Peregrine falcons make new Stoney Creek sanctuary a hit with birders

News Feb 26, 2015 Stoney Creek News

By Richard Leitner, News Staff

A new nature sanctuary planned for an open meadow by the Vinemount quarry in upper Stoney Creek has already drawn some star attractions rarely seen elsewhere in the Hamilton area.

Jen Baker, land trust coordinator at the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club, said endangered Peregrine falcons built a nest by the quarry last year, successfully raising three offspring.

The only other confirmed nesting spots in this area are by the lift bridge over the Burlington Canal and at downtown’s Sheraton Hotel, she said

“It’s a newish nest, which is kind of exciting,” Baker said. “It suggests the parents will return and the Peregrine populations are coming back.”

The new 16-hectare sanctuary is being made possible by a partnership between the club and Waterford Sand and Gravel Inc., owner of the Vinemount quarry, which is leasing the land for 24 years at a nominal fee.

Baker said the area, located north of the quarry and west of 10th Road East, is already “hugely popular” with bird watchers and is the southernmost nesting area for ravens in Canada.

Other rare birds include the bobolink, eastern meadowlark, upland sandpiper and short-eared owl, all considered threatened in Ontario.

The meadow is also a way station for Monarch butterflies, a species of special concern that feeds on nectar from goldenrods and asters during its fall migration, she said.

“It’s all the birders who noticed all of this, which is pretty neat,” Baker said. “It’s a good mix of habitat and that’s what brings different species because there’s room for everybody, and then lots of different prey as well for the raptors.”

Bill Kester, general manager and vice-president of Waterford, said his company is excited about the project and was happy to offer the land when approached by the club about a year ago.

He said the meadow, which is adjacent to the Dofasco Trail and traversed by a rail line, is a good base for a potentially larger sanctuary in the future and isn’t needed by Waterford for quarrying.

“It’s a pretty busy spot for our types of quarrying activities and the birds seem to thrive in that area,” Kester said. “I guess we’re at one with nature.”

Baker said her club plans to enhance the meadow with some planting and turn it into an outdoor classroom for local school kids.

The longer term goal is to use it as a springboard to re-establish the Saltfleet marsh and connect it with the Vinemount swamp for a larger sanctuary of 80 to 120 hectares, she said, noting the meadow is also near the city’s 87 Acres Park.

“If you look at the quarry even itself, we know that when they’re done that will never be houses,” Baker said.

“We’re also, as part of this, starting to talk to them. They don’t just have to fill it with water and throw Kentucky bluegrass down. There are different opportunities that they can do, so that can be part of a long, long-term vision as well because we know it won’t be developed.”

Peregrine falcons make new Stoney Creek sanctuary a hit with birders

News Feb 26, 2015 Stoney Creek News

By Richard Leitner, News Staff

A new nature sanctuary planned for an open meadow by the Vinemount quarry in upper Stoney Creek has already drawn some star attractions rarely seen elsewhere in the Hamilton area.

Jen Baker, land trust coordinator at the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club, said endangered Peregrine falcons built a nest by the quarry last year, successfully raising three offspring.

The only other confirmed nesting spots in this area are by the lift bridge over the Burlington Canal and at downtown’s Sheraton Hotel, she said

“It’s a newish nest, which is kind of exciting,” Baker said. “It suggests the parents will return and the Peregrine populations are coming back.”

The new 16-hectare sanctuary is being made possible by a partnership between the club and Waterford Sand and Gravel Inc., owner of the Vinemount quarry, which is leasing the land for 24 years at a nominal fee.

Baker said the area, located north of the quarry and west of 10th Road East, is already “hugely popular” with bird watchers and is the southernmost nesting area for ravens in Canada.

Other rare birds include the bobolink, eastern meadowlark, upland sandpiper and short-eared owl, all considered threatened in Ontario.

The meadow is also a way station for Monarch butterflies, a species of special concern that feeds on nectar from goldenrods and asters during its fall migration, she said.

