Fifty Point CA Viewing Platform- Winona Ontario
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Bon Echo
N 43° 13.579 W 079° 37.174
17T E 612103 N 4786871
Quick Description: Part of the West End of Lake Ontario Important Bird Area
Location: Ontario, Canada
Date Posted: 5/8/2018 8:14:39 PM
Waymark Code: WMY87Z
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Bear and Ragged
Views: 5

Long Description:

The viewing platform at Fifty Point Conservation Area is part of the West End of Lake Ontario Important Bird Area:

Site Description

This site is defined generally as the part of Lake Ontario west of a line stretching from Port Credit on the north shore to the mouth of the Niagara River on the south shore, and bounded on the west by Burlington Bar. The shoreline is one of low relief (<10m), with unconsolidated cliffs of clay-silt sediments. The coast is straight, with beaches across the mouths of small rivers ('Southeast Coast' subdivision), sedimentary rock outcrops ('Burlington Bar System' subdivision), and a wide sand barrier, up to 2 m, high across Hamilton Harbour. There is widespread artificial protection of the shoreline. Erosion rates are low as shoreline is relatively sheltered and prevailing winds are westerly. Shore-zone ice can persist up to 4 months; ice forms at west end of the lake by late December, and breaks appear in late February. Water currents are sensitive to wind direction, but appear to be predominantly counter-clockwise around Lake Ontario. Water temperatures reach 24 degrees C in late summer. Maximum lake depth at the west end of the lake is 100 m; lake contours indicate a gradual slope from the shoreline to this depth.


The west end of Lake Ontario is not a discrete area, but is defined by the impressive congregations of waterfowl which have gathered there annually since about 1990, primarily in late winter and early spring. Flocks of mainly diving ducks number in thousands, sometimes tens of thousands, with the more abundant species being Greater Scaup, White-winged Scoter, and Long-tailed Ducks (these three species all occur in numbers greater than 1% of their estimated North American population). Amongst these huge flocks, several other species of diving duck occur in impressive numbers for an inland location - including Common Goldeneye, King Eider, Red-breasted Merganser, and Surf Scoter.

Where the flocks gather within this area appears to be weather dependent; that is, strong winds cause the flocks to shift locations, presumably in response to demands for shelter and feeding opportunities. The concentrations of waterfowl are most likely in response to the invasion and colonization of the shallow waters by dreissenid mussels, Zebra Mussel Dreissena polymorpha and Quagga Mussel D. bugensis. It is likely that most foraging for mussels by scaups, goldeneyes and scoters occurs on shelves less than 20 m deep around the perimeter of the lake; however, Long-tailed Ducks can forage in depths up to 100 m.


To date, 188 species have been reported to for "Fifty Point CA (Niagara side)" while 270 species have been reported to for "Fifty Point CA (Hamilton side)".

Two information signs provide details on the Western End of Lake Ontario IBI and why the particular location at Fifty Point CA is important:

A Favourite Spot for Birders

Here at Fifty Point Conservation Area, you are in the heart of the West End of Lake Ontario IBA. With a combination of several habitats - lake, pond, field, and forest - this small area is one of the premier spots in Ontario to see an amazing array of birds. Almost any bird species can show up. The shore of Lake Ontario also helps concentrate many migrating birds here.

An Island Oasis

From a bird's perspective, Fifty Point is an island of natural habitat surrounded by urban development and water. Many migrating birds take a break from their long journeys to stop and refuel at this oasis. During spring and fall migration, the wooded areas of Fifty Point can be flooded with small songbirds.

A Natural Vantage Point

Fifty Point juts out almost 1.5 km beyond the adjacent shoreline. Birds following the shoreline are pushed out along the point, while those flying offshore often come quite close. The point's elevation helps observers get great views of ducks, gulls, shorebirds, and other birds flying by on the lake. The best time to watch for migrating waterbirds is in the fall. When north winds are blowing, birds are pushed close to shore, flying around the point at very close range.

Sheltered Harbour

The Fifty Point Marina provides a sheltered area favoured by many birds during foul weather. Ducks, gulls, terns, and many other species can often be found taking refuge here, resting or foraging. During the spring and summer, the marina is an important feeding and loafing area for Common and Caspian terns.

The viewing platform at Fifty Point was officially opened on September 24, 2014. You can read more about how the platform and signs came to be and see more photos here.

The Grand Opening of the viewing platform and unveiling of the signs. September 24, 2014. Photo by Bon Echo Bird-watchers using the newly opened viewing platform at Fifty Point. September 24, 2014. Photo by Bon Echo
The Grand Opening of the viewing platform and unveiling of the signs. September 24, 2014. Photo by Bon Echo Bird-watchers using the newly opened viewing platform at Fifty Point. September 24, 2014. Photo by Bon Echo
Park Name: Fifty Point Conservation Area

Sponsoring Organization: Bird Studies Canada, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Hamilton Industrial Environmental Association, Hamilton Conservation Authority, Hamilton Conservation Foundation

Handicap Accessible?: Yes

Website: [Web Link]

Entrance Fee: 10.00 (listed in local currency)

List any Hides, Birding Towers, or other structures to assist in Birdwatching found at the location:
Viewing platform

Parking Coordinates: N 43° 13.506 W 079° 37.206

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