Parking is limited to where the 'X' is, as well as along one side of the gravel road.
There is a well marked, fine gravel trail marked in blue, which leads along some of the canals and in the wetland part, leads to a higher spot overlooking the part of the lake called Mitchell's Bay. The sides of the berms have been restored to tallgrass prairie, which would have been dominant here at the time of settlement, depending on the lake levels.
The abundant flowers of the tallgrass prairie are wonderful for attracting butterflies and other insects.
|Little Wood Satyr|
As you can see from the map above, there are several channels through the site. With a few logs strategically placed, there are great opportunities to see water birds as well as reptiles and amphibians basking.
This next photo was taken from the very end of the gravel trail, and it is elevated a bit to give a better view. Off in the distance to the right, is the south end of the Walpole Island First Nation.
This next photo was opportunistic during the late fall of 2017, when I was able to photograph these two swans: a Mute Swan on the left and a Trumpeter Swan on the right.
Given that Mute Swans are quite aggressive, you would hardly ever see them tolerate being this close to a Tundra Swan, the sometimes abundant swan that migrates through in the spring and the fall. However Trumpeter Swans are about the same size as a Mute Swan, sometimes slightly larger, and they will not be scared off by the Mute. In fact at one point this Trumpeter Swan was seen aggressively chasing the Mute! Trumpeters are native species, that according to many authorities, used to breed in this area. (There are differing opinions on this, but I believe they were historically native to this area.) They were wiped out of the east back in the 1800s and early 1900s, and up until 2-3 decades ago, were limited in North America largely to some of the larger wetlands and lakes of the far west. But a reintroduction of the Trumpeter Swan was initiated in the 1970s in the north central part of Ontario. The population has gradually expanded elsewhere in southern Ontario, and we are now seeing a handful appearing in some of the larger wetlands here in Chatham-Kent. It used to be an extreme rarity to see them here at all; now it has become an annual event. Hopefully some will become permanent residents and re-establish a breeding population.
Other birds appear feeding in the area, or just passing through. There have been ~130 species of birds recorded along this trail to date, not bad since it has only been accessible for a short time, and birders hardly ever visit. In fact of all the times I have been at this natural area, I have only seen one or two other people there. It is definitely a great place to see lots of wildlife in a quiet setting.
Great Blue Herons do not nest here, but do so a short distance away at Walpole.
Northern Harriers, a.k.a. Marsh Hawks, probably nest in some of the larger wetlands along Lake St. Clair, and may be seen hunting over the cattails.
Next up will be the Mitchell's Bay South Lake Shore Trail.