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Clear Creek (ON033)

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Clear Creek (ON033)

Ridgetown, Ontario

Latitude 42.463°N
Longitude 81.715°W
Altitude 174 - 205m
Area 20.98km²

Site Description

The Clear Creek forest is located along the north shore of Lake Erie, part way between the towns of Ridgetown and Rodney, Ontario. The site, which is also referred to as Clearville Creek, includes the Clear Creek Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI) and a portion of the Kent-Elgin ANSI. It is mainly a closed-canopy deciduous forest with typical species being Red Oak, Sugar Maple, American Beech, Black Walnut, and Black Cherry. In most areas, there is almost no subcanopy and no shrub layer. The creek has formed a steep-sided ravine (over 30 m in depth) for the last 200 m before it enters Lake Erie. There are flat tableland benches along the sides of the creek for most of this length. A Boy Scout Camp is located on the east side of the creek, and a campground is located at the creek mouth. As many as 24 nationally, provincially, or regionally rare vascular plant species have been recorded at this site.

Birds

Until recently, the Clear Creek site was not visited regularly by birders, or even local field naturalists, because few birds of interest had been identified in the area. However, over the last few years, it has been determined that this is one of the most significant sites in Canada for the nationally endangered Acadian Flycatcher. As many as four territories were recorded in both 1997 and 1998, with the 1998 surveys yielding five active nests (one was thought to be a second attempt). There were three territories in 1999, and three successful nests in 2000. Since the Canadian Acadian Flycatcher population is estimated to number less than 50 pairs, this is a significant concentration. In 1985, a single pair of Acadian Flycatchers with fledged young was found at this site. This suggests a long history of usage by this species, although no surveys were completed during the intervening years to document their presence. Within the Clear Creek ANSI further suitable habitat for one or more pairs was observed in 1997. No other threatened species were observed on either visit. Other deciduous forest species that are present at this site include Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Red-eyed Vireo, Ovenbird, Scarlet Tanager, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

Conservation Issues

Acadian Flycatchers have very specific habitat requirements and are generally recorded only in extensive, closed canopy forests. Selective logging would likely reduce the suitability of this habitat. Over the last 70 years, logging has occurred in all of the forests within the Clear Creek and Kent Elgin Shoreline ANSI, and in most areas, selective cutting has occurred within the last 30 years. In 1997 and 1998 no recent evidence of logging was observed. The area frequented by the Acadian Flycatchers is reasonably well protected, as the majority is contained within the steep ravine on Boy Scout camp property. It is unlikely that logging or development will occur in the near future.

IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status
Acadian Flycatcher
Number Year Season
12014Spring
12011Summer
12003Summer
12002Summer
3 - 42001Summer
4 - 62000Summer
3 - 61999Summer
3 - 51998Fall
3 - 101998Summer
1 - 81997Summer
21985Summer