Waterfront Wildlife Tour

On Sunday October 25 in the morning, 38 people gathered in Douglas Fluhrer park to participate in the Wildlife Tour of the Inner Harbour, offered free of charge by the Kingston Field Naturalists in partnership with Wellington X. Members of the KFN shared their telescopes with the crowd so that we could see many birds up close.

On this tour provided by guides Lesley Rudy and Kurt Hennige, I learned that it is better for wildlife to have a natural shoreline, ideally a distance of 30m from the water. This means no mowing of grass right up against the shore. This is important to enable filtration of contaminants going into the water, nesting habitat, shade that provides microclimates, food sources and more. Some food for thought regarding our shoreline in this park.

I also learned that the Inner Harbour is home to hundreds of species of birds, at least 3 kinds of snakes, at least 3 kinds of turtles, at least 3 species of frogs, over 36 species of fish. Muskrats, minks, beavers, deer, foxes, rabbits, groundhogs live there; people have even seen coyotes in the winter. We saw American Wigeon, Northern Shoveler, Gadwall, Redhead and — of special note — Ruddy duck. Kurt said that the inner harbour is one if the best places in North America to see this less common species.

While I have been aware that the Inner Harbour has been regenerating itself after a long period of industrial use, I didn’t realize how biodiverse a place it is. Yet another reminder of the importance of waterfront protection that focuses on environmental sustainability and that creates public access in a way that doesn’t harm the wildlife.

Thanks to everyone who attended and to Lesley, Kurt and the other Kingston Field Naturalists for sharing your knowledge and scopes with us!

— Sayyida Jaffer

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