A local conservation organization, the Thames Talbot Land Trust (TTLT), has big plans for the future of Port Stanley birding attraction Hawk Cliff.
Located on the north shore of Lake Erie, Hawk Cliff has been the stomping ground of nature lovers and birders for generations. Members of the St. Thomas Field Naturalist’s Club have been participating in Hawk viewing weekends, education, and banding at the location since 1975. It is internationally known as a “Hawkwatch” site and is renowned as an observation point for over 20 birds of prey. The site is also a great place to view song birds and Monarch butterflies.
The woodland on this property is one of the most unique and significant deep interior forests in the area. This maple-beech forest is home to many Carolinian species, including the Tulip-tree, Pignut Hickory, the Endangered Butternut Chestnut, and the American Chestnut. Rare birds such as the Eastern Wood-Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Louisiana Water Thrush, and Wood Thrush also make these woods their home.
The TTLT, a not-for-profit organization that is focused on land acquisition, conservation, and restoration, is currently in the process of raising funds to purchase the 230 acre Hawk Cliff Woods property. The Soaring Higher – Hawk Cliff and Beyond Campaign has a fundraising goal of $1.6 Million and with 93% of this goal realized to-date, the land purchase is scheduled to take place in May of 2016.
The TTLT has a series of restoration projects planned for Hawk Cliff Forest including restoring portions of agricultural and scrub land on the property to increase the amount of forest, creating meadows and grasslands along the forest’s edge, removing invasive plant species, restoring trails, and continuing Hawk education weekends.
The purchase of the land will be followed by some property clean up in conjunction with the Municipality of Central Elgin, environmental assessments to identify and inventory what is on the property, and decisions regarding recreational uses of the property (hiking, birding). All Hawk viewing weekends will continue as usual this fall.
For more information on the Hawk Cliff Woods project or to donate to the Soaring Higher – Hawk Cliff and Beyond Campaign visit: http://www.thamestalbotlandtrust.ca/.