Tag Archives: Wildlife

The Hamilton Harbour Waterfront Trail

The Hamilton Harbour Waterfront Trail

Friday November 12 2010

Taken from The trail

Today was overcast but caught and released a 10 pound carp in the picture below.Albeit, rainbow trout was what I was going for.After two weeks with no-luck, was happy to catch any fish.

Even with the less than appropriate weather for photography, the beauty of the Harbour brings me back each day with a new discovery with  every visit.

The City of Hamilton and its partners officially opened the Hamilton Harbour Waterfront Trail and fish and wildlife habitat enhancements on July 1, 2000.  The 3.4 kilometre long multi-use trail makes its way along the shore from Bayfront Park to Princess Point, and through the Desjardins Canal with a floating walkway paralleling the boat channel.

The trail connects to the Trans Canada Trail, the Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail in Burlington, and the Desjardins Canal bordering Cootes Paradise.  Special attention has been given to ensure universal accessibility, and to provide residents and tourists with focal points to observe natural, historic, and cultural features such as Cootes Paradise, Dundurn Castle, and the Royal Botanical Gardens.

This trail project allowed residents and visitors alike to appreciate our past and look to the future as the City and its partners continue working on the principles of sustainability and enhancing our overall quality of life.

Fish and Wildlife Habitat

Most harbour fish spend part of their life within the marshlands of Cootes Paradise and the Mouth of Grindstone Creek.  The shoreline of the harbour’s western basin is a corridor connecting these marshlands to the rest of the harbour.  A corridor “trail” for fish and other shoreline wildlife has been enhanced as part of the project.

Underwater structures marked by vegetative outcrops, “mini islands” provide permanent nearshore protection and incorporate fish habitat features into the design.  Landscaping techniques and the use of natural materials make the structures visually attractive.  The habitat requirements of native piscivores (Bass, Pike, Yellow Perch), specialists (Alewife, Gizzard Shad, Logperch), and generalists (Minnows) have been considered in the selection and configuration of the habitat structures.  Many of the habitat structures will benefit several species simultaneously, owing to the overlap in habitat requirements of species.

Mini Islands

The planting of trees and shrubs enhance the shoreline.  A willow trench has been dug along sections of the shoreline and overhanging branches create shade for fish, perches for birds, and cover for waterfowl.  Marsh pockets have been restored to the near shore in the Strachan Channel along with spawning beds for Bass.  In total, an area of approximately 26 hectares has been improved for harbour fish and wildlife along the trail corridor.

Plant Material

Native plant material that is diverse and site-appropriate was incorporated into the design of the trail.  Tree species including indigenous varieties of Maple, Birch, Serviceberry, Ash, Poplar, Cherry, Oak, Willow, Pine, and Cedar were planted by volunteers, City staff, and contractors.  Additional plantings of indigenous shrubs, ground covers, perennials, and vines were also included in the project.

Points of Interest

Bayfront Park

Bayfront Park existed originally as a former industrial landfill site under private ownership.  In 1984, the City of Hamilton expropriated the land for use as a public park.  In 1992/93, the site was remediated and transformed into a versatile public green space.  Park features include a 1.5 kilometre multi-use asphalt pathway, naturalized areas of shrub, trees and wildflowers, a public boat launch, grass amphitheater, beach area, expansive lawn area, and a parking lot with an elevated observation desk.  Since its opening in 1993, this site has become one of the City’s most popular parks.

CN Marshalling Yard

The CN Marshalling yard is located on Stuart Street between Bay and Queen Streets.  The arrival of the railway in the 1850’s and 1860’s led to industrial growth and residential development in this area.  The railway, in conjunction with Hamilton’s shipping industry, provided Hamilton with an efficient, effective transportation system and encouraged firms to move to Hamilton.  The rail yard once included extensive maintenance and repair facilities, machine shops, warehouses, docks and offices, but, over time, these have been discontinued at this location.  Opportunities exist to recall these important activities through interpretive panels.

Dundurn Park

Located between the CN Marshalling Yard and York Blvd., Dundurn Park features Dundurn Castle, the Hamilton Military Museum, and Cockpit Theatre, and the Coach House Restaurant.  The land, once owned by Richard Beasley, was sold to John Soloman Cartwright in 1832, and then in the same year to Sir Allan Napier MacNab, one of Canada’s first Premiers.  MacNab commissioned Robert Wetherell, an architect, to design the castle.  The castle was constructed over the foundations of Beasley’s home and was completed in 1835.  In 1899, the City purchased the estate and maintains the Castle to depict the lifestyle of the original inhabitants.  Plaques mark the importance of MacNab’s career and the Dundurn Estate, which is designated as a National Historic Site.  In addition to the Castle, Robert Wetherell designed two adjacent buildings for MacNab: the Gardener’s Cottage and Castle Doune.

