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Holiday Beach / Big Creek CA (ON034)


Holiday Beach / Big Creek CA (ON034)

Windsor, Ontario

Latitude 42,043°N
Longitude 83,052°O
Altitude 174 - 180m
Superficie 14,26km²

Description du site

Holiday Beach and Big Creek Marsh Conservation Area are located near the western end of Lake Erie, just east of where the Detroit River empties into Lake Erie. Geographically, this site is located at the bottom-end of the migratory funnel created by the lower Great Lakes (Lake Huron, Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair). Birds migrating along the northern shore of Lake Erie have only a short flight across the Detroit River before they are then able to fan out in a broader southern movement. In addition, to acting as concentration site for raptors and other species, the site also includes a large shallow marsh with mostly open water that is interspersed by stands of cattails. It is the largest wetland in the immediate area, and has areas of swamp forest and thicket communities. Several islands and parts of the shoreline support moisture-tolerant forests and vegetation. The adjacent Holiday Beach Conservation Area (formerly a provincial park) contains drier Hackberry and oak dominated forest.


Casual observers have noted hawks at this site since the 1950s, with more systematic counts beginning in the 1970s. Since 1974, volunteer observers have worked towards full coverage during daylight hours throughout the fall migration period. Peak daily counts and highest ever annual totals for the more commonly observed hawks include: Turkey Vulture (daily 3,200, annual 19,645); Sharp-shinned Hawk (daily 2,130, annual 18,604); Broad-winged Hawk (daily 95,499, annual 110,221); and American Kestrel (daily 1,105, annual 5,747).

Each fall observers tally between 600,000 and 750,000 migrant birds of which 300,000 may be Blue Jays. Peak daily counts for Blue Jays exceed 50,000, with a peak day in September 1994 of 65,400. Other daily peaks include Ruby-throated Hummingbird (200), Eastern Bluebird (825) and Great Egret (195). Annual totals are quite high for some species, such as American Goldfinch (25,000). During the breeding season of 2000, three to five pairs of Prothonotary Warblers (nationally endangered) were recorded at this site, up from the usual one pair.

Big Creek Marsh, and the adjacent waters of Lake Erie, occasionally support large numbers of staging waterfowl: Canvasback (850 October 1996); Redhead (1,275 October 1996), and Red-breasted Merganser (an astounding estimate of 195,000 in November 1992). Such large numbers of mergansers do not concentrate at this site on a regular basis.

Enjeux de conservation

In general, there are no significant threats affecting the raptors that migrate through this site. However, the magnitude of this migratory movement does need to be recognized and land uses, such as the establishment of transmission or telecommunication towers, or airplane flight corridors, need to be avoided.

Holiday Beach and Big Creek Conservation Areas are run and owned by the Essex Region Conservation Authority. Much of the remaining marsh is a privately owned U.S. hunt club. Runoff entering the marsh from the adjacent agricultural areas is enriched with nutrients and possibly contaminated with pesticides and herbicides. This enrichment leads to increased phytoplankton growth, and this along with bottom-feeding Carp that stir up the mud, result in very turbid water conditions that limit light penetration and growth of macrophytes that sustain staging waterfowl.

Catégories ZICO Habitats Usages Menaces Potencielles ou Existantes Status de Protection
Harle huppé
Nombre Année Saison
195 0001992Automne
Petite Buse
Nombre Année Saison
21 446 - 36 3482014Automne
48 6292013Automne
6 0552012Automne
23 480 - 43 4312011Automne
16 3172010Automne
17 1182009Automne
8 9532008Automne
18 4002007Automne
7 7302006Automne
7 9652005Automne
27 8432004Automne
7 0092003Automne
4 8872002Automne
44 3102001Automne
17 2402000Automne
60 8041999Automne
40 0001998Automne
108 4801996Automne
22 431 - 40 0001995Automne
50 8201994Automne
72 4431993Automne
95 4991985Automne
110 2211984Automne
36 9041983Automne
Urubu à tête rouge
Nombre Année Saison
48 4542014Automne
41 7272013Automne
31 8882012Automne
33 7032011Automne
38 1782010Automne
43 8272009Automne
21 1822008Automne
31 3392007Automne
35 6652006Automne
41 5432005Automne
14 7522004Automne
24 5792003Automne
21 8102002Automne
2 1862001Automne
18 2492000Automne
18 3841999Automne
19 6451996Automne
16 4711995Automne
19 4071994Automne
14 2271993Automne
3 2001985Automne
6 9101983Automne
Épervier brun
Nombre Année Saison
7 7812014Automne
6 5782013Automne
5 5462012Automne
13 0732011Automne
9 5102010Automne
9 3582009Automne
3 5332008Automne
12 3892007Automne
9 8142006Automne
9 5282005Automne
5 5062004Automne
9 7052003Automne
7 6582002Automne
14 2802001Automne
9 7862000Automne
14 2161999Automne
10 9641996Automne
15 3761995Automne
10 3751994Automne
13 9331993Automne
18 6041987Automne
2 1301985Automne
13 6501983Automne
Quiscale rouilleux
Nombre Année Saison
150 - 2082016Automne
205 - 2602015Automne
32 - 602014Automne
35 - 1102013Automne
150 - 2802011Automne
Martinet ramoneur
Nombre Année Saison
36 - 642016Automne
45 - 772015Automne
24 - 362014Automne
26 - 482013Automne
34 - 6142011Automne
30 - 402005Automne
Faucon pèlerin
Nombre Année Saison
11 - 812011Automne
Paruline orangée
Nombre Année Saison
1 - 32017Été
1 - 32017Printemps
2 - 32016Été
Moucherolle vert
Nombre Année Saison
Oiseaux aquatiques
Nombre Année Saison
195 0001992Automne