it is a 5 minutes walk from the terminal to the Rented Car Center and all the car rent companies are represented there.
Canon 5D Mk. III and Canon 5D Mk. IV
Canon EF 28-300/3,5-5,6 L IS USM
Canon EF 70-200/2,8L IS II USM
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens
Canon Speedlite 600EXII-RT flash
Canon PowerShot G7X Mark II
Panasonic HC-W585 video camera
ZOOM H5 Handy Recorder
ebird - Find birding hotspots with bird checklists from all over the world
Avibase - is an extensive database information system about all birds of the world, containing over 25 million records about 10,000 species and 22,000 subspecies of birds, including distribution information for 12,000 regions, taxonomy, synonyms in several languages
Cloudbirders - Read birding trip reports from all over the world
Fatbirder - Linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see their sister site: WAND
Fatbirder is a fantastic web page with information from, I think every country in the world. My first stop when I plan for my bird watching trips. There is information about locations and guides, well, pretty much everything you need to know. Sometimes this is the only place I need to visit to plan my trip.
BirdingPal - find a birding Guide around the world
And the web page you cannot live without. I have been around the world looking for birds. I usually have a Guide, but sometimes it is not possible to find a Guide. So, well, I have lost count on how many times I have had help to ID birds at BirdForum. Joining this forum have been very very good for my bird watching experience.
ClimaTemps.com is the place to learn about the worlds climates with more than 4000 locations documented. Each aspect of the climate is represented using colour enhanced tables and professional graphs so that data can easily be compared by switching between locations in different tabs in your browser.
Ontario Field Ornithologists - Welcome to the OFO website. If it's Ontario birds that you are interested in, then you've come to the right place.
While you're here you can see Photo Galleries of recent sightings, find out about Upcoming Field Trips, view the official Ontario Checklist, read our Code of Ethics, Become a Member, and much more. Enjoy the experience
Ontario Parks have a web page https://www.ontarioparks.com/en with park locator. There is also a DROP-DOWN menu with all the parks in Ontario to choose from.
Visiting the Peterborough area and it can be worthwhile visiting the below web pages:
Central Lake Ontario Conservation (CLOCA) is a local, community-based, environmental organization and one of 36 Conservation Authorities responsible for managing watershed resources across Ontario. Established in 1958, CLOCA's jurisdiction is based on the watershed boundaries of 4 major watercourses and 18 minor watercourses draining an area of over 639 square km.
Our watershed stretches from the municipal boundaries of Ajax/Pickering to Clarington, and north, from Lake Ontario to the crest of the Oak Ridges Moraine (see map below).
We provide a wide variety of science-based watershed management programs and services, delivered in partnership with our municipal partners, local landowners, environmental agencies and all levels of government.
Our municipal partners include the Region of Durham, Cities of Oshawa and Pickering, Towns of Ajax and Whitby, Municipality of Clarington and Townships of Scugog and Uxbridge.
Within the eight conservation areas, they offer over 45 km of trails (note that trails are not maintained in winter). Hidden within these natural gems are streams, wetlands, forests, beaches, views and vistas within locally significant natural heritage sites, just waiting to be explored.
Lynde Shores Conservation Area is extremely popular for wildlife viewing, Lynde Shores Conservation Area has a number of looping trails (5 km including the 1 km looping trail within the Cranberry West Tract). These trails, especially the Chickadee Trail, are just the right length for little ones and are generally stroller and wheelchair friendly.
Established in 1972, the Lynde Shores Conservation Area (272 hectares), together with the adjacent Cranberry West Tract (40 hectares) provide excellent habitat for nesting birds and are an important stopover point for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds.
Both the Lynde Creek Marsh and Cranberry Marsh provide many important functions that are typical of the few remaining coastal wetlands found along this northern section of the Lake Ontario shoreline. As result, these two marshes are designated as provincially significant wetlands and are part of a long-term study: the Durham Region Coastal Wetland Monitoring Project.
We have several accessible viewing areas located throughout the site including around our newly created wetland. Dogs on Leash are permitted on the Waterfront Trail only. Please respect posted signage.
Visiting Toronto and it can be worthwhile visiting the below web pages:
Toronto Ornithological Club - As you can expect, all information about bird watching in Toronto. They have a fantastic HOT SPOT interactive map with information about the different hot spots.
High Park Nature - Welcome to High Park, one of Toronto's most significant natural areas!
