By Annabel Krupp

As a new resident to the North End I enjoyed the warm spring, summer, and fall months checking out my new neighbourhood. There was lots to do and see…the Tall Ships, Supercrawl, Salsa on Pier 8, the weekly car show on Pier 4, Dragon Boat races.  Our neighbourhood was hopping with lots of locally-run and city-wide events on our doorstep.

But then winter hit.  Cold, wind, snow. While I admit I do love winter; snowshoeing in the forest, cross-country skiing across a lake, or sledding down a hill with the kids, it is my Australian shepherd that gets me out each and every day. It was on one of these dog walks around Bayfront Park that I saw them.  Two huge Trumpeter swans by the beach.  I knew they weren’t the typical mute swans we usually see, and with huge yellow tags on their wings I wanted to know more.  From there I found out that these swans were once almost extinct and now there is a thriving population in our area.  I also found out that after Point Peele and Long Point, Hamilton is arguably the third best bird watching area in Canada.

I brought my binoculars and guide book down the next day hoping for a better look.  The Trumpeter Swans were gone, but in their place were some other fascinating creatures.  The Common Goldeneye; stark black and white, similar to a loon but more duck like and with a golden eye was my first exciting find.  Next, I identified a Bufflehead, even more beautiful than the Goldeneye. From there I was hooked.  Over the next couple of weeks I found the shores of the North End to be home to Redheads, Lesser and Greater Scaups, American Coots, Common Mersangers, and my favourite the Long-tailed Duck.

Now that the bay has frozen over my eye turns from the water to the skies.  Gulls, Hawks and Eagles are all on my watch list for this winter.  And with exciting reports of Bald Eagles and Snowy Owls sighted not far from here…this North Ender is heading for the birds.