Harvey Park

Harvey Park is located next to Dundurn Park on York Blvd., and was formerly known as Burlington Heights Park.  The park was renamed Harvey Park in 1894 after Sir John Harvey, a British Soldier who distinguished himself during the War of 1812 and the Rebellion of 1837.  Records show that Richard Beasley was among the first settlers in this area and arrived around 1785.  Beasley built the first log house in the district in the area known as Burlington Heights, constructed a wharf, and traded to newcomers and would-be settlers.  In later years, he built a brick house on Burlington Heights, which was later incorporated as part of Dundurn Castle.

Floating Structure

The floating structure consists of eight (8) floats measuring 16.76 metres x 6 metres.  Each float is constructed with expanded polystyrene encased in 100-150mm of concrete with steel mesh and parging on the bottom.  Approximately 20cu meters of concrete was used in each section.  One float weighs approximately 80 tonnes.  The sections attached to ramps have extra flotation.  The sections are connected by a cabling system and the complete walkway is hinged to concrete footings.  This floating structure is designed to carry emergency and maintenance vehicles and will fluctuate with water levels up to 3m, or greater than 100 year storm conditions.

November colours

Desjardins Canal/High Level Bridge

The gap spanned by the High Level Bridge is not a natural feature; it was cut in the early 1850’s to provide a new route for the Desjardins Canal when the railroad came to Hamilton.  The canal was opened in 1837, allowing Dundas, the local centre of commerce, to be accessed by hundreds of boats and barges.

The decision was made to run the railroad into Hamilton instead of Dundas, but it meant that the tracks would have to cross the “Heights”.  Rather than maintain swing bridges across the canal route, railway engineers felt it was simpler to fill in parts of the old canal channel and make a new cut through the Heights.  A high bridge was built to span the gap, eliminating the need for swing bridges.  When the cut was made, Mastodon and Giant Elk bones were found fossilized deep in the bar.  Burlington Heights is a giant sandbar formed at the end of the last ice age, when Lake Ontario was about 35 metres higher than present.  During its formation, a lagoon formed to the west, submersing all of Cootes, its north shore, and much of the area now occupied by the Westdale Neighbourhood.

The Fishway

The Fishway is located on the Desjardins Canal between Hamilton Harbour and Cootes Paradise, under the McQuesten (High-Level) Bridge on York Blvd.  The primary function of the Fishway is to prevent the spring migration of adult carp from Hamilton Harbour into the marsh.  The Fishway is equipped with a series of baskets to capture fish and pass them over the Fishway.

Desjardins Trail

The Desjardins Recreational Trail forms a 1 kilometre long link between Cootes Paradise, Hamilton Harbour, and Kay Drage Park on Macklin Street North.  The Trail was initially developed as an access road to maintain the Cootes Paradise Fishway located at the historically significant Desjardins Canal.

Cootes Paradise

Cootes Paradise Marsh is part of the Royal Botanical gardens (RBG).  This area was once an extensive cattail marsh, and the RBG, in conjunction with partners including the Fish & Wildlife Habitat Restoration Project, the Bay Area Restoration Council, McMaster University, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, are working to restore this sanctuary.  Over 20 kilometres of hiking trails surround the marsh, with access to the Bruce Trail.  An exhibit outlining the story of Cootes Paradise, its history and restoration, is a feature of the Nature Interpretive Centre, located in the RBG Arboretum on the north shore.

Parking is available at Bayfront Park, entry off Bay Street North at Simcoe Street West.  Washrooms are located in the parking lot  and are open April to November from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily, with portable units along the Hamilton Harbour Waterfront Trail.

Funding Contributions

The Hamilton Harbour Waterfront Trail has received generous financial and service-in-kind support from the following Government Agencies, the Private Sector, and the Citizens of Hamilton.

  • Millennium Partnership Program
  • Fish & Wildlife Habitat Restoration Project
  • Waterfront Regeneration Trust
  • Dofasco Inc.
  • Bay Area Restoration Council
  • Hamilton Harbour Commissioners
  • Hamilton Naturalists’ Club
  • Regional Tree Planting Program
  • Columbian Chemicals
  • CN
  • Berminghammer Foundation Equipment
  • Hamilton-Wentworth Land Stewardship Council
  • Canusa Games – Hamilton Branch
  • City of Hamilton
  • Public at large

The Hamilton Harbour Waterfront Trail is supported by the City of Hamilton, Canada Millennium Partnership Program, Fish & Wildlife Habitat Restoration Project, The Waterfront Regeneration Trust, and the community at large.

