Happy New Year! When we awoke on January 1st the last thing we thought we would be doing was taking a nice scenic drive to the beach. But here we were, the temperature chilly but delightfully sunny bundled up driving down County Road 13. You will probably hear a lot of this road as it is one of our favourites, with its twists and turns, the almost unbroken view of the water and the spotting of delightful pit stops along the way, such as the historical Black River cheese factory, The Marine museum and Little Bluff Conversation area. You will stay steady on this road until you come to Long Point Road, here you will make a left.
The trip to Prince Edward Point National Wildlife area, is a scenic 25 minute drive from the Inn. This federally protected area is home to one of Ontario’s largest bird migration stops, has a heritage light house that was built in 1881 and is home to not only numerous birds, but also beaver, muskrat, otters and larger animals like deer and predators like foxes and coyotes. On this trip even in the heart of winter we saw Long Tailed Ducks, a Scaupe, and numerous wintering birds like Chickadees and Blue Jays.
The rugged solitude starts when you leave the paved road behind for dirt, the old seemingly abandoned cabins and fishing boats moored on land being engulfed by sumac and long grasses and the newly protected Traverse Lighthouse. This is the reason why we come out here. Peace. With a marshy interior, but well groomed pathways, the walking is gentle and easy. The shores of Lake Ontario shift from soft pebbles, to limestone shelves.
There were a few other back road explorers out today, an enthusiastic bird watcher whom saw a cardinal plucked from the skies by a Northern Shrike , and a family with a peppy nine year old dog leading the way, with list in hand for birds spotted. But otherwise quiet. Just people embracing nature.
The Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory (PEPtBO) during migration and tagging season is such a delightful experience. You get to witness it up close and personal as the attendants who are mostly volunteers remove the birds from nets to tagging and releasing them back into the wild. Visiting in the off season is not without merit as the paths and info graphics are a nice way to explore on your own, keeping your eyes peeled for local fowl. Check out their website above for more details on scheduling (This past year participants of the owl banding were required to pre-enlist)
So if you are visiting ‘The County’ for the fresh air and abundant nature look no further than Long Point. The drive alone is a treat. Pack a picnic for a day trip (Please take your garbage with you) or spend a relaxing hour wandering the many trails. Please take into consideration weather, as part of the roadway may not be cleared up right away after a snowfall.