15th Annual Youth Hunting Day
15th Annual Youth Hunting Day on Saturday, November 30th, 2019 at Fingal Wildlife Management Area (west of St. Thomas)
A safe quality hunting event open to youths aged 12 to 15 who have successfully completed the Ontario Hunter Education Course and are part of the Hunter Apprenticeship Safety Program, along with their mentors. Ammunition, trained dogs and a lunch will be provided.
Admission is free. To register, or for more information, call 519-631-4491 or click here
2019 Spring Tundra Swan Migration
The Aylmer Wildlife Area is an annual favorite staging area for migrating Tundra Swans. These beautiful swans can be viewed annually during late-Feburary, March from the Aylmer Wildlife Management Area’s observation decks. Come out and ask Ron and Keith (our local swan experts) your questions about Tundra Swans. To find out more and to hear the daily swan count, please call the Swan Line at:
(519) 773-SWAN or (519) 773-7926
Whats New at AWMA in 2019
What’s New at AWMA in 2019
Check out the new projects at AWMA:
Osprey Nesting Platform
An osprey nesting platforms was constructed with donated pole and recycled wood by volunteers and the Stewardship Rangers this past summer. It was installed thanks to the donation of anonymous sponsor in November with the hopes to attract an osprey pair this spring. Failing that, it is strong enough to handle our bald eagles if they would like to take up a closer residence.
Pairing Ponds Project
With the demise of the 22 year old Goose Relocation Project at the direction of the MNRF, the Elgin Stewardship Council has repurposed several of the goose pastures to create five new wetlands/ponds complete with basking logs and turtle nesting sites to support reptilian wildlife. Ponds in front of viewing stands 3 and 4 will enhance observation opportunities for birds. The pairing ponds will provide more habitat for migratory waterfowl nesting and feeding. All the ponds are surface runoff/precipitation fed so water levels will seasonally fluctuated. The three northern pairing ponds are designed to cascade overflows via swales into the Tundra Swan Cell. Suitable mixtures of dry and wet meadow will be planted around each pairing pond this spring to provide cover and food for wildlife. Construction of a fifth viewing stand overlooking the northern pairing ponds is under consideration.
Water Cells Refurbishment/Maintenance
Ducks Unlimited Canada has undertaken a multiyear refurbishment and maintenance of the west and east water cells. This past season required a full drawdown of the west cell (Tundra Swan Pond) and a partial drawdown of the east cell (Heron Pond) with the removal of stop logs out the water control devices. Due to sediment issues a channel had to be cut to facilitate the drainage of the west cell. A extremely wet autumn delayed work on the re-contouring of west cell and replacement of the northern water control. Four sediment ponds are being cut into the western and northern embayments of the west cell this February which will better handle the deposition of materials entering via the military drains of the former runways entering from the west and north sides of the compound. Work on the western cell will be completed this spring and the re-flooding will commence late next season. The complete drawdown of the east cell is scheduled for 2020 to allow for repair to the berm and maintenance with reflooding scheduled for 2022.
Eastern Cedars, White Pines, and Tulip trees have been added to the windbreak along College Line to fill in the gaps and to increase biodiversity courtesy of the MNRF and ESC who planted on two days. Additional mast producing trees and shrubs will be planted this spring to enhance the wildlife habitat around the new pairing ponds.
Invasive Species Eradication
A contractor has been hired to spray the numerous patches of phragmites that our spreading inside the wildlife refuge compound. Unfortunately weather has caused a delay until this summer. Future plans include the removal of common buckthorn, multiflora rose and other invasive plant species.
Blue Bird Program
The St. Thomas Field Naturalists generously donated twelve new bluebird boxes and stakes which have been installed along the entrance roadway. As part of the refurbishing program, all older bluebird boxes are being removed from the fences, repaired and reinstalled on posts. This will reduce the interference of mice on nesting birds.
On-going from September 10th to December 5th
400 lb. every Monday, Wednesday, Fridayfeed by volunteers including the EESS Environmental Leadership Program
400 m no hunting exclusion zone was posted
Due to the drawdown of the east cell the duck trap was moved to the west cell where conditions were less than favourable.
Completed on September 10th with only 54 ducks banded which was disappointing.
48 Mallards, 6 Wood Ducks
Winter Bird Feeding
Several winter bird feeders are installed in front of Viewing Stand #3 providing niger, black oil sunflower, millet and suet to assist the residential species and to improve birding opportunities.
Three hunting blinds were prepared and used this past waterfowl hunting season on College Line. Please note the exclusion signage at the end of Canada Goose Way for hikers and other day users.
Tall Grass Prairie Maintenance
The encroachment of woody stems into the Tall Grass Prairie has required both mechanical and chemical treatments to prevent the formation of a woodland. A contractor will perform a systematic chemical treatment of the affected areas later this season which was impeded due to autumn weather conditions. A new application for a Low Intensity Prescribed Burn has been submitted to the MNRF and waiting approval. A prescribed burn is required on a regular basis to maintain the grasses and forbs of the prairie and prevent succession to forest.
Tundra Swan Fall Migration
Small flocks of Tundra Swan were observed in mid-November at the AWMA. Recently flocks ranging from a dozen to over 200 are being reported this February. The Long Point Flock has overwintered so far and have been commuting to Rondeau Bay and venturing inland. Interpretation and feeding program are prepared.
All Donations are used to feed the wildlife and maintain the property for passive public recreation and enhance wildlife habitat.
Ron Casier – 519 631 5279, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary Brown – 519 765 1633
*Please report vandalism or issues to managers*
ESC thanks the Royal Astronomical Society- London Branch
ESC would like to thank the Royal Astronomical Society- London Branch for their generous donation. Donations are greatly appreciated as they allow us to continue to make improvements at wildlife management areas and to increase habitat for wildlife in Elgin County.
Thank you from the ESC Board of Directors.