FALL in Love with Nature at Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre

JSGB thanks Amanda Swick and the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre for this great introduction and photos of autumn at Wye Marsh

While the Wye Marsh is known to teem with life and vibrance under the summer sun, there is a different kind of beauty to be experienced during autumn in the wetlands and woodlands. There is still an abundance of wildlife afoot – one just has to know where to look. The crisp air, bright blue sky, and back drop off reds, oranges and golds all make for a wonderful experience as you explore nature this season.

As the leaves change colours, so do the activities of wildlife in preparation for the cooler temperatures. Snakes, turtles, and frogs will all be soaking up the last of these warm sunny days, basking on rocks, lily pads, or logs.

Baby snapping turtleBe on the lookout for turtles crossing roads and trails in search of marshy areas to hibernate below the frost line. Baby Snapping Turtles are just hatching from their sandy nests at this time of year, and are only the size of a toonie. They camouflage well in gravel and dirt, so mind your step as these tiny turtles head for water.

Forest critters are working away on their winter caches, including chipmunks, squirrels, skunks, and birds. Cooler temperatures bring forest dwelling birds to the forest’s edges in search of food, meaning they are more likely to be spotted.  This includes Cardinals, Blue Jays, Grossbeaks, and of course the famous Black-Capped Chickadee! These small social birds will land on your hand for sunflower seeds at Wye Marsh, creating a truly magical moment.

Fall is a wonderful opportunity to spot migratory bird species on their trip south. Animal migration is one of the great wonders of our earth. Each spring and fall millions of animals from thousands of species make migrations big and small. Birds make up the bulk of migrators. Many species will pass through the Georgian Bay area and can be spotted at Wye Marsh, a designated Important Birding Area, which allows birders opportunity to see species who do not regularly reside in our area.

Some species will migrate south following the warmer weather where their prey will still be active or their food sources are not covered in snow. For other species, like Snowy Owl, Georgian Bay IS their southern destination compared to their Arctic breeding grounds.  Among others, species on the move to look for in our area include Black-Throated Blue Warblers, Black and White Warblers, Red-Shouldered Hawks, Saw Whet Owls, Grackles, Wood Ducks, and Barn Swallows.

3 people on boardwalk

Photo Credit: Nick Laferriere Photography/Barrie Tourism

Wye Marsh has over 25km of trails to explore, from winding through the cedar groves, into hardwood forest, to the floating boardwalk which immerses visitors in the cattails. It is a magical place for all ages to be inspired and fall in love with nature. Trails are accessible for all ages and abilities, with some loops being stroller friendly.

Trails are open daily from 9:00am-4:00pm. There are live animal demonstrations on weekend at 1:00pm. Admission is $12 for adults, $9 for children aged 4-18, $9 for seniors aged 65+, and children under 4 are free. To plan a visit to Wye Marsh, please visit: https://www.wyemarsh.com/

In addition to exploring the trails, Wye Marsh will also offer a number of workshops and events this fall including Art in the Marsh, Global Big Day, and our Annual Fundraiser. For more information, please visit: https://www.wyemarsh.com/fall-events



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