Nature Canada
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Canada

Canada as a country conjures up images of lofty snow capped mountains, pristine lakes, endless forests and spectacular rocky shorelines. Canada is a young country that hasn't had the opportunity to deplete it's natural resources but that's changing. With a small population and such a vast country, we have a unique opportunity for our future. Canada could easily lead the world in the area of conservation, natural preservation and eventually sustainability. We are one of the few countries with this opportunity but time is running short to take full advantage of it. This is aptly demonstrated by the pine beetle devastation in the west and the collapse of the east coast fisheries, just two examples of poor policies and practices.

 
 

Canadian Provincial Naturalists Associations

 

Canadian Birding Areas

Canadian Birding Festivals & Events

 

British Columbia Nature

British Columbia is a major destination for whale watchers. Grey Whales are seen off the west coast of Vancouver Island (Pacific Rim) in the winter, while killer whales are often observed along the islands south eastern coast. Further north along Vancouver Islands east coast, you'll find one of the world's best areas for whale watching, Johnstone Strait, just off Telegraph Cove. Orca's are the main stay here, but other species along with a wide variety of marine life can be observed. There are a number of Provincial Marine Parks in the area which can be accessed by expert paddlers. If you go, make it a point of carefully following the guidelines for observing the wildlife in the area.

Naturalists love watching as west coast salmon struggle upstream to spawn in the rivers of their birth. They are seldom alone in this persuit as the coasts eagles and bears make a point of watching for the salmon as well. There are a number of parks which have interpetive programs which include observing the salmon and there are a number of tour companies which will take you out to see the salmon, the bears and the eagles.

Gulf Islands

The Gulf Islands have what is often described as a "Mediterranean" climate. Rainy, relatively warm winters (with little or no snow) along with sunny moderate summers make for one of the finest climates in Canada. This translates into a diverse range of flora and fauna with species that are not often found this far north, such as the Gary Oak and Canada's only broad leaf evergreen tree, the coastal Arbutus. The area is a favourite of bird watchers and is a particular draw in the migration seasons. Expect to see Cormerants, Bald Eagles, Great Blue Herons, Wood Ducks and the seemingly ubiqutious Turkey Vulture plying the cliffs and mountains of the islands.

The areas waters and inter-tidal zones are home to a wealth of star fish, sea anomies, seals, sea lions and even porpoises and dolphins. Of course one of the biggest draws for nature lovers is a chance to view the Orcas as they move through the area during migration. Several companies provide boat and kayak tours in and around the islands.

Vancouver Island Birding & Wildlife Viewing

Buttertubs Marsh - Nanaimo, Central Vancouver Island

While the marsh is a man made area and essentially in the city, it still provides a surprisingly good birding area. You'll find Ruddy Ducks, Green Herons, Pied Grebes, Hooded Mergansers, Wood Ducks, American Widgeons, American Bitterns, Virginia Rails and many more. The marsh also has a nice trail for just taking a walk and getting out into nature. To get there, follow Bowen Road then take Buttertubs Drive south which will take you to one of the entrances or take Bird Sanctuary Drive to Jingle Pot Road, where you'll find several more access points. There is also a parking area on the corner of Second and Third.

Esquimal Lagoon National Wildlife Sanctuary - Victoria (Colwood), Southern Vancouver Island

One of Victoria's and the southern islands favorites for birders is the Esquimalt Lagoon. A salt water lagoon with a short channel open to the sea and a spit that reach out and encircles it. The area is of particular importance for watching waterfowl such as Mallards, Hooded Mergansers, Canvasbacks and Pintails. Also keep a look out for Black Oystercatchers, Western Sandpipers, Yellowlegs, American Wigeon, Coot and a variety of Gulls. Overhead you might sea Bald Eagles, Osprey and of course a few Turkey Vultures. Traveling out along the spit watch for a variaty of sparrows and finches along with blackbirds. You can often see the Double-crested Cormorants drying thier wings on the island just off shore - bring your glasses or scope. Rare sightings are actually fairly common in the lagoon so expect the unexpected. The lagoon is located on in Colwood beside the Fort Rodd Hill/Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site. From Highway 1 outside of Victoria take the Colwood exit and head under the highway. Turn left on Ocean Boulevard then take the road on your left about 0.5km further on which will take you to the lagoon.

Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park - Metchosin, Southern Vancouver Island

A beautiful natural setting with hiking trails and a beach as well a lovely waterfall which cascades into the lagoon. Kingfishers, sandpipers, herons and of course Canadian Geese along with warblers and juncos are a few of the over 150 species of birds which have been spotted in the area. The park's nature centre is also has nature programs available. The park is located along the southern shores of the island just west of Victoria. From Victoria follow Highway 1 and take the Colwood exit where you'll head south to Metchosin Road. Follow Metchosin Road to the park entrance and the nature centre. You can also reach the park from Metchosin Road via Duke Road where you'll turn right on Olympic View Drive.

Rocky Point Bird Observatory - Metchosin, Southern Vancouver Island

One of Canada's migration monitoring stations located at the extreme southern tip of Vancouver Island. A wealth of songbirds as well as shearwaters, puffins and murrelets may be observed, along with pelicans, oystercatchers and gulls along with many more varieties. Almost 300 species have been recorded and over 75 appear to breed in the area. Banding is done in the summer/fall but unfortunatly the area is off limits to the public. Rocky Point Bird Observatory

Gulf Islands

Whale Watching & Nature Viewing

Gulf Islands

 

Vancouver Coast & Mountains

 

Vancouver Island

Nature Links

Victoria, Vancouver Island

Gulf Islands

 

British Columbia

National & International


British Columbia Ecological Reserves - BC Parks - Ministry of Conservation

Click on the link above for information on any of the following reserves.

  • Anne Vallee - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Ballingall Straight - Gulf Islands
  • Bowser - Central Vancouver Island
  • Brackman Island - Southern Vancouver Island
  • Beresford Island - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Checleset Bay - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Clanninick Creek - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Claude Elliott Creek - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Cleland Island - Central Vancouver Island
  • Comox Lake Bluffs - Central Vancouver Island
  • Canoe Islet - Gulf Islands
  • Duke of Edinburgh - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Galiano Island - Gulf Islands
  • Haley Lake - Southern Vancouver Island
  • Harmony Bay - Southern Vancouver Island
  • Hudson Rock - Southern Vancouver Island
  • Klanawa River - Southern Vancouver Island
  • Ladysmith Bog - Southern Vancouver Island
  • Megan River - Central Vancouver Island
  • Misty Lake - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Mount Derby - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Mount Elliot - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Mount Maxwell - Southern Vancouver Island
  • Mount Tuam - Gulf Islands
  • Mount Tzuhalem - Southern Vancouver Island
  • Nimpkish River - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Oak Bay Islands - Southern Vancouver Island
  • Nitinat Lake - Southern Vancouver Island
  • Race Rocks - Southern Vancouver Island
  • Robson Bight - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Rose Islet - Gulf Islands
  • San Juan Ridge - Southern Vancouver Island
  • San Juan River Estuary - Southern Vancouver Island
  • Sartine Island - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Satellite Channel - Gulf Islands
  • Saturna Island - Gulf Islands
  • Solander Island - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Sutton Place - Central Vancouver Island
  • Tahsish River - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Ten Mile Point - Southern Vancouver Island
  • Trial Island - Southern Vancouver Island
  • Tsitika Mountain - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Tsitika River - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Woodley Range - Southern Vancouver Island

 

Conservation Lands and Wildlife Management Areas - Ministry of Conservation -
BC Parks

 

Gulf Islands Flora & Fauna (Abridged)

There are an endless variety of animals and plant species in the islands. This humble list is a small beginning for those of you who wish to explore the great diversity of life in the islands terrestrial and marine environments.


Manitoba Nature

Newfoundland & Labrador Nature

Whale Watching in Newfoundland & Labrador


New Brunswick Nature

Whale Watching


Nova Scotia Nature

Whale Watching in Nova Scotia


Ontario Nature

Ontario Conservation Areas & Conservation Authorities

Ontario's conservation areas are often overlooked by visitors to the province. Given the extensive provincial park system and the number of national parks in Ontario, one can understand the oversite but don't miss an opportunity to visit, you'll find every type of outdoor activity imaginable. In total there are 38 conservation authorities in charge of over 300 hundred conservation areas encompassing over 44,000 ha (108,600 acres). The conservation lands are mostly in the southern reaches of the province along the St Lawrence River and the Great Lakes, but there are several in the norther region as well. (more)

Forests

Copeland Forest Resource Management Area - 1750 ha, hiking, cross country skiing, group camping (Contact Springwater Provincial Park). The area has a mixed forest along with fields and marshes. In the spring songbirds are abundant, while plenty of white tales can be observed in the winter. Take the 400 north passed the 11 split to exit 121. From Highway 93, follow Copeland road to the forest.

