As a long time resident of the area, I have fallen in love with the Bluffer’s Park and the Bluffs in general.  In the middle of a concrete city it is an oasis in which to unwind, enjoy, photograph, or just walk.

I have seen many species of birds, mammals, insects, plants, fish, and I learn more every year. As a serious amateur photographer, it is a necessity to be able to identify what you are photographing!

Among the birds I have seen are a Belted Kingfisher (too quick and elusive for my lens), Black-crowned Night Herons, Green Herons, and even a Brown Pelican.  Ducks and geese including the Black Duck, Green-winged Teal, Gadwall, Buffleheads, Wood Ducks, Caspian Terns, and some crossbred ducks.  Canada Geese are abundant and will often stop traffic as they cross the road single file. Beavers make there home here, as well as a family of weasels that I spotted running across the bridge on one of the lagoons, but first made a quick stop, gave me the once over, and continued on their way,  I think I counted six in all. Also  I have seen Japanese Carp that I assume were once pets swimming while people fish.

My first love, the Trumpeter Swans, can be found here, sometimes in abundance.  I think one spring day I counted over thirty.  Mute Swans can also be found here, and are an introduced species, and will raise their wings as a sign of aggression to warn intruders to stay away from their territory.  Unfortunately they will badger the Trumpeters who are not so aggressive.  The Trumpeters were almost extirpated from Ontario, but have made a strong comeback due to the breeding program set up by the Wye Marsh in Midland, Ontario. They are quite habituated to humans and most of them sport ID tags so they can be monitored by the Wye Marsh breeding program.

On a summer’s day you can spot butterflies, water-lilies, and if you are lucky maybe a monarch caterpillar.  Dragonflies, damselflies, also make this place home.  You just need to go for a stroll and you will be rewarded with at least a few special sightings of something new I am sure!  In the fall it is a migration route along the edge of the lake for birds and butterflies going south to over-winter.  Thousands  can be seen.

The Bluffs are an ecosystem in a big metropolis.   I hope it will be protected for future generations and for those who don’t have time to get a “nature fix” out of the city.  The Bluffs are a perfect spot to unwind and spend time with your family, or just to go for a walk .  It will re-energize you!

I hope you will come to enjoy it, respect it, and cherish it as much as I do.

Jackie Schuknecht works full time and has been a serious amateur photographer for three years.  She spends a lot of time walking and photographing at the Bluffs.


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