Toronto and Region Conservation Authority - With more than 60 years of experience, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) is one of 36 Conservation Authorities in Ontario, created to safeguard and enhance the health and well-being of watershed communities through the protection and restoration of the natural environment and the ecological services the environment provides.
Here you can find a lot of information about the parks in the area.
Tommy Thompson Park Master Plan - The Tommy Thompson Park Master Plan is the long-term vision for Toronto’s Urban Wilderness. It aims to create, enhance, restore and protect the natural features of the manmade landscape while providing recreational opportunities for all.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
In 1959, THC (now PortsToronto) began the construction of the Leslie Street Spit (or Outer Harbour East Headland) for “port-related facilities.”
In the years between 1974 and 1983, the land base dramatically increased, as approximately 6,500,000 cubic metres of sand/silt were dredged from the Outer Harbour and placed at the spit. This resulted in the formation of the lagoons and sand peninsulas which now account for a significant proportion of the land base of Tommy Thompson Park.
In 1979, another major expansion of land area took place, with the construction of an endikement on the lakeward side of the Headland. This provided protected cells for dredged material from the Inner Harbour and the Keating Channel.
AN “ACCIDENTAL WILDERNESS”
In the early 1970s, it was clear that a site for port-related facilities wasn’t needed. By this time, however, the natural processes that had evolved during the planning and construction of the site had shaped the spit into a truly “accidental wilderness.”
In August 1973, the Province gave Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) “the responsibility of being the Province’s agent with regard to the proposed Aquatic Park [Tommy Thompson Park] and the preparation of a master plan”. In 1977, this was expanded to include not only the preparation of a master plan, but also development and interim management — including public access, nature interpretation and wildlife management.
Public access to Tommy Thompson Park is restricted to weekends, holidays and weekdays from 4 pm to 9 pm, due to the truck traffic associated with the Port Authority’s ongoing filling operations. Nevertheless, more than 100,000 visitors enjoy Tommy Thompson Park every year. This “accidental wilderness” is now widely recognized as one of the best areas for greenspace improvement along the Toronto waterfront.
There is a lot of information
Birds of Tommy Thompson Park
Tommy Thompson Park is an amazing spot for bird watching: 316 species of birds have been recorded at the park, including at least 55 breeding species.
Tommy Thompson Park is an important stopover during migration for many bird species that need to rest and refuel to continue their journey. In addition to many species of songbirds, the park also plays host to migrating raptors, waterfowl and shorebirds.
Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station - Their goal is to improve the understanding and protection of birds and their habitats through monitoring, research and education. As a globally significant Important Bird Area and “urban wilderness” on the Toronto waterfront, Tommy Thompson Park provides a unique location to monitor bird populations and offer outreach and education programs.
Visitors are always welcome at the Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station when Tommy Thompson Park is open! Check out their web page for more information, click HERE. Park Bird Research Station is also an eBird hotspot.
TOMMY THOMPSON PARK BIRD CHECKLIST - Cane be down loaded HERE.
Bird watching is a year-round activity at Tommy Thompson Park. Thousands of birds of more than a hundred different species pass through during spring and fall migration; breeding occurs during the summer, while winter brings waterfowl and owls.
Our birder’s checklist, now in its fourth edition, includes all 316 species that have been recorded at the Park.
Bird watchers are reminded to stay on designated trails and to never disturb wildlife, particularly roosting owls –- do not approach and never use a camera flash when photographing them.
Sightings of birds that are regionally or provincially rare should be documented and the information submitted to the Ontario Bird Records Committee (ORBC), care of the Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station and/or Friends of the Spit.
Click HERE to visit their bird page with information and bird checklist.
Visiting Niagara Falls and it can be worthwhile visiting the below web pages:
Niagara Parks - Niagara’s lure as a natural wonder does not end with the falls. Just ask the growing number of people who visit the Niagara River each year to see one of the world’s greatest gatherings of gulls and other migrating birds.
In 1996, the entire Niagara River corridor – stretching 56 kilometres from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario – became the first site in North America to receive international recognition as a “Globally Significant Important Bird Area” by major conservation groups in both Canada and the United States.
Starting mid-November, the river comes alive with the aerobatics of more than 100,000 gulls on migratory flights from as far north as Greenland and the Canadian Arctic to as far south as Florida.
There is also a TRIP PLANNER and you can click on the different Nature + Garden icons looking like the icon on the right hand side on the map for more information about the different parks.