“It’s all the birders who noticed all of this, which is pretty neat,” Baker said. “It’s a good mix of habitat and that’s what brings different species because there’s room for everybody, and then lots of different prey as well for the raptors.”

Bill Kester, general manager and vice-president of Waterford, said his company is excited about the project and was happy to offer the land when approached by the club about a year ago.

He said the meadow, which is adjacent to the Dofasco Trail and traversed by a rail line, is a good base for a potentially larger sanctuary in the future and isn’t needed by Waterford for quarrying.

“It’s a pretty busy spot for our types of quarrying activities and the birds seem to thrive in that area,” Kester said. “I guess we’re at one with nature.”

Baker said her club plans to enhance the meadow with some planting and turn it into an outdoor classroom for local school kids.

The longer term goal is to use it as a springboard to re-establish the Saltfleet marsh and connect it with the Vinemount swamp for a larger sanctuary of 80 to 120 hectares, she said, noting the meadow is also near the city’s 87 Acres Park.

“If you look at the quarry even itself, we know that when they’re done that will never be houses,” Baker said.

“We’re also, as part of this, starting to talk to them. They don’t just have to fill it with water and throw Kentucky bluegrass down. There are different opportunities that they can do, so that can be part of a long, long-term vision as well because we know it won’t be developed.”

Peregrine falcons make new Stoney Creek sanctuary a hit with birders

News Feb 26, 2015 Stoney Creek News

By Richard Leitner, News Staff

A new nature sanctuary planned for an open meadow by the Vinemount quarry in upper Stoney Creek has already drawn some star attractions rarely seen elsewhere in the Hamilton area.

Jen Baker, land trust coordinator at the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club, said endangered Peregrine falcons built a nest by the quarry last year, successfully raising three offspring.

The only other confirmed nesting spots in this area are by the lift bridge over the Burlington Canal and at downtown’s Sheraton Hotel, she said

“It’s a newish nest, which is kind of exciting,” Baker said. “It suggests the parents will return and the Peregrine populations are coming back.”

The new 16-hectare sanctuary is being made possible by a partnership between the club and Waterford Sand and Gravel Inc., owner of the Vinemount quarry, which is leasing the land for 24 years at a nominal fee.

Baker said the area, located north of the quarry and west of 10th Road East, is already “hugely popular” with bird watchers and is the southernmost nesting area for ravens in Canada.

Other rare birds include the bobolink, eastern meadowlark, upland sandpiper and short-eared owl, all considered threatened in Ontario.

The meadow is also a way station for Monarch butterflies, a species of special concern that feeds on nectar from goldenrods and asters during its fall migration, she said.

“It’s all the birders who noticed all of this, which is pretty neat,” Baker said. “It’s a good mix of habitat and that’s what brings different species because there’s room for everybody, and then lots of different prey as well for the raptors.”

Bill Kester, general manager and vice-president of Waterford, said his company is excited about the project and was happy to offer the land when approached by the club about a year ago.

He said the meadow, which is adjacent to the Dofasco Trail and traversed by a rail line, is a good base for a potentially larger sanctuary in the future and isn’t needed by Waterford for quarrying.

“It’s a pretty busy spot for our types of quarrying activities and the birds seem to thrive in that area,” Kester said. “I guess we’re at one with nature.”

Baker said her club plans to enhance the meadow with some planting and turn it into an outdoor classroom for local school kids.

The longer term goal is to use it as a springboard to re-establish the Saltfleet marsh and connect it with the Vinemount swamp for a larger sanctuary of 80 to 120 hectares, she said, noting the meadow is also near the city’s 87 Acres Park.

“If you look at the quarry even itself, we know that when they’re done that will never be houses,” Baker said.

“We’re also, as part of this, starting to talk to them. They don’t just have to fill it with water and throw Kentucky bluegrass down. There are different opportunities that they can do, so that can be part of a long, long-term vision as well because we know it won’t be developed.”