Simcoe County Forest - (705) 726-9300

Walkers Woods - This is an area of old growth Hemlock, Cedar and Pine located in the heart of the Sauble Beach area. The area is well known for its orchids. Follow Highway 6 north from Owen Sound then head west on the 8 at Hepworth. The forest is about 1km north of the towns main traffic light on the 21.

Reserves

Petral Point Nature Reserve - The reserve is a mix of fen, interspersed with Cedar, Tamarack and Black Spruce. The area is well know of its orchids .Hiking is permitted along boardwalks. Located on the Bruce Peninsula just north of Red Bay. Follow the 6 north of Owen Sound and head west to Red Bay just before Mar then head north to Petral Point Road where you head west to the reserve. Bruce Peninsula, Bruce County

Rubberweed Nature Reserve - An area of Jackpine forests and open bedrock, it is home to a variety of unusual and rare plant species. The area is owned and managed by the Federation of Ontario Naturalists. Follow Highway 6 north of Dyers Bay about 0.5 of a kilometre where you'll see the entrance on the east side of the road. Bruce Peninsula, Bruce County

Crown Land

Residents of Canada can camp without cost on Crown Lands in Northern Ontario (north of the French and Mattawa Rivers). Non-residents must acquire a permit from a district MNR (Ministry of Natural Resources) or at most establishments which sell fishing licenses.

Note: This does not apply to Central Ontario North Region which lies to the south of the French River.

Birding

  • Bruce County Birding Reports - Bruce County
  • Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory - Bruce Peninsula, Bruce County
  • Canadian Peregrine Foundation - Owen Sound, Grey County
  • Huron Fringe Birding Festival - MacGregor Point, Bruce County

    Bracebridge Lagoons - Birding, hiking and cross country skiing. This is reputed to be one of the best birding areas in the Muskokas. Songbirds and warblers are plentiful in the spring and fall, while the summer sees a wealth of shorebirds and waterfowl. The area has an observation tower. Head north on the 400 to the 11 split. Take the exit at Muskoka Falls and head west, then turn left on the 16 to James Kerr Park. The lagoons are just up the hill. Muskoka

    Bruce Peninsula - Over 175 species have been recording nesting on the peninsula. The eastern shore, near the north of the peninsula, have a large variety of waterfowl particularly in the spring. In the early spring you'll also be able to observe Osprey and Bald Eagle since the peninsula provides a land corridor to migrating raptors. Bruce County

    Bognor Marsh - 620 ha, hiking, This mix of forest and wetlands has a boardwalk as well as an observation tower. Species you're likely to see include Pied-billed Grebes, Black Crowned Night Herons, Terns and Bitterns. Follow Highway 10 north to Rockford just south of Owen's Sound, head east on the 18, passed the turnoff for Heath Head, to Concession Road 4. The marsh is located on the north side of the 18. Grey County

    MacGregor Point Provincial Park - Friends of MacGregor Point hold the Huron Fringe Birding Festival each Spring. The park has varied habitat, including wetlands, forest and shoreline. There is a Ducks Unlimited pond with observation tower. Species you're likely to observe include Pied-billed Grebes, Caspian Terns, Black Crowned Night Herons, Blue Herons, Mallards, Wood Ducks, Black Ducks and Red Shouldered Hawks. Bruce County

    Nottawasaga Island Nature Sanctuary - The island has restricted access but birders can take advantage of the Silver Creek Wetlands, on the mainland, to observe some of the islands nesting species which come inland to feed. This includes Great Egrets, Northern Pintails and a variety of Herons and Mergansers. Located off shore in Nottawasaga Bay about 3km west of Collingwood. Take the 400 passed Barrie and pick up the 26 to Collingwood. Simcoe County

Bird Sanctuaries, National & Provincial Wildlife Areas, Migratory Bird Sanctuaries

Chantry Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary - The island has restricted access but a variety of the islands nesting species can be observed from the Southampton shoreline and along the shore road to the south. Watch for Black Crowned Night Herons, Ring Billed Gulls and Double-Crested Cormorants. The island is located just off of Southampton and is managed by the Canadian Wildlife Service To reach Southampton follow the 10 to Owen Sound then head west on the 21.

