There’s an invasion of birds descending on Windsor and Point Pelee National Park this month and there’s an entire slate of activities happening for birders both new and experienced to take their visit to the region to another level.
From May 1-21, 2018, Point Pelee National Park in Leamington, Ontario, hosts the annual Festival of Birds. Thanks to migration patterns, birders from across the world descend on the Windsor area to take in one of the best birding opportunities ever. And it happens every year!
21 days straight of looking into binoculars can get to even the most avid birders, so we’ve put together a list of items to help them get their minds off their winged friends for just a bit to relax and enjoy themselves.
BOOK AN OTENTIK
Why stay in a hotel or motel? Book your stay right inside the park itself in one of their 24 brand new Otentiks.
“Otenwhat?”, you say?
Otentiks are a cross between an A-frame cabin and a prospector tent on a raised wooden floor. They feature a 19 x 24 ft wide tent with plenty of room for families or groups of up to six, two-queen sized and one double-sized bed with high density foam mattresses and a spacious living area with a table and chairs.
BREAKFAST AT LAKESIDE DELI
You need to make sure your tank is on full before you go chasing those birds around. Lakeside Deli, just a few minutes from the gate of Point Pelee National Park in Leamington, Ontario, offers up some filling options.
While you’re there, treat yourself with a dessert at their bakery. Mmmm mmm!
ENJOY A WILDFLOWER WALK
Just forget about the birds for a moment and enjoy Point Pelee National Park from a different perspective: looking down.
Take a guided stroll and learn about the wildflowers in bloom throughout the park. The Wildflower Walks take place Wednesdays to Sundays in May at 1:30 pm. Simply head to the visitors centre to take part. It’s free and no registration is required.
BIRDING LUNCH & LEARN
Perfect for the birding beginner. Grab your lunch and enjoy presentations from Parks Canada, Bird Studies Canada, Quest Nature Tours, and other experts in the Visitor Centre theatre. These daily sessions start at noon and will focus on various topics, from birding basics to bird song identification.
JUST THE TIP
You’re in Canada’s banana belt, so why wouldn’t you want a photo op in the southernmost tip of mainland Canada? Simply head to the tip, sit and relax as the waves crash all around you. Extra bonus points if you bring a Canadian flag and use the #WindsorEats hashtag on social media.
A BURGER AT JACK’S
Who doesn’t love a good burger? In addition to our Must-Try Burgers of 2018, you should make a stop at Jack’s and enjoy their beautiful patio in the heart of downtown Kingsville, Ontario. The try to source everything locally, including their entire wine list. Heck, they even brew their own beer!
While you’re in Kingsville having a burger at Jack’s, stop in at The Butcher of Kingsville for a wide assortment of cheeses and snacks. Seriously, who can resist cheese?
Pelee Island is a big part of the action during migration. While you’re there, taking part in an Explore Pelee tour is a definite must. During the amazing migration that takes place in the region, Pelee Island is an active stop for many rare species.
While you’re there, enjoy the island life with daily bike and wine tours offered by Explore Pelee and Dolley the Trolley cruising around. And just in case you missed it, we sat down with Anne Marie of Explore Pelee and talked a bit about life on the island.
THE GREAT CANADIAN POUTINE EXPERIENCE
By 4:30pm you’re either tired of looking at the birds and vice versa, so get your cheese curd cravings ready because we’ve got a true Canadian tour for you to take in the afternoon!
Head into city for The Great Canadian Poutine Experience which will take guests on a stroll through the streets of downtown Windsor. Affectionately known as “The Poot Route”, explore the flavours and folklore surrounding Canada’s most iconic dish: the poutine!
On the world’s first poutine specific tour (or so Google tells us), you’ll take in an authentic Quebec-style poutine and sit and chat with a chef who’s a Montreal native. You’ll then take in a true Windsor, multicultural spin on the classic Canadian dish. We are Canada’s fourth most ethnically diverse city, after all.
Along the way, learn about some interesting, long lost tidbits of Canadian history. Tickets are $45 each.
DINNER ON A BEACH
Give yourself a break from roughing it in the woods looking for hard to spot birds and treat yourself with one night of bliss.
On Thursday, May 24, enjoy a traditional seafood boil during our 2018 Dinner on a Beach while overlooking Lake St. Clair, mingling with friends old and new at a long, communal dinner table and taking in live musicians who will be entertaining you during and after the meal. A cash bar will open at 7:00pm with dinner to be served at 7:30pm. Tickets are $135 per person.
The 2018 seafood boil is going to be bigger, better and a seafood lovers paradise. We’ve once again brought on chef Ted Dimoglou of Tiki Sushi to fire up a big pot on the beach for an intimate, family style feast along the shores of Lake St. Clair.
EXPLORE THE WINERIES
Point Pelee National Park is just minutes from an incredible boutique wine country. If you’re not one for hopping on a bicycle on the award winning Wine Trail Ride, give Grape Vine Tours a call to drive you.