Here you can find information about all the nature and parks on the Niagara Peninsula
NIAGARA FALLS USA - Niagara Falls USA is for the birds, literally! Not only is the region a hot-spot for visitors, but also for a diversity of birdlife - A site about Niagara Falls on the USA side of the Niagara Falls, but there is some interesting information so it can be worth your time to have a look.
I read an interesting story in Reader's Digest Canada that you might find interesting. My Hometown: Niagara Falls - By Debbie Wright, Our Canada
National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America - National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, Sixth Edition is a great guide. In my review of the fifth edition I qualified my recommendation, especially for owners of a prior edition. Not so with the sixth – it belongs in every birder’s library! From beginner to expert, it will be useful to any birder. And for those interested in geographic variation, it is a must."
– Grant McCreary (29-12-2011), read the full review at The Birder's Library
National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America
Places to visit
• Algonquin Park
Algonquin Park is well know as a popular Ontario bird watching destination. The blend of northern and southern forest result in a diversity of species found within the Park. Most birders coming to Algonquin Park are interested in observing Gray Jays, Spruce Grouse, Boreal Chickadees, and Black-backed Woodpeckers. All four species are found in the Park year-round.
• Presqu'ile Park
Presqu'ile's impressive bird numbers are due to its location, shape, and diversity of habitats. A great number of birds migrate annually across eastern North America. The Great Lakes are a significant barrier to migrating birds, which are reluctant to fly over open water with no place to land in an emergency. Birds therefore routinely congregate along the shore of these lakes, waiting for favourable winds to cross, if going, or resting after crossing, if coming.
Presqu'ile, being situated on the shore of Lake Ontario, is already nicely situated to take advantage of this phenomenon, but it has two other things going for it as a bird and birding destination. Being a peninsula that sticks out into the lake, it is even more attractive to birds. If they are coming across the lake and they are tired it offers the first refuge they see. If going they can get an extra few kilometres start across the lake.
Presqu'ile's diversity of habitats is also important. Good bird habitat means that birds can afford to land and stick around a bit as they can find food to eat and sheltered places to hide and sleep. With many different habitats the park attracts more birds, as different birds like different habitats. They can find it all at Presqu'ile.
This habitat diversity is also why the number of breeding birds at Presqu'ile tops 100 species of birds annually. This combination of location, shape, and habitat diversity is also the reason why the weird birds show up here so often.
Click HERE to down load Presqu'ile Birding Brochure
Presqu’ile Provincial Park is considered one of Ontario’s best bird viewing locations. The peninsulas, marshes, bays, sand dunes, beaches, and field and forest communities meet the nesting requirements of 127 different bird species.
The Park is best known for the large numbers and diversity of waterfowl, warblers, and shorebirds that migrate through each spring and fall. A total of 337 bird species have been recorded in the Park.
• Whitby area when driving back to Toronto
• High Park High Park is home to one of North America's most endangered habitats: Black Oak Savannah – a remnant of the sand prairie systems that once covered much of southern Ontario. Majestic black oaks tower over tallgrass prairie plants like big bluestem grass, butterfly milkweed and wild lupine.
Toronto’s High Park is a convenient and attractive destination for birding.
In the Spring & Fall, High Park is an important stop-over for migrating birds. Well over 150 species are seen regularly.
Most of the birds will continue north. But more than 50 species stay in the park and breed, i.e. raise a family.
Established in 1936, the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens presents visitors with 99 acres (40 hectares) of beautifully maintained gardens that include perennials, rhododendrons, azaleas, a formal parterre garden, herb and vegetable plantings, and our world-famous rose garden featuring over 2,400 roses. This section of the parkland is also the home to the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture, an institution that provides unique practical training to horticulture students on the grounds of the Botanical Gardens.
• Dufferin Island
• Queen Victoria Park
Bounded by the steep fallsview moraine and the Niagara River Great Gorge, Queen Victoria Park contains a valuable collection of unique native and international plants and beautifully maintained gardens.
Walking through the park beside the American and Canadian Horseshoe Falls, you’ll find a rock garden, hanging baskets, a Hybrid tea rose garden and attractive carpet-bedding displays. Park benches and well-groomed lawns are perfect spots to relax or take some photos.