Eleanor Island National Wildlife Area - The island is a nesting area for a variety of birds and has restricted access. With a boat you can observe the birds from a distance, but be sure to keep your distance, and don't make a wake, which can be a problem for nests. Southern Lake Muskoka just north of Gravenhurst, Muskoka

Tiny Marsh Provincial Wildlife Areas - 900 ha. The area is comprised of forest, field and marsh. Over 250 bird species have been recorded at the marsh. Amongst the heavy concentration of water fowl watch for Virginia Rails, Black Turns, Least Bitterns and Pied-billed Grebe. There is an interpretation center which is open seasonally to the public. From Barrie head north on the 27 passed Elmvale then head west on Tiny Floss Townline to the marsh.


Matchedash Bay - Matchedash Bay is at the lowest extremity of Severn Sound (south Georgian Bay) in the shield transition zone. Birds to watch for are the Black-crowned Night-Heron, Black Tern, Virginia Rail, American Bittern, Least Bittern and King Rails. Locate approximately five kilometres northeast of Coldwater and to the southeast of Waubaushene. Waubaushene, Ontario

 


 

Quebec Nature

Whale Watching in Quebec

 

Montreal

Morgan Arboretum - Hiking, Snowshoeing, Cross Country Skiing At the west end of the Island just north of Ste Anne de Bellevue off of Hwy 40. A great place for a hike or walk, particularly in the Autumn given the wealth of different and unusual trees on the grounds. In the winter you can cross country ski through the forest. Ste Anne-de-Belleveau

Botanical Garden of Montreal - Cross Country Skiing Too often take for granted by Montrealers and now overshadowed by it's neighbor the Olympic Stadium, don't miss visitng the site. The grounds of the botanical gardens are extensive and incredibly beautiful.4101 Sherbrooke E., Montreal

Eastern Townships, Lanaudiere, Laurentians, Monteregie

Whale Watching


 

 

Saskatchewan Nature

Saskatchewan is a nature lovers dream. It is finally coming into its own and being recognized as one of the best birding areas in North America. Being home to North America's oldest wildlife sanctuary is only one of the reasons for birders to visit the province. Saskatchewan has five National Wildlife Areas, fourteen (count-em) Migratory Bird Sanctuaries and two Ramsar Sites along with many other locations identified as "Important Birding Areas". Of course their are are over 100 regional, provincial and national parks that hold out even more opportunities.

Saskatchewan is truly a land of natural diversity. If you're looking to do some exploreing start with the south where you'll find the badlands, the western highlands, the prairies and the facinating coulees. Areas like Grass Lands National Park are dedicated to the protection of the natural prairie, little of which is left now we've started cultivating our own crops. Prairie Dog Towns, slithering rattlesnakes and the remnants of Dinosaurs can be found in this area. Heading north, you'll move through the transition zone into the thick boreal forests where the habitat and animals change dramatically. Bear, moose, elk along with the majestic gold and bald eagles can be observed. Lakes and rivers spread across the vast northern wilderness, providing a stark contrast to the southern regions.

Nature Links

 

Important Birding Areas (IBA)

