Full Site

Wildwood Gull Roost (ON045)

Search

Wildwood Gull Roost (ON045)

St. Marys, Ontario

Latitude 43.253°N
Longitude 81.038°W
Altitude 328 - 343m
Area 11.38km²

Site Description

Wildwood Conservation Area is located southwest of Stratford and east of the town of St. Marys, Ontario. The Conservation Area extends across the broad valley of Trout Creek. The valley slopes are covered in White Pine and White Spruce plantations, or have been left to regenerate naturally. There is little natural forest, as most of the unplanted slopes are undergoing succession from old field and hawthorn pasture stages.

Wildwood Reservoir is an impoundment of Trout Creek, a tributary from the north branch of the Thames River. The reservoir is a 9.2 km long, S-shaped lake with a summer surface area of approximately 385 ha. At the east end of the reservoir is an impoundment created by Ducks Unlimited. Beginning in late August the reservoir is drawn down to create space for fall rains and winter snow melt.

Birds

Large numbers of Ring-billed Gulls begin roosting on Wildwood Reservoir in late summer. In 1993, as many as 100,000 birds were observed on the lake at the end of August, while 110,000 were reported in October 1994. This latter figure represents about 6% of the estimated global population for this species. In November, Herring Gulls begin arriving at the site, and by December the Ring-billed Gulls have moved on. The Herring Gulls generally remain until freeze-up, although they sometimes can be found throughout the winter. In November 1998, 38,000 birds were recorded on the lake, representing 15% of the estimated North American Herring Gull population. These gulls are often accompanied during the winter months by Great Black-backed Gulls (maximum 100+), Glaucous Gulls (maximum 5-10), Iceland Gulls (max 5-10), and Lesser Black-backed Gulls (maximum 1-3). It is speculated that these gulls may be from Lake Huron and remain all winter, depending on the extent of ice on Lake Huron. When Wildwood Lake is frozen they may roost on Lake Huron, but will continue to come inland to feed and congregate on the ice on Wildwood Lake during the day.

American Black Ducks and Mallards can also be found during fall migration in large numbers. Approximately 5% of the estimated Mississippi Flyway population of American Black Ducks has been recorded here, and up to 15,000 Mallards have been observed. In addition, as many as 2,000 shorebirds are attracted to the extensive mudflats created when the reservoir is drawn down early in the fall.

Conservation Issues

Wildwood Gull Roost is a conservation area owned by the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority, and is protected under this management. There are no known threats to this site. Wildwoods swimming beaches are often closed in late summer due to bacterial contamination. However, the Conservation Authority has not taken action against the gulls.

IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status
Herring Gull
Number Year Season
4,0002002Winter
38,0001998Fall
3,0001998Winter
9,0001997Summer
3,0001997Spring
12,0001996Winter
5,0001996Fall
5,0001995Winter
8,000 - 8,5001994Spring
4,3191993Winter
20,0001992Fall
7,000 - 8,0001990Winter
82,0001988Winter
Ring-billed Gull
Number Year Season
40,0001997Summer
110,0001994Fall
100,0001993Fall
50,0001992Fall
50,0001991Fall
American Black Duck
Number Year Season
3,0001993Fall
5,0001991Fall
7,5001990Winter
3,5001989Winter
8,0001988Fall
Acadian Flycatcher
Number Year Season
11993Fall
Loggerhead Shrike
Number Year Season
11997Spring
11996Spring