Port Colbourne, Ontario
Point Abino is a peninsula that juts out into Lake Erie, about 12 km east of Port Colborne. It has a mixed terrain, composed of wooded hills, prominent sand dunes and wooded wetlands, with considerable cottage and marina development along the eastern shoreline and cottages in the dune section of the peninsula, inland from shore. There is an active lighthouse at the tip of the peninsula. Mature woodlands cover areas away from development, with trees such as Eastern Hemlock, Choke-cherry, Tulip Tree, and Butternut on the upland drier sites, and Swamp White Oak, Slippery Elm, hickories, maples, walnuts and dogwoods in the lower wetter areas. The wetlands are separated from Lake Erie by vegetated sand dune formations. There are almost pure stands of Yellow Birch, with an understory of hemlock. The woodlands contain the largest area of Carolinian forest in this region. The nationally vulnerable Hop Tree is just one of many provincially rare plants present on the peninsula. Also, perhaps the largest concentration of Carex appalachiana in the country occurs here. In all, 740 species of plants have been recorded here. Also, the nationally threatened Fowlers Toad uses the area as a breeding site.
Several rare species of songbirds breed in this area, such as Acadian Flycatchers, Hooded Warblers, and Cerulean Warblers. These species have been designated respectively as endangered, threatened, and vulnerable in Canada. An Acadian Flycatcher nest was found in 1956 in this area, and the species has been reported regularly over the past 30 years. In 1998, two presumed pairs of Hooded Warblers were located, while a thorough survey in 1999 revealed 7 territorial males. Of these, three were definitely paired, and another three appeared to be unmated males. This is a significant percentage of the approximately 300 territorial males believed to nest in Canada. The Cerulean Warbler has been a regular visitor to the site for several decades. Usually, only one singing male is recorded each year.
A diverse breeding bird community exists at Port Abino; in the 1999 survey, 73 breeding (or probably breeding) bird species were observed. Some of the more noteworthy species recorded include: King Rail, Eastern Screech-owl, Pileated Woodpecker (the only site in the local region), Red-bellied Woodpecker, Red-headed Woodpecker (nationally vulnerable), Carolina Wren, Tufted Titmouse, Winter Wren, Brown Creeper, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Prothonotary Warbler (not recently), Black-and-White Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, and Yellow-throated Vireo.
Waterfowl, particularly Red-breasted Mergansers and Buffleheads, commonly gather in late fall off the tip of the peninsula. In addition, this area is a site of high landbird concentration during spring and fall migration.
Point Abino is a recreational area that primarily consists of a summer cottage community. Cottage development is responsible for much habitat alteration, infilling of wetlands, and the constant removal of native flora. Recreational off-road vehicle use of the sand dunes causes erosion and destabilization of these sensitive habitats. Deforestation and forest fragmentation pose a threat to many of the bird species, in particular the rare species that rely on large intact areas of forest.IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status