Saturday, June 21, 2014

Paradise in the City

We have some pretty amazing gems right here in our own backyard. From spectacular waterfalls to breathtaking trails, the natural areas around Dundas and Hamilton have lots to offer.

An area that I am just beginning to discover is Cootes Paradise. 

Cootes Paradise is the largest wetland at the western end of Lake Ontario and is on the west side of Hamilton Harbour.  It is owned and managed by the Royal Botanical Gardens and is a National Historic site, a Nationally Important Bird Area (IBA), and a Nationally Important Reptile and Amphibian Area (IMPARA).

Rising early this morning, I launched my kayak at Princess Point and headed around the point, then west going behind Cockpit Island and Sassafras Point and exploring the various inlets along the way. The silence was often interrupted by jumping fish and the swans, ducks and geese were plentiful. 

On a couple of occasions I was treated to the sight of large blue herons perched in the trees or lazily flying overhead, their massive wingspan reminding me of schoolbook illustrations of ancient pterodactyls.

Crossing over towards Bulls Point I was able to watch numerous waterfowl including some low flying trumpeter swans and a couple of mergansers that did low flyby's for my benefit, just skimming the water as they passed.

On prior occasions I have seen the pair of bald eagles that nest along the northern shore but unfortunately not this morning.

I enjoyed the site of the water plants and the shoreline, impressed that this level of nature and plentiful wildlife can be found so close to a major city.

I crossed back over heading back towards Princess Point. This area of the bay is one where I often like to pause when kayaking to enjoy the sunset and reflect.

On this morning I simply pushed through, heading back to the dock and making myself the promise to return again soon to this little bit of paradise in the city.