Cootes Paradise, formerly known as Dundas Marsh, is 800ha (2,000 acres) of marsh and forest at the mouth of Spencer Creek near the Dundas Valley on the west end of Lake Ontario, just off Hamilton Harbour (Burlington Bay). Much of the marsh itself is open water less than 1m (3.3ft) deep, although manna grass and cattails grow at the edges.
The area is a refuge for at least 100 species of birds during migration, while another 80 species nest in the area. Some of the species you might spot include black-backed gulls, black-crowned night herons, blue-gray gnatcatchers, common moorhens, double-crested cormorants, eider ducks, green herons, marsh wrens, northern mockingbirds, orchard orioles and wood ducks. European cormorants that began moving into the area four years ago have already destroyed all the trees on Hickory Island. Hikers should look for the large platforms that naturalists have built to prevent the birds from coming ashore. This trail guide includes Captain Cootes, Marshwalk, Macdonell, Pinetum Trails, North Shore , Hopkins Trail, North Shore, Arnotts Walk and Chegwin Trails, South Shore, Ravine Road and Calebs Walk, Ginger Valley Trail, and Sassafras Point Trail.
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