Thank you

Photography by

Doug Worrall Photography

Flash Photography and Wildlife Hamilton

Flash Photography and Wildlife Hamilton

Puddles, Leaves and Flash Photography

Sunday October 3rd 2010

My cat Angel diffused flash

When the weather gets crazy; rain provides some of the best conditions for exploring the creative side of photograph.  Different behaviour patterns come out in people, during the rain.  Watching people through a camera lens in rain can bring about interesting portraits.  Just like any other action shot, the rain is moving.   Glory of rain drops on fall colours in Indian Summer include: the splashing everlasting raindrops falling on the unforgiving concrete; , water as it beads off trees; that is, the rain makes trees look like they are dripping, when the rain hits the puddles it looks like the rain is producing bubbles. Puddle adventures are metaphoric  like little rocks hitting a bongo drum. Surveying various leaf formations and colours, including capturing the rough textures on the bottom of leaves.    Making the photograph composition interesting, several patterns during rain are observed as wonderful objects for abstract and architectural photography.  For example, a spider’s web, the droplets of water delineate into a mosaic pattern; and,  rain droplets act as a mirror producing a plethora of reflection.  of rain water serves a light reflectors, adding a sense of “awe” and an abstract feeling to the image in the photograph.  To the naked eye, a rainy day or thunderstorm can be a beautiful event.  Scan each and every puddle, leaves, trees, a  blade of grass for a great view you would never come across on a bright and sunny day.  When photographing with Flash  photography in the rain you need to shoot with shallow depth of field so water droplets are in perfect focus.  Flash photography includes a device used in photography that process a  flash artificial light, typically 1/1,000 to 1/200 a second at a colour temperature of about 5500K.

Mute swan flash Signet and Cob

Leaves and their various fall colours are affected by the amount of rain they get during the year.  A severe drought will delay the colours a few weeks.  A warm, wet period during autumn will lower the intensity, or brightness of the colours.  The best colours occur when weather conditions included a warm, wet spring; a summer that is not too hot nor too dry, and an autumn that has sunny days and cool nights.  But, in Canada, we have many evergreen trees.  The needles of the evergreen trees do not change colour, they are covered with a heavy wax coating and the fluids inside the cells contain substances that resist freezing; therefore they are ever green all year   Water drops of rain add another dimension to leaves being photographed – like being rejuvenated.

Hamilton harbour drizzle

Puddles can be considered bodies of water.  In fact they can look like mini-lakes.  If you look at the street lamp in a puddle of rain water at night you will observe it is surrounded by a lot of sparks rising when a drop of rain has fallen.  They look like small lines of light radiating from the reflection.  Sometimes in a shower, the rain drops are not observable in the bright sky, but they are on trees.  The rain droplets  can be seen only when they deflect the light from its path .And they  bring brightness where formerly it was dark. That is because the light rays are deflected chiefly through fairly small angles and the more the brightness of the background changes for a small deflection of the light, the more clearly the drops of rain will be seen. Rain drops can be seen shining like pearls against a dark background; but, against a light sky they seldom appear dark.  This is an application of the general principle that the eye is sensitive to the ratio of light-intensities, not their difference.  If raindrops are close to us, such as large drops of rain off our umbrellas – they look dark as they fall, and during a heavy rain we can see dark parallel streaks against the light background of a gap in the sombre rain-clouds.  Similar phenomena can be observed in fountains and in the jet of water from a garden hose spray. In optical laws, the distribution of light is reflected at the surface of the raindrop and to the rays that have passed through the drop after refraction.  They cause the light to deviate only through  small angles.

Misty Day

Doug Worrall



Thursday august 5th 2010

All Pictures today are shot with Nikon D90

Nikkor 80-200mm ED 1:2.8D

Manually/auto focus

Aperature priority
After a few days travelling to London Ontario Canada, was Happy to be back on the trail again
at Hamilton Harborfront Trail.London Ontario is my home town, and had the unique opportunity
to evaluate change in architectural and natural surroundings. Downtown London has evolved into
a cultural oasis. Talbot square is no longer and nothing of aesthetic value has been  replaced it. The removal of the whole corner was a contentious issue
and the decison to rip it down was a long fight, where modernization won-out, sadly enough.
I used to frequent Covent garden market as some what of a hang out as a Teenager, now 20 years later
The Market has become cosmopolitan and a tourist attraction.The picture below is taken manually, I was trying to get all in focus
while preserving some sort of depth of field which I think I accomplished well.

London Market
Covent Garden Market London

Arrived back into Hamilton last night, and at 6AM this morning was riding my Ebike heading to the waterfront.
The dramatic climate change from the core of the city to the breeze of the lake was quite noticeable and refreshing.
The nesting night heron is always on the tip of cootes paradise and each day am able to sneak up to this guy and snap a manual shot already set-up
for prime clearness, Auto focus is on due to poor eyesight.


After a nice trip all around the harborfront was time to stop in and see my old friend Swanny and her family.
The mute swan family is doing well for hatching so late in the Summer.The sygnets are 12 weeks old now and are starting to molt “turn grey”
from molten white.The male sygnet is always out on the water with the male mute swan protecting the family from Canadian geese.
The woodland duck get along well with the swans and share the habitat without conflict.


This weekend Jaquelline and myself are taking a 3 mile hike into Cootes paradise nature preserve to capture
some amzazing pictures and  get close to Mother Nature. Hope you come back to see the post and enjoy todays pictures