  • Barber Lake - IBA - outside Wiseton
  • Basin and Middle Lakes - IBA, MBS, WHSRN - 40km to the north of the town of Humboldt, Middle Lake, Saskatchewan
  • Big Muddy Lake - IBA - 24km south of the town of Bengough, Saskatchewan
  • Bigstick Lake Plain (Great Sand Hills) - IBA - between Fox Valley and Tompkins, Saskatchewan
  • Blackstrap Coulee - IBA, Black Strap Provincial Park - just outside of Dundurn, Saskatchewan
  • Blaine Lakes - IBA, WHSRN - between Blaine Lake and Krydor, Saskatchewan
  • Buffer Lake - IBA - just to the northeast of Vonda, Saskatchewan
  • Cabri - IBA - in the area of the town of Cabri, Saskatchewan
  • Chaplin Lake - IBA, WHSRN - outside Chaplin, Saskatchewan
  • Coteau Lakes - IBA - just to the south of Minton, Saskatchewan
  • Cumberland Marshes - IBA - are to the south of and including Cumberland House, Saskatchewan
  • Cyrpress Lake - IBA - southwester, Saskatchewan
  • Dryboro/Burn Lake - IBA - Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration - west of Ormiston, Saskatchewan
  • Dundurn Sandhills - IBA
  • East Lake Diefenbaker - IBA, Provincial Park - southwest of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  • Eyebrow Lake - IBA - near the town of Tugaske, Saskatchewan
  • Foam Lake - IBA - a short distance to the northwest of Foam Lake, Saskatchewan
  • Galloway and Mira Bay - IBA - 20km north of the town of Cabri, Saskatchewan
  • Grasslands (east) - Grasslands National Park - Killedeer, Saskatchewan
  • Grasslands (west) - Grasslands National Park - Val Marie, Saskatchewan
  • Govenlock-Nashlyn-Battle Creek Grasslands - IBA, Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration - Consul, Saskatchewan
  • Ingebright Lake - IBA - southwestern, Saskatchewan
  • Kazen Lake - IBA, Provincial Wildlife Refuge - 30km to the south of Buffalo Narrows, Saskatchewan
  • Kindersley-Elma - IBA - between Smiley and Kindersley, Saskatchewan
  • Kutawagan - IBA - a short distanct to the northeast of Nokomis, Saskatchewan
  • Lake Lenore - IBA, MBS, NWA - between St. Brieux and Lenore, Saskatchewan
  • Landis Lake - IBA - outside Landis, Saskatchewan
  • Last Mountain Lake - IBA, NWA, MBS, WHSRN - at the north end of Last Mountain Lake over 100km southeast of Saskatoon, Imperial, Saskatchewan
  • Lavallee Lake - IBA, Prince Albert National Park - located in the northwest corner of the park, Saskatchewan
  • Luck Lake - IBA, Heritage Marsh Program - outside Birsay, Saskatchewan
  • Mantario Hills - IBA - west of the town of Mantario, Saskatchewan
  • Maple Creek Grasslands - IBA - Maple Creek, Saskatchewan
  • Minito Lake - IBA - in the area of Marsden, Saskatchewan
  • Midnight Lake - IBA - north of Glaslyn, Saskatchewan
  • Nicolle Flats -IBA, Buffalo Pound Provincial Park - a short distance northeast of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
  • Old Wives-Frederick Lakes - IBA, MBS, WHSRN - southwest of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
  • Paysen/Kettlehut Lake - outside Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
  • Pelican Lake - IBA - outside Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
  • Ponass Lake - IBA - Rose Valley, Saskatchewan
  • Porcupine Hills
  • Porter Lake - IBA, WHSRN - northeast of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  • Primrose Lake - IBA, Provincial Wildlife Refuge - Primrose Lake Air Weapons Range, Saskatchewan
  • Quill Lakes - IBA, Heritage Marsh, Ramsar Site, WHSRN, Provincial Wildlife Refuge - just to the north of Wynyard, Saskatchewan
  • Radisson Lake - northwest of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  • Redberry Lake - IBA, MBS, NWR outside Hafford, Saskatchewan
  • Reed Lake - IBA, WHSRN - Morse, Saskatchewan
  • Rice Lake - a short distance southwest of Asquith, Saskatchewan
  • South Saskatchewan River (Empress to Lancer) - IBA - Leader, Saskatchewan
  • Suggi Lake - IBA - 50km northwest of Cumberland House, Saskatchewan
  • Tobin Lake - IBA, Wildlife Sanctuary - above the Campbell Dam on the North Saskatchewan River, Nipawin, Tobin Lake, Saskatchewan
  • Valeport Marsh - IBA, Provincial Recreation Site, Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration, Provincial Game Preserve - on Last Mountain Lake just to the northwest of Craven, Saskatchewan
  • Willow Bunch Lake - IBA - just to the north of Willow Bunch, Saskatchewan

MBS - Migratory Bird Sanctuary
NWA - National Wildife Area
WHSRN - Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network

Migratory Bird Sanctuaries and National Wildlife Areas

  • Duncairn Reservoir
  • Indian Head
  • Last Mountain Lake
  • Lenore Lake
  • Murray Lake
  • Old Wives Lake
  • Opuntia Lake
  • Redberry Lake
  • Scent Grass Lake
  • Upper Rousay Lake
  • Val Marie Reservoir
  • Wascana Lake

Provincial Parks

Regional Parks

 

Canadian Nature and Birding Links

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