Tag Archives: Cootes paradise

Great Lakes Ecosystem-Shame Hamilton-poor water Quality

31/08/14

Great Lakes Literacy, Principles Four & Five – Water makes Earth habitable

Heron
Heron

The Great Lakes contain approximately 20% of Earth’s surface fresh water, and fresh water has many unique properties. Water is essential for life, and all living processes occur in an aqueous environment. Every aquatic and terrestrial organism in the Great Lakes basin requires a source of fresh water to survive.

Baltimore oriole
Baltimore oriole

Life in the Great Lakes ranges in size from the smallest blue-green bacteria to the largest animal that lives in the Great Lakes, the lake sturgeon. Most life in the Great Lakes exists as microorganisms. Microorganisms, such as phytoplankton and cyanobacteria, are the most important primary producers in the lakes.

The Great Lakes’ watershed supports organisms from every kingdom on Earth and Great Lakes biology provides many examples of life cycles, adaptations, and important relationships among organisms, such as symbionts, predator-prey dynamics, and energy transfer.

Blue heron Flight
Blue heron Flight

Blue heron flight2 (2)

The Great Lakes ecosystem provides habitat for both terrestrial and aquatic species. The Great Lakes are three-dimensional, offering vast living space and diverse habitats from the shoreline and surface down

Goldfinch
Goldfinch

through the water column to the lake floor. Great Lakes’ habitats are defined by environmental factors.  As

a result of interactions involving abiotic factors such as temperature, clarity, depth, oxygen, light, pressure, substrate type and circulation, life in the Great Lakes is not evenly distributed. Abiotic factors can change daily, seasonally or annually due to natural and human influences.

Gosling
Gosling
juevenileblackcrownedheron (2)
Black crowned night heron

Ecosystem processes influence the distribution and diversity of organisms from surface to bottom and nearshore to offshore. Wetlands, including coastal marshes and freshwater estuaries, provide important and productive nursery areas for many species that rely on these habitats for protective structure, hunting grounds, migration stops and raising offspring.

Life cycles, behaviors, habitats and the abundance of organisms in the Great Lakes have all been altered, in some cases to the good and others to the bad, by intentional and unintentional introduction of non-native plant and animal species.

Osprey
Osprey

Osprey2

 

This year I have noticed a large decline in the wildlife also vegetation and water quality. Therefore all Summer images are in the “one post”

Last year Hamilton did not know what to do with a huge deposit of coal tar from years of Foundry work going on in Hamilton Harbour.Last year they covered the poison with a big Metal Dome, I think

this has upset the balance and has made this area,s water poor quality.(DEADLY)And deadly too wildlife-sadly enough, Last year I saw maybe 100 Black crowned herons same as Blue Herons and maybe 4 Green herons-this year not “one” all Summer long.I say stop making our public trails cement covered and stop selling french fries and using pesticides on plants on the trail Hamilton “SHAME”

 

Hope things change

Canadian Beaver
Canadian Beaver

 

Doug Worrall Photography

Cootes Paradise Just gets Better-Hamilton

At Valley Inn this week

30/09/13

My Favorite area for wildlife
My Favorite area for wildlife

Osprey action has been minimal with most of the birds having left two weeks ago-Yesterday saw one, will attach image-taken with morning light.

Osprey
Osprey

I also heard from other photographers The odd Osprey is still in the area and one was pursued by an adult Bald Eagle Tuesday, which was unable to retrieve the fish the Osprey dropped.

I have never seen a Bald Eagle.

Some mud flats have appeared and we get a few late shorebirds most days. Wood ducks are staging up in the area, a few fly over most days within photo range.

Great Egrets have been few so far though 2-3 are often present. With a few opportunities for flight shots.

In Flight Egret
In Flight Egret
egret dancing
egret dancing

The three Green heron  that have been around for several weeks are still here but will move south soon. Great blue and Black-crowned Night Herons are often within camera range though this year the Black Crowned numbers are very low at Valley Inn.Yesterday one flew into camera range-it is attached. But they are not as easy to capture.

Whitetail deer
Whitetail deer
Just before Fog Moved-in
Just before Fog Moved-in
In Flight
In Flight

Warblers have been seen in moderate numbers all week, Woodlands cemetery is best in early morning

Blue Heron
Blue Heron

King fishers have been active lately, yesterday saw four in one tree.

Cormorant
Cormorant

Cedar Waxwings are beginning to appear in numbers, look for them feeding on Honeysuckle berries

A good shoot this week has been a tame Ruddy duck, present for several days and very approachable-albeit I missed HIM

Night Heron
Night Heron

Wild Asters are abundant and bees gathering winter pollen have been very numerous this week

Sources-Area Update-Wikipedia

 

Doug Worrall

Photographer

Wetlands – Cootes Paradise Marsh- Hamilton

History of Cootes Paradise Marsh

September 15 2013

Blue heron in flight
Blue heron in flight

 

Prior to the 20th century, the nutrient-rich, shallow waters of Cootes Paradise thrived as a coastal freshwater marsh habitat. Almost 100 percent of Cootes Paradise was covered with emergent aquatic plants like wild rice and submergent plants like wild celery, providing food, shelter and migration stop-overs for a variety of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects. The lush wetland also provided ideal spawning, nursery and adult habitat for many fish like bass, perch, pike, herring and trout. This lead to its protection, first as a fish sanctuary in the 1870’s, and then as a wildlife preserve in 1927, and finally through the formation of the Royal Botanical Gardens in the 1930’s.

Blue heron in flight
Blue heron in flight

The plentiful flora and fauna of Great Lakes coastal freshwater marshes did not go unnoticed by settlers in the 1800s. Cootes Paradise and its surrounding natural habitats offered abundant fishing and hunting opportunities, fertile farmland and convenient access to water. However, human settlement of Hamilton Harbour and its surrounding natural lands brought with it several Stressor’s  that, over time, had a cumulative impact on the natural abundance of Cootes Paradise and neighboring lower Grindstone Creek marshes. Throughout Cootes Paradise’s watersheds, agricultural practices and residential, commercial and industrial development contaminated connecting creeks with sewage effluent, eroded soil and sediment and chemical runoff and destabilized flow patterns. In 1852 the Desjardins Canal, a shipping channel dissecting the marsh was recut through the centre of Burlington Heights directly connecting the marsh to the lake water levels, and disconnecting it from the Grindstone Creek marshes. In 1957 the lake water level became regulated with the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway further disrupting natural water cycles in the marsh.

Good morning
Good morning
Bee eye reflect
Bee eye reflect

Introduced European and Asian species thrived in this altered environment. Among the first non native species (1870’s) the common carp was purposely introduced as a replacement for the disappearing salmon. The feeding and spawning behaviors of non-native carp uprooted and destroyed marsh plants and re-suspended sediment muddying the waters. By the end of the 19th century, in addition to the rapidly rising carp population, exotic plant species like purple loose-strife and reed manna grass, also purposely introduced to North America, began successfully out-competing and eradicating, native plants in the wet meadow areas.

Downey Woodpecker
Downey Woodpecker
Blue Jay
Blue Jay
Natural
Natural

As human pressures on the watersheds increased, the decline in the health and biodiversity of Cootes Paradise became markedly visible. By the 1930s Cootes Paradise experienced a 15% permanent reduction in marsh vegetation, and by 1985 the level of plant loss reached 85% of its original coverage. This permanent loss of aquatic flora had a direct negative impact on water quality and the fish and wildlife inhabitants and economies of Lake Ontario. Since its dramatic decline began the Garden’s has been focused on restoring Cootes Paradise, with carp removal first attempted in the 1950’s.

Green Heron and Dinner
Green Heron and Dinner
Green Heron
Green Heron
Green Heron
Green Heron

Concerns over environmental degradation led the International Joint Commission to designate Hamilton Harbour as one of 42 Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes. In 1986, the Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan was initiated to address this environmental degradation in the Harbour and key remaining areas like Cootes Paradise and lower Grindstone Creek. Under this plan, a variety of new conservation projects and monitoring programs have been implemented by a variety of stakeholders to control pollution, restore and improve fish and wildlife habitat and communicate the health status of the wetlands.

Osprey
Osprey

 

Snake
Snake

For the last four years, I have been Biking the Harbourfront trail, Hiking into Cootes Paradise and learning more each day.As you notice, the Wildlife seem’s to be getting better in our wetlands.

 

Enjoy The Images

Doug Worrall Photographer