• Niagara River Corridor - Below the Falls
• Niagara River Corridor
• Niagara River Corridor - Whirlpool
• Niagara Glen Nature Reserve
I never use any bird lists, but since I try to make it in to Cloudbirders. A very helpful site when planning your birding trips. But they ask for a bird checklist, and if I use their service, of course I want to contribute as well. My two first bird watching trip reports was rejected by Cloudbirders.
So I started to take ideas from the reports I found on Cloudbirders. So I have started to use bird lists, eBird generate one for me and I can post it on Cloudbirders. I will post my birds on eBird and on my different “BIRDS THAT I HAVE OBSERVED” pages.
Check lists can come in handy to find out the local name of the bird etc. And Avibase have a list with pictures and sounds, excellent!
So I will post bird checklists here and if my Guides provide me with checklists I will also post them here.
Avibase is providing you with bird checklists from all over the world. And I´m impressed by their web page. Select country and area and you get the bird checklist. Like the PDF files I got from Avibase on the links above. You also get the checklist with pictures and sounds.
The best part is that you get the local names of the birds and the online checklist gives the names in English plus the language you have selected. But it seems like the PDF cannot handle some alphabet.
For example the Japanese language so it is blank in the PDF checklist. But it worked excellent with Ethiopian. But you get them in the local language on the online version.
See My eBird checklists and the DAY TO DAY report in the itinerary below.
I have decided to use the eBird Life List function instead of doing my own time-consuming Life List. I discovered eBird Trip Report in April 2023 during my bird watching in North America, a new function that I now do for my bird watching trips.
And as this working beautifully I decided to use their Life List function and I will save hundreds of hours doing my own lists.
Pictures and location available by clicking the links in the pdf document. If you are using eBird you should be familiar with how it works.
Day 3: 28th of April 2023 - I will drive back to Toronto. Passing Lynde Shores Conservation Area, Whitby for marsh birds and early migrants
Day 4: 29th of April 2023 - Bird watching Toronto:
- Toronto--Centennial Park
- High Park
- Toronto--Lambton Park
Will have to see if there is time to visit other spots. But High Park is TOP PRIORITY
Day 5: 30th of April 2023 - Bird watching Toronto:
- Tommy Thompson Park
Tommy Thompson Park will most likely take the full day
Day 6: 1st of May 2023 - Drive to Niagara Falls and stop at:
- eBird hotspot: Oakville--South Shell Park and Suncor Pier
- eBird hotspot: Burlington--Shoreacres/Paletta Park
- eBird hotspot: Hamilton--Windermere Basin
- eBird hotspot: Fifty Point CA (Hamilton side)
- eBird hotspot: Fifty Point CA (Niagara side)
- eBird hotspot: St. Catharines--Port Weller east pier
Day 9: 4th of May 2023 - Drive back to Toronto and stop at:
- eBird hotspot: Beamer
- eBird hotspot: Hamilton--King's Forest
- eBird hotspot: Hamilton--Royal Botanical Gardens (Princess Point)
- eBird hotspot: Hamilton--Royal Botanical Gardens (Arboretum)
- eBird hotspot: Bronte Creek Provincial Park
Since April 2023 eBird offer a new feature, to create Trip Reports. At least this is when I first heard of this feature and I have decided to make the eBird Trip Reports instead of my list of OBSERVED birds.
And of course, this also means that I will HAVE TO go back and do the same for my old birding adventures, WHEN I HAVE THE TIME!
Today's Trip Report: Bird watching in Canada - 26 April to 4 May 2023 | Click HERE
Icons for lifers used in the eBird trip reports
Species lifer: First time that someone observes a species in their life
Photo lifer: First time that someone photographs a species in their life
Audio lifer: First time that someone audio records a species in their life
Exotic species flags differentiate locally introduced species from native species.
Naturalized: Exotic population is self-sustaining, breeding in the wild, persisting for many years, and not maintained through ongoing releases (including vagrants from Naturalized populations). These count in official eBird totals and, where applicable, have been accepted by regional bird records committee(s).
Provisional: Either: 1) member of exotic population that is breeding in the wild, self-propagating, and has persisted for multiple years, but not yet Naturalized; 2) rarity of uncertain provenance, with natural vagrancy or captive provenance both considered plausible.
When applicable, eBird generally defers to bird records committees for records formally considered to be of "uncertain provenance". Provisional species count in official eBird totals.
Escapee: Exotic species known or suspected to be escaped or released, including those that have
bred but don't yet fulfill the criteria for Provisional. Escapee exotics do not count in